Andrew Harding, who covers Africa and is based in Johannesburg, spends a lot of his time travelling around the continent to witness events at first hand. The Coronavirus pandemic put a stop to much of that but he still had a dramatic story to tell in the autumn. He reflected on the somewhat ironic parallels he was seeing as he compared the situation within Africa with that of another key country in the world which was facing a significant election.
Afghanistan is a country where it’s not easy to define the term outrage. Violence there has not abated despite peace talks between the government and the Tailiban. But an attack on Kabul University on November 2nd sent shock waves across the country and beyond. At least 35 people were left dead and 50 seriously wounded. Photographs of the murdered students and their blood-stained classrooms spread widely through Afghan social media. Lyse Doucet spoke to one university lecturer about the students he lost and the damage done to Afghanistan’s hopes for the future.
The death of George Floyd, an African American living in Minneapolis in the state of Minnesota last summer triggered mass demonstrations across America and the world. He died whilst under arrest as a white police office knelt on his neck. Derek Chauvin has since been charged with murder. There was fury about police brutality and racist treatment of black Americans. In a country which has a massive gap between the richest and poorest, Emma Sapong, an African American journalist based in Minnesota reports that there is more than money that separates white and black lives there.
The enormous blast in Beirut’s port in August killed 200 people in the city and injured thousands. Buildings were destroyed and lives up-ended after stock piles of ammonium nitrate caught alight and exploded. People took to the streets to protest at a political elite who they accuse of mismanagement and negligence. One of those who was badly hurt was Leila Molana Allen, a journalist in the city. But as she reports, in the immediate aftermath she realised that her dog was missing.
2020 will be remembered by many as a year of lock downs and restrictions as countries around the world battled to control the coronavirus pandemic. It was a way of living that most of us had never experienced before and we all longed for a return to normality. Our correspondent in Brussels, Kevin Connolly had been confined at home for weeks when the rules were relaxed briefly in the summer. He was surprised by his urge to indulge in some rather unusual shopping.
Producer: Caroline Bayley
From Our Own Correspondent Podcast
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