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July 09, 2007

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The impact of European colonialism in sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas was of an entirely different order than in Asia. The rupture of the social fabric was more catastrophic for the former, and resiliency that much harder (their cultures provided fewer bulwarks to resist the European onslaught). This is still evident in all manner of modern conflicts and pathologies -- to be expected, I think, in all societies rudely torn away from so many of their moorings. That Africa's transformation was of an entirely different kind first dawned on me when I read Chinua Achebe's trilogy in the early 90s. The experience of colonialism in India, for instance, does not even begin to resemble the tragic experience of Africa.

I was horrified enough by the Johann Hari article to write a brief post some months ago.

This is the first in my life that I have ever known that the stuff that makes cell phone screens light up is being bought from a bunch of thuggy rapists. I guarantee that no one I know knows this either, otherwise, everyone would be talking about it. It is very unfair to say that WE (ordinary working-class Americans) are valuing electronic toys over black people. A great many of us working-class Americans ARE black, and every other color and culture as well. The black people in America all have cell phones and play-stations too, and black people all over the world have them. We, the people who buy them, have had no idea about such a connection.

There are indeed greedy and evil corporations that control the media with their ad money, including the news reports. These corporations, many of which are multi-national, are also destroying the food supply in the USA, loading it with additives, and being cruel to animals into the bargain.

I am sure that whoever knows that buying light-up doodads finances berzerker rampages would choose not to buy the doodads. It's just not that important to anyone to have these toys. We have bought them because they are cheap and available and there was no inkling that buying them caused anyone harm. I would be perfectly happy with a phone that had no lights or beeps. I did fine with plain black clunky telephones that rang bells. I did not ask anyone to come up with these silly gadgets to replace them. Everyone I know would be just as happy with the old phones. It was not OUR decision to change them anyway. The corporations decide what will be available in the stores for us to buy. Try buying eggs from pastured chickens and good raw milk from pastured goats in the supermarket. Cannot be done.

But even if the word gets out, and everyone boycotts electronic gadgets, the Congo will be just as bad. They are doing this to themselves. Most of their problems are caused by out of control, irresponsible sex. When my life goes bad, and I feel unhappy, I don't feel like having sex. Everyone I know is this way. When they cannot feed the children they have, why are they making more? The ones that do survive become rapists and killers in their teens. Blaming The West is not going to fix that stupid mess. I can't think of anything we could do that would fix it.

Lorna, I think your response comes from a good place, from an instinctive revulsion and concern for the suffering that continues in Congo. We naturally ask: Who is responsible for it? What can be done to mitigate it?

Take responsibility first. At one level, the thugs raping and killing are responsible, period. It's an African problem and they need to get their act together. The cause and effect is simple and this can be the end of story for some. At another level, every place exists in a historical context; understanding it often makes the notion of responsibility more diffuse. So, to varying extents, responsibility can also be assigned to (a) inherent weaknesses in the African social order when it collided with Europe (tragic), (b) what Europeans did to the Africans (criminal / immoral), (c) Cold War machinations and its (il)logic of national interest (criminal / immoral), (d) flaws in our system of corporate enterprise and shareholder returns (tragic / immoral), and so on. It is wrong to simply blame Belgium (or The West) for the thugs now pulling the trigger. But it is still fair to ask Belgium to step forward, apologize for its historical acts, and pony up 10% of its GNP to help Africa (or at least what they pillaged from Africa, compounded over a century). It’s high time for some truth and reconciliation.

As for mitigation today, I am out of ideas. I am not as optimistic that ordinary Americans will ever care for this; maybe if Ms. Jolie does. This apathy is not so much an American problem as a human one. Africa is far away, its troubles abstract; I have my complex life to live, mortgage, kids, college. My job requires laptop use. What can I do in the face of this juggernaut? I didn’t create this mess, why should I worry about fixing it? And so on. It is easy to rationalize. Many of us will no doubt choose the “way of quietism, of willed obscurity, of inner emigration.”

In my own convoluted way, I blame the Nazis - not for the original sin of colonialism but for the lack of its later acknowledgement in Europe. I will come to that in a moment.

V.P., thanks for the excellent post. I will definitely read the book. Surprisingly enough, the only other similarly graphic account I had read about Belgian "civilization" in the Congo had been in a children's book in Bengali many, many decades ago after the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. I also agree with what Namit had to say in his comments. I especially agree with the suggestion that Belgium ought to fork over a small percentage of its annual budget to rebuild the Congo IN Congo. Immigration on guilt ridden "compassionate" grounds from erstwhile colonies into Europe where the new "citizens" are again marginalized, is not a solution, as is evident from the fate of Algerians in France and other dark skinned (specially, Muslims) folks in Europe.

