Yoweri Museveni battled to power in 1986. His government has impressed many observers as Uganda’s most innovative since it gained independence from Britain in 1962. The Economist recommended it as a model for other African states struggling to develop their resources in the best interests of their peoples.
But where was change to start? At the bottom in building resistance committees, or at the top in tough negotiations with the IMF? How was it to continue? Was it in the restructuring of the national army, in increasing respect for human rights, in the reform of education, in tackling AIDS, or in getting Ugandans to speak a common language? Was it in building more viable survival strategies for the poorest Ugandans or in restructuring the national constitution? The last five years have shown a radical approach to Uganda’s dilemmas.
Holger Bernt Hansen and Michael Twaddle previously edited Uganda Now. It was brought together at a significant moment just as President Museveni was gaining power in 1985-6. It was so much in demand that it even entered the magendo market on the streets of Kampala. The book, which is still in print, was described by The Canadian Journal of African Studies as ‘virtually a mini-encyclopedia of Uganda’ and by The African Studies Review as ‘the best overview of Uganda’s trauma in the last two decades.’
The editors have assembled another team of Ugandan and international scholars to review the dilemmas of introducing revolutionary changes in an African country deeply affected by structural adjustment plans which have been imposed from outside.
Evolving Iran presents an overview of how the politics and policy decisions in the Islamic Republic of Iran have developed since the 1979 revolution and how they are likely to evolve in the near future. Despite the fact that the revolution ushered in a theocracy, its political system has largely tended to prioritize self-interest and pragmatism over theology and religious values, while continuing to reinvent itself in the face of internal and international threats.
The author also examines the prospects for democratization in Iran. Since the early years of the twentieth century, Iranians have attempted to make their political system more democratic, yet various attempts to produce a system where citizens have a meaningful voice in political decisions have failed. This book argues that greater democratization is unlikely to occur in the short term, especially in light of increased threats from the international community.
This accessible overview of Iran’s political system covers a broad array of subjects, including foreign policy, human rights, women’s struggle for equality, the development and evolution of elections, and the institutions of the political system including the Revolutionary Guards and Assembly of Experts. It will appeal to undergraduates and the general public who seek to understand a country and regime that has mystified Westerners for decades.
In 1979, toward the end of the Cold War era, Nicaragua's Sandinista movement emerged on the world stage claiming to represent a new form of socialism. Gendered Scenarios of Revolution is a historical ethnography of Sandinista state formation from the perspective of El Tule-a peasant village that was itself thrust onto a national and international stage as a "model" Sandinista community. This book follows the villagers´ story as they joined the Sandinista movement, performed revolution before a world audience, and grappled with the lessons of this experience in the neoliberal aftermath.
Employing an approach that combines political economy and cultural analysis, Montoya argues that the Sandinistas collapsed gender contradictions into class ones, and that as the Contra War exacerbated political and economic crises in the country, the Sandinistas increasingly ruled by mandate as vanguard party instead of creating the participatory democracy that they professed to work toward. In El Tule this meant that even though the Sandinistas created new roles and possibilities for women and men, over time they upheld pre-revolutionary patriarchal social structures. Yet in showing how the revolution created opportunities for Tuleños to assert their agency and advance their interests, even against the Sandinistas´ own interests, this book offers a reinterpretation of the revolution´s supposed failure.
Examining this community’s experience in the Sandinista and post-Sandinista periods offers perspective on both processes of revolutionary transformation and their legacies in the neoliberal era. Gendered Scenarios of Revolution will engage graduate and undergraduate students and scholars in anthropology, sociology, history, and women’s and gender studies, and appeal to anyone interested in modern revolution and its aftermath.
"History repeats itself, but it never repeats itself exactly," observes Douglas Porpora in this powerful indictment of U.S. intervention in Central America. Comparing the general public’s reaction to the Holocaust in Nazi Germany with American public opinion of U.S. participation in the genocidal policies of Nicaraguan counter-revolutionary forces, and the governments of Guatemala and El Salvador among others, Porpora demonstrates that moral indifference to the suffering of others was the common response. With reference to Hannah Arendt’s thesis of the banality of evil, he develops the concept of a "Holocaust-like event" and examines how even a democratic society can be capable of something on the order of a Holocaust.
Unlike other accounts of the Holocaust and genocide, this book focuses on the citizenry served or ruled by genocidal governments rather than on the governments themselves. Porpora argues that moral indifference and lack of interest in critical reflection are key factors that enable Holocaust-like events to happen And he characterizes American society as being typically indifferent to the fate of other people, uninformed, and anti-intellectual.
Porpora cites numerous horrifying examples of U.S.-backed Latin American government actions against their own peasants, Indians, and dissident factions. He offers finally a theory of public moral indifference and argues that although such indifference is socially created by government, the media, churches, and other institutions, we, the public, must ultimately take responsibility for it. How Holocausts Happen is at once a scholarly examination of the nature of genocide and a stinging indictment of American society.
