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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Monday 14th of February 2022
 
Morning
Africa

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Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid notes that yesterday's surge in the 2-year US Treasury yield was, by one measure, the biggest shock since October 1979 when Volcker announced his intentions on the world @ReutersJamie
World Of Finance

Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid notes that yesterday's surge in the 2-year US Treasury yield was, by one measure, "the biggest "shock" since October 1979 when Volcker announced his intentions on the world (a couple of months after taking office) with an inter-meeting weekend hike."

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US CPI YoY 100 year chart with DeMark Indicators in progress with Sequential on month 9 of 13 and Combo on month 12 of 13. More upside before exhaustion. @TommyThornton
World Of Finance


The last time inflation was here, February 1982 - the Fed Funds Rate was 15%. @Convertbond



24 JUN 19 :: Wizard of Oz World. 


This is ‘’Voodoo Economics’’ and just because we have not reached the point when the curtain was lifted in the Wizard of Oz and the Wizard revealed to be ‘’an ordinary conman from Omaha who has been using elaborate magic tricks and props to make himself seem “great and powerful”’’ should not lull us into a false sense of security.




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Dartmouth economist and former Fed adviser Andrew Levin says the Fed needs to get rates to a neutral setting within a year or so, and that the means getting the Fed Funds rates up to 4% or 5% @NickTimiraos
World Of Finance

Dartmouth economist and former Fed adviser Andrew Levin says the Fed needs to get rates to a neutral setting within a year or so, and that the means getting the Fed Funds rates up to 4% or 5% since elevated inflation is raising the nominal neutral rate 

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After Covid and a volcanic eruption, the DRC’s largest festival @AmaniFestival returned last week to Goma. @thecontinent_·
Africa


“For Goma’s population, the Amani Festival is a reminder of our diversity, of our unity around culture. Congolese always gather around music and dance,” says founding member Linda Bauma, a business lawyer and poet.

In 2017, a drunk police officer fatally shot Djo Paluku, an artist who volunteered at the festival. 

“For three days, we were on the edges of our nerves and the day after the festival’s end, we were burying Djo,” Bauma tells The Continent. The main stage is named in his memory.

“You don’t see the young people who are starting businesses,” she says. 

“You don’t see this young woman who has created earrings with volcanic stones. You don’t see all these young people producing coffee. You don’t see the chocolate now produced in Goma. You don’t see how beautiful the landscape is,and how you can enjoy a boat ride on the lake or a barbeque on Tchegera island.”

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Africa at Sundance @thecontinent_·
Africa


This year, Sierra Leonian-American writer/director Nikyatu Jusu claimed the grand prize for her debut feature Nanny – a horror fantasia that incorporates West African myths like mami water and Anansi the spider into the story of an undocumented Senegalese woman (Anna Diop) hustling in New York City.

$75,000
In certain communities, a complete albino human skeleton can fetch up to $75,000. This harmful myth has been responsible for high rates of murder and violence meted out on people living with albinism. Malian writer-director Moïse Togo’s 14-minute short tackles the stigmatisation and dangers of being born with albinism in African communities.

Egúngún (Masquerade)
In Olive Nwosu’s intimate and elegant coding of same sex desire alongside its traumatic repercussions, a young woman Salewa (Sheila Chiamaka Chukwulozie) finds herself adrift when she returns from London to attend her mother’s funeral in Nigeria. 

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Pop Poetry. @warsan_shire 's Portraits of Somalis in Exile @NewYorker
Misc.


On a wet day in London, around 2013, the poet Warsan Shire turned on a voice recorder as her uncle talked about his youth in Somalia, his life as a refugee, and his addiction to the bitter-leaf stimulant khat. 

Shire, who is thirty-three, with dark curls and a high forehead, sat with him in his room at a boarding house in Northwest London, where several immigrant men lived. 

Her uncle had lost most of his teeth because of his khat addiction. “When you chew khat, you don’t sleep, it keeps you up,” Shire told me recently. 

“I asked him how it feels to do that.” 

He told her, “While you’re high, it’s like you build, with your words and with your dreams, these massive towers of what you’re going to do tomorrow, how you’re going to fix up your life. And then the sun comes up, and the towers have been toppled. And you do that every single day and never get anywhere, because you’re constantly lying to yourself.”

When her uncle was a teen-ager, he won a scholarship to study abroad; family members spoke of him as the relative who had great promise. 

But when a civil war broke out in Somalia, in the early nineties, he lost the scholarship. 

He immigrated to England, but he never married or had children. 

Shire’s parents had also gone to England as refugees from Somalia, and through the years she had often talked with her uncle about his past. 

In the boarding house, sipping qaxwo—Somali coffee, spiced with cinnamon and cardamom—he told her he felt that he had “failed at life” and was “cursed by the war.”

Much of Shire’s poetry has focussed on the experiences of immigrant women. 

In the past several years, though, she had become more curious about the inner lives of the men in her family. 

“There’s always been this thing I found particularly sad about some of the men I grew up around,” she told me. 

“They would wear these suits, and the suits were a bit too big and would hang over the wrists, and they looked like little boys playing dress-up to go to a job interview that they’re never going to get accepted at. Something about that also reminded me of how futile their lives must have felt in this new world. They don’t fit anywhere.” 

Shire’s first full collection, “Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head,” will come out in March. 

In one poem, “My Loneliness Is Killing Me,” she describes meeting her uncle at the boarding house, as Somali pop plays in the background: 

“Steam rises from qaxwo bitter with tears, carefully / rolling tobacco the same color as his hands / He sings along. Alone this time, alone every time.” 

Toward the end of the visit, her uncle told her, “Daughter, be stronger than the loneliness this world is going to present to you.” 

Shire quotes the sentence in the last stanza of her poem, and it inspired the title. “All these anthems of resilience,” she told me. “I just thought, These are the songs for the refugee.”

Shire is among a generation of young poets who have attracted large audiences by initially publishing their poetry online. 

She first became prominent through Tumblr, and now has eighty thousand Twitter followers, and another fifty-seven thousand on Instagram, numbers more akin to those of the star of an FX series than to those of a poet. 

