Friday, July 31, 2020

USA Africa Dialogue Series - “De-radicalization” of Terrorists Doesn’t Work


Saturday, August 1, 2020

"De-radicalization" of Terrorists Doesn't Work

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

The de-radicalization, rehabilitation, and reintegration of so-called repentant Boko Haram terrorists have emerged as one of the centerpieces of the Buhari regime's governance, which is not surprising given that Buhari had said in the past that government-sanctioned retaliatory aggression against Boko Haram terrorists was an attack on the North.


 Every sober observer knows that de-radicalizing, rehabilitating, and reintegrating remorselessly bloodstained mass murderers into the very societies they drowned in oceans of blood—especially without compensating and mollifying the people they displaced, widowed, and orphaned— is a singularly wooden-headed policy.

But it helps, nonetheless, to look at evidence from research— and from the experiential data of societies that attempted to de-radicalize terrorists. Since Nigeria isn't the only country that grapples with the question of what to do with— and to—nabbed terrorists, what can we learn from other countries?


The UK has a program that it calls "Desistance and Disengagement Programme," which works to de-radicalize terrorists. The US state of Minnesota, which has a large number of Somali immigrants and a fair amount of domestic terrorism, also has a "Terrorism Disengagement and Deradicalization Program" designed to jolt terrorists back from the precipice of fatal extremism. So do many countries in Europe and Asia.


The data from the UK is mixed, but it nevertheless provides a cautionary tale for Nigeria. For example, three past beneficiaries of the country's "Desistance and Disengagement Programme" went on to murder 24 people between 2017 and 2019 in the aftermath of their "deradicalization." Other countries have similar experiences.


Deradicalization of terrorists is not always a failure, of course. According to the Business Insider, "Between 2001-2012, Malaysia put 154 extremists through deradicalization schemes. Of those, 148 had 'successfully completed the de-radicalisation programme and were released, without later re-offending,' the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) wrote in a 2012 paper."


However, an emerging consensus is that because terrorists are often animated by a single-minded, tunnel vision of society, it is often impossible to be certain that a deradicalization program can reverse their predilection for violence. A 2019 research by the European Union's Radicalization Awareness Network, for instance, concluded that, "Even after the very best of prevention efforts, some individuals still go on to become (violent) extremists."


The Center for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST) also said there is "limited evidence about what supports positive change, which makes it difficult to determine if an intervention's approach is likely to be successful."


Similarly, the UK's Christopher Dean, a psychologist who created a deradicalization program called the Healthy Identity Intervention (HII), admitted that it's difficult to be certain that a terrorist has been completely deradicalized. "People can get more reassured and confident about change and progress that people are making, but I think we have to be very careful about saying someone has totally changed or has been cured," the Independent of the UK quoted him as saying.


I don't know how Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorists are being deradicalized and rehabilitated—and I hope someone will systematically study this—but the result of their work stares us in the face. Many of the so-called deradicalized and reintegrated Boko Haram terrorists actually only reintegrate to their former terror cells from where they murder soldiers and civilians alike.


On July 26, for example, a soldier fighting Boko Haram in Borno sent the following social media message that tugged at my heart strings: "Good evening sir. I'm presently in Monguno. I've been wanting to hint you on the recent happenings. During the last two attacks June and July (in Monguno), some of the so called rehabilitated Boko Haram guys- Non State Armed Groups (NSAG) joined their former colleagues in attacking the community and ran back to the BUSH with them. This is to say that the whole rehabitation [sic] narrative is a sham."


Ali Ndume, who represents Borno South in the Senate, told ChannelsTV on July 30 that a recently "de-radicalized," "rehabilitated," and "reintegrated" Boko Haram terrorist murdered his father, stole his father's cows, and vanished.


"Some of them that returned to Damboa, after two, three days, they disappeared," he said. "I learnt reliably that even in the course of de-radicalisation, they said they are not willing to come to live with the infidels. This programme really needs to be looked into immediately. I am gathering information and position of my people and even go legal."


Ndume's observation has support in research. A German researcher by the name of Daniel Koehler who studied German neo-Nazis and terrorists inspired by religion found that, "The solitary problem for these individuals is always that there's a global conspiracy against their race or religion; the solitary solution to such persecution is violence, with the goal of placing themselves and their group in control of a revamped society."


They are not persuaded by moral or theological arguments, he said. He makes the case for "the careful reintroduction of problems and solutions into a radicalized person's life, so that they can no longer devote all their mental energy to stewing over their paranoia."


I doubt that the people who are tasked with the responsibility to "deradicalize" Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria—if there are any, that is— have the intellectual resources to do what the German researcher suggested. How do the Boko Haram "deradicalizers" determine that "deradicalized" Boko Haram terrorists have "repented" and are ready to be unleashed to the societies they terrorized before their capture since even people who research the deradicalization of terrorists say no one can be certain that "deradicalized" terrorists won't relapse to their old ways?


 Plus, people in the communities that the Nigerian government is reintegrating Boko Haram terrorists to don't want these washed-up terrorists in their midst. Don't the people's opinions and preferences matter? TheCable of July 24 reported Borno residents to have told the government to integrate the terrorists back "to govt house or Aso Rock" instead of their communities.


