Focus; Togo - Current Issues
In early February a man named nothing by Dema Africa's longest serving ruler died. He had ruled the small West African country of Togo for thirty eight years the country itself had the distinction of being the first country on the continent to experience a coup following independence. That was back in 1963 after the death of the ruler the son his name for a nothing better way. He took power with the backing of the military there in Togo. The opposition in the country called it a coup and the installation of the Son as the president met with protests around the world and certainly around Africa as a result of that pressure much of it coming from other African leaders the. Man step down. However he has promised to run in elections scheduled for later this month. Elections which have drawn some complaints from the opposition in the country who said it simply has not allowed them enough time to mount an appropriate and functional campaign.
This morning in this part of the program we'll be talking a little bit about this recent political crisis in Togo and what it means for democracy in Africa because indeed it may be that it's more significant for the way that other leaders around Africa reacted to it then for what happened in Togo all over course it's significant for the people of the country. Our guest for the program is anthropologist Charles P.O. from Duke University he is the Creed Black associate professor of cultural anthropology and African and African-American studies. He is also director of graduate studies there at Duke and in his work concentrates on histories of slavery and colonialism as well as on contemporary culture and politics in rural West Africa. He's joining us this morning by telephone as we talk. Questions are certainly welcome the number here in Champaign Urbana 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 we do. So have toll free line. And that is good. Anywhere that you might be listening this morning that he's eight hundred to 2 2
9 4 5 5 the local number 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 so at any point here if you want to join the conversation it certainly should feel welcome We ask only that people who call in our brief in their comments and we just ask that so we can keep the program moving and get in as many different people as possible. But of course anyone listening is welcome to join in. Professor Pielke Hello. Thanks for talking with us today. Thank you. We certainly appreciate it. To start out maybe we better have some basic information about Togo. What what should people know about it just to start. Well in in very general terms it's in Francophone West Africa very very small country. Fifty to 80 miles wide and 500 miles long nestled between gone out to the west and then the rain and then Nigeria to the east. It has a long history of a relationship to France that has been a a a a patron protector and
was very much so throughout the not only the colonial period but during the post colonial period during which as you said in your introduction nothing but the longest standing leader in Africa and who was a military dictator was supported throughout that period by France and indeed supported during the 1990s period of democratization as well when opposition groups tried very hard to get him out of power. Elections were held. And he he stole three elections during that time period in which it was clear that he he didn't have the popular vote but France supported him throughout so there's of a long standing relationship with France that I think is important to keep in mind here and France has played an interesting early silent role during the past several weeks around the in their moment of crisis in conjuncture
during all those 38 years when nothing they say was the running. The country what was life like in Togo. Well things were. It depends on where you were in the country I work in the north. And he comes from the north. So things in the north were stable and secure which isn't to say that there weren't people who opposed him. There have always been people who opposed him in the north and indeed from his from his own ethnic group. He he was certainly a master of of repression and was able to use the the military apparatus to achieve and that that he found desirable and to keep himself in power. But in the north things were were quite stable and life went on in the south. It was somewhat different although it was
episodic. There were moments of. Strong opposition to yeah them especially in the early and mid 90s and then there were other periods of sort of long quiescence during the 70s and 80s there wasn't a lot of opposition there were occasional coup attempts occasionally on Rast but he controlled the military and so he was able to put down any any even in clean of insurrection very quickly. In the mid-90s it was more difficult for him and there was a there were a lot of street protests. The international community especially the the Americans were largely on the side of the opposition and knew that the international community was watching so he wasn't able to get away with quite as much as he had been earlier but there were still a series of very tense moments some killings of protesters by the by the police and the military disappearances. And so on
the last several years have been more quiescent people were people I know at least were simply exhausted with it. Attempting to get them out of power and failing to do so. From this this three or four year period in the middle of the 90s and they they return to what they were doing before they went back to work. And mind you it's a country that has been in a sort of prolonged period of not only political crisis but economic crisis. So making a living is is always a struggle and people just didn't feel that they had the the the the time and ability to fight. You know politics at the same time as they were making a living. So things have been fairly calm for the past four or five years. I go back every summer and yet it's feels a bit like a police state in places and at times because there are you know military on the roads checking cars and so on.
