Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Stop the aid to Africa?

February 22, 2009

From Sunday’s New York Times Magazine:

You argue in your book that Western aid to Africa has not only perpetuated poverty but also worsened it, and you are perhaps the first African to request in book form that all development aid be halted within five years.
Think about it this way — China has 1.3 billion people, only 300 million of whom live like us, if you will, with Western living standards. There are a billion Chinese who are living in substandard conditions. Do you know anybody who feels sorry for China? Nobody.

Maybe that’s because they have so much money that we here in the U.S. are begging the Chinese for loans.
Forty years ago, China was poorer than many African countries. Yes, they have money today, but where did that money come from? They built that, they worked very hard to create a situation where they are not dependent on aid.

What do you think has held back Africans?
I believe it’s largely aid. You get the corruption — historically, leaders have stolen the money without penalty — and you get the dependency, which kills entrepreneurship. You also disenfranchise African citizens, because the government is beholden to foreign donors and not accountable to its people.

An interesting perspective that I’d be interested in hearing more about than the short interview provides. Hopefully she’ll do the radio circuit. Thoughts?

Recent (or recently-read) selected interviews

February 5, 2009

5 Year old Oscar interviewing Chelsea & England captain, John Terry:

Oscar: Um, sometimes things are scary. What do you do when you get scared?
JT: Oh, when I get scared – we all get scared a little bit sometimes, don’t we? I’ve got children, and sometimes I hold their hand and tell them I’m not scared, but I am really, but I try and be there for them, so they don’t get scared. When I was little, I didn’t like being left on my own in the dark.
Dad [To Oscar]: Do you get scared of the dark?
Oscar: No!
JT: No, he’s too big for that. Are you scared of spiders?
Oscar: No… but I don’t like spiders.

Daily Mail’s Martin Samuel interviewing Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard:

“You learn a lot about people in those times. [emblematic former Chelsea manager] Jose Mourinho texting me every day; [interim Chelsea first team coach post-JM] Avram Grant was so clever and kind; people who were not in my life suddenly appeared, and in a good way. Fans, too, from places like Liverpool and West Ham, who generally don’t like me, writing letters. That really touched me. We get caught up in the rivalry, then something like this happens and you realise it is all bullshit. None of it matters.”

Freelance writer Marissa Moss interviewing singer/songwriter/awesomebadass (and house favorite) Ted Leo:

Do you think it’s the musician’s place, especially one in the public eye, to speak about and engage youth culture and activism via their work?

Absolutely. Is there a place? There certainly is. It blows my mind when people suggest that there isn’t. It’s not as if art in general doesn’t have a millennial history of exactly this sort of thing- the idea that anyone, a musician, should stick to pure entertainment is ridiculous. It’s absolutely fine if that’s what a particular artist wants to do, gods knows there is also certainly a place for the songs. But there’s plenty of immediate social commentary in Dante, and that’s going way back…there are a lot of people who just say “shut up and sing.” But the idea that art should somehow be separated from commentary is completely ridiculous….

Long Overdue “Hey, 2009!” Link Post

February 1, 2009

NPR’s Race & Politics in Europe

January 22, 2009

Last week, NPR’s Morning Edition did a really interesting 3-part focus on race & politics a few European countries, including how their current situations or notions of equality might be effected by America’s election of its first biracial president. I think I personally get caught up in America’s race relations that I forget it’s not an American problem.

Germany: “Calling me ‘of migrant descent’ is a subtle way to separate me from them. It’s discrimination,” he says. “I was born here, so why do people tell me I am disadvantaged just because my grandparents were migrants? Maybe I am not a pure German, so call me a new German.”

Italy: “The language Italians hear from the mass media and politicians is disparaging about ‘the Other.’ One Northern League minister calls Africans ‘bingo bongos.’ Roma people — or gypsies, as they’re sometimes called — are often depicted on television as kidnappers of white children. And Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi made international headlines after Barack Obama was elected U.S. president by describing him as young and ‘tanned.'”

France: “It is tough here for all minorities. They don’t beat us, but they insult us. They show disdain for us. This is perhaps even worse than being beaten, this sense of not being welcome, not accepted. We fight against this…”

Photographing a future American President

January 20, 2009

Members of the press fill the seats at the back of the Obama campaign plane.

Members of the press fill the seats at the back of the Obama campaign plane.

TIME magazine recently put up a feature gallery of the best photographs their photographers have captured of President Obama, some of which are very telling. I really liked the above shot of the press corp and the things they chose to put up all over the cabin. Many of these, I’m sure, are the work of staff photographer, Callie Shell, whose work was also featured recently in the October 2008 issue of Digital Journalist.