30 January 2010

Land Disputes ~ Pervasive, Crucial, Core Issue

Fascinating to read Jina Moore's thoughtful piece in the CSMonitor on Africa's continental divide: land disputes...
"African land reform, plot by plot, may be the foundation for solving so much else – from famine to poverty to genocide."
"Land, at the very heart of security and survival, looms behind most of the African conflicts we've all heard of and dozens of others we have not. The Rwandan genocide, some argue, was as much about the dwindling land availability in Africa's most densely populated country as it was about enmity between ethnic groups. The wars recounted in the movie "Blood Diamond" in Sierra Leone and Liberia saw land grabs by warlords eager to exploit commodities like diamonds and timber. The violence following Kenya's 2007 election reflected generations of dissatisfaction with land policy that favored different ethnic groups over time. Beneath the genocide in Darfur is a broken land tenure system..."
This is an absolutely central, pervasive, core issue...
"The end of land conflict might just mark the ascent of Africa. It's too much to say that land is the cause of all of Africa's wars. But on a continent where villages are impoverished and cities are strained, "it's at the core of almost everything," says Robin Nielsen, a lawyer with the Seattle-based Rural Development Institute (RDI). "Land is the means for livelihood. It's power; it's status; it's security. It's the most powerful asset people have."
So, read more about what might be done.

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