Niger: A slave's perspective

Despite its 'official' abolition in 2003, slavery still exists in Niger. Girls are sold as 'Fifth Wives', a form of physical and sexual slavery. They are denied basic rights and essentially owned by their master; some are fitted with heavy bronze ankle bracelets to prevent escape. Other Nigeriens with slave ancestry suffer discrimination throughout their lives. Tom Rowe meets them.

Continuing Split in Ivory Coast Threatens West African Democracy

A sadly typical headline flashed up on the newswires recently - 'In Ivory Coast, Two Presidents Claim Office'. This is a disastrous outcome for the recent elections in the country, but not completely unexpected, considering the political situation in the West African country.

The difference between a German and an Irish

Attending a packed pop-economics lecture in Ennis, questions from the crowd threw up an interesting point. What will happen the cash in your pocket if Ireland leaves the euro? Will the people who have been quietly withdrawing their savings end up with a pile of worthless notes under the bed?

An Online Revolution

A new political consciousness is developing in the bedrooms of Ireland. Angry, tech savvy and disillusioned with the situation they find themselves in economically and politically, these people are mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore.

Or they are, but they're at the very least going to post some videos on Facebook. They might even go on that march, as long as it’s not too cold.

Our Jesuitical Government

There is little evidence to suggest that the Jesuits had a huge influence in the formative years of our current cabinet of ministers. Lots of Christian Brothers were involved. The Cistercians trained the mind of our dear leader in Roscrea.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, on the other hand, was once under the wing of the Jesuits in Belvedere College on Dublin's Northside, the Alma Mater not only of James Joyce and Sir Terry Wogan, but also Richard Bruton, Garret Fitzgerald and his own younger brother Conor.

African Guinness still 'Good for You' and your Lady friend

African Guinness is marketed as a liquid Viagra. By Tom Rowe.

'Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink', said the ancient mariner, lost at sea. This may be akin to how an Irishman adrift in Africa feels, where Guinness abounds, but not the same black stuff as made in St. James Gate.

African Guinness is labeled 'Foreign Extra', a quaint term carried over from when Guinness was produced in Ireland or England and exported to Africa, beginning in 1827. The stout had more alcohol than other beers, and travelled well on the long voyage south.

Playing a dangerous game in Chad

UN withdrawal from Chad will leave vulnerable people with no protection and waste efforts already made to stabilise the region. By Tom Rowe.

The 400 Irish troops in eastern Chad protect thousands of Chadians and Sudanese refugees, as well as numerous humanitarian aid agencies, from danger.

Cautious hope in Guinea

Elections are promised in Guinea, causing excitement among a people tired of military rule and a living standard of less than a dollar a day. But the country is not ready for elections and democratic rule. By Tom Rowe.

Guineans know what it means to wait. They spend a lot of their time sitting in the dark, waiting for the electricity to come back. It usually does, sometimes after five minutes, sometimes a few hours. In the suburbs they are lucky if they have power every second day. 

Senegal's separatist conflict smoulders on

West Africa’s longest running separatist conflict has already claimed as many lives as the Troubles. In a new departure, rebels have brought the conflict to Ziguinchor, the capital of Casamance state. By Tom Rowe.

The Festival au Desert must go on

The threat of hijackings did not deter the Malian authorities from hosting one of the biggest earners in the tourist calender, nor from Tom Rowe checking out the nomadic vibes at the Festival au Desert, in the surrounds of the exotic Saharan lanscape.