"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
Monday, January 10, 2011
The Zanzibar Chest Chronicles Continue
Again, my comments are in bold.
-Victorian England in the 19th century was preoccupied with news of the abolition of the Arab slave trade. They also followed closely David Livingstone’s Lake Tanganyika meeting with H.M. Stanley after Livingstone had gone missing.
These are two stories that I’d like to read more about. As Americans we know a lot (relatively speaking) about the slave trade to the US and Britain. However, I am woefully ignorant on the history of the Arab Slave Trade. The second story regarding this meeting and Livingstone’s adventures sound intriguing.
p.123 “Africa is the place of our lost hopes and our broken dreams. But I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.” -Julian Ozanne of the Financial Times
Julian was one of the author’s main buddies. Some quick googling research turned up that he married Gillian Anderson (Scully of X-files) in 2004. And that he made a film about Brett Easton Ellis (one of my favorite authors)
p.124 “In 1989 people began to talk of Africa’s “second winds of change”—the first having been the independence from colonialism some three decades before.”
This timeline undercores the fact as to just how young most African nations are! Their development and growth is not something that can occur overnight…how was the United States doing in 1825? !
p.124-6 Good background information on Kenyan leader, President Daniel arap Moi. “Fear and hopelessness lay like a blanket of poisonous smog on Nairobi.” Compared to Nicolae Ceaus,
Hartley captures how this dictator literally overwhelmed and engulfed every part of life there in Nairobi.
p.127 Mentions Alice Lakwena’s Holy Spirit Movement in Uganda and how the state of things continued to deteriorate with Liberian president Samuel Doe being captured by rebel Prince Johnson who tortured and executed him on film.
The Holy Spirit Movement is not to be confused with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) of Uganda led by madman and murderer Joseph Kony which is not to be confused with the evil FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda). I confused them in a blog posting back in August on the mass rapes in the DRC:
If you want to see something disturbing check out the only known video interview that’s been done with Herr Kony: http://www.rocketboom.com/rb_06_aug_16/
“More often than not, Africans chose war rather than the ballot box to sweep away the old dictatorships.”
I would add that often enough, the United States or USSR funded that war. Case in point in the quote below.
“Ten thousand dollars and a satellite phone.” Marxist Congolese rebel leader Laurent-Desire Kabila response when asked what’s need to start a guerilla war.
This is a very revealing portion of the novel as the murky grey area between politics and criminal behavior is discussed.
“With that box of matches, with our necklace, we shall liberate this country.” –Winne Mandela
“Necklacing” was when the ANC rebels would soak a tire in gasoline, sling it around an enemies neck and light it on fire….wow, I was not aware of this. Again, the whole history there is an area that I am woefully ignorant. But it sure doesn’t sound they were messing around.
p.128 “The appetite grows as you eat” -Milla, Cameroon Striker after they beat Columbia in the World Cup quarter finals.
Hartley writes about after this happened at the start of the 90’s there was a feeling of hope in Africa. This was of course in direct conjunction with the end of the Cold War and the ‘superpower’s proxy wars” in Africa.
South Africa’s BOSS was their equivalent of our CIA.