Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Juba Vocabulary

There is a hilarious new vocabulary that truly reflects the melting pot of development and post-war culture in South Sudan, and Ayom Wol Dhal has been taking notes.

Here are some of my favourites:

baby beny (noun phrase) Mocking term for a younger close relative of a high-ranking member of government, who despite having no job is regularly seen driving/crashing cars with GOSS plates, living the high life and intimidating low-level service industry personnel with the phrase ‘do you know who I am?’. Usually expects to be accorded the security status, respect and in-service benefits which are rightfully held by the illustrious older relative. Although the term is part Dinka, it is applicable to people of all ethnicities who fit the bill.
Source: AW Dhal, Juba 2012

briefcase INGO (noun phrase) Pejorative term for an international NGO which retains such a high percentage of donor funds for its own staff and structures that this appears to be its core business. As in “an INGO that needs to come with a big briefcase, so that it can take away all the money”. The phrase is a riposte to the currently popular phrase ‘briefcase NGO’, meaning an NGO with no local constituency or actual programing, set up largely or solely to attract funding.
Source: local NGO member (name withheld to protect the little funding available), Bahr El Ghazal 2012

infant soldier (noun phrase) Mocking term for a young man, typically one trying to impress ignorant foreign girls, or a prospective rap star, who claims to have been a child soldier, despite the fact that he is much, much too young to have fought in the war. Often associated with a claim to be a ‘lost boy’, despite never having been involved in any of the tragic overland child exoduses which gave rise to the term.

Source: AW Dhal, Juba 2012

International Relationships, qualification in (noun phrase) Humorous term for the qualifications which might be said to be held by commercial sex workers, particularly those specializing in servicing the UN/INGO market. Can further be sub-divided to indicate the market level at which such workers function, eg: high school diploma in International Relationships (low-end worker, perhaps based in Jebel Market); first degree in International Relationships (mid-level worker, perhaps specializing in the hotel trade, may be ostensibly employed in another service industry, such as hospitality, which affords access to potential clients); Masters (or perhaps that should be Mistress?) degree in International Relationships (high-end worker who may be accommodated in an expensive hotel or apartment, or be the temporary ‘girlfriend’ of expatriate or wealthy local clients, may be ostensibly employed as an office worker or sales rep, occasionally graduates out of the sector altogether with the help of a visa and wedding ring). The sector is marked by extreme fluidity as talented students may readily upgrade their qualifications and those with personality or substance abuse issues may quickly regress to Jebel Market. Modules of such a qualification may include face-to-face marketing, manual dexterity and vehiclular services.
Source: unidentified commercial sex worker (and one clearly in the wrong job), Juba 2011

H/T: Maggie Fick

Monday, July 9, 2012

Party poopers

Happy Birthday South Sudan! You are one years old and doing pretty damn well for yourself despite all the struggles you have had to and continue to endure.

Now to you, journalists of the world, writing your most emotive and touching piece on South Sudan's first birthday..............

I don't go to your kids' first birthday parties and tell them how much of a failure they are...... I don't go up to them and remind them that they still shits their pants and have a terribly low literacy rate...... So why do it to the South Sudanese?........dick

Just calm down.....

In his latest attempt to CALM EVERYONE THE FUCK DOWN, Bashir has blamed  zombies, crab people, gingers, witches, Jews and climate change for the recent protests demonstrations kerfuffle in Khartoum.

Following his head of PR's advice that the public are probably not going to buy that the recent problems are not actually a mini uprising but rather just a bunch of street children going mental, Bashir has gone into full "crazy dictator's crazier explanations for country's problems" mode. The key is saturation of scapegoats.......try them all and one is sure to succeed.

Although Bashir was given great credit for introducing the latest excuse of;
"We've already had an arab spring-like revolution in Sudan.......this is the product of it, and we are totally not due for another one for at least another 30 years."

So to all you commentators and voyeurs-of-revolutions out there who are on the brink of bursting that sweet uprising nectar.......You'll have to just put it back in your pants.

