Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
Nigerian army ‘ignored warning of massacres’ in Jos.
razib, murtad fitri, cbarwa, and Abu Noor Al-Irlandee are discussing. Toggle Comments
Interesting discussion at Blogging Heads about the context for this violence in Nigeria and about the major issues facing Nigeria in general, with reference to other African countries as well. It features Dayo Olopade, who is a Nigerian American, and Eliza Griswold, who has a book coming out (although not for several months I don’t think) called “The Tenth Parallel” about the historical dividing line in Africa between Muslim and non-Muslim populations.
that has always been a tenuous and shifting line historically.
No doubt, and although obviously I haven’t read her book, from her comments in the diavlog she does not maintain and I hope I didn’t give the impression that it is some sort of fixed or exact line. The main point is that there are historical conflicts between different groups of people along these fault lines which are primarily contests over resources but which have been imbued both historically and currently with religious overtones.
To your average secular materialist that will come as no great insight, but obviously there is a strain of analysis that constantly speaks of “Islam’s bloody borders” and would posit that there is something inherent in the nature of Islam which causes wars and violence in areas where predominantly Muslim and non-Muslim populations come into contact.
True, there is actually quite a good discussion about the shifting nature of this line and the impact economic and environmental factors have had on it in a book of collected essays by Immanuel Wallerstein (of all people) on Race and Nationalism; it is well worth looking up for the historical analysis it gives in just a few pages.
The ‘bloody borders’ thesis is a Huntingtonian legacy; I just want to clarify that it has little to do with secular materialism really (in fact the arguement contained therein is a manifestly non-materialist one). Its application to Saharan Africa is one of its problems. I think only Nigeria could said to really have communal conflicts along religious lines (though these exist in Ghana, there, they are more along ethnic lines). Nigeria is probably the exception to the region in this sense. Course as we know from Somalia and Rwanda, religion isn’t really the driving force behind conflict in these regions.
Nigeria is probably the exception to the region in this sense.
yes. there have been heads of states who have converted from christianity to islam to christianity in africa, and it didn’t seem to cause that much commotion.
though i would say that nigeria is a very big exception. it’s kind of like saying “china is the exception to the rule in asia.” that can be true, but excluding the middle east & russia from asia china is still about 35-40% of asia’s population i think.
in any case, i suppose one could look to the yorbua to see how christians and muslims get along, as this group has large populations of both religions (unlike the hausa and igbo who are muslim or christian respectively). if there isn’t conflict among the yoruba one might be able to tunnel down into more detail as to what’s going on in the “middle belt” (though it looks like that groups marginalized by the fulani and hausa have taken to christianity, just like the hill peoples of southeast asian are christian and so maintain their identity in the face of the therevada buddhist cultures of the lowlands).
Razib did you see the David Shenk Will Wilkinson diavlog?
you’re the 10th person who has asked me that not yet. some of the stuff shenk has written i don’t recognize. i.e., no one talks about a G + E model vs. G X E model. but i guess i’ll offer a comment when i listen (i consider will wilkinson a friendly acquaintance, fwiw).
though i would say that nigeria is a very big exception.
I tried to think of a response to this but couldn’t, yeah it does sound kind of silly to say this given Nigeria’s scale; but arguably – underpopulated states that operate according to different axis are far more typical of SSA than Nigeria. For many purposes, I think Nigeria and South Africa, are quite important outliers when talking about modern African history and politics – they have certain features that separate them from most other SSA states!
needs to be a special word which takes into account large outliers. e.g., “namibia is exceptional” should be weighted very differently than “nigeria is exceptional.”
Conrad, on secular materialism my point was that a secular materialist would not buy the bloody borders argument and would assume that all religious conflicts are essentially conflicts over resources onto which religion is just used as a rhetorical device.
Abu Noor – yes I agree about the bloody borders arguement vis-a-vis secular materialism. I would say though that probably only certain strands of Marxists, think religious conflict is primarily a displaced struggle over resources (most modern Marxists would probably take a more sophisticated view); Realists and Institutionalists would probably regard it as merely the outcome of power struggles between different groups (ie the relative scarcity or abundance of resources isn’t the driving force behind social conflict but the desire of some groups to dominate and exert their power over others and these groups take different forms of which religion is only one)
← Waterboarding for dummies: Self-proclaim…
Wajahat Ali on Jihad Jane and cartoon co… →
Proudly powered by WordPress. Theme: P2 by Automattic.