Monthly Archives: January 2011

AFRICAN UNITY, THE FARCE!


Africa is in crisis and the African Unity (AU) is doing as usual … not much!

The leaders or representatives of the 53 African Nations are aloof but at ease among governments legitimized by blood or at the end of a Kalashnikov instead of the urns.

The 16th meeting of the AU in Addis Ababa is a nice well deserved trip to showcase misplaced power.

Shopping in Ethiopia is not so great as in Europe or in the US during the General Assemble but the wives of the entourage have good contacts.

The African leaders and delegates sleep at meetings, look at their gold watch and think at which night clubs they will relax in the evening. How much will it cost for the favors of a beautiful Ethiopian girl.
Maybe they can import a local sweet heart to stay with them at the Hilton Addis Ababa.

They compare each others latest fashion and diamonds jewelry while Africa quivers. 

A few leaders are networking for havens in the event of a quick escape due to a coup d’état or a send off by the mass.

They murmur names of offshore banks, shadow companies and other tricks to stash the loot stolen from government coffers.

They wait the company of their friend from France, president Sarkozy, and maybe good words from the USA which support their dictatorship as long as they provided the ores and minerals. It is a bit simpler for them since China asks fewer questions and still provides the revenues but France has such nice real estate.

The question of South Sudan and Darfur are nice press releases attached to agendas. They palaver the Ivory Coast crisis and lament on how to save their brother and friend Laurent Gbagbo from the electoral impasse spoiled by Alassane Ouattara.

They censure comments on the jasmine revolution in Tunisia and the chaos in Egypt and Somalia. They vilify concerns of the mass on issues about life, poverty, hunger, bread,  survival and blame the high price of food on the lack of rain.

Most of the regimes which they represent are undemocratic so the Kenya case with ICC concerns them a little.  They questions: “will we be going down the same road if it happens to us?”, “have you ever see the inside of a jail at The Hague?” and “Charles Taylor seems to adapt well, he still eats Jollof rice and sweet potato pone.”

They complain about the snooping of the Western media into their fortune with “we are sovereign countries and it is none of their business what we have or not.”

They compare notes on how to change a constitution to stay longer in power, pilfer diamonds without being caught, launder money donated by the benevolent international organizations, cut off social networks in case of crisis, muzzle critical bloggers and the subtle ways to permanently gag human right advocates.

The African leaders look at the mass with contempt, up root their dignity and cut off they larynx.  

No one knows what will be the final outcome of the crisis in Tunisia, Egypt and maybe, latter on, Yemen, Morocco and why not Iran.  A solidarity movement is here and speaks in one voice.

The streets chant the word of Tunisian poet Abu al-Qasim al-Shabi:  “When people decide to live, destiny shall obey, and one day … the slavery chains must be broken.”

Patrick-Bernard

NAZI HOLOCAUST


I wrote a comment on a WordPress blog.  I did not appreciate his rants on a post “Israel vs Zion” and told him that killing Jews during Nazi Germany was not acceptable. I took serious offence and quoting his words “the poor malnutritioned Zionist fucks out of Germany”  I commented “if you are referring to Nazi era Germany when Jews were sent to concentration camp then I have only one thing to say: Your essay is gross and insulting to the memory of people who died because they were Jewish.

His answer was swift “I’m not apologizing, because foremost ashkenazi scum were being gonna come to my country, displace the men, rape our women and children and i’m supposed to feel sorry because their ancestors pissed off the germans and the christians?! I almost felt bad for a second there though, to be honest, then i went over to your blog with it’s abundance of ignorance pertaining the history of your people and islam. Muslims are all like some cultivated image of osama? Ok well then, all white people are charles manson.”

 Cry me an onion “Yep! So you are the one who sold your own kind into slavery. You enslaved them, branded them with hot iron, raped a few and then sold them to the slave traders. I still think the way you portray your xenophobia is wrong and I don’t care the way you label or use your insults.
Please don’t apologize.

I will spare the complete exchange, gossip is not my forte,  and was amused by his sudden religious fervor when completing his last sentence with “May Allah (swt) have mercy on your confused self and may HIS blessings keep raining down on my country Kenya.”

The comments did not come from a member of the Ku Klux Klan or a skin head.  No, it was not the case; it came from an African blogger.

