Since the election as president of longtime opposition leader Abdoulaye Wade, Senegal has become a bit of a darling of the international community. A smooth, democratic transfer of power. A sauve president who knows exactly what words and phrases foreign diplomats and international donors want to hear. While things are certainly better off in Senegal than in most of its neighbors, things are not all they seem in le pays de la Terenga.
I've already written about Wade's autocratic political tendencies (I've done so more extensively in my francophone Africa blog).
Yet, the problems are not simply political. The economic problems are more pressing for most Senegalese. Global Voice reports on a Senegalese blogger who been chronicling the perils faced by his countrymen who try to migrate clandestinly to Europe.
Despite the well documented risks(some mortal) and the likelihood of being stopped by authorities before reaching the European mainland, thousands of Senegalese have reportedly braved this perilous journey this year alone.
A powerful video report on the subject posted by the francophone site Seneweb has provoked hundreds of responses.
The quantity and passion of the responses (of which Global Voices have helpfully translated a few) demonstrate how important this issue ranks in the minds of many Senegalese.
Sadly, this phenemenon is not limited to Senegal or even to Africa.