Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nate's Response to "Uganda hit by anti-Israel hackers " article

My initial reaction to the performance and article was primarily confusion, given that Uganda is not typically mentioned in the issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Furthermore, I was confused as to why anyone would spend a considerable amount of time to hack in and graffiti a Ugandan Ministry of Defense website with such anti-Israel material, when Uganda, as far as I know, has no current interests or involvement with Israel. True, there was the involvement of Isreali military advisers during the Idi Amin regime, but they were expelled in 1972 as Idi Amin turned toward Libya and the USSR. Indeed, the Israelis killed 45 Ugandan troops in the 1976 airplane hostage standoff at Entebbe Airport during Operation Thunderbolt. So, to say that the Ugandan government is cozy with Israel, much less actively supporting Israeli pursecution of Palestinians, seemed a little confusing.

Complicating my confusion was that, in the performance, it seemed as if the Uganda government was dragging its feet in pulling down the website and cleaning it of the graffiti. In the article, however, the delay was attributed to a miscommunication between the host of the MoD website and Ministry of Defense Command. Why the MoD would not administer its own website also struck me as unexpected.

Coming finally to the content of the message, it struck me as almost disrepectful that the hackers were using the website like a sign board, by which to hurl attacks at their primary target, the EU. This secondary concern for the Ugandan MoD website might help explain the hackers motives as simply looking for a way to get attention.

In sum, I think my confusion itself is an interesting reaction, if for no other reason than it signals a large ignorance on my part of the web of international relations in the area. I typically think of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as dealing exclusively with American, EU, and Middle-Eastern actors, an assumption that I am calling into question. Furthermore, I am starting to realize the depth of my ignorance of the international relations between uganda and parts of the globe aside the U.S and the EU. Finally, I putting some thought toward the issues of electronic security in the area. Many people speak of using advanced technology to "leapfrog" countries across the late industrial revolution directly into the digitial age. Yet, this dependence on the technological services of outside companies, even through to the MoD, leaves a big question mark about the vulnerability of so called "leapfroging" economies to cyberterror/war. If you want to cripple a society, simply sabotage its infrastructure. The internet is quickly becoming as critical as power grids and highways, but could be infinitely more vulnerable.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Victoria's response

I found this article interesting for two reasons. One, I had no idea that clothes had such an environmental impact. Two, I think its very strange that Uganda only or mostly only sells second-hand clothing. When I usually think of consumption and environmental impact, I think of food waste, sewage, plastic bottles, etc., but never of fashion. The last point about second hand clothes is an example to me of how much outsiders treat the "third-world" as the third-world. I am not even sure if Uganda is considered a third-world, but this article makes it seems as such. It is just so interesting and sad to me how we expect certain people to have less and have no qualms about it. We think its fair for others to not have the things and opportunities that we have.

Fast Fashion From UK to Uganda: A Reflection

Article link:

I found this article very interesting in the way it explained the intertwining and influence of the “first world” on Ugandan culture via globalization.  The article discussed globalization by describing the example of the UK's throwaway fashion as an environmental alert, saying, for example, that non biodegradable clothes tamper with the soil's productivity in Uganda. Apart from all this, what I found most interesting about this article was the issue of globalization in a more general sense. I thought a lot about the kinds of potential ideas that get trafficked when fast fashion hits Kampala-- that, perhaps, people from the UK or even America are generally wasteful or ungrateful. It also seems to me that an instance such as this could potentially lend Ugandans the opportunity to glorify the North for their access to wealth and power. If given the opportunity to respond to this article or speak to Ugandans, I would demystify the notion that everyone that resides in a “first world” country are all rich, or all white, or all uniformly equivalent in their ability to access resources. 


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Radio Links

These are two links I've come across looking for Ugandan music online.

