Saturday, April 05, 2014

Central African Republic

It's not a "religious" war unless it is pay back for previous atrocities.

From StrategyPage

Most of the mayhem is in the largely Christian south and especially in and around the capital, where most of the Moslems are in the south. This all began when the capital was captured by Moslem rebels in early 2013. That was followed by rebels engaging in extensive looting and other crimes. Most of their victims were Christians. This included some deliberate attacks on churches. That resulted in Christians forming militias to fight the rebels. In the last year over 2,000 people have died, most of them in the last six months. Now the Moslems remaining in the south are arming themselves and fighting back at Christian civilians. This caused the number of refugees in and around the capital to go from 20,000 to over 200,000 in March.
The Christian militia are also angry because the peacekeepers failed to curb rebel violence against Christians last year. The general chaos of the last few months has caused over a million people (a quarter of the CAR population) to flee their homes

Friday, February 28, 2014

Punishing the poor to force Africa to be PC

From the (gov't run) Zim Herald:

An article about Uganda passing an "anti gay bill"

In a speech after signing the law, President Museveni warned Western nations not to meddle in the east African nation’s affairs — and that he was not afraid of aid being cut.
Some donors were quick to punish Kampala by freezing or redirecting aid money, while Sweden’s Finance Minister Anders Borg, who visited the country on Tuesday, said the law “presents an economic risk for Uganda”.
The Netherlands froze a seven-million-euro subsidy to Uganda’s legal system, while Denmark and Norway said they would redirect around six million euros each towards private sector initiatives, aid agencies and rights organisations.

expect those "rights" organizations to push to change the law.

But Opondo said Uganda’s government was not worried.
“Western ‘aid’ to Africa is lucrative and (a) profitable trade, they cannot cut off completely,” Opondo said.
“Slave trade, slavery, colonialism, imperialism, and exploitation, Africa must stand up to Western domination.”

expect China to fill in the gap.

This 2010 article from Xinhua new agency says China is the second largest invester there.

This 2009 article from the ChinaInAfrica website notes how China is active in the Ugandan economy.

Another field to benefit from Chinese interest is agriculture. China has evolved the best technique of growing rice to yield bumper crops, and has passed on this technique to Uganda as well. The first rice-farming project has been in Kibimba in eastern Uganda spread over 1721 acres of land.
China is interested in the oil deposits recently discovered in Uganda. As of now Uganda exports leather goods to China, along with timber, agricultural products, cotton, copper and fish. The total trade between the two countries amounted to $247 million in the year 2008. However, this includes Chinese exports amounting to $230 million, and Uganda has the remaining share of $17 million. The present division is extremely lopsided, and this is not perceived as advantageous to Uganda. Chinese goods have also replaced the domestic products since they are so much cheaper.

so all the "greens" who work with aid agencies are pushing organic and natural ways of growing traditional methods, while China is actually changing their agricultural infrastructure.

And Chinese shops are all over, replacing the previously owned shops run by immigrants from India and their children that were widepspread in colonial days.

This is bad and good: cheap goods can make local manufacturing wither (as we see here in the Philippines), and the ability of Chinese immigrants to money (in the past, via family links these shops essentially took over the small business shops in SEAsia) mean they crowd out locals trying to run such businesses. (cultural problem too: A kid brought up by business oriented parents will be more likely to succeed, and as I noted in colonial times, the opportunities for locals were limited due to the Indian, this is not "racist", since in places like the Philippines, where only locals could own land or businesses, the merchants quickly intermarried, which is wny many of our families who run the place are part Chinese).