But then at other times and in other places it feels as if I could be here in North Carolina or indeed in Illinois. At the time that Mr demo died the constitution said that the speaker of the parliament was supposed to become interim president until elections could be held so how is it that his son ended up as the president. The generals decided it's clear that that it was they who decided right away to suspend the Constitution or rather to amend the Constitution they convened the assembly the next day and they very quickly amended the constitution to place yet I'm a son in power and they their argument was that it was in the in the name of state security that they wanted to avoid an anarchic chaotic interregnum
so they needed to act quickly and put someone in power who could maintain the peace. So they simply suspended the constitution then amended the Constitution. And then as you also mentioned in your introductory remarks the international community opposition and the international community immediately started putting pressure on them to revert to the Constitution which which they did within a matter of weeks. So the son you know that my son nothing day at that point stepped down and they they put in power the I think he must have been the deputy speaker of the house a man by the name of Bonzo who was not the person not the speaker of the House who should have been in power this interesting only the speaker of the house was out of the country he was in France when the death occurred. He was on his way back to Togo.
He flew into bending the country next door and they wouldn't let him across the border so clearly there were people in the in the circle of generals and those at the top reaches of power who didn't want him running the country even even for a few months. So they placed this other guy the deputy speaker in power and he's the one who's in power today. Just maybe one more question just to make the point that how how important the reaction of the leaders of other African countries was very very quickly. Leaders of other countries in West Africa denounced what had happened they put sanctions on Togo including a diplomatic freeze there was an arms embargo there was a travel ban the A.U. the African Union suspended togo from all their activities. Just how how significant was that. Their reaction not just the reaction of the rest of the world but the
reaction of other leaders in Africa to what had happened. And that was that. That's the thing that at least persuaded the the son of the previous ruler who had been installed as president by the military to step aside. Yes unquestionably without that reaction he would still be in power today and he would be in power you know for the next several years until the next moment of elections. So it was it was the most important set of actions that occurred after he was put in power. And it it didn't matter that it was other African countries. He said they owe the African Union. We're very very active in bringing pressure to bear. The sun sought out the help and the advice of other African leaders. I think he imagined that he would have more support. But in fact almost all of that support disappeared.
So their actions were I think crucial in doing this I think the for me the interesting question here is why they would do this why there was so much attention focused on this tiny tiny you know fairly insignificant African country in significant in terms of world affairs and indeed in terms of African Affairs. Why was there so much international attention focused on this place at this time in I think an unprecedented way. And I I think if I could answer my own question there if it has something to do with the the moment that were at it which is a moment after the end of the Cold War when everyone is trying to move beyond the legacy of the Cold War which was one of Usually a military dictator in power supported by the U.S. on the one side and Russia on the other. And then various European countries as
well. And after the end of the Cold War that that order changes and we move into a moment of elections of at least nominal democracy. And so the idea of the image of. The military dictator of a military coup clearly no longer fits the logic of the moment that we're in. And I think people recognize this very quickly and saw it as as a test case really for the entire continent that if we allow another coup which which I think they were appropriately calling it in this case another coup to occur it it speaks to a much larger condition in Africa so we need to step in we need to intercede and see if we can let people know that we are committed to a new type of political and economic order.
