Nov 29

Does ‘Tribalism’ Stunt Democracy?

Often relegated to the back pages of the international sections in newspapers (or, near the bottom of news websites,) stories on Africa simply don’t garner the coverage that other areas of the world manage to receive. Take the First and Second Congo War–a pair of conflicts that are the second deadliest after World War II. To this day, residual effects from those two wars still manage to ravage the region, yet headlining stories from those countries are thin at best.

A recent Viewpoint on BBC News did offer an interesting analysis on one major test that many African countries face: the challenges of transitioning to democratic forms of government. The piece argued that tribal politics seen in countries such as Kenya, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo have stunted democratic efforts and incited conflict.

Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist who has spent much of his career reporting on neglected conflicts in Africa, offers a different viewpoint on tribalism using an ancedote from his travels in Darfur.

Nicholas Kristof on Tribalism in Darfur from The New York Public Library on FORA.tv

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