Why this Blog?

A place where I can lament the changing times; for eccentric comments on current affairs and for unfashionable views, expressed I hope, in cogent style; also occasional cris de coeur largely concerned, I regret to say, with myself.


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Thursday 20 November 2008


I have been following with great interest the ups and downs of the world economic situation since the trouble began a few months ago. This has introduced me, as no doubt it has many, many others, to enormous numbers, by which I mean brobdignagian sums of money.

The seven billion dollars in my title seems almost pathetically small in comparison to some of the trillions that are reported almost daily in the financial and business pages of the media.

Well, this "pathetically small" sum has been called for by the United Nations, as aid to four African countries. Readers of this blog will know that I have written in connexion with three of these so-called states; the fourth, which ludicrously includes the word "democratic" in its official name, today makes its debut in these pages.

First we have Sudan, whose president, one Omar al-Bashir is wanted for trial on genocide charges. Basher's régime has been very busy over the last few years, raping and murdering the people of the Darfur region. Curiously the African forces sent there to prevent this have been very ineffective.

Next up, and also in East Africa, we have the shambles of Somalia, in the news headlines as home to large number of pirates who are very busy off the coast hijacking vessels for ransom. Somalia is also notable for its cretinous islamic fundamentalists, mentioned here just a few days ago.

Unlike the two above, this one is not islamic, but given the disgraceful governance and brutality that prevails there, the proverbial visitor from Mars might be inclined to think the reverse. Yes, it's "Doctor" Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, a particularly disgraceful case, for whilst the two above have never achieved much, Zimbabwe (or really Rhodesia) was the most successful economy in Africa. Thanks to the inspired leadership the country is now an economic ruin.  The Zimbabwe government's website is still available.  A visit to the section  of the Ministry of Finance offers inflation statistics; unfortunately the last entry was for April 2005, at which point inflation was running at 129.1%...  The Finance Ministry offers an informative mission statement: "To effectively facilitate sustainable, socio-economic development, in consultation with stakeholders, through efficient mobilisation and allocation of resources to achieve macro-economic stability in Zimbabwe." So much for that.

And finally to the newcomer, which calls itself "The Democratic Republic of Congo." I suppose that if the population actually voted for a government whose troops instead of defending the people, rape, murder and pîllage the citizens, then I suppose it is democratic. Henceforth I shall refer to the country as Congo. It is there that enormous misery has been caused by the rebellious activities of one "General Laurent Nkunda" who appears to be at least as brutal as the government troops. To me, for whom Africa is nearly always very depressing, it appears that as usual, this war's causes are tribal in origin. 3000 additional UN Peacekeepers are to be sent. I should like such international forces to be given proper rules of engagement, so that when the opportunity arises they can blow away these scum.

So: four countries, all a complete mess. To me the time is long past when "colonial guilt" should apply (despite Mugabe's rantings) but once again the rest of the world must take care of the innocent. After all, contrast these sorry tales with say India; Africa, so rich in natural resources has had many chances and stupendous sums of aid, much of which has ended up in the numbered offshore bank accounts of the pirates who run many of the countries in the continent. 

I find it difficult to hope for much improvement whilst belief in witchdoctors is widespread together with all kinds of other barbaric superstitions - which merely serve to enable the bandits to stay in power to the great disadvantage of the people.

Until the next time

**Source of flag images: Flags.com

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