week 10 post

Week 10
Yazan Al-Thibeh
Marikana: Voices from South Africa’s Mining Massacre
Week ten examines Peter Alexader’s and his co-writers book “Marikana: Voices from South Africas Mining Massacre”, where it talks about the Marikana Massacre of August 16, 2012. The Massacre was the single most deadly use of force by South Africa forces against civilians. Those who were killed were mineworkers who demanded better working conditions and support of pay. The book interviews and documents those who survived the attack, where the book meticulously mentions the massacre in great detail. The book did a great job in documenting the events leading up to the massacre of the mineworkers and speaking to family members and who were harassed by the South African police. This book reminded me of the 1990 Oka crisis in Canada, on how there was a land despite with the Mohawk people and Canadian authorities. In the Oka crisis a Canadian officer shot and killed a protester.

Chapter 1: Encounters in Marikana
The first chapter gives the reader a background understanding of the events that unraveled in Marikana. Where a couple of weeks before the August 16 2012 massacre, many of the workers decided to strike due to horrible working condions and bad pay. They were receiving $400 (USD) and they were asking for $1000 (USD) (Pg 22). About 3000 workers stopped working to strike having to fail on setting a meeting with Lonmin. The workers were protesting peacefully for unfair working conditions and pay. Some of the workers were carrying knobkerries, sticks and whips to protect themselves from authorities. Within days of the protest 9 people were killed and many more were injured, the tension between both sides escalated. On August 16th 2012, the South African authorities were responsible for injuring 78 people and killing 34. That day was really significant in post-apartheid Africa since it was the day the police used force against civilians.

Chapter 2: A Narrative Account Based on Workers’ Testimonies
The second chapter talks about the struggles that the worker were dealing with and the lack of human rights. The works were threatened by authorities if they did not go back to work when they were protesting. The officers would scare the workers by physically harming them and by touching their homes. On the day of the massacre news stations gathered to take note what happened. The news crated a narrative on how bad and ruthless the workers were, in reality they were the ones that were being oppressed. The workers were trying to build a better future for themselves and family and yet they were seen as the villains. The workers just demanded their employer, Lonmin, to listen to their case for a decent wage. This part of the book reminded me of the article “India in Africa: changing geographies of power”, on how some of the African workers were treated when they were working on the oil-rig, and how some were treated like animals.

Chapter 5: Interviews with Mineworkers
The fifth chapter, looks at the issues and events before and after the massacre. I liked this chapter the most because it entailed unedited literature and interviews from the works and their families. The chapter gives descriptive notes on the emotions towards the massacre and the mine. This chapter allowed the reader to understand the actors involved, (mine company, African National Congress, religious leaders, mine workers, and the National Union of Mineworkers), and come up with a conclusion and opinion on who is to blame.

Discussion
What other cases, in Canada or around the world, were similar to this one?
Were you surprised that South African authorities were threatening and harassing the works?
Why the interviews from the mine works are was crucial in writing this book?
How much of an impact did the media have in influencing this issue, and how might social media today change the way we view events like these?
Why is it really important to study the agents in this case?

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week 9 discussion

Dams, Displacement, and the Delusion of Development

Yazan Al-Thibeh

Week 9

This week’s readings examines the book “Dams, Displacement, and the Delusion of Development” by Allen F. Isaacman. This novel explores the Cahora Bassa Dam on the Zambezi River, built in the 1970s, which was one of the largest and last infrastructure developments constructed in Africa during the turbulent period of decolonization. The book studies the social and economic impacts that the dam had on the citizens of Mozambique. In fact, the book also exams how Portuguese colonial power benefited from the dam – from expansion of the irrigated farming and European settlement, to improved transportation throughout the Zambezi River.

 

Chapter three: Harnessing the River: High Modernism and Building the Dam, 1965–75

This chapter looks at the construction of the dam in Mozambique in 1965-75. Isacacman brings up how the Portuguese tries to bring modernization to Mozambique by constructing a dam only realizing that they are lacking the basic infrastructure to build it. The dam was supposed to bring social and economic growth within the city of Mozambique, but the construction of the dam brought more bad than good. He mentions that many of the portages workers were very racist against the African workers. In fact, the book brings up that the locals from Mozambique were forced to migrate so European workers can settle in, “Local African communities were forced to abandon their homes in the Songo highlands to make way for the construction of a segregated town for white workers recruited from abroad” (pg 57). I personally think that the Europeans created structure violence with the Africans and othering there identity, “struggles among so-called identity groups-ethnic, religious, or nationalistic” (pg 36). This chapter can easily be compared when Mr. Ford lectured on Tanzania gold mining and how the African natives were dehumanized by the Chinese when they were working in the mine.