There is much need for introspection and reparation in our brutal world. We are quick to point fingers at the crimes of others but would rather sweep our own unsavory history under the rug or even try and find moral / historical justification for them. All oppressors are reluctant to stand in the docks of "truth and reconciliation" and perhaps it is not even realistic to expect every wrong doer ever will. But it still surprises me that the erstwhile colonies have never initiated reparation law suits along the lines that Israel succeeded in doing against Germany.

Although the end result in human tragedy may be the same, there is a difference between short lived and sustained brutalities. Mayhems such as what ails the Congo now and those that occurred in Yugoslavia and Rwanda in the 1990s, Lebanon in the '80s, Bangladesh / East Pakistan in the '70s and on the Indian subcontinent in 1947, were genocides of appalling proportions due largely to a flurry of fevered blood lust arising out of fear, anxiety, hatred and war. Racism, casteism, colonization and slavery on the other hand, are altogether on a different level of organization and cold calculation. There is no spontaneity to the violence but rather a plan that dehumanizes its victim to such a level of systematic degradation that inhumanity becomes a routine and mundane affair. The perpetrator doesn't even recognize the immorality of his actions or that his actions amount to violent human rights transgressions. It is almost a natural order of things.

The US and Europe got a huge pass that saved them from facing their own "truth and reconciliation" regarding the plight of Native Americans, slavery and colonization due to the unparalleled events of WWII. Atrocity was taken to such a level of methodical efficiency by the Nazis and because it occurred in the heart of Europe, it became easy to ignore or forget what was perpetrated elsewhere, especially outside the realm of "western civilization." ( I had a German man once ask me why the US had a Holocaust museum dedicated to the victims of Nazi atrocities and none for Native and Black Americans.) After WWII, the whole focus was on shaming Germany and Japan. Because most European colonies in Asia ceased to be soon thereafter, Africa's plight went wholly unnoticed until the early 1960s and even then no real examination was necessary. Most Europeans continue to believe that colonization was not "wholly" bad because it exposed backward (savage?) societies to the benefits of technology and enlightenment . Racists and colonizers like Winston Churchill will forever be celebrated as champions of freedom because the world was focused on Hitler and Mussolini.

Unlike in Asia, where Europeans had to contend with already urbanized and sophisticated societies, Africa was a "naive" fruit to pluck and plunder. The nature of colonial rules in the two continents were therefore wholly different. And because the legend of the glorious British empire dominated the colonial narrative, the brutal colonialism of other European regimes (France, Belgium, Portugal and Holland) went unnoticed by the world for the most part. It is a useless and a cruel guessing game but one has to wonder what the face of Africa would have been like without the markings of European (and some Arab) colonial whip lashes on its back and its psyche.

PS: In the spirit of this post, I too will post a book review soon about occupation, dehumanization and colonization - an early American's take on them.

I don't for a single moment excuse any of the bad things done in the Congo, nor anywhere else, by either the European or USA governments. I think the US government has done many horrible things in the world, all along. I do not support this two party system we have. I think we ought to stay out of the business of other countries. Also there is a huge tie-in of corporations and USA elected and appointed officials that not only exploits foreign people, but is exploiting us people here in the USA too! That power of the vote thing is mostly nonsense. I have voted all my adult life. No one I vote for gets in. I detest our government. But the USA is not the US government. It is the people of the USA, and we, the people, going to work, raising our kids, are not the ones doing this bad stuff all over the place and I don't know of a thing we can do to stop it except read about it, talk about it, and vote, and we are already doing that.
As for the peoples of today making reparations to other peoples for what people who have been dead over a hundred years, now that is just plain silly. Native Americans. OK, so we (who is we? all Americans who are not Native? Including those whose grandparents got here after all the massacres?) And then, are Native Americans partly responsible for what was done by the CIA in Africa and Central America, to name just two places. What about Japanese Americans: are they also to ante up to every group the USA has ever screwed over? I guess Japan has to make reparation to China. Does Israel need to make reparationg to Palestine? Where will all this go? And what about me? I am part native american, part french, part irish, part scots-irish, part german. I guess parts of me owe other parts. What about people that are over half white and have some negro blood? How much do they owe, and to whom?
We need to let the past go. I am NOT responsible for what was done before I was born, nor for things being done by people I don't know to other people I don't know, and to no advantage to me.
I buy fair-trade whenever it is an option, or made in USA, just to avoid supporting child labor, and I buy animal products illegally from small local farmers so as not to support the dairy, egg, and meat industry.
I cannot fight every single good cause there is in the world. Like Emerson, I will fight for those whom I consider to my own responsibility, and that is a private matter for each person to decide.
Lorna Moravec

Lorna, please note what I said.

