Africa: "When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers."
When Nigeria handed over a disputed peninsula to Cameroon last year, it looked a lot like a happy ending -- a war averted and, in the words of the United Nations secretary general, "a model for negotiated settlements of border disputes." But as a recent BBC radio broadcast showed, even a "model" solution can leave displaced people feeling trampled.
I bring this up not to criticize the International Court of Justice ruling or the subsequent settlement which gave the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon and caused 300,000 Nigerians to leave their homes and livelihoods. After all, one of the very real alternatives was war. Rather, I'm sharing this story because it's a reminder that we need to have some humility about just how imperfect the best-case scenarios of diplomacy and international justice can be for the people who end up living with the practical consequences of a peace treaty, a court ruling, a relocation, or the redrawing of a map.
"When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. We are the grass. We are suffering a lot," a lifelong Bakassi fisherman now trying to make his way as a landlocked farmer told the BBC's Sam Olukoya.
I heard Olukoya's radio documentary about the displaced Bakassi Nigerians via the October 3, 2009 edition of the African Perspective podcast. Sadly, in what amounts to a genuine oddity in the Internet age, the full story seems to have vanished from the BBC web site. The site does have this summary. If I ever find a working link to the actual radio piece, I will post it here on my Global Pedestrian blog.
In the meantime, that quote from the radio piece keeps knocking around in my brain: "When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers."
We live in a world where today's suffering grass can become tomorrow's insurgency or even tomorrow's terrorism. One hopes that the fighting elephants will keep the grass in mind more and more in the years to come.
- The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
- Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
- Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.
If you're lacking confidence and feel like you could benefit from an ego boost, try writing your life story.
In truth, so much of what happens to us in life is random – we are pawns at the mercy of Lady Luck. To take ownership of our experiences and exert a feeling of control over our future, we tell stories about ourselves that weave meaning and continuity into our personal identity.
This gives credence to the 5–2 diet, which has recently gained in popularity thanks to a large celebrity following.
Chances are you're probably thinking about food right now in some capacity. Maybe it's close to dinner and you're wondering what you are going to eat. Maybe you had a really good lunch and are fondly reminiscing about your BLT, or whatnot. Or maybe, just maybe, you're thinking about not eating food for a while.
A space memorial company plans to launch the ashes of "Pikachu," a well-loved Tabby, into space.
- Steve Munt, Pikachu's owner, created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the mission.
- If all goes according to plan, Pikachu will be the second cat to enter space, the first being a French feline named Felicette.
- It might seem frivolous, but the cat-lovers commenting on Munt's GoFundMe page would likely disagree.
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