Saturday, January 19, 2013

I find no evil - but causes and conditions aplenty


Mali, Algeria and other North African countries have featured On An Overgrown Path many times over the years. The CD above from Tuareg-Berber band Tinariwen featured in a March 2012 post about the music of the region and the new unrest in Mali, and at the time I wrote “Despite widespread coverage of the Libyan and Tunisian uprisings, events in North Africa are otherwise neglected by the North American and European media”. More recently in a post about Algeria I wrote "But outside France there has been little interest in the anniversary [of the Algerian civil war], despite the link between the failed colonial ambitions of Western European countries in North Africa and the topical Arab Spring".

Now the BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson has written “Until a few days ago, the vast majority of British voters had never heard of Mali (let alone the Sahel) nor could they - or indeed I - have placed it on a map. Now, I suspect we are all going to have to learn a great deal more about these places, what's happening in them and what our government might have in mind for them.”. My recent reading has include an anthology of writing from the journal of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship titled Not Turning Away - see below. In it Melody Ermachild Chavis, a Zen practitioner who works with condemned criminals in California, describes how for twenty years she has searched for evil “but nowhere have I found it” but “I find causes and conditions aplenty”. Let us hope that the Western powers, when deciding what they have “in mind” for those African countries, take into account self-evident causes and conditions. My travels take me to North Africa again in March and I will continue to provide some counterbalance to the understandable but obsessive preoccupation with humanitarian conflict in the Middle East exhibited by the Western media and the classical music industry.


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1 comment:

Gavin Plumley said...

Sadly, I think Robinson is right... at least these British voter had to look up Mali on a map. Terrible admission, but true.