Elisa Ronzheimer, a literary scholar at Bielefeld University, in Germany, told me that Shire’s poetry produces “something of value in this middle ground that is not super-hermetic, but also not what I think of as pop culture.” 

Shire is best known for collaborating with Beyoncé, in 2016, on “Lemonade,” a visual album in which the singer’s music is intercut with Shire’s poetry. 

The poet Terrance Hayes told me, “Shire possesses a Plathian kind of ferocious truth telling.” 

Hayes teaches at New York University, and is struck by how many of his students are devotees of her work. 

“Her reach is not just people who are watching Beyoncé,” he said. “It’s also people who want to be poets and are studying what she’s doing.”

While writing her book, Shire often drew on interviews with and observations of her relatives. 

Many had witnessed atrocities during the war, and had struggled to make a life for themselves in England. 

Her father had hung up photographs of places in Mogadishu, showing their beauty before the war and their destruction after it began. 

“Everyone is kind of like a before-and-after photo of the war,” Shire said

Some men, she noticed, tried to assimilate into British culture and avoid anything that reminded them of Somalia, but a sense of cultural alienation eventually caught up with them. 

In a poem called “Midnight in the Foreign Food Aisle,” she writes, 

“Dear Uncle, is everything you love foreign / Or are you foreign to everything you love . . . Love is not haram but after years of fuxxing / Women who are unable to pronounce your name / You find yourself today alone, in the foreign / Food aisle . . . praying in a language you haven’t used in years.”

The collection melds verse and reportage to create a portrait of the Somali diaspora. 

“I didn’t get to hear my grandma’s voice or my grandad’s voice; most of my family I didn’t actually get to meet, because a lot of them died in the war,” Shire told me. 

“And I want my children to be able to hear these people’s voices.” She also wanted to record her relatives’ experiences. 

“In my community, the only time they’re asked these kinds of questions is at Immigration,” she said. 

“These are extraordinary stories, and these are people who are still alive—somehow.”

This past November, I visited Shire at her home in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband, Andres Reyes-Manzo, and their two young children. 

Shire’s hair was slicked back into a ponytail, and she wore gold hoops. She dislikes crowds, but at her home she tells stories for hours in her Northwest London accent, often at high speed and volume. 

Reyes-Manzo, who works for a philanthropic organization called the California Endowment, took calls in his study and attended to their older son, Ilyas, who is two. 

Ayub, who is eight months old, started squealing, and Shire picked him up from his playpen in the pink-walled living room. 

“He’s very talkative,” she said. “We Somalis are a big-mouth community.”

Shire’s father grew up in a family of nomadic herders, and became a political journalist in Mogadishu. Her mother, Shire told me, took care of the home

In the late eighties, her father was working on a book about political corruption, eventually published as “The Cost of Carnage,” when the government found out and threatened him with imprisonment. 

He and her mother left for Kenya, and had Shire there, in 1988; the family then moved to London, where her brother, Said, was born. 

In 1991, Somalia’s civil war erupted. Militias affiliated with local clans overthrew the military regime of President Mohamed Siad Barré, and then those clans, Islamist groups, and other factions began fighting for power. 

In the course of four months in Mogadishu, some twenty-five thousand people were killed, more than two million lost their homes, and another million and a half left the country, including much of Shire’s family. 

Many Somalis call this period burbur, which mimics the sound of buildings collapsing. 

Naima Nur, a close friend of Shire’s, told me, “There’s a line by a Somali singer that goes something like ‘Smile when you are bleeding.’ That totally encapsulates our culture; people will be hurt and going through so much, but still have to show a strong face.”

Shire’s parents settled in a North London neighborhood that was mostly white, and unfriendly toward newcomers. 

As a young girl, Shire excitedly asked an aunt to take her to the birthday party of a girl who lived across the street; the girl’s father opened the door and turned them away. 

After her father dropped her off for her first day of school, a little boy called her “Black girl.” She cried for her father to return and told him what happened. He replied, “You are,” and walked away. 

“I sobered up so quick,” she told me. “If he’d dealt with it any other way, I’d be such a different human being.” 

Shire’s teachers complained that she was more interested in making her classmates laugh than she was in doing her schoolwork. 

But she liked to fill her notebooks with stories, sketches, and poetry. On weekends, her father took her to the library, and she enjoyed reading the books she’d checked out in the bath.

When Shire was seven, her parents divorced, and her father moved out. (The two remain close.) 

Two years later, Shire told me, after months of eviction notices the police removed her family from their home. 

They were homeless for more than two years, and drifted between hostels and the homes of family friends. 

Shire and her brother stopped attending school, and watched soap operas all day or entertained themselves by riding up and down the elevators of old hotels that served as homeless shelters.

Eventually, the family got a spot in public housing. Shire’s mother often took in other Somali refugees, including friends, family members, and strangers, Shire told me. 

She even brought home a woman she met at a bus stop. Sometimes, Shire said, the experiences were “magical.” 

With one woman, she drank Italian coffee and painted her nails. But others took discipline too far, screaming at or hitting Shire and her brother. 

“It was not lost on me that, in the Somali war, there were victims and perpetrators,” Shire told me. 

“You don’t know who’s coming through your front door. You don’t know if this is somebody who just spent a lot of time revelling in human blood, or somebody who was raped twenty times.”

In 2000, Shire’s mother remarried, and had three more daughters. Shire said that her mother came to rely on her as a “shift mother.” 

“It was really hard going to school, trying to be a young person while also feeling like you have three kids at home,” she added. 

She cooked meals, cleaned the house, got her sisters to school, and made sure they had birthday celebrations. 

“She was very good at parenting. We used to dance a lot in the living room and sing really loud while doing a conga line,” her sister Sammy, who is now studying international relations, told me. 

“You wouldn’t see that she was stressed out.” But Shire was constantly late for class; she missed an A-level exam to look after her sisters, and had to repeat courses that she failed.

She struggled with obsessive-compulsive disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a severe form of P.M.S. 

There was also tension around her appearance. Her family valued her light skin but thought that her hair was too coarse and that she was too heavy. 

