Tag Archives: Africa

Eritrea: War, Women and Aid

As Scotland considers her future it is worth looking around at other nations which have pursued national liberation from an ostensibly benevolent neighbour.  One of the most interesting examples of this is Eritrea, who gained nation status in 1993 after a 30 year war of independence from its neighbour Ethiopia.  Eritrea is a fascinating wee country – ethnically diverse with eight major ethnic groupings, and with a religious split between Muslim, Christian and Animist followers, yet with sufficient national identity to maintain an ideology of liberation which saw them through a long and brutal war.

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You Ignorant (Hard-Working) African

There is an interesting anecdote doing the rounds at the moment, written by Field Ruwe, a Zambian novelist and journalist currently based in California.

It tells the story of a chance meeting on a plane between Ruwe and ‘Walter’, a former IMF official now working in a similar capacity for another organisation.  On realising that Ruwe is from a country with which Walter has had some connection, a conversation is struck up.  Walter starts by boasting of the pleasant time he had in Zambia, when he came as part of an IMF delegation to “rip you guys off”, and that he is about to repeat the scam under the auspices of a different organisation; of the theft of native American land and of the exploitation that the Bwana (masters, often used to denote whites) reap from the spoils of their trickery.   Rowe silently reacts and on noticing his reaction, Walter aknowledges the fundamental similarity of people of differing pigmentations.  

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The Congo and Conflict Minerals

On December 9th, Joseph Kabila was re-elected President of the Democratic of the Congo.  Overseen by international observers, this was the first ever election organised from with the DRC… and it was a whitewash.  With serious electoral irregularities being minimised and ignored by the international community, the election was a farce.

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More on the Congo

Tomorrow there will be a further protest   in London over the re-election of Kabila in dubious circumstances.  This follows on from a week of protests including 143 arrests at a similar protest on Saturday.  Protests against the elections results have occurred in a number of major cities and indeed it was chancing on one in Glasgow which piqued my interest in the country.   Since coming across the demo on Saturday, I’ve been reading up on the Congo, its history, the current conflict and our complicity in it…and its horrifying.  With five million deaths and half a million rapes in a country with a similar number of residents to the UK – it is the equivalent of the population of Scotland being decimated and every woman in Glasgow raped.
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On the Congo

Winding my way home yesterday afternoon on the bus, idly watching the world go by out of the window, I chanced on a demo of about 60 people marching over the Squinty Bridge.  I couldn’t hear much of the chanting but eventually a banner came into view – saying “Kabila must go“.  I have to confess that I didn’t have the slightest clue who Kabila was or why people would want him to go, but the internet is a wonderful thing.

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