You can stream live at

Or listen to individual songs at

I wonder what kind of music the students we will be working with enjoy - I suppose I'll have to ask whenever we begin to get in touch. Then again, I'm not sure how I would describe my own music interest to somebody who didn't know any of the same artists. I suppose this touches on our theme of perceptions - And how hard it can be to get a meaningful grasp on culture as an outsider.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I feel like we could touch on something food-related. I'm not really sure what my perceptions about African food were before learning about bananas being a staple in Uganda (as I am now fixated on this awesome fact), but I think American general impressions probably tend towards lower quality and diversity.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Discussion with Prof., April 7, 2009

On Playwriting, Theater Theory, Etc
-Zizek, Slovenian philosopher, very into pop culture and films, lot published movie sam title, intro

-Brecht: read his "ON Theatre" (specifically the clanis organum, two essays on unprofessional acting,
---his whole idea was keep actor from identifying too closely with the character, so that the audience is not completely drawn into the story, but has a level of disconnectedness that can still see the edges of the theatre frame, and learn from the narrate what they doing, third person, stage directions, ( inrehearsal, so that you know that everything serves the story

-Six Degrees of Separation, early will smith film, really good, see it

-People on Stanford Campus
---Hener Muller, viewed as successor of Brecht,
---Carl Weber, quasi-retied, emeritus of Stanford, maybe talk to him

-Good Idea to be familiar with these people
--- Shakespeare, Howard Barker(hates Brecht, and a absolute brilliant , Eugano Barba (beyond floating island, intercultural theater experimentation, set up connection to cultures, performance traditions are the core of civilization, sense of apprenticeship),
---orbali tradition in Indonesia,

-Peter Brook, Conference of the Birds, one of the most also interested intercultural theater, in 1960s, put together acting troop walked across sahara,
-----involved is Helen Marin, and Andres cayulas,
-----Talisman experience as relevant in cross-cultural exchange

-read: IBSEN, CHEKHOV, AUGUSTA STRINDBERG, )(Hedda Gabler, opening scene, and best example of exposition)

-Seri Moraga: advice: start late and end early, in terms of writing play, cut off first and last 20% of draft 1

-Sonja Kuftinec, U of Minn, Theatre, working in workshops in refugee camps, and ( look for articles she has to talk to her about them if get in contact)

On how to get average American perceptions of Africa:
-Jay Leno style, ask peple about what their perceptions of Africa are., ie: Union Square, cultural antrho, NEED DATA

-anna divere Smith

-neo-colonialist, and paternalistic, modern "liberal" American veiws of Africa

American Artistic Interpertation of Africa, and sense of reconnection of Americans that go back to Africa to find identity,

-Lorraine Hansberry, Raisin in the Sun, her last play, Les Blancs, set in Kenya, and moment of decolonization, put on by Harry Elam a few years ago at Stanford, Prof Tom acted in it,

-our president could be seen as example of that moving into mainstream

-Obama, what Americans think of Kenya, and if that has changed,

Questions to Ask Group to think about
-Give group homework to group, what are your perceptions of africa? Have group ask parents the same question

-HOW DO British and American nature documentaries portray Africans? Especially and almost exclusively represented as problems (poachers) to main beauty and emphasis of documentaries, the animals.

-Americans think of Africa as prehistoric place?
-How do Americans think of African cities?
---Americans might think of Nigeria as center of internet scams and corruption

American perceptions of Africa in terms of Aid
-Americans don't know that most of "international" aid goes to benefiting corporation in United States, kick back deals for purchasing of medicine and food, etc.

-and what effect does this abusive aid have on public health, ie: Mbeki in South Africa and AIDs, perception of Western science and medicine as uniformly trying to exploit African countries

- ASK people, Jay Leno style: What percentage of GDP goes to foreign aid? people give typically widely exaggerated numbers

-Idea for group: flip around Nigerian email scam, in term of offering American aid. email to go like this: "Dear little town, we are a deeply compassionate American NGO, and are concerned with the state of sanitation in your town. If you follow our rules, we will gladly come in an build all new toilets for you, etc. etc."

-Albert Swichzer (1875-1965) as prime example of "liberal" missionary dedicated to public health, that while highly critically of European colonization, still quite patronizing of Africans, AND and how might he parallel Paul Farmer, and how might Paul Farmer self-consciously try to escape falling under Swichzer's shadow.

---Ask students at Makerere University what they think of Paul Farmer