Post 12: Europe’s Coalescing Misunderstandings

Part II

  1. As we have come across in the readings, there are many different terms which represent the experiences of the Muslim-European population. Assimilation is one such term which finds its way as a roadblock to Muslim lives across the spectrum. Assimilation refers to the ways in which some Muslims are expected to adopt the mindsets and political ideals of the countries which they inhabit, but numerous problems exist in this expectation. It is very often that Muslim ideals are wildly different from their host countries, and this can cause and has caused problems in the ways that European society views the Muslim people. We can see this in examples like France, where the Muslim population there is “helped” through political movements envisioned only through the lens of what native French politicians believe is right for the Muslim people. Assimilation then, in this context, refers to the ways in which oppression is wrought upon Muslim populations through the unrealistic requirements of European societies for Muslims to conform to ideals and political agendas which directly contrast their own.

    Communitarianism is another such term which may mean well, but eventually can harm peoples under its ideology. Communitarianism refers to ways in which an individual can find belonging and ‘refuge’ within groups of others who identify as they do. There is a benefit to this ideal, as with Muslims, especially those who identify as Islamic, they can find unity and develop different family units in staying together and forming a community with one another. When communitarianism is taken into a political perspective, however, it finds a way to bring the same kinds of oppression assimilation can create. When identities are formed into groups politically, individuals who identify in one of the categories which composes these groups is considered as a part of that group. This means that if there is an Islamic group, and it constitutes anyone who identifies as Muslim, then all Muslims are in this Islamic group. Being that there are many Muslims who do not identify as Islamic in the world, these group identities can cause problems when the society around them makes personal assumptions about individuals in this political level.

  2. Malik discusses that the political ideal of diversity is flawed, and simply does not exist in the context that it does socially. European ideals of diversity mean that there are many people who exist in a European country and identify in different races, religions, and walks of life. However, it still expects conformity and complete assimilation from these different groups into what the majority population identifies as, and practices. The “ideal” form of diversity is assumed to be a position where any and all forms of identity are able to exist and coexist with all other forms harmonically, allowing each identity to flourish peacefully in its own way without oppression from others. Such is the downfall of European Diversity.

    Malik showed that assimilation differed from multiculturalism in that assimilation directly ignores the diversity that exists in a place in favor of ushering an ideal of equality among identities, even though that equality falls under images of the desires of only one particular identity (the white majority). Multiculturalism identifies the multiple identities which exist in diversity, but groups them and puts them into boxes discriminatorily to pursue a political agenda. Such is the way that France handled Assimilation with Muslims in their country by vying for what they thought was freedom for the expression of women. Or the way which Germany handled Multiculturalism with the Turks in their country, in that they defied principles of inclusion by suggesting the Turks should just handle and preserve aspects of their cultures themselves, and to do so quietly.

    To overcome these failures of Multiculturalism, Malik suggests that Europe separates diversity as a “lived experience” from multiculturalism as a political process. He also suggests that Europe stop treating assimilation as an end-all process, and start recognizing that citizens, although it is law to treat others equally, still experience discrimination in all walks of life. Finally, Malik suggests that European governments should start differentiating between who people are and what they value. Not all peoples value the same things, but that does not mean that the only way to keep diverse people in order is by homogenizing society. Values exist everywhere, but not all must be under the same values to coexist and flourish as a peaceful society. Understanding across all spectrums of existence is the only way to redeem and sustain a peaceful society.


