A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘uganda

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • The Big Picture shares photos of the South Sudanese refugee exodus into Uganda.
  • blogTO shares an ad for a condo rental on Dovercourt Road near me, only $1800 a month.
  • Centauri Dreams reports on the idea of using waste heat to detect extraterrestrial civilizations.
  • Crooked Timber uses the paradigm of Jane Jacobs’ challenge to expert in the context of Brexit.
  • The LRB Blog reports on the fishers of Senegal and their involvement in that country’s history of emigration.
  • The Planetary Society Blog shares an image comparing Saturn’s smaller moons.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy comes out in support of taking down Confederate monuments.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Chechens are coming out ahead of Daghestanis in the North Caucasus’ religious hierarchies, and argues that Putin cannot risk letting Ukraine become a model for Russia.
  • Arnold Zwicky looks at various bowdlerizations of Philip Larkin’s famous quote about what parents do to their children.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Dangerous Minds looks at the oddly sexual imagery of zeppelins entering their births.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes a paper looking at ways to detect Earth-like exomoons.
  • Imageo notes unusual melting of the Greenland icecap.
  • Language Log shares an extended argument against Chinese characters.
  • The Map Room Blog notes the hundredth anniversary of the Sykes-Picot agreement to partition the Ottoman Empire.
  • The NYRB Daily notes authoritarianism in Uganda.
  • Noel Maurer looks at the problem with San Francisco’s real estate markets.
  • Towleroad follows RuPaul’s argument that drag can never be mainstreamed, by its very nature.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that a flourishing Ukraine will not be itself restore the Donbas republics to it.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • blogTO notes the expansion of condo development south of Yonge and Eglinton.
  • Centauri Dreams blogs about the exciting continuing approach of Dawn to Ceres.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze looks at the system of HD 69830, with three Neptune-mass planets and a dense asteroid belt.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper looking at French government surveillance of global communications networks.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers whether globalization is making the world subjectively smaller or larger.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the refusal of a Michigan doctor to treat the child of a lesbian couple.
  • Language Hat and Languages of the World react to a recent study claiming DNA evidence suggests the spread of Indo-European languages is connected to mass migrations.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the problems of Greece with and in the Eurozone.
  • The Planetary Society Blog describes an amateur’s ingenious new map of Europa.
  • The Power and the Money links to a paper suggesting that male advantage in Africa as a result of colonialism, at least judging by Uganda, was brief.
  • Spacing Toronto shows some supposed houses that are actually disguised electricity transformers.
  • Torontoist shares a list of some of this year’s visitors at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.
  • Window on Eurasia speculates about the influence of Admiral Kolchak’s proto-fascism on modern Russia and argues that Russia does not want a Transdniestria-style enclave in Ukraine’s Donbas.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Centauri Dreamns comments on the way SETI is akin to casino gambling.
  • Crasstalk’s commentary on a ridiculous New York Post article arguing that catcalling is a good thing should be read.
  • D-Brief notes evidence suggesting that the short height of Africa’s Pygmies evolved on multiple occasions.
  • Eastern Approaches interviews Ukrainian rebels on the Russian side of the porous Russian-Ukrainian border.
  • A Fistful of Euros’ Edward Hugh considers the chances of the Euro crisis reigniting over Italian and southern European debt.
  • Language Hat links to an article tracing efforts to preserve the Californian language of Wukchumni via its last speaker.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes a ridiculously terrible American journalist (morally and otherwise).
  • Marginal Revolution notes the continuing economic decline of print journalism.
  • Personal Reflection’s Jim Belshaw complains about the Australian government in terms akin to ones I’ve heard of in Canada.
  • Torontoist quotes Toronto city councillor Josh Matlow’s complaint that the fare for the proposed express train to Pearson is not very competitive with taxis.
  • Towleroad points to a recent pogrom against queer people in Uganda, killing seven.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell is appalled by ill-thought media-driven criticism of British public healthcare.

[LINK] “Ugandan gay activists denied visas to World Pride conference”

I’m sharing Nicholas Keung’s Toronto Star article from the 16th of this month because, although it describes a situation since resolved satisfactorily, it also reveals a certain hypocrisy on the part of the Canadian government. How is it proper to condemn the human rights situation in a particular country and then make it difficult for people directly affected by this situation to claim refugee status, especially when the government has encouraged people to claim refugee status on this ground in the past?

Canadian officials have granted visitor visas to some of the Ugandan gay activists who had been denied a chance to attend the World Pride Human Rights Conference in Toronto.