This article discusses the resentment against this neocolonial push:

from the WATimes (Right wing US paper):

KAMPALA, October 3, 2012 - Chinese, the renowned ‘investors’ in Africa have shifted positions, turning to small retail trade in massive numbers.  This is especially true in Uganda’s capital Kampala, where they are suffocating the local traders who are calling for government intervention through regulation of trade to foreigners.
Taking advantage of favorable terms of trade and reduced costs of imports, Chinese traders who are widely present in Kampala’s arcades sharply cut prices for their products, undercutting the prices charged by local traders.
The loathed Chinese cheaply import from their home country to the detriment of Ugandan traders who import the same products at much higher prices from China.  The local sellers lament that the practice is completely unfair, and that they need government support to even the playing field.
Ugandan traders bitterly complain that they are on the verge of losing their businesses, thanks to price slashing by their Chinese competitors.  In July, the traders staged a demonstration against the increasing Chinese suffocation, calling for the government to intervene before local traders are forced from business.

 the Monitor (Uganda) discusses this from a local viewpoint, published Feb7 2014:

“China gives aid without political ties. African leaders don’t want to be dictated upon. That is why they like China not the Western countries which insist on democracy and social freedom,” Prof Makara said at a workshop organised by Makerere University department of Journalism and Communication, Bergen, Norway and Chr Michelsen Institute with support from the Norwegian Embassy in Kampala.
“Over dependence on China exploitation of natural resources is unsustainable in the long term. Taking minerals and oil to China doesn’t create jobs in Africa and Uganda in particular. They are Chinese who benefit. They are exporting our minerals to China. If they are exported and they are over, will they still need us? Sustainable development may not be realised in the long term.”

also on that paper: There is an anti obscenity law and the police have had to save women from roaming mobs undressing women  to punish them for wearing miniskirts.
This is happening in Iganga which is a city in the SE area of Uganda.
According to Wikipedia, that is an area with a large Muslim population.

the Iganga District in eastern Uganda has the highest percentage of Muslims. The rest of the country has a mix of religious affiliations.[107

and although the US activists point to "fundamentalists" for being behind the "anti Gay" law, the population doesn't have a large percentage of them. Again, from Wikipedia:

Religion in Uganda[2]

Other or None

Church in Entebbe
According to the census of 2002, Christians made up about 84% of Uganda's population.[106] The Roman Catholic Church has the largest number of adherents (41.9%), followed by the Anglican Church of Uganda (35.9%). Evangelical and Pentecostal churches claim the rest of the Christian population. There's a growing number of Presbyterian denominations like the Presbyterian Church in Uganda, the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Uganda and the Evangelical Free Church in Uganda with hundreds of affiliating congregations. The next most reported religion of Uganda is Islam, with Muslims representing 12% of the population.[106]

 and, as the local paper the Monitor points out: While you were being distracted, lots of other scandals are going on.

mainly economic problems but this one caught my eye:

* We heard that about Shs40 billion of your taxes and mine given to the Presidential Initiative on Bananas is missing. This was always going to be an exercise in modern-day alchemy; what large global market is out there for banana flour? Why not spend it on coffee or tourism?

 Two items in this snippet:

One: Notice the money gone missing? One of the biggest problems in Africa and Asia (including the Philippines and China) is graft and corruption.

Two: the "initiative" is "modern day alchemy" because the local scientists are using gentic modification to try to save a threatened banana plague.

ALL bananas have a narrow genetic spectrum, and could easily be wiped out, resulting in a famine resembling the Irish Potato famine.

The UKGuardian, which is a left wing paper that usually pushes the green agenda, has a nice article on that here.

In recent years a devastating bacterial disease has swept across Uganda and, to a lesser extent, neighbouring countries, causing annual banana crop losses to the region of more than $500m (£310m). The rapid spread of banana Xanthomonas wilt, or BXW, which destroys the entire plant and contaminates the soil, "has endangered the livelihoods of millions of farmers who rely on banana for staple food and income", according to an article in the journal Molecular Plant Pathology last year.
With no resistant varieties or chemical cures available, growers such as Kamenya have been forced to destroy large sections of their plantations. For smaller farmers the damage has been so severe many have given up on the fruit.
But local scientists have not. On a sprawling campus outside Kampala, Wilberforce Tushemereirwe and his colleagues at the National Banana Research Programme have been on a quest to defeat the disease by building a better banana. This has involved adding to the fruit a sweet pepper gene that has already improved disease resistance in several vegetables.
There are plenty of human rights problems in Uganda, but essentially the law is popular because of the perception that gays are predators.