The anger of the communities is understandable. While government is "reintegrating" terrorists, it is disintegrating the victims of the terrorists. While villainous Boko Haram terrorists are pampered, the surviving victims of Boko Haram's murderous barbarism endure precarious existence in filthy, dangerous Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps.  It's like they are being punished by the government for being victims of terrorists' brutalities.

While Boko Haram terrorists are being treated with excessive indulgence, their victims in IDP camps are serially raped—both figuratively and literally. Babachir David Lawal stole millions from them, and he is still walking free. Umar Farouq Sadiya stole date palms (worth millions of naira) donated to them by Saudi Arabia. She has been rewarded with appointment as minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. The cruel irony!


According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), women in IDP camps in the Northeast "resort to transactional sex for survival." Because of the unsanitary conditions of the IDPs, there are periodic outbreaks of cholera that kill scores of people. Plus, even in their state of helplessness, they are still subject to episodic Boko Haram murders.


When a Nigerian Airforce jet bombed an IDP camp in Rann, Borno State, on January 17, 2017 in error, which caused the death of at least 115 people, Buhari didn't find it worth his while to console them, much less visit them. About three months later, on March 22, 2017, Boko Haram bombed another IDP camp in the Muna Garage area of Maiduguri. Again, there was insouciant silence from the same government that is bending over backwards to please Boko Haram terrorists.


Obviously, the Buhari regime rewards and celebrates homicidal outlaws. Its message to Nigerians is unmistakably this: if they want to be taken seriously and indulged by government, they should be organized, vicious mass murderers.


Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
School of Communication & Media
Social Science Building 
Room 5092 MD 2207
402 Bartow Avenue
Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw, Georgia, USA 30144
Cell: (+1) 404-573-9697
Personal website: www.farooqkperogi.com
Twitter: @farooqkperogi
Nigeria's Digital Diaspora: Citizen Media, Democracy, and Participation

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Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: Professor Aniebo and the State of Literature in Nigeria



 
It is a shame that most of the netters on this network are disconnected from the reality of Nigerian power problems. I have been to Nigerian the last ninety days.  I was in Nigeria this time last month it

On Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 8:38 AM, Otieno Janet A. <kikijanty@gmail.com> wrote:

As a literary artist,this is outrageuos.Dons should be well read
people and this man is a disgrace to not only Nigeria but African
professors. It is a clear evidence that he does not read.He should
either resign or adopt the reading culture.