“My mother is very pretty, and beauty is very important to her,” she said. “I knew that, as her daughter, I was expected to be an extension of that.” 

In her teen-age years, Shire developed bulimia. In the poem “Bless the Bulimic,” she writes about this period with characteristic dark humor: 

“forgive me my prayers / To the God of thin women . . . forgive me please / Famine back home.”

At twelve, Shire read Chinua Achebe’s poem “Vultures,” which contains a passage about a Nazi officer giving his children candy, and was moved by the poem’s moral ambiguity. 

Soon she began writing poems of her own. When Shire was fifteen, she attended a poetry workshop at the Wembley Youth Center, near her house. 

She was surprised to find that the teacher, Jacob Sam-La Rose, a poet and an editor, was Black. 

“I was always just a mess, but he never, ever gave up on me,” Shire said. 

She joined the Complete Works mentoring program, founded by the Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo, and began meeting weekly with the poet Pascale Petit to discuss her work. 

Evaristo told me, “She just seemed to tap into a very female psyche, one that has experienced hardship, and has been able to articulate something beautiful as a result.”

Shire graduated from London Metropolitan University in 2010, with a degree in creative writing. 

In 2011, the small British press flipped eye released her first chapbook, “Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth,” but when the publisher, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, sent out copies to cultural tastemakers “no one responded.” 

Flipped eye did not want to market Shire on the basis of her ethnic identity, which Parkes felt would be reductive, but he worries that this prevented people from opening the book. 

“If we can’t figure out how to tell people about the work because of what it contains, then we have no business publishing it,” he said.

Shire came of age at a time when much of literary poetry was published in collections with tiny print runs, was read primarily by people in university settings, and was inaccessible to a general audience. 

But in the twenty-tens several young writers began posting their work on Web sites like Tumblr, directly to readers. Later, poets began publishing on social media. 

Many of the poems on social-media platforms were sparse enough to fit into a tweet or an Instagram square, and direct enough to hold the attention of someone scrolling distractedly. 

A poem by Lang Leav, a popular Internet poet, reads, in its entirety, “If they were meant to be in your life, nothing could ever make them leave. If they weren’t, nothing in the world could make them stay.” 

An untitled poem by Rupi Kaur reads, “people go / but how / they left / always stays.”

 Kaur now has more than four million followers on Instagram, and her collection “Milk and Honey” has sold two and a half million copies in twenty-five languages.

“Most lyric poetry used to be high art for the few, for a certain educated part of society,” Ronzheimer, the literary scholar, told me. 

“It’s now become an art for the people, by the people, and a part of the everyday life of many people who read it on the train or listen to it at home.” 

Many poets of color, and those from working-class backgrounds, feel that the Internet allows them to bypass industry gatekeepers, and to experiment with form. 

Tommy Pico, a thirty-eight-year-old Native American poet, first published his work on Tumblr, and then wrote the acclaimed book “IRL,” a long poem composed in the style of a text message. 

Megan Fernandes, a poet and an English professor at Lafayette College, told me that Pico “brilliantly uses Internet slang in a formally inventive way.”

Some of this poetry, including that of Leav and Kaur, was shaped by the Internet. 

“A lot of poetry that might not do well on the Internet is a poetry that follows streams of consciousness, and is less clipped,” Fernandes told me. 

The work that drew readers was “poetry with fast insight—it’s more rhetorical, and didactic, even.” 

The medium also encouraged poets to track their follower counts and engagement rates. Poems that went viral were often catchy, literal, and feel-good. 

They might have a Hallmark quality. The British poet Anthony Anaxagorou told me, “Much of it lacks sophistication and is overly dependent on clichés.”

Shire started a Tumblr in 2011, the year her first chapbook came out, when the Web site reflected a pre-ironic millennial aesthetic: a rose-hued photograph of a woman looking out the window in Paris, a picture of cute dogs under an umbrella. 

She treated her Tumblr as a mood board, posting selfies, music, and poetry, much of which she had composed in short bursts. 

The incantatory “For Women Who Are Difficult to Love,” which she wrote in ten minutes, is still one of her most well-known poems: 

“you can’t make homes out of human beings / someone should have already told you that / and if he wants to leave / then let him leave.” 

Certain lines from her poems began to spread among users: 

“My alone feels so good / I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude”; “You think I’ll be the dark sky so you’ll be the star? / I’ll swallow you whole.”

Shire’s early Tumblr poems may be her least interesting. At its best, her work refracts her experiences through, as Hayes put it, a sense of “surrealism and slantedness that is not bare-bones therapeutic confession.” 

Her blog reads more like a textual and visual diary. “Her Tumblr was really about a vibe,” Roger Robinson, a British poet, told me. 

“It seemed less about her poetry, and more an expression of how she was feeling at a moment.” 

As with most poetry on the Internet, public attention tended to focus on its themes, rather than on any formal innovations. 

“Because of the way market populism works, we now think about poems not necessarily in how technically achieved they are—we think about them via their subject matter,” Anaxagorou said. 

“That’s a major way critical culture has changed.”

Nevertheless, Shire’s work was influential. Nur, Shire’s friend, recognized her own experiences in Shire’s poetry and sent her a Facebook message. 

“She’s writing about the secret lives of Somali women,” Nur told me. 

Reyes-Manzo, Shire’s husband, shared her poems with a youth group that he was working with in California’s Central Valley, in 2013.

After hearing that Shire had been looking for music recommendations, he sent her a playlist. 

The two dated long-distance for years before Shire moved to L.A. to be with him. I told Shire that I was struck by the fact that many of her closest friends had initially been online fans. 

“I didn’t really think about it,” she said. “I’m happy that—whatever it is I’m doing with my work—it’s bringing the right people to me.”

After two years, Shire left Tumblr. She had been drawn to the platform by its insular group of users. 

“Tumblr was a particularly important space because it allowed for people to write these long pieces, for people to reshare them, to vote things up, to comment,” Parkes, her publisher, told me. 