I don’t approve holocaust, mass or singular killing of anyone. Regardless of their religion, tribe, the way they look or even homosexual tendencies.  The world is diverse, I am not a lackey to all causes, but I abhor human destructions to satisfy self-righteous phobia.

Especially during 27 January which is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

To advocate or approve killing of anyone because they don’t look or agree with one’s cause is the sublime moronic epithet.  This African blogger from what I can assume he is in the mid-twenties, middle class background, extreme nationalist, in denial, suffering from dementia of greatness, enjoys expensive play station and maybe Muslim from what I gather.

I wish to remind him of what people with his thinking have done to the world;

Slavery (estimated 15 millions +) and the Shoah (12 millions) were probably the most known holocausts of modern time. However, some of the massacres perpetrated in Africa alone are;

  • Menghistu (Ethiopia, 1975-78)                            1,500.00
  • Yakubu Gowon (Biafra, 1967-1970)                  1,000,000
  • Jean Kambanda (Rwanda, 1994)                         800,000
  • Jonas Savimbi (Angola, 1975-2002)                 400,000
  • Idi Amin (Uganda, 1969-1979)                             300,000
  • Charles Taylor (Liberia, 1989-1996)                  220,000
  • Foday Sankoh (Sierra Leone, 1991-2000)       200,000
  • Michel Micombero (Burundi, 1972)                   150,000
  • Hassan Turabi (Sudan, 1989-1999)                    100,000
  • Hissene Habre (Chad, 1982-1990)                      40,000
  • Robert Mugabe (1982-87, Ndebele people)    20,000
  • Paul Koroma (Sierra Leone, 1997)                      6,000

I will leave it at that and not give you his full details, 15 minutes of fame to his blog and all the people he associates with will give too much pleasure.

Patrick-Bernard

IVORY COAST AND GABON SEEING DOUBLE


Ali Bongo and Sarkozy

I read it twice. I don’t know if I am reading a reality or a fiction.  I check the calendar; we are still in January and today is not April fool’s day.

I laugh, stop, clean my reading glasses and read again the article.   

The headline of the magazine “Jeune Afrique” reads “influenced by Ivory Coast and Tunisia, Mba Obame declares himself president of Gabon”.  Gabon, same as Ivory Coast, has now two presidents.

Inconsequential to the world’s political scene since Ali Bongo is the one recognized by the world community. 

André Mba Obame ran for election in August 2009 and lost with 25.33% of the electorate compared to 41.79% for Ali Bongo Ondimba. Another candidate Pierre Mamboundou received 25.66%.

The election was African style, full of controversy, and Ali Bongo was elected new President of Gabon taking the reign from his father Omar Bongo.

Omar Bongo was president of this poor, yes poor, oil rich country for 42 years and had, until China got involved, a very close relationship with France.
The Bongo’s family owns a massive real estate empire in France and has multiple bank accounts and sport cars to support their lavish lifestyle. They follow the adage that in Africa politic is the road to wealth.

A French documentary shown on public French TV channel, France 2, titled “Françafrique” shows how Omar Bongo, Ali Bongo’s daddy, financed by proxy the French presidential elections. Also, he received millions of Euros in kickback from now defunct French petrol giant Elf Aquitaine. In 2008 Jean-Marie Bockel, minister of the French ex-colonies was demoted by French President, Nicolas Sarkozy at Bongo’s request for pointing out the squandering of money by African regimes.

That’s an open secret since everyone knows that all African governments loot money from their coffer.  Yet, Jean-Marie Bockel gets kicked out of his post because he dares say it loud.

I wonder what will happen to Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, he may find himself person non-grata in all the world’s countries.

The documentary “Françafrique” explained the rigging and the maneuvers of the late Maurice Delaunay, Gabon ex-French ambassador in Gabon, to favor Ali Bongo Ondimba presidential elections. The documentary created so much rife within the Gabonese government that opponents officially requested in December 2010 the resignation of Ali Bongo as President.

So, André Mba Obame using his private TV channel, TV+, in an official looking ceremony, “officially” declared himself on 25 January 2011 President of Gabon and has already named the members of his government.

I don’t know what to make of African elections.  The comedy is going from the sublime ridiculous to outrageous slapstick vaudeville.  Mediocre greedy political actors still want applause when the curtain has come down.

