Sarah Palin is the reason compasses point North.

calendar   Saturday - December 06, 2008

The thinnest horseman rides out

Famine sweeping Zimbabwe, tens of thousands will die, perhaps millions

And so at last it boils down to this. A murderous tyrant in charge who destroyed the entire economic system. Rampant crime, tribal warfare, the whole long list of endemic African problems. Pestilence spurs his foul steed as Cholera spreads; no government, no money, and no infrastructure means no clean water. Last to join the dark circus is Famine; there is simply no food left. Give Zimbabwe a year and it will be empty land. How terrible the price paid for tyranny, but at this point almost nothing can be done. It is too late.

Families in a once agriculturally rich land are living – and dying – on a diet of nuts and berries as food shortages threaten up to five million Zimbabweans.

A stick-thin woman, barefoot and dressed in rags, approached with her two young children.

“Please. We’re desperate for food,” she told him, and lifted up her children’s filthy T-shirts. Their stomachs and belly buttons were grotesquely distended by kwashiorkor, a condition caused by severe malnutrition that just a few years ago was unheard of in this once bountiful country.

There is nothing exceptional about this family. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of families in this region are surviving on wild berries or nuts that they grind into powder and mix with water, a weed called lude that they boil into a thin soup. They also eat insects such as locusts, if they can find them. Some even eat the moist inner fibres of bark.

Far away in Harare the Mugabe regime, and even Western nongovernment organisations, deny that Zimbabweans are actually dying of hunger, but here, more than 100 miles from any main population centre, they are starving to death.

The root cause was the regime’s seizure and destruction of white-owned farms, compounded by several years of drought. In 2000 Zimbabwe produced 4.5 million tonnes of maize and other cereals. This year’s harvest was barely 800,000 tonnes in a country that needs two million tonnes just to feed its own people.

The bankrupt Government pledged to import 800,000 tonnes, but has only imported 175,000 tonnes. The cash-strapped World Food Programme (WFP), which used to buy Zimbabwe’s surpluses to alleviate famines elsewhere, has to date imported only 260,000 of the 400,000 tonnes it promised.

That leaves a huge shortfall, and the WFP predicts that five million Zimbabweans – half of the population – will need emergency food aid by next month.

“What you have is a very fine line between chronic malnutrition and slipping over that line into something much worse,” one Western diplomat said.

And it is the poorest of the poor, those living far from the towns and cities – and especially in an area like this, which the regime considers an opposition stronghold – who pay the heaviest price.

A year ago we wrote that here, and across Zimbabwe, millions were surviving on a single bowl of sadza – a cornmeal porridge – a day. Today people here have not had sadza for months, and the doctor said they arrived at the clinic having eaten nothing for a week.

People go shoeless. They are dressed in rags. They are emaciated, listless, despairing. What little money they had was long ago rendered worthless by hyperinflation. It is the planting season, but they have no seeds – let alone fertiliser – and few have bothered to plough their tiny fields.

On the other side of the world, the UK’s Gordon Brown has decided that it is time to act. Or at least to talk about acting. He means well, but the time to act was 10 months ago.

Gordon Brown has described the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe, which has claimed almost 600 lives as an “international emergency”.  The Prime Minister said conditions in the African state had deteriorated to such an extent that the international community must stand together and tell Robery Mugabe “enough is enough”. The disease epidemic has so far killed 575 people and left another 13,000 sick since an outbreak in August. In a statement Mr Brown said there was a duty to give the Zimbabwean people a “better future”.
“The entire health system is collapsing, there are no more doctors, no nurses, no specialists,” said spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs. Britain has pledged an emergency aid package to help tackle the spread of the disease, a bacterium infection which leads to dramatic dehydration and can prove fatal within 24 hours if not treated.

Mr Brown said a “command and control structure” needed to be put in place quickly to allow international aid to reach people.

Here on our side of the pond, awareness of the futility may be more apparent.

Condoleezza Rice hit the nail on the head when she said that Robert Mugabe should have gone a long time ago. But having hung on this long, there is little sign that the “old crocodile” is ready to quit. His weary countrymen are resigned to his seeing it out until the end.

The international clamour for him to go may be growing louder, but in Harare, it simply sounds like one of those periodic crescendos that will soon fade away. Dr Rice, Desmond Tutu and the Kenyan President, Raila Odinga, may have increased their rhetoric in calling for his removal, but these are voices that have spoken out against Mr Mugabe many times before. The absence is of any new voices – or any that Harare has not long been deaf to.
The prospect of military intervention, even on a humanitarian level, looks more distant than ever. The violence that Mr Mugabe unleashed during the elections has receded. The pain inflicted on Zimbabweans now is the result of the country’s long, slow death and the crumbling of infrastructure and public services. Saving Zimbabwe will take years of rebuilding that can happen only with a cooperative government. Mr Mugabe has made clear he does not want foreign troops, even if there was a friendly country willing to send them. There is not.

The survival of the Mugabe Government defies logic. It provides none of the basic functions of state – security, welfare or representation – and yet limps on. Declaring an endgame for a regime of such tenacity is always risky – the economic implosion that could finish it off has been much predicted but never seen. Another waiting game is under way.

This is all very sad. It’s a terrible tragedy, a horrifying lesson that Africa and the rest of the world refuses to learn. 


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/06/2008 at 12:35 PM   
Filed Under: • AfricaTyrants and Dictators •  
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calendar   Thursday - December 04, 2008

Circling The Drain

Zimbabwe’s solution to cholera epidemic: beat the doctors

Just how much worse can things get in Mugabe’s stinkhole of a country?

Zimbabwean police ‘use batons’ against doctors

Baton-wielding Zimbabwean riot police broke up a demonstration by doctors and nurses protesting against the collapse of the country’s health system on Wednesday, while scores of trade unionists were arrested ahead of marches over the cash crisis.

The country’s economy has been collapsing for several years, but now appears to have reached a stage where hardly a day passes without some new example of the consequences.