But Shire’s “little corner of the Internet,” as she put it, had begun to feel too exposed: 

“The way my shit is set up, it’s overwhelming for me. As soon as it started to feel like, ‘Oh, wow, there’s, like, a lot of eyes,’ I was, like, ‘O.K., I don’t feel comfortable doing this anymore.’ ” 

Today, she rarely uses social media, but her poems still circulate on Twitter and Instagram, generating thousands of likes.

“Pop Poetry.” @warsan_shire 's Portraits of Somalis in Exile @NewYorker [continued]
https://bit.ly/3JeHkGK

One afternoon at her house, Shire lit an incense burner, made me a cup of milky Somali tea, and told me that she liked feeling disturbed. 

As a girl, she watched horror movies in the mornings. “My dream would be to make a horror film that makes people pass out,” she said

“But I do worry that, if I were to make a horror film, it would be so scary that people would become genuinely possessed.” 

These days, she binge-watches documentaries on subjects like the mistreatment of African maids in the Middle East or the victims of acid attacks in South Asia. 

“I feel like I have to stay on top of oppression,” she said, seemingly only half joking. One of Shire’s favorite films is “The Milk of Sorrow,” a Peruvian drama about a woman who becomes ill after inheriting the trauma of her mother, who was the victim of sexual violence during a war. 

“I was raised by a lot of people who had P.T.S.D.,” Shire told me. “Over and over again, seeing the way that trauma has affected my family, my community, has shown me that it doesn’t have to turn you into a monster who re-creates the same bullshit.”

After Shire found fame on Tumblr, she also gained more real-world acclaim. In 2014, she was named London’s Youth Poet Laureate. 

The following year, she gave a reading hosted by a feminist collective in Johannesburg, where scores of people began saying her lines with her. 

“I think she was surprised that people were reciting the poetry,” Milisuthando Bongela, who helped organize the event, told me. 

“It was like a concert. She kept stopping and laughing.” But Shire was dismayed at how often she was portrayed in the press as a refugee who had somehow become a writer. 

Reporters sometimes asked her if she could rap. “Bitch, why are you asking me if I can rap?!” Shire joked.

Some of her most ardent fans were Somali women, despite her ambivalent relationship to traditional Somali cultural beliefs. Shire sometimes wore a hijab in her youth—her parents told her that it was her choice—but she stopped in adulthood, and her poetry often discussed taboo subjects. 

“I remember doing a reading early on; I was probably fifteen or something, and it was a mainly Somali audience. I rocked up doing a poem about female genital mutilation, and I remember it dawning on me only halfway through, Oh, O.K., people are quite horrified,” she said, laughing.

 “But then also looking around and thinking, Some people are really jubilant that I’m saying these words. I’m not here reading erotica, it’s for a reason. So be uncomfortable.”

Shire had travelled to Italy, in 2010, to give readings, and during the visit her translator, Paola Splendore, invited her to meet members of the Somali community living in Rome. 

“She was a very shy, very reserved girl—a totally different person,” Splendore told me. The Somali Embassy had closed during the civil war, and dozens of asylum seekers had begun squatting there, camping out in the gardens of the crumbling mansion. 

Some slept in abandoned cars, others on the back porch, or in the garage. There was no electricity, only one bathroom, and a single tap for cold water. Most of the men had applied for asylum but were not eligible for work permits or aid.

Shire had always been curious about Italy’s relationship to Somalia. Italy had held part of modern Somalia as a colony from the eighteen-eighties until 1942 and continued to interfere in its politics for decades afterward

When Shire was young, her mother sometimes scolded her in Italian phrases. 

Shire asked the refugees about their lives. They told her, You get to Italy after escaping God knows what. Immigration puts you in a detention center. When you are released, someone tells you, “You need to go where the Africans are,” so you go to the old embassy. 

During the day, you go out to panhandle. Recently, a young refugee jumped from the embassy roof to his death. 

“I had always been around the experience of being a refugee,” Shire told me. “But that was the first time I had experienced how truly dangerous and treacherous it could be.” 

That night, she began writing the poem “Home,” an early version of which reads, in part:

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as
well . . .
you have to understand
that no one would put their children in a boat
unless the sea is safer than the land . . .
no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father


As the migrant crisis in Europe intensified, the poem circulated online. In 2015, the Times editorial board quoted from “Home” in a piece urging Western countries to give safe harbor to refugees. 

A U.K. parliamentarian tweeted a line. Benedict Cumberbatch read from the poem onstage at the Barbican, where he was starring as Hamlet, and then reportedly said, “Fxxk the politicians.” 

In 2017, at American protests sparked by President Donald Trump’s ban on travellers from Muslim-majority countries, demonstrators held up signs with lines from “Home” or read verses aloud.

Parkes, Shire’s publisher, was gratified by the response: “She’s able to speak to the experience of being displaced, being regarded as something other, in a way that very few people can.” 

But Shire was frustrated that her poem was mostly used to mourn the deaths of Middle Eastern refugees. 

“I wrote those words for Black immigrants, and the most I’ve ever seen those words used was when the immigrants and refugees were lighter-skinned with lighter eyes,” she told me. 

“Obviously, you want your work to be used in any way to raise funds for all suffering people, but I want people to know who I wrote that about.”

Six years ago, during a visit to Los Angeles, Shire got an e-mail from one of Beyoncé’s managers, asking if she wanted to collaborate with the singer on a new project. “I thought I was being pranked,” Shire recalled, cackling. 

“Get the fxxk out of here, are you joking?” Beyoncé was working on the “Lemonade” album; Shire was friendly with Kahlil Joseph, one of the directors of the film that would accompany it, and he had shared her work with Beyoncé.

Shire met the pop star in a huge industrial studio. Beyoncé wore casual clothes and red lipstick, and, at one point, her mother dropped by. 

Shire and Beyoncé had a mutual friend, Yosra El-Essawy, who had recently died from cancer at the age of thirty-three—El-Essawy had been Beyoncé’s tour photographer, and she had written Shire a fan letter after reading her Tumblr—and the two women reminisced about her. 

“It helped me grieve,” Shire said. Beyoncé began to play an early cut of the album. Much of it was drawn from her troubled relationships with her husband, Jay-Z, and her father. 

