Long Time No Read!

I admit, I have been majorly slacking on the blog front in recent weeks, but I have some excellent reasons (no, really, I do). Following a year long search for the perfect job, I was offered a position as Program Associate for the Vancouver-based Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative in early June. Since then, I have been multi tasking more than ever, trying to wrap things up in Paris before moving to Canada, and with World Refugee Day events and all the Niapele work that needed to get accomplished, it was a challenge!

I’ve been in transit since late June, seeing family and friends in various locations before settling in Vancouver – a city that I had never set foot in until this past Monday. Needless to say, since then, it’s been a mad race to find a place to live, figure out my way around, etc. As a result, I unfortunately had to put my blog and other personal endeavors on the back burner for a while. But I’m getting back on the proverbial horse, and will begin writing substantial posts again next week.

If any of you have any Vancouver recommendations for me, let me know! I don’t know anyone or anything here, and welcome any friendly advice.

Since I have been by myself for the better part of this week, I’ve been having meals alone – so as not to feel like a social outcast, I’ve been bringing a book to the various eateries I have graced with my presence. The book in question is entitled “The Wisdom of Whores” by Elizabeth Pisani, and in spite of its seemingly R rated title, it’s a fascinating read. Written by a journalist-cum-epidemiologist who has been involved in the fight against AIDS since the early 90s, it provides a really interesting perspective on HIV/AIDS, and the international response to it. I’m only half way through, and I prefer to have read the whole thing before giving a fuller account of it, but if you’re in need of a summer read that will surely attract raised eyebrows in public settings (trust me on this one), “The Wisdom of Whores” is for you.

They Come in the Name of Helping, reloaded

This article popped up in my Google Reader – 3 times.

The article itself, from The Washington Post, casts a critical eye on the affluence that foreigners live in while working in Liberia.

As this impoverished country climbs its way back from 13 years of civil war with the tiniest of steps, a boom is underway in the industries that cater to the rarified tastes of thousands of mostly European and U.S. expatriates who have come to help since peace arrived in 2003. The increasingly visible splendors available to this relatively wealthy group have left some Liberians wondering whether the foreigners are here to serve the nation or themselves.

I blogged about this topic a couple of months ago, after watching Peter Brock’s “They Come in the Name of Helping” – if you haven’t yet watched it, please do.

This story about sushi in Liberia popped up twice more in my reader – Chris Blattman and Rupert Simon both reacted to it (and, according to Blattman, it seems that a LOT of people picked up on this story)

Simon seems to side with the opinion expressed in the article:

… If only the sushi were made from local fish (fresh and delicious), I wouldn’t mind. But importing tuna and salmon to serve to aid workers, when the rest of the population can barely get enough rice (let alone fish), seems a little absurd.

Blattman, on the other hand, says – what’s the problem with a couple good restaurants?

My opinion is somewhere in the middle – I still believe that, in general, to have such a discrepancy between the way foreign aid workers and locals live is a problem – it distances the foreigners from the realities that they’re supposed to work on, and from the people they are supposed to assist. But that’s essentially the problem with development work that isn’t grassroots based.

On the other hand, I appreciate Blattman’s straight forwardness in the matter. Because when you work in difficult settings, far from your family and the comforts of home, sometimes, it’s nice to take a break. And that’s just the reality of it – aid workers are not super heros, they are human beings with needs and desires, and some people in Liberia know what those are, and are taking advantage of it – how entrepreneurial! (This is only half sarcastic)

In a lot of post-conflict settings and generally poor places where NGOs and IOs are active, aid workers always inject cash into the local economy. Some say it’s good (it boosts local economy, creates jobs, etc.), some say it’s bad (unsustainable). Whatever the case may be, it’s definitely a reality that needs to be contended with. Perhaps the negative effects of foreign affluence juxtaposed to local poverty can be mitigated by developing an approach where locals would benefit from in a sustainable manner – through job creation, using local resources (think local instead of imported fish for the now (in)famous Monrovia sushi restaurant mentioned above), etc.

If I end up traveling to Liberia this summer for The Niapele Project (fingers crossed), it will be interesting to see the reality of this juxtaposition.

Give a Man a Line, Not a Fish (but what kind of line should you give him then?)