With the country in the grip of a cholera epidemic, which the United Nations said today had now killed 565 people, doctors, nurses and health workers tried to present a petition at the health ministry. [another news source says over 12,000 are infected and are spreading the disease to other countries]

But they were forcibly dispersed by the riot squad, who are well-treated by the regime and remain steadfastly loyal.

There was a heavy uniformed presence in the centre of the capital and one professional man said: “It was all over very quickly as the riot police are all over the city. It is quiet now.”

Three journalists, two from the Zimababwean weekly, The Independent, and one from the South African Broadcasting Corporation, were arrested as the demonstrations began.

In a protest letter the medical personnel said: “We are forced to work without basic health institutional needs like drugs, adequate water and sanitation, safe clothing gear, medical equipment and basic support services.

“Health workers can no longer afford to buy food and other basic goods and services.” Efforts by trade unionists holding a general strike to mount protests against the cash shortage that is crippling daily activities were also broken up, after the authorities signalled several times that they would not be tolerated.

The secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Wellington Chibebe, was arrested while addressing workers in the capital, along with nine other people, the organisation said in a statement, while more than 30 were held around the country. It said 10 of its members were “heavily assaulted” by police in Harare.

Hyperinflation is raging in Zimbabwe, with the official figure for July, the latest available, at 231 million per cent and independent estimates far higher.

Good old UNICEF is doing what they can, but at this point pretty much all they can do is truck in clean water to the capital. And there will never be enough of that.

Zimbabweans are already suffering from raging inflation, food shortages and a steady decline in social services – particularly in the education and health sectors.  Now the country is faced with the total collapse of the infrastructure needed to prevent and treat diseases like cholera.

“Mainly, it’s the lack of capacity for the municipal services and the water authorities to provide safe water and refuse collection,” said Ms. Singizi.  “At the same time, there’s a collapse in the health services, which has made it impossible to treat the high number of infections.”

For the moment, UNICEF is trucking in 360,000 litres of water a day into Harare alone.  UNICEF and its partners are also providing essential items such as bars of soap, latex gloves and water decontamination tablets.

And now they’re going to try and ramp that up, with a 120 day program to try and stem what could soon be an exponential death rate. But it’s not just an uphill battle, it’s more like climbing a cliff under fire:

Zimbabwe has recorded negative economic growth for the past nine years, the situation is exacerbated by;

- a high HIV prevalence at 16 per cent;
- the highest orphan percentage in the world (one in four children are orphaned);
- food shortages -5.1 million will require food aid in January 09; and
- a steady decline of social services for the past five years.

However, in the past eight weeks, the country has seen a total collapse of its education and health system. In addition, more than 11 735 cases and 484 deaths have been reported in the worst cholera outbreak the country has experienced in recent years. The net effect on Zimbabwean children has been no schooling, a serious threat to their life, lack of health care, safe water and reduced number of meals.

“Children in Zimbabwe are on the brink, and everyone’s focus must now be on their survival,” said Mr. Monasch.

No money, no electricity, no food, no water, no sanitation, no health services. Forget about education or work opportunities. And now cholera. (this is all on top of the regular day to day horrors of life, like AIDS, ebola, tribal violence, crime, murder, corruption, racial genocide, etc) How can anyone stay there? How can anyone even still be alive there?

Once upon a time, when it was Rhodesia, this country was the jewel of Africa. No more. “Africa wins again”. Mugabe will not leave office until the entire country is dead. Which I guess might happen around March. And all the aid in the world will just keep their suffering going; it’s never going to get better.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/04/2008 at 02:02 PM   
Filed Under: • AfricaTyrants and Dictators •  
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calendar   Saturday - November 22, 2008

Africa Gets Smarter

Well how about that? Zimbabwe actually found an active brain cell and did something right!

Carter and Annan Denied Entry to Zimbabwe

Former US president Jimmy Carter and ex-UN secretary general Kofi Annan have been refused entry to Zimbabwe, forcing them to cancel their planned trip.  The pair have said their visa applications for the trip were turned down.

“We had to cancel our visit because the government made it very clear that it will not co-operate,” Mr Annan told a press conference in Johannesburg.

Mr Carter added: “Our purpose in coming here was never to be involved in the political issues that have been so controversial in the establishment of a new government in Zimbabwe, but only to help with the humanitarian issue and we will continue to do that.”

He went on to explain they had submitted their applications “several weeks ago”.

But Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Washington has since told them they would not be delivered “on time”.

The government of President Robert Mugabe “will not permit us to come in and will not cooperate,” Mr Carter said.

Annan said the delegation, which had been set to arrive in Zimbabwe this weekend, needed “no red carpet treatment” but only the government’s “permission to help the poor and the desperate.”

“However the refusal of the Zimbabwean government to facilitate our visit in any way has made it impossible for us to travel at this time,” Annan said.

The government denied that it barred the officials from entering, however, saying it instead asked them to postpone their visit.

Gee whiz, and after Dhimmi Carta went out of his way to support the Mugabe revolution back in the day. I guess that little worm has turned.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/22/2008 at 04:26 PM   
Filed Under: • AfricaTyrants and Dictators •  
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calendar   Tuesday - October 21, 2008

One Hell of a Rumor

A bit of an update on that pirated Iranian freighter, the MV Deyanat. The one with the mystery cargo that somehow killed a whole bunch of pirates. And they all showed signs of massive radiation poisoning.

Once again I’m a week late to the party with this story. But by being late, I’ve had the time to think things through a little bit. And this story leads me to think that an awful large part of the story is not being told. And I don’t know why. Actually I do know why. If this rumor is true, it’s one of the largest casus bellis that ever was. But we aren’t geared up to fight such a war right now, and 7 years into the Global War On Terror we’ve done absolutely nothing to even start those gears turning. NOTHING. This ship may have been an act of attempted terrorism on a scale many times greater than 9/11. And for some unknown reason, such attempts - big or small - are always denied and swept under the rug. Nothing to see here, move along. I have to call this one a rumor because not one of the many blogs covering the story have a source link or even a name for the Russian person or agency that is quoted. And that makes me wonder.