Post 11: The Youth Affected

Part II

  1. As we have seen in our readings for this week, Muslims in Europe have most certainly found it harder to assimilate in those countries than they have in the United States, and this is mainly because each Country’s culture treats Muslims differently. The youth in particular are critically affected in Europe in their day to day struggles. This is first outlines by terrorism, and its socio-emotional effects on Europeans. Muslims who are fleeing their home countries for a safe-haven, but do not have the resources necessary to leave for the United States, must flock to other European countries. As a result, the greater influx of refugees finds itself in European countries, and this is felt by the native residents of these refuge-countries. Muslim youth are critically affected by this in that as more Muslims flood into these European countries, the more of a negative outlook native Europeans have on Muslims in general. As such, the Muslim youth is therefore seen as an even lesser being, for they are young, inexperienced, and perhaps thought to be uneducated. Another problem that Muslim youth may face is in the assumptions of others on terrorist identities. Europeans may assume that younger Muslims may be the “best candidates” to be radical Islamists; bodies which are the ablest to carry out terrorist agendas. These above assumptions host a whole other amount of problems for Muslim youth. As a result of often-wrong discrimination, the youth may not be able to acquire jobs near their new homes, or they may be paid less or maltreated in the workplace. There can also be problems in the education sector, wherein Muslim youth in Europe may find it less easy to excel due to educators who hold negative assumptions of them.

    Discrimination on the Muslim youth in these forms affect them by in turn perhaps impressing a mindset that they are hated, and are helpless to this unjust treatment. They may develop an identity of helplessness, of depression, and of a lack of confidence. Since the youth of the Muslim community are what will eventually progress them in society, these negative effects will significantly hamper this progression to the point where hatred and negativity are all that will exist between Muslims and the Europeans. As a result, no growth will be made, and the problem of discrimination will remain.

  2. I think that the Malaysian Muslims have experienced contradiction in the West in all of the sectors where the “normal” contradictions lie. Popular culture, religion, morality, and leisure are all places where contradictions occur. Even if the Malaysian Muslims are more privy to freedom of religious expression, there is still a problem in the values that these people hold versus those in the United States. I do not see a monumental or groundbreaking contrast between the Malaysian Muslims and Western culture. These are the same problems which have been outlined between Muslims and the Western world regularly.

Post 10: Equality, and the Suppression of Ideals

Part II:

a) Salman Rushdie is a controversial author who wrote the book, The Satanic Verses, which provides come critical views on the Islamic faith and ultimately forced Rushdie into a life of hiding after immense upheaval from the Islamic community. The reason for the upset was in Rushdie’s writings of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, specifically concerning a Muslim tradition. In this tradition, the prophet Muhammad wrote into the Qur’an that he accepted three different goddesses worshipped in Mecca as divine beings. It is written that Muhammad later revoked this claim, saying that it was the work of Satan that these verses were ever written. However, Rushdie wrote in his novel that he thought this tradition was incorrect and that the verses in question actually originate from the Archangel Gibreel. As a result of this so-called blasphemy, the attempt of an author to write about the transformations and trials of migration, Salman Rushdie was exiled from his country and hunted by assassins for years to come. To this day the Iranian government still holds resentment toward Rushdie, and vows to continue hunting him as long as he is alive.

The U.K. connection comes from Rushdie’s Knighthood in 2007. While Rushdie was thrilled by the honor, many Muslim groups still condemned the act, and again vowed at the rime to take action against the author and his “disgraceful” writings.

b) In the reading of the article from The Atlantic, we gathered that the main limitation to Muslim assimilation in the U.K. is values, and their contrast between communities. The values that British or French or any other generic “U.K.” majority may hold are greatly different than those held by the Muslim community. For instance, the article outlines that the percentage Muslims who identify with their religion “strongly” in the U.K. topples the percentage of regular British or French who identify in the same way. The article also says that zero percent of the Muslim population polled think that there is a moral right to homosexuality, which is a rising identity within groups in the U.K. It is this clash in values and ideals that makes it difficult for Muslims to assimilate, but that still does not mean Muslims do not want to assimilate there. Muslims immigrating to the U.K. have no other choice but to settle there, when considering situations of economic and religious condemnation in their home countries, and therefore must somehow find a way to fit in with those societies. As I have said before however, it is the abilities of both parties to take a step back and understand one another that will have the most weight on determining peace among cultures.

c) Musawah is an organization which is for the advancement of the Muslim Woman in today’s society, and the expression of equality and justice within the Muslim Family. The word musawah means equality, according to the Musawah website. Some of their key messages emphasize that there can be no justice in the world without equality. Their framework focuses on the creation of small groups of believers in the same mindset to further their cause of instituting equality through the association of existing laws that are for human rights, as well as through the creation of new laws which can potentially help their efforts.