“She played the first song, ‘Pray You Catch Me,’ which is, until today, my favorite song off of it,” Shire told me. 

The song recounts the experience of realizing that a lover has betrayed you. Beyoncé sent Shire home with a copy of the album and asked to see what she wrote in response.

Shire had long composed her poetry to music, so the process was familiar.

“I really drew from my own experiences,” she told me. “Women lose their minds often because of men.” 

She thought back to an on-again-off-again relationship with a controlling man. She had conversations with her husband about their problems, and “what it means to forgive.” 

She reflected on her parents’ divorce, and imagined what it would have taken for them to stay together: 

“That was a place for me to be able to play around with this version of events where things do work out.” 

In the end, Shire had several pages of material, which she divided into invented stages of grief: “Revenge, apathy—and I sent it over.”

The film borrowed Shire’s structure, and blended the poetry and the music. 

The second chapter begins with lines from “For Women Who Are Difficult to Love”: “I tried to change. Closed my mouth more, tried to be softer, prettier, less awake.” 

Afterward, Beyoncé appears in a yellow dress, singing about confronting a cheating lover, and smashes car windows with a baseball bat. 

The Times wrote that Shire’s words “radically reframe the songs, so they are no longer one woman’s struggles but tribulations shared through generations of mothers and daughters.”

After the album came out, sales of Shire’s first chapbook increased tenfold within a week. In 2020, she contributed poetry to Beyoncé’s musical film “Black Is King,” which was released with Disney’s remake of “The Lion King.” 

But after “Lemonade” Shire largely receded from public life, declining all interviews and most invitations, including one to the Met Gala, and avoiding social media. 

She told me that she had been brought up to believe that being boastful could summon the “evil eye.” 

“People will think, Isn’t she lucky? Went to America and just met Beyoncé on the street,” she said

(When I talked to Evaristo, she told me, “Warsan is unpredictable, because she went to America, and then, suddenly, it’s like Beyoncé drops her album. How does that happen?”) 

Shire celebrated the collaborations privately, then set to work on her new collection, drawing inspiration from what she called Beyoncé’s “forgiving approach to looking back.”

Before I left L.A., Shire sat with me at her living-room window and pulled out a turquoise shoebox filled with family photographs. 

She had been carrying the photos around since she was twelve; they were the only things she had kept with her when her family became homeless. 

She pulled out several pictures of herself as an impish girl at the London Zoo, at the movies to see “Aladdin,” at her brother’s birthday party. 

“I think people should have more photos of themselves as children around,” she said. “There’s no way you can hate that version of yourself. And there’s no way that you can’t give that version of yourself grace and patience and empathy and understanding.”

Shire’s favorite photographs were the ones that recounted her parents’ love story in Somalia: the couple looking stylish at their wedding, at a dance party, on the beach. 

“I get lost in these,” she said. In 2013, she travelled to Mogadishu for the first time: “It made Somalia real; it’s not just a figment of my imagination that I romanticized. It was so important for me to smell the air, feel the ground, be in the water.”

Shire had written “Bless the Daughter” in part to work through her family history. She drew on conversations with several aunties who were viewed as “unhinged women”: some were uncommonly independent; others behaved erratically. 

Shire remembered one who was always going to parties with men who picked her up in convertibles, and who had a hidden tattoo that she revealed to Shire. 

Another sat in a corner, rocking and convulsing. Shire interviewed an auntie who lost her husband to the war, then lost custody of her children to her husband’s family. 

In a poem called “Bless the Ghost,” Shire imagines this aunt being haunted by her past: “In the shower, it lathers her back / sometimes embracing her / from behind, weighing / her down.”

She also thought of the houseguests who stayed with her family, and occasionally frightened her. 

“There’s a bunch of people who are stressed, who are experiencing racism the second they walk out the door, can’t get a job,” she told me. 

“They’re all here now, and there’s going to be some falling out.” A woman stabbed her partner as Shire and her brother played outside. (He survived.) 

In her poem “Angela Bassett Burning It All Down,” Shire writes about that couple: “One stabbed her man in the groin, said / the look of disbelief in his eyes made it worth it. / Bitches’ Hysteria the men called it / Natural response the women named it.”

Some of the material on the theme of girlhood that appears in “Bless the Daughter” feels familiar from Shire’s first chapbook. Anaxagorou, the British poet, suggested that early fame creates the expectation that an artist replicate her early successes, which can feel paralyzing. 

“I think for many young poets who might experience a disproportionate amount of mainstream attention, they run the risk of reproducing a work that’s too similar to the last,” he said. 

But Shire’s exploration of her community feels fresh and incisive. The poet and novelist Julia Alvarez told me, of the collection, “There’s a rawness and power that is burning on the page.”

Shire is now at work on a book of prose poetry about mental illness. “I’m really personally committed to removing as much stigma or taboo from things that I feel, at times, ashamed about,” she told me, putting her photographs back into the shoebox. 

“I identify with the unhinged women that I’m writing about; I am one.” 

The book may also explore a miscarriage that she had in 2018, and her experience of motherhood. 

With “Bless the Daughter,” Shire had said everything she needed to say about her upbringing. 

“It was the last, last piece of dirt to throw on that period of my life,” she said. “I feel completely at peace. Moving on.” 

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#Biden administration is panicking @shaun_riordan
Law & Politics

#Biden administration is panicking and genuinely does not understand the extent to which playing up the threat of imminent invasion is playing into the hands of Putin by undermining Ukrainian morale and economy (by driving away foreign investment)

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Russia: West was caught off guard by Russia's recent demands I don't know what rock they've been living under for the past thirty plus years, the power balance has changed. It’s not 1990 anymore. @ASBMilitary
Law & Politics

Russia: “West was caught off guard by Russia's recent demands regarding Ukraine, NATO, and Russian national security interests. I don't know what rock they've been living under for the past thirty plus years, the power balance has changed. It’s not 1990 anymore.”

