Category: Africa

Deepest condolences

I’ve not been shy about my political disagreements with Nelson Mandela. But the news that his son has died of AIDS, is tragic. And Mandela’s public announcement of the cause of death is to be applauded, in a country where there is still a strong stigma connected with the disease.
Are you listening, Mr Mbeki?

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Spitting on their graves

My blood boiled when I read this:
US ‘hyping’ Darfur genocide fears
American warnings that Darfur is heading for an apocalyptic humanitarian catastrophe have been widely exaggerated by administration officials, it is alleged by international aid workers in Sudan. Washington’s desire for a regime change in Khartoum has biased their reports, it is claimed.
The government’s aid agency, USAID, says that between 350,000 and a million people could die in Darfur by the end of the year. Other officials, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, have accused the Sudanese government of presiding over a ‘genocide’ that could rival those in Bosnia and Rwanda.
But the account has been comprehensively challenged by eyewitness reports from aid workers and by a new food survey of the region. The nutritional survey of Sudan’s Darfur region, by the UN World Food Programme, says that although there are still high levels of malnutrition among under-fives in some areas, the crisis is being brought under control.
‘It’s not disastrous,’ said one of those involved in the WFP survey, ‘although it certainly was a disaster earlier this year, and if humanitarian assistance declines, this will have very serious negative consequences.’

Only 30,000 dead and countless more maimed, sick or starving. It’s not so bad! It’s probably all the US’s fault anyway, and why should we help the Sudanese? No blood for blood!
Grr.
(via Damian Penny)

Not-so-silent Bob

All week the news has been reporting on the meeting of Commonwealth nations in Nigeria, and the fact that they’ve excluded Zimbabwe from the proceedings for some iffy rigged elections last year (among other, far worse things). In a “you can’t fire me, I quit” move, Mugabe responded by quitting the Commonwealth.
It occurred to me to ask myself, in this day and age of “post-colonialism”, if the Commonwealth is even relevant any more? Luckily Andrew Black of Southern Cross has the answer: not really, no.