I think that this association is in the right mind, and that if they can potentially convert many Muslim women to their frame of thinking, then they will be a great proponent of the assimilation of Muslims into western culture. However, I have doubts in their ability to convince the rest of the Muslim population to help further women’s rights and further the idea of equality with all peoples, as they themselves are a majority of women and they do not hold a high status within Muslim society/culture.

Post 9 – The Problem is in the Perceptions


Part II:

  1. In reading the Dispossessed article as a part of this week’s material, I thought that it brought a lot of perspectives to the table that are not usually, if at all, considered by the main-stream population, that is, the population of non-refugees who live in the world today. It is hard in any situation to try and view the lives and experiences of another group, or another culture, or even just another individual. We ourselves cannot entirely perceive the thoughts and emotions of other people. But I think that the Dispossessed article really helped with this problem. Now, albeit, this article was written by another person who is representing the thoughts, emotions, and experiences of a group of people as she has heard it accounted from them. However, even still, I believe that the author (and artist) who made this piece did a good job of making sure that the story expressed was true to those who told it, and they did well by providing the precursor (to the comic) that thoughts expressed in pink were direct quotes, while others were paraphrased. However, I digress now on this, and move onto how this analyzed the dispossession and refugee crisis.

    Overall, I think that this piece described the crisis well by putting it into a new perspective. Instead of being told by official statements by governments or other news sources, the story is told from the perspectives of a smuggler, a raft captain, and the families escaping to Germany and otherwise. To me, and I am sure to countless others as well, this was a refreshing and much needed new perspective on the situation at hand. Other sources feeding information about the subject always tell it from the “official” perspective, and how outside views criticize it, rather than from firsthand accounts of the refugees themselves. Already this analysis is better than almost all the rest due to this simple shift, and certainly provides more weight to the situation. As far as analyses go, this one provides a more or less true account of what just one group of smuggled refugees have experienced (and what can be assumed many others have experienced as well), as well as the misunderstanding opposition to their safety that was exhibited by other governmental powers. The article showed just how hard it really is to find refuge in a country that is not your own, and how the journey away from danger can be just as harrowing as staying near it.

    Did Islam Play a role in this story, and this article? I would say yes, but from a far standpoint. In part, Islam may have been what was causing some woes for these refugees, whether it be governmental movements, or radical terrorism, or just their beliefs being used as a weapon against them. But as for the journey that was described, and the relations that occurred, I would say that Islam was not a main focus of this story, and this account. This shows that Islam and religious reasons are not the only things that brings or motivates refugees to flee their home country.

  2. On the “stories” of intercultural confrontation and intercultural compatibility, they each are separately and simply definable, while they both mirror each other’s opposites. Intercultural confrontation is referenced in the readings as how the Western and Muslim nations view themselves in a battle of light and dark. They both find themselves looking directly at the others faults, and, since “they” are different than “us”, one must be evil and one must be good. The West thinks that Islam is prone to violence, while the Muslim world believes the West to be oppressive; a vicious cycle that repeats itself continuously.

    Intercultural compatibility’s story is one of healing the wounds made by the confrontation. Compatibility speaks of taking two groups, the Western and the Muslim, and emphasizing in the cultural empathy. The text says that each must begin to see one another not as “us” and “them”, but as “we”. They must understand that yes, there may be differences in their cultures, practices and beliefs, but this does not mean that these two groups cannot work alongside one another. It is just like what I had written in the above portion: One groups perception of another is wildly difficult, and often leads to conflict as a result of blatant misunderstanding and the negligence and ignorance to understand the reality of a group’s motivations. Compatibility speaks of looking forward to a future of cooperation, and a harmony and progression of both groups’ ideals and social structures.

