Karen Attiah

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de diciembre de 2008. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

The “beautiful game” has been revealing many ugly truths about racism and identity in Europe.

In the aftermath of the World Cup, the French and German national soccer teams have found themselves at the center of a renewed debate about race, assimilation and national identity that has highlighted the precarious position that many nonwhite immigrants and first-generation people find themselves in while living in the West.

On Sunday, the player Mesut Ozil announced in a series of powerful and pained social media posts that he was quitting the German national team due to racism and mistreatment from the German media, sponsors and the German Football Association (DFB).…  Seguir leyendo »

After years of ignoring the sale of human beings in Libya, leaders from Europe and Africa have been making a grand show of shock and indignation.

After CNN released a report about migrants being sold into slavery while attempting to cross the Mediterranean, French President Emmanuel Macron rushed to denounce the Libyan government. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian threatened Tripoli with sanctions if the country did not move quickly to investigate the abuses. Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari said it was appalling that “some Nigerians [in the footage] were being sold like goats for a few dollars.”

As many observers have noted, however, slavery existed in Libya long before the CNN report.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ah, holiday time in the Netherlands.  It means pepernoten (holiday cookies), handwritten, personalized poems to give to friends and family, and large parades across the country. But for many cities in the Netherlands, the season of Sinterklaas is not complete without a dash of holiday blackface.

Every year, from late November to early December, the Dutch celebrate the arrival of Sinterklaas (the Dutch version of St. Nick) and Zwarte Piet, (Black Pete in English). For decades, Dutch people have dressed up as Zwarte Piet by painting their faces black, giving themselves big red lips and donning curly afro wigs. Sinterklaas is the stern boss, Zwarte Piets are his goofy, acrobatic helpers.…  Seguir leyendo »

Everyone keeps saying they want peace in the Middle East, right? Well, memo to Saudi Arabia and President Trump: This isn’t the way to do it.

Saudi Arabia has been making dramatic international headlines in recent months. The kingdom’s 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (known as MBS) wants to introduce progressive reforms to his conservative nation. So far that has meant granting women the right to drive, envisioning plans for a futuristic city and trying to attract foreign investment. But MBS’s version of reform has also meant the arrests of scores of elites, clerics, social media stars, princes. The kingdom, long dependent on oil wealth, says that it wants to crack down on corruption.…  Seguir leyendo »

A light for Congo’s democracy went dark this week.

Etienne Tshisekedi, the 84-year old long-time opposition leader and force for political openness in Congo, died Wednesday in a hospital in Brussels, after suffering from a long-standing illness. Nicknamed the “Sphinx of Limete,” the former member of Patrice Lumumba’s post-independence government served four times as prime minister. Tshisekedi fought against the kleptocratic regime of Mobutu Sese Seko  and resisted the governments of Laurent Kabila and his son, current president Joseph Kabila. Tshisekedi ran against Joseph Kabila in the flawed 2011 elections and lost. He never recognized Kabila as Congo’s true leader.

Since its independence from Belgium in 1960, Congo has never seen a peaceful transfer of power.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Catholic Church might have just delivered a divine glimmer of hope for Congo’s democracy. Last month, Congolese bishops helped forge a deal between members of President Joseph Kabila’s ruling party and members of the opposition that would see Congo hold elections by the end of 2017. Crucially, the pact states that the embattled Kabila will step down after elections. If the accord is implemented, it would ensure that Congo would see its first democratic transition of power since its independence in 1960.

There’s one hitch: While rights groups and governments across the world have praised the formulation of the deal, Kabila himself has neither signed the agreement nor made any public statements indicating whether he will abide by the pact and step down.…  Seguir leyendo »

Remember when people thought that hashtag activism of #BringBackOurGirls was useless? Well, this week brought proof that sustained social media pressure can work.

On Thursday, the Nigerian government announced that 21 of the nearly 300 girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014 had been released as a result of negotiations between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram; the Swiss government and the International Committee of the Red Cross played an active role as neutral mediators in the talks.

Former World Bank VP-turned-activist Oby Ezekwesili, who is credited with starting #BringBackOurGirls in Nigeria, said in an email, “I have been crying most of today, because it is a day of all kinds of multiple and contradictory emotions of  joy, hope sadness and pain for me, personally.” When I asked her to explain further, she said, “Pain, because we as in Nigeria and the rest of the world could have saved our girls as soon as they were abducted if WE GAVE IT OUR ALL.…  Seguir leyendo »

Somali refugees stand amongst their scattered belongings after their temporary shelters were destroyed by Somali soldiers on March 4, 2015 at the Sarkusta refugee camp in southern Mogadishu. Dozens of houses and shops were destroyed in the area after the Somali government ordered the demolition of makeshift homes. (Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP/Getty Images)

If Joe Biden really wants to help his Somali American “friends,” now would be a good time to do it.

The vice president recently said that he had “great relationships” with Somali taxicab drivers in Wilmington, Del., and that the city had a large Somali community. But a simple fact-check made short work of Biden’s assertions: Wilmington is home to a large number of West Africans, not Somalis.

Biden may well have encountered a Somali taxi driver at some point, and if so, chances are that driver was one of the tens of thousands of Somalis in the United States who depend on money-transfer services to send cash to families and small businesses back in Somalia, often to pay for basics such as food, clothes, medicine and school fees.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last month, The Post published an op-ed by Ni­ger­ian President Goodluck Jonathan answering criticism of his response to the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls by the group Boko Haram. This is what he should have written.

I have remained quiet about Nigeria’s continuing efforts to find the girls kidnapped in April from the northern town of Chibok, because, honestly, I hoped the world would ignore it as just another “African tragedy.” But the attention brought by #BringBackOurGirls forced my administration to abandon its usual do-nothing strategy. I admit that for weeks, the Nigerian military was nowhere to be seen in Chibok and aggrieved parents had to resort to venturing into the jungle on foot to search for their children.…  Seguir leyendo »