Africa is a vast continent, with countries and cultures as diverse as anywhere else on the planet, yet as of right now, there are several long term crises brewing, and little to no international coverage.
Ebola continues to spread in the DRC, and has now reached beyond its Eastern borders into Uganda, where the death toll has reached 2,000, out of a total of 3,000 cases. The lack of international concern over this spreading epidemic is almost as shocking as the extent of the spread of this deadly pandemic, as it hops across borders. The mortality rate for this outbreak is also 67%, remarkably high, and exacerbated by a fear of seeking medical help and lack of cooperation with doctors made even worse by regional conflict making trips to the clinic even more risky.
At the same time, Sudan has been going through a bloody political transition as the Sudanese military agreed to a shaky truce involving power-sharing with opposition groups. Omar Al-Bashir, the former leader who ruled Sudan for three decades, was deposed in April during mass protests, but the military engaged in brutal crackdowns after Al-Bashir’s ousting, which still failed to quiet the country. Protesters had taken to the streets demanding a real transition to democracy, and failed to be quieted, leading to this power-sharing agreement. The military still hasn’t given up full control however, and there are still large questions over whether there will be a true transition to a more representative form of government. Al-Bashir was also in court today where he shared in court that he had taken 25 million dollars, and perhaps more, from Saudi crown-prince Mohammed bin-Salman. Evidence of the depth of corruption and deep political entanglement between states interfering in others’ local politics in the region, the very public prosecution seems to reflect that of Mubarak after his ousting, followed by a reversal and similar trials for Morsi.
In Southern Africa, Zimbabwe, too, is in a low-burn crisis as Mugabe’s replacement, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has consolidated his power and failed to initiate any serious reform in the country, which has faced decades of economic turmoil. Street protests that were scheduled for the middle of August were brutally suppressed before they had even begun with a spate of abductions, attempted murders, and even an acid attack on opposition leaders. Stay at home protests, which had occurred earlier this year, were also met by violent reprisals by paramilitary groups linked to ZANU-PF, the ruling party of Zimbabwe since the 1980s, demonstrating the continued brutality of this government.
Even for those who do not live on the continent, supporters of democracy, human rights, and proponents of the value of human life must take the time to stay active on issues all over the globe. The international media, too, must play its part in covering the news from the region with the attention that Africa deserves.
Staff writer: Ari B