In the News: The Humanitarian Promise of A Shared Memory / Actualités: la promesse humanitaire d’une mémoire partagée

In French/Pour Français

Photo Credit: Jeffrey O. Gustafson. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons -

Photo Credit: Jeffrey O. Gustafson. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –

Dear Readers: In early October, Former Jamaican Prime Minister PJ Patterson wrote a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron asking for an apology for Britain’s role in slavery. The below is a response piece from CIHA Blog co-editor Cilas Kemedjio. We welcome your comments!

by Cilas Kemedjio

The first article of the May 21, 2001 Law adopted by the French Parliament reads as follow: “The French Republic recognizes that the transatlantic slave trade and slavery perpetrated from the Middle Ages against African populations deported to Europe, the Americas and the Indian Ocean represent (constitutes) a crime against humanity”. This so-called Taubira Law is named after Christiane Taubira—the current French justice minister, then deputy representing the South American county of Guyana in the French National Assembly. Authors and defenders of the law, recruited mostly from the French left, justified its raison d’être by the need to make these tragic historical events part of the national memory and national conversation. Continue reading

In the News: Reassessing Madagascar’s “Donor Orphan” Problem / Réévaluer le problème de « orphelin de donateur » de Madagascar

posted by Bangirana Albert Billy

In French/Pour Français

In “Think Again: Sorry Madagascar, Your Problems Aren’t Hot Enough,” Simon Allison, writing for the Institute for Security Studies, underscores the paradox behind the ‘opulent’ publicity and ‘indigent’ privacy of the Madagascan humanitarian discourse. In his analysis, Allison critiques the often-opulent displays of “a country in crisis,” and argues for a more just and equal approach to determining which countries are most in need of critical humanitarian attention. He highlights several factors—including geographical location, regional governance structures, and perceptions of need—that may be exacerbating Madagascar’s seeming invisibility to the international donor fraternity. Continue reading

In the News: A Deeper Understanding of African Migrants

by Kajsa Hallberg Adu

In the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis that is seeing thousands of families desperate to enter Europe, the issue of African migrants to Europe has also resurfaced. The United Nations Commission for Africa has been working on the issue and its executive Director, Carlos Lopes, posted an op-ed on the South African online news portal Daily Maverick on September 3rd, 2015, arguing that flows of migrants into Europe from Africa needs to be better understood as they will further increase.

In his opinion piece, “African migrants – payback time for Europe?”, Lopes point to a number of mega-trends like economic and population growth in Africa, as well as inter-regional migration on the rise on the continent, but also the demographic crisis in Europe with an ageing population and high social security demands. Lopes points out the obvious: Europe is in need of migrants for it not to collapse! So why is migration often equal to negative stories? Continue reading

In the News: Uncovering the Dynamics of Nigeria’s Pharmaceutical Markets with Kristin Peterson

posted by Jolene McCall

On a recent trip to Lagos, Nigeria, Dr. Kristin Peterson spoke with Kunle Ajibade, executive editor of PM News regarding her book Speculative Markets: Drug Circuits and Derivative Life in Nigeria. In this in depth interview titled, “How Fake And Substandard Drugs Get To Nigeria,” Peterson discusses her ethnographic research taking place in the neighborhood of Idumota on Lagos Island where heavy pharmaceutical trading occurs. Peterson makes connections beyond the local market of Idumota to macro level markets, contributing to theory on the global flows of capital. Continue reading

In the News: Rethinking Food Aid Programs

posted by Jolene McCall

The detrimental effects of food aid programs are not a recent realization. In fact, a variety of reports highlight the necessity to rethink the food aid industry, drawing attention to how these programs ultimately hurt local industry while those providing the aid profit. In an article published by IRIN News titled, “US Food Aid: Charity Begins at Home,” Tamara Leigh discusses debates surrounding the US Food for Peace program, launched more than 60 years ago, and the difficulty in reforming the food aid system. Continue reading