African politics

2016 April

We have a limited democracy around here

2017-07-18T01:01:49-04:00April 3rd, 2016|Categories: Daily Dad|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

It’s dinner. The vote goes in the kids’ favour for what DVD we will watch this evening. (Dad's latest find, a biography on Rich Mullins, will wait another night for, uh, Laura Ingills and company.) “Thank God for whoever invented democracy,” says Jon. “The Greeks did,” I noted. (More on this soon: some news from [...]

2016 March

Hello, democracy? This is Africa calling. Again.

2017-07-18T01:15:34-04:00March 3rd, 2016|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments

(The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday, March 3, 2016) KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ Hello? Hello? Can you hear me? Is this you? Democracy? It's me, Africa, calling. Can we talk? About us? About our relationship? I mean, are you still interested?

2015 May

Wrestling with angels

2015-08-22T13:58:15-04:00May 15th, 2015|Categories: Christian Week, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

(Christian Week - May 2015) KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ It was an unremarkable day, birds and the African sunshine, the sound of a distant lawnmower, the dog laying quiet in back, shoes nearby, tea, a half-eaten yogurt, when fear washed over me like a river. Nightmares, yes, can come anytime.

2014 June

Why you should always vote, exasperated or not

2017-07-19T01:08:38-04:00June 13th, 2014|Categories: Daily Dad|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

She was a neighbour crossing the street and we like to have a conversation with each other here and there and I rolled down the window of the van. “Hey. How ya doin?” I said. “Did you vote?” “No,” she said, with a rather exasperated expression. “No. I can’t be bothered. I can’t be bothered [...]

2014 March

Uganda is Gay Ground Zero thanks to fear, politics and misguided religiosity

2014-03-18T05:18:45-04:00March 15th, 2014|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, March 15, 2014) KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦Fear is a strange thing, which is why it’s so hard to look into the eyes of another human being that you’re about to gas or bomb or, in the case of Uganda’s gays, throw to the lions. This is also why President Yoweri Museveni recently refused to meet with Uganda’s gay community – there were repeated requests – before signing Uganda’s infamous anti-gay law. The new law means even touching with the intent of a homosexual act – try to prove or disprove this one – will get you seven years. Short of jail, a life-sentence for a single homosexual act, there’s obviously also a new chill on the street here.

2014 March

Love is our highest calling

2014-03-21T12:03:06-04:00March 12th, 2014|Categories: Christian Week, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

(Christian Week - March 12, 2014) KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ By now you’ve heard plenty about Uganda’s new toughened laws on homosexuality, the news that spread to the West with the fanfare of a dark sporting event. Even short of jail—terms range from seven years to life—it’s a new day of survival in a horrible state-sanctioned chill. Several weeks in, like so many things in developing nations, it’s hard to know all that’s happening. Was that murder really a robbery gone bad? And that street beating? Why did she really lose her job? Many things simply don’t make the news here in Uganda.

2014 February

What we can learn from Nelson Mandela about solitude

2014-02-19T21:22:37-04:00February 1st, 2014|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, February 1, 2014) It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. — From the poem Invictus KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ Much has been made about the tremendous story from Africa that ended 2013, that of Nelson Mandela and the worldwide send-off he was given, and rightly so. Mandela will be remembered as the embodiment of William Ernest Henley’s poem, Invictus, that 19th-century verse describing a man who, as Henley put it, fell in the clutch of circumstance, who knew the bludgeonings of chance and bloody head, who found wrath and tears and horror, but through it all was unafraid and, in the end, “captain of his soul.” Well over a month after Mandela’s death, his name is still easily spoken across Africa.

2013 December

And now onsreen in Uganda, it’s Rob Ford

2015-01-13T19:11:07-04:00December 7th, 2013|Categories: Hamilton Spectator, Newspaper columns|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

(The Hamilton Spectator - November 23, 2013) KAMPALA, UGANDA – When Rob Ford first appeared onscreen in Africa I was sitting in front of some public televisions, a place where I often work, reading about Ghandi. It was strange because Gandhi, the great Indian leader, led a fifth of the world's people to democracy in his bare-feet, boney and malnourished and wrapped in just a sort of bed-sheet, while the burly mayor of Toronto has become a small man even while, in heavy shoes, he’s fallen with such a thud that it somehow has to be heard around the world. The last time I recall Ontario news making it this far was six years ago when the Shedden massacre involving the infamous Banditos gang got a couple of paragraphs in a Ugandan daily.