‘West’ and ‘East’ in the Middle East rarely disappeared from the headlines. Yet there was a concurrent attempt, though in equally bold simplicity, to plot the world. ‘North/South’ terminology became commonplace. In the eyes of many commentators, this, not East/West, was the ‘great divide’. Since its formation in 1965, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in a sequence of conferences, had regularly been pressing the claims of developing countries for a New International Economic Order. Yet, in the presenting of such a case, neither in South America nor in Africa was there a homogenous ‘South’ over against an equally homogenous ‘North’ (North America and Europe). The extent to which the politics and culture of North Africa was ‘Middle Eastern’ needs no further fresh reminder here. ‘South Africa’ did not directly meet ‘North Africa’, rather a series of African North/Souths collided and sometimes conflicted. Any African ‘Southern’ unity against the Northern hemisphere from which it had been colonized, so briefly as it was now beginning to appear, was fragile. Sections of this chapter explore these ambiguities.
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