One should also keep in mind that Togo is a very small country so it was an easy place to pick on in that sense. Had it been Nigeria or gunna or could it may have been more difficult for them to intercede. But in a place like Togo it was much easier and one should also hasten to point out of course that there are many examples of countries in Africa that say that you know have leaders like Jada must still in power. Zimbabwe is the classic classic example of that. So again I think they were they were wanting to and able to make an example of Togo and were able to step in in a very powerful way in this case. Our guest in this part of focus 580 Charles P.O. he's on the faculty at Duke University he's an anthropologist. He is associate professor of cultural anthropology and African and
African-American studies. He is also director of graduate studies there at Duke. We have a couple of callers here to bring into the conversation. Others are welcome here in Champaign Urbana if you'd like to call the number is 3 3 3 9 4 5 5. We also have a toll free line good anywhere that you can hear us and that is a. Hundred to 2 2 9 4 5 5 first callers in Champaign County to start us off your line number one. Ed good morning Tess. I had two sorts of questions one of them is just the broader colonial legacy. I was wondering about the small countries enclaves of which there are several and some of them are sitting on huge oil resources and cutting it away from the rest of the. And I wonder if that's one of the things that the how these develop that they develop through you know a particular strong person that France had in Togo in the earlier colonial days or was there a resource that was called for the boundaries to be put where they
were and then where are there any efforts to isolate Togo for three a series of three. Stolen elections I mean we you mentioned Zimbabwe the Commonwealth has already done some things to semi isolate them in some ways I was wondering if if they were actually part of eco arson and whether the whether any of that had been going on before. You know this most blatant of regime change of sorts or not regime change I guess is more were accurate and I'm going up and listen if there are things that I want to answer the second question first yes since 93 there were very strong sanctions placed on Togo especially by the European Union that committed itself to fairly large amounts of economic aid to West African countries and they have held all of that in an account in Europe. And only just a few months ago
released very small sums of it for human rights projects in the country. So Togo has been under very strict economic sanctions for the last 10 years which is certainly created. The the the condition of crisis center was totally live today. As to the first question about the relationship between especially France in this case colonial powers and. And West African countries in particular places like Togo and you were asking whether there were important resources that may be at stake here in the case of Togo there. There aren't significant resources they don't have any oil there's exploration for oil going on now off the coast so that remains to be seen whether they'll discover any but Togo had a single exports of
product which was phosphates which has gone up and down in the world markets but has never been all that significant for France or for the world economy in general. What they did have in the 1980s which was extremely important and was a seat on the U.N. Security Council is a tiny little country in West Africa that had a vote along with the U.S. and France and Russia and China and so on so they were strategically important in that in that sense. And again to reiterate a point I was making earlier during the Cold War years. Africa was the playground of the US and Russia. And the three countries surrounding Togo Guyana to the west Burkina Faso to the north and then mean to the east were all either in the Soviet camp or Marxist leanings. And Togo was was not.
So it was strategically important in that larger Cold War geopolitical sense that gets to the questions of the call that's up with someone else here Charleston line for Hello. Yes you answered my first question. There they are. They were politically unique and vulnerable. Getting to Tokyo if I understand the right natural resources and a seat on the Security Council which their vote could be swell if I interpret it properly the second. Try to pose the question a statement. It appears nothing has changed in the world so far as the battle for influence in the Third World by western nations which is very old. Would you agree with that that they. I think we can go back to what the early 18th century or perhaps for that matter when Western European influence began to call the third world to pieces. Would
you agree with that. Yes I think that's absolutely right that since the. Certainly since establishing the colonial empire in a place like Africa in the 1880s. But of course much farther back than that Africa was rated for slaves during the long 300 period 300 year period of the Atlantic slave train from the mid 50s hundreds of the mid eighteen hundreds. Then colonialism follows. And Europe in the western world has has long been interested in Africa. Especially for its resources. And this of course as I mentioned a few minutes ago continued during the the immediate post colonial period independence as in 1960 throughout much of Africa the early 1960s and so and. And then we're in a period of sort of strongman rule with a lot of Western supports or Soviet support
until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990 and and then we move into a very different moment. So the 1990s right up to the present is a time when in fact there's large scale abandonment of interest in Africa except when resources are at stake. And what's happened in a lot of cases today is that Western companies enter into private deals with with African governments and will often secure a sort of resource enclaves and go in and extract their resources and then leave. And this is of course a very convenient arrangement for these Western companies because they don't have to be concerned with anything beyond the resource itself and its extraction. They don't care about the politics locally. They don't care about Africa any more broadly than that.
