Writing about conflict and governance in countries that are not one’s own is by no means a neutral exercise. This is especially true when one is a resident of the global north writing (in English, on the internet) about Africa. The time I’ve spent in Africa has not given me access to any privileged knowledge, nor any unquestioned right to write about the continent – simply an interest in relaying information that strikes me as notable and accurate. And naturally, my perception of what qualifies as “notable” and “accurate” is deeply connected to my own positionality, my own perceptual lenses, my own experiences and preferences and beliefs.
This is an inherent part of being human – and, in many ways, a great one. We are built to learn about the world heuristically, using our past experiences to filter and interpret and predict new occurrences. It’s a clever system! The question is then one of being open about the limits of one’s knowledge, and willing to continue seeking new and challenging information. I hope this attitude is reflected in these posts, and that readers will continue to be open in their comments and critiques if they feel that it is not.