Was Pirated Iranian Freighter a Giant Dirty Bomb Meant For Israel?

The MV Iran Deyanat was brought to Eyl, a sleepy fishing village in northeastern Somalia, and was secured by a larger gang of pirates - 50 onboard and 50 onshore. The Somali pirates attempted to inspect the ship’s seven cargo containers but the containers were locked. The crew claimed that they did not have the “access codes” and could not open them. Pirates have stated they were unable to open the hold without causing extensive damage to the ship, and threatened to blow it up. The Iranian ship’s captain and the engineer were contacted by cell phone and demanded to disclose the actual nature of the mysterious “powdered cargo” but the captain and his officers were very evasive. Initially they said that the cargo contained “crude oil” but then claimed it contained “minerals.” Following this initial rebuff, the pirates broke open one of the containers and discovered it to be filled with packets of what they said was “a powdery fine sandy soil” ....

Within a period of three days, those pirates who had boarded the ship and opened the cargo container with its gritty sand-like contents, all developed strange health complications, to include serious skin burns and loss of hair. And within two weeks, sixteen of the pirates subsequently died, either on the ship or on shore.

News about the illness and the toxic cargo quickly reached Garowe, seat of the government for the autonomous region of Puntland. Angered over the wave of piracy and suspicious about the Iranian ship, authorities dispatched a delegation led by Minister of Minerals and Oil Hassan Allore Osman to investigate the situation on September 4. and they witnessed some of the deaths due to exposure to ‘something on that ship.’

Although American intelligence and government sources are maintaining a strictly observed silence, the same does not apply to the Russians and so it is that we learn the real story of the MV Iran Deyanat. She was an enormous floating dirty bomb, intended to detonate after exiting the Suez Canal at the eastern end of the Mediterranean and in proximity to the coastal cities of Israel. The entire cargo of radioactive sand, obtained by Iran from China (the latter buys desperately needed oil from the former) and sealed in containers which, when the charges on the ship are set off after the crew took to the boats, will be blasted high into the air where prevailing winds will push the highly dangerous and radioactive cloud ashore.

Given the large number of deaths from the questing Somali pirates, it should be obvious that when the contents of the ship’s locked cargo containers finally descended onto the land, the death toll would be enormous. This ship was nothing more nor less than the long-anticipated Iranian attack on Israel. Not the expected rocket attacks (which could be intercepted by the Israelis) but an even more deadly and unexpected attack by sea.. It is very interesting to note that the Israeli government has in the past few weeks, been loudly demanding that the United States establish a naval blockade of Iran.

Ok, so somebody had some inside info, and somebody else put one and one together and came up with the largest Number Two in recent history. And the grim humor here is that one bunch of pisslamic loonies screwed up the plans of another bunch of pisslamic loonies. But like self-detonating Achmed, falling down the stairs while wearing his suicide vest (BOOM!), we’ve seen this Three Stooges routine many times before. Nothing new there either.

Now comes the really scary part.

Somali pirates release Iranian ship

(source: Iranian news agency) Somali pirates have released an Iranian ship, Dianat, two months after being hijacked in the notorious Gulf of Aden, Iran’s shipping company says.

On August 21, the pirates seized the Iranian bulk carrier, carrying 42,500 tons of minerals and industrial products.

“The ship Dianat was released on Friday morning after seven weeks of negotiations with Somali pirates and all 29 members of the crew are safe,” Said public relations office of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL).

The ship is sailing towards international waters, IRISL added.

And no word at all from anyone that this ship has been seized, searched, boarded, scanned, or anything by western naval forces which are in the area in strength. We just let them go on their merry way? To where? Something doe not add up here. Not at all.

A bit of an update, just as disquieting:

The ship was released by Somali pirates on October 10, after a $250,000 cash bribe was paid by the U.S. Navy for her release. The MV Iran Denyant was taken into immediate custody of a joint naval taskforce present, to include Russian and French ships. Crew members had all been interrogated and all of them, deemed “uninformed of the ship’s course or cargo” were duly released to their diplomatic representatives. The ship was boarded, occupied and thoroughly searched by U.S. Navy specialists but a subsequent report on the suspicious cargo containers has been heavily classified.(‘Top Secret- Galactic’)

Russian sources indicate that the ship was carrying a “highly radioactive” cargo in specially built” containers and that this cargo was falsely listed in the ship’s manifest.

A “ransom” of $250,000 was eventually paid by the U.S., the ship boarded by the Navy, her cargo secured and the crew interrogated and eventually released and the ship was moved, under her own power and with an American crew, to the Muscat port where the U.S. Navy has docking rights. Her manifest was entirely false. The ship was not going to Rotterdam and there was no “German businessman” to take charge of the fictional cargo.

The entire matter has been shut up and you will never see any mention of it in any mainstream media. The matter is now considered closed. There still remain a number of questions that need to be answered. Both Israel, and at her behest, from Washington, there has been a great outpouring of animosity directed at Tehran, and many threats; for economic sanctions by the United States and overt attacks by Israel. In light of this past behavior, the most important question is why this incident, with its horrifying implications, has been studiously ignored, even shut down, by both countries.

I know that Iran is the enemy. You know that Iran is the enemy. We all know it. Why does our country hide from this reality? Ok fine. We buy their oil on the international market. So what? If the US comes right out and says Iran is an enemy nation, then we can’t do that? Fine. Send in the Dutch to get the oil, then we’ll buy their oil from the Dutch. It’s all the same thing. And it’s not like the US isn’t internationally forever guilty of hypocrisy anyway. So what’s one more charge of it, even if this time it turns out to be mostly true. We’d just be being practical, like the fwench.