On Apr 5, 12:11 pm, Chidi Anthony Opara <chidi.op...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Ikhide,
> As my friends at Arugo motor park Owerri would say, "abeg make we
> leave matter".
> I was at the Portharcourt literary feastival where I met one of our
> renowned Professors of Literature and literary critics,  I was shocked
> to learn from him that he owned no internet facility, nor does he
> think he needed one.
>
> I also met a former President of Association of Nigerian Authors(ANA)
> at the same festival, when he was told that I publish mainly on the
> Internet, he retorted, " I do not visit Internet sites". Ikhide, you
> will also be surprised to hear the views of some ANA Executives on
> this issue. This is however, one of the problems.
>
> The other major problem is "the hegemonization of Nigerian literature"
> which is still going on depite the advent of the Internet age.
>
> Chidi Anthony Opara
> Publisher/Editor-In-Chief
> chidi opara reportswww.chidioparareports.blogspot.com
>
> Member: (1) Association of Nigerian Authors(ANA)
>              (2) World Poets' Society(WPS)
>
> On Apr 5, 4:48 pm, Ikhide <xoki...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> > Professor Ifeanyichukwu Ndubuisi Chikezie Aniebo's recent interview in the Guardian should alarm lovers of Nigeria.
> >  http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/arts/article01//indexn2_html?pdate=040...
> >
> > I was personally distraught to read the thoughts of an apparently highly respected Nigerian academic on the state of creative writing in our Nigerian universities. His is a sad, sad, commentary on the criminal state of education in our country. Something needs to be done. Fast.
> > After reading Professor Aniebo's interview, one got the distinct impression of a man who has not read a single word of anything contemporary in the past twenty years; a man devoted to the arduous act of survival by merely selling handouts to hapless university students. He is asked if he has read new writings by Nigerians in recent years and he replies that he has not because, get this, he does not know where to go get them. That from a respected professor of literature is downright alarming and disgraceful. I am sorry people, but this man is really annoying me this morning!
> >
> > Worse, he would not accept responsibility for his own apathy or laziness. He says his voluntary immersion in literary darkness "says terrible things about the state of publishing in the country right now." It says terrible things about Professor Aniebo and the state of the students that pass through his pretend-classroom. That man ought to do the right thing and retire.
> >
> > Lord have mercy, is this man living in the same space as Obododimma Oha, Tolu Ogunlesi, Kaine Agary, Toni Kan Onwordi, Sefi Atta, Akachi Ezeigbo, Promise Okeke, Jude Dibia, etc, etc? If I can get up at dawn in America and without the help of my lantern find these warriors of letters, why O why is he looking for new writing in the dusty bookshelves of the bookstores of yesterday? This my people rises to the level of a major scandal. Where for God's sake is Shehu Usman? Where is Ahmed Maiwada? Those two writers are hereby tasked to go find that man and re-introduce him to Nigerian literature. Our writers are rocking! And why this fixation on Nigerians who just happen to still live in Nigeria? By his own admission, he has not read Helon Habila, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chris Abani, Obi Nwakanma, Ogaga Ifowodo, Chika Unigwe, Unoma Azuah, Lola Shoneyin, Sarah Manyika, Obiwu, Niyi Bandele, Nduka Otiono, etc, etc. It appears that not only does he not read
> >  anything outside of books, he does not read, period.
> >
> > I am afraid to ask him if he has ever logged on to the Internet (I know, Nigeria hard, garri expensive, gen too make noise, armed robber, blah! blah! blah! Whine! Whine! Whine!). I definitely am not going to ask him if he knows what a blog is. Has he heard of Molara Wood, Afam Akeh, Sola Osofisan, Chuma Nwokolo, Nnorom Azuonye, Amatoritsero Ede and their brilliant (yes, brilliant) pioneering work with the digital medium (blogs, websites, etc, etc)? I am so irritated, I could spit! Lord have mercy, the educational system in Nigeria is in worse shape than I thought. I mean, people, I wake up in the morning praying that folks like Obododimma Oha and Tolu Ogunlesi and Jeremy Weate (yes, Jeremy is a Nigerian, sue me) have written something, anything  to make my day and they never disappoint. What is this man talking about?  He asks aloud where to find Uwem Akpan's new book! Hello! Somebody, hold me! This man is a professor of something teaching other
> >  people's children in Nigeria. That is child abuse ;-)))))  In what century is this man living? Thank God that man is nowhere near my children! Gulp!
> >
> > It is true that the publishing industry in Nigeria is challenged but Professor Aniebo's statements on the subject are indicative of a man totally oblivious of the renaissance going on today thanks to the efforts of brave people like Bibi Bakare-Weate, Jeremy Weate, and Mukhtar Bakare.  These folks are doing some pretty amazing work despite the daunting odds over there.
> >
> > Abeg people, let me yab this man. Hear him talk about Adichie:
> >
> > "If Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (author of Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun) had been writing in Nigeria, who would have heard about her? But because she is writing from America and the Americans are giving her awards, now every lecturer in Nigeria wants to write about her, whether they are saying something revealing or not. Is that helping Chimamanda? No!"
> >
> > Are we talking about the same Adichie? Na wa O! My response is an apoplectic !!!!!!!!!!! This man should retire abeg! Oga Professor Aniebo, Happy Birthday sha!
> >
> > - Ikhide
> >
> > ps
> > Below are some excerpts of the offensive interview that irritated me. And y'all know, I am not easily irritated! Ai! Ai! Ai! Dis man really really vex me today! Let us start a petition demanding his retirement ;-)))))
> > ==================================================================
> > Have you read new writings by Nigerians in recent years? What is your view about them?
> >
> > I have not because I don't know where to get them. This says terrible things about the state of publishing in the country right now.
> >
> >  Sir, are you saying that you're not conversant with new writers like Sefi Atta, Niyi Bandele, Helon Habila as a teacher of creative writing? Are you only fixated in writers of the 60s, 70s and 80s?
> >
> > The problem is actually that the type of publishing here in Nigeria is so bad that you rarely get the opportunity to see new works being written. The publishers will not send you copies to buy. The lecturer is so poorly paid that by the time he finishes taking care of his family needs and others, he find it difficult to find enough money to go in search of new works. I'm still driving a 1984 car; it's always at the mechanic's workshop. Any book you lay your hands on is N1000, N800, N900 or more. And if after you've bought it and you find you are very unhappy with the content. So, why buy it? The young ones don't seem to know about these books either. If they did, they will suggest it to you.
> >
> > What do you see as the problem confronting literature today in Nigeria?
> >
> > The problem lies with the educational system as a result of past activities by Nigerians who continually changed our educational system. As a result, we keep creating people who cannot and do not want to read. I have a Boys Quarter in my house. The way I know that electricity has arrived is when I hear their radio or music blaring. And I say to myself, these are undergraduates, when will they read? We're creating students who don't like to read. Within our own university system, if you recommend a book, students don't buy it. It's such that students brag that they went through university without buying a book; they brag about it. For them to buy a book, you have to set examination on it.
> >
> > Then there's the usual complaint that students are forced to buy hand out. Of course, it's because they will not buy the books you recommend for them. They would rather have the hand out than to buy a book. Why don't I make some money out of the hand out, which students prefer for me to survive?

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USA Africa Dialogue Series - Africa Air Is Polluted


Smoke gets in your eyes
Africa's skies are badly polluted

But a lack of data makes it impossible to know how badly

Middle East & AfricaAug 1st 2020 edition


Aug 1st 2020

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Gorée island, a former slave-trading hub, is so close to Dakar, Senegal's capital, that hundreds of amateurs swim out to it every year. Yet some days it disappears from sight, lost in a haze of pollution and dust. In the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt, part of its oil-producing region, black soot settles on everything. Tiny particles clog lungs and invade the bloodstream.