Well my last comment would be that now we are seeing these things played out again in Afghanistan which has great. Lot of natural gas underneath the place and you know Dracula's of course which is oil rich. But the thing that galls me the most is this treatment of patriotism and somehow that democratic democracy is being established which is flies in the face of reality upon this earth there is no democratic institution whatsoever. We have republicanism which the US represents the top of that. But it is still 500 people in Washington that thought all the shots and the masses then are propagandized into the position of supporting these things and of late you know where I've written lately about the protocols of national and international protest which you know is gone. And it seems to me you know now we're really living this old paradigm by which the U.S. federal money
has now become blatant. And that's what I find curious. But repartee. Many things happen if you happen to come up with one. Thank you very much. I couldn't agree with you more I think we are in a very very dangerous moment of of global USA Germany. And just to return to the I guess your earlier comment about resources in West Africa. We we do seem to be answering yet another moment's beginning right now and heading into the future in which there are very very important. Resources that the US is interested in they say that by by 2015 25 percent of our oil will come from West Africa which is a very very significant. Amount of our oil supply of course. And secondly we have very strong
the US has very strong security interests in Africa today. The reasoning that I've heard coming from Washington is that in a place that has such extreme poverty one can imagine that so-called terrorism could be bred and therefore the governments and various think tanks are extremely interested in making sure that that doesn't happen in a place like like Africa like sub-Saharan Africa parts that large parts of which are of course already Muslims. So there's again a type of thinking about the world that we've become all too familiar with in the last few years post 9 1 1 that is is also being felt in a place like Africa so it's oil and the prospects of large scale terrorism that the U.S. is very concerned with today. And therefore we are going to see I
think interventions on our part. That we haven't seen recently. Well let me introduce Again our guest for this hour Charles P.O. he's an anthropologist at Duke University went to been talking here about Togo and some of. Events that took place in that country over the last couple of months. Questions are welcome 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 toll free 800 2 2 2 9 4 5 5. Toga has a rather complicated colonial history. It was initially a German colony and then after World War One was divided between the British and the French who were the dominant colonial powers there in that area then British Togo land became part of Ghana and it was the French part that then became independent and 160 and that is what now we know is the Republic of Togo. And there still continues to be as you said beginning a connection to France and that threw a lot of what happened when when Mr. Yang died and his son was
put in into power in his place the French were noticeably. Quiet about all of that we're in. In what way. Or are there ways in which France continues to have some sort of influence or continues to shape life in Togo today. Well that's a that's actually a wonderful question. The relationship to France is very very complicated. The long colonial relationship. And then as I said earlier France supporting the military dictator in power for 30 years which of course didn't endear France to the to the opposition to the majority of people in Togo who were opposed to the dictatorship. So that France has really for many many totally is today is on the wrong side of contemporary politics. And interestingly enough the U.S. is on the right side of it the U.S. has supported the opposition sense.
Since the early 90s so perhaps I'm one of the few places in the world today not just in Togo but in much of West Africa the US is seen as as the good guy and politically on the right side of things of course. You know as we were just saying it's a it it's an easy role for the US to play because there aren't large stakes and huge resources involved that that we've been interested in up to this point that may change soon. So the France of France has a has a long relationship and very ambivalent relationship to Togo. One should also say that France's relationship larger relationship to Francophone West Africa and most of West Africa was French French governed during the colonial period. The the large exceptions to that were Nigeria and. And Ghana and then Sierra Leone and Liberia as well but much of much of West Africa was Francophones a
very very long deep relationship there. France imagined after independence and right up into the last few years that that relationship would endure. That it would be a benevolent What should we say patronize in relationship. And they have been absolutely astonished and dismayed that that relationship has soured and people have turned against them. And I think what's happened in Cook recently in the last year especially has for the first time really sunk in that OK our relationship with Africa is over and I think now they're looking for exit strategies and an exit strategy for them to get out of Africa altogether. There is in Togo has been for some time this opposition party that had been working against nothing they had to try in
all those years trying to get him out of power and interestingly enough he's led by the son of Togo as first president the man who was overthrown in Silvana Libya was overthrown in 1963. He's not in Togo he led a Gilchrist Olympio the man who is the opposition leader had to leave after an assassination attempt and has been living in Paris. Talk a little bit about. About the political opposition this is the union forces for change. The UFC again a wonderful question faced as they call him has been exile in Paris. Before that he was in Ghana and a little footnote here. He was a close friend a Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings who was in power in Guyana until 2000 I think it was and then when his successor came to power John coup for who's still in power today
