Friday, February 13, 2015

Free your mind

In all my years of intermittently writing this blog, this is my first post about Africa. Melbourne has a large Sundanese community; many of them refugees from its most recent civil war. Much of what I read about there is doom and gloom. According to Open Doors, Sudan is one of the world's worst countries for persecution of Christians.

The Guardian reported yesterday on Sudan's literary scene, and the government's attempts to shut it down, deeming it to be subversive. Freedom of expression and information is generally understood to be a human right. Several organisations that produce rankings of the democratic performance of countries consistently rank Sudan very poorly. These include Freedom House, Transparency International, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Commission of Jurists.

Their scores are aggregated annually by World Audit. World Audit ranks Sudan 144 out of 150 countries on its freedom scale, making it one of the most repressive countries in the world. It's a pretty bad place to be a journalist, writer, and I imagine a librarian, for that matter. It grieves me to read about living conditions there.

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