Some 4.2m people die prematurely every year from dirty outdoor air, says the World Health Organisation (who). The World Bank reckons the worldwide costs of deaths from air pollution run to $5trn a year. Africa is plainly affected, but it is hard to know how badly. Outdoor pollution in the continent is rarely measured.

Fetid rubbish, old cars and filthy factories fill Africa's air with smoke, rarely hindered by environmental standards or enforcement. Take Nigeria, where international commodity traders exploit weak regulations by importing fuel that is vastly more toxic than the stuff found in Europe, and even dirtier than fuel produced by bush refineries in the Niger Delta, says a study by the Stakeholder Democracy Network, a pressure group. Rana Roy of the oecd, a club of mainly rich countries, reckons air pollution of all types causes more premature deaths in Africa than dirty water, poor sanitation or the malnutrition of children. The who says the Nigerian city of Onitsha is the most polluted in the world.

Yet the who reckons that only 0.5% of African towns and cities have accessible air-quality data (Dakar is one of them). That would be unthinkable in the West (see map). Children are particularly at risk. In Europe and North America 72% of children live within 50km of an air-monitoring station versus only 6% of African children. Even in African cities that do track air quality, the data are patchy. "Most of the equipment in use is obsolete," says Kofi Amegah of the University of Cape Coast in Ghana.

South Africa is an exception. There, as in much of the West, air-quality data are constantly and publicly available, so commuters and asthmatics can avoid the worst smog. Researchers can estimate the damage both to people's health and the economy with reasonable accuracy.

Yet almost everywhere else in Africa, what little information is collected is rarely made public. Some governments think people should pay for it to help cover costs. That is ludicrous, thinks Mr Amegah, since data collection is anyway paid for by taxpayers and is meant to help improve public health. Many governments are simply worried that better data will lead to more criticism of them, says Dan Westervelt of Columbia University.

Information sometimes gets out anyway. American embassies in six African capitals have first-rate instruments and publish findings every day. In Beijing in 2008 the American embassy began releasing air-pollution data. A diplomatic spat ensued, but campaigners were able to challenge official claims, leading to new standards, more testing—and cleaner air.

African activists are following suit, buying cheap air sensors. The most basic cost $25 apiece, though they are less accurate than high-grade ones. Local data matter. A campaign to cut pollution from factories in Syokimau, a Nairobi suburb, succeeded thanks to four cheap sensors provided by Code for Africa, a network for open-data activists. It hopes to install 3,000 more sensors in African cities. 

 

 

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Let Migrants Enter!

Locked out
As the pandemic recedes, let migrants move again

Where it is safe enough to welcome tourists, it is safe enough for immigrants

LeadersAug 1st 2020 edition


Aug 1st 2020

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Every country in the world has closed or partly closed its borders since the pandemic began. In total, they have issued more than 65,000 restrictions on mobility. For some places, especially islands, border controls have bought valuable time to prepare for covid-19. But the costs of global immobility are immense (see article). Billions of cancelled journeys means millions of jobs obliterated, lives blighted and dreams deferred. When bankers and tourists stopped flying to the United Arab Emirates (uae), for example, the migrants who made beds and stirred soup were laid off. Foreigners without jobs are required to leave the Gulf, but lots of them cannot, because so many flights have been grounded. Globally, tens of millions of migrants have been stranded, burning through the savings they had hoped would lift their families out of poverty and put their children through school. Some have ended up begging; and since that is a crime in the uae, several have been arrested.

Migration policy is far from the top of any country's agenda just now. And with the coronavirus still raging, a return to normality will be impossible for some time. But governments will sooner or later have to grapple with an important question. As they gradually and fitfully open up again for tourists and business travellers, will they also welcome migrants?

There are emotive reasons why covid-19 might make countries less willing to accept foreigners even after a vaccine is discovered and the pandemic is suppressed. People are scared: not only of this pandemic but also of the next. Many associate foreigners with disease. (Dramatic news stories, such as a boat full of covid-infected migrants crossing the Mediterranean, can feed this impression.) Suspicion of foreigners is why people who look Chinese have been harassed in many countries, and people who look African have been harassed in China. It is why President Donald Trump has boasted about banning Chinese travellers (even as he downplayed masks), and why one of the South African government's first actions to curb covid-19 was to build a fence on the border with Zimbabwe (though the virus was already spreading in South Africa).

In addition, covid-19 has caused mass unemployment. Many voters believe that migrants take jobs from the native-born, and so would keep curbs on immigration even after other travel restrictions are loosened. Mr Trump is one of many politicians who make this argument explicitly. His executive order in June suspending most kinds of work visa was aimed at "Aliens Who Present a Risk to the us Labour Market".

Both these fears are electorally potent, but neither is well-founded. Tourists and business travellers vastly outnumber migrants. In Britain, for example, the total number of arrivals last year was 60 times more than the number of immigrants who showed up. When it is possible to open borders to short-term travellers, it should also be possible to open them for migrants. Unlike tourists, people who plan to stay for years will not object to a two-week quarantine on arrival. The precautions that work best—social distancing, contact-tracing, handwashing and testing—pay no heed to nationality. Nor does the virus.