Fishing boats in Kokrobite, Ghana

It sometimes seems like the mantra “give a man a line, not a fish” summarizes the approach taken to development by most practitioners who wish to move away from hand outs and towards breeding sustainability. It makes perfect sense, right? If you give him the fish, he will eat now and be hungry tomorrow, and you’ll have to give him another, whereas if you give him a line, he’s going to start fishing for himself, and you can move to the next guy who needs help.

This trip to Ghana, I actually saw this motto written on some buildings, and it just kept popping up (both in my head, and in real life) – but thinking about it, I started to become slightly uncomfortable with it. Of course, it would be naive to say that this “line and fish” proverb is actually used as a strategy, but, for the sake of the argument, let’s extrapolate a bit. The whole idea behind this concept is that you want the beneficiary of your help to no longer have to extend his or her hand out for assistance, and that, instead, he or she will become self-reliant and empowered by this new found freedom.

While this is a laudable goal in theory, in practice, it seems to fall short all too often. When you give someone a “line” (could be a tractor to plow the earth, a sewing machine or oven to become more efficient, etc.), it’s not necessarily the “line” that he needs, or would have chosen freely. It’s not necessarily the most sustainable tool either – for instance, the sewing machine example : while the person you are giving it to may be ecstatic at the thought of having her own, the problem is that there 100 other people like you giving 100 other people like her a sewing machine. Which means that there will be insane competition between small scale sewers – and, unfortunately, if you haven’t given her (and the others) an effective marketing and sales strategy, you pretty much wasted your sewing machine.

This article discusses the preponderance of cooks in Monrovia – and the effects on the local economy:

NGO skills-training programmes that typically focus on skills such as soap-making, hair braiding, baking, tailoring and pastry-making have turned out far more people than there is demand for, the report found.

“The majority of [skills training] projects lack direct links to current or emerging market demand,” the report says. “Hairdressing, cosmetology, baking, tailoring, soap-making and tie-dye are offered in location after location.”

I’ve seen this in Buduburam – there are dozens of training programs for women that offer the aforementioned activities. The goal is to empower these women – the means to this end is to help them learn a trade that will enable them to generate income and sustain themselves. But when every one of your neighbors is getting the same “line”, you’re going to end up going after the same fish, right? The training skills programs don’t work together – in fact, they compete. In Buduburam, the Chrissetta Institute is where you want to be – they have the best reputation. Women of Glory churns out the most graduates, and is highly visible. It almost seems like the real point of these training programs is to empower the people who run them, rather than the people who benefit from them.

I made the mistake of sponsoring one lady’s training as a pastry chef – there are absolutely no jobs for her, and the women who already do this don’t want anyone to help them (because they can’t really scale up their activities, if they work with someone else, it will only marginally increase their productivity, while requiring them to share the profits).

So, yes, let’s give a “line”, and help people shift from dependency and inactivity to freedom and enterprise. But if we’re going to go down that road, we have to be ready to do more than just give the “line” – we also have to help them gain market access, help them develop a PLAN for the short term and the long term, give them the tools necessary to repair the “line” if it breaks or needs mending…. The “line” is just not enough, and while I admire and respect people who manage to break their own cycle of poverty with a simple “line”, if we want to create real, profound and lasting change, we have to do more than hand out these “lines”.

The word “holistic” always sounds a bit naive – so let’s say that we need to have multi-dimensional approaches to human development. The tools that we use in our own societies need to be made available – equalizing access to marketing and organizational resources, for example, is one of the ways in which this can be done. The “line”, in and of itself, can sometimes cause more harm than good, as people will harness all their hopes on it, even though the benefits it yields are marginal.

This video shows a group of village fishermen in Ghana – I watched them for over 2 hours, as they were manually reeling in their net. Involved in the process were not just the fishermen, but their pregnant wives, children… Essentially, the entire village participates in this.

(I realize that there is a white woman’s butt in this video – she was just passed out on the beach during the whole process – right after I shot this, I did in fact wake her up…. )

Point is, these people spend HOURS every day reeling in this net – and their catch is hardly worth the effort. It’s common knowledge that West African coastal waters are overfished, and commercial trawling has made the problem worse. So in this net, they had a lot of garbage, seaweed, plastic bags, and some small fish, that they share amongst themselves. Now, this is the main economic activity in this village – and the benefits they reap are measly. I kept thinking that they would save so much time and energy if only they had a machine to reel in their net – this would allow them to engage in other activities, and make the enterprise worthwhile.

