A column about history, culture, policy, and things in between.
Africa is a place washed in blood - both human and animal. My awareness of the continent began by reading the sweeping novels of Robert Ruark: Something of Value , Uhuru, and The Honey Badger. Though far less known than his contemporary and fellow big game hunter Ernest Hemingway, who also wrote of Africa, it was Ruark's penetrating prose that captured the searing and visceral impact of what he called MMBA - "miles and miles of bloody Africa".
The title of this article is taken from the lyrics of the song Charlie Don't Surf, from the triple-album SANDINISTA! Released in 1981 by The Clash, it is a sprawling work of music and commentary. There have been better bands than The Clash, but none more virulently political. Pictured below is the cover of their album London Calling; its still shot of bassist Paul Simonon worth more than the proverbial "thousand words". With song titles like Washington Bullets, Spanish Bombs, The Guns of Brixton, Pressure Drop, and Death or Glory, the group's song-writing tandem of Joe Strummer and Mick Jones stood atop the music scene of the early '80's. But The Clash was aptly named, for they would founder before the end of that decade in a conflagration fueled by heroin, incendiary talent, and barely suppressed rage.