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Yesterday evening after work I went with several folks to Cajun's Wharf to celebrate the arrival of fall and a couple of October birthdays. We sat on the deck overlooking the river and watched the sunset with live music against the backdrop of Little Rock's (however limited) skyline. I was reminded of other, similar occasions, but I had a nagging thought: what's missing here?

Mosquitos. I was a little unnerved that I hadn't put on bug spray and that I wasn't obliged to swat at myself for the duration of the evening.

I've been listening attentively to an NPR series on Africa and once again I'm disappointed. It's the usual litany of depressing statistics and stories. Why not a series on African successes? Like, say, the end of war in several countries? This morning's segment was on agricultural production and the journalist compared yields of a Belgian farmer and an Eritrean farmer. That's not even the same kind of physical environment, but would the average NPR listener (however good-hearted and well-informed) know that?
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On October 10th, 2006 02:28 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
I appreciate your observation of news from Africa. Maybe the balance of good vs bad events has tipped toward the negative over the decades, despite the 'aid' directed to the continent. Could the negative news be helping to maintain interest in contributing aid to Africa?

All you have to fear from Arkansan mosquitoes is West Nile virus...!

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On October 10th, 2006 02:36 pm (UTC), flemmarde commented:
you're so right. it's really noticeable that stories about africa have to be about tragedy and despair. what you wrote made me think of something i read today. i was looking up some references and i found this synopsis of a book by Alex de Waal called "AIDS and power: why there is no political crisis yet"...

"Why, twenty years into the crisis, are democratic governments performing so poorly in tackling AIDS in Africa? De Waal argues that existing approaches are driven by interests and frameworks that fail to engage with African societies' resilience and creativity. Already, African communities have confounded some of the worst predictions of disaster. If adequately supported, they will find ways of sustaining development and democracy in the midst of HIV/AIDS."
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On October 10th, 2006 03:53 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Tell me again, *why* did I give up my modeling career?
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On October 11th, 2006 02:37 am (UTC), jetamors commented:
Sounds like they took a page from How to Write about Africa.
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On October 11th, 2006 12:37 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Oh my goodness, that is so totally on the spot! Thanks!
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On October 12th, 2006 06:34 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Uninformed Wild Guess
We don't hear about the end of wars as a good thing in Africa because usually the wars end with another dictator in place and just a matter of time before the next conflict?

I was just realizing that I haven't heard anything on the news lately about the Israel-Hezbollah battle in Lebanon for nearly two months. Did it end? Is a cease-fire holding? Or is it still going on and it's just not sexy news anymore. I am so horribly, willfully ignorant.

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