An open letter to Homeland Security

I was recently stopped again while coming back to the US. It has come to my attention that I am officially a "high risk" category as potential terrorist because of my travels in West Africa, and I'm currently awaiting more documents pertaining to my situation requested via the Freedom of…

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sahelsounds and the quest for the emerald mp3

The good folks at 3bute have adapted a former blog post into a "mashable" comic available here. "3bute [pronounced: tribute] is an online anthology devoted to the contexts often missing when African stories are reported. Our mash-up platform lets artists collaborate with writers on 3-page visualizations of their stories and…

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imzad

Coubala (or Rokia Wallet Wakina) is one of the few living players of imzad, the monochord horsehair violin that once provided the melodies of the evening in the nomad camps. Coubala's imzad is cobbled together using a metal bowl in lieu of the calabash. Imzad has largely disappeared but for…

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windmills of your mind

Régime De La Terreur: Ansar Dine has invaded the North of Mali, imposing a Taliban style Sharia. A cut to turbaned men breaking glass, overturning plastic crates of amber beer bottles, shouting 'Allah Akbar." It's vicious, yet the religious fervor seems a bit staged. They are excited, not with righteousness,…

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Niamey by night

The bar is called The New's. The blue and white painted walls encircle a courtyard of broken mosaic tile. The crowd pours back beer in amber bottles, men in tight fitted t-shirts and suit jackets sitting statuesque and bored or a handful losing their shit on the dancefloor. A flickering…

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