Tag Archives: Africa

AIDS in Africa and International Welfare Provisions

“There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy.”  – Fmr. Sen. Jesse Helms

 

‘Africa’s peoples are outstripping their resources, and causing catastrophic ecological degradation,’ writes Kevin Myers. A sick child waits in line to be screened at Giara Clinic, Southern Ethiopia
By Kevin Myers

Thursday July 10 2008
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.

Power Politics Confound US of Africa


Saturday February 2, 2008 6:46 PM

By ANITA POWELL

Associated Press Writer

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) – The United States of Africa. It’s one of few concrete plans African leaders agreed on as they struggled with issues of peacekeeping and political disputes at this week’s continental summit.

One problem is, so many countries want to be Washington, D.C.

African leaders have been pushing for a continental government for years. And the plan continued to garner widespread support from the 40-odd delegations at the African Union summit that ended Saturday in Ethiopia’s capital.

Yet even countries facing disputed elections and conflict at home were loath to suggest they would be anything but a leader of the group – even given the lighthearted question of what U.S. state they most resemble. Their responses highlight pecking order positioning that could keep a federally unified continent from ever becoming a reality.

“Sudan is something like Washington, D.C.,” said Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem, Sudan’s ambassador to the United Nations. “Sudan is always a leader. So we want to have the White House of Africa, the Pentagon of Africa.”

Not so fast, Sudan.

Bamanga Tukur, a native of Nigeria and chairman of the AU’s New Partnership for African Development, gave the honor to Ethiopia, the only African nation to have never been colonized.

“Ethiopia can be Washington,” he said. As for his own, oil-rich nation, Tukur said: “Nigeria can be Texas. Isn’t that nice?”

But, Asked if Addis Ababa – the headquarters of the African Union – might someday become the African Beltway, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was similarly cagey.

“That’s in the future,” he said.

Any such future is far away. Everyone agrees that a unified African government could take decades, and would require many nations to make drastic improvements to governance, infrastructure, poverty and education.

But the stickiest issue is power, so most leaders advocate a slow approach that will let them cement their regional ties and position, analysts say. Others – notably, formerly isolationist Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade – have called for quicker integration, which might favor their more established governments.

“Obviously, power politics are taking place throughout the continent,” said Kenneth Mpyisi, director of the Institute for Security Studies, a think tank in Addis Ababa. “We have various regional powers in different parts of the continent. … They would obviously want to retain a certain amount of power in their sphere of influence.”

Still, presidential candidates are already rumored. Libya’s Gadhafi, a regional leader with a huge, oil-rich country and aspirations of global statesmanship, passionately argues for bringing Africa together immediately, and recently canvassed West Africa.

While no immediate union came from this week’s summit, Gadhafi did push successfully for a presidential committee that will lay out proposals at a Cairo summit in June.

“I am satisfied,” he told the Associated Press. “We have reached an agreement today.”

But when asked if he aspired to one day be president of the United States of Africa, Gadhafi simply laughed and walked away.

Others were more forthcoming.

Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet, Gabon’s ambassador to the AU, had big dreams for his small, oil-rich coastal nation. Gabon’s foreign minister, after all, was selected as the AU’s new operating chief during the Addis Ababa meeting.

“If we finally reach the goal of the United States of Africa, Gabon will be like California,” he said. “Why not?”

When it was pointed out to him that, geographically, California would dwarf the West African nation, he smiled.

“Maybe like Los Angeles, then,” he said.