I’m not saying that development practitioners should jump in and give them a motor powered reel – in fact, it’s obviously up to this community to define the need and search for the solution. I’m not even sure that NGOs (local or international) operate in this village – the point is, the “line” these people are using is clearly not to their advantage, and a big difference could be made if the process was modernized, streamlined…

There is a real opportunity for progress here, and it’s not that complicated. I too often read about or see instances where development falls just short of actually helping – and this applies to both endogenous and exogenous initiatives. The skills training programs that are being replicated all over the Buduburam refugee settlement are an example of the inappropriate “lines”.

The lack of investment in “un-sexy” dimensions of development (a motor reel, the elaboration of a marketing strategy) also handicap the overall impact of initiatives who end up failing to completely address the problem they are trying to solve. In fact, these incomplete solutions can exacerbate the issue, by making it seem like things are progressing. But appearances can be deceptive, as the hundreds of women in their skills training center’s uniform have made me realize.

A Worrying Trend

World food prices are soaring, and this is having serious consequences on people’s livelihoods in the developing world. In addition, for organizations and agencies involved in food distribution or aid, the spike in food prices is also having an adverse effect on their ability to meet the needs of their beneficiaries. In recent news:

USAID announced that the cost of wheat and other food had gone up by 41 percent setting its budget back by US$121 million, which meant it would have to reduce the amount of food aid sent overseas (more here)

With local and international food shortages, merchants in Kano’s Dawanau grain market, the largest in West Africa [Nigeria], have hiked their prices. The price of a 50kg bag of maize has doubled since September from US$21 to US$42 and a bag of millet rose from US$29 to US$42, according to Magaji Ahmad, one of the merchants. Cowpeas, which sold at US$58 are now US$100, he added (more here)

In Burkina Faso, which was badly affected by floods in 2007 and has this year been roiled by violent protests over high food prices, sacks of corn are selling for double the price they were a year earlier, setting back impoverished Burkinabe 15,000 CFA francs (US$30) a sack compared to 7,500 CFA francs (US$15), according to FCPN.

“Recent assessments indicate that that food and nutritional situation could deteriorate due to a continued rise in food product prices,” FEWSNET warned.

Food riots have also recently taken place in Guinea Conakry, Mauritania and Senegal. Those countries depend heavily on imported wheat and rice which are more affected by high global commodity prices than upheavals in the regional markets […] Stephanie Savaraud, West Africa spokeswoman for the World Food Programme (WFP) said that school feeding and supplementary feeding would be appropriate responses to help support Burkina Faso, but warned that WFP faces its own funding crunch. “Rising prices for basic commodities mean WFP needs 30 percent more money this year to feed the same number of beneficiaries,” she said. “If we don’t get that then we will need to give less food to people.”(more here)

Food Market in Ouahigouya, Burkina Faso – August 07

These problems in West Africa are obviously not happening in a vacuum – this in the context of rising food prices worldwide , due to a combination of interrelated factors, like increasing transportation costs due to the spike in oil prices, or poor crop yields in some regions because of droughts or floods. However, as usual, the poorest will bear the brunt of the current crisis – the excerpts above reveal two major consequences: one, that people are finding it increasingly harder to provide for themselves; two, that international agencies and NGOs are going to face difficulties trying to fulfill their mission – their budgets are not increasing, while their expenses are. While finding a solution to the former is a global challenge – governments all over the world are trying to address this issue – the latter problem highlights a structural problem in food aid – the fact that most food aid programs do not use local agricultural products. USAID only sends US agricultural products overseas, tapping into the giant production surplus its industry has generated

(on that topic, I highly recommend a documentary called “Famine Business” – I saw this at a film festival in Cape Town in 2003, and since then, it has mysteriously disappeared…. The only quote available on Google: “Film-maker Jihan El Tahri travels to Zambia to investigate claims that food aid is not necessarily the altruistic way of helping the poor that it seems. With the current Agriculture Minister for Zambia describing food-aid as ‘the use of food as a weapon of mass destruction’, El Tahri asks just who benefits from the famine business in an era of genetically modified food.”)

