Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cradle of life, catching fire

By Carl

While you've been reading about
this scuba diver getting lost at sea, or that skydiver missing his balloon, or this or that presidential candidate making his forays into actual debate on an issue, a billion people are facing outright war.

Item 1 --
Guinea soldiers seize chief over pay dispute:

The troops, who say they have been owed money for up to 12 years and protested over the same issue last year, also fired shots into the air.

The protests come the week after President Lansana Conte sacked Lansana Kouyate as prime minister.

(emphasis added)

Item 2 --
Pipeline blown up in Niger delta:

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) group said in an email that it had attacked the Royal Dutch Shell pipeline in Rivers State.

The militants, who want a greater share of oil revenues for the area, said they blew up a flow station and were retreating when soldiers opened fire.

Item 3 -- Mozambicans flee South Africa riots:

Mozambique's government says about 20,000 of its citizens have fled South Africa because of the wave of attacks on foreigners in the past two weeks.

In South Africa, at least 50 people have died and a further 35,000 have sought shelter because of the attacks.

In a related item...

Item 4 --
Death toll climbs in South African violence:

South Africa has given fresh figures on the numbers of people killed and displaced by the wave of attacks on foreigners over the past two weeks.

Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula told the BBC 56 people had been killed and more than 650 injured. Previously, 50 deaths were reported.

More than 30,000 had been displaced or forced from their homes, he said.

Other organisations said this was a gross under-estimation and that at least 80,000 had been displaced.

According to South Africa's Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), as many as 100,000 Africans may have been driven from their houses.

...which is related to this item...

Item 5 --
Tsvangirai confident of victory:

The Movement for Democratic Change leader accused the ruling Zanu-PF party of seeking to "decimate" opposition structures ahead of the vote.

His first engagement was to visit supporters hurt in political violence.

Mr Tsvangirai's return was delayed amid an alleged army plot to kill him, which the ruling party said was "fantasy".

Just imagine if Al Gore had to flee to Mexico in 2000 to get a sense of what this story means in Southern Africa. Or for a real world example, all you have to do is contemplate the asassination of Benazir Bhutto.

Item 6 --
South Sudan on the brink of war:

Clashes in Sudan's oil-rich town of Abyei could pitch the north and south of the country into civil war again, a senior official from South Sudan says.

"We are on the brink of war," Pagan Amum, secretary general of the former rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), told the BBC.

Up to 90,000 people have fled after a week of fighting and the disputed town is now controlled by northern soldiers.

You may better know South Sudan as Darfur...

Item 7 --
ANC calls to retake the streets:

The secretary general of South Africa's governing ANC has called on party members to form local committees to combat violence against foreigners.

Gwede Mantashe says that they should work to "take the streets back from criminals", whilst giving support to the police and help to the victims.

The unrest has now spread to Cape Town, with people assaulted and shops looted.

It is roughly a thousand miles from the Zimbabwean border, the source of all these refugees that are creating such a ruckus, to Cape Town, so imagine if riots over Cuban immigrants in Miami spread all up the East Coast to Washington, DC! And the ANC is effectively claiming the South Africa government, which has been curiously quiet through it all, is inadequate for calming the population down and is suggesting vigilante actions may be necessary.

Had enough? You are free to go back to debating the merits of the two Davids from American Idol. This has been your moment of waarheid.

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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  • Thanks for this, Carl. It's a fantastic round-up of what's going on in a place -- or, rather, on a continent -- that few over here pay much attention to.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 1:20 AM  

  • Carl, I so appreciated all that I learned from your post on Africa. Even though there is oil in Nigeria, good beaches in South Africa, the pyramids in Egypt, and mountain gorillas in (I think) Ghana, we Westerners remain woefully ignorant about an entire continent. Thanks for your considerable effort and the way you constructed the theme.

    By Blogger Carol Gee, at 6:43 AM  

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