June 29, 2011

East Africa Around the Blogosphere

Greetings Azanian Sea readers,

It has been a minute since I've been in the blogging game as I had responsibilities to take care of on the home front (like finishing graduate coursework at Northwestern). But I'm back, and I hope to get back to blogging and commenting on religion, politics, culture and history in East Africa this summer, while I wade deeply into another round of Intensive Arabic in Amman, Jordan. Things are relatively quiet here, but the Syrian border is closed, Egypt and Sudan are poised for major transitions in governance, there is still unrest in Libya and Yemen and it's bizarre to think about how close we are here to the tides of revolution sweeping the region.

In East Africa, a terrible drought is sweeping the Horn of Africa. In an already destabilized region, the prospect of no rain until September could have catastrophic results for the ability of many residents to eke out a living above the margin of survival. The big question is: how much does climate change play a role in this emerging crisis? Droughts are not new in East Africa, and the region was hit hard in 2006. But the cycle of drought seems to be quickening, as Daniel Howden writes, "At the beginning of this decade the rains failed every other season and what we now see is 'perennial drought'." Climatologists and others have been warning of this situation for quite some time, but it now seems to be approaching a crisis.
The drought is likely to intensify water conflicts in the region, as well as political conflict over other resources like grazing grounds, fuel, and arable land.


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