Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick joins That Made All the Difference podcast to discuss how his career as a surgeon influenced his work as an educator, administrator and champion of underserved communities, and why he believes we may be on the cusp of the next "golden generation."
When hundreds of thousands of protesters in Ethiopia brought sweeping change to their government in 2018, many of them were blaring the music of one man: a popular young activist named Hachalu Hundessa, who sang songs calling for the liberation and empowerment of the Oromo, the country's largest ethnic group.
Earlier this week, the 34-year old Hundessa was gunned down in the country's capital, Addis Ababa.
<p>The killing has triggered massive new protests across parts of the country. More than 80 people are dead. The internet has been cut nationwide. The prime minister has praised the singer and called for calm. Authorities say suspects are in custody, but beyond that little is known. </p> <p>These are tense moments. What does Hundessa's murder – and the response — tell us about the challenges facing Ethiopia, one of the world's great recent stories of political progress and economic growth?</p> <p><strong>Ethiopia is deeply fragmented.</strong> The country's people belong to more than 80 ethnic groups. The largest, comprising a third of the country's 105 million people, are the Oromo. Despite their numbers, they have long been politically marginalized. </p> <p>The mass protests of 2016-2017 began as a reaction to government attempts to swipe Oromo land, and later morphed into a broader society-wide challenge to the opaque and repressive regime that had run the country for decades. </p> <p>Faced with a sustained uprising, the ruling coalition finally relented. In April 2018, it appointed as prime minister a young, reform-minded Oromo politician named Abiy Ahmed. He became the first Oromo head of state in Ethiopia's history. </p> <p>Abiy moved quickly, winning plaudits on a number of fronts: releasing political prisoners, making peace with neighboring Eritrea (for which he picked up a Nobel Peace Prize), and accelerating the privatization and reform of one of the<a href="https://qz.com/africa/1785100/will-ethiopia-stay-one-of-fastest-growing-economies-in-the-world/" target="_blank"> fastest-growing economies</a> in the world. </p> <p><strong>But a new climate of political openness has allowed long-simmering ethnic tensions to boil over.</strong> In 2018 alone, ethnic strife forced some<a href="https://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-ethiopia-ethnic-violence-millions-displaced-20190530-story.html" target="_blank"> 3 million people</a> from their homes. Periodic<a href="https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2019/11/02/ethnic-violence-threatens-to-tear-ethiopia-apart" target="_blank"> flareups</a> of violence still routinely claim dozens of lives. </p> <p>Abiy himself has become a target of prominent Oromo nationalists, who accuse him of having done too little to advance their interests, even as other ethnic groups worry that the Oromo are<a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/abiy-year-ethiopia-faces-threat-ethnic-conflict-190401081955303.html" target="_blank"> emboldened</a> by having their man in charge.</p><p><strong>The pandemic is making it all worse.</strong> Although Ethiopia has registered just a handful of coronavirus deaths – and has played<a href="https://www.gzeromedia.com/coronavirus-politics-daily-epicenter-in-indonesia-ethiopia-to-the-rescue-and-sex-in-a-pandemic" target="_self"> an important role</a> in efforts to fight the disease in other developing countries — the economic impact of the pandemic has been huge. The IMF has already cut the country's 2020 growth forecast in half to a little over three percent. </p> <p>What's more, coronavirus has forced postponement of national elections originally scheduled for August<a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ethiopia-election/ethiopia-postpones-august-election-due-to-coronavirus-idUSKBN21I2QU" target="_blank"> until next year</a>. That means Ethiopians, already in a situation of heightened social tension and economic uncertainty, will have to wait that much longer to express their preferences – and grievances – through normal political channels. </p><strong>The bottom line: </strong>Abiy Ahmed has led bold and historic reforms, but lifting the lid off of a society as fractured as Ethiopia's can bring those debilitating tensions right into the open.
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As the United States celebrates its Independence Day on July 4th, we thought we'd take a look at two places in the world that have emerged from the colonial rule of Uncle Sam, and a third that may do so in the future.
Liberia: The West African nation of Liberia was never formally a US colony, but from 1816 to 1847 it was administered by the American Colonization Society — founded to return freed American slaves to Africa. Liberia in 1847 became the first independent republic in Africa (and just the second Black republic after Haiti). Its first president was Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a former slave from Virginia. With a similar flag and a US-modeled Constitution, Liberia has remained independent despite several periods of extreme turmoil, including two civil wars. Its current president is former soccer star George Weah...whose son plays for the US national soccer team.
<p><strong>The Philippines:</strong> The Philippines officially celebrates its independence on June 12, marking the date in 1898 when, at the end of the Spanish-American War, the archipelago formally broke away from Spain after 333 years of colonial subjugation. But independence was short-lived and almost immediately replaced by US "<a href="https://www.loc.gov/collections/spanish-american-war-in-motion-pictures/articles-and-essays/the-motion-picture-camera-goes-to-war/the-philippine-revolution/?fa=original-format%3Afilm%2C+video" target="_blank">benevolent assimilation</a>." More than 200,000 Filipinos lost their lives challenging US rule during this period and it wasn't until after World War II that Washington <a href="https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/featured/republic-day/about/" target="_blank">finally gave</a> full sovereign independence to the Philippines...on the 4th of July, 1946.</p><p><strong>Puerto Rico: </strong>Madrid also lost Puerto Rico to the US during that same Spanish-American War. The island was a US colony until February 5, 1952, when the US Congress approved a <a href="https://www.ifes.org/election-materials/constitution-commonwealth-puerto-rico" target="_blank">constitution</a> with self-governing powers — but it was not made a US state. Since then, Puerto Ricans have been weighing three options for the future: maintaining the status quo, rising to US statehood, or declaring independence. In 2017, 97 percent voted to become the 51st US state but the turnout was only 23 percent because the two political parties favoring the status quo and independence both boycotted the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/11/us/puerto-ricans-vote-on-the-question-of-statehood.html?mcubz=1" target="_blank">referendum</a>.</p>
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July 01, 2020
As the coronavirus continues to sweep across the United States, hospitals around the country are seeing a crush of COVID-19 patients requiring urgent care. In recent weeks, medical professionals in a number of states have said that they were unprepared not only for the number of infected people that would require treatment, but also for the length of time patients would need to stay in the hospital. Many cities and towns are now facing the possibility of massive hospital bed shortages. Here's a look at hospital bed occupancy rates, state by state.