The idea that more migrants means fewer jobs for locals in the long run is an example of the fallacy that the economy has a fixed "lump of labour". As well as spending their wages, which supports new jobs, migrants bring a greater diversity of skills to the workforce, allowing the labour market as a whole to operate more efficiently. In the short term, rich countries may not need as many hotel or airline workers, but policymakers can tailor admission criteria to make sure that those who come meet local needs and can support themselves.

This is the opposite of Mr Trump's nail-the-doors-shut approach. He has locked out skilled workers, internal company transfers and even foreign students, if they have not yet arrived and their courses are online. This is a recipe for a poorer, more insular America, where domestic firms cannot hire the best, foreign investors cannot send in technicians to unblock bottlenecks and brainy youngsters opt to study and settle in Canada.

Alas, America is not the only place where the pandemic has spurred nativists to clamp down. Italy is alarmed at Africans crossing the Mediterranean. Malaysia has pushed boatloads of Rohingya refugees back into international waters. The army chief in the Maldives has called migrant workers a security threat, not least because some date locals. South Africa temporarily closed migrant-owned shops in townships, forcing customers to walk miles to distant grocery stores, thereby spreading the virus.

However, even as covid-19 has immobilised the world, it is making some people appreciate the benefits of mobility. Many voters in rich countries have noticed that doctors are often migrants: 53% in Australia, 29% in America. The same is true of nurses, care-home workers and virus-busting mop-wielders. When people bang pots for health-care workers, they applaud a lot of foreigners.

Migrants are also over-represented among those who make it possible for others to work safely and productively at home, by harvesting and processing food, delivering parcels and fixing software bugs. They turbocharge innovation, too. Some 40% of medical and life scientists in America are foreign-born. Vaccine research depends on large teams of talents from all around the world. Half the big American tech firms were founded by a first- or second-generation immigrant. If the founder of Zoom had never left China, locked-down professionals might not even know what their colleagues' bookshelves look like.

Open the windows, open the doors

Some countries may end up more open after the pandemic than they were before. Japan is allowing foreign "trainees", as it calls migrant workers, to switch jobs. Britain will be less open to migrants from the eu, because of Brexit, but just offered residency to up to 3m Hong Kongers without a perceptible backlash at home (see article).

When the coronavirus is vanquished, migration will still be what it was before: a powerful tool that can lift up the poor, rejuvenate rich countries and spread new ideas around the world. A pandemic is no reason to abandon it. 

Editor's note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, see our hub

 

 

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - New Book from Yale Falola and Njoku

I am dancing to Jazz and Blues because I have just received a signed copy of the new book from one of the authors. It looks like a comprehensive coverage of the 'challenging' history from 1400 to the present. I can't wait to read it and appreciate how much the book contributes to theories of articulation or intersectionality, abolitionism, reparative justice, the Black Atlantic, neocolonialism, and Pan Africanism, though the authors pitch it less theoretically as an exploration of the road that led to Obama. 

A personal anecdote is that while growing up in Africa, any tall handsome man was nicknamed Negro as a compliment and I still know some African Negroes, some in the US who still go by such a Guy Name. The book noted that Africans in Africa were known as Negroes by Europeans who claimed that they enslaved one another before the ship 'masters' came to buy them. It will be good to see how the authors contextualized such claims.

Congrats to Falola and Njoku.

Biko

On Friday, 31 July 2020, 12:42:00 GMT-4, K. Gozie Ifesinachukwu <kgifesi@austin.rr.com> wrote:


Congrats to Professors Falola and Njoku.

 

Please support these types of work by buying the book. It is reasonably priced at $35.

https://www.amazon.com/United-States-Africa-Relations-Present/dp/030023483X/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=%22United+States+and+Africa+Relations%2C+1400s+to+the+Present.%22&qid=1596213434&sr=8-1

 

Gozie

 

From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com [mailto:usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Nimi Wariboko
Sent: Friday, July 31, 2020 8:43 AM
To: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - New Book from Yale Falola and Njoku

 

Congratulations to Professors Falola and Njoku for this very necessary work. It comes out at a time when scholars are beginning to focus or re-focus on Africa-US relations. I know that in the fall an African American scholar's book on the relations between Nigeria and African-American civil right leaders during the civil war will be released. With Falola and Njoku's book and others in the offing, a new generation of scholars and students studying Africa-USA relations will have good fodders for their intellectual cannons. 

 

On a less serious note, the title of this new book makes me smile. Who else will write a book on US-Africa relations than the one who started and manages USA Africa Dialogue Series? Hey, you never know, one day this forum will feature as a chapter in a book on USA-Africa relations by some scholar. Or should I say Africa-USA relations as many Western journalists are wont to do when reporting about relations between their countries and the rest of the world. They almost always put their countries' or continent ' name first.  

 

This thought of our entries on this forum making it to a book sent shivers down my spine. All our good, bad, and ugly arguments will be scrutinized by some young scholars gunning for tenure and he/she will take us to the cleaners. Do not mind me, be your normal self. Moses Ochonu will tell you history is not made by people who avoid daily fights, quarrels, or struggles.  

 

Once again, congratulations to TF and Njoku for this important and thoughtful work.