The immigration minister’s office said the visa applicants were asked to resubmit new applications with substantiated documentation.

Half of the 10 Ugandan activists received visas in the past week, and conference organizers hope the rest will get their travel documents in time for the two-day international conference, which begins next Wednesday.

[. . .]

Ottawa’s flip-flop followed a Star story about the Ugandan delegates being rejected for visas over concerns that they would stay here to seek asylum.

The rejection drew public outrage because of Uganda’s recently passed anti-gay legislation, among the harshest in the world. Canada has joined many other countries in condemning the new law.

Calling it a serious setback for human rights, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird vowed when it was passed to “continue efforts to decriminalize homosexuality and combat violence against people on the basis of their sexual orientation.”

The delegates were denied entry for a variety of reasons: lack of travel history, family ties in Canada and in Uganda, and insufficient funds for the trip (though the conference is sponsoring travel for some of them).

Written by Randy McDonald

June 20, 2014 at 7:32 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Centauri Dreams notes a new, sensitive technique that can distinguish the signals of planets from those of their stars. (Tau Boötis b was the subject.)
  • Crooked Timber has a whole series of posts on Ukraine’s issues, one on ethnic and language issues, and two–one here and one here–about institutional issues.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes a new model for the Fomalhaut system and observes the discovery of two Jupiter-analog planets.
  • The role of gas warfare in the First World War’s final year is expanded upon at Far Outliers.
  • Geocurrents notes that Norway and Slovenia are big winners at the Olympics measured in medals per capita.
  • Marginal Revolution observes that foreign aid can boost group.
  • Justin Petrone writes about his experience in Estonia under Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, retired after nine years.
  • Russian Demographics links to a chart showing the different languages spoken in the United States. The rapid decline of most European immigrant languages–though, curiously, not French–is noteworthy, as is the ascent of Spanish and Asian languages.
  • Supernova Condensate’s stunning true-colour image of the Martian surface got more forty thousand shares on Tumblr.
  • Towleroad notes that Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands have diverted aid from the Ugandan government following that country’s recent passage of a terrible anti-gay law.

[LINK] “Africa versus East Asia”

Writing in The Independent of Uganda, Andrew Mwenda makes the case that the general dysfunction besetting Africa after independence was probably inevitable. Using the examples of South Korea and Uganda, two countries with similar GDP per capitas in 1960, Mwenda argues that South Korea had plenty of advantages: centuries of statehood, a long bureaucratic tradition, high levels of education and human development generally. African states, Mwenda argues, didn’t have a chance to develop as rapidly as East Asian states; it may have been inevitable that African lion economies would emerge a generation or two after Asian tiger economies.

Could post independence governments in Africa have performed better? Perhaps, but at a price; they should have aimed at preserving their limited capacity; using it only sparingly. Instead, most governments in Africa moved fast to elaborate public functions. Botswana avoided this mistake perhaps because it had had an almost absentee colonial state. This could have reduced the demands for rapid africanisation. But acting like Botswana would have been a purely technical response to what was actually a burning political problem.

The nationalist struggle for independence emerged to challenge legally sanctioned exclusion of Africans from state power outside of traditional institutions in colonial Africa. That was its fuel. Upon independence, the first demand therefore was rapid africanisation. Although technically disastrous, it was politically popular. The second demand was derived from the first. Africans wanted to take public services to the wider population. Few governments would have survived by resisting this demand.

Political pressure for africanisation undermined the meritocratic systems of external recruitment and internal promotion that allowed the civil service to uphold its high standards. Rapid elaboration of functions without existing capacity made a bad situation worse. What was politically right was technically disastrous. And in our ethnically heterogeneous polities, promoting social inclusion – even on the face of things – was more politically desirable than sustaining technical competence. The problem is that it eroded competence and allowed cronyism and corruption to flourish. Politics is costly and Africa had to pay that price.

Many African elites focus on technical failures in Africa and ignore the political compromises that brought that failure. In other words, the price of political compromise was technical failure. It is possible that if such compromises had not been struck, many states in Africa would have collapsed under the weight of civil war. It is remarkable that African leaders who inherited fictions of states left behind by colonial rule were successful at creating a common national consciousness. This has sustained the sovereignty and territorial integrity of these nations. Today, few states in Africa have fallen apart like Somalia. In others, the state may not be omnipresent yet, but the concept of nationhood has gained a lot of ground.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 14, 2013 at 2:06 am