These men have such misplaced overdeveloped ego that they do not see the ridicule of the world’s rotten tomatoes thrown at them.

The African’s vaudeville acts have the largest audience, the world, and reinforce the stereotype that African political actors do not get it yet.

They don’t get it that the mass, in free and fair elections untouched by outside influence,  decides which hyena gets the bone.

Patrick-Bernard

MY FREEDOM TO COMMENT


Someone told me that Kenya has among the most liberal press in Africa.  I question it, knowing they are in the middle of the pack when it comes to press freedom statistic. Self censure is prevalent due to heavy-handed quick libel suit from politicians, some articles are self-serving and propaganda put up by influential Public Relations Company.

 I read that the Kenyan penal code on defamation  “offers special protection to foreign princes, the President, Cabinet Ministers and Parliament.” It is strange to me that people making news can heavily be protected in adverse situation.

In 2006 the Standard newspaper in Kenya was raided by armed men, in 2007 the media self censured itself and provided scant reporting on the elections chaos, Media workers are imposed heavy fine in defamation cases and the list is long and even mention beheading of a reporter looking into police corruption.

Some editorial and opinion pieces, in the main Kenyan newspapers the Nation and the Standards, are excellent but at time titillate and stop at the crucial moment when you need to know more. They won’t tell you more because the laws do not give enough protection to be direct so metaphors takes over.  The consequences, maybe, are a visit by higher authorities or threatening phone calls.  It is understandable, since media people have families too and they must make a living.

I especially love the Daily Nation newspaper cartoons by Gado and I wish he would get more world recognition for his work in that field.  The man is engaged and his drawings are sarcastic and caustic, my type of pleasure, to the point.

I love well executed cartoons as they express the sentiments of a mass.  Some are outrageous, extreme and irreverent as in the French satirical newspapers Charlie Hebdo and Le Canard Enchaîné but still a delight to explore.

In Africa, Gado is at par with Zafiro, my favorite, of South Africa and Ali Dilem the extreme caustic cartoonist from Algeria. Both Zafiro and Dilem got in trouble with their respective government.

So I read, via the net, The Daily Nation and the Standard newspapers from Kenya and many others from the African continents. I do comment on articles of interest in a nice way or, I cannot help it, in a belligerent way. Then I noticed one thing, for a while, my comments seemed to have been banned from The Daily Nation Newspaper. I checked and rechecked and all my comments have disappeared. Pouf! Gone in the no-ruffle-feathers zone.

They have the right to censure, to whatever policy they have, but censuring all, I repeat all, my comments irrespective of their niceness or badness is hurtful to my ego. It reinforces the idea that Kenyan press provides a simulation of freedom.  The show is well orchestrated to represent only one view, their views and the views that people must hear. I think there is a word for it … yes! It is railroading.

 I mean whom am I to be feared?  I only use my freedom of expression to comment in many newspapers, magazines and other publication. But that’s scary.

While at it, I wrote an opinion “Armand Tungulu Mudiandambu is dead”. Looked in the web and noticed that ideas in some articles seemed to have been lifted from my post.

No problem, however, two comments about my opinion did worry me and they are from “Resistance Congolaise in RDC” and “SIRCO”. Two double-edged puzzling comments with: we like your thinking but …

I don’t know if it is a real threat or my imagination.  Anyway, I rather leave it to my imagination but control of press freedom in Africa is a reality.

Patrick-Bernard

HAPPY PEOPLE KILL BABY SEALS


I am reading the list of the happiest countries concocted by the Legatum Institute.  The criteria for a happy country are simple:  able to speak your mind, available opportunities and the material wealth which you can acquire. But then if you are rich aren’t you happy in any places where you decide to lay your wealth?

The 3 first countries Norway, Denmark and Finland are all in, northern Europe, Scandinavia.  The temperature is so low that life is sheltered by the indoors or outside having fun gliding down snowy landscape. The fauna is full of reindeer an animal which feeds on moss and mushrooms.

Number 4 and 5 are Australia and New Zealand.  Two large islands, that some call mini-continent, on the other side of the world.  The weather is much nicer and the landscape beautiful when it is not inundated like in Australia. The fauna is exquisite with kangaroos, Tasmanian devils and Koalas. Around these “islands” sharks are famous to feed on happy surfers.

