Archive for March 23rd, 2012

Poem For Trayvon

by lizard

my hoodie is brown
I got it at REI
I won’t die in it, shot
walking home from the store
I won’t cry out for help
as some non-cop vigilante
confronts me
sparking a chain of events that
will never be known
like the awful fact Trayvon
17 years old
is never coming home

—William Skink

Ripple Effect

by lizard

One of the most dangerous aspects of US foreign policy is how short-sighted it often seems. The long-term potential of blowback is ignored as the need for short-term results gets hyped and (usually) violently carried out.

The coup that just occurred in the North African nation of Mali (Jakarta Globe) is a good reminder that violent conflicts have ripple effects:

Mali’s Tuareg rebels pressed on Friday with an offensive in the north as mutinous soldiers faced a global backlash for staging a coup over the government’s handling of the insurrection.

The African Union temporarily suspended Mali, Europe froze aid and the United States threatened to do the same amid a chorus of rebukes over the coup in a country key to fighting drug trafficking and extremism.

The coup opened the way for Tuareg rebels to deepen their hold on the north, and their National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) said it had seized the town of Anefis between the key cities Gao and Kidal.

The MNLA said on its website it “will continue the offensive to dislodge the Malian army and its administration from all the towns of Azawad” — their professed homeland in the north of the bow-tie shaped west African nation.

The rebellion sparked the coup Thursday by soldiers who say they have been ill-equipped to fight off the desert nomads, many of whom are heavily armed after returning from fighting for Libya’s slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi (my emphasis).

This coup is a difficult thing to frame for Western consumption, so it probably won’t get too much attention.

Another interesting tidbit from the article is this brief description of the coup’s leader, Amadou Sanogo:

The green-beret mid-ranking captain, who speaks with a raspy voice, also revealed he had spent much time at training programmes in the United States, in Georgia and at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia.

He said he was trained under a US scholarship as an English instructor.

Man, I sure hope he didn’t get any lessons on how to win hearts and minds from his US military trainers, because if he did he’ll be in trouble quick.

Luckily, the global outcry has been diverse, and the US is even threatening to withhold Mali’s allowance until Sanogo gives the country back.

The World Bank and the African Development Bank suspended aid after Mali’s first coup in 21 years and the US threatened to lift $70 million in military and economic aid if constitutional rule was not returned.

China added to the critique which has poured in from the United Nations, France and across Africa.

Hey, something China and America can agree about; total silver lining, right?

Africa is heating up, and I’m not talking about the “liberal hoax” of global warming. I’m talking about AFRICOM looking for a home.

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