GettingTruth

RandallJones

Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror

Review of Mahmood Mamdani book by Howard French

from The New York Times, March 29. 2009
Source http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/30/books/30fren.html

Clearly, the African disaster most in view today is Sudan, or more specifically the dirty war that has raged since 2003 in that country’s western region, Darfur.

Rare among African conflicts, it exerts a strong claim on our conscience. By instructive contrast, more than five million people have died as a result of war in Congo since 1998, the rough equivalent at its height of a 2004 Asian tsunami striking every six months, without stirring our diplomats to urgency or generating much civic response.

More interestingly, the author maintains that much of what we see today as a racial divide in Sudan has its roots in colonial history, when Britain “broke up native society into different ethnicities, and ‘tribalized’ each ethnicity by bringing it under the absolute authority of one or more British-sanctioned ‘native authorities,’ ” balancing “the whole by playing one off against the others.”

Mr. Mamdani calls this British tactic of administratively reinforcing distinctions among colonial subjects “re-identify and rule” and says that it was copied by European powers across the continent, with deadly consequences — as in Rwanda, where Belgium’s intervention hardened distinctions between Hutu and Tutsi.

In Sudan the result was to create a durable sense of land rights rooted in tribal identity that favored the sedentary at the expense of the nomad, or, in the crude shorthand of today, African and Arab.

Other roots of the Darfur crisis lie in catastrophic desertification in the Sahel region, where the cold war left the area awash in cheap weapons at the very moment that pastoralists could no longer survive in their traditional homelands, obliging many to push southward into areas controlled by sedentary farmers.

He also blames regional strife, the violent legacy of proxy warfare by France, Libya and the United States and, most recently, the global extension of the war on terror.

This important book reveals much on all of these themes, yet still may be judged by some as not saying enough about recent violence in Darfur.

Mr. Mamdani’s constant refrain is that the virtuous indignation he thinks he detects in those who shout loudest about Darfur is no substitute for greater understanding, without which outsiders have little hope of achieving real good in Africa’s shattered lands.

Here’s an article by Keith Harmon Snow with more information about Darfur that is not discussed in the mainstream media http://www.allthingspass.com/uploads/html-264THE%20WINTER%20OF%20BASHIRS%20DISCONTENT.htm

April 4, 2009 Posted by | Africa, aid, charities, Christianity, Congo, Darfur, Europe, genocide, human rights, Islam, media, news, Not On Our Watch, politics, religion, SaveDarfur.org, Sudan, terrorism, Uganda, United States, weapons | Leave a comment

The Tragedy of Aid to the Third World

From The Tragedy of Afghan Aid by Andy Rowell at http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2008/04/the-tragedy-of-afghan-aid/

… in September 2002, the United States launched what would become an aggressive effort to build or refurbish as many as 1,000 schools and clinics by the end of 2004. However, Congressional figures showed that they managed to finish and hand back to the Afghan government only 40 schools by late 2005.

As Ben Jackson wrote in his book Poverty and the Planet published in 1990, “Aid is commonly thought of as handing over money to Third World governments for development. In fact, aid largely consists of funding from Western governments for services, machines, technical experts and consultants to be supplied by companies in rich countries, frequently their own.” The bottom line was that “most aid money is actually spent in the rich world.” Of the $20 billion the World Bank handed out in 1988, $15 billion went to its own contractors or consultants.

… there is a huge disparity between what America spends on war and what the international community spends on aid. The US military currently spends nearly $36 billion a year in the country, some $100 million a day; yet the average volume of aid spending by all donors since 2001 is just $7 million per day. Whilst the military budget is vast, 2.5 million Afghans face severe food insecurity, and one in five children still dies before five. Life expectancy is woefully low at 45 years. Thirdly, over half of all aid to Afghanistan is tied, by which donors often require procurement of services or resources from their own countries. Rather than go to help Afghanistan, the money just lines the pockets of Western contractors and companies. So of the aid actually spent, a staggering 40% has returned to donor countries in corporate profits and consultant salaries.

The report notes: “Vast sums of aid are lost in corporate profits of contractors and sub-contractors, which can be as high as 50% on a single contract … A vast amount of aid is absorbed by high salaries, with generous allowances, and other costs of expatriates working for consulting firms and contractors — each of whom costs $250,000-$500,000 a year.” In contrast, an Afghan civil servant is paid less than $1000 per year.

