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A Young Entrepreneur Puts Kenya On The Map - In More Ways Than One

David Kobia's thriving start-up helps aid organizations by mapping violence and disaster online. Even Google has taken notice of this new generation of African innovators.

David Kobia, part of Africa’s young start-up generation
David Kobia, part of Africa’s young start-up generation
Tobias Zick

Web developer David Kobia was a good 13,000 kilometers from Kenya — in Alabama, actually — when civil unrest broke out in his home country following incumbent President Mwai Kibaki"s victory in the December 2007 election. Militias spurred by opposition politicians went on violent rampages attacking members of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe with spears and machetes. So Kenya, previously considered an island of stability in crisis-addled East Africa, began 2008 mired in bloodshed.

Then Kobia got a call on his cell phone. A friend of his told him about a Kenyan who had suggested on her blog that somebody post a Google map on the Internet where attacks could be recorded in real time.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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