Like other rural areas, often kids go to boarding schools, which have a bad reputation for letting kids be abused, be they the "fagging" in the UK public school system, the abuse of Canadian Aborigenes that got a lot of publicity there (not as much in the US, since most of the schools were Anglican etc). This article discusses the abuse of missionary's kids at African boarding schools (presumably for the elites.) And yes, I know a missionary whose son was abused this way in South America at a Christian boarding school

Christianity today has an article here.

this is of white kids in Christian boarding schools for the elites.

Are we supposed to think that black kids weren't abused?

The reason I think there is a big story here is:

One: Homosexual rape was probably common in pre colonial times, but we have no documentation except for the case of the Uganda martyrs, whose major "sin" was refusing to be abused by the king and his court.

Two: Many British families sent their problem sons to Africa in colonial times. The sexual shennanigans of the colonists was notorious in the more chaste Bantu neighbors, who have taboos on who you can and cannot sleep with. (I have no information on the Nilotic or Masai tribes, except to note that the high rate of infertility in Masai women was from STD related PID, which is why in the good old days they kidnapped and/or married the women from other tribes).

Three: It is a hierarchical society, where you obey your superior. This includes your teacher, your relatives, and of course your employer. So if your employer "hits" on you, you say "Yes"...and although this is more common with women (which is why tribes only allowed "houseboys", I know of cases where the boys were used sexually by their employers).

Four: by taking men from their villages and making zoning laws that didn't encourage women to accompany them (and tribal laws that meant you lost your land if your wife didn't work it for you), you encouraged not only family breakup but homosexuality in the huge worker's dormatories.

Five: There have been wars and revolutions in Central Africa including Uganda.Female rape has resulted in a lot of reporting, but male on male rape is also being done, mainly as a way of punishment.
Time magazine report here. 
NYTimes article here. 
UKGuardian report here.

and few of these rapes are reported, because of the stigma.

Six: Sex tourism. All sorts of sex tourism, because of all those lovely beaches. If you google, you will find articles on western women seeking love from local men while on vacation (reminds me of the film "Shirley Valentine"). But it also includes the nasty problem of enticing poor children into a risky life of prostitution. Western liberatarian see this as a free choice, but hunger sort of obscures the free choice part.


If you are gay or lesbian and wish to travel to Africa it is wise to do a little research before you plan your trip. Homosexuality is illegal in almost every African country (bar South Africa) and is considered a criminal offense in several top tourist destinations like Egypt, Morocco and Kenya. 

and the BBC in 2010  asked for comments on pedophilia in Africa: read the comments and weep.
most of this is about girls, but the boys are at risk too.

A lot of this depends on when you decide it's pedophilia or if you count sex with teenagers over whom you have power. That too can result in great rage by the boy but often he keeps quiet from shame.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Why Mandela was a great man

 from the Diplomad:

He seemed to have an understanding that whites and other non-blacks were essential for a peaceful and prosperous South Africa. He also, surprise, did not go full Mugabe. He won election--although the vote counting was suspicious--served his term, trying to unite blacks, whites, Asians, and others into accepting the new post-apartheid South Africa. He did not try to drive the whites out, and did not go around confiscating farms and businesses. He did not encourage revenge against whites and sought a reconciliation of the races. A practical politician, he turned a blind eye to the rampant corruption among the ANC, finding it better to let the party members expend their revolutionary fervor making money. At the end of his term, he stepped down. Yes, he stepped down. That is an amazing thing in Africa; he stepped down on completing his term of office.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

China in Africa

The ChristianScience Monitor, whose overseas reporting on the background of the news is usually excellent, has a long article on China in Africa.