    These two, intercultural confrontation and intercultural compatibility both affect conflict transformation greatly, in that they both define why conflicts arise, and the individual biases and judgements which permeate throughout them. Their only difference is that one speaks of the demise of the groups in conflict, while the other speaks of the what to do afterwards.

Post 8: A Question of Conflicting Philosophy


Part II:

  1. In this week’s readings, we read about how Muslims, over the course of history, have tried to integrate into European culture. It was explained that, at first, the Muslim people came as migrants to European countries in the 50’s, and they were taken rather well at the time by their host countries. The Muslims were different than their hosts, but their ability to fill jobs that were at a lower wage class gave them the ability to “fit in” to the culture, as it were. However, later on in the 70’s Muslims faced the issue of the cold war when they immigrated to Europe, and were then considered as refugees, which is a condemning stereotype that set Muslims apart from other Europeans. This is considered as the “failure to integrate” as was prescribed by Zemni and Parker.

    The failure is not on the part of the Muslim community, however, but on the part of the Europeans. There is a mindset that forbids the European frame from accepting that which is different or is a pariah from their norm. The lesser-thinking over the Muslims that the Europeans have is a learned practice built upon the platform issued in the above paragraph. The European view as Muslims as an infection, or as an unwanted group has stuck to this day, and severely limits the Muslims to rise the ranks of European society, both politically and socially. Muslims have recently been alienated in this way in seeing the head-scarf ban in France, which specifically alienates Muslims and Islamists.

  2. The French gender system differentiates from the Muslim one in that the French view women as an equal body to man, socially or politically. Muslims on the other hand, in there society, treat women different than they do men. Women can often be lesser objects to men, and are revered differently across generations. This difference is a contrast, and is noticed by both communities. The headscarf is something that the French view as an oppressor to Muslim women, and the ban on headscarves is an attempt to “save” these women from this form of oppression. In their eyes, the French government thinks that they are doing the right thing, and thinking radically. The French believe that their women should feel free to express themselves openly, and should not be oppressed by outside social constructs. The laïcité enforces that religion be separated from government and other social dealings. In other words, it is a belief that religion should not be openly practiced. This is the other side of the coin concerning the headscarf ban. Headscarves can also be seen as an act of religious practice, and this is frowned upon due to the laïcité, which is another proponent of why Muslims are still put down in the societal ladder. Though the French may think they are preserving their own morals and values and trying to help a “problem”, it is not difficult for outside eyes to see that the government itself is the oppressor to the Muslims, and not the headscarves.

    In my opinion, we outside eyes cannot blame the French for them trying to do what they think is right. Their philosophy is different than ours, and it takes that frame of mind to understand what is really going on. I personally do not think that it is right to oppress a group in such an unfeeling way, but it will take a reform of philosophy rather than a collective scolding to right the wrongs that the French government have made to their Muslim population.

Post 7: Islam

YE-AP Top Tennessee Stories
FILE – In this Aug. 10, 2012 file photo, worshipers attend midday prayers at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The struggle since 2010 between the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro and a group of residents who have fought a losing battle to keep it from being built paints a distorted picture of Muslim life in Tennessee, where several other mosques have opened in recent years with little or no controversy. The opening of the center is one of the top stories in Tennessee for 2012. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