In any case, it seems that international agencies and organizations involved in providing food aid should place the utmost importance on supporting local agricultural production by purchasing food from local farmers. The WFP has a yearly budget which reaches nearly $3 billion – and they also have some of the lowest overhead cost of any large international agency. If these funds could be used productively, by investing in local production, this could yield some large scale benefits for producers in developing nations.

Food aid could help feed people not simply through charity – giving food to the hungry. It could also be construed as a means to boost local food producers, who find it terribly hard to export on the world market. Not only would this galvanize local economies, but it would also cut down on transportation costs. As everyone not living in a cave knows, transportation costs are soaring. Not only that, but in a world where concerns surrounding climate change and pollution are becoming increasingly important, buying locally also provides food aid agencies the opportunity to do their part in protecting the environment….

I don’t have all the answers to this incredibly worrying issue of soaring world food prices – in the short run, this could fuel instability in the poorest parts of the world (it already has in Burkina Faso and Egypt, for example.) In places like Liberia and Sierra Leone, where poverty prevails and where the threat of political instability is all too real, this becomes a serious issue. The Food Crisis Prevention Network recommends building stocks in high risk zones, and commended Burkina for subsidizing certain food products. But in countries where warehousing and stocking is dependent on fragile infrastructure, and subsidies strain already exiguous budgets, these are only band-aid solutions and do not address the root causes of the problem – at all.

Meanwhile, Haitians are eating mud cakes.

Fasten your seat belt, we will be experiencing turbulence.

They Come in the Name of Helping?

I both completely agree and completely disagree with Peter Brock’s movie, “They Come in the Name of Helping”. This undergraduate student from Skidmore took it upon himself to uncover the Truth behind the dynamics that animate Western aid to the developing world. While I applaud Mr. Brock for the courage he displays by trying to answer such a vast, complex question, I unfortunately feel that he falls short of providing a well-rounded perspective. Having studied the same issues and read the same books as an undegraduate and graduate student, and as someone who is actively involved in “helping” the developing world, Mr. Brock’s movie really stirred me. If you don’t feel like watching the whole movie, here is the basic premise, in Mr. Brock’s words:

“The unsettling coexistence of extravagant material prosperity and abject poverty in our world has caused many well-intentioned people in the more prosperous countries to worry about the condition of the poor. This concern has caused private citizens, corporations and even governments to donate their time, money and resources to the cause of development and poverty alleviation. Despite this deluge of support and the vast crop of NGO’s that it spawned and continues to sustain, the western world has faced considerable difficulty in its attempts to translate these copious resources into concrete improvements in the lives of the world’s poor. To explain these shortcomings, the most insightful critics of western development efforts identify our lack of local knowledge and narrow-minded approach as the root of our repeated failure.

Most of the West’s knowledge about the people of the developing world, and Africans in particular, come from heart-wrenching but superficial newspaper articles and TV news stories about genocide, famine and child soldiering. Even those westerners who wish to understand the issues of poverty and development usually find themselves reading reports from the United Nations or the myriad of NGO’s that make it their work to ‘end poverty’. As with the mainstream media, it is outsiders who almost always author these reports, and they are often written to please the donors who sponsored the project in question. While many western scholars have written lengthy critiques of the development industry and recommendations for its reform, I wanted to see what development efforts look like from the perspective of those they are intended to benefit. I wanted to know if we could gain insights into improving and reforming our development efforts by simply listening to those people whose lives we have sought to change.

With this purpose, I traveled to Sierra Leone, the world’s second poorest country according to the UN development index, and began to ask young students about the effectiveness of foreign development programs. As I had expected, the opinions I heard differed substantially from the hopeful and often self-glorifying accounts given by NGO reports and UN documentaries. These are their stories.”

The problem with this introduction – as with the whole movie – is that it entirely fails to operate essential distinctions between different realities. For instance, I agree that

Most of the West’s knowledge about the people of the developing world, and Africans in particular, come from heart-wrenching but superficial newspaper articles and TV news stories about genocide, famine and child soldiering. Even those westerners who wish to understand the issues of poverty and development usually find themselves reading reports from the United Nations or the myriad of NGO’s that make it their work to ‘end poverty’. As with the mainstream media, it is outsiders who almost always author these reports, and they are often written to please the donors who sponsored the project in question.”

