Do you find it hard to keep up with what’s happening in your favourite trouble spot? 

Our copy of the Complete Idiot’s Guide to World Conflicts is now a few years out of date. (I do remember author Stephen Strauss golden rule of African politics – The only thing worse than the African dictator you’ve got now is the one who will replace him). Unfortunately, the book is no longer published.

So today I was glad to learn about ‘MotherJones Explainers’.

MotherJones is an independent, nonprofit, US based magazine, which, according to Wikipedia, is ‘rooted in liberal and progressive political values’.

The magazine was named after Mary Harris Jones, called Mother Jones, an Irish-American trade union activist, opponent of child labor, and self-described “hellraiser.” MotherJones was founded in 1976, and is nicknamed MoJo.

Harvard University has recently reported that MoJo’s web traffic in February has increased by 400%, with 3 million unique visitors in that month. And they attribute much of this increase to the new MoJo explainers.

Explainers is a new type of reporting designed to ‘accommodate disparate levels of reader background knowledge’. Explainers are a collaborative effort to detail and unpack the complexities of the situations in Africa and the Middle East. The ‘explainer’ pages are updated daily as events change, and the magazine responds to issues and questions raised in social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

The Egypt explainer was written by Nick Bauman, and has now set the format. It is structured like this

  • The Basics
  • What’s Happening?
  • Why are Egyptians unhappy?
  • How did this all start?
  • Why is this more complicated for the US than Tunisia was?
  • How do I follow what’s happening in real-time?
  • What’s the latest?

So, if you want to keep up with the Jones’ s on the latest in Libya, or Bahrain, or Egypt, you may like to check out the relevant MoJo explainer.

What I Learnt On 21st March in other years

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