Part II

  1. In this week’s readings, Justin Vaisse discussed in his paper some of the challenges of being a Muslim in the modern European world, which examine the assumptions that Islam can only be viewed in a negative connotation, which is simply false. He first discussed how some Muslims have no connection to Islam, and that as such many may be offered fewer opportunities than populations of older origin. On the flipside, there are other Muslims who have EVERYTHING to do with Islam, and have difficulty being more open in their practice. And even still, some only have partly to do with Islam, wherein some emphasize their religious aspects while others emphasize the physical. One of the great challenges also listed was on the topic of terrorism. European Muslims frequently condemn terrorism groups of their own people, but assumptions and stereotypes that ALL of Islam is a terrorist organization still flies freely in modern Europe. Finally, and in a way reflecting the previous challenge, stereotypes of Islam and Muslims prevail in the modern world in such a way that in some places and areas, Muslims are unable to progress socially and professionally. Vaisse also discusses some Myths about Muslims as well, such as that they are a fixed identity, and are only capable of being Muslim, or that Muslims are totally foreign to European countries; both of which are false. Or that they are a bitter group, and that they are “gaining” on the native population. Inherently false stereotypes of Muslims dominate western culture more than the Muslims ever have.
  2. There MUST be a distinction between the political and religious dimensions of Muslims, as it is this distinction that separates Muslims from terrorism. It is important to note that not all Muslims are terrorists, and in essence Muslims do not have to be terrorists at all. Their religious practices may be tied to negativity in western culture, but it is only the side of terrorism that actually exercises the negative false aspects of the religion.
  3. Education has been quite negatively impactful on the Muslim community, as there have been many attempts by school districts to suppress the outward aspects of Muslims in public, such as the banning of traditional wear or other things. A social rift would also emphasize the same mentioned above, in how these different suppressions truly weigh down on a person, especially one who cannot fully express themselves, in this case a Muslim. Ramadan states that Muslims should refrain from any impurities, thoughts or otherwise. So in face of this adversity, Muslims will still perhaps not speak out against this negativity, or they may be discouraged and feel they are going against their practices by thinking about disliking what is happening to them.

Post #6 – A Time for Compromise


Part A(1)

In this week’s readings we were confronted with the problem of what to do and how we should do it when concerning the eradication of poverty. We saw the opinions of prominent economists Jeffrey Sachs and William Easterly, and how their ideas for ending poverty are varying and different. The question is of foreign aid: is it a valid way to remove poverty from a system or institution? The readings provided information on where the money goes when foreign aid is injected into a country of poverty, and in multiple cases it was found that a large percentage of these funds are taken by officials and put right into their pockets. This shows that corruption is as much a bar to prosperity and self-sustainability as even hunger or disease, and so places the problem of corrupt leadership to the top of the list of steps to destroy poverty. So what did Easterly and Sachs have to say about foreign aid and the corruption that it ultimately runs into?

Sachs puts forth that corruption in itself is a poverty trap; poverty creates corruption which creates more poverty which creates more corruption, and it goes on. He also notes that poor institutions are what makes poor countries, and that the issue of foreign aid is not a question of if we should send it, but of where. Sachs insists that aid should be injected into sectors that increase the living standards of people who live in poverty, which should in turn reduce the poverty from the inside and eradicate corruption as a result. Higher standards of living would also help to make those living in conditions of poverty more confident in their abilities for self-sufficiency, and set wheels in motion for the creation of other rights, freedoms, and basic needs for democracy. However, this is all a possibility only if the corruption in these governments is not greater than the opposition: which currently is not the case.

Easterly has a different side to offer than Sachs. He says that Westerners are in no position to judge another country and determine for it what is good and what is bad. He said that, “it is easier to take over a country than to know how to make it run well.” Easterly is against foreign aid, specifically because of the fact that he does not trust it when corruption exists in the countries to take it for their own. Instead, he believes in giving the people in these other countries the opportunities necessary for them to do it all themselves. In other words, allow them to make their own history, instead of our governments making history for them. These people are in need of freedom, according to Easterly, and that it is only a collected body or action which should set their freedom in motion. These people need to find their own way, and make civil rights and education a priority in their own way, on their own time.  In a way, this kind of thinking is already in motion, as we have talked about it previously in the form of Cheetah’s leading society’s reforms in countries of poverty. What Easterly wants and thinks is necessary is minimal movement from large government intervention in these countries; movement that gives the countries only what they need to start off with, along with some encouragement, and then backs away and allows the metaphorical flower of freedom to bloom and grow.