April 27, 2008 Posted by | Afghanistan, Africa, aid, charities, media, natural resources, news, politics, war | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dark cloud over good works of Gates Foundation

For all the money Bill Gates (of Microsoft) gives to help the people of Africa, he makes much more money by investing in companies that do a lot of harm to the people and environment of Africa.

“The Gates Foundation has poured $218 million into polio and measles immunization and research worldwide, including in the Niger Delta. At the same time that the foundation is funding inoculations to protect health, The Times found, it has invested $423 million in Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Total of France — the companies responsible for most of the flares blanketing the delta with pollution, beyond anything permitted in the United States or Europe.”

See article at http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-gatesx07jan07,0,4205044,full.story?coll=la-home-headlines
article in Jan. 7, 2007 Los Angeles Times, written by Charles Piller, Edmund Sanders and Robyn Dixon

August 21, 2007 Posted by | Africa, Bill Gates, charities, United States | Leave a comment

Would you donate to a charity that is associated with the war criminal Henry Kissinger?

What about a charity associated with Madeline Albright? She is the former U.S Secretary of State who when asked by Lesley Stahl about U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.

Henry Kissinger and Madeline Albright are listed in the International Rescue Committee’s website as “Overseers.” See http://www.theirc.org/about/ircboard.html
Look at what this article, concerning the Congo, says about the International Rescue Committee (IRC):

A UN Panel of Experts in a recent report challenged many airlines and companies for undertaking illicit flights (illegal, secret, unregistered, or falsely registered) into and out of the DRC. One of many notable companies apparently connected to Victor Bout’s arms trafficking networks is Simax, an Oregon-based company using an address in Sierra Leone. However, the UN Panel of Experts has once again ignored certain western agencies —with histories of illicit activities —whose flights remain equally surreptitious and unaccountable. At the
top of the list is the International Rescue Committee (IRC)—whose directors include Henry Kissinger and whose flights in and out of the Congo and internal flights to and from isolated airports in eastern DRC are completely unmonitored by MONUC arms embargo inspectors. In Bukavu, for example, all light aircraft are subject to MONUC arms embargo inspections, but IRC flights are not within the MONUC mandate.

Complete article at http://zmagsite.zmag.org/JulAug2006/snow0706.html

August 21, 2007 Posted by | Africa, charities, Congo, genocide, Henry Kissenger, International Rescue Committee, Iraq, Madeline Albright, Uncategorized, war, war criminal | 1 Comment

Founder of Doctors without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontiers) did not oppose Iraq War (in other words did not oppose genocide)

One of the most prominent roles went to a member of the Socialist Party. Bernard Kouchner, who is best-known for starting the humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Borders, or Medecins Sans Frontieres, is the new minister of foreign affairs. Like Mr. Sarkozy, he has taken a pro-American stance and was one of the few French politicians who did not oppose the war in Iraq.

Source http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-05-18-voa12.cfm

August 21, 2007 Posted by | charities, Doctors without Borders, France, genocide, International Rescue Committee, Iraq, politics, Uncategorized, war | 3 Comments

U.S. aid to Africa does more harm than good

I first heard about this in a radio interview with Michael Maren, author of The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity published in 1977. To see a review of the book click here.
Here is more current information about this, where one charity organization is seeing the ligjht.

“…Care, one of the world’s biggest charities, has announced that it will boycott the controversial policy of selling tons of heavily subsidised US produced food in African countries. Care wants the US government to send money to buy food locally, rather than unwanted US produced food.
The US arm of the charity says America is causing rather than reducing hunger with a decree that US food aid must be sold rather than directly distributed to those facing starvation. In America, the subsidies for corn in particular, help underpin the junk food industry, which uses corn extracts as a sweetener, creating a home-grown a health crisis.
The farm lobby meanwhile has a stranglehold on Congress, which has balked at making any changes that would interfere with a system that promotes overproduction of commodities.
Critics of the policy say it also undermines African farmers’ ability to produce food, making the most vulnerable countries of the world even more dependent on aid to avert famine.”

from http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/article2871490.ece

August 19, 2007 Posted by | Africa, aid, charities, natural resources, Somalia, United States, war | Leave a comment