But I simply don’t understand what the logical connection is between those people who have superficial knowledge of the complex issues affecting the developing world, and those who make it their life’s work to understand and bring about change in said developing world. Those are two VERY different categories of people. At the beginning of his introduction he discusses “our repeated failure”. This is something that is definitely hard to grapple with – William Easterly (whose book The White Man’s Burden obviously influenced Mr. Brock a great deal!), describes how the billions of dollars spent in the developing world by the West since the end of the colonial era have very little to show for today. While this is the unfortunate and undeniable truth, Mr. Brock fails to distinguish between the efforts of private citizens to make a difference at a grassroots level, and those of government international aid agencies who invest in infrastructure projects – and everything else in between. This comes back to a previous post about the different types of international organizations operating in the developing world – what a gross misconception to consider them as a whole!! Their goals, philosophy, modes of operation and income structures are so varied. We must aim to not fall for the easy shortcuts – USAID, the Chinese government, UNICEF, Doctors without Borders, and organizations such as The Niapele Project, TunaHaki Foundation or Under The Reading Tree cannot be amalgamated and considered similar. That amounts to intellectual dishonesty. In addition, his assessment that international aid has “failed” is rooted in the notion that this type of aid should be “efficient” and that it should show returns on investment.

We need – from this intellectual standpoint – to get some bang for our buck. I actually somewhat adhere to this position, because it is truly shocking that billions upon billions have been spent, and that, comparatively, very little has emerged from this constant investment. But we must really think about if coming to that conclusion leads us to say that we should then limit international
aid – what exactly would limiting or reducing amounts of international aid accomplish? And is “efficiency” the yardstick to be used to evaluate the impact of international aid?

Governments already spend a minuscule fraction of their budget for this (the stated goal is 0.7% of GDP – which is only attained by Denmark, Sweden, Luxembourg and Norway. In fact, the average for OECD countries is 0.46%. Source:
OECD Development Cooperation Report 2007) In any case, whether or not that money is effective should not necessarily be the primary concern – it should be one of an array. I discussed this previously, but shouldn’t we be engaged with those whose situation we find intolerable? According to Mr. Brock, I shouldn’t be involved with Liberian refugees because “I do not fully understand the way their society operates” (repeatedly stated throughout the movie by various protagonists.) Should I then only engage with people I understand? I don’t understand Polish culture very well, in spite of the fact that they are part of the European Union, nor do I understand rural French customs and traditions (and I’m from France).

While I will recognize that there are enormous cultural divides between “us” and “them”, this “us” and “them” is a common yet almost meaningless distinction. I might feel closer to a South African, Ugandan or Brazilian who shares a similar global vision, than to my immediate neighbors. To brandish the excuse of “you don’t understand so you cannot help” is just a very convenient way for people to simply remain disinterested from the communities around them. And, personally, I don’t consider my community to be a geographic one… I (and I hope you do too, dear reader!) belong to a community of values and of vision within which racial, national and religious divides can be bridged.

In his movie, Mr. Brock shows NGO workers relaxing on a beach in Sierra Leone to show that they are disconnected from the reality which they are trying to ameliorate. His interlocutors also point out that there is a discrepancy between wanting to help, and then coming to a developing nation to live
in a big, clean house with a cook and maid, and drive around in a fancy Land Rover. I think this is a very valid claim on their part – indeed, it seems that this creates both resentment and breeds misunderstanding in a wide variety of settings. While this is how a number of international NGOs operate, a lot don’t. I’m not trying to “ring my own bell”, but when we work in Ghana, we don’t drive fancy cars and we live in the same type of house the refugees do (sans electricity or running water, let alone A/C!). In any case, it’s very unfair to denigrate the work that NGOs and international organizations perform simply on the grounds that they live in better circumstances. They should certainly attempt as much as possible to understand the conditions of the people which they are trying to help, but I am not sure that this would necessarily occur if they lived in the same conditions. We all aprehend our reality differently – and even if NGO workers renounced all luxuries while they worked in the field, this is not their permanent reality, and will never be. I think understanding the conditions of those you are trying to help really depends on your own capacity to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, whether you live in a mud hut or in a 4 star hotel is (almost) irrelevant.

Also, I’m not sure what Mr. Brock is trying to accomplish here – should we feel bad for wanting to help where we think we can make a difference? Should people who give money to charitable organizations operating abroad stop doing that on the grounds that they aren’t knowledgeable enough? What exactly is the purpose of pointing to all the dysfunctionings of the international aid sector?