Each argument has its valid points, but I will opt to not choose a “side” but rather take the stance that Banerjee and Duflo took, and agree with both economists with what they have to say. Sachs is right in his philosophy that poor countries create corruption which creates poverty. But instead of sending aid to these people immediately, why not inform them of this philosophy and give them a platform to change it. Give their Cheetah’s the opportunity to really change the face of the situations of these countries, and inject hope for themselves and their respective societies in overturning corruption and their other issues. I agree that we as a first world country need to help start this process, but I also agree that if we are not as precise as possible with our financial assistance, we will again end up funding the corruption. In my opinion, the key to self-sustenance is allowing the people of these countries to find out what that looks like for themselves so that they understand it and grow in it, rather than just learn about it and complacently sit by just a word, and not an action.


Part B

Laura Poitras and her new website FIELD_OF_VISION is something that I think definitely contributes to helping others get involved in global issues, but it targets a younger more millennial generation. People of this generation want quality items, and they want a story to show them new information, perspectives, and concepts. The way that these videos are portrayed in this website are the exact way to appeal to people living in this generation, who have such high standards for anything they consume. This sends the message, and this will certainly encourage, invigorate, and motivate others to get involved and think critically about global issues.

You can visit the Field of Vision Website here.

Post 5: Microfinance, Microcredit, and Burkina Faso


Microcredit, and microfinance in general, is a fairly impactful social machine that has been recently prevalent in communities that are poor and in poverty. It gives poor individuals an opportunity to build upon their lifestyle and make an enterprise from what they have, which is a really big positive in the grand scheme of things. However, microcredit and microfinance do have their limitations which were outlined in this week’s readings.

Banerjee and Duflo said that microfinance and microcredit, while they do tend to make the lives of recipients slightly more sustainable for a determined period of time, are not reliable forms of change for a long-run method of deconstructing poverty. Microfinance does indeed create some forms of income for those who use its services. Recipients gain a small loan, and hopefully use that loan to start up a personal economy for themselves which can help to keep their income sustainable for as long as they can. However, many recipients of the loans do not take this initiative to start up an enterprise, and the money ends there which is a setback of this form of financing. Another problem with microcredit outlined by Banerjee and Duflo was that among those who do start up a company or an enterprise, those who failed in their attempts tended to recede back into their former financial state. These loans do not accommodate failure, and many recipients to not foresee this when they get involved in microcredit and they ultimately may find themselves farther off from where they started out. Microfinance cannot sustain an individual; it is up to the recipient to use their startup funds wisely.

Microfinance also cannot distribute large quantities of money to groups in need of it, only small funds per loan. This further attributes the fact that microcredit is not a source to sustain, but to help for a new beginning for these people living in poverty. It relies on people doing the best they can to assert themselves into the economy… and oftentimes into the community itself. This is another problem foreseen by Banerjee and Duflo, in that there are many who would like to be recipients of microcredit, but are too shy or afraid to interact with groups that are also taking out and participating in this loan structure. The social aspect of it acts as a barrier for new entrants, especially mothers and women in general.  These people of less social ability are barred from the positive effects of microfinance, and are forced to experience the negative spectrum of it all.

Burkina Faso has been critically impacted by microfinance, as it currently has fifteen institutions which all include microcrediting, and supports a broad spectrum of careers including: agriculture, food processing, handicrafts, livestock and many others. According to the Hunger Project, there has been a great increase in households pursuing livelihoods other than in agriculture. The microfinance institutions in Burkina Faso are also helping to empower women and women’s education, according to The Hunger Project. For the most part, microcrediting is working in Burina Faso, but I do agree that the limitations outlined by Banerjee and Duflo do exist and are likely still at work in the country. But the faults of Microfinance are not created by the institution, but by the recipients of the loans and the users of the service.

