Thursday, September 25, 2008

dinner



tonight the mind goes back to africa again and again. its because i've been reading this book called The State of Africa: A History Of Fifty Years of Independence by Martin Meredith. hardly light bedtime reading. i am more than half way through it and i can assure you its one very fat epic with tiny print reeling off about much madness and about a lot of fat, murderous, thieving bastards. who all committed unspeakable atrocities under the banner of lenism and marxism (apart from the south africans who practised their own special brand of heinous apartheid) and became the biggest fattest capitalist pig bastards the world as ever known. no wonder the continent is as it is. we are only starting to feel the repercussions now.


it's about men who went mad with power; men who became paranoid of being overthrown which drove them to torturing and murdering the innocent who dared to speak up. the innocent who had no voices. the silent ones. it's about those who managed to overthrow the "big men" and became one themselves. its about sheer greed. ulitmately.
one of the most haunting tales is of mengistu (along with idi amin, mobuto, gaddafi just to name a few) in ethiopia who overthrew haile selassie , the emporer of ethiopia, a direct descendant from the marriage of Solomon and Sheba. the following quote is from the book. mengistu replying to his minister's concern over the ravages of drought and displacement and the impending tragic disaster which eventually killed thousands of people - documented in the book in the chapter entitled Red Tears:
- YOUR PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY IS TO WORK TOWARDS OUR POLITICAL OBJECTIVES. DON'T LET THOSE PETTY HUMAN PROBLEMS THAT ALWAYS EXIST IN TRANSITION PERIODS CONSUME YOU. THERE WAS FAMINE IN ETHIOPIA FOR YEARS BEFORE WE TOOK POWER - IT WAS THE WAY NATURE KEPT THE BALANCE. TODAY WE ARE INTERFERING WITH THE NATURAL MECHANISM OF BALANCE, AND THAT IS WHY OUR POPULATION HAS SOARED TO OVER 40 MILLION...LET NATURE TAKE ITS TOLL. (sic ed repeat let nature take its toll.) JUST DON'T LET IT OUT IN THE OPEN. WE NEED A FACADE FOR THE OUTSIDE WORLD, SO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE WE'RE DOING SOMETHING..."



so make it look like we're doing something.

12 comments:

Dumdad said...

Once again, it's all those millions of poor people who suffer again and again and again.

Janelle said...

jeez i know!!!!! xx j

Reya Mellicker said...

Leaders are supposed to take care of the people they're in charge of. Yet so often throughout history and all over the world, the primary duty is chucked into a corner while the leader gets rich and fat, becomes more and more cruel. People suffer, die. And then of course, that leader comes down hard.

Why can't we learn that the good of everyone is paramount? Getting rich and fat is not satisfying except for a brief moment.

Our species is quite flawed in this regard. I don't get it.

Thank you for writing about it!

john.g. said...

Sounds like Zimbabwe!

tam said...

ouch. light bedtime reading it ain't.

family affairs said...

Powerful stuff Lx

tam said...

but I do have to add that for every Mengistu and Mobuto there is a Fela Kuti, a Chris Hani, a Patrice Lumumba. Damn. They all be on da other side already...
may they do what they can from there...

Ernest de Cugnac said...

It seems that Africa is a basket case which Aid doesn't help. It doesn't help either that it was a superpower playground, or became, for some godforsaken reason, the dumping ground of the world's surplus automatic weapons. I despaired of it long ago. You guys who live there are both brave and enduring. I salute you.

Janelle said...

exactly reya. - and tam well er um - there's a whole lot of stuff on lumumba and i HATE to say it but sometimes i wonder what chris hani would have been like if he had risen to power too??? there is a speech by robert mugabe in the book which is so reconciliatory and compassionate. ANYWAY - africa, the basket case it is, ernest - has power, endurance and patience.and a lot more...but not here. not now.... xxx janelle

Lori ann said...

and so history repeats itself, no? if i may borrow a few words from No Future Without Forgiveness by Desmond Tutu "Tutu argues that true reconciiation cannot be achieved by denying the past.But neither is it easy to reconcile when a nation "looks the beast in the eye". Rather than repeat platitudes about forgiveness, he present a bold spirituality that recognizes the horrors people can inflict upon one another, and yet retains a sense of idealism about reconciliation.Tutu shows readers how to move forward with honesty and compassion to build a newer and more humane world. The Dalai Lama teaches us to love our enemies, to understand each other we need dialog, respect and compassion. Oh and keep an open heart. It's all we can do.
Thanks janelle, you always make me think.
xxx lori

Mud in the City said...

It is mind boggling to understand such a sick, power crazed and selfishy mentality - sends shivers down my spine.

tut-tut said...

Thank you for writing about Africa as you do, you are letting more people know particulars than ever would before.