Did the US actually seize and search this vessel, find a radioactive cargo and evidence of it being rigged as a bomb, and then let the ship go, either armed or disarmed? And then not tell us? Horry Clap. Like I said at the top, this is one hell of a rumor. The author of the above linked post claims to have a copy of the ship’s manifest. Publish it then. But really, what good would that do? How could it be accepted, since it’s a copy (whatever that means). A lying media and Fake But Accurate destroyed any faith in any information source. Truthiness or not - no document can ever again be believed to be real.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/21/2008 at 10:31 AM   
Filed Under: • AfricaIranMiddle-EastMilitaryPirates, aarrgh!War On Terror •  
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calendar   Wednesday - July 30, 2008

That Didn’t Last Even 10 Days

Mugabe can’t even afford the zeroes

Zimbabwe devalues currency 10,000,000,000 to 1

Zimbabwe will drop 10 zeros from its hyper-inflated currency — turning 10 billion dollars into one — the country’s reserve bank said Wednesday. President Robert Mugabe threatened a state of emergency if businesses profiteer from the country’s economic and political unraveling.

Threatening a state of emergency? Gosh, what do you call the current state of affairs there?

Shop shelves are empty and there are chronic shortages of everything including medication, food, fuel, power and water. Eighty percent of the work force is unemployed and many who do have jobs don’t earn enough to pay for bus fare.

One third of Zimbabweans have become economic and political refugees. Another third is dependent on foreign food aid. But Mugabe barred non-governmental organizations from handing out food last month, claiming they were supporting the opposition.

Yes, much better to let the entire population starve to death than to allow your political opponents any succor. My guess is that about 95% of the populace now counts as the opposition.

On Wednesday, central bank governor Gideon Gono announced he was dropping 10 zeros from the currency, effective Friday. That comes a week after he introduced a 100 billion-dollar note which was not enough to buy a loaf of bread.

Mugabe went on television immediately after Gono’s announcement to warn against illegal money dealings and profiteering.

“Entrepreneurs across the board: Don’t drive us further,” he warned. “If you drive us even more we will impose emergency measures.”

That’s right, it’s the evil businessmen, the capitalists, who are causing the rampant inflation. That’s so obvious: if nobody bought or sold anything, then the money wouldn’t devalue and there wouldn’t be any inflation!

Gono said new money would be launched Friday with 500-dollar bills. He also said he was reintroducing coins, which have been obsolete for years. Gono said the high rate of inflation was hampering the country’s computer systems. Inflation is officially running at 2.2 million percent in Zimbabwe but independent economists say it’s closer to 12.5 million percent. Computers, electronic calculators and automated teller machines at Zimbabwe’s banks cannot handle basic transactions in billions and trillions of dollars.

It is to laugh! Their worthless cash has so many zeroes on it that it’s causing bit overflow on the computers. Wait, they have computers? How the heck can they afford them? At this point I figured they’d be adding everything up with an abacus, or with piles of rocks!

And now, the obligatory victim card:

Mugabe has blamed profiteering and sanctions by the United States and the European Union for Zimbabwe’s economic collapse. Critics have blamed mismanagement by Mugabe’s government and a land reform program that has slashed Zimbabwe’s agricultural output.  Both Mugabe and Gono are targeted by the sanctions, which impose travel bans and asset freezes on more than 170 people, companies and farms.

“The country is under illegal sanctions. These are intended to achieve regime change,” Mugabe charged. “We must strengthen our will and resistance so we can go through this time of difficulty.”

Strengthen it all you want you thieving marxist cannibal. You and your whole outhouse of a country are going down the tubes. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Pity you just couldn’t survive without the white people in charge. Oh well.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/30/2008 at 10:30 AM   
Filed Under: • AfricaTyrants and Dictators •  
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calendar   Friday - July 25, 2008

Africa is giving nothing to anyone—apart from AIDS.

Of course, all of us god awful right wing fascist racists have known it for years and years. It’s like, we must all be sort of quiet and tippy toe around the real answer which is, nothing will ever change for that place.  Ever.  To suggest that of course opens one to the previous labels.  I don’t care.
I believe this to be true.  I realize this article is dated.  Kim also did a very interesting editorial on the subject some time ago, and if you check his archieves, it’s an interesting and a fast read as well.  The only thing I wouldn’t agree with is that all Africa has given us is AIDS.  The author forgot the African Killer Bee.
And I’ll bet there’s lots more if we looked.

H/T LyndonB

By Kevin Myers

No. It will not do. Even as we see African states refusing to take action to restore something resembling civilisation in Zimbabwe, the begging bowl for Ethiopia is being passed around to us, yet again. It is nearly 25 years since Ethiopia’s (and Bob Geldof’s) famous Feed The World campaign, and in that time Ethiopia’s population has grown from 33.5 million to 78 million today.

So why on earth should I do anything to encourage further catastrophic demographic growth in that country? Where is the logic? There is none. To be sure, there are two things saying that logic doesn’t count.

One is my conscience, and the other is the picture, yet again, of another wide-eyed child, yet again, gazing, yet again, at the camera, which yet again, captures the tragedy of . . .

Sorry. My conscience has toured this territory on foot and financially. Unlike most of you, I have been to Ethiopia; like most of you, I have stumped up the loot to charities to stop starvation there. The wide-eyed boy-child we saved, 20 years or so ago, is now a priapic, Kalashnikov-bearing hearty, siring children whenever the whim takes him.

There is, no doubt a good argument why we should prolong this predatory and dysfunctional economic, social and sexual system; but I do not know what it is. There is, on the other hand, every reason not to write a column like this.

It will win no friends, and will provoke the self-righteous wrath of, well, the self-righteous, letter-writing wrathful, a species which never fails to contaminate almost every debate in Irish life with its sneers and its moral superiority. It will also probably enrage some of the finest men in Irish life, like John O’Shea, of Goal; and the Finucane brothers, men whom I admire enormously. So be it.