Despite these seemingly concrete plans that are clearly going to work, some within his faction who have a lack of faith for Bashir's strategy have been devising alternative plans:

"Separately, the President’s uncle, al-Tayeb Mustafa, advised his cousin to withdraw from the NCP and initiate a process of political reform in the country with free and fair elections as its endpoint. Thereby, he argued, the President could streamline an Arab Spring in Sudan without going through its risky pangs, the non-alcoholic beer of a revolution without a revolution. " (source)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wumame addresses the BET

Funny shit......

He basically goes on a 7 minute rant criticising the way in which BET basically 'quarantined' international (read: African) artists by giving them their awards backstage, away from the spotlight.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Arming South Sudan with A.A.

Former US Special Envoy to Sudan, Andrew Natsios, recently suggested that the US should arm South Sudan with anti air weapons to bring an end to Sudan's aerial bullying.

Now he suggests that.........WAIT........hold on.......haven't we heard this before?

............Oh yes.

It was originally the brilliant suggestion of my hero, John Prendergast.

Well done, Andrew Natsisos, you have just stolen an idea from George Clooney's shadow.....

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Give war a chance......it's not as horrible as people say it is

                                          (I can't believe I found a relevant video that is also related to current pop-culture)

"Paradoxically, an all-out civil war in Sudan may be the best way to permanently oust Mr. Bashir and minimize casualties. If a low-intensity conflict rages on, it will lead to a humanitarian disaster."

Seriously Gerard Prunier? I now imagine you're the type of person to put out a grease fire with an RPG.
You sound like an artificial intelligence robot that developed consciousness and calculated the conclusion that the only way to solve humanities problems is to eradicate humanity itself.

Polemic bullshit like this really gets on my nerves......all I hear is an endless barrage of emotionally driven irrational rhetoric that is more destructive than helpful. High-intensity conflict is not the solution. Its a nice thought, but clearly not one that has been very well though through.

For instance, how can one be sure that an all-out civil war won't simply be stretched out over a long period time with innumerable casualties on all sides? Is it really fair to throw those who may not necessarily have a desire to fight into a  full-scale war? Irrelevant of which side of the battlefield they stand on, in an all-out civil war, everyone is thrown into the line of sight. Furthermore, Prunier assumes that the dynamics of an all-out civil war is will be so simple, with one united front clashing against Bashir and his henchmen. Rather, we have long seen the complications of the group dynamics within the various conflict afflicted regions. These complications arise from distinctly differing reasons for their rebellion in the first place and more importantly, differences in their end game or vision for the conflict. For example the various Darfuri rebels have always had problems agreeing on issues. More recently, there was this. In an all-out civil war, it really wouldn't be that hard to imagine that Bashir, being true to his diabolical Bond-villain-like nature, would simply exploit these differences to cause internal clashes, thus weakening any united alliances. We've seen it happen in South Sudan with the apparent financing of rebel groups by Khartoum during and after the war.

More importantly, even if somehow the rebels were able to stay united and manage to oust Bashir.........what then? With so many differing visions of what Sudan should be, coming from a range of peoples who are typically ethnically and culturally distinct from each other, can it be assumed that they would all just sit down be able to come up with a clear plan as to how the country will be ruled and by whom? Or is it just as likely that the these various rebels representing their community will continue to fight and will continue to increase the death toll, long after Bashir is gone?