At this point, it isn’t clear whether digital microfinance is making an impact on the institution and the society it is in concerning Burkina Faso, but what is clear is that many people have access to microfinance institutions all across the country. These people are using their funds wisely to increase their income and generate more personal wealth, taking steps toward self-sustenance, and away from poverty.

Microfinance & Economic Activity in Burkina Faso

Post #4: Burkina Faso, New Leadership, and Education

Part I (a)

A Cheetah that can be found in Burkina Faso today is a man and his wife named Inoussa Maiga and Nawsheen Hosenally. The two have recently founded a television broadcasting station named Agribusiness TV, and are directing their efforts to providing youth with a positive and attractive perspective towards careers in agriculture and farming. Burkina Faso has a history of having tough-to-work lands that are not very reliable for reaping resources. This makes farming very difficult for many who are in the profession, and gives the country a perspective that farming and its businesses are non-profitable and annoying; farming is not set up to be a worthwhile profession in Burkina Faso. Inoussa and Nawsheen aim to change that. They look for people in the farming business who can inspire others to get involved in agriculture again, especially those in the younger generation. In doing so he also hopes to motivate those who are unsure about getting into agriculture. According to an interview done by Daily Mail UK, Inoussa calls his work “the motor for the development of African economies.” This may be true, but the station’s mission can also stand as a way to attract youth away from Burkina Faso’s rising and dangerous industry of gold mining, which has been the country’s largest source of income in recent times. AgribusinessTV could possibly keep the youth of Burkina Faso safe while simultaneously revitalizing the farming market and providing nutrient-rich foods to the community once again. These resolutions could significantly decrease poverty in some areas of the country, and create an economy with a high possibility of entry for every member of the population.

Part I (b)

In terms of democratic ranking, Burkina Faso is growing very quickly. In 2014, the country ousted its then-reigning president Blaise Compaore. Compaore had been sitting in the office for over 30 years, but now with successful protests and coups occurring within the past few years, Burkina Faso has held its first successful free election in 2015. As a result, the country elected President Roch Marc Christian Kabore to the position. After this occurred, many investigations went into finding evidence linking Compaore to assassinations of a journalist and a previous president. Compaore is currently being put under the political system for evidences found against him. New President Kabore has put into effect many new laws that legalizes defamation and create better environments and conditions for women.

Freedom House currently rates Burkina Faso with a 3.5 “freedom rating”, which is a significant jump from its rating of 6 from the previous year. The country is Partly Free, upgrading from being almost not free at all. However, thanks to the new leadership listed above, things like political rights, civil liberties, and other freedoms, are sharply on the rise. The electoral processes for Burkina Faso have been reformed so that more of the population can vote than ever before, which allowed for an over 60 percent turnout for this past election. Political pluralism and participation is also on the rise. The country has new reestablishments of the rights to publically campaign and be heard to minority groups now that the country is powered by an actual government. In terms of Civil liberties, while they too are on the rise due to new rights in free speech, many media and other organizations still self-censor content, likely as a learned habit of past governmental situations. With Burkina Faso being a secular state, freedom of religion is also respected.

The Judicial process is still being worked upon by the government, but has been seeing a rise in the accusation of corrupt parties all throughout the country. Although transparency becoming more instituted in Burkina Faso, police in the country are still numb to discrimination that occurs, particularly toward people a part of the LGBT community, and those that have HIV.

Overall, Burkina Faso is experiencing an upward trend in its transformation into a democracy, and its rehabilitation after a 30-year regime.

Part II (c)

Education has been present in Burkina Faso, but efforts to educate more children have been more and more successful since 2002, according to the Global Partnership for Education. Education for girls especially has been a focus for efforts. There has been an increase in gross enrollment rate “from 3.5% to 4% for preschool, 81.3% to 83.7% for primary school, and 36.7% to 40.2% in post primary school” according to the GPE. There has also been a higher success rate for students in getting their certificate for primary education.