But, please, please, you self-righteously wrathful, spare me mention of our own Famine, with this or that lazy analogy. There is no comparison. Within 20 years of the Famine, the Irish population was down by 30pc. Over the equivalent period, thanks to western food, the Mercedes 10-wheel truck and the Lockheed Hercules, Ethiopia’s has more than doubled.

Alas, that wretched country is not alone in its madness. Somewhere, over the rainbow, lies Somalia, another fine land of violent, Kalashnikov-toting, khat-chewing, girl-circumcising, permanently tumescent layabouts.

Indeed, we now have almost an entire continent of sexually hyperactive indigents, with tens of millions of people who only survive because of help from the outside world.

This dependency has not stimulated political prudence or commonsense. Indeed, voodoo idiocy seems to be in the ascendant, with the next president of South Africa being a firm believer in the efficacy of a little tap water on the post-coital penis as a sure preventative against infection. Needless to say, poverty, hunger and societal meltdown have not prevented idiotic wars involving Tigre, Uganda, Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea etcetera.

Broad brush-strokes, to be sure. But broad brush-strokes are often the way that history paints its gaudier, if more decisive, chapters. Japan, China, Russia, Korea, Poland, Germany, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the 20th century have endured worse broad brush-strokes than almost any part of Africa.

They are now—one way or another—virtually all giving aid to or investing in Africa, whereas Africa, with its vast savannahs and its lush pastures, is giving almost nothing to anyone, apart from AIDS.

Meanwhile, Africa’s peoples are outstripping their resources, and causing catastrophic ecological degradation. By 2050, the population of Ethiopia will be 177 million: The equivalent of France, Germany and Benelux today, but located on the parched and increasingly protein-free wastelands of the Great Rift Valley.

So, how much sense does it make for us actively to increase the adult population of what is already a vastly over-populated, environmentally devastated and economically dependent country?

How much morality is there in saving an Ethiopian child from starvation today, for it to survive to a life of brutal circumcision, poverty, hunger, violence and sexual abuse, resulting in another half-dozen such wide-eyed children, with comparably jolly little lives ahead of them? Of course, it might make you feel better, which is a prime reason for so much charity. But that is not good enough.

For self-serving generosity has been one of the curses of Africa. It has sustained political systems which would otherwise have collapsed.

It prolonged the Eritrean-Ethiopian war by nearly a decade. It is inspiring Bill Gates’ programme to rid the continent of malaria, when, in the almost complete absence of personal self-discipline, that disease is one of the most efficacious forms of population-control now operating.

If his programme is successful, tens of millions of children who would otherwise have died in infancy will survive to adulthood, he boasts. Oh good: then what?I know. Let them all come here. Yes, that’s an idea.

(oh you can count on that okay. They will come here. And come and come with every disease imaginable and with all their offspring. Except for those they neglected to round up. Well you know, there’s so many there’s no keeping proper track. Of course weepy eyed libs will welcome them with open arms and your tax $$$ or £££.)


Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 07/25/2008 at 08:06 AM   
Filed Under: • AfricaEditorials •  
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calendar   Friday - April 25, 2008

The Rumors Were Correct

Chinese Arms Ship Goes To Angola

This is an update to a post that’s been ongoing for a week or so. Zimbabwe’s tinpot dictator, Robert Mugabe, has ordered a large arms shipment from China. Millions of rounds of 7.62x39, RPGs, and mortars. It has been delayed by dockworkers in South Africa who refused to unload it. Coincidentaly, the election results in Zimbabwe have still not been released, and Mugabe is rumored to have lost hugely. The ship, the An Yue Jian, left South Africa the other day with the message “next stop Mozambique”. This was a ruse, obviously. The ship has now docked in Angola, which is on the other side of the continent.

Angola’s government has authorised a Chinese ship carrying arms destined for Zimbabwe to dock, although it says it will not be allowed to unload weapons.  In a statement, the government said the vessel would only be allowed to deliver goods intended for Angola.  On Thursday, the Chinese authorities said they would recall the ship to China after port workers in South Africa refused to unload the weapons.  Other southern African countries had also refused to allow the ship to dock. Leaders in the region had expressed concern that the weapons could heighten tensions in Zimbabwe.
The state news agency, Angop, said the ship, the An Yue Jiang, had been authorised to dock in the capital Luanda.  But it can only unload “merchandise destined for Angola”, a government statement said.
Angola is a close ally of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

On Thursday, a Chinese foreign ministry official said the ship, which reportedly contains three million rounds of ammunition, 1,500 rocket-propelled grenades and 2,500 mortar rounds, might return to China.

The US had urged China to recall the An Yue Jiang, while the UK called for an international arms embargo on Zimbabwe.  Zambia’s president urged African countries not to let the arms in. But Zimbabwe’s state-run Herald newspaper condemned the country’s neighbours as “myopic stooges” for refusing to let the cargo dock.

“Zimbabwe is… under attack from the former coloniser and its allies. As such, Zimbabwe probably needs to arm itself more than any other country in Africa today,” the paper said.

This news seems to contradict another story that came out today that said the ship was going to be recalled. Somebody isn’t telling the truth!

So they’ll only let in things destined for Angola huh? That’s really interesting, because the manifest mentioned the other day didn’t include any cargo for Angola. Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Botswana, but no mention of Angola. This smells rotten. Maybe “only cargo destined for Angola” means they bought the arms and will just resell them to Mugabe (at a minor 200% markup of course)? And it’s damned funny that the election results are still being kept secret.

Stay tuned to the story folks, there’s going to be a bloodbath in Zimbabwe in another week or so.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/25/2008 at 08:57 PM   
Filed Under: • Africa •  
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calendar   Saturday - April 19, 2008

This is what real disenfranchisement looks like

This post was put up as an educational opportunity to any far left readers. Surely we have one or two? Remember this post come November, and think back to how much blood has been shed in Zimbabwe between now and then. My prediction is that several thousand will die over this in the next 7 months, and it could go so far as revolution.

