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Please try again later. Format: Paperback Verified Purchase. As we were delayed in the taxiway waiting for our turn to take off, I caught a glimpse of the section that he was reading. It was a passage with rich, colorful description of Sri Lanka's hospitality and traditional dishes, how they are lavished, sometimes insisted, over visiting guests at the homes of Sri Lankans.

from a passage to africa (annotated)

I could identify with the description. I have experienced it first hand and grew up in a similar culture.

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I was born and have spent quite a good chunk of early part of my life in Bangladesh, a neighboring South Asian country by the Bay of Bengal. At the time I did not know much about Sri Lanka and surely did not know about its internal dynamics. For her cuisine, all that I knew Sri Lankans use lots of coconut in their dishes. I remembered the civil war there when I was a little kid. That was pretty much my meager knowledge about a neighboring country in the Indian Sub Continent.

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Now as the very interesting passage in the mysterious book in the hands of the next-seat- passenger was revealing, the two South Asian countries share many cultural traits. I was too shy to disturb the reader to ask the name of the book and waited my chance to see what the title was.

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As he was turning the page I caught the glimpse of the cover - "A Passage to Africa". I was wondering what the book was about. I was pretty certain that it involved travel, food and some sort of suspense. We reached Washington D. But the description stayed etched in my mind and I ordered the book at Amazon. It was curiosity.

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I wanted to see what more was there in that book, a passage of which I identified with so very much. Within a week or so I got the book in mail at my home in Virginia. He retraces life of the African countries in a grand view and his own in them, both as a young boy and later, as a professional Journalist. Alagiah covers topics that I have intimately experienced such as racism of which both the Asians and Africans are guilty of, political coup-de-ta, revolutions and corruption by the "revolutionaries" once they are in power, problems of top heavy developmental schemes so plaguing 3rd world, effects of arbitrary borders drawn up by the Colonial powers, commonalities of corruption in governments across the world, dictatorship, political leaders exploiting ethnic differences Rowanda and nationalities and genocide.

In this vivid eye-opening book about Africa, her people and their aspirations - aspirations that are good and that are evil, so human that we share them all in all cultures. George Alagiah effortlessly and may be un-intentionally manages to put a universal human face to Africa and her people overcoming all the negative stereotypes and media coverage.

I came upon this eye-opening, perception-altering book by a sheer lucky chance. Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase. Later, when US troops were sent in to restore food supplies held up by the warring factions, Alagiah had expected the humanitarian situation to improve. However, his hopes soon evaporated. Within hours of touching down the soldiers "stormed" a foodstore, forcing its three Somali guards to the floor at gunpoint. Even in Alagiah's eyes, the reputation of the Americans appeared seriously damaged.

And if it was going to come to that, I was with the Somalis Why, when the rich world intervenes, does it still have to do so in such an overbearing and insensitive way? And when, a few months later, the body of a US soldier who had been killed with 17 colleagues in a gun battle was jubilantly dragged through the streets, Alagiah could understand the emotions. They were rejoicing in the belittling of America's power, not the murder of one of its sons. Alagiah does see some rays of hope for Africa's future, in the perspective of new-style leaders such as Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

Museveni is more interested in addressing the problems caused by four decades of leadership by Africans, albeit with European and superpower backing, than by the preceding years of colonial rule and exploitation. He believes that rather than remaining dependent on the west, through the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, African countries should be building an independent future.

But the underlying theme running through all Alagiah's stories of horror and catastrophe is ethnic division. From Zaire to Zimbabwe, from South Africa to Sierra Leone, historic nations have been torn apart, creating people with split allegiances that have been exploited by dictatorial rulers.

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From A Passage to Africa by n m on Prezi

As Museveni told Alagiah: "I speak the same language as the people in the Congo. I share the same dialect as the people of Tanzania and Kenya; my people in the north of Uganda speak the same language as they do in southern Sudan You could see it in her sick, yellow eyes and smell it in the. And then there was the face I will never forget.

Yes, revulsion. The degeneration of the human body, sucked of its natural vitality by. We never say so in our TV. To be in a feeding centre is to hear. An old woman will cover her shrivelled. Or the old and dying man. I saw that face for only a few seconds, a fleeting meeting of eyes before the face.


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In those brief. It was not a smile. It touched me in a way I could not explain. It moved me in a way that. What was it about that smile? I had to find out. I urged my translator to ask the. He came back with an answer. And then it. That's what the smile had been about.


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It was the feeble smile that goes with. There is an unwritten code between the journalist and his subjects in these. The journalist observes , the subject is observed. The journalist is active ,. But this smile had turned the tables on that tacit agreement. Without uttering a single word, the man had posed a question that cut to the heart. If he was embarrassed to be found weakened by hunger.