I realise that I sound extremely pessimistic......but thats because I am. I will always be pessimistic towards the war option, especially when I am still very optimistic about a peaceful option.
"The status quo is not working, regardless of what American and United Nations officials might believe."
Yes, the status quo may not be working......but that doesn't mean that we give up and simply start shooting. It means that we change the status quo. For example, Prunier argues that;
"Whenever foreign leaders demand greater respect for human rights or peace talks, Sudan always agrees, because agreeing makes the international community happy"
 Well, equally valid is the fact that foreign leaders also always promise Sudan that they would finally ease up on all the sanctions if Sudan did "X", but when Sudan does "X", foreign leaders do not follow through. More on this point here.
"Indeed, without some moral common ground, “negotiations” are merely a polite way of acquiescing to evil, especially when one’s interlocutors are pathologically incapable of respecting their own word. And in the case of a murderer like Mr. Bashir, there is no moral common ground."
Only fools hold negotiations based on moral common ground. Negotiations need to bring about mutual agreements that reflect a sense of interdependence for all parties. You can't expect people to be motivated to work together when there is no strong reason for them to do so. I think that with more time, investment/commitment from foreign leaders and with a continued preservation of hope for a peaceful solution, the war option can be kept under the bed along with all the other childish fantasies.

And in regards to Prunier himself.......it is so fucking easy for you to sit there in your armchair and talk of war when the saliency of the suffering, sacrifices and casualties of conflict is so far from your arrogant mind. Place your life and the lives of those you love on the front line and then we'll see if your strong support for war persists. In the future, be more careful with your sentiments, as your words are likely to influence the opinion of those that read it, and this world does not require anymore warmongers..........unless your solution to humanities problems is in fact to eradicate humanity itself.

............now I need to go wash the taste of hippy off my mouth.

h/t: Roving Bandit

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

DDR Reversal

From ST:

On Tuesday the Vice President, Riek Machar, called for a joint meeting involving national ministers and leadership of the bicameral Juba parliament as well as representatives of the political parties, national unions, business community, local NGOs and civil society organizations in the country.The meeting called for the formation of a wider national mobilization body to coordinate efforts geared towards mobilizing human and material resources to support the national army in the face of the "Khartoum’s aggression.".....This will include recruitment into the army youth volunteers and ex-combatants.

So much for all that effort put into DDR......well, at least UNDDR now has a solid excuse for not having done anything.
Also, how awkward is it going to be to have the soldiers go back out to the villages to return the weapons they took from civilians during the various disarmament campaigns. 

Still, I can't see any possibility of this decision coming back to haunt them in the future.........

Monday, April 16, 2012

UNMISS gets bombed

Reports are coming in of Sudanese Airforce dropping bombs on the UNMISS camp in Bentiu...

It appears that the SPLA have intentionally not target the planes with their anti-air weapons following a secret deal that was made between the North and the South. Apparently, both sides have grown so sick and tired of the sheer laziness and incompetence of UNMISS that they both turned their sights on to the peacekeepers and UN general staff. 

"Gideon, the minister, Gatpan said that two bombs had fallen in the UN camp, destroying a generator and a radio."
In an interview with the minister, he said,

"We told the northerners to target their main sources of entertainment, namely, their electricity and communications.......we are hoping that once they no longer have anything fun to do in their fancy camps, they might get off their ass and do some peacekeeping, build some peace or at least just get out for some fresh air."

An interview with the Northern military spokesman confirmed this,

"Yeah well.....we're all out here fighting a war, getting ourselves blow up and shit, the least those bastards could do is have enough consideration to just pretend like they give a fuck. Instead, they just sit there acting all high and mighty like our beef is not good enough for them. It's like they're all waiting to get transfered to a sexier conflict in somewhere like Syria. Anyways, we decided to bomb their entertainment system in hopes that they will finally leave their compound to watch us blow the shit out of each other......let's hope it works."

Friday, April 13, 2012

What has UNMISS achieved?......Nothing

Roving Bandit poses the question of the efficacy of UNMISS and goes further to question the viability of aid expenditure on peacebuilding and governance in general when compared to the "safer bet" of investing in health and education.

Lets first address the simpler issue regarding UNMISS......
What have they achieved?......so little that their ineptitude has caused a vacuum that threatens to engulf our planet ....

I was tempted to just leave it at that........but I guess there are many more laughable points to be gained from a deeper investigation.