Weeks Later, Recount Begins In Zimbabwe Elections

Officials began recounting ballots for a couple dozen legislative seats Saturday, an exercise that could overturn the opposition’s landmark victory.Meanwhile, an independent human rights monitor charged that the government has begun a campaign of torture and harassment against those who voted for the opposition, while the country continues to await the results of presidential election.

The ruling party is challenging the count in 23 parliamentary races, most won by the opposition, including in President Robert Mugabe’s home district of Zvimba. The counting began after an opposition attempt to stop it was blocked in court Friday. The court is stacked with Mugabe loyalists.

The opposition has also gone to court to try to force the release of results from the presidential vote. Three weeks after the March 29 elections, which Mugabe is widely believed to have lost, they have not yet been published.

Results from legislative races held alongside the presidential votes gave control of the parliament to the opposition for the first time.

In Zvimba, officials excluded reporters as the count began in the presence of officials from the ruling and opposition parties as well as local observers.

Reporters saw no international observers present, though the state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted officials of the Southern African Development Community as saying it had sent 50 monitors.

In one contested constituency, The Herald reported a failed petrol bomb attack on offices where ballot boxes were stored early Friday morning. The newspaper quoted police as saying three attackers threw a homemade bomb at the Gutu district administration office, but that it did not explode. It said the attackers drove away when challenged by a police officer.

New York-based Human Rights Watch charged in a report released Saturday that “torture and violence are surging in Zimbabwe.”

It said the ruling party was setting up “torture camps to systematically target, beat, and torture people suspected of having voted for the (opposition) MDC in last months elections.”

Let’s also recall that Mugabe has ordered up a boatload of weapons from China recently. Maybe since the election? After all, how long would the proverbial “slow boat from China” take to get to Zimbabwe? (about 2 weeks actually. 7000ish nautical miles at 20 knots)

So there you have it. The counting is obviously rigged. The courts are rigged. Probably there is no privacy in the balloting, if “suspected opposition voters” are being tortured. There is torture going on, and in Africa that means the real deal, not some panties on your head. So the next time we have an election here, shut up. Somebody has to own the voting machine companies; just because Mr. Diebold happens to be a Republican doesn’t mean a thing. And if you’re not allowed to vote because you were too stupid and lazy to get out and register ahead of time, tough luck. And if you’re such a loser that you can’t even detach a chad properly AND you don’t even bother to check, too bad. Is our system perfect? No. Can it be improved? Yes it can, but most of the resistance to such improvements is coming from your side of the aisle. So shut up again. And thank God once again that you don’t live in Africa.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/19/2008 at 08:51 AM   
Filed Under: • AfricaPolitics •  
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calendar   Wednesday - April 16, 2008

Chinese Army in Zimbabwe?

Odd things are going on over in Mugabe’s alternate dimension. And not just the mess of an election. Now it appears that a large arms shipment has been recieved from China. Complete with Chinese soldiers. Not that many of them, but hello? Just what the heck is going on?

Armed Chinese soliders police Mutare streets

By David Baxter

HARARE - A general strike called by the MDC to pressure the Zimbabweans government and the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) to release presidential results appeared to have faltered in all major cities despite the despair within the majority over the lack of results, almost three weeks on.

People were seen going about their usual business, maybe due to fear the weight of the state security officers deployed ahead of the strike could descend on them or because the economic crisis does not allow people to drop earnings at all.

Soldiers and police fanned out across Zimbabwe early in the day with army trucks, some equipped with water cannon, moving through opposition strongholds around the cities. The riot police and other officers even set up checkpoints.

zimbabwejournalists’ correspondent, David Baxter, reports from Mutare that it is calm in the city as the MDC stayaway failed to attract many people.

“Residents are going about their normal business despite a call by the opposition to stay at home. Businesses were operating as usual but there was a heavy police presence in the city centre and in all the high density suburbs,” he said.

The police are armed with AK rifles, teargas canisters and baton sticks. Water cannons were being driven throughout the suburbs. There were no incidents of violence as of mid-morning. However, says Baxter, there was a surprise presence of Chinese soldiers armed with revolvers in the city.

You would think, after the protests we’ve seen with the Olympic torch procession, and the recent crackdown on Tibet, that they would be a lot more circumspect about actively getting into bed with an aging despot, never mind lending support to his repression.

I can’t offer deep insightful political analysis on this, but my layman interpretation is that they must be there to protect their economic interests.

Remember Mugabe’s ‘Look East’ policy?

Zimbabwean’s joke, bitterly, about how Mugabe is allowing the Chinese to colonise our country. They refer to the Chinese products flooding our shops as ‘zhing zhong’. ‘Zhing zhong’ has now become a term used to describe anything that breaks or doesn’t work when you buy it.

Chinese traders are given more advantages by the Zanu PF government to do business in Zimbabwe than locals do.
But if the Chinese government is actually sending in soldiers, and actively lending some level of military support - advice or otherwise - to Mugabe’s efforts to subvert democracy and cow the population, then their involvement must be exposed.

The world is a pretty small place these days. It’s getting harder and harder to hide things, even in Africa. The word just gets out. So what is going on here? Is Mugabe arming up just in case the election results go against him? Is this just a typical arms shipment - 6 or so shipping containers worth really isn’t that huge a pile of weapons - or is it something special? And why on earth are armed Chinese soldiers patrolling the streets of the city? Perhaps they are just there as “advisors”. Perhaps they are just there to provide security for the arms shipment. Perhaps. But it is still very odd.

thanks for the tip and the pre-post, DWMF.

As word gets out, the protests start. Looks like quite a few people believe these arms will be used by Mugabe against the people:

A large arms consignment bound for Zimbabwe remains on board a ship at the South African port of Durban after running into a political row.

South African dockworkers are refusing to unload the Chinese vessel, which is anchored off the port.

