April 12, 2010
Kyrgyz President Rallies Followers, Warns of Blood
Today, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev made his first public appearance since being ousted. The appearance consisted of a rally in the southern Kyrgyz village of Teyyit, his home village. He was not even remotely humbled by the popular uprising that took place in the capital, saying, "I am the president and no one can depose me." He challenged the interm government to do their worst in dealing with him; most likely, he is banking on the international community stepping in if violence is attempted against him. Never the less, he is heavily protected, and is deep within the region from which he draws the majority of his support.

April 09, 2010
Kyrgyzstan residents mourn, fight looters
The widespread protests that began Tuesday in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek have resulted not only in the ousting of the president, Kurmanbek Bakiev, but also the breakdown of law and order. Last night, more than sixty people were injured in battles between spontaneous vigalante groups and looters. Following the flight of the president, the political opposition is claiming the establishment of a new regime government, while the president claims to still be the legitimate president. Five hundred twenty people have been injured since the fighting began on Tuesday.

March 28th, 2010
Barack Obama is No Jimmy Carter. He's Richard Nixon.
Since the day after Obama was elected, the opposition party and pundits have been hard at work defining him for the historians. While there is a minority that attempts to portray him as a socialist bent on destroying America, most simply portray him as a pushover who's too liberal for his (or our) own good.
However, as this article reports, expert analysis reveals that this is simply not the case. While Obama is interested in civil rights, he would never go as far as put them before international trade as Carter did. While he would be in favor of western-style democracies around the world, he is not so naive as to make spreading democracy a top goal as his predacessor did. The policies of Obama and his administration are closest to what the article calls "Nixonian pragmatism." What will be interesting to see is whether he's remembered as this, or as a sequel to Jimmy Carter.

February 1st, 2010
This article is about recent ethnic violence in Turkey, specifically violence between Turks and Kurds. While Kurdish minorities never seem to have a good relationship with the majority, the Kurds in Turkey have until recently enjoyed nonviolent relations with the Turkish majority. However, recent violence has come as the result of an attempted generous gesture towards the Kurds from the majority party in Turkey. Among other things, former Kurdish radicals were being let into the country, on the basis that they no longer be radical. As it turned out, however, they staged all kinds of rallies, and demanded more than what they were already being given. This angered many ethnic Turks, who felt like they had really been putting themselves out there on this one, and that's when the violence happened.
The post-colonial fate of Kurdistan is the classic example of British imperial apathy. Rather than creating a state for the Kurdish nation, they are split up and incorporated into the surrounding states. While the British didn't cause the violence, they certainly created the situation that led to the ethnic tension.

January 10th, 2010
There has always (or at least in the postcolonial era) been a passionately antigay majority in most parts of Africa. Soon, however, the laws of multiple countries may reflect this. The government of Rwanda is considering legislation that would make both homosexuality and the enabling of homosexuality (this likely includes HIV/AIDS treatment) criminal acts. Uganda, which has recently passed its own antigay legislation, is the first of what may well become an antigay domino effect in the east. Kenya, the relatively progressive country in the region, has typically set the standard for gay rights. However, the chaos of the recent election there has put Uganda in a position to set the precedent.
The government of Uganda is aware of phenomena like cognitive dissonance, and knows how to use it to their advantage. I'm not sure this works. Chelsea's connection was better. The government is unable to deal with violent militias in the northern part of the country, and so pass hugely popular antigay legislation. They know that people will be less critical of the government for its military weakness if they pass popular social legislation. Think about this in your response. What are you attributing these nations' behavior to? What do you think they would attribute it to? Attribution bias works both ways.

I'm not a huge fan of making harmless things illegal, and especially not things that single out a particular group for reasons that are outside of their control (i.e., being gay.) It's not uncommon for civil liberties to be restricted in unstable countries, and frankly I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner. The only good news I can find in the whole thing is that East African homophobia is cultural and not religious, meaning that future generations of gay rights advocates will likely have an easier time creating change in their country, as they will not have to combat the immutable prohibitions made by the Abrahamic religions. Essentially, progress will take 70 years instead of 700. I know that's not much to be excited about, but it's a start at least.