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"I often wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn't made that decision. I suppose I would have sunk. I suppose I would have found some kind of hole and tried to hide or pass. After all, we make ourselves according to the ideas we have of our possibilities. I would have hidden in my hole and been crippled by my sentimentality, doing what I was doing, and doing it well, but always looking for the wailing wall. And I would never have seen the world as the rich place that it is. You wouldn't have seen me here in Africa, doing what I do."

- V.S. Naipaul, A Bend in the River
Mar. 19th, 2009 @ 08:30 pm Michela Wrong's "It's Our Turn To Eat"
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where can you see lions?
Has anyone else read Michela Wrong's "It's Our Turn To Eat" yet? I just started reading it the other day.. I remember reading about Githongo's resignation and the Anglo Leasing scandal when it happened. I've also heard some criticisms of the book, but I'm more familiar with West African politics than I am with the other side of the continent.. does anyone have any thoughts on it? I'd love to hear some other views.
Date:March 20th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
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I've heard a lot about Wrong's book and it's on my (very long) reading list. Perhaps you could post a review here when you're finished?

Githongo is an interesting man and many have pinned their hopes on him. Paul Collier, for instance, thinks Githongo might become a symbol of change in Kenya. As much as I respect Githongo and his work, I think Kenya will need much more than anti-corruption campaigner if it is to overcome its current troubles.

(If anyone's interested, I wrote about Githongo on my blog last month.)
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Date:March 20th, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC)
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Ditto damiandoyle - on my very long reading list. Would be interested in hearing your views.
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Date:March 20th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC)
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Speaking of reading lists. I'm moving in two weeks to rural Sierra Leone, since you do have a familiarity with West African politics, do you have any other suggestions?
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Date:March 20th, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
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I haven't read any books that are entirely on Sierra Leone (yet), but these are on my to-read list:

  • The Devil That Danced on the Water: A Daughter's Quest by Aminatta Forna.
  • What For Chop Today?>/a> by Gail Haddock.
  • Blood Diamonds by Greg Campbell.
    I've heard good things about this book too:
  • Black Man's Grave by Gary Stewart.
  • The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene.

    The Greene book is a novel, the rest are non-fiction.

    I haven't read any of these yet, so your mileage may vary. But I've heard good things about them, and I hope to get around to them soon.

    Where in Sierra Leone are you heading?
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    Date:March 21st, 2009 03:44 pm (UTC)
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    Thanks! I've read "Blood Diamonds", and I can verify it's a decent read. I've also read:

    The Krio of Sierra Leone: An Interpretive History by Akintola Wyse
    A Dirty War in West Africa by Lansana Gberie
    A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah.

    It's been hard for me to find books on Sierra Leone covering life after the war. If you hear of any please let me know.
    Date:March 27th, 2009 11:38 pm (UTC)
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    I've just ordered the book by Wrong. I Should like it and of course I will want another one of the sort.

    also I've read an account on Githongo in Guardian, they make him a champion of Kenya...do you know of any articles that reveal his other side ^_^?

    I understand that Wrong will praise him in the book and although he seems to be passionate about anti-corruption..i don't know, something is not clicking.
    well, I'll reveal my opinion next week.