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Why the West’s Diplomacy With Russia Keeps Failing A profound failure of the Western imagination has brought Europe to the brink of war. @TheAtlantic @anneapplebaum
Law & Politics


Oh, how I envy Liz Truss her opportunity! Oh, how I regret her utter failure to make use of it! 

For those who have never heard of her, Truss is the lightweight British foreign secretary who went to Moscow this week to tell her Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, that his country should not invade Ukraine. This trip was not a success

At a glacial press conference he likened their conversation to “the mute” speaking with “the deaf”; later, he leaked the fact that she had confused some Russian regions with Ukrainian regions, to add a little insult to the general injury.

In fact, when talking to the new breed of autocrats, whether in Russia, China, Venezuela, or Iran, we are now dealing with something very different: 

People who aren’t interested in treaties and documents, people who only respect hard power.

But this terrible moment represents not just a failure of diplomacy, it also reflects a failure of the Western imagination; a generation-long refusal, on the part of diplomats, politicians, journalists, and intellectuals, to understand what kind of state Russia was becoming and to prepare accordingly. 

We have refused to see the representatives of this state for what they are. We have refused to speak to them in a way that might have mattered. Now it might be too late.

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The official said the closeness between Russia & China is one of the most important and strategically significant alignments on the global stage and we have to take it seriously. @jmhansler
Law & Politics

The official said the closeness between Russia & China is “one of the most important and strategically significant alignments on the global stage and we have to take it seriously." "We can’t downplay it," they said.

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A pm spending next 7 days bunkered down with lawyers trying to remember all his different lies while another major global crisis unfolds @Dominic2306
Law & Politics

Great work tory mps leaving this crippled joke of a pm spending next 7 days bunkered down with lawyers trying to remember all his different lies while another major global crisis unfolds

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You’re a mutant virus, I’m the immune system and it’s my job to expel you from the organism. OCTOBER 30, 2014 BY @Dominic2306 The Hollow Men II
Misc.

Mistah Kurtz—he dead.
A penny for the Old Guy

I
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion…
… Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow…’
The Hollow Men, T.S. Eliot.

In terms of a method to ‘manage’ government, it is not far from tribal elders howling incantations around the camp fire after inspecting the entrails of slaughtered animals.

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#Omicron Regime Change
Misc.

The Invisible Microbe has metastasized into Omicron and what we know is that COVID-19 far from becoming less virulent has become more virulent.
The transmissibility of #Omicron is not in question, it clearly has a spectacular advantage.
The Open Question is whether it is more virulent. If it is less virulent then #Omicron is breaking the Trend of increasing virulence.

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The BA.2 subvariant is concerning but the real concern is entirely new variants arising from different lineages of SARS-CoV-2. @TRyanGregory
Misc.

The BA.2 subvariant is concerning and may lead to a prolonged Omicron wave or a second spike in cases (and by extension, hospitalizations, causes of long COVID, and deaths), but the real concern is entirely new variants arising from different lineages of SARS-CoV-2.

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No math genius here, but BA.1 has been on the way down, BA.1.1 has been on the way up. Look at Omicron as one variant and it looks like a plateau. It's actually 2 variants crossing each other @Wendell25
Misc.


No math genius here, but BA.1 has been on the way down, BA.1.1 has been on the way up. Look at Omicron as one variant and it looks like a plateau. It's actually 2 variants crossing each other and BA.1.1 is now dominant and still rising. BA.2 waiting in the wings.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.134720
Dollar Index 96.042
Japan Yen 115.4085
Swiss Franc 0.925180
Pound 1.35410
Aussie 0.71218
India Rupee 75.5725
South Korea Won 1196.895
Brazil Real 5.2529
Egypt Pound 15.779629
South Africa Rand 15.233500

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Waning stockpiles drive widespread global commodity crunch @FT
Commodities


Stockpiles of some of the global economy’s most important commodities are at historically low levels, as booming demand and supply shortages threaten to fuel inflationary pressures around the world.
From industrial metals to energy to agriculture, the rush for raw materials and food staples has been reflected in futures markets, where a large number of commodities have flipped into backwardation — a pricing structure that signals scarcity.
Problems are particularly acute in metals, where spot prices of several contracts on the London Metal Exchange are trading higher than those for later delivery, as traders pay large premiums to secure immediate supply.
“This is the most extreme inventory environment,” said Nicholas Snowdon, analyst at Goldman Sachs. “It’s a completely unprecedented episode. There is no supply response.”
The shortages come against a backdrop of persistently high global inflation, fuelled by logistical disruptions and pent-up demand as economies recover from coronavirus lockdowns. 

Consumer prices in the US rose at their fastest annual pace in four decades last month to hit 7.5 per cent.
Copper stocks at major commodity exchanges sit at just over 400,000 tonnes, representing less than a week of global consumption

Aluminium stocks are also low, as smelters in Europe and China have been forced to cut capacity because of the huge financial strain caused by spiralling energy costs.
“Inventories are low, not just in exchange warehouses, but through the entire supply chain,” said Michael Widmer, analyst at Bank of America. 

“There is limited safety buffer in the system.” Aluminium hit a 13-year high above $3,200 a tonne last week after Goldman said stockpiles could be exhausted by 2023.
Production cuts are just one factor behind the supply shortages, which have led the Bloomberg Commodity Spot index, a key gauge of raw materials, to rise more than a tenth since the start of the year and hit a record high this month. 

Nine of the 23 futures contracts that make up the index are in backwardation, according to data from Refinitiv.

Other drivers of the shortages include a lack of investment in new mines and oilfields, bad weather and supply chain constraints caused by the spread of Covid-19.

On Friday, the International Energy Agency warned that crude oil prices, which are already trading above $90 a barrel, could climb further as producer group Opec and its allies struggle to revive production after the worst of the pandemic.
“If the persistent gap between Opec output and its target levels continues, supply tensions will rise, increasing the likelihood of more volatility and upward pressure on prices,” the IEA said.
In Europe, gas prices also remain elevated amid heightened geopolitical tensions over Ukraine and lower flows from Russia. 