The common points of the five happiest countries are:

  • They have a small population of between 5 and 6 millions while Australia has about 23 millions.  Believe me that’s tiny compared to the rest of the world.
  • All of them are a homogeneous majority – They are all white.
  • Follow the same religion – Christianity.

The happy countries have a very small indigenous or immigrant population which they controlled very well. Thank you!

In New Zealand the Māoris are only less that 13% but represent 50% of the jail population.

In Australia minorities and especially Indian students are killed and bashed to a pulp at an alarming rate.  In India, the Australian ambassador was summoned by the government for explanation and his answer was “I don’t know I wasn’t there”. 

Norwegians think that any woman of colour is a prostitute.  So if a wife, girl friend or daughter does not fit the Aryan look do not be surprised if a happy man from this happy country asks “how much for a happy moment”.  It seems to happen a lot on Karl Johan Street in Oslo. Also, killing baby seals is a sport.

In Denmark fascism is growing but they call it cultural difference.  Cultural difference is a happy sentence.

In Finland all is well as long as you are not a Sami, Somali or Romany then you belong to the happy majority.

But then … if these people are so happy why booze so much? They drink themselves silly happy.
Denmark is number 7 on the booze’s Richter scale with 11.5 litters of alcohol ingested per year. 
Australia ranks 14 with 9.8 liters besides consuming a large amount of cocaine and amphetamines, Finland is 16 with 9.3 liters, New Zealand 19 with 8.9 liters and Norway 28 with 6 liters.

The happy countries have a high suicide rate too. Finland wins the top award with 18.8 suicides per 100,000 happy inhabitants. Do you want to know the rest?
New Zealand has 13.2, Norway has 11.4, Denmark has 10.6 and Australia has 10.5 happy suicides per 1000,000 inhabitants.

I know the survey is crap because the continent with the lowest suicide rate is South America where none of the 10 happiest countries are located.

Happy people don’t kill themselves regardless of circumstances.  Believe me! I will be happier drinking a piña colada made with fresh pineapple juice on any South American beach resort.  It is better than sitting on a rock in Norway going oh-ah looking at fjords while drinking aquavit made of potatoes.

The five happy countries don’t even have carnivals. The happiest people have not learned how to dance yet. Their fun is to drink and jump off a cliff.

Patrick-Bernard

MY PINKY RING – PART 2


Sometimes it is easy to forecast a person behavior in certain circumstances. In this situation I am absolutely puzzled. Well,  I have to make you believe that I am.

It is time for me to go and acquaint again with family. Before leaving I picked up a few documents in my safe.  Also, my wife looked for some things which she needed to remove.
Time to go to the airport, the safe is open and I leave the key on and tell her to lock it when she is done.

I come back two months later on Christmas Eve. Take one day to unwind, sleep and catch up with my jet lag.

Go to the safe, notice the door ajar, the key still on the lock and inside the bright red jewelry pouch is gone. Worry a little and wait for my wife to come in the evening.
Out of curiosity, in the TV room, I notice that a DVD movie which I had on top of the VCR is not there. Interesting, but after two months it must be in some other places.  So let me wait for the wife when she comes.
I go back in the bedroom, look under the mattress and see things which I have never seen before.  Let me wait for that wife, I am sure there is a plausible explanation for these occurrences.

I open the door with a broad smile which I let down right away and tell her
“The safe was left open and the jewelry is gone.”
“Oh, the safe was opened.” She answers with her action-then-forget look.
“You mean that in two months you never noticed the open safe and the key attached to a big brown key chain on it.”
“You know I never look there.”
“And where is the movie which I left on top of the VCR?”
“I don’t know.”
“How could you not know, you go in that room everyday to watch TV.”
“Yes, I have seen it but I do know where it is.”
“No one comes to this house except the hous- help. Sometimes, I leave the key for her when I travel.”
“Ok, but then when you come home you never noticed anything missing, rearranged or out of place.”
I get a how-dare-you-asking-me-such-question stare.
“And what is that stuff under the mattress.  I threw it away, check  … it is still in the dust bin now.”
She does not look into to the bin, total lack of interest, and has no idea how it got there.
“Who do you think took the jewelry bag?” I ask
“No one comes here except the hous- girl, then my sisters and my mother spent a couple of days, then my friends came to visit me and no one else.” All in one sentence with an expression of – why are you bothering me with a red jewelry bag.
“In two months you never noticed anything odd in this house. I don’t understand, I am here for one day and can see all these things but you can’t. If it is the house-help then we should call the police.”
“Things do not work like that here. We can only call a police officer that we know or bribe one.” (The police are corrupt, third world style here!)
“I don’t care, call the police and since she may be the one I don’t want to see her in the house. She is not coming in as long as I am here.”