The best place to start would be their website. While there are all sorts of updates, articles and reports on all sorts of activities that you would think UNMISS is involved in, a closer inspection leads to the realisation that UNMISS is nothing more than an event planning and taxi service. For example, following the violent conflicts in Jonglei earlier this year, the South Sudanese Presidential Committee for Peace organised a peace planning workshop (no surprises there), where they came up with a bunch of points and ideas that had already been thought of a million times over during the million other peace planning workshop that has taken place since the concept of peacebuilding came to South Sudan.

In reply to a question regarding how UNMISS hopes to contribute to these wonderfully 'novel' ideas, some important UN guy replied;
"We will provide logistical support, from transporting the committee that has been formed to conduct the peace process at the grass-roots level to organizing workshops and meetings within communities. 
We will participate in substantive discussions and offer ideas for working group meetings. We have also been providing logistical support for sensitization of the parallel civilian disarmament process. And we are prepared to assist with destruction of collected weapons, if that is the government’s wish, or help transport them and store them in a safe and secure place"
Translation: We will let you guys play with our fancy helicopters (which are in a ludicrous abundance and serve very little purpose aside from making the few who get to use it feel like a badass). We will also throw you some wicked-fun conferences with delicious snacks and crappy t-shirts. And finally, we will take out your trash (guns) or burn them......you know.....whatever you need to make us feel like we're doing something.

I got a bit carried away there..... anyways, the site is filled with what their targets and objectives are, but contain absolutely no information regarding what they have achieved (this usually suggests nothing).

And now, regarding Roving Bandit's point on peacebuilding and governance projects in general.....

Someone in his comments section had already addressed the problem of assuming a returns in education so allow me to try and respond to the point on health with an anecdotal point.

I once worked on a project in South Sudan where we were setting up water points as well as latrines (for the school) in a particular village. However, about 2 weeks after the project was complete there were some conflict between different ethnic groups which subsequently led to the entire village being abandoned. Ok, fair enough that this was WASH and not necessarily health, but I think the point is clear. While conflict continues to constantly displace people, it is rather difficult to make a good targeted investment in any sector. Also, lets not forget the number of hospitals that get burned down as a result of conflicts (an example of a couple here).

But the main argument is really that peacebuilding does not necessarily have to be a big gamble. As long as a shred of thought is put into the projects and that ideas are based on actual evidence as opposed to simply being the musings of a bunch of arbitrarily selected individuals at a 'party' organised by UNMISS (more on this rant here)

Finally.....to you Roving Bandit; you calculator-wielding, STATA-code-eyed, rational-model-worshipping, oversimplifying, desk jockey!!.........Stop trying to quantify and measure peace. Has the Wire not taught you anything about the downfall of playing a numbers game when it comes to peace?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Invisibile Children Spies

I live for these moments.......From RT

"A memo written by a public affairs officer at the US embassy in Uganda documents Invisible Children’s collaboration with Ugandan intelligence services. It notes that the US-based NGO tipped the Ugandan government on the whereabouts of Patrick Komakech, a former child soldier for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), who was wanted by security officials for extorting money from the government officials, NGO’s and local tribal leaders. Ugandan security organizations jumped the tip and immediately arrested Komakech.As a result of the tip, the Ugandan military claimed it obtained the names of other suspects from Komakech. The military then conducted a sweep and arrested a number of people, many of whom declared their innocence, the Ugandan media reported. Human rights groups say torture of arrested suspects by Ugandan security forces is routine. "

But wait, there's more........

"Invisible Children also actively supported Operation Lightning Thunder (OLT), a joint attack by Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the then-autonomous South Sudan against the LRA. The operation, which was also received US intelligence and logistical backing, killed more civilians than LRA militants. In a confidential memo dating back to 2009, US ambassador to Uganda Steven Browning noted that the US-based NGO planned pro-OLT events under the theme “Kony Must Be Stopped. Rescue Our Children”. "

And if you are unsure of how bad Operation Lightning Thunder was, here.....haha...is a.....haha....report by......hahaha......the Enough Project!!! (Oh the sweet irony)

Hahahha, maybe IC's LRA Crisis Tracker was what they meant by US logistical support.