Across the continent, gas storage facilities are 35 per cent full, and below seasonal averages, according to commodities consultancy ICIS.
“The risk of shortages by the end of winter is remote at this point, but the market will still need to secure significant supply through the summer in order to prevent those concerns coming back next winter,” said Thomas Rodgers, European gas analyst at ICIS.
In agricultural markets, reserves of arabica coffee, the higher-quality bean loved by espresso aficionados, have fallen to their lowest level in 22 years.
Supply disruptions and lower exports from producers in Central America have driven stockpiles of arabica beans on the ICE futures exchange to their lowest level in more than two decades, as coffee buyers rush to lock in supplies.
Carlos Mera, senior analyst at Rabobank, said the decline in coffee inventories so far in 2022 was “astonishing”. 

A further fall could significantly increase “the possibility of an uncontrolled price spike”.
Arabica prices on the ICE futures exchange recently hit a 10-year high of $2.59 a pound, up 13 per cent since the start of this year, and are more than double that of a year ago.
Supply crunches are also looming in other markets. Citigroup reckons demand for lithium, a key battery raw material, will outstrip supply by 6 per cent this year due to rising sales of electric vehicles.
Battery grade lithium carbonate soared more than 400 per cent in 2021 to above $50,000 a tonne. 

With limited inventory, analysts at Citigroup believe “extreme” pricing will be needed to “destroy demand” and bring the market into balance.

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Benchmark futures in Chicago for May delivery climbed the most in more than four months, before pulling back to end the day up 3.2% at $8.04 a bushel. @business
Commodities


Ukraine and Russia together are heavyweights in wheat, supplying more than a quarter of the world’s shipments of the grain. 

They also play a big role in global corn and sunflower oil. A protracted discord in the region could keep prices of such commodities elevated and add to food costs that are already the highest in a decade.
While a direct conflict might initially see a liquidation in positions to take risk off, the “ultimate issue for wheat would be bullish for prices,” said Rich Nelson, chief strategist at U.S.-based Allendale Inc.

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Russia's central bank raises interest rates for the 8th time in 11 months. Total 525 basis points. @SriniSivabalan
Emerging Markets

Signals more hikes.
Inflation forecasts increased.
Growth forecasts cut.
But the big headache: Ukraine.
Ruble, stocks' fortunes are in Putin's hands, rather than Governor Nabiullina

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At African Union's annual summit in Addis, neither Abiy Ahmed nor other leaders made any mention of his [government's war] tactics, which include starving into submission the 5M people of Tigray, a rebellious province. @KenRoth
Africa


At the African Union's annual summit in Addis, neither Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed "nor the other leaders made any mention of his [government's war] tactics, which include starving into submission the 5M people of Tigray, a rebellious province."

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

https://bit.ly/3Bk45Gj

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.

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They and other African putschists aren't building anything resembling a competent/inclusive model of gov't, but what they are demonstrating is how fast African military officers can seize control for themselves @AfricaACSS
Africa

They and other African putschists aren't building anything resembling a competent/inclusive model of gov't, but what they are demonstrating is how fast African military officers can seize control for themselves by abusing the immense power that civilians entrust them with.

Turning To Africa
https://bit.ly/35ekJJr

Democracy has been shredded.
We are getting closer and closer to the Virilian Tipping Point
“The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street''
Political leadership in most cases completely gerontocratic will use violence to cling onto Power but any Early Warning System would be warning a Tsunami is coming

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Nigeria Targets $200 Billion of Inflows With New Forex Plan @business
Africa


Nigeria’s central bank has a new plan to lure $200 billion of inflows to Africa’s biggest economy: make it attractive for exporters to bring home foreign currency.
The Central Bank of Nigeria will stop selling the greenback to local banks and instead ask lenders to source foreign currency on their own. 

The regulator will offer long-term cheap credit to export-oriented producers and seek to entice exporters to repatriate dollar proceeds and park that with banks.
By the end of the year, “we will tell them, don’t come to the central bank for foreign exchange again,” Governor Godwin Emefiele said, referring to the banks. 

He spoke to the media after meeting with heads of commercial lenders on Thursday.
Nigeria’s central bank has been struggling to boost dollar supply and has often changed rules. 

The latest plan will be the biggest change since it stopped selling foreign currency to money changers. 

The regulator, which has devalued the currency three times since 2020 after a slump in crude oil prices hit inflows, expects the measures to boost foreign-exchange supply in the next three to five years.
“I’m not sure why banks will be more effective at getting exporters to repatriate their proceeds to Nigeria than the central bank,” Yvonne Mhango, Africa economist at Renaissance Capital, said in an emailed response to questions. 

“Without any assurance that we will see a pickup in repatriation of proceeds if the central bank” stops supplying banks, it could weaken the naira, he said.
The regulator set up an export support facility that will extend credit for up to 10 years -- with two years moratorium and 5% interest rate -- to producers, Emefiele said. 

The central bank will also extend by a year a Covid-19 interest rate benefit started in 2020 to help manufacturers, he said.
Dollar Shortage
The central bank plans to make it attractive for exporters to purchase the local currency and bring their overseas earnings home.
Companies have so far been dissuaded by the 27% disparity between the official and parallel market exchange rates of the naira in repatriating foreign currency to Nigeria.
“It is only by boosting productive and earning capacity of this economy that we can truly preserve the long-term value of our currency, as well as the stability of our exchange rate,” Emefiele said.
The official spot rate weakened 0.1% to 416.71 naira to the greenback by 4:30 p.m. in Lagos, the nation’s commercial capital.
The central bank accused money changers in July of aggravating a dollar shortage and halted supplies to them, robbing the market of almost $6 billion a year of supply. 

In September, it ordered lenders to identify customers buying foreign exchange using fake documents and make their names public in a bid to stifle dollar arbitrage.

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DEC 19 :: Time to Big Up the Dosage of Quaaludes
Africa


Everyone knows how this story ends. When the music stops, everyone will dash for the Exit and the currency will collapse

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et-setting president locks down support Nyusi is flying around the world to shore up support against the insurgency – and to get gas deals going @thecontinent_
Africa


Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi had little time to celebrate his birthday on Tuesday, as he was flying around the globe making deals to keep the counter-insurgency show in Cabo Delgado on the road.