All oppressors are reluctant to stand in the docks of "truth and reconciliation" and perhaps it is not even realistic to expect every wrong doer ever will. But it still surprises me that the erstwhile colonies have never initiated reparation law suits along the lines that Israel succeeded in doing against Germany.

I fully agree that not all past grievances can be redressed. I was just expressing my surprise that none of the ex-colonies have ever demanded that they be compensated for decades and centuries of exploitation of their resources. Heck, the queen of England wears jewels stolen from India.

But nations like India, even though poor, have a tradition of education, and a very vigorous middle class. They don't need assistance from the outside. Sub Saharan Africa is a different story.

When you say that you, I or the Japanese and Native Americans shouldn't have to pay for the injustices of slavery or slaughter in which we did not participate, I wish to demur. America's astounding prosperity to a large degree was made possible by the land grab in Native American territories and black slave labor. The effects of what was put in place then is felt even today - in our current prosperity. You and I benefit from that even though we may have arrived here long after the events.

Just as we profit from the labors of previous generations, sometimes we must also pay for their sins.

Should the Israelis pay reparations to the Palestinians? I'm afraid that one is too easy: Yes. Yes. For land and livelihoods stolen. In this case, many of the perpetrators and the immediate victims of those crimes are still very much alive and kicking. That would be a good place to start with recognition of past injustices.

HAMAS and other official bodies who sponsored suicide bombers should pay reparations, too.

Lorna, I definitely understand your point (and agree) that individuals who bear no responsibility from a past atrocity cannot be expected to make reparations. But as you made a distinction between the government and the people governed, the same distinction holds here. It's governments (or leadership bodies) who generally make decisions towards, fund, and otherwise support atrocities of the nature discussed here. Governments must be held accountable, therefore, to acknowledge their past crimes and make amends. While there are no slaves living in the US today, certainly the legacy of slavery continues to adversely affect the lives of the descendants of slaves. Can we not acknowledge this? Can we do nothing to repay at least the lost wages and livelihoods of the people who suffered directly, and whose descendants were born into an unquestionably disadvantaged situation because of their ancestors' forced condition? I think we (as a society, a people who identify with a certain history) can and we should. Even a gesture would be better than silence.

Note that I am a first-generation Indian-American; neither I nor my ancestors had anything to do with African slavery in the US. But I still think restitution should be made. Not because I feel personally guilty, but because a wrong needs to be confronted and addressed directly. I'm all for moving forward and letting go of the past. But letting go of the past doesn't mean sweeping it under the rug. Rather, it means confronting it, taking responsibility, and allowing wounds to heal in the open air.

OK, here we go. I speak only English, yet have not a drop of English blood. My people, the Scots-Irish, were driven from their land, first from Scotland, thence from northern Ireland to America,by the English, to settle in Apalachia and become the hillbillies ~ the rednecks. These people do NOT have this way-back-there middle-class educated background. These people are poor even today. I was raised in poverty. My father began to make a decent living when I got to college age, but because of his ignorance refuse to contribute a dime for my education. Yet because of his then income, I was ineligible for any aid, yet all around me black kids were getting aid, regardless of their parents incomes, just becuase they were black. This was 35 years ago.
I tried to get various jobs, but was kicked out by my parents. Unable to support myself on minimum wage, I married the first man who asked me, a combat veteran recently returned from Vietnam. I raised our kids. Today at 54 I cannot even get a minimum wage job ( I have tried and tried) because I am competing against the high school and college students.
So I remain in poverty with my dysfunctional husband.
Is this the prosperity I share? I have seen that my kids are educated. My oldest son flies for American, my daughter is an ER nurse. I had to home school them at times because of crummy rural schools.
Oh, and I am also Irish, who were also enslaved by the British.
Those ancestors came over here on fishing boats during the potato famine.
What is owed me?
Nothing ~ I am rich whitey, you see. I have had taken college courses when I could, and otherwise educated myself. No one feels sorry for me. Everything is my fault, you see. I need to pay reparation to my black doctors and black college professors because of their disadvantages.
Doctors that have attended me are black.
College instructors I have had are black, and some actually from Africa.
All kinds of officials in good paying jobs I have dealt with all my adult life have been black people.
Just how am I responsible for slavery?
Just how am I sharing in this huge prosperity?
I own neither car nor land nor house. Oh! I DO have a computer and a cell phone, which makes me responsible for the Congo tragedy.
My husband's brother owns this ramshackle house we live in, outright.
We pay rent.
As we always have.
When our oldest son was in college we could only spend $15 for each of our three kids for Christmas.
But we have never been on welfare.
If we don't have it, we do without.
No, I don't buy into this making reparation thing. It is illogical any way you look at it.
The man from whom I bought this computer owns his own business. He is a black man from Kenya.
No, sorry, I am not buying the pious simplicity of the politics of grievance, no thankyou.
Lorna Moravec

