great lakes region of africa

The Zanj Rebellion or the Negro Rebellion was the culmination of series of small revolts, that is now known as the biggest slave rebellion of the Arab slave trade. It took place near the city of Basra, located in present-day southern Iraq, over a period of fifteen years (AD 869–883). The insurrection is believed to have involved enslaved Bantus (Zanj) that had originally been captured from the African Great Lakes region and areas further south in East Africa. It grew to involve over 500,000 slaves and free men who were imported from across the Muslim empire and claimed over “tens of thousands of lives in lower Iraq”.The precise composition of the rebels is debated among historians, both as regards their identity and as to the proportion of slaves and free among them – available historical sources being open to various interpretations.

The revolt was said to have been led by Ali bin Muhammad, who claimed to be a descendant of Caliph Ali ibn Abu Talib. Several historians, such as al-Tabari and al-Masudi, consider this revolt one of the “most vicious and brutal uprisings” of the many disturbances that plagued the Abbasid central government.

The Zanj Revolt helped Ahmad ibn Tulun to create an independent state in Egypt. It is only after defeating the Zanj Revolt that the Abbasids were able to turn their attention to Egypt and end the Tulunid dynasty with great destruction.


I know there’s a lot going on in the world right now, but we really need to talk about Burundi.

“Bodies dumped on the streets on an almost nightly basis"

Since August, according to Human Rights Watch, there have been a spate of killings, many of them apparently political, that have claimed more than 100 lives. This has included some killings by security forces, as well as apparently retaliatory attacks.

“This deteriorating into a civil war is a very real possibility,” Tom Periello, the US special envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, told me, says. According to Jones, there’s “a very real likelihood that there’s a new rebellion brewing” already in the Burundian hinterlands or in nearby Rwanda.

Basically, a genocide situation is a possibility, and I’m very worried. Please spread this information.

Macbeth in the DRC

In this re-creation, a group of Congolese refugees has stumbled upon a trunk filled with sheet music, costumes and gramophone recordings of Verdi’s Macbeth. This theatrical paraphernalia is the catalyst for a dramatic re-telling of Shakespeare’s tale of greed, tyranny and remorse, with the Macbeths as warlords, the three witches as double-crossing businessmen and Dunsinane as the Great Lakes region of Central Africa.

War rages over access to mineral resources.