Negative Ethnicity: From Bias to Genocide

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9781583225769: Negative Ethnicity: From Bias to Genocide

"Negative ethnicity" is Koigi wa Wamwere’s name for the deep-seated tensions in Africa that the world has seen flare so terrifyingly. The genocide in Rwanda and "ethnic" killing in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, and elsewhere stand out as examples. Wa Wamwere argues that these clashes cannot properly be described as ethnically motivated; ethnicity, a positive distinction, has nothing of the hatred here at work. Negative Ethnicity gives a new picture of the force behind untold deaths on the continent, dispelling the myth of an intractable conflict waged along simple, ancient lines.
Negative Ethnicity explains the roots, colonial and pre-colonial, of the current "ethnic" tensions. It goes on to describe how, for most Africans, ethnic identity is ambiguous, and analyzes why that fact is obscured. The culprits are many: chronic poverty, a broken education system, preying dictators, corrupt officials, the colonial legacy of hate, the ongoing exploitation of the West.
Negative Ethnicity is both a history and a manual for change, intended to introduce Westerners to the crisis and to give Africans a new understanding of it. Perhaps never before has the problem been addressed with such clarity and insight.

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About the Author:

KOIGI WA WAMWERE is a political activist and writer. Born in Kenya in 1949, he has been fighting for social change in his home country for decades. He was imprisoned in Kenya five times between 1975 and 1996, spending a total of thirteen years in prison, including periods during which he was tortured. His execution was averted only by the combined efforts of the Norwegian government and human rights activists around the world. Today, wa Wamwere continues to put his life on the line for human rights, inspiring those around him with his clear vision and personal strength. Wa Wamwere lives in New York City and Kenya.

Review:

"This strange and powerful work mixes memoir, social history, polemic, and manifesto. Its basic structure is autobiographical, but wa Wamwere frequently interrupts with Kenyan history, ethnography, folk tales, poetry, fables, parables, songs, and laments for lost friends and lost causes....A terrifying work of enormous importance that contrasts humanity with bestiality, dignity with depravity."

"Not since the great Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka's The Man Died has such a raw and searing portrait of Africa been drawn, with such stark colors and contrasts. It should be required reading for every American school-child, or at the very least, every Black school-child."

"An acute and impassioned observer, one of Africa's greatest men of courage, Koigi wa Wamwere tells a riveting story of coming of age in his native Kenya with fire, anger, and vigorous joy in life."

Westerners have some knowledge of the twin African scourges of AIDS and apartheid. However, whether because it is too bloody, its campaigns too unthinkably brutal, or because of sheer racism, the terror of ethnic cleansing is passed over. Himself a veteran of decades of ethnic violence in Kenya, his homeland, wa Wamwere both describes what he has seen, and recounts the stories of horror that others have told him--of genocide by machete in Rwanda, in Sudan, in Liberia, in Nigeria, in Algeria, in Uganda, in Burundi, in Angola, in Somalia, in Sierra Leone, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Better than any observer could who is insulated by barriers of privelege or nationality, wa Wamwere, a laborer's son, explains the virulence of ethnic hatred in Africa, dating to the colonial period and before. The culprits are many: chronic poverty; a broken education system; preying dictators; corrupt officials; the colonial legacy of hate. Wa Wamwere describes how African cultures have changed to reinforce the cycle of ethnic bigotry, through language, stereotyping and class conflict. Finally, wa Wamwere takes the West to task for failing to intervene in Africa, while rushing to quell similar, though less deadly, conflicts in Europe; and for contributing to Africa's problems through cynical power-brokering and parasitic investment practices.

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Book Description Seven Stories Press,U.S., United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Seven Stories P. Language: English . Brand New Book. Negative ethnicity is Koigi wa Wamwere s name for the deep-seated tensions in Africa that the world has seen flare so terrifyingly. The genocide in Rwanda and ethnic killing in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, and elsewhere stand out as examples. Wa Wamwere argues that these clashes cannot properly be described as ethnically motivated; ethnicity, a positive distinction, has nothing of the hatred here at work. Negative Ethnicity gives a new picture of the force behind untold deaths on the continent, dispelling the myth of an intractable conflict waged along simple, ancient lines. Negative Ethnicity explains the roots, colonial and pre-colonial, of the current ethnic tensions. It goes on to describe how, for most Africans, ethnic identity is ambiguous, and analyzes why that fact is obscured. The culprits are many: chronic poverty, a broken education system, preying dictators, corrupt officials, the colonial legacy of hate, the ongoing exploitation of the West. Negative Ethnicity is both a history and a manual for change, intended to introduce Westerners to the crisis and to give Africans a new understanding of it. Perhaps never before has the problem been addressed with such clarity and insight. Bookseller Inventory # AAT9781583225769

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Book Description Seven Stories Press,U.S., United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Seven Stories P. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Negative ethnicity is Koigi wa Wamwere s name for the deep-seated tensions in Africa that the world has seen flare so terrifyingly. The genocide in Rwanda and ethnic killing in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, and elsewhere stand out as examples. Wa Wamwere argues that these clashes cannot properly be described as ethnically motivated; ethnicity, a positive distinction, has nothing of the hatred here at work. Negative Ethnicity gives a new picture of the force behind untold deaths on the continent, dispelling the myth of an intractable conflict waged along simple, ancient lines. Negative Ethnicity explains the roots, colonial and pre-colonial, of the current ethnic tensions. It goes on to describe how, for most Africans, ethnic identity is ambiguous, and analyzes why that fact is obscured. The culprits are many: chronic poverty, a broken education system, preying dictators, corrupt officials, the colonial legacy of hate, the ongoing exploitation of the West. Negative Ethnicity is both a history and a manual for change, intended to introduce Westerners to the crisis and to give Africans a new understanding of it. Perhaps never before has the problem been addressed with such clarity and insight. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9781583225769

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