just won reelection last December coup four was a friend of yeah that month so you know Crist left gone at that point and went to Paris where he's been in exile. Yes this is the you know very Shakespearean aspect of Togolese politics. Father was killed by a mob and now yacht Emma dies and his son is vying for power and Eucharist is and is leading the opposition against him because he lives in Paris is not able to run himself. In the election there's a rule that you had him up put into place a few years ago that you have to be a resident in country for 12 months before an election to run. So he's barred from ruling in that rule was explicitly put into place to keep him from running of course. So he's not able to run and so he put forward his his second. Which is I think an unfortunate
choice for Togolese. It's a 75 year old man whose name is Emmanuel Tony and say who who is someone who's in retirement already who's been on a totally political scene for a long time but he's an older man now and he's not the ideal candidate. But Crist has a very strong personal interest in making sure that he gets into power I think is hope then would be that he can change the constitution and brings you back and he could then assume. Assume power at some point. So these two families have been going at each other for a long time I think to the detriment of all to believe. I mean I think it's really unfortunate that now once again we have got him a son running against Chris second so it's this this sort of ongoing Shakespearean drama that has defined the politics of this country for many
many years now. What happens after death. That was and this is a good thing I think the opposition for the first time. There are six major opposition parties and for the first time they agreed to put up a single candidate the first choice was someone who's in country who's a younger man and his name is NeNe Javy who has taught at the university for years and I from all I can find out I think would have been a very good choice. So the opposition agreed on him then Jill Crist intervened and said No no it has to be it has to be me. It has to be someone from the UFC and the rest of the opposition. Bowed to that. So now we have the UFC against an NGO of his choice against assignments which again I think is an unfortunate thing. The elections have been scheduled for April 24th and I know that I have read comments
coming from the opposition complaining that he doesn't get it did not allow them enough time to organize and carry out a proper campaign. And some people I think also raise questions about whether indeed these can be free and fair elections what do you think. Yes theres been a lot of noise about delaying the elections but they don't have enough time to get election monitors in there and indeed the U.S. said they won't send monitors because they didn't have three months advance warning. There are voter registration lists and voter cards that are being distributed now. And there's been a lot of a lot of conflict around that. People claiming that they can't get cards that the government is controlling who gets cards and so on so the opposition has been for the last three or four weeks stating very strongly that the elections need to be delayed the government has resisted that from what I can tell the elections will probably go ahead on the 24th of of
April unless again there's some sort of international intervention here. And if they do go on. I think that there will almost certainly be massive voter fraud and. I'm told by by friends that it's virtually certain that the other my son will be declared the winner but that there's no way if it were a straight up transparent that he would be elected because if for no other reason than that people from the south of the country and there is a very strong sort of ethnic politics component to all of this. People from the south of the country would simply lie not be behind the townie. But that the bigger the generals want to allow that to happen they will declare them assign the winner and then I think we enter a very very very a difficult and fraught a moment.
Well that indeed there the question there if if that is the likely outcome then what happens and. How do you how do can can those leaders in Africa who and those people who when for you was named president in place of his father those people who came forward and said well this this is in fact the fact oh this is a coup. Can the people who said that then now that an election has been held can they then say well this was not a free and fair election and then having said that then what. Well I I think that that's maybe the only hope at this point that there will be a lot of international interest attention and and hopefully intervention if things go wrong. The the you know yon Emmas regime. And and now his successors have been very very clever.
At learning the language of elections and democracy learning the language of human rights and when they are accused of violations of human rights of election fraud and so on they invite people to come in and say Show us your evidence or let's do a recount or and I'm sure they will play that game with people. And so it's you know they they sort of pull them into this procedural game. They become very good at playing. And I'm sure that will happen here and the question is whether the international community will accede to that or not. I should say that you know the other the other possible outcome is I think equally as fraught if. I Kitani is in fact declared the winner which I don't think will happen. Then the what should we call it the political class in Togo today that is those who who were placed in power by ya there must have been in power now for many years whose