But in all seriousness, I think that this is an exagerattion of IC's capabilities in an attempt to write a attention grabbing headline. I mean, the fact that King of Conspiracies, Alex Jones is talking about it automatically kills its credibility.

I did a search to find the documents the article was referring to and I came up with these two: 

The first document does confirm the point about IC tipping off the Ugandan Intelligence service regarding the whereabout of Komakech is true......The funny thing that was not mentioned was that Komakech was actually staying in the IC compound in Gulu....so not only is IC a spy organisation, they also harbour criminals. 

The second document mentions IC's plan of organising a pro-Operation Thunder Lightning campaign and releasing a video called "Kony Must Be Stopped, Rescue Our Children". The way the document refers to the campaign does create the feeling that IC was acting as a tool of propaganda. However, after having watched many spy movies and TV show, I can expertly suggest that IC was being used as a tool at the absolute most. I can't find the video..... although I'm sure seeing the video would determine the degree of IC's intention. 

IC are mentioned on a few other documents, but nothing exciting is really mentioned there. 

So while it would be sexy and exciting to think that these guys are actually CIA spies, I'm pretty sure its safe to conclude that they are just a bunch of clueless wankers (literally, in the case of Jason Russel HAH!). 

Although, you never know........

[insert joke about how the CIA controls social media that make reference to this: The Onion]

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Development as Shakespearean theater....and more


  I stumbled across this project while doing some research and was utterly amazed by it. I am always pleasantly surprised by how much faster a country's entertainment industry is able to establish itself when compared to those that would seem to be of greater importance. The actors seem very dedicated and the choice of play is unexpected, but brilliant nonetheless. 

South Sudan has wept enough, it is time to tell stories, sing songs, dance, recite poetry and shed tears of joy to celebrate a new dawn where artists, writers, poets, playwrights, dancers, commentators, comedians, take centre stage to give our people food for thought, laughter, hope and even provoke. The important role of these creative people cannot be underestimated in peace building and to liberate the South Sudanese mind from negative thinking or feelings of inferiority.” Joseph Abuk, Director, SSTC

If you like what you see go here to help contribute to the success of the project.......also, isn't crowdfunding such an amazing idea?

This also presents a good opportunity for me to share a video a friend sent me recently of yet another South Sudan movie. Its called Jamila, and has a typically drama feel to it reminiscent of Nollywood films, minus the witches and sorcerers. 

h/t: Vinayak

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Credit to the real white knight

Only when there is fun shit to be criticised do I emerge from whatever hole I've been hiding in for the past however long its been.

So the internet is going absolutely mental with chatter on Invisible Children's "Kony 2012" campaign. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you're obviously the only person in the world who still uses Myspace instead of Facebook.

And I'm not going to bother repeating all the arguments that have already been eloquently addressed by others such as:

- IV is not so transparent
- The information provided by the video is somewhat exaggerated
- This is just another instance of the White Knight required to save the poor Africans
- The founders are a bunch of twats:
The founder Jason 'Radical Russell said in an interview: "If Oprah, Steven Spielberg and Bono had a baby, I would be that baby." 
and this is them posing like gangsters, yeah, nice advocacy work
Photo credit

I am instead going to focus on one serious detail.......the fact that they tried to steal another great man's thunder.....taking away from his success, and profiting from it. That man of course is non other than, Sam Childers, The Machine Gun Preacher.

Those of you who have read my blog in the past have always known that I am a huge huge fan of Mr Childers. That is why it absolutely breaks my heart to see that a bunch of preppy dickheads have tried to benefit from Mr Childer's achievements, namely, convincing the US government to deploy US forces to Uganda to help train soldiers there to hunt Kony. 
As Joshua Keating has rightfully pointed out, the IV's video suggests that their campaign is merely trying to make sure that Obama does not withdraw those soldiers.....even though no one has mentioned that they were planning to do so. 

It was the Machine Gun preacher movie that got the US government interested in the issue, which resulted in the initial deployment of forces in Uganda. 

