Saturday, December 20, 2008

2008: A Reporter's Notebook of the Year Gone By

I was fortunate enough this past year to report from five continents, something of a personal milestone for me. The work began in Paris and continued throughout Africa, including several months in the Democratic Republic of Congo which left me distressed at the plight of the civilians there and the international community's apparent inability or unwillingness to end their suffering. It continued with a return to Central America, where I was left charmed by Nicaragua, though dismayed at its political situation, and found Guatemala, that most evocative of Latin American countries, seemingly drowning in an ocean of blood and a hail of bullets. The results of my investigation into the causes of the latter will appear in the Winter 2008 edition of the World Policy Journal, published by the World Policy Institute in New York City.

Though such events do not leave one overly optimistic for the future, there was one notable cause for celebration this year: The election of Illinois Senator Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, the first African-American to hold that post. Obama’s election resulted in scenes of jubilation in the United States and beyond, and served as a powerful "answer," in Obama's words, to "anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy." After the eight disastrous years of the administration of George W. Bush, it is my hope that Obama lives up to the slogan that he used throughout his campaign, change we can believe in. The United States and the world at large certainly needs it.

Based in Australia for the next few months, where the affects of climate change are increasingly present, I hope that my travels in the coming year will enable me to report on a more humane, more just and more responsive world, where that which unites us as humanity proves stronger than that which divides us, and we prove ever less susceptible to those who would exploit such divisions.

What follows is my entire oeuvre of reportage from the year 2008. Hopefully it will be of some interest, and the stories of those contained within will hold some resonance.

Much love,


The Cuba problem: A review of The Cuba Wars: Fidel Castro, the United States and the Next Revolution by Daniel P. Erikson for the Miami Herald (7 December 2008)

Trial of Muslims grips Australians for the Washington Times (30 November 2008)

ECONOMY: EU Involvement in DRC Mining Project Draws Protest
for the Inter Press Service (28 October 2008)

Mixed signals: What is an investor to make of Africa? for Foreign Direct Investment (7 October 2008)

Garífunas Confront Their Own Decline for Tierramérica (6 October 2008)

Nicaragua’s poisonous political brew for Folha de Sao Paulo (31 August 2008)

"Haiti Is Going From Catastrophe to Catastrophe": Michael Deibert interviews Chavannes Jean-Baptiste for the Inter Press Service (28 September 2008)

Congo: Between Hope and Despair for the World Policy Journal (Summer 2008)

Distilling the ties between Bacardi and Cuba: A review of Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba by Tom Gjelten for the Miami Herald (14 September 2008)

TRADE-AFRICA: New Technology to Sever Timber's Link to Conflict? for the Inter Press Service (8 August 2008)

CULTURE-ETHIOPIA: Debate Swirls Around Fate of Holy Sites for the Inter Press Service (3 July 2008)

A Glittering Demon: Mining, Poverty and Politics in the Democratic Republic of Congo for CorpWatch (26 June 2008)

POLITICS: Is Democracy Dangerous in Multi-ethnic Societies? An interview with Frances Stewart, Oxford University Professor of Development Economics for the Inter Press Service (26 June 2008)

POLITICS-ETHIOPIA : A Tangled Political Landscape Raises Questions About African Ally of the U.S. for the Inter Press Service (21 June 2008)

Ethiopia's Urban Poor Cannot Afford To Eat: Interview with Abera Tola, Director of Oxfam's Horn of Africa regional office for the Inter Press Service (21 June 200*)

TRADE-AFRICA: EU Seeks to Subdue Competitive China
for the Inter Press Service (15 May 2008)

RIGHTS: In South Africa, Zimbabwean Refugees Find Sanctuary and Contempt for the Inter Press Service (4 May 2008)

"We Mustn't Think as South Africans That We Have Won the Day": An interview with Bishop Paul Verryn for the Inter Press Service (4 May 2008)

DRC: With Rebel Leader's Indictment, a Tentative Step to Accountability for the Inter Press Service (1 May 2008)

HEALTH-DRC: Water Everywhere, But Is It Safe To Drink? for the Inter Press Service (24 April 2008)

POLITICS-DRC: Cautious Calm Settles Over War-scarred Ituri Region
for the Inter Press Service (17 April 2008)

Why I am voting for Barack Obama for Michael Deibert, Writer (15 April 2008)

Extraction from chaos: Embattled by war and corruption but laden with large deposits of diamonds and copper, DR Congo is largely avoided by investors. Might that change? for Foreign Direct Investment (10 April 2008)

The Fruits of Reform: Mozambique, whose history has been blighted by a long liberation struggle and years of civil war, is starting to reap the benefits of recent macroeconomic reforms
for Foreign Direct Investment (10 April 2008)

Failure To Renew DRC Expert's Mandate Draws Criticism for the Inter Press Service (1 April 2008)

POLITICS-DRC: In a Governmental Vacuum, Yearnings for a Lost Empire for the Inter Press Service (21 March 2008)

A Review of Peter Hallward’s Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment for Michael Deibert, Writer (16 March 2008)

A Humanitarian Disaster Unfolds in Eastern DRC for the Inter Press Service (1 March 2008)

Fidel's view: A Review of Fidel Castro: My Life by Fidel Castro and Ignacio Ramonet for the Miami Herald (27 January 2008)

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