Texas in Africa has posted notes from a friend in Abidjan. One begins ominously, “I don’t know about if this will be technically a genocide…”
I’m not in the business of predicting events at such uncertain and terrifying moments, but in such moments I am in the business of cautioning against the escalation of fear and rumor, especially from single reports.
A colleague with many friends in Cote d’Ivoire to be worried about writes me:
I’ve talked to several folks in Abidjan today, and they paint a relatively different picture of Abidjan from the one that you just retweeted from @texasinafrica (“pure anarchy”) – even the ones living close to Gbagbo’s residence. They say that most people are staying home but that they are able to move through the streets a bit to get to shops, etc. There are gunshots being heard with some regularity, although not in all neighborhoods. Perhaps I’m just clinging to hope against hope, and obviously this is a very awful situation, but their general feeling is that this siege is going much better than would have been expected.
I’m not sure where the truth lies (a good bet is usually “in between”) but I’d be careful with rumor at moments like these.