The Meaning of Words (or, Democracy by Any Other Name)

The previous issue of The Sparkplug examined the impacts of neo-colonial extractivism and nation-building on the disappearance of Botswana’s Indigenous Khoisan languages. The current issue picks up this thread from a different angle: the disappearance of speech itself under Eritrea’s despotic regime, which has plunged the country’s youngest generations into a brutally imposed silence. This issue welcomes… Continue reading The Meaning of Words (or, Democracy by Any Other Name)

Acceptable Censorship: The extradition farce and media silence on Julian Assange

When do we ever hear about “responsible journalism”? When is morality ever evoked as the guiding tenet of this work? The reference to “disobedient, moral journalism” at the top of the printed issue is borrowed from John Pilger’s article this past September, “The Stalinist Trial of Julian Assange”. Pilger invokes “the exceptions, the dissidents …… Continue reading Acceptable Censorship: The extradition farce and media silence on Julian Assange

A glimpse at the current state of affairs in Eritrea

A conversation with Abraham T. Zere Published in Volume 1, Issue 2 of The SparkplugJuly 2020 LK: One of the most flouted achievements in Eritrea’s recent history was the rapprochement between Eritrea and Ethiopia on July 9, 2018. Two years have since passed. How would you characterize the developments between 2019 and 2020? AZ: Dashed… Continue reading A glimpse at the current state of affairs in Eritrea

Eritrea: Forget “rights” and speak of duties and responsibilities

The concept of “rights” doesn’t meaningfully exist in the state vocabulary of today’s Eritrea. The idea has been replaced by “duty and responsibility.” By Abraham T. ZereOriginally published by PEN International for Human Rights Day 2019.Published in Volume 1, Issue 2 of The SparkplugJuly 2020 The state media apparatus constantly pounds into citizens the need… Continue reading Eritrea: Forget “rights” and speak of duties and responsibilities

Canada lifts sanctions against Eritrea, human rights abuses continue

Canada’s lifting of sanctions against Eritrea amid glaring human rights abuses and collusion with Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen reveals how international sanctions act as hollow instruments of coercion. By Lital KhaikinPublished in Volume 1, Issue 2 of The SparkplugJuly 2020 Open for business Receiving little public attention, Canada officially repealed its sanctions1 against Eritrea… Continue reading Canada lifts sanctions against Eritrea, human rights abuses continue