There are horror stories – for instance, how the 2004 tsunami catastrophe was met by the international community by an overwhelming response. A lot of NGOs received unbelievable amounts of financial support that they had no capacity to use – a huge budget is ultimately not a
guarantee of success and can most definitely lead to money being wasted. The unprecedented levels of aid that were deployed in the aftermath of the tsunami have not met a match – the 2005 earthquake in the North of Pakistan did not attract a fraction of the international attention, and the continued, chronic plight of billions around the world still doesn’t attract as much attention (we might cynically note that the tsunami affected Westerners, and not just people with a different skin color, but that is a different topic).

In any case, Mr. Brock’s movie makes some incredibly sweeping claims about the nature and the value of international aid, as if it could be considered as a whole. His approach is based on a perception of aid to developing countries as “neo-colonial” – while this might be a correct framework of reference for some international aid, it certainly isn’t for others. I keep referring to Doctors without Borders, but really, how can we accuse them of being neo-colonial? What should DWB do? Should they no longer intervene when governments and the international community fail to do so? This also highlights the fact that Mr. Brock uses the terms “humanitarian aid” and “development aid” interchangeably, which is another amalgamation of two very different areas of international aid. Shouldn’t we be distinguishing between providing medical and food aid to displaced people and providing micro loans to women? Aren’t these two entirely distinct activities?

I had a wonderful professor at Sciences Po, Mr. Rony Brauman, who was the head of DWB (you guessed it) for many years, and who was one of the original founders of the French Doctors movement. He insisted that, as students and practictioners of international relations, we understand the differences between “development” and “humanitarian” aid – one aims to create or induce socio-economic change, the other has to do with providing urgent, necessary aid in times of crisis when a State is no longer able to take care of its citizens.

To go back to “They Come in the Name of Helping”, Mr. Brock and his interlocutors discuss the importance of education, and how it is the only way for the impoverished to ever fix their own problems. This is obviously extremely true – but currently, the quality of education in a lot of developing nations is pathetic. Besides the poor quality of infrastructure, the lack of books, chalk,
pens, educational materials and pretty much anything that makes a school a school, there is also a problem with teachers’ qualifications, overcrowded classrooms, girls being left out of the system, malnutrition leading to poor physical and intellectual development…. Come on, let’s get serious here. I sincerely, honestly, genuinely wish that today, we could leave it up to developing nations to educate their future leaders, but I don’t think that’s fair or realistic. The need for teacher training, for educational resources and improved curriculums is enormous. If we truly believe that education is salvation (I do, and Mr. Brock apparently does too), then why shouldn’t we support efforts towards that goal?

In any case, Mr. Brock’s movie definitely touches on sensitive issues, and, for those of us involved in international aid, it does incite critical thought, which is great. But we must really be wary of generalizations that oversimplify extremely complex realities. While I agree with a lot of the premises that Mr. Brock puts forward in his movie – essentially, that we need to be respectful and work in genuine partnership with developing nations – I think his movie is quick to judge. Perhaps he should interview those who feel they have genuinely benefited from international aid…
I look forward to the day where Western money and efforts in developing nations will be completely redundant and useless. I really do. But are we there yet? In the mean time, let’s be careful not too judge all international aid as misguided, inefficient and patronizing.

“Both [Ben Bella and Boumedienne, Algerian leaders of the 1960s] are victims of the same drama that every Third World politician lives through if he is honest, if he is a patriot. This was the drama of Lumumba and Nehru; it is the drama of Nyerere and Sekou Touré. The essence of the drama lies in the terrible material resistance that each one encounters on taking his first, second and third steps up the summit of power. Each one wants to do something good and begins to do it and then sees, after a month, after a year, after three years, that it just isn’t happening, that is is slipping away, that it is bogged down in the sand. Everything is in the way: the centuries of backwardness, the primitive economy, the illiteracy, the religious fanaticism, the tribal blindness, the chronic hunger, the colonial past with its practice of debasing and dulling the conquered, the blackmail by the imperialists, the greed of the corrupt, the unemployment, the red ink. Progress comes with great difficulty along such a road. The politician begins to push too hard. He looks for a way out through dictatorship. The dictatorship then fathers an oppositon. The opposition organizes a coup.
And the cycle begins anew”

Excerpt from Rysszard Kapuscinkski’s The Soccer War.