The fresh, forceful voice of Frantz Fanon

‘If I’d died in my thirties, what would be left behind?’ is the question that keeps coming to mind reading this timely new biography of Frantz Fanon, the psychiatrist and philosopher who became an icon to leftist revolutionaries across the globe. ‘Would I want history to judge me by what I wrote at 36?’ For that was the absurdly young age at which Fanon died of leukaemia in 1961, leaving two key works to his name: Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth. Not a huge legacy, then, in sheer numbers of words. But it was enough to seal his reputation as both a chronicler of one

Sudan: coup, what coup?

Sudan’s army has just dissolved the government, dismissed the prime minister and declared a state of emergency. That certainly sounds like a coup — but it’s not, unless you count the army taking over from itself as a coup. The two uniformed power brokers who effectively controlled Sudan last week (a regular soldier called General Burhan and an opportunistic warlord lieutenant general Hamdan) still control the country this week. My Oxford English Dictionary defines a coup as a ‘sudden and decisive stroke of state policy’ and also as ‘a finishing stroke.’ Sudan’s coup that is not a coup was neither sudden nor decisive. The mood of end-game impatience with the

The least familiar stretches of Nile prove the most interesting

It’s one of the most tantalising travel images in the world — a felucca floating along the Nile at sunset, its lateen sail spread aslant to catch the wind. It takes us back to the beginnings of ancient Egypt, when the need to manage Nilotic flooding and the imperative to trade along the river’s course were the motors of civilisation. Even 2,500 years ago Herodotus was fascinated by the ease with which the Egyptians had learned to cultivate the soil with its waters rather than with laborious ploughs — which, some speculate, had given them the leisure to build pyramids in the down months. Of course many authors have been

Black African lives should matter too

The treatment of black people, particularly by law enforcement, has become a principal point of protest in the western world. But little it said about the millions of black Africans mistreated by the ruthless security forces of authoritarian African regimes. If black lives matter regardless of where they are in the world, then it’s time to challenge the immensely privileged black African ruling elite that clings to power by persecuting its often-voiceless Black African citizens. The numbers tell the story. An estimated 5.4 million people or 8 per cent of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s population died in the 1997-2003 conflict at the hands of government security forces and non-state

A Sudan-Israel peace deal could be Trump’s crowning achievement

Twitter is not always kind to the Jewish state. But the peace accord between Israel, UAE and Bahrain that was signed in Washington in September has opened the floodgates to a social media love-in. In one video, recently shared by Ivanka Trump, an Israeli called Amit Deri expresses his astonishment at finding produce from his country in a food market in Dubai. Elsewhere, in pictures that were shared thousands of times, a vast Emirati flag is seen projected onto the façade of Tel Aviv’s city hall. Even Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has got involved, posting in Arabic this week to mark UAE’s national day, alongside a video in which he

Have Arab nations forgotten about Palestine by accepting Israel?

The Palestinians are entering one of the most precarious periods in their nation’s history. The normalisation of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is only the beginning as other Arab and Muslim states are expected to follow. Yesterday, Haidar Badawi Sadiq, spokesman for the Sudanese foreign ministry, confirmed talks between Khartoum and Jerusalem and predicted a treaty before the end of the year. Today, Sadiq was fired and the ministry denied all knowledge of secret negotiations. Maybe Sadiq spoke out of turn; maybe he jumped the gun; maybe he floated the test balloon that he was told to. No matter. Whether Sudan is next or later is not