 

Chapter four: Displaced People: Forced Eviction and Life in the Protected Villages, 1970–75

This chapter talks about how the Europeans ousted from their village in 1970-75 and moved to aldementos, scheduled communities,  “Just as Lisbon sought to construct a wall of silence around Cahora Bassa, it tried to render invisible the experiences of the thousands of peasants forcibly transplanted from their homelands along the life-sustaining Zambezi River to the aldeamentos” (pg 95). This proved to me that the Portuguese are colonizing the Mozambique’s, manipulating them by proposing the dam and how that will help their economy by stimulating jobs, instead they are taking advantage of their resources. Colonial authorities thought that the work sites would indorse racial harmony and instill work ethics among the locals by emulating the culture of the Europeans.  Isaacman writes that colonial discourse created segregated labour practise at Kariba that dehumanized the locals and placed them in inferior social class to that of the colonist. In fact, the colonizers used propaganda to evict the Africans to the aldeamentos, stating they would be able to practise their religion peacefully and they would be able grow any crops. This chapter reminded me of the history between Canada and the Chinese and how Canada put a head tax on Chinese families. The problem was that Canada took Chinese workers and made them build the Canadian national railway with poor living and working conditions, thus when a person wanted to bring their family into Canada the government would impose a head tax.

 

 

Chapter Five: The Lower Zambezi: Remaking Nature, Transforming the Landscape, 1975–2007

The chapter emphasis on how the Cahora Bassa dam changed the environment and landscape from 1975-07. He writes that the alteration of the Zambezi River upset the social-ecological structure of riparian communities, interrupted fishing and farming practices, and undermined the local’s food security, social institutions, culture and health. What I don’t understand is the flooding in the region, I thought one of the reasons why dams were constructed is to prevent flooding, and the Cahora Bassa clearly fails in doing so (pg 146). Due to the leak disadvantaged communities are the ones that suffer the most from the leaking and the placement of the dam. The main problem of the dam is the continual water leak on downriver landscapes and the communities, this causes displacement amongst the locals and places negligent damages to the agriculture. This chapter reminded of

 

Chapter Six: Displaced Energy

            The sixth chapter articulates how the Cahora Bassa dam did not bring in capital to Mozambican, it has been only benefiting South Africa and Portugal for the revenues. What surprises me is that Portugal sold 2/3’s of its shares in the dam after finding out that the Mozambique regime will be constructing a dam of their own, this would reduce the profits of the Cahora Bassa dam (pg 166). It took until the year 2007 for Mozambique to be able to acquire main proprietorship of the dam, despite the success in relation of “resource sovereignty” (pg 166). Despite the fact the Mozambique government has ownership of the dam, many of the locals still lack electricity and comprehensive rural development. This really upsets me, it took until 2007 for the Mozambique to have full entitlement of the dam, and the fact that the Portuguese did nothing to fix issues or better the living conditions of the locals. The way I see it, Portugal infringed on human rights up until 2007, this makes me worried on how basic human rights are tossed out when there is colonization using their power to manipulate the weak.

 

Chapter seven: Legacies

            The chapter mentions how there are disenchanting parallels between the colonial and postcolonial regimes development, which comes at the expense of the rivers ecology and the rural poor. On page 167, Isaacman mentions how dams in Africa perpetuate a lasting legacy from colonialism. I agree with the statement because as a result of colonialism, the dams and other infrastructures perpetuate the impoverishments of societies and extinguish the agriculture. I also agree that developing nations, especially those who are post colonized, should improve social and economic growth internally, and should not rely on the help of international agents.

 

Discussion

Why do you think that dams in Africa perpetuate a lasting legacy from colonialism?

What steps or models can Mozambique take to improve energy and agriculture for the locals who are affected by the dam’s issues?

Using the Cahora Bassa Dam as a case study in the future, what issues and solutions can be used to better the local’s livelihoods?

