As readers are aware, AfricaFocus features reposted material published recently, with the editor's own comments limited to a short introduction. This week is an exception, in that the article reposted (and quoted in the paragraph above) is one that I wrote more than a decade ago. I was led to reread it while trying to reflect on the many recent events reminding all of us of the unequal values given to human lives in today's world order, both between and within countries and continents. These inequalities are shaped by race, place, class, gender, and multiple other factors. But they are also molded by a long history that systematically makes the African continent, those who live there, and those who come from there particularly vulnerable.
In my view, the connection between global and African realities is most directly apparent in the realm of issues such as climate change, migration, and the unequal flows of economic resources, which are regularly featured in AfricaFocus. But how these structural stresses affect the highly visible terrain of political conflict, violence, and human rights varies enormously in its particularities by country. General narratives, including that sketched in this essay, are always inadequate, and in many respects subjective. But today's date (May 25, Africa Day) is also an appropriate one to turn to more general reflections. I am convinced that the basic points made in this essay still hold true and hope it may be of interest to many AfricaFocus readers.
For two publications in which I have attempted to address the global/African connections with respect to the issue of migration, see the background paper "African Migration, Global Inequalities, and Human Rights: Connecting the Dots," 2011 (http://www.africafocus.org/editor/nai-migration.php), written for the Nordic Africa Institute, and the short pamphlet "Migration and Global Justice: From Africa to the United States" 2008 (http://www.africafocus.org/editor/afsc0804.pdf), written for the American Friends Service Committee.
An earlier related essay on "Global Apartheid", by Salih Booker and William Minter, appeared in The Nation in 2001 (http://www.thenation.com/article/global-apartheid).
Links to additional publications available on-line can be found at http://www.africafocus.org/editor.php
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Invisible Hierarchies: Africa, Race, and Continuities in the World Order Science & Society, Vol. 69, No. 3, July 2005, 449-457
The failure to acknowledge race as a fundamental feature of today's unequal world order remains a striking weakness of radical as well as conventional analyses of that order. Current global and national socioeconomic hierarchies are not mere residues of a bygone era of primitive accumulation. Just as it should be inconceivable to address the past, present, and future of American society without giving central attention to the role of African American struggles, so analyzing and addressing 21st-century structures of global inequality requires giving central attention to Africa.
for, full issue: http://www.africafocus.org/docs15/afr1505.php
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