Global Lens Reflections on life, the universe, and everything

Africa
Malawi: Food questions
Malawi: Food questions

The usual picture the media paint of Africa is one of corruption, violence and hunger, a picture that plays well into the goal of aid groups to bump up revenue. After all, if there’s no crisis, there’s no money. And as humanitarian groups become fixers and access providers more and more frequently for cash-strapped foreign […]

Southern Sudan: Before it’s a CNN moment
Southern Sudan: Before it's a CNN moment

In Sudanese villages along the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there are homegrown militias that use rather primitive technology–bows and arrows and spears–to fight off attacks from the Lord’s Resistance Army. Yet at the same time, the Arrow Boys take full advantage of modern electronic technology to pass on critical information. Mobile […]

Southern Sudan: Advent waiting
Southern Sudan: Advent waiting

It’s the first Sunday of Advent, and I’m somewhere over the west coast of Africa, sitting in a cramped economy class seat on a 17-hour flight from Johannesburg to Washington. I’m trying to get into the zen of waiting, if for no other reason than I have no choice but to just sit here. And […]

Southern Sudan: voting excitement
Southern Sudan: voting excitement

I’m in Southern Sudan for a couple of weeks, writing about the work of the church in the lead up to January’s referendum on independence. These are heady times in some ways, as people long oppressed by the government in the north feel their way toward nationhood. There’s a rocky road on the other side […]

The Congo’s Dirty Secret
The Congo's Dirty Secret

When President Obama signed the financial reform bill on July 21, the United States took a significant step towards ending violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the most violent war of recent decades continues to rage. It’s a conflict is fueled by a variety of factors, including endemic corruption and the proliferation […]

AIDS Conference in Vienna
AIDS Conference in Vienna

I’ve been to some pretty rough places over the years, and I know they’re rough because every once in a while I get to go someplace really pleasant. Like Vienna, where I spent the last week. I didn’t have much time to wander around, but did get out with some colleagues the last night to […]

Sudan: New genocide charges
Sudan: New genocide charges

Judges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague today issued a second arrest warrant against Sudan’s Preident Omar Al Bashir, charging him with three counts of genocide against the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups in Darfur. The three specific charges are genocide by killing, genocide by causing serious bodily or mental harm, and […]

Sleepless in South Africa
Sleepless in South Africa

I have acquired some penpals. Let me tell you how that happened. Last year I was in South Africa to work on a couple of stories, one of them on the plight of Zimbabwean refugees who have been exploited, abused and even murdered. In the middle of this depressing story–as are many stories of immigration–I […]