How do you keep up with the news?

January 16, 2011

Like I said in my last blog, I like to keep up with the news, particularly African news. I don’t know how many of you like reading the news or like being in the know on world issues, but for those of you that do… do you ever find the constant stream of information overwhelming? You can study up on one issue and then the next day it changes or the next day something else happens. Should you be somewhat aware of a broad range of issues or highly knowledgeable about just a few issues? Or a little bit of both?

Here’s a little overview of what I’m trying to keep track of right now, on top of remembering that yes, I am still a student with homework and yes, I could be working on writing my thesis at any given moment of the day rather than what I have chosen to do with my time – like eat, sleep, watch season 6 of Lost or… write this blog.

Uganda: Obviously, I read Ugandan news every day. Recently, it’s been about little else other than the upcoming February elections. I’ll probably write a more in-depth post on this topic soon, but it seems that Ugandan news outlets are writing about what the rest of the world expects or hopes to happen and not what really is happening.

For instance, this article was posted today: Police arm heavily ahead of elections

It covers a few different issues, namely the fear that there will be violence no matter which way the election goes, whether or not the opposition has a chance (which opposition, you might ask), and the preparedness of the police and army. Of course, I think people should be prepared for anything, but now everyone just expects violence. Maybe I’m looking too much into the supposed group psychology of the issue, but it seems like expecting violence will only encourage it.

Sudan: It would be foolish to not keep up to date with Sudan right now. After all, after the referendum vote, South Sudan could be the world’s newest country (and it looks like it will be). It will probably also be the world’s weakest country, but we’ll have to wait to see how that pans out. This referendum is a huge achievement for this much-troubled nation that has been engaged in conflict for decades. It’s also a benchmark for the rest of Africa – Southern Sudanese are democratically electing to change their border to something that makes sense for the geographical and cultural area, rather than what colonizers laid out decades ago. What if every conflicted African nation could redraw their borders this way? Would it help to alleviate some problems? Or does it simply create new ones? Also, it’s not like it was an easy road to come to this point, and most Sudanese would have rather had peace all along rather than a secession vote.

Here’s the latest on the referendum vote: UN Secretary-General announces the end of the polling period

Also, the underreported Northern Sudanese side. Many are genuinely concerned that the country is falling apart, not just for the oil, but for the well-being of South Sudanese.

Cote d’Ivoire: This place has definitely been interesting lately. November elections ousted the former President Gbagbo and elected Ouatarra…. or at least they were supposed to. When Ouatarra was announced the winner, Gbagbo decided he actually wasn’t ready to step down. Both men have large armies at their backs, the only difference being that Ouatarra also has the international community on his side, along with a few thousand UN peacekeepers. The situation has been worsening, and Gbagbo has refused to give up, despite several sanctions placed upon him and his supporters. It is feared that this will erupt into a civil war, which would further devastate a country healing from a conflict in 2002, not to mention the refugee situation that the tension and fear of war along with early violence is creating.

There are so many aspects to this situation, it would take another blog to unravel, but here’s the latest: Ouatarra aims to close ‘financial windows’

Tunisia: Last, but not least, Tunisia seems to have had a revolution, French style. I’m not so up to date on this one as I would like to be, but I do know that the people scared the president into fleeing into Saudi Arabia. Pretty interesting situation to keep up with on the BBC website.

So you see, those are only tiny little blurbs, but it’s SO much information to keep up with. And to really understand what’s happening now, you need to understand at least a little bit of the history of the situation. Out of context, these are simply elections and coups, but it takes a good historical background to understand the ramifications of these actions. So how do you keep up with the news around the world and keep up with your own life?

about erin

I graduated from the University of Tennessee in May 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. I am currently taking the year off to enjoy a less stressful life while applying for graduate schools in Anthropology. Without sounding too cliche, it's true that we are all life-long learners, but I still miss the challenge and excitement of the classroom. This website is a combination of personal and professional so that anyone who wants to can get to know me better. I will also be keeping up with my blog, where you will be able to read about the life of an undergraduate student about to embark on the real world. Feel free to contact me; I’d love to hear from you!