These are all good and well, but there were still problems with school attendance in Burkina Faso due to the governmental uprisings and switching of hands. However, this has all subsided with the ease of new governmental leadership.

New Generations, Witch Hunts, and Burkina Faso

Part I

The meanings of “Cheetah” and “Big Man” refer to two very different generations which are opposing in Africa’s social spectrum. The Big Man, also called the hippo generation, are called such because their generation is, according to Radelet, “old and slow-moving.” They tend to focus on the past, complaining about how Africa is set up as a country that is reliant and indistinguishable as independent. To their peers, they are stubborn and do not move forward, but stall progress. They are the aged generation. The Cheetah generation in contrast is the complete opposite of the Hippo generation, and is in fact slowly but surely making big changes in their country. The Cheetah’s are fast growing and more numerous than the Hippo’s. They are the younger generation of big thinkers, radical idealists, and leaders in their communities.

Radalet says that there are five main ways that the Cheetah generation excels in this time in Africa. The first is that they are successful in grand levels of ideation. They bring ideas to the table and are progressive thinkers. They are also technologically efficient. They are constantly bringing new solutions to old problems, says Radalet, and they are very proficient in technological fields; much more so than their predecessors. The Cheetah’s are entrepreneurs, and they are constantly innovating and contributing to the society around them. The generation’s contribution to the market system of Africa is also a huge positive impact they bring to the country. They start their own businesses, and they have immense buying and investing power. One of the final tags of the Cheetah generation is that they are more transparent and accountable in the work that they do. They are trying to bring the country of Africa away from its past of colonialism and imperialism, and corruption. They aim to make democracy work for Africa, and to eliminate inefficient ways of dealing in both social and political fronts.

What brings on this age of fast and tenacious people and ideals? Radelet says that their connection to the internet has played a huge role in how young people across the continent are connecting with systems and ideas that are different from their norms. It has given them a platform for free thinking and opportunities for learning which they did not have before. These internet-given opportunities have also been creating jobs and setting the stage for greater economic opportunity in Africa. It is this “new” world of information and technology that has been, in some small part, setting back the progression of poverty in the country today.

Part II

What Banerjee and Duflo outline in their text is that there is a definite nutrition shortage among the poor in Africa. But this is not due to a lack of food quantity in the country, but of quality. Banerjee and Duflo state that if the poor of the country needed food desperately, then the greatest percentage of their incomes would have been spent on only food products. But studies have shown that this is not the case, and that food is not the number one priority for poor families. The authors of Poor Economics say that the transport of large quantities of food is a great mistake and only leads to more problems. The food transported can go rotten or infected with parasites, and cause sickness among recipients. The solution to this problem is to shift the focus to food quality. The quality of food given to families, with nutrient contents that match their needs, will go much farther than the large sums of food already given.

On the subject of witch hunts, they are still prominent in the small poor communities of Africa, and have become a problem for family stability in these areas. At times, a mother’s own family works against her when they may suspect she may be a witch. These suspected women are thrust away from their communities, the victims of heartbreak, abuse, or even murder. The cause of these cases can be many things, but the one I want to point to in particular is as a money-making scheme for individuals in these communities who are purported to be able to “cure” or “clear” or “bless” the witches that they might come back to their homes and villages, but at an enormous cost. Rumors float around communities which start suspicion of witchcraft, but at the end of it all, only one person really benefits from it all: the shamans who can “clear” the accused, or the family member who had to feed the accused woman.

Part III

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa which has been growing significantly in recent years. According to the World Bank, its GNI has been held above 600 since 2011, and a GDP, PPP of over 30 billion dollars. They have received large amounts of funding towards many sectors, predominantly towards children, women, and girls ( The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have been huge supporters of Burkina Faso, donating over 79 million dollars to the country. It has had significant social change since 2014, as the past leader of the country, Blaise Compaore, was ousted by an uprising. Political unrest has been a prominent problem for the country, and looks as though it may continue to be in the future (