As a lawyer, I always try to check my sources. No one is completely objective, because there is no such thing as absolute truth, especially not with respect to the issues that I intend to explore in this blog. Therefore I think it is important to know from what perspective information comes. What natural bias. Charlie Beckett of the London School of Economics has said this best:
I do not pretend to be objective. I never really have as a journalist. I strive towards fairness, accuracy, and thoroughness, but I refuse to pretend that I am merely a cipher, a neutral medium through which facts and opinions pass unhindered to the public (Super Media: Saving journalism so it can save the world, p.3).
So here is a little about my perspective.
Who am I?
I’m an Australian lawyer residing in Paris, where I have lived for the last two years. I am currently working in finance law but recently spent six months as a Defence Intern at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania. It was here that the Africa bug bit me, and I have returned at each possible opportunity. I have visited Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, DR Congo, Namibia and South Africa.
I think my experience working in Defence at the ICTR probably informs my perspective more than any other. This work taught me that there are always other sides to the story. Every dispute, every event, every history is complex and multi-layered, and there is no final ‘truth’. Only overlapping and contradicting perspectives.
Africa Live welcomes other contributors. If you would like to write for Africa Live please send me an email at: africalive[a]cafebabel.com.
What am I hoping to achieve?
Essentially, I would like to bring Africa to Café Babel’s European audience. I will try to make the posts as relevant to European readers as possible. However, given the geographical proximity between the two continents and the number of African immigrants in Europe, I think all major events and trends in Africa are important.
I will also strive to bring you stories of hope from Africa, in addition to the all too familiar tales of war, famine, corruption and exploitation. It is still important that the world hears about these tragedies, but they only tell half the story.
Why am I doing this?
Because Africa is important and the world should know about it, generally speaking more than it does. Too many of Africa’s current problems are being exacerbated by the ignorance of the people involved in fixing them.
Many people have asked me what it is about Africa that has so bewitched me. This blog is in part an answer to them. I would like to be able to show you, in some small way, the Africa that I fell in love with: the Africa of light and sunshine, of women in bright coloured kangas, of a thousand different sounds, languages, tastes and experiences, where each day holds the promise of a new adventure. A world which, away from the cushions of Western existence, taught me how to experience the full range of human emotions: from love, joy and happiness to frustration, anger and despair. Sometimes all in one day. The Africa that is raw and brutal but at the same time beautiful in its honesty. The Africa that is truly alive.