week 8

Yazan Al-Thibeh

In the article “India’s rise in Africa” by IAN TAYLOR, expresses India’s connections with the African and how both are growing rapidly due to trade.  In 2010 INDO-African trade reached $45 billion and by the year 2015 it would go beyond $75 billion. The article also states that china’s relationship to Africa is based on state-to-state deals, extractive industries and infrastructure development. However, India’s relationship extends longer than a branch. It is commercially driven, private and facilitated by the export-import bank of India and the confederation of Indian industries.  Indian interests lies in the telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing sectors, and alternative energy.  Africa’s and India’s economy is expanding rapidly. India in the past, were aid recipient, now due to the economic growth they are aid donors, this is due to India’s rapid economic growth. The article also talks about the history between Africa and India, in particular of Indian commerce. Political ties, how many Indian UN peacekeepers have been mostly involved in African nations. The Indian-African institute of Information Technology in Ghana will offer courses in computer software and in consulting. The India-Africa institute of FOREIGN TRADE IN Uganda will offer BBA degrees. The India-Africa Diamond institute will be in Botswana and will be collaborated with the Indian Diamond institute will offer credited dipomas in diamond processing, assortment and grading. Indias aid shifted form poltical aid to developmental aid.This is related to last week’s article by Zeleza on how China and Africa have a perpetuated history, and how they share economic interests.  However china at a conference wanted to cancel aid and the development of roads and hospitals.

The article, “Offshore healthcare management: medical tourism between Kenya, Tanzania and India” by Renu Modi, discusses medical tourism of foreign patients from Africa, specifically, Kenya and Tanzania, to Indian hospitals. These patients go abroad to seek medical treatment that is better equipped and cheaper than their home country. This article also explores a growth in private healthcare providers in India and East Africa. India has top of the line medical infrastructure, access to visa’s, and cheaper air flight. The paper is divided into three sections, first deals with health contexts of Kenya and Tanzania, second, Indian context and why they allow

 This article relates back to the “ Bodomo and MA” article on how Africans are being accepted within their society and culture in Gungzhou to Yiwu.

 

I thought this article was very confusing. The article, “Fragile Fortunes: India’s Oil Venture into War-torn Sudan”, by Luke Patey, discusses how India’s national oil company, OVL, investment was not easy to execute and was put at risk. Patey explores how some of India’s oil investments in Sudan has been neglected due to New-Delhi’s African energy interests. Oil was associated with armed conflict in Sudan when OVL won a contract to invest in the production of oil. However, during the north-south civil war and under the leader Dr. John Garang, SPLA stated that oil companies in Sudan are military targets. Furthermore the article, stresses on the political challenges with India. With the support of the Sudanese government, India had agreed to put UN peacekeepers and troops. Many of the rebels threatened the Oil Company and workers due to loosing benefits of the oil company. OVL had many obstacles in India and Sudan. Political interest in New-Delhi wanted OVL to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase Talisman in Sudan. In March of 2003 India, OVL, purchased Talisman in the GNPOC concision. However if armed conflicted arose the investment would of gone south.

week 7

Week 7 discussion

Yazan Al-Thibeh

This week’s readings expresses the aspects within the fields of economics, social and political policies, with the relationship between Africa and China. The first article by Paul Tiyambe Zeleza discusses how Africa and China has seen rapid economic growth within recent years. The partnership between the two nations helps elevate trade, foreign investment and growth in technology. For many years Africa and China have gone through many economic, social and political cycles, however these cycles are not homogametic. I liked how he focused on China’s vast interest and involvement in foreign investment. This shows how China is willing to take risks in working alongside governments, instead of forcing other ways to do business or projects. In business, one model that you learn is the dragon tale, where people who invest into a plan that can be executed with an outstanding management team will do wonders. I concur with the author when he expresses that China sees Africa as an investment opportunity due many economic and natural resource opportunities. However I do believe that China’s desire in foreign investments is propelling many African economies.

The second article by Adams Bodomo and Grace Ma, talk about Africans who started businesses in China and how they are treated in the Chinese economy. I really enjoyed this article more than Paul Tiyambe Zeleza article since it gave a different perspective on how Africans are being treated and how their investments are doing in China. This article shows how much of an economic and social impact Africans have within a different nation, and how they are contributing to the Chinese society. The article also talks about how Yiwi and Guangzhou, two of the largest commodity and financial markets in China, and how In Yiwi Africans are treated very well. The city of Guangzhou, many Africans have a hard time living their life, many notice discrimination within the Chinese culture and many Africans have a hard time ruining their work Visa’s. The city of Yiwi accepted Africans within their culture, business relations, and the practice of their own religion.

The third article by Chris Alden and Ana Cristina Alves, explores the shared history of policy making within Africa and how it affects foreign policy. This article made me wonder if China is a neocolonial that tries to be superior to the local citizens in Africa. This article expresses how china is evolving into a super power within the international community and is creating their norms and policies to benefit themselves. This article did not talk about how china is using their power to control many economic and social policies in doing businesses, threatening to seize aid and debt, this is discussed in Zeleza article.

Discussion

Do you believe since there is a finite amount of resources in the world that China is trying to take advantage of African nations, or do you think this is a permutated partnership to help both nations?