And a local lobby group has asked the High Court to block the shipment in case it leads to human rights abuses.

South Africa’s government says it cannot legally prevent the arms being transported through the country.

The row comes amid continuing tension in Zimbabwe over the failure to publish election results.

Critics say Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF government will use the weapons to further suppress democratic rights, as accounts continue to emerge of the beating of opposition supporters.

Another reason is platinum. Just like nickle, copper, and molybdenum, China wants a slice of this precious ore too, and Zimbabwe is the world’s #2 producer.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/16/2008 at 01:56 PM   
Filed Under: • AfricaCommiesMilitary •  
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calendar   Friday - January 11, 2008

A Kiss On The Hand May be Very Sentimental, but Lawyers Are a Guys Best Friend

Class Action Lawsuit Against De Beers: $295,000,000 Settlement

DeBeers diamond cartel agrees to $295 million settlement in anti-trust price-fixing class action lawsuit. If you bought a diamond from a retailer it actually came through De Beers. If you bought one between January 1, 1994 and March 31, 2006, you are eligible for a refund if you sign up for the settlement. Maximum payout will be about $640.

I know I’m eligible. I think I’ll sign up.  The diamond cartel has been artificially inflating prices for over a century.

Diamonds are said to be a girl’s best friend. Now, that friend is potentially worth a substantial amount of money back as a result of a multimillion-dollar settlement with diamond behemoth De Beers.

The company that controls a huge share of the rough diamond market has agreed to pay nearly $300 million in a price-fixing dispute.

Customers who bought finished diamonds might be able to get hundreds of dollars back.

De Beers, one of the largest diamond suppliers in the world, has agreed to give Americans money back as a result from a class action lawsuit against the company alleging antitrust violations.

John Maher, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said the diamond leader violated the law.

“They controlled and monopolized the sale of rough diamonds and as a result merchants paid more than they should have for those stones,” he said.

De Beers has not admitted to doing anything wrong in the $295 million settlement. An earmark of $135.4 million has been made for consumers who file a claim.

According to the claims administrator, a consumer who purchased a $2,000 engagement ring would be entitled to a maximum of $640 back.

Here are some facts:

Several class-action lawsuits were filed asking for money damages on behalf of diamond purchasers. The lawsuits also asked that the defendants stop certain business conduct. The lawsuits claim that the largest suppliers of diamonds in the world—De Beers S.A. and its associated companies—violated antitrust, unfair competition, and consumer-protection laws by monopolizing diamond supplies, conspiring to fix, raise, and control diamond prices, and disseminating false and misleading advertising. De Beers and the other companies deny they violated the law or did anything wrong. They also say that because they do not do business in the United States, the courts in the United States do not have authority over them.

The courts where the lawsuits were filed have not made any determinations regarding whether the Defendants have done anything wrong. If the lawsuits are settled, the Court will not rule on any of Plaintiffs’ claims or on Defendants’ defenses to those claims, and the lawsuits will be dismissed. This means the Class Members may not sue any Defendant ever again about any past, present or future claims based on or related to the conduct covered by the lawsuits.

So what we have here is a zillion dollar cartel throwing a few pennies to the crowd to make this problem go away. Yeah, $300 million really is just chump change to De Beers.

News article here

FAQs and background info here.

Sign up online here, but please read the other info first.

Wow, some group of lawyers just got very rich!!


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/11/2008 at 10:06 PM   
Filed Under: • AfricaFun-StuffJudges-Courts-Lawyers •  
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calendar   Thursday - December 06, 2007


Now that the dust has settled in the “Let’s give a name to this Teddy Bear, shall we class?” affair, maybe it’s time to sit back and reflect upon some of the reactions to it.  Not so much from the blog-o-sphere, but from some of the “organizations” we’ve grown to know and love over the years…

NOW - “In the U.S., a spokeswoman for the National Organization for Women said the situation is definitely on the radar, and N.O.W. is not ignoring it.  But she added that the U.S.-based organization is not putting out a statement or taking a position.” (Fox News)

CAIR - Nothing.  (via search for “Teddy Bear” at

Amnesty International - Nothing (via search for “Teddy Bear” at

Human Rights Watch - Nothing (via search for “Teddy Bear” at

Well, you get the idea.

I don’t think for a minute that there wasn’t discussion at any of these organizations about this, but the public response speaks volumes.  With the exception of CAIR, whose motives have been well-explained elsewhere, none of the above can reconcile what’s happened in the Sudan with the kind of moral equivalence that gets preached in our direction on a regular basis. 

The editorialists at USA Today, with whom I normally disagree, got this one right: “If any value is to come from this sorry episode, it is to put moderate Muslims on notice: If you do not stand up, forcefully, and in a sustained way, the religion you claim is peaceful will be defined by intolerant extremists and manipulated by cynical politicians such as al-Bashir. And that, in turn, makes Western hatred of Islam, and a clash of civilizations, more likely.” (Read the whole editorial at

But back to those stalwards of Human Rights - NOW, AI, and HRW: I will maintain that it’s their inability to reconcile world events with their so-flawed dogma that has rendered them silent.  And I’ve got news for them: there is no moral equivalence between decent human beings and those vermin that slithered through the streets of Khartoum calling for the execution of this woman.

Shame on them.  Shame on them all.


Posted by Somnambulist57   Bermuda  on 12/06/2007 at 04:40 PM   
Filed Under: • AfricaRoPMA •  
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calendar   Thursday - July 05, 2007

TED - Hans Rosling

If you are not familiar with the TED conference, it is a gathering of real thinkers (and some loons) to give short, 18 minute talks about what is important in their worlds.  It started as a conference about Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED), but has expanded to cover much more.  To be sure, there is a plethora of liberal thought spread thickly throughout this community, but amongst the chaff, there is some good wheat.

