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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 20, 2005 / 11 Nisan, 5765

Africa's leaders are quickly learning the art of the spin

By Clarence Page


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | BANJUL, Gambia -- Before Gambian journalist Deyda Hydara was killed in a yet-unsolved drive-by shooting in December in this West African capital, many residents of Africa's tiniest country woke up eagerly to his witty political column with the distinctive title: "Good Morning, Mr. President."

That cheeky greeting was aimed at Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh, who took charge after a bloodless coup in 1994 at age 29 and has stubbornly avoided his country's news reporters ever since.

Worse, he has been quoted referring to journalists by such colorful sobriquets as "the bastards of Africa," a view undoubtedly shared by many world leaders, if usually not in public.

President Jammeh's thinly veiled hostility to the media might be more laughable were it not accompanied by a series of unsolved criminal attacks and restrictive new laws aimed at journalists over the last five years.

They include arson attacks by masked, armed and uniformed men in 2000 against private broadcaster Radio 1 FM, a station with a pro-democracy stance, and two against The Independent that destroyed that biweekly newspaper's printing press last April. Employees barely escaped injury. Some, like BBC correspondent Ebrima Sillah, whose home was damaged in a late-night arson last August, have fled the country.

That's why I am here with two other representatives of the Committee to Protect Journalists, of which I am a board member. With Joel Simon, CPJ's deputy director, and Julia Crawford, the New York-based organization's Africa coordinator, we met with a variety of government officials and journalists, and witnesses to some of the crimes.

As an African-American who remembers the national sensation sparked by Alex Haley's "Roots" three decades ago (the TV mini-series of Haley's best-selling book broke records as the most-watched entertainment program in TV history), I have come to Gambia with a mixture of excitement and dismay. My ancestors may have come from this tiny land (about 200 miles long and up to 50 miles wide) as surely as Haley's did. Unlike other parts of Africa that I have visited, the savvy street merchants here spot my "American walk" and get my attention by shouting, "Welcome home!"

But there's a larger story here: I am dismayed to arrive for the reason that journalists usually visit African countries: Bad news is happening.

Mother Gambia is afflicted by yet another leader who has not resolved Western democratic values, the key to a prosperous future, with the traditional monolithic "big-man" rule of African tribal chiefs and political potentates.

The result is an odd amalgam that broadcaster George Christensen, owner of Radio 1, described ironically as "military democracy."

Tiny Gambia is indicative of a big story happening across Africa and the rest of the Third World in the post-Cold War, post-Sept. 11 age of globalism, the Internet and the political spin industry. To paraphrase that eloquent philosopher Donald Rumsfeld, you deal with the African leaders that you have, not the ones that you wish you had.

Gambia, for example, does not have Africa's worst media environment, although that is not saying much. President Jammeh has not shut down his independent media like Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, or scattered all of his country's independent journalists in secret dungeons like Eritrea's outrageous regime.

But Jammeh's regime has slipped backward in recent years while countries like Senegal, Ghana, Benin, Mali and Cape Verde, to name a few, have made great strides forward, resulting in increased commerce, tourism and international respectability. Democracy pays. Monolithic governments invite political and ultimately economic stagnation.

And that offers a window of hope for Gambia under Jammeh, who wants to be a player in the African Union, which Gambia hosts next year. He also wanted to be elected to lead the Economic Community of West African States in January but may have lost that opportunity because of international anxiety over the recent media attacks in his country.

He also is said to be a great admirer of President Bush, whose administration has praised Gambia for cooperating in capturing a couple of terror suspects. Jammeh received military police training at Ft. McClellan, Ala., and led Bush's security detail when he visited Gambia during his father's presidency in 1990. Small world.

U.S. officials hope their mutual appreciation will encourage Jammeh to make further reforms in human rights and press freedoms. Unfortunately, he also seems to have picked up the Bush administration's worst habits of spin: Treat the news media with benign neglect and thinly veiled contempt, as if they were representing only their own interests, not the public's interest. That's a line of jive, but too often it works.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on Clarence Page's column by clicking here.

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