 

 

Nimi Wariboko

Boston University 



On Jul 31, 2020, at 9:10 AM, Soni Oyekan <sonioyekan@gmail.com> wrote:



Congratulations to Professors Toyin Falola and Raphael Njoku for their wisdom, foresight and drive to write this special book, United States and Africa Relations. It could not have come at a more timely time in the history of the specific relationship of  the United States and Africa.

 

Professors Toyin Falola and Raphael Njoku, I thank you so much for your work.

 

Dr. Soni Olufemi Oyekan

 

On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 3:40 PM Anthony Akinola <anthony.a.akinola@gmail.com> wrote:

Hearty congratulations to our eminent authors.

Anthony Akinola

 

On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 9:17 PM 'Andy Fiermann' via USA Africa Dialogue Series <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> wrote:

Congratulations to Falola and Njoku - New Book Hot from Yale

 

Yale University Press has announced the publication of United States and Africa Relations, 1400s to the Present. This comprehensive history of the relationship between Africa and the United States by Professors Toyin Falola and Raphael Chijioke Njoku covers over 600 years of history from the dawn of the trans-Atlantic slave trade to 2019. The broad, interdisciplinary narrative follows the relationship's evolution, tracking African American emancipation, the rise of African diasporas in the Americas, the Back-to-Africa movement, the founding of Sierra Leone and Liberia, the presence of American missionaries in Africa, the development of blues and jazz music, Decolonization and the Cold War dynamics in Africa, the presidency of Barack Obama, China in Africa, and more. The style and contents are a rich fare.

Finally, those looking for a complete treatment of Africa and African Diaspora history have found their heart desire in a single scholarly work. If you research and teach African history, African American history, Africana studies, American history, American Studies, African Diaspora studies, and so on, you and your students will love it.

Scholars, students, policymakers, politicians, activists, Americans, Africans, and others will talk about it for a long time. My Congratulations to Toyin Falola and Raphael Njoku!!

 

Andrew A.

 

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RE: USA Africa Dialogue Series - New Book from Yale Falola and Njoku

Congrats to Professors Falola and Njoku.

 

Please support these types of work by buying the book. It is reasonably priced at $35.

https://www.amazon.com/United-States-Africa-Relations-Present/dp/030023483X/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=%22United+States+and+Africa+Relations%2C+1400s+to+the+Present.%22&qid=1596213434&sr=8-1

 

Gozie

 

From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com [mailto:usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Nimi Wariboko
Sent: Friday, July 31, 2020 8:43 AM
To: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - New Book from Yale Falola and Njoku

 

Congratulations to Professors Falola and Njoku for this very necessary work. It comes out at a time when scholars are beginning to focus or re-focus on Africa-US relations. I know that in the fall an African American scholar's book on the relations between Nigeria and African-American civil right leaders during the civil war will be released. With Falola and Njoku's book and others in the offing, a new generation of scholars and students studying Africa-USA relations will have good fodders for their intellectual cannons. 

 

On a less serious note, the title of this new book makes me smile. Who else will write a book on US-Africa relations than the one who started and manages USA Africa Dialogue Series? Hey, you never know, one day this forum will feature as a chapter in a book on USA-Africa relations by some scholar. Or should I say Africa-USA relations as many Western journalists are wont to do when reporting about relations between their countries and the rest of the world. They almost always put their countries' or continent ' name first.  

 

This thought of our entries on this forum making it to a book sent shivers down my spine. All our good, bad, and ugly arguments will be scrutinized by some young scholars gunning for tenure and he/she will take us to the cleaners. Do not mind me, be your normal self. Moses Ochonu will tell you history is not made by people who avoid daily fights, quarrels, or struggles.  

 

Once again, congratulations to TF and Njoku for this important and thoughtful work.

 

 

Nimi Wariboko

Boston University 



On Jul 31, 2020, at 9:10 AM, Soni Oyekan <sonioyekan@gmail.com> wrote:



Congratulations to Professors Toyin Falola and Raphael Njoku for their wisdom, foresight and drive to write this special book, United States and Africa Relations. It could not have come at a more timely time in the history of the specific relationship of  the United States and Africa.

 

Professors Toyin Falola and Raphael Njoku, I thank you so much for your work.

 

Dr. Soni Olufemi Oyekan

 

On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 3:40 PM Anthony Akinola <anthony.a.akinola@gmail.com> wrote:

Hearty congratulations to our eminent authors.

Anthony Akinola

 

On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 9:17 PM 'Andy Fiermann' via USA Africa Dialogue Series <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> wrote:

Congratulations to Falola and Njoku - New Book Hot from Yale

 

Yale University Press has announced the publication of United States and Africa Relations, 1400s to the Present. This comprehensive history of the relationship between Africa and the United States by Professors Toyin Falola and Raphael Chijioke Njoku covers over 600 years of history from the dawn of the trans-Atlantic slave trade to 2019. The broad, interdisciplinary narrative follows the relationship's evolution, tracking African American emancipation, the rise of African diasporas in the Americas, the Back-to-Africa movement, the founding of Sierra Leone and Liberia, the presence of American missionaries in Africa, the development of blues and jazz music, Decolonization and the Cold War dynamics in Africa, the presidency of Barack Obama, China in Africa, and more. The style and contents are a rich fare.