PS
Thank you for letting me speak here. This is the first time I have publicly expressed my reality.
On this site I feel respected and I appreciate that very much. I like the broad and open-minded outlook here, and the way the arts and humor, and everything human ties in.
And Ruchira, please remember that you pointed out that race is only a political construct after all. Really it is about culture. Yet, as you know, I LOVE the British writers. I hold nothing against anyone, and I love the black Americans ~ whether he is my doctor, or the lady checking me out at Wal-mart. I also love Indian Americans. So happy you are here ~ Siks, Hindus, Muslim, Parsi, and everyone.
You guys fit right in here in Texas! It all becomes part of Texas and makes a better recipe.
Oh, also everyone who is not of any religion, as I am not. I have rejected my parent's christianity, and I do not subscibe to any religion ~ sort of the opposite of the Mahatma, you know, how he was saying, like, "I am a Muslim, and I am a Hindu, and I am a Christian... " and all that? At least, Kingsley in the movie was.
Anyway, here goes, me, Lorna: "I am NOT a Muslim and I am NOT a Hindu, and I am NOT a Christian. But I do believe in God, or the Universe, or the Force, or whatever Deepak is calling it this week.
Love, Lorna

Lorna,
The notion of reparations raised here relates to injustices perpetrated by public institutions, not individuals. I can’t hold you accountable for a crime your grandpa may have committed against mine, or for what a mob of whites did to a mob of blacks a long time ago. But we can sue the bank of Switzerland, charging that they stole from and abetted the suffering of the Jews, among whom, say, were our grandpas. Similarly, when crimes are sanctioned by a government, the crime sticks to that institution (like the national debt that our grandchildren will be saddled with), and later trustees of the institution carry the burden of its past. For how long? It depends. There are persistent">http://www.jewishaz.com/jewishnews/000317/pope.shtml">persistent calls for the Pope to issue an apology for the wrongs done by the church during WWII and earlier.

Yes, people are often willing to forget their past and move on. When it happens amicably, it is a welcome thing. Sometimes it happens because people have no choice. When it doesn’t, notice the asymmetry between the deeds of the institutions wishing to move on and those who aren't. If you represent an institution, the honorable thing to do is to acknowledge the wrongs done by it, and find earnest ways of making amends for it – part of which may mean returning what the institution stole a long time back, or equivalent. If not in the realm of legality (which I hear tends to be on the side of power), this is definitely in the realm of good morality.

If one argues that the Belgian monarchy was a different institution then (from its ceremonical monarchy now, and hence no reparations are owed by today's democracy), the present government should find it easy to publicly acknowledge, if not condemn, the acts of the former regime. They should also fix their history books, telling their kids the truth about their country’s past. But the opposite happens, you see.

And yes, as you noted, this blog strives to keep a highly civil standard of debate. Shoot the message, not the messenger (ok, I’m mixing this up with a better phrase, but you get my point :-).

Namit ~ I do get your point, my jolly old soul. And I do go with teaching the children the truth, at least, as far as we know it.
That I did, as a mom and a home school teacher.
Listen, you guys, specially home school supporters:
Like, I am way not Christian. But, the Texas Homeschool Coalition has by their Christian activism sure opened a lot of doors for the rest of us, including the Greater Houston Pagan Homeschoolers (my favorite).
My daughter in law, who has been teaching college math, is planning to homeschool my grandson. So I am very grateful to these stiff-neck Christian home-school types, who in person, they despise the sight of me in my Lucky jeans and no bra, and I think they are boring and disgusting, fat white B_______! UGH! Yuck.
But I do thank them so much for their fasting, praying, and storming the Pink Granite so I could do my own driver's ed for my kids.
Lorna

Another disturbing and depressing news report out of Congo.

