Africa News blog
African business, politics and lifestyle
I had a flashback the other day when I was looking at photographs from Haiti of 15-year-old Fabianne Geismar, shot dead in the head after stealing wall hangings from a Port-au-Prince store, crushed in the Jan. 12 earthquake.
The image of Fabianne sprawled on the ground, blood trailing over the paintings she’d grabbed, took me back to my own childhood in Nairobi and the sight of a 7- or 8-year-old-boy – probably the same age as me at the time – who was caught stealing sweets from a street vendor and was beaten and burnt with rubber tyres. They called it mob justice.
To this day, I’ll never understand why that poor boy had to die such a violent and senseless death for something so trivial. I feel the same way about Fabianne – she survived one of the most catastrophic events in living memory, only to be shot in the head for petty theft. And for stealing wall hangings where there are no walls.
Fabianne’s childhood was brutally stolen from her and it got me thinking about how quickly so many young people in places like Africa, Asia and the Americas have to grow up, forced to fend for themselves through child labour or prostitution, denied an education and exposed to violence, disease and hunger at an age when they should be learning and playing.
Whether Guinea’s absent junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara makes it back to his home country or not will be the latest test of Western powers’ dwindling influence in Africa.
Ex-colonial power France and the United States — desperate to avoid a failed state in a region which is already attracting the interest of narco-traffickers and other criminals — have both made it clear Camara should be kept well away.
Africa’s year of soccer scarcely could have got off to a worse
Days before the start of the African Nations Cup — a
warm-up for the continent’s first World Cup in South Africa this
June — the gun attack on Togo’s national team by separatists in
Angola for many will confirm Africa’s reputation for chaos.
That was the conclusion of some observers of a bluntly worded exchange of views between two leading lights from the north and the south at a symposium in Khartoum on Tuesday.