jobs depend on depended on having other men power they and especially the generals. And let's not forget that 80 percent of the military is from the most ethnic group in the north so they and the generals I'm sure will not stand for the county remaining in power and will do all they can to remove him from power so I think we're looking at a very very difficult and fraught moments. Either way and it will if not the international community there will certainly be massive protests. In southern Togo people who will will simply say this is not a monarchy we cannot put up with being in power. I've heard from many people in the diaspora in Europe in the US that people will return to Togo to
to take part in the protest. And so that if they had a hundred thousand people protesting that 15000 police would probably be intimidated by those large numbers so I think either way we're we're headed into a very very difficult outcome. We have about 10 12 minutes left in this part of focus 580. Our guest Charles P.O. is the Creed Black associate professor of cultural anthropology and African and African-American studies at Duke University. And we'll have him with us for a little while longer here questions are welcome we have someone ready to go. The number if you're here in Champaign Urbana where we are 3 3 3 9 4 5 5. Also we have the toll free line good anywhere that you can hear us that's 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5 we do have someone listening here in. Chicago calling for well I found your statement that France just wants to pull out of Africa. Absolutely amazing I have sort of like a two part question so that you can discuss that a little
bit more. The first part is France more than any of the other colonial powers set such an emphasis on a culture arising and making these Africans become French that they always had grants and scholarships and programs to educate Africans in France. My second part of the question is has France become so involved with the development of the European Union in this European entity that they stopped there in trying to acculturate and bring the people of the African states into their French culture and to make them French because they used to nurture that relationship quite a bit. So I guess that's the two part. Did they stop that program that they had not just for Africa but also for many countries in the Arab world bringing young people to France to educate them in French to get for them to get degrees and French law and French universities. And secondly is it their
involvement and pivotal and very important role in the European Union that they're putting all their way into the European Union that it now. Good question. I don't know whether France is has is is intending to stop the the the many many scholarship programs assimilation programs and so on that they've been involved with over the years. I assume that that many of those will continue and I don't think that it's. But I don't know the answer the question as to why France is looking for an exit strategy in Africa I don't think it has as much to do with the their role in the EU or the existence of the EU as with the two other things the so-called immigration problem in France today where you know in a lot of ways the. The colonial chickens are
coming home to roost. It's a very very fraught issue for French trying to deal with. I think the contradictions in longstanding French policy that any French colonial subject can and should be Frenchmen and I use the gendered version of that deliberately on the one hand and on the other an inability for them to in fact deal with the fact that people post colonial subjects may not want to be like other. French people and buy into cultural assumptions. So there are enormous conflicts in France today around things like veiling and cultural practice more generally so that's going on in not only in France but of course throughout much of Europe. But that's a very fraught issue which is making French people rethink their relationship to their former colonial territories. Secondly in Africa itself
France was blamed for Rwanda. Now France is being blamed for Cote d'Ivoire. Now France throughout much of Francophone West Africa is seen as being on the wrong side of contemporary politics. So there's a way in which it makes it more and more difficult for them to want to hold on to a relationship with Africa when that is the case. OK thank you. All right thanks for the call. Understand that you're going going to Togo later this month what will you be doing there. Well I have longstanding research interests I've worked in the north actually among the ethnic groups that you advise from. And so I will be spending some time in the north. My current project is on the post-Cold War moments in West Africa in Togo specifically and I'm interested in not only what the sort of transformations in the larger political culture national political culture of the state
but as the state is in many ways Eavis aerated and vacated during the post-Cold War period because it doesn't have the resource base it had when it was being supported by the U.S. and France in particular in this case. Yet it retreats from a lot of life in especially in the rural locales where I work. And in place of it we have a new round of. Of NGOs and charismatic churches that have become major players on the local scene so I've been working on that project for the last four or five years I go back every summer for a month or two and I'm going to continue with that project and then I'm of course I'm interested in what's happening politically so I will spend some time in the capital assuming it's safe and spend as much time with friends as I can to learn about what's happening politically on the ground reading newspapers you know
doing what anthropologists do wherever they were if they work. Let's talk with someone else we have a listener this morning here in calling from Indiana on our line for. Toll free line. Hello hello. Hello. Yes yes go ahead. I've been listening to our usually jump right in the beginning but I learned a lot of things I didn't know but this is really off the wall and this is just sort of a nostalgia thing for me and if you can answer be fine if not then you know that's fine too. Back in the late 50s or mid 50s a man at Indiana University I believe published a huge book on the geography of Africa. I think it may have been just been called Africa but it was more than just geography. My understanding is this man was important for moving our geography out of some old ways of thinking or something like that. And I was just wondering if you happen to know of that book who the