With China investing more capital in Africa, how do you see foreign investments and policies change within the next five years in Africa? Do you think in the future that international actors will facilitate and try to implement new policies to better African citizens?

week 6

Week 6 discussion

Yazan Al-Thibeh

In Alice Hills article, she expresses how America is helping African nations, specifically Kenya, on monitoring and eliminating terrorist groups. America has funded north to $100 million  to their East Africa Counter Terrorism Initiative, which is to help strengthen boarder petrol, improve security and shutdown any terrorist financing. She talks about how the USAID pours a lot of time and money to facilitate a police force. The USAID strategic way of reducing and eliminating terrorism is by funding and training the African forces. Hills even mentions that some of the African forces are corrupt, where they need more training and proper governance.  She believes that the USAID and Washington sees that developmental assistance is a way for the US to enhance their security, instead of helping out African nations in reducing poverty or advocates freedom ( Hills, pg641). I concur with Hills that the US is only focusing on strengthening security and neglecting human development. I also believe that it’s imperative in advertising a hybrid democracy or in foreign direct investments in nations to decrease corruption. She even notes that funding for aid, infrastructure and human development has been redirected in the contest for terrorism and organized crime. I think focusing on human development, aid and foreign investments is the best means to grow a nation like Kenya.

Jeremy Prestholdt article mentions how America has been implementing and funding their anti-terror program all around the world, even in Africa. He further notes that America looks at weak states around the world and tries to identify the emergence and origins of terrorist sites. America tries to advertise that they are in these countries to help the locals, however many of these locals are skeptical in the intentions of the American military. Prestholdt points out that in Kenya many of the minority Muslims are being categorized as a terrorist, causing more hatred for America. With the help of the Americans implementing their counterterrorism, the Kenya government believes this can help create a fulfilling economy and society, even though they are discriminating on Muslims living in Kenya.

Lastly, Keenan’s article unravels the truth and lies about the Saharan war on terror with the US, Kenya and Algeria. Keenan shares how America justifies the war to protect people from terrorism. He notes on that after the 2002 attacks Kenya’s counterterrorism grew, where majority of their aid came from America in pressure to arrest terrorist groups ( Keenan, pg 9).  Keenan also brings up the issue on how there was a false belief that coastal Muslim communities supported violent fundamentalism after the bombing in 1998 of the US embassy in Kenya. Kenyan Police believed Arab Muslims who supported the IPK political group was part of the bombings. During this time, Kenya got the FBI involved having to investigate and detain many Muslims. I personally found this article to be very interesting since it showed a different perspective on the truth. Keenan also brings up how the US thought that terrorist groups from Afghanistan entered Africa, this enabled America to have a reason to penetrate into Africa to fight the war on terror. In reality America entered Africa to abstract the natural resources.

 

  • Do you think that America’s counter-terrorism is really helping in the reducing crime in African nations?
  • Do you believe that there is an ever growing concern and fear of terrorism due to the implementations and funding of programs such as the counter-terrorism, or EACTI?

week 5

Week 5

Yazan Al-Thibeh

This week’s podcast and readings expresses the massive development of media in Africa. The podcast, “Mass Media and Democracy”, expressed the revolution of mass media in African nations and how it helped spread knowledge and awareness to many people. This unraveled many people voice themselves to demand change.  Folu Ogundimu, the host, talked about how mass media is now used in Africa for people to express their opinions. He also expresses how there is liberty in media where people can express their thoughts and opinions, however there is always a political agenda with media. Folu Ogundimu articulates that the growth of local and international media is really important. I think that media influences the way a nation thinks and behaves, a paradigm of this is taking American news streams and noticing how polarized they are in broadcasting the news.

In the article written by chiluwa articulates on how social media like youtube and twitter is exploding in Nigeria, due to the punitive acts by Boko Haram. When the acts of violence committed by Boko Haram arose citizens used nonviolent acts to express their feelings by using the media. Social media like Twitter was a way for the natives to show their anger and educate those who are naïve about the issue. Social media like Twitter is a great way to promote exiting things, but it can also be used for the promotion of propaganda an example is ISIS. ISIS uses twitter to recruit and promote their views, ideologies and their terrorist activities, they also use video websites to endorse their terrorist activities and killings. I personally use social media like facebook to express my feelings on what was broadcasted on the news or other international problems that need awareness.

In Paul Tiyambe Zeleza article, he stresses that the media shapes our society; economy, socially and politically; and how society shapes our media. I personally believe that the media shapes our society; when the media advertises the fear in our society, we, as the people, tend to react with consumer and or producer confidence. In the article he expresses that the media helps the development of nations, helping the growth of the economy and businesses.  Those who can access the mass media with ease will be shaped by its ideologies, and those who cannot access the media will not know what is going on in society. I believe that the media helps evolve how many think and try to apply things in lie, those who are not informed with the media will have a hard time adapting in their society.