The way I see it, these kids spent too long editing their movie (don't try to compete with Hollywood) that they could no longer take credit for the US deploying the troops. Nor could they make their cause about putting pressure on the US government to deploy troops. Instead, they had to come up with this desperate reasoning of keeping the troops there. 

So if there is an organisation you want to support, I would strongly suggest supporting the Machine Gun Preacher's organisation, Angels of East Africa (NO, DONT ACTUALLY DO THAT, I AM JUST JOKING!!!!!)

But seriously, if there are white folks to be thanked, it really should be Sam Childers and Gerrad Butler......lets throw Prendergrast in there too (he might be a twat, but at least he's my twat). 


As with any internet fad, absolutely shameless humour always ensues.....here are some highlights mainly from 4chan and Canvas:

Famous and hated

Thursday, February 16, 2012

UNDP International Fitness Instructor

At the aid coordination meeting...

Ok, I know Im slow to the trigger on this one....and I know I haven't posted much of recent days....but here goes:

Well it seems that having paid R&R every 6 weeks was just not enough.......
Life in Juba has been so depressing and stressful for UNDP staff that management has had to adopt Corporate Japan style mandatory daily exercises, to secure the physical and mental wellbeing of their staff so that they can keep doing what they do best......nothing.
I mean, I assume it is going to be mandatory and that they aren't just going to hire some overpaid westerner to stand around the UNDP compound flexing his muscles peddling fitness to the especially lazy staff members who couldn't be bothered to get involved in the hundred different activities that are already available (most often for free) in Juba, including:

Group runs, rock climbing (indoor & outdoor), ultimate frisbee, various martial arts, gym, swimming, touch rugby, football, squash, tennis, kayaking/canoeing, salsa dancing, bull running, motorcycle racing, pool, gambling (casino), eating, drinking, table tennis. 

Im pretty sure that those staff members who aren't getting enough exercise aren't necessarily just waiting for the facilities/activities/service to become available. They are just a bunch of lazy bastards who aren't going to exercise anyways.

Like a self-fulling prophecy, I think maybe if UNDP staff are not constantly reminded, through their hazard pay, of the hazardous and stressful nature of the environment they are working in then they won't feel so stressed? 

To be honest, I was probably the most fit while I was living in Juba as a result of the multitude of fun activities available. I learnt Capoeira there for god's sake.....and that was alongside UNDP staff, so this apparent problem is definitely not widespread. I would have loved to see the thought process that led to this brilliant waste of funds. I would also love to see who they end up hiring....."please say it's Blackwater fitness trainers, please say it's Blackwater fitness trainers"

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy One Year Anniversary of the CPA/Referendum!

Credit: Pete Muller

To celebrate this momentous occassion that signified the end to a longstanding violent conflict with the North, the US thought the most appropriate gift was to give South Sudan a load of new weapons......

After adding South Sudan to the list of countries which the US can transfer weapons to, Barack Obama said this in his memorandom:

 “the furnishing of defense articles and defense services to the Republic of South Sudan will strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace”. (ST)

Emphasis on South Sudan now being the US' guard dog in East Africa...... congratulations?

As happy as I am on this day, I can't help but think that there are some little cynical weasels out there who are rubbing their hand together as their idea of a pre-failed state (also here and here) may have come true with today's line up of news.......

I'm probably being irrational in my beliefs, and I can't really argue against their points, but I can't help but still hold a lot of hope for South Sudan. Being there, with the spirit of the people, one can't help but think that these are merely short-term problems that will be overshadowed by the long path of success in South Sudan's future. 

South Sudan Oyeee!