author was perhaps and if you made any predictions whether or not they have panned out in the history that we know now. Thanks a lot. I'm afraid I don't know who the author of that book would be. All right. All right well as we can do all questions can be answered but we'll take them in any case 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 toll free 800. 2 2 9 4 5. Here's another one. Some calling on the cell phone on our line number one. Hello. Yes or I have a relation that in the Peace Corps where togo and I was a secure because we have a herd problem for a while. What political situation was going to try to keep up with that. There's not much in the news here. From what I've been able to tell the I mean the situation in Cairo in country today is it's fine. It's secure and relatively peaceful. If you were protesting
you know as part of the opposition at rallies and so on. It may be a little different although the rallies the last several weeks have also been fairly peaceful. But Peace Corps volunteers apparently are entirely safe. There's been a lot of chatter on the list the Tugela service that I read every day about. About Peace Corps volunteers and whether there are they're still in country whether they're safe. And all indications are that they are I imagine around the time of the election there will be you know at the end of this month there will be an alert that is sent out to Peace Corps volunteers to to to be careful but I wouldn't worry at this point. Things are things are quite calm in country. OK well we're just going to wonder if you'd like to sell us papers don't carry a whole lot about it. We try to get it on the Internet and just get these mail stuff. Thank you very much for your time. Well thanks for the call. Just as as a way of finishing up. You touched on this before but
but again I think that it's significant that to talk a little bit about where things are at this point in time in Africa and the way to which the reaction to what happened in Togo this small place says something about the leaders of a number of countries in Africa trying to demonstrate their commitment to to development to democracy and to as they would call it African solutions to African problems. You did say obviously there it was this was a little bit easier one to take on Togo rather than a problem like Zimbabwe for example but it least it happened. Can you can you can you talk a little bit more about again where we are and and what that says about about where Africa is headed. Yes I think that it's a very very interesting moments
and a transitional moment in a couple of ways. On the one hand there is there are a new set of of governance structures globally. It's not just in Africa but everywhere that are regional and trans regional and so national and states sovereignties aren't what they used to be. And I think what's going on in Togo today is a good example of that countries in the larger region and indeed beyond have been able to intervene in this situation in ways that they couldn't have earlier and he probably wouldn't have tried. So I think were in a new moments in that sense. The nation state of course is still strong and national sovereignty is still respected to some extent but there are
sort of you know limit situations to that. And and there are larger interventions that occur when those. You know when the situations are violent and clearly in the case of Togo we have some recent examples of that. So on the one hand I think I see that as a good thing. I think there because the values that that are being promoted through these larger governance structures in general are are good for more democracy for the for more developments for more participation for a movement away from military mafias that brand countries are only serving their own interests and so on of course when you put these new governance structures into place. They may or may not deliver on what they what they say they're going to
deliver on as one of the earlier caller said. Where in the world today do we find true democracy. And I think that is true here as as elsewhere. So one always needs to remain a little skeptical. On the other hand it's I think very very important to keep in mind that the U.S. I think is about to enter a new relationship with Africa. It had withdrawn from Africa almost entirely during the 90s I mean Africa was and not just in the U.S. but in Europe as well the forgotten continent in terms of the latest round of globalization. I had pretty much dropped off everyone's everyone's map. I think there is a renewed interest on the part of the U.S. especially in Africa. As I said earlier because of oil which will be supplying up to a quarter of our oil very quickly on the one hand and secondly because of terrorism and security interests. So I think we're going to see the U.S. intervening
- Togo - Current Issues
- Producing Organization
- WILL Illinois Public Media
- Contributing Organization
- WILL Illinois Public Media (Urbana, Illinois)
- AAPB ID
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- With Charles Piot (Associate Professor of Cultural Anthopology and African and African American Studies and Director of Graduate Studies at Duke University)
- Talk Show
- community; Foreign Policy-U.S.; International Affairs; Africa; togo
- Media type
Guest: Piot, Charles
Producer: Brighton, Jack
Producing Organization: WILL Illinois Public Media
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Illinois Public Media (WILL)
Identifier: focus050405b.mp3 (Illinois Public Media)
Illinois Public Media (WILL)
Identifier: focus050405b.wav (Illinois Public Media)
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- Chicago: “Focus; Togo - Current Issues,” 2005-04-05, WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 10, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_16-bn9x05xn78.
- MLA: “Focus; Togo - Current Issues.” 2005-04-05. WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 10, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_16-bn9x05xn78>.
- APA: Focus; Togo - Current Issues. Boston, MA: WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_16-bn9x05xn78