Finally, those looking for a complete treatment of Africa and African Diaspora history have found their heart desire in a single scholarly work. If you research and teach African history, African American history, Africana studies, American history, American Studies, African Diaspora studies, and so on, you and your students will love it.

Scholars, students, policymakers, politicians, activists, Americans, Africans, and others will talk about it for a long time. My Congratulations to Toyin Falola and Raphael Njoku!!

 

Andrew A.

 

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USA Africa Dialogue Series - When Proof Is Not Enough

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/when-proof-is-not-enough/

Throughout history, evidence of racism has failed to effect change.

By Mimi Onuoha

 

According to the pundits, the revolution, if you would call it that, began with video. The first and foremost was the excruciating recording of George Floyd’s last moments as Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin1 publicly pinned the life out of him. That was on May 25, but more than a month later, the recordings have continued to disseminate. Protesters uploaded photos of rubber bullets, their wounds and their mangled faces, while journalists and other concerned members of the public aggregated footage of police brutality into lists and websites.

The compilation of evidence has seemed to jar something loose, for now. Corporations are pledging to donate millions to racial and social justice causes,2 legislators have proposed tentative yet unprecedented restrictions on the police, and the Marines and Navy have banned the Confederate battle flag3 some 150 years after the ending of the war that sparked its creation.

But is this really going to be what commentator Van Jones has called a “Great Awakening of empathy and solidarity”? And if it is, is it really appropriate to claim that video has been the catalyst? I work with civic data and teach about the power of data collection, so I want to believe that data (in the form of video footage depicting police brutality against Black people) can effect social change. Just as it is comforting to see corporate and institutional pledges as revolution, it is comforting to attribute power to the millions of glowing screens that have been called as witnesses.

 

Data showing racism might be useful in clarifying the things we already know to be true, but it is far more limited in terms of shifting them.

 

But it is precisely because of my attachment to the power of data collection that I’m unconvinced video footage can solely, or even primarily, lead to meaningful change. I know too well the stories of a century of Black Americans who have presented evidence of violence and racism only to have it summarily denied or ignored. The idea that structural racism can be proven and overcome by gathering just enough or the right kind of evidence is nothing more than a myth. Historically, it has rarely been the case.

Consider, for instance, the study that the Bureau of Labor commissioned famed Black scholar W.E.B. DuBois to complete in the early 1900s. Determined to employ sound sociological methods to disprove racist beliefs that Black people were inferior, he and a team of researchers spent three years in Lowndes County, Alabama, gathering data from 5,000 Black families (approximately 25,000 individuals). It detailed the conditions of life in the region, and was one of the largest sociological studies of rural Black life ever conducted. When DuBois submitted the final manuscript, it was a handwritten document full of charts and infographics.4 Not only did the government bureau refuse to publish the study, but it destroyed the document entirely, claiming it was rejected due to technical matters. DuBois made the case in his correspondence and autobiography, however, that the bureau rejected the document because it revealed the inconvenient political truth about conditions for Black Americans.

[Related: The States Taking On Police Reform After The Death Of George Floyd]

In the case of Sam Faulkner, an innocent 20-year-old Black man who was shot in the head inside his sister’s home by Los Angeles police in 1927,5 evidence came in the form of testimony from the other cop on the scene as well as bullet fragments. Yet this was not enough to bring about a conviction, and the officer who killed Faulkner continued to work in the LAPD for two more years.6

In 1951, the Civil Rights Congress appealed to the United Nations for help, asserting that the history of disenfranchisement, lynching, and police brutality that Black people faced in the United States was tantamount to genocide.7 The CRC’s petition8 documented years’ worth of atrocities against Black Americans but was ignored by the U.N., which at the time was heavily influenced by the U.S.

In 1969, Illinois Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton, 21, was gunned down9 in his Chicago apartment after being sedated by an FBI Informant. A target of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program, he was perceived to be a threat to the nation for negotiating a truce between street gangs, organizing rallies and instituting free breakfast programs for children. A coroner’s jury ruled the killing a justifiable homicide.

And even more recent incidents including video footage of police brutality have been doubted. When Philando Castile was pulled over and shot by police in 2016, the dashcam footage revealed that Castile, who had been stopped by the police at least 46 times prior for minor infractions, had followed all the instructions that officer Jeronimo Yanez had given him. Regardless, an NRA spokesperson still blamed Castile for the incident, while conservative commentator Sean Hannity criticized Castile’s girlfriend, who was seated beside him in the car, for live-streaming the interaction in the first place.

These killings, and the many more that reveal just a glimpse of how totalizing anti-Blackness can be, are part of a longer trend. It is a trend that has claimed countless more names, and still more stories. By nearly every statistical measurement possible, from housing to incarceration to wealth to land ownership, Black Americans are disproportionately disadvantaged. But the grand ritual of collecting and reporting this data has not improved the situation. American history is lined with innumerable instances of what scholar Saidiya Hartman bemoans as “the demand that this suffering be materialized and evidenced by the display of the tortured body or endless recitations of the ghastly and the terrible,” only for very little to change.

