Writer, analyst, and blogger

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Mark Twain's Killing Train

Every time I give someone my email address, or tell them the title of my blog, I get a raised eyebrow or a shocked look. Now, telling people the title of my first book has the same effect. For that reason, I've set up this blog to have "Why Killing Train?" and an explanation about the new book very prominently available on the front page.

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Partition talk

When Belgium realized in the 1950s that, given that France and Britain were losing their African colonies, it would no longer be able to hold on to Congo, it set about trying to guarantee continued control over the strategic aspects of the economy, especially the mines. At first, it sponsored its local political groups, but lost control of these. The next step, just after the Congo became independent, was mercenaries and proxy warfare – a huge international crisis and United Nations mission that was, in the 1960s, called “The Congo Crisis”.

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Podcast on the DRC

I was on Kudakwashe Cayenne's radio program, Heart of Africa, yesterday, along with Maurice Carney from Friends of the Congo.

Here's the podcast.

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Sources on teaching

I've been gradually collecting sources on teaching without realizing it. Teaching instruction can come from some unlikely places (the likely places are Alfie Kohn, John Holt, Carol Dweck, Paolo Freire...). Here are some of mine:

How Criminals Communicate - thoughts for above and under ground

Just finished reading Diego Gambetta's "Codes of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate" (Princeton University Press 2009). One of Gambetta's contentions is that criminals face more extreme versions of the same problems people face in above-ground life. I read it thinking about the connections and differences between political activism (which is often criminalized) and crime.

Goma falls to Rwanda

Rebels, called the M23, have taken Goma, the main city of North Kivu, one of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)'s eastern provinces. Their plan is to march to Bukavu, the main city of South Kivu, and from there, they say, across the massive country to Kinshasa, the Congo's capital.

A geographical note is in order. The DRC's principal cities are part of greater urban areas that cross international borders. Look at the capital, Kinshasa, on a map, and you will see Brazzaville, the capital of the other Congo, right next to it.

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Pillar of Defense Deaths until November 18

A map of deaths from Israel's Pillar of Defense operation, inspired by the UK Guardian's map of "incidents". I added a timeline and removed anything that didn't result in deaths, on the basis that war is mainly a collection of deaths, and not a collection of "incidents". The geographical information could be more accurate, and I am happy to correct if anyone sends me corrections (I'll also be updating as time goes on, using Maan News's excellent feed).

One less reader

Writing political books about, for example, Haiti, means knowing that every reader who gets the book is a victory. Consequently, having one less reader get the book is a serious matter.

I tried to send my book to Alex Hundert, a G20 defendant who is currently locked up in Penatanguishene. I was told that books have to go direct from the publisher, so I asked my Canadian publisher, BTL, to do it for me. They were quick and efficient and sent the book off.

The other day I got this back from my publisher:

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Haiti's New Dictatorship: Video of Book Launch in Montreal

This talk was recorded on November 15, 2012 at Concordia University in Montreal.

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An attack on Dr. Mukwege

Gunmen came to Dr.Mukwege's house in Bukavu, killed his security guard, and almost killed him.

Here is a profile I wrote of Mukwege in 2009 for The Progressive Magazine.

Here is the press release from PMU.

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