This talk is by Dr. Hans Rosen.  He makes some claims about CO2 emissions and climate change that you will most likely take issue with, but don’t let that keep you from missing some very interesting points he is making.  Also, the software he is using is absolutely amazing in terms of statistical Visualization (my pet project for the past couple of years).  Finally, his conclusions about the means and goals of helping the developing countries is fascinating to me.

What do you think?


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/05/2007 at 10:54 AM   
Filed Under: • AfricaClimate-WeatherColleges-ProfessorsHealth-MedicineInternational •  
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calendar   Tuesday - February 06, 2007

Out Of Africa

(1) Africans living in poverty, starving to death, suffering from disease and malnutrition, (2) Europeans go to Africa, open diamond and gold mines, introduce large-scale agriculture, long-term planning with global trade and modern health care, (3) Africans revolt against “white oppression”, pitch Europeans out, confiscate their lands, (4) Africans living in poverty, starving to death, suffering from disease and malnutrition.

Have I missed anything in this cycle? Is it safe to say that if the rest of the world sits back and just throws money at the African continent that nothing will change and that the misery will only increase? Was colonialism ever as bad as what is now going on as Africa reverts back to the Stone Age?

Zimbabwe Threatens White Farmers
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (NEWSDAY)- February 5, 2007, 8:25 PM EST

imageimageZimbabwe’s national security minister has told the country’s last remaining white farmers that they will be jailed if they refuse to abide by a deadline that passed over the weekend for them to leave their farms, according to a newspaper report on Monday.

The official Chronicle newspaper quoted the minister Didymus Mutasa as saying police would be “unleashed” to deal with white farmers who ignored the eviction notice.

“Those farmers who do not comply with the orders to vacate the land will be dealt with severely,” said the minister, known to be close to President Robert Mugabe. The deadline was on Saturday. Farming officials said there were no immediate reports of arrests but they feared the worst.

Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence, with acute shortages of hard currency, food, gasoline, medicines and essential imports. The meltdown is blamed largely on disruptions to the agriculture-based economy after the often violent seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms began in 2000.

Annual inflation is running at more than 1,000 percent, the highest in the world. The U.S. State Department last year put Zimbabwe on a list of six countries where restrictions on rights were particularly severe, along with China, Cuba, Iran, Myanmar and North Korea.

There were around 4,500 white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe in 2000, when Mugabe launched the program of land seizures that has seen agricultural production plummet. Now only around 400 white farmers remain—and at least 150 of them were handed eviction letters in December giving them just 45 days to leave their land to make way for new black farmers.

Mugabe says land reform was necessary to correct colonial-era imbalances in ownership. The longtime Zimbabwean leader blames the more-than-40-percent drop in production on repeated drought and Western sanctions.

Once known as the breadbasket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe has seen its status reduced to an importer of its staple maize crop since land reforms were launched. Critics say many of the new black farmers were allocated farms on the basis of political patronage rather than agricultural expertise, and lack the dedication and financial resources to make a success of farming.

- More ...


Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/06/2007 at 01:12 AM   
Filed Under: • Africa •  
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calendar   Wednesday - January 17, 2007

Obamarama Storms Africa

You good folks will have to pardon me today if I seem a little out of sorts. You see, I caught this Reuters story a little while ago and have been totally incapable of stopping the giggling. Every time I look at this story I break out in snorts of laughter. My stomach hurts. Please make Obama go away ... just for a few days until I regain my composure!

Every time I see the quote “He has experienced a hard life as an African growing up in the United States” I crack up again. Barack “Ears” Obama is obviously being sold as a god in Africa. Africans everywhere, especially in Kenya, are overjoyed that “one of their own” will be in the White House and he will then proceed to solve all their problems.

Bwah-hah-hah-hah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha ......

Please ... can’t we have just one halfway serious day without the Obamarama Grand Celebration interrupting? I can’t take much more of this hoopla over a junior Senator from Ill-Annoys with no real government experience to speak of and nothing going for him other than the fact that he’s half-black half-African with adorable elephant ears.

Uh-oh! Here comes another attack .... Bwah-hah-hah-hah-ha-ha-ha-ha .......  laughing_tv

Memo: Before any of you wankers accuse me of being racist, let me state clearly that I would welcome a black President ... provided it was someone like Alan Keyes, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell .... i.e., someone grownup, experienced and intelligent --- without big, goofy ears.

Kenyans Celebrate As Obama Eyes White House
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Wed Jan 17, 2007 7:49am ET145

imageimageKenyans rejoiced on Wednesday after Barack Obama plunged into the U.S. presidential race, saying if the youthful senator from Illinois wins the White House he will not forget his African roots.

Obama, who was born in Hawaii to a Kenyan father and a white American mother, was greeted like a long-lost son in August when he visited his ancestral village in the remote western Kenya.

His vow on Tuesday to “change our politics” with a campaign that could make him the first black president in U.S. history was greeted with cheers of joy and pride on the streets of the capital Nairobi. “Obama can win,” Giddings Ochanda, a trainee medical technician, told Reuters.

“He has experienced a hard life as an African growing up in the United States, and that experience will make him a good leader for everyone. It will be good for Kenya-U.S. relations.”

Others were overjoyed that someone they saw as a “fellow African” could aspire to the world’s top job. “If an African can make it into the White House, it will show Africans anywhere can make it,” said office worker Moreen Chirchir. “It will show we can make it.”

When the 45-year-old Obama visited Kenya last year, he was welcomed with a carnival atmosphere and cheering crowds thronging his motorcade. Despite his efforts to play down local expectations during that trip that his role as a U.S. senator would have an immediate impact in Kenya, many still revered him as one of their own who had succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Obama’s father grew up herding goats before studying in America then returning to Kenya to become a noted economist. “He has the people at heart,” said Nairobi teacher Leah Alisa. “He will have American interests as his priority, and he should, but he will change their foreign policy,” she said.

“He won’t forget Africa.”


Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 01/17/2007 at 08:39 AM   
Filed Under: • AfricaDemocrats-Liberals-Moonbat Leftists •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


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