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TOPIC: maasai

Society

Plight Of Maasai Reveals Racism Of Africa's Conservation Policy

Thousands of Maasai people in Tanzania met brutal police repression when they demonstrated against being expelled from their land, laying bare both how ineffective and inhumane the conservationist movement can be.

LOLIONDO — "Loliondo is bleeding..."

An SMS woke me up on the morning of June 10. Scrolling through my phone were dozens of horrifying images of Maasai men and women with wounds on their legs, their backs and their heads. Lots of blood. And then, videos of Maasai running away from the Tanzanian police, who were shooting at them.

The pictures looked like war images. Like so many other people in the Global North, I was shocked. How could the idyllic images of zebras, giraffes and lions that the Serengeti ecosystem evokes in Western minds be transformed into this scene of brutal violence?

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In Tanzania, People And Lions Face Off Over Wildlife Corridors

LOIBOR SIRET - Laly Lichtenfeld has reason to be cautious. White outsiders have left some painful memories in this region of vast plains in the north of Tanzania. Thousands of people were expropriated to create the nearby national parks of Tarangire and Manyara, as well as the Serengeti, further north on the Kenyan border. In East Africa, there are few tribes who have paid as heavy a tribute to conservation as the Maasai. A third of Tanzania is a designated protected area, three times more than the world average.

Laly is a white American who has devoted most of her life to lions, the subject of her Yale doctoral thesis in social ecology. She founded the wildlife conservation organization African People and Wildlife, and lives at the top of a hill overlooking the savannah. It sounds romantic, like the stories of many of the Westerners who have figured in African history since colonial times. But the reality in Loibor Siret is tougher.

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