Congo is increasingly influenced by the penetration of all things Chinese, and that in turn is bringing high hopes for development.
But it is also raising wariness here that Africa's new benefactor may sometimes be driven by the same self-interested motives as the Western nations that preceded it in the colonial and postcolonial periods.
Like most Chinese here, Wei lives a separate life, socializing exclusively with his Chinese co-workers except for an occasional foray down the street to buy groceries and exchange pleasantries with a Congolese street vendor.
Yet to the Congolese, the Chinese have increasingly become a necessary part of everyday life. To buy a cellphone, people go to Chinese electronics shops that offer knock-off Blackberry models at a third of the market price. When people want to enjoy a soccer game, they take a seat in the bleachers at Kinshasa's "Martyrs Stadium," a gift from China in 1993. A drive through downtown Kinshasa runs along a grand central boulevard, newly widened and repaved by a Chinese construction company.

read the whole thing

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Zimbabwe article

In First Things magazine, an article on the history of Zimbabwe under Mugabe

But why, with many articulate opposition leaders, do they use a photo of a white Zimbabwean? And stress the evil deeds of Mugabe (such as the slaughter of the Ndebele opposition in the 1980's) without mentioning that the Ndebele are traditional warriors, and could have started a civil war for his opponent?

Did this small genocide prevent a much larger genocidal civil war?

As for European farm seizures: a bad move economically, but the hysteria by the UK was ridiculous. This did not require sanctions that ruined the economy. I mean, Nixon didn't put sanctions on the Philippines when our land was seized and "sold" to our tenant farms (who were given years to pay us for the land, and never did).

As for the opposition: They seem to have shot themselves in the foot too many times.

Yet the punishment of the democratic opposition (beatings, arrests, destruction of Hatfield and other suburbs where too many voted for the opposition), the economic collapse, the fleeing of the educated class can mostly be put at the foot of Mugabe.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

China in Africa

A long article in StrategyPage discusses how China's investments in Africa might fail:

the problems?

Instead of hiring locals, they import their own workers, who live in segregated compounds.

Support of hated dictators (and folks will remember this long after they forgot what the development projects helped: The USA is learning this over and over again in the Middle East).

But mainly Chinese racism against Africans.

Neocolonialism, anyone?

The Chinese were mainly after raw materials, especially oil. A lot of that $13 billion was bribes for local officials. As usual, the average African was getting screwed by these deals. For example, a lot of the investment was for infrastructure (roads, bridges, structures), and a lot of those deals stipulated the use of Chinese labor for most of the work. There was never any intention of employing many Africans. The Chinese pay such low wages that they could afford to fly in Chinese for many jobs. China is also flooding African markets with inexpensive goods. Both of these tactics are hurting local businesses, and causing unrest among African business owners and workers. As a result, it's become common for opposition parties in Africa to accuse China of "neo-colonial exploitation." The accusation fits, and the Chinese will pay for it down the road, as will peacekeepers brought in to help clean up the mess.
Chinese merchants have been doing this to SE Asia for a couple hundred years: And even as late as World War II, their kids were called "Chinoys", and there is an Asian hospital in Manila that was started to treat them.

Of course, here in the Philippines, the rule is that foreigners are not allowed to own land or businesses, so usually the Chinese married Filipinas from rich families and put the businesses in their names (local custom allows women to run businesses). So most of the elite who run the country have Chinese ancestry (you can identify them by their paler complexion and round faces).

This intermarriage is not being done in Africa, so makes the Chinese more vulnerable to being ousted, similar to Idi Amin's deporting the many Indian merchants who ran the country, or Indonesia's ethnic cleansing of their Chinese community years ago under the guise of fighting a communist takeover.

As for Chinese exports: here in the Philippines, the exports have ruined a lot of local industries because of the Chinese low wages and their artificially low currancy. The good news is that they are cheap. The bad news is that they are poor quality. For example, our American plumbing fixtures bought 20 years ago still are okay but the ones we had installed in the new area of the house have deteriorated in two years, so we had to replace them from the hardware store in the mall (and have to hope that they are not counterfeit). Ditto for shoes, clothing, and (alas) drugs. Counterfeit and sub standard drugs (originating in China and India) kill hundreds of thousands every year, including Africa,  but when the US "green" types discuss the need to replace the expensive US/European brand names with "generics" for the HIV and other aid programs, this fact tends to be ignored.


I am lax in posting to this blog about Mr.Mugabe mainly because I no longer ave the time or energy or contacts to know if what I read in the papers is accurate enough to post.

so I will limit my links to articles from places I trust, mainly about the development in Africa.

As for Zimbabwe, my last contact there now has a cellphone and internet access from the high school where she teaches, so things seem to be improving.

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