His diplomatic whirlwind began late last month when he hosted the CEO of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanné, who promised to resume gas production once the security situation had been resolved.
There are billions of dollars at stake for Mozambique, which is relying on a gas bonanza to finance future development – and to pay off existing debt

With the Mozambican army having failed to contain the conflict, Nyusi’s best bet is to make sure that the Rwandan and southern African military interventions keep their boots on the ground.
To that end, Nyusi commemorated Mozambican Heroes’ Day in Mueda in Cabo Delgado, with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as the guest of honour. 

From there, Nyusi flew to Addis Ababa for the African Union conference. 

Days earlier, the AU’s Peace and Security Council had adopted a resolution praising the contributions of SADC and Rwanda, which has also sent troops – and calling on AU members and other “partners” to support those missions.
The AU hailed Rwanda’s support, in particular, as an “African solution to African problems” – although it does require external funding to continue. Rwanda has asked the European Union to finance the mission.
To help that request along, Nyusi stepped back onto his chartered jet in Addis Ababa and set off for Brussels for a meeting with the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. 

From there, he flew to Kigali for an audience with Rwandan President Paul Kagame – who had just signed a “collaboration agreement” with none other than TotalEnergies CEO Pouyanné. 

That afternoon, he flew to Beira to meet with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Nyusi might be Mozambique’s president, but when it comes to the Cabo Delgado insurgency he’s not the only one calling the shots.

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Meet Bonomado Machude Omar, the elusive leader of the Cabo Delgado insurgency. @thecontinent_
Africa

His name is Bonomado Machude Omar, born in Palma district, in Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique.
He’s been involved in the insurrection in Cabo Delgado since it started in 2017, and is now – according to the US State Department – the most prominent face of an insurgency that has crippled the region.

Last April, the head of Mozambique’s military, Cristóvão Chume, promised Omar “will be captured dead or alive”. Chume is now the country’s defence minister. 

On 6 August last year, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken designated Omar as a member of the Islamic State and a “global terrorist”, in a public statement.

Omar served as a navy soldier in Mozambique’s defence force from 2003 to 2005. 

But he now wants to tear down the very state that he served, and replace it with a caliphate

In an article in September 2020, Mozambique’s Centro de Jornalismo Investigativo (CJI) identified Bonomado Machude Omar, also called Omar Saide or Sheik Omar, as the speaker in a video which went viral in social media in March 2020. 

he was born in Palma in the village of Ncumbi, and moved to Mocímboa da Praia at the age of five after his father died. 

His mother remarried, and Omar’s stepfather introduced him to Islam, which he studied and mastered. 

Due to his height, between 1.80m and 1.90m, and the fact that he played in midfield, he acquired the nickname of Patrick Vieira, the French footballer who made his name at Arsenal.

He made a living selling vegetables and Muslim clothing at a market in Pemba, on behalf of a foreign merchant, who is said to have been either Tanzanian or Somali. 

He travelled to Tanzania and South Africa. He then returned to Mocímboa da Praia, where he built a mosque, as well as a stall for the sale of trinkets acquired in Tanzanian markets or in the city of Pemba.

Then he participated in the first attacks on Mocímboa da Praia in October 2017, and took refuge in the bush. 

It is still unclear how he became radicalised, or what prompted the turn to violence.
For his military skill and camouflage ability he acquired locally the nickname “King of the Forest”. 

He is, the OMR thinktank says, currently the leader of the insurgents in Mozambique – something confirmed by the US Department of State statement last year, which describes him also as being “the lead facilitator and communications conduit for the group”.

Bonomado led the insurgency’s attacks on Palma in March 2021, and on Mocímboa da Praia a year before. 

Both towns have since been retaken by Mozambique’s military with the help of the Rwandan Defence Force; Mozambique was unable to hold or retake them on its own.

It was after the fall of Mocímboa in 2020 that Bonomado made his now famous speech, recorded on a cameraphone and distributed far and wide. It gives a sense of his motivations.
Standing in front of the town’s police station – a potent symbol of state power that had fallen to the jihadis – Bonomado told the local population that they would not kill anyone or steal from the people, despite facing opposition from them. 

“We know that your will was for us to disappear,” he told the crowd. “But God has blessed us and we have gained more strength.
“We came the first time, we’re back, this is the second time, we’re giving you another chance; we’re not going to kill anyone, we’re not going to destroy anything that belongs to the people, everything we spoil will be the government’s,” he said.

“We occupy to show that the government today is unfair. It humiliates the poor and gives advantage to the bosses. It’s the lower class who get detained, so that’s not justice,” he continued.

He said his group was working for an Islamic government – and emphasised that “we are children from here, and these faces are not new. There are so many of us in the bush.”

The group finances its activities through mineral smuggling and drug trafficking, and this too allegedly runs through him, the source said.

Since that day in Mocímboa in 2020 – and the fall of Palma in March 2021 – the Mozambique government, with the help in particular of troops from Rwanda, have got back on the front foot. 

The towns have been retaken, and Omar is thought to be moving from base to base, as troops from
Mozambique, Rwanda, and the SADC mission in Mozambique dismantle bases that they find.

“Various testimonies describe him both as someone sinister and brutal, but also with a sense of justice,” Feijó told The Continent in an interview last week.

“There are several factors that produce this type of leaders: radicalisation through studies in madrasas, revolt with the concrete experience of poverty and marginalisation and even opportunism, which takes advantage of the desperation of communities,” Feijó said.
“I draw a parallel with Afonso Dhlakama,” Feijó added, referring to the late leader of the Mozambican resistance movement and later opposition party, Renamo. 

“He was the protagonist of a civil war tearing up the country, but he attracted crowds and was very popular.”
The success of such populists underlines the need for any solution to the conflict to include social inclusion, and meeting the basic needs of communities.
“I am not against defence and security solutions, but this approach must be accompanied by the creation of jobs for young people, the provision of basic social services, respect for human rights and incentives for the democratic participation of communities in the political and economic life of the country,” Feijó said.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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February 2022
 
 
 
 
 
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