In the Heart of Africa, Darkness and Gems

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In the Heart of Africa, Darkness and Gems

Post by admin » Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:09 pm

More sightings from the Catbird seat

[quote]Africa - The second largest continent on Earth.
From The New York Times, 4/6/00, by Norimitsu Onishi:

In the Heart of Africa, Darkness

KINSHASA, Congo -- So the doctor was in the middle of surgery, in no less a place than this country's largest hospital, when the lights went out.

But Dr. Kabamba Mbwebwe, chief of Kinshasa General Hospital's emergency room, didn't blink; he was used to working in semi-obscurity, relying on the natural light that filtered through the dirty windowpanes. Perhaps the hospital ... had not paid its electricity bill?

The patient managed to survive, just as this hospital and country in the heart of Africa, plundered for more than a century, have survived-- seemingly defying their
own deaths with a resourcefulness born of desperation.

The light was still out a few hours later, when the doctor slumped in an armchair in his tiny office. The air-conditioner was silent, not doing its job of keeping out the smell of the waiting room just outside Dr. Mbwebwe's door, where a half dozen Congolese lay on beds with no sheets.

It was the unmistakable smell of an African hospital in wartime, of death and decay, of bodies and floors scrubbed with water and nothing else. If the hospital lacked even detergent, it obviously did not have medical supplies. One day, the doctor recalled, two children came in for surgery; by the time a supply of blood had been found, the children were dead. . . .

Hell, as imagined by the outsider, has long found a place in the Congo. The Congo is the setting of Joseph Conrad's indictment of colonialism, "Heart of Darkness," written a few years after King Leopold II of Belgium claimed the country as his own property and Europeans carved up the rest o
f the continent for themselves. . . .

But the metaphorical descent into hell was not so far from the truth. From the late 1870's, when King Leopold commissioned the American journalist, Henry Stanley, to explore the Congo, through the next four decades, perhaps as many as 10 million Congolese were killed.

Long before rebels in Sierra Leone grabbed headlines in recent years by chopping off civilians' hands, the Belgians had perfected the practice here....

The legacies of colonialism and the Cold War are particularly fresh here. "Americans and Europeans, leave us in peace," reads a sign put up by Kinshasa's city hall . . .

This city is a corpse. Skyscrapers erected by Cold War rivals vying for Mobutu's loyalty stand empty. ... The French-built, C.C.I. Zaire -- World Trade Center Zaire -- is reduced to serving as a TV antenna. . . .

"The United States was founded on democratic principles, but why does it support dictatorships in other parts of the world?" said Louis Muamba
, a professor of psychology at the University of Kinshasa. "The only thing we ask of the United States is to live up to its ideals."

It would be easy to dismiss such comments as hopelessly naive, if it were not America's history in the Congo. It was, after all, the Central Intelligence Agency that took part in assassinating Congo's first Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, who was a little too independent-minded, and in installing Mobutu Sese Seko.

Even as millions of Congolese suffered under Mobutu's mis-rule, he was received at the White House through the Bush presidency. Surely Conrad was right in pointing out that the Congo often brought out the worst in people.

"The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much," Conrad wrote about the European colonial powers.

But after Africa's independence four decades ago, Mobutu and othe
r African leaders -- who sent their children to be educated in Europe and America, who flew in private jets to be treated in the West's best hospitals -- pillaged their own countries.

Today, the Congo has again inaugurated a new era in Africa: other African nations, including Rwanda, Uganda, Angola and Zimbabwe, are busy plundering the Congo, along with the government headed by President Laurent Kabila here.

Kinshasa's General Hospital, built by the Belgians in 1912, was once Central Africa's most prestigious hospital ... With 2,000 beds, it is still the largest. Flush with money from the West, Mobutu kept the hospital working well through the late 1970's-- until corruption began taking its toll.

After the Cold War ended and foreign money dried up, the hospital fell to its present state, surviving on payments from patients. Doctors and nurses, not paid regularly by the government, have left to take up farming . . .

"You cannot separate the problems of this hospital with the pro
blems of this country," said Dr. Mbwebwe ... "They are inextricably linked." . . .

The stench was getting stronger inside. Then the power returned. The air-conditioner hummed back to life.

"This is a good sign," the doctor said with the faintest of smiles.

"Maybe there is hope."

* * *[/quote]

[quote]Africa's Gems: Warfare's Best Friend

Exploiting a Continent

The New York Times

April 6, 2000 - The miseries of modern Africa are, in many ways, a legacy of its history.

In the case of both Angola and Congo, colonialism obliterated whatever political culture may have predated the arrival of Europeans. ... To make their nation-building pay, colonialists used force to haul off everything from ivory to rubber to human beings.

In Congo, the Belgian colonial state was famously greedy and cruel. Its agents set impossible quotas for production of rubber and ivory, killing
or chopping off the hands of villagers who failed to meet them. The novelist Joseph Conrad called it "the vilest scramble for loot that ever disfigured the history of human conscience."

In Angola, the Portuguese were less brutal, but no less toxic.

At independence in 1975, several hundred thousand Portuguese residents, virtually the entire educated population, abandoned the country. Some took even their doorknobs with them. They left behind a place where almost no Angolans had any training in statecraft, business or agriculture.

For the better part of the last 50 years, the cold war and the white-minority governments of southern Africa injected cash and arms into regional wars.

The Central Intelligence Agency, for instance, supported Unita (an acronym in Portuguese for the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) in the early 1970's and again in the late 1980's. The Marxist government of Angola received military assistance from the Soviet Union and up to 50,000 troop
s from Cuba. When the C.I.A. was hot helping Unita, the rebels got military backup from white-ruled South Africa.

Sierra Leone, a small country in West Africa, had a more benign colonial history under British rule. But since the 1940's, predators who smuggle diamonds have warped every aspect of the nation's economic and political life.

The meddling of colonialists, superpowers and white governments all but stopped at the start of the 1990's, leaving diamonds, oil and other natural resources as the primary forage for rebels and governments.

In those countries where there was nothing to trade for weapons-- as in Mozambique, where post-apartheid South Africa stopped financing rebellion and post-Communist Eastern Europe stopped financing the government-- war simply fizzled out.

But Angola, Congo and Sierra Leone had plenty of diamonds left over to excite greed, fuel war and to buy favors.

The United Nations report on the embargo against Unita described how Mr. Savimbi gave a
"passport sized" packet of diamonds to the president of Togo, Gnassingbe Eyadema, as payment for allowing his children to live in Togo and to go to school there. Togo has denied it.

Mr. Savimbi "sealed" his friendship with the president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, by giving him a number of envelopes full of diamonds, as well as contributing to his political campaign and helping his government pay debts, according to the report. In return, it said, Burkina Faso sent Mr. Savimbi three flights of diesel fuel. . . .

"Oh, the diamonds, diamonds, diamonds," said a character in Graham Greene's "The Heart of the Matter," a 1948 novel set in Sierra Leone.

"You cannot understand how many bribes are necessary."[/quote]

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Wed May 10, 2006 4:01 am

Gold and Diamonds from Africa are in some Swiss banks owned by USA, United Kingdom, France or Germany.

They made fortune from Africa! With complicity of the useless United Nations which protect their interests.

These powerful countries are against the evolution of Africa. They are against an universal African currency like the Euro. They are against an African highway between Morocco and S. Africa. And, they are also against a Peaceful Africa.

Africa needs to unite! They need to control their own natural resources, not the Europeans!

Remember Europe controls everything in this World. When I say Europe, USA is included.

Jis ki lE ti nEG a pran konsyans ke L'Union fait la Force vre,

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