Another story on the extreme violence and human catastrophe in the Congo, amplifying the Johann Hari article. An excerpt:

Sexual atrocities in Congo's volatile province of South Kivu extend "far beyond rape" and include sexual slavery, forced incest and cannibalism, a U.N. human rights expert said Monday. Yakin Erturk called the situation in South Kivu the worst she has ever seen in four years as the global body's special investigator for violence against women. Sexual violence throughout Congo is "rampant," she said, blaming rebel groups, the armed forces and national police.

"These acts amount to war crimes and, in some cases, crimes against humanity," said Erturk, who just came back from an 11-day mission there. Most of the worst abuses have been committed by rebel groups, many of whom fled to Congo after taking part in the Rwandan genocide of the 1990s, she said. (Continued...)


Petition Calling for Compensation of Victims of Sexual Violence in Eastern DR Congo

"We urge the International Community especially the United States, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, German, UN General Secretary, the UN Security Council members,European Union and African Union to pressure the Congolese Authorities to Compensate Victims of Sexual Violence in Eastern DRC"

The Mobilization for Justice and Peace in Congo (MPJC) has announced the launch of a global campaign to collect signatures to urge the international community to put pressure on president Kabila, the Congolese government and the Congole Parliament to take urgent action to compensate victims of sexual violence crimes in East of DR Congo. The petition can be signed at http://www.gopetition.com.au/online/26180.html

According to Makuba Sekombo, Director of Community Affairs of MJPC, "despite legal provisions, the government of DR Congo has not yet created a formal victim support fund to compensate the hundreds of thousands of women and girls victims of extreme sexual violence in Eastern DR Congo. These victims continue to live a tragedy that the United Nations and humanitarian organizations are having difficulties to bear in Eastern DR Congo," he said. "While no amount of money can erase the trauma and inconceivable grief suffered by victims and their families, compensation is crucial in the recovery process and the governement of Congo must assume its responsibility"

The petition urges the international community especially the United States, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, German, UN General Secretary, the UN Security Council members,European Union and African Union) to pressure the Congolese authorities to compensate victims of sexual violence in Eastern DR Congo, where sexual violence against women and children has been widely employed as weapon of war for more than decade.

"For many of victims, it is essential to know that they have a choice to seek justice and reparation," said Mr Sekombo, "The availability of accessible mechanisms which support the right to seek a compensation would symbolise official acknowledgement of the Government and a way of taking responsibility for its tragic failures to protect hundreds of thousands women and children against horrific sexual violence crimes and can be experienced as a commitment by the Congolese Government to improve the criminal justice system response to future sexual violence crimes and strengthen measures to prevent these terrible crimes from being committed in the first place." added Mr. Sekombo.

About MJPC
MJPC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to working to add a voice in the promotion of justice and peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in particular in the East where thousands of innocent civilians, including children and women continue to be victims of massive human rights violations while the armed groups responsible for these crimes remain unpunished.

For more information on MJPC and the activities, visit the web site

http://www.mjpcongo.org. E-mail: info@mjpcongo.org or call Makuba Sekombo at 1 408 806 3644. The online petition calling for for help to put pressure on Congolese authorities to compensate victims of sexual siolence in Eastern DRC can be signed at http://www.gopetition.com.au/online/26180.html or http://www.fivvsc.org

The fate of Congo is a sample of what has happened to Africa in general. The European countries plundered the resources of other nations or continents to enrich themselves for the past three or four centuries. But over a period the fight of dominance in Europe brought their own doom ( First and Second World War ) and we have all witnessed the emergence of America as the new power. In the post world war scenario America and Western Europe came together while erstwhile Russia was on the other side. This continued till Russia went bankrupt. Right now the same syndrome is being witnessed by us when America is approaching the similar situation and China is emerging as the new power. But all these changes have always happened when one country has managed to dominate and get the resources required to fuel its economic power. During the colonial days the power came from the colonies of respective nations and when the colonies started to become independent then the so called great European nations started sinking. Fed by the resources and riches plundered from otehr countries the European nations have increased their lifestyle to such an extent that today it is becoming unviable to support that. America went on flaunting its capitalist economic policies yet its economy transformed into an over leveraged plastic money syndrome where people continuously borrowed from the future. This cant continue for long. While all other parts of the world managed to move ahead Africa somehow got left behind and even when the colonial days got over, the siphoning of the resources continued through puppet regimes, military dictators and regular cuops. Africa as it is today continues to benefit the Americans, Europeans and the Chinese much more than becoming organised well operating countries or democracies. Congo is just an example. It is really of nobody's concern if few million dies in Congo or any other African countries as long as the Africans continue to buy European exports and supply the world with the natural resources in terms of oil and minerals. Who is bothered about what happens in Africa. What is the need to bring sanity in Africa ? Who will benefit out of it ? Rather it makes sense to continue to get what is required by paying few dictators or puppets and continuing with the resource stripping. There is simply no point crying for Congo or Africa as a whole. Someone must get poorer to make another richer. The stronger will survive and the weaker will perish. That is the natural rule and if Africans dont help themselves then they will continue to be dominated, violated and oppressed by their own as well as outsiders. It is a terrible situation and all the powers will lose their interest when there will no longer be anything great left in Africa to be exploited. Europe has taken its share and is sucking the blood through its business interests. America is doing the same. China is aggressively claiming its share. So it appears that Africa as it is, is more beneficial to serve the interest of the world. Congo will sink, Sieraa Leone will perish but the oils will flow, the diamonds will glitter. Someone will become richer in Europe, America or China. The facade will continue as the great Nile or Congo will continue to flow.

