Opening up the Great Lakes Region – the challenges of East Africa

Very few countries have not been built around sea routes and harbours, seemingly infinite sources of international trade and national increase of wealth. However, some countries without any waterfronts have developed, thus forming territorial enclaves within entire continents. This is the case of Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. Regrouped by the commonly accepted expression of Great Lakes Region, these central-eastern African territories, far from seas and oceans, are described as “inter-lacustrine”. Put together by this relatively abstract geographical structuration, these territories “between the lakes” – although collective imagination may sometimes fantasise this geographical construction -are lands with extremely complex geopolitical situations.  Continuer de lire « Opening up the Great Lakes Region – the challenges of East Africa »

“If I Die in a Combat Zone”: a personal account of the Vietnam War

Can the foot soldier teach anything important about war, merely for having been there? I think not. He can tell war stories.

        2018 is a year charged with political symbolism. It marks not only the 50th anniversary of May 1968 in France, but also one of the major events of the Vietnam War: the Tet Offensive, a series of North Vietnamese surprise attacks against South Vietnamese and U.S troops. The offensive is identified as the moment that turned U.S public opinion against the war effort, even though the conflict only officially ended in 1975.

It was in this context that American novelist Tim O’Brien was drafted to serve his country in the summer of 1968. His experience as a foot soldier in Vietnam served as a leitmotiv for most of his works, such as “If I Die in a Combat Zone”, first published in 1973. Through the 23 chapters of the book, we take on the author’s journey from a small town in Minnesota until his final days of military service in the Vietnam War. Continuer de lire « “If I Die in a Combat Zone”: a personal account of the Vietnam War »

La question minière en Colombie, un enjeu essentiel pour la construction de la paix ?

                                             Les années 2000 ont constitué pour les économies d’Amérique du Sud une période de retour aux matières premières. La part des matières premières dans les exportations du continent est ainsi passée de 27 %, au début des années 1980, à 40 % en 2009. La Colombie n’a pas échappé à ce processus de «  reprimarisation des économies »  porté dans le pays par une importance croissante de l’industrie minière, c’est-à-dire de l’ensemble des activités visant à prospecter, exploiter et extraire des matières comme l’or ou le charbon. Continuer de lire « La question minière en Colombie, un enjeu essentiel pour la construction de la paix ? »