1) Which has a greater impact on the development of a nation, mass media or social media, and why?

2) Do you think social media like twitter and facebook should control what is being posted, such as those who support Boko Haram, ISIS and or any other terrorist organization?

Week 4- Blog

Week 4-Blog

Yazan Al-Thibeh 100920850

This week’s articles articulated about neoliberalism and how western ideologies are not helping in the development and growth of African cities and businesses.  The articles expresses how capitalistic companies such as coco-cola and Avon abuse Africa’s land, labour and capital, to utilize and promote the selling of goods to the world. Due to a lack of governance within the African boarders companies would be able to impulse on the abstraction of resources, including cheap labour, in order to find ways to cut costs and increase revenue. This leaves extreme polarization between those who are wealthy, the westerners, and those who are poor, the Africans. What these neoliberal companies do is move their industrial and manufacturing sections to nations that have cheap labour. Also, in the Lynn Thomas article, it mentioned that wealth in Africa grew only to people from South Africa, where majority of them are white. Lynn Thomas discusses how the Koch brothers grew their popularity and wealth since they were privileged white South Africans. Also the article discuss how the skin lighting industry is booming in African nations, since people want lighter skin. Many Africans who indulge into this product are those who practice the western ideologies of neoliberalism, and how they want to act like westerns. On page 264 the author notes how skin lighters did not start becoming popular until the 1970s, until black South Africans wanted the same skin colour as the white South Africans. In Dolan and Roll article, they express how the poor can shift and drive the economy. Where corporations market and push products to be sold to the poor demographics. Where many of the corporations are promoting the neoliberal economic concept of bottom of the pyramid economics, the idea of providing economic opportunities for the poor. However I think this model only expands the growth of the corporations in Africa merely helping those who are wealthy. Also, the article notes how large corporations like Coco-cola are in the African market to promote and expand their market share. They noted that the growth for these goods also needs an expansion and governance over waste and pollution. This makes one wonder who will govern the adverse selection and moral hazard wastes that consumers and the multinational corporations have committed.

I found the Dolan and Roll article the most fascinating, since it talked about companies like coco-cola, P&G and Avon, on how they are applying neoliberalism into African nations. On page 126, the authors note how these companies are generating jobs for the poor, however these companies promote neoliberal ideologies that hurt the economy.

Discussion Questions

How does neoliberalism shape and construct the market for the poor?

Do you think these multinational corporations should help out in human and economic development in these African nations?

Do you think there should be regulation and better governance for multinational corporations that try to abstract the resources within the nation?

Week 3- Blog Post

Yazan Al-Thibeh 100920850

This week we had to read Ato Quayson book, Oxford Street Accra: City Life and the Itineraries of Transnationalism. This book expresses the history and the emerging city of Accra in Ghana, and the problems it has. Accra is a city that attracts many tourists to its beaches and its resorts, something that took years to develop with the help from the IMF and its structural adjustment program. With the help of the IMF and other financial institutions Accra was moulded to attract tourist with its commercial infrastructures. The author notes that one of the main attractions is Oxford Street, where it is filled with excitement, and the development of shopping malls, tourism, urbanization, art and culture.

Ato Ouayson expresses the growing interest of salsa dancing and how it is a part of the culture. I thought that salsa dancing was only recovered for Hispanic and Spanish natives, not people from Africa. In Accra, salsa dancing is a life style that many young and old people take apart of. Salsa dancing has impacted the communities, the economy and the culture. This amazes me that people can take parts of another culture and use it to grow and make a community like Accra even closer.

Discussion: Do you think that the emergence of salsa dancing is one of the ways that globalization is connecting people closer to others. Do you think that something like salsa dancing was influenced by western culture or from social media?

The author notes that the development of the city has caused for the depiction of materialistic ads which is posted for many of the locals and tourist to desire. The influence of the international community and tourists has caused progressive development in the culture, with music, art and technology. On page 146, Ato Ouayson talks about the millions of the local’s subscribed to cell phones and how that market is growing. I think this is amazing for the economy and for the natives. In  my economic development class I learned that in order for a country to grow its society it needs two of the following, 1) education and 2) technology. I feel like smart phones today allows one to connect to social media and to exploit the different cultures and societies from all around the world.

Discussion: Do you think that the growing popularity of the cell phone will influence a new generation with skills and education. Do you also think that the neoliberal ideology influenced the growing interest of cell phones?