13 May 2009

Saviors and Survivors

I've never quite gotten around to reading any Mahmood Mamdani because I've kind of got the impression that he's a bit of a crazy SOAS hippy. I'm allowed to accuse people of being crazy SOAS hippies because I was brought up on lentils and solstice celebrations, and then went to study at SOAS, so I know what I'm talking about.

I'm also really lazy, so as much as I understand the importance of wide reading in the social sciences, I can't stand all the long-winded writing in political science and sociology full of stupid long words trying to make themselves sound clever. I've become a bit reliant on economics papers and their nice short predictable formats with tables.

So it was nice to be able to skim-read some of the discussion on the Saving Darfur blog about Mamdani's latest book "Saviors and Survivors", which I'm told is pretty good but I probably won't manage to read in full.

Fortunately for my prejudices I stumbled across this little nugget from Mamdani in response to his critics.
"It is no exaggeration to say that the high school kids became Save Darfur's version of child soldiers in African conflicts – all enthusiastic participants in processes that none really understood nor were encouraged to understand."
It is no exaggeration?! Really?! And child soldiers are enthusiastic participants?! Mamdani is getting filed in the crazy hippy box and I'm going back to some economics.

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