Friday, January 6, 2012

No more peace conferences!!!! (the conflict in Jonglei)

Im sure (hoping) that many of you have heard about the recent violence that has been occurring in Jonglei State of South Sudan between the Murle community of Pibor county and the Lou-Nuer of the surrounding area*. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Al-Jazeera had made it the headline of their front page. Also, here is a link to an interesting recording from the BBC Worldservice, on the current conflict
It is difficult to really state when this conflict actually began but it is certain that the the level of violence has been continuously escalating as vengeance is met revenge. This recent attack is in retaliation to this attack that left 600 (Lou-Nuer) dead, which was a retaliation to this attack 250 (Murle)  dead, and so on and so forth. The number of casualties of this recent attack has been estimated at 2,182 people from the Murle community, mostly women and children......That is about 1.5% of the entire Murle population**. This is the type of numbers you see from a full military conflict or civil war. But this is not civil war. This is a conflict between two communities fighting over identity, resources (cattle) and a lot of strong emotions. For me, one of the strangest thing about this conflict is that you can't really sympathise with either sides.
Anyways, the following is a video from Al-Jazeera, I want to draw your attention to the interview with the vice president Riek Machar, and his strategy on dealing with the issue. 

******WARNING: OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE IMMINENT.....you have been warned*********

Aside from the standard procedures to deal with the immediate threat, deployment of additional security forces and the creation of a buffer zone, the solution is one that I am absolutely sick and tired of hearing......Motherfucking PEACE CONFERENCE!!

For those that might not know, a peace conference is basically just an event where the politicians and community leaders from both warring parties come together, have a nice meal, hand out some t-shirts, and tell some wanker consultant about what THEY think the cause of conflict is and how THEY think the issues can be resolved. A whole bunch of pretty resolution and recommendations are written down....and then ends up in some file to never see the light of day again. This obsession of peace conferences basically stems from its successes in resolving some of the inter-community conflict, back in the day. Since those successes, whenever there is a conflict, peace conferences have become the de facto solution.....but it has been so long since they have been successful. The organisers typically exclude the people who are involved in the conflict, and when the belligerents are involved, they will say whatever sounds good at the time just for the sake of saying them.....people behave differently in the presence of different people?!.....that is just shocking! (anyone who has ever done a community focus group discussion will know what Im talking about).

Now of course I am being excessively harsh. Its not like I have any bright ideas to solve this conflict.....(not one that is ready to be implemented anyways) and these politicians are merely just implementing what they know......and what they know is basically whatever horseshit that NGOs and the UN have been feeding them.....and what do these people know? well....horseshit. Many of the peacebuilding strategies are created with guesswork based on the dubious information about the causes of the conflict that they extract from the community (through rubbish focus group discussions).
So basically, Im calling for an end to this ridiculous method of resolving conflict. Im calling for a beginning of peacebuilding strategies that are rigorously tested before implementation. Im calling for new approaches to resolving conflict that does not involve what is essentially a really expensive circle jerk***

Oh and lets also not forget those damn donors with their short term funding that forces organisations to adopt simple shallow projects that are expected to perform miracles......fuck you, you ignorant cretins.

Finally, I just have to add.....the UN would've probably been able to anticipate this attack much much earlier if they actually had people on the ground. The UN has a compound in Akobo town (the capital of the county where the Lou-Nuer come from) that I know is always empty. They just fly-in on their fancy helicopters once in a while to talk to the county commissioner, but never actually stay there.....probably due to security issues.....pussies.

*For a map of the boundaries of the various ethnic groups in SS, go here
** For the SS 2010 census, go here 
*** Not to say that there aren't organisations out there that are trying different approaches......but usually when there are, they are still not very well thought through and a widely based on gut instinct. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Why al-Dabi was chosen to head the observer mission

My personal sufi expert has finally started his own blog, Internet Penance. His most recent post is an interesting perspective on why al-Dabi was selected to lead the Arab League observer mission to Syria.

I am more inclined to believe that this the failure of this mission had less to do with a genuine desire to resolve the conflict, but a reflection of the limitations and increasing irrelevance of the Arab League model as defined by the worldview of the Old Guard. Perhaps, the Arab Parliament (a newer body connected to the League) and its call on the observer mission to give up and leave (and hence contradiction of the League’s adamant defense of the mission) is an indication that the breeze of the Arab Spring ‘khamsin‘ is about to turn up at the headquarters of the Arab League itself.