The Wall Street Journal says that it's partisan to compare the US pandemic response to Europe. In this episode of The Red Pen — where we do our best to keep op-eds honest — Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group's Scott Rosenstein point out some flaws in the WSJ's argument.
<p>Today we're taking our red pen to a recent op-ed from the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. It's titled COVID Comparisons, Europe and the United States, and it argues that those who criticized US pandemic response by comparing it to Europe are guilty of partisan opportunism in an election year.</p><p>Four points we really want to dissect in this article. Let's start with the Wall Street Journal's argument that the United States has recorded fewer deaths per 100,000 people than the UK, Spain, Italy, and France. That's true for some European states, but the argument being made by the Wall Street Journal is that you're politicizing if you compare the US to Europe.</p><p>And actually, you compare the US to Europe as a whole, which seems the more appropriate point, because some places in Europe do well, some do badly. Some places in the US do well, some do badly. We all found out about coronavirus at the same time.</p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-rebelmouse-image"> <img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://www.gzeromedia.com/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQzMDU5OC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNjk4NDY5OH0.Nscv07MvP89V_qErmrM5pXOg4b6p7bZtU_qLt0KPnOc/image.png?width=980" id="4d068" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c9c4c7f7eae6f24ec99810e7075d60ec" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /> </p><p>And in fact, since the coronavirus hit Europe, about 10 days earlier and scaled, than it did the United States, you'd expect we'd have more time to learn from those lessons. Especially since we didn't get a month because the Chinese were covering it up for both the Americans and the Europeans.<br/></p><p>The EU had 300 deaths per million people. Here in the United States right now, it's 390. And certainly you'd expect, given caseload, that that gap is going to grow and not in America's favor. Also, it's important to note that, of course, overall, the outbreak in Europe is now receding. Again, the United States very dramatically different from that.</p><p>Number two, the Journal also claims that Southern states in the US didn't open up too early, that they lifted their lockdowns gradually and at around the same time as most European countries. That's actually deeply misleading. Europe had been closed longer and waited to open until its case count declined consistently. Florida, Texas, and Arizona all opened when daily cases were either steady or rising and with insufficient testing and tracing infrastructure.</p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-rebelmouse-image"> <img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://www.gzeromedia.com/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQzMDYwMC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxOTUzMTgzMX0.atMpqMq1wOO91xTVropRPlofdZDgcz6i5_eYL5uXpPk/image.png?width=980" id="48175" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e246d101058d18b72daa52d3ab8ae7af" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /> </p><p>One of the biggest issues that the Centers for Disease Control in the United States actually laid out what the opening guidelines and principles should be. And then a number of US states, including some of the largest American states in population, simply ignored them. And the fact that now you have governors, lieutenant governors, with some of those very same states saying they're going to ignore continued directives from the CDC and from Dr. Fauci, while their cases are exploding, does not make you more optimistic about where the US is going to be versus Europe.<br/></p><p>Third, a point about chastising GOP governors for letting wild and crazy youngsters crowd into bars. European countries are struggling to corral their youth too, writes the Wall Street Journal. And this is certainly true, but the issue is how significant the community spread is and whether governments can detect and stop outbreaks. Many European states have that capacity, the United States does not.</p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-rebelmouse-image"> <img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://www.gzeromedia.com/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQzMDYwMS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMzI1MDI2NH0.hssCwz2vDSGANJggataUQ5PMwKvq0hG1XzKVsXfTSac/image.png?width=980" id="71a34" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b0f9a28dc42c0c8aff0b6dd9340e1fb4" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /> </p><p>And finally, the Journal's editorial board asserts that a return to strict lockdowns isn't sustainable economically or politically, as even democratic governors admit. This is not a partisan issue. If deaths and hospitalizations continue to skyrocket, we could reach a threshold that makes strict lockdown the only option.</p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-rebelmouse-image"> <img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://www.gzeromedia.com/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQzMDYwMi9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5ODMzNzQ0OH0.IQ2ERIXtHv08dinCbg4IsmOKdiN_MovcvFkYU1zzTIQ/image.png?width=980" id="6ae8b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="55ab56b305708ef2c4483ecb430613a1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /> </p><p>The biggest concern would be if we get to the point that you no longer have adequate ICU beds and healthcare for people that have cases, like you saw in Northern Italy. If we have to triage between patients that can and cannot get healthcare, that's when death rates, not just case rates, would suddenly explode across the United States.<br/></p><p> Let's hope we don't get there. Right now, we're not, but it's naive to pretend that that possibility doesn't exist, given where the United States is right now. So there you have it folks. That's our latest edition of the Red Pen. <br/></p>
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