At the end of the day...

Apparently, my last write-up here goes back to the end of the year 2010.

For those like me who can't count, that's a long time ago.

Lots have happended since then, both at a global and personal level: revolutions, social crisis, massacres, tsunamis and nuclear disasters. It almost seems like I am making this up.

I would have loved to have the time to digest all of this and write some semblance of reflections but I was caught in a personal spinning wheel myself, with a sequence of life changing events that left me feeling like I just spent the last couple of months in a washing machine.

So here I am, having spent 2 out of the last 6 months in 3 different continents, 9 towns, 5 missions, with 4 different PCs and 3 mobile phones, having the urge to just write; write about something that is not news-related, not newsworthy anyway.

I was never too away from the work at hand, as those who collaborate or know what I do are well-aware of.

There was just too much "stuff" going on to populate this space as well.

So here I am, late at night in Mohammadia, a city I did not know existed 3 weeks ago; with an itch to write, to pause and bare it all on the keyboard, like I used to do.

I come back here knowing that the very few readers probably gave up on me posting something worthwhile a long time ago. There are 120-something spams in the comment section, probably 119 more than the numbers of readers the past week.

Talk about not understanding the meaning of a blog: no updates in 6 months, spams all over the place, geez.... and you call yourself digital-savvy ? ( I don't but my parents do)

It's better this way because I will be talking nonsense hereafter about the meaning of a blog, of online reps and the meaning of, yes, life on the world wide web.

I figured this blog was dead and that I should announced its T.O.D officially, just as a few others of my favorite reads have done recently (freedarko.com etc.).

But I thought better of it. What is it with our obsession with defining a begining, a tipping point and an end to everything ?

If the latest international events have taught us anything, it is that even in those history-defining moments all across the African continent, change is a process, a cycle and it takes time.

A revolution makes two steps forward only to move one step backward  a moment later.

Japan is hit with  a series of unfathomable disasters but people there seem to understand that they cannot let the moment overwhelm them. There is no sense in wondering whether there was the life before the earth quake and the one after the earth quake. There's life, period.

In Africa, despots come and go, eventually. Their removal is sometimes helped (or not) by voices expressing their discontent  in the streets or online.  These moments, debates and reactions are highlighted in the 24 hours new cycle, sensationalized by information channels  that will chew them out quickly and spit it out as soon as the other piece of info comes in. The fact that we turn our attention elsewhere is fine. But by not paying attention to what happens afterwards, we undemine the effort that is being put forth to build something over the long run.

The build up of a democratic system  is taking place and facing big hurdles in Tunisia  and elsewhere.   But we won't pay attention to it anymore because so many lives are lost to war  in Libya, Côte d'Ivoire and many other places. And then, there will always be a new presidential election somewhere soon that will drift our attention elsewhere.

The lasting and simplistic perception of events in Côte d'Ivoire will be of death and hatred. But the fragile effort to reach out to all Ivoirians by some citizens should not be drown out or neglected by out global, compulsive attention deficit disorder.

We outsiders want so badly  to define a beginning, a turning point and an end to every crises we observe.

But there is no such thing as a beginning and an end for the people living the crises, there is only a process.

As international observers, we at least ought to ackowledge that from time to time.




  1. I first got to know of your blog after getting caught by both your first name and the cap you wore on the pic. In South Africa, "Lova" (a word in the Zulu language after a bastardization of the English "loafer") means a good-for-nothing.

    Usually these people will wear threadbare and very old caps not dissimilar from what you wore on that pic, which sorts-of-exonerates and excuses you from staying for almost a year without posting further on your blog.

    Personally, I am glad that the hippo still finds life in every pond he finds himself in on every continent and in every city. Just you make sure he doesn't swim with children in private swimming pools or you will face a disaster bigger than a tsunami!

    Just nice to see I can communicate with other Africans as far afield as the island of Madagascar.

    Keep it up! Better late than never!

  2. Anonymous8:42 AM

    Great post. When to preserve continuity and when to break it is a tough challenge for post-January 14th democrats in Tunisia. It's history, or the making of it rather. It takes the strength of those who call for immediate ending of a cycle (of corruption, of dictatorship)on one hand. On the other, the wisdom of those who rebuild (institutions, economies) knowing that, to such endeavour, there is no end and no beginning...maybe just a tipping point?

  3. Read it all, see ?! You still have real listeners :P
    Its always a pleasure to read from you. You write so well... Cant believe you travel that much !!!

    Take good care.