My wife is brooding about me wanting to call the police and requesting the house-help to go because it is so difficult to get another one as she says.

She makes a couple of phone calls in a language which I do not understand. Leaves the house and goes see a friend in the neighborhood. Comes back and tells me that she will see what she can do.

Soon it will be almost a month now. The house-help is still here and she must stay until a police officer’s friend set up a trap (the word used). I was slightly demonized to suspect that any members of her family could do that. I never received an answer about the DVD movie and she never bother to look for it. The items under the mattress are no longer news and I will not ask again, I hate twilight zone answers.

I am left with my pinky ring.  That’s the only piece of jewelry which I travelled with. Together we may travel again soon.

Strange … the house-help eats her cookies. She noticed right away, it did not take her two months to found out.

Lately, she tells me that she needs moral support. I am buying crutches.

Patrick-Bernard

link to MY PINKY RING

SOUTHERN SUDAN – GOOD LUCK!


Southern Sudan will secede from the north and become the newest country in Africa.  The southerners have been marginalized, vilified, ostracized by the north due to religious, culture and race differences leading to a civil war lasting more than 20 years. 

The southerner will say bye-bye to Khartoum and keep 85% of the oil field which are located in their side of the divide.
The international community is helping, coveting, training and nurturing with big smiles hoping to share the loot of all the ores the country has to offer.
Some even venture as saying that Southern Sudan has the potential of becoming the bread basket of Africa as well as a tourist paradise.

The outsiders inculcate new manners in a populace of 200 different ethnic ethnic groups in majority illiterate and uneducated whose way of settling arguments is at the barrel of an AK47 or not paying their bills for serviced rendered in the name that in their country they do as they please.
The thinking is a remnant of the humanitarian aids which provided about everything for their basic needs while they fought.

Southern Sudan is being rebuilt with international donor money and by the influx of small investors from East Africa.
The small investors have to partner with a southern Sudanese who does not give anything for the business except a Dinka name and the reward is 40% share in the venture. That’s the rule; you don’t like it then leave your money and take a hike.

So Southern Sudan is about to become the new baby in Africa but:

  • The status of the Abyei region has yet to be defined.  Bothe parties are still dumb struck about the important oil pipeline crossing the area and carrying ¼ of the oil to the north.
  • Tribalism is rife foremost with the Dinka tribe arrogantly claiming total ownership of the country fought by John Garang’s army, a Dinka, and recruited child soldiers.
  • What will happen to Riek Machar, the current vice president, accused of allegation of nepotism, manipulation and embezzlement?  
  • What about the following statement made in 2008; “The region recorded 14,000 cases of corruption in the first half of this year, according to Pauline Riak, chairwoman of the Southern Sudan’s Anti-Corruption Commission.”There is outright stealing throughout the nation because we have a fragile institutional set-up,” Riak said in an interview from Juba, the South Sudan capital, on Aug. 11”.  Interesting and corruption is still having a field day in all areas.
  • The country has no ability or expertise in running the various branches of the government. Not one qualify and the dream of the youngest is to become a basketball star in America.

These are only few of the problems facing Southern Sudan. On 9 July 2011 they will sing, dances and shoot bullets in the sky with euphoria. Then the country will look around and not exclusively emulates their counterpart on the African continent:

  • Human rights abuse will surface.
  • Looting of the government coffers will be monthly news.
  • Freedom of the press will be curtailed.
  • Political opposition will be hunted down by the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM).
  • Northern and Southern Sudanese in the wrong side of the split will be killed, marginalized or kicked out.
  • The government will be a family, tribal and crony affair. 
  • Inter tribal fighting for dominance and recognition will increase.
  • Food humanitarian crisis will be blamed on lack or rain when the major cause is distribution to drought stricken area for lack of road infrastructures.
  • Medical care will remain non-existent as the fund will be diverted to buy arms for the military.

Good luck and best wishes.

Patrick-Bernard