Abducted at the age of eleven, Evelyn Amony spent nearly eleven years inside the Lord’s Resistance Army, becoming a forced wife to Joseph Kony and mother to his children. She takes the reader into the inner circles of LRA commanders and reveals unprecedented personal and domestic details about Joseph Kony. Her account unflinchingly conveys the moral difficulties of choosing survival in a situation fraught with violence, threat, and death.
Amony was freed following her capture by the Ugandan military. Despite the trauma she endured with the LRA, Amony joined a Ugandan peace delegation to the LRA, trying to convince Kony to end the war that had lasted more than two decades. She recounts those experiences, as well as the stigma she and her children faced when she returned home as an adult.
This extraordinary testimony shatters stereotypes of war-affected women, revealing the complex ways that Amony navigated life inside the LRA and her current work as a human rights advocate to make a better life for her children and other women affected by war.
Best books for public & secondary school libraries from university presses, American Library Association
Journalist Jonathan Cook explores Israel’s key role in persuading the Bush administration to invade Iraq, as part of a plan to remake the Middle East, and their joint determination to isolate Iran and prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons that might rival Israel’s own.
This concise and clearly argued book makes the case that Israel's desire to be the sole regional power in the Middle East neatly chimed with Bush’s objectives in the “war on terror”.
Examining a host of related issues, from the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians to the role of Big Oil and the demonisation of the Arab world, Cook argues that the current chaos in the Middle East is the objective of the Bush administration – a policy that is equally beneficial to Israel.
Rick Rockwell and Noreene Janus examine the region country by country and deal with the specific conditions of government-sponsored media repression, economic censorship, corruption, and consumer trends that shape the political landscape. Challenging the notion of the media as a democratizing force, Media Power in Central America shows how governments use the media to block democratic reforms and outlines the difficulties of playing watchdog to rulers who use the media as a tool of power.
Histories of revolutions often focus on military, political, or economic upheavals but sometimes neglect to connect these larger events to the daily lives of "ordinary" people. Yet the peoples' perception that "things are worse than before" can topple revolutionary governments, as shown by the recent defeat of the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua and the governments of Eastern Europe. Providing the kind of prosaic, revealing details that more formal histories have excluded, My Car in Managua offers an objective, often humorous description of the great difficulties and occasional pleasures of life in Nicaragua during the Sandinista revolution.
During a year's work (1985-1986) at the Instituto Centroamericano de Administración de Empresas (INCAE), Forrest Colburn purchased a dilapidated car—and with it an introduction to everyday life in Nicaragua. His discoveries of the length of time required to register the car (approximately six weeks), the impossibility of finding spare parts (except when U.S. dollars were applied to the search), and the fact that "anyone getting into a car in Managua can be charged a small fee [for car watching] by anyone else" all suggest the difficulties most Nicaraguans faced living in a devastated economy.
Drawing on experiences from visits throughout the revolutionary period (1979-1989), Colburn also sheds light on how the Revolution affected social customs and language, gender roles and family relationships, equality and authority, the availability of goods and services, the status of ethnic minorities, and governmental and other institutions. Illustrations by Nicaragua's celebrated political cartoonist Róger Sánchez Flores enliven the lucid text.
Can the revolutionary government of Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Movement put Uganda back on the road from decay to development?
These informed assessments put the present situation in context. The contributors assembled as Museveni’s guerrillas were launching their final bid for power. They have finalized their contributions in the light of the Museveni government’s initial period of power.
Contributions by Ugandan academics and politicians interlock with those by scholars from across the world who have a concern for Uganda. Historians examine the period of colonialism. There are political studies of the quarter century since independence. There are detailed analyses of the economic realities for the Ugandan government in the period of international debt. The central role of education in national development is given due prominence.
Ali A. Mazrui ends the book by asking ‘Is Africa Decaying?’ The editors have put the consideration of the case of Uganda’s recent history within the context of Africa’s development crisis. Uganda has presented in an aggravated form the crisis common to many other African countries: infrastructural breakdown, mounting foreign debt, military regimes and waves of refugees.
Why do some countries progress while others stagnate? Why does adversity strengthen some countries and weaken others? Indeed, in this era of unprecedented movement of people, goods, and ideas, just what constitutes a nation-state? Forrest Colburn and Arturo Cruz suggest how fundamental these questions are through an exploration of the evolution of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica over the last quarter of a century, a period of intriguing, often confounding, paradoxes in Central America's development.
Offering an elegant defense of empiricism, Colburn and Cruz explore the roles of geography and political choice in constructing nations and states. Countries are shown to be unique: there are a daunting number of variables. There is causality, but not the kind that can be revealed in the laboratory or on the blackboard. Liberalism—today defined as democracy and unfettered markets—may be in vogue, but it has no inherent determinants. Democracy and market economies, when welded to the messy realities of individual countries, are compatible with many different outcomes. The world is more pluralistic in both causes and effects than either academic theories or political rhetoric suggest.
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