I have just returned from a tour of Angola, Congos and Cameroon. I have seen the situation on ground and felt that across entire Africa, if we want to put a common word then it should be "plunder". It is indeed apalling how a continent had been plundered of every possible resource including human resource and worst part is that the same plundering is continuing unhindered even now. The colonial rulers have left but they have not given these countries a proper chance to survive. The European Colonial countries,like Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain,Belgium got new memebers in their club in the form of the US and USSR. What the colonalist did was terrible but the super-powers did nothing better. When the colonial rulers left, they ensured that the countries are left with amateur or puppet rulers with very little experience or capability to undertake any nation building. It is easy to lead a revolution but then the job demands proper planning, vision and more importantly honest commitment. Somehow, all these things were missing in most of the African leaders and they remained greedy and power-hungry puppets who wanted personal benefit rather than undertaking any serious nation building. The colonial rulers also never wanted these countries to become self-reliant both in terms of their economic and political capabilities. The rulers wanted to play the role of phantom-colonialists and continued their economic exploitations. Today, Africa has adopted the language of their colonial rulers as their mother tongue and most of the countries are dependant on their colonial rulers for technology, machinery, food, medicine etc. The African countries to day import all essential items instead of manufacturing or cultivating. As more and more African countries got manipulated by the European, American and Russians they continued to experience civil wars that wasted wahtever little infrastructre got left behind. Generations became uneducated, poor and deprived of any sort of healthcare or peace. The most apalling thing is that the present generation of Angolan people have forgotten farming !!!! Government is trying to teach farming to thepeople so that atleast basic food items can get produced in the country rather than being impored from Brazil. None of the developed countries actually want Africa to develop as all of them has serious financial interests and they will stand to lose economically if Africa manages to stand on its own feet. It is for the bigger interest of the developed countries that Africa will always be kept backward and in war and devastation. The latest addition to this club is China which to my mind is estabishing an economic colonialism by offering huge loans to the already tottering countries and buying out whatever little resource is left to be plundered. Angola sells 60% of its petroleums to China. All infrastructure developments in Angola or Congo are being undertaken by the Chinese. China today is seeking its own share of flesh even though they were late to to enter the great African plundering race. Angola has lost most of the adult population to civil war and today's generation is very young, uneducated, poor and without any technical expertise. The government thus has no choice but to bring in outside help to build critical infrastructure which is resulting in the infrastructural espenditure of Govt being taken outside of the country leaving the native population even poorer. The saddest part is that the top quality infrastructure that is being created in threatened by destruction as there is no one to take care or maintain these roads or buildings etc. It is quite likely that after five ten years a major portin of today's infrastructure will become useless by default and improper maintenance !!!
There is indeed a lot to be done in Africa. The sheer potential is huge but no one is interested to undertake the job as everyone is solely focussed on profitting from the situation. It feels that Africa is a forgotten chapter, a modern day Pandora that needs lots of Avatars to bring in a miracle of change, development and progress.

Thanks for the comment Arup. Perhaps because you were physically present in these places your comment has a sense of outrage and honesty affects the readers powerfully. Inspite of all the sources of information from books, newspapers and documentaries in reality very few of us can grasp the horror of the current situation. Africa has been a backward, suffering, war-ravaged nation for such a long time that we are kind of reconciled to its fate- your comment to VP's post is an "eye-opener" once again.

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