I reviewed George Osodi’s photo series Royals and Regalia, on display at the Newark Museum through August 9, 2015. The exhibit explores the role and function of Nigeria’s ceremonial rulers in the colorful yet fractious nation:
Photojournalists in the American tradition, from Jakob Riis to Dorothea Lange, often depict their subjects with a gritty realism. Osodi turns this accepted formula on its head…Nigeria’s radiant monarchs are shown in their most colorful finery through the eyes of their subjects as they would like to be seen. And what we gain from it is a sense of Nigeria’s place in the world, a window into centuries of history that engages us in the present, and an eagerness to transform borrowed items from the past to make peace in the present day.
I even interview a king, the Nigerian Dein of Agbor Benjamin Ikenchuku Keaboreku I! Read the whole thing at The American Interest.
My article for The American Interest. Al-Qaeda’s back in Mali, it seems:
Al-Qaeda militants may have infiltrated Mali’s pro-government militias, which the African state has relied on to fight Tuareg insurgents. The BBC notes that a pair of recent suicide bombings follow the pattern of al-Qaeda attacks…
And another incident where allied militia sympathizers fought with UN troops:
The UN attempted to disarm the region’s allied militias this month, but soon found that it had no way to force the parallel disarmament of the Tuaregs. Riots against these unilateral disarmaments led UN peacekeeping troops to shoot three protesters this week (an inquiry is pending).
Mali’s government leans on its allied militias in its contest to control the country’s far North. Any sign that these militias have gone rogue bodes ill for the region as a whole. Read the full article here.
The short-lived Pegida movement seems to be over, a mayfly movement against the “Islamization” of Germany and the West. But Pegida’s xenophobia spread to Germany’s far right before its collapse.
The leader of Germany’s AfD (Alternativ für Deutschland) party declared that he wants “no more Middle Eastern immigrants.” AfD’s earlier line opposed the European Union, but hadn’t yet coalesced around the issue of immigration. Pegida’s recent marches showed AfD’s leaders just how many votes they could grab if they dipped even one foot in the gutter. My article appears in full here at The American Interest.
France’s far-right Front National is a political dynasty, not too different from most American parties by this point. FN President Marine Le Pen’s dad, though, is full of crazy. And it’s not just a case of bad lip reading. Here’s some of the more recent gems from an article I worked on for The American Interest:
According to Mr. Le Pen, a mysterious Western superstate led by “the secret services” may have choreographed the Hebdo attacks that are themselves linked with September 11 […] The Honorary President of the National Front backed away from his Secret Service allegations in a January 16 conversation with Le Monde, but maintained that both attacks were part of a larger international conspiracy. Jean-Marie Le Pen is infamous for his Holocaust jokes, his defense of France’s fascists in World War II, and a recent quip that “Monseigneur Ebola” could solve Africa’s demographic problems.
Marine Le Pen has ignored her father’s Charlie Hebdo remarks so far. It’s probably a good tactic, too. Shying away from Jean-Marie’s outré ideology has helped the FN in the past, and probably helps to obscure the dynastic continuities that remain between father and daughter. Read the whole article here. There’s another good post here, too, written by Haun Saussy at PrintCulture.