The UK government makes a great deal of its support for the democratic awakening of the Arab Spring, yet continues to support repressive regimes through arms sales and trade missions. By April 2011 the UK government had officially revoked over 160 military licences (i.e. for arms and weaponry) to Bahrain, Egypt and Libya. This gesture neatly hid the fact that many licences remained in place. Some of the revoked licences were for weaponry with such repressive potential - such as sniper rifles, tear gas and crowd control ammunition - that MPs questioned why such licences had been granted in the first place.
The fact remains though that we need to talk about famine. Perhaps not in the technical UN-defined sense of the word. But in the dictionary sense of the word: extreme and general scarcity of food, as in a country or a large geographical area. With so many lives potentially at stake, now is not the time to dodge the issue.
Africa's Unity depends largely on the ability of the continent to move forward in its development at the national level first. One African currency and a united political system will do little to bring the continent out of poverty if political elites at the national level remain corrupt and untrustworthy.
Judging by first appearances, 2011 has been a pretty good year for the gatekeepers of democracy. The Tunisian revolution that erupted a year ago triggered similar uprisings across the Arab world and led to the downfall of Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan dictators. TIME magazine recently named The Protester as their Person of the Year.