If the data hasn’t undone the bias, then surely we must acknowledge that there are deeper forces that tug the levers of change in America. I am reminded of James Baldwin’s response to the 1954 Supreme Court case that ended segregation: “Had it been a matter of love or justice, the 1954 decision would surely have occurred sooner; were it not for the realities of power in this difficult era, it might very well not have occurred yet.” Love, justice, data — alone, none have been enough.


But perhaps we have asked too much of the evidence in the first place. Or perhaps we have asked too much of those who wield evidence, and too little of those presented with it. These are two different groups. After all, evidence is not intended for the people who have been harmed — why show proof of a fire to the person it burned? In most cases, evidence is used to convince an Other of a thing that they did not encounter. Ironically, data is not very good at this.

In 1949, two psychologists, Jerome Bruner and Leo Postman, designed an experiment to test people’s responses to anomalies, or moments when they faced events that deviated from what they had expected to encounter. In the experiment, participants were shown sets of playing cards and asked to identify the cards’ color and suit. The catch was that, in addition to regular cards, the sets contained irregular “trick” cards in which the color and suit of the cards had been reversed to create incongruities (like a black three of hearts or a red two of spades).

[Related: Why Statistics Don’t Capture The Full Extent Of The Systemic Bias In Policing]

 

In the early rounds, the participants were quick to identify the cards, in part because they simply could not see the anomalies. When presented with a trick card like a red six of spades, they would confidently misidentify it as a red six of hearts or a black six of spades. But as they were exposed to the cards for longer periods of time, some participants began to notice that something was off. They could sense strangeness but could not determine what caused it. It was only with further exposure that some participants finally experienced what the psychologists called a “shock of recognition.” Abruptly and quite clearly, the participants were able to recognize what they had not seen before. Suddenly they could see that they had been looking at a red six of spades the entire time. From that point on, they were more easily able to identify the anomalous cards, having developed a new perception.

The conclusion: When confronted with something that does not fit the paradigm we know, we are likely to resist acknowledging the incongruity. This is because we see what we have been primed — through shared education and culture, and our own lived experiences — to see, so that new evidence that we encounter is immediately, as philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn would explain it more than a decade later, “fitted to one of the conceptual categories prepared by prior experience.” Kuhn applied this reasoning to explaining the tumultuous nature of scientific revolutions, where he argued that the conceptual categories that ordered scientific research were precisely those that made it so difficult for scientists to accept information that could challenge the frameworks they operated within. In such moments, logic and experiment alone were not enough to settle the matter. Kuhn noted, too, that the more time and effort a scientist had already invested in a research paradigm, the more resistance he or she was likely to exhibit toward accepting change. In other words, the higher the stakes, the greater the resistance.

If wider society recognizes data’s limitations, it, too, can move on from overly relying upon it as the only proxy for evidence.

 

You can see how this is a useful metaphor for considering the United States, racism and the role that data has historically played in unraveling the latter’s hold on the former. Data showing racism might be useful in clarifying the things we already know to be true, but it is far more limited in terms of shifting them. To those who have not experienced the ever more creative forms that structural racism can take, even when presented with evidence of racism, the world may still appear to be full of regular playing cards. This is complicated, too, by the fact that in life we face different likelihoods of encountering anomalous cards, depending on factors like the color of our skin (whiteness, of course, lowering frequency of exposure) and proximity to the affordances promised by wealth, influence and cultural/political capital. Regardless, any exposure to an anomaly card is more likely to be dismissed if it does not support the expectations of the receiver.

Of course, as in the experiment, there is the opportunity for change. Perhaps one part of what has characterized this current moment is that some sections of American society have experienced their own moments akin to when the experiment participants first squinted at the trick cards and felt that something now felt off. At some point, America will have to confront head-on the fact that the country not only has long educated its children to deny anti-Blackness and to treat any conversation of racism with silence or wariness but also has exported this worldview around the globe. For some, that point may have come.

But regardless, a luckless great many of us know that the deck has been stacked from the beginning. And because we know that no amount of shouting, pleading, calculating or visualizing will persuade those who have been educated and raised to deny this, we have put our efforts in other places.

If wider society recognizes data’s limitations, it, too, can move on from overly relying upon it as the only proxy for evidence. That which can be captured on camera is always incomplete. It is never the totality of what occurs in our lives, let alone what occurs in our communities. By considering the vast context and evidence present in the nation’s history, we can save ourselves from tacitly reinforcing the idea that structural violence matters only when it can be compressed into a form that fits what we recognize as evidence. And, in doing so, we give ourselves new frames for thinking about the many people who have died at the hands of brutality and whose deaths were not recorded. As we find a fluency in addressing the greater mass of life that is lived outside of our data, we can begin, finally, to fully address the living.

Mimi Onuoha is a Brooklyn-based researcher and artist whose work focuses on power dynamics within emerging technology and data collection. She is currently a visiting assistant arts professor for the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is a graduate of Princeton University with BA, Cultural Anthropology and MPS Interactive Telecommunications from NYU.

 

 

"The only limitation to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today"--Franklin D. Roosevelt

 


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