Jump to content


Spartacus

Africa Unite


  • Please log in to reply
118 replies to this topic

#46 Norman Pratt

Norman Pratt

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 291 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Essex

Posted 13 September 2011 - 10:10 PM





Bill.
Your analysis of the politics of the Arab Spring in a way highlights the unique heroism of the ordinary people who stood up the tyrants and their bullets: they must have been aware that there was a risk that even with the tyrant removed things might just return to where they were before.

My point has been that South of the Sahara there is much more than a risk that nothing will change: there is a probability that a revolution will degenerate into civil war, and civil war into chaos. Generally speaking, what black Africa needs is more and better government. The UN thinks so too: http://unpan1.un.org...unpan020257.pdf

Let me take the example of Uganda - because Museveni falls into the category of a ruler who appears to be founding a dynasty, and because he is one of the two dictators (the other being Mugabe) that many thought ought to follow the rulers of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. But Uganda is typical of the rest of black Africa in many ways:
The coup.

While President Milton Obote was at the Commonwealth Conference in 1971, taking the lead against African opposition to British policy in Southern Africa, General Amin, the army commander, took over the country.

The takeover was typical of many such coups which took place all over Africa in the second half of the 20th Century. In fact by the late 60's if you wanted to get on in politics in many African countries a sensible career choice would have been to join the army. Before the time of these African coups, Samuel Finer, in his book 'The man on horseback', had pointed out that poor underdeveloped countries were particularly vulnerable to army coups - for one thing simply because the army contained a concentration of technical expertise which the country as a whole lacked. The last half century of African politics has proved his point. Many of the leaders of these African coups were highly educated and believed - as far as one can tell genuinely - that they were in a position to save their country from corrupt politicians. Some, like Amin, were NCO's promoted too rapidly because the colonial power hadn't appreciated the need to africanise their forces until too late in the day.

The militarisation of Africa.

At Independence (1962) the King's African Rifles in Uganda was only 1,200 strong. The British had been able to deploy forces from elsewhere if it ever became necessary. Obote wisely began to build up the strength of the Ugandan army, and used it to powerful effect in 1966 when the Kingdom of Buganda appeared to threaten national unity. But in doing this he created a rival to power, because it was actually Amin, at that point just a Colonel, who was given the job of expelling the king Freddie (who was also the President of Uganda) from his palace.

The militarisation of Africa continued.

The increasing size and firepower of the Uganda army helped to secure Amin's position in 1971, and enable him to pursue increasingly bizarre policies. This included the expulsion of the Asian community, and the massacre of hundreds of thousands of people in tribal groups who opposed him. Amin began a cycle of inter-tribal rivalry that culminated in the phenomenon of the Lord's Resistance Army, which turned Northern Uganda into a wasteland, and pillaged and murdered its way into Sudan and the Central African Republic. The L.R.A. still continues to evade capture today and still causes occasional mayhem. The horrors of Amin's rule were well portrayed in the film 'The last king of Scotland'. Altogether he probably caused the deaths of 300,000 people, which puts him on the same chart of other more famous 20th Century tyrants.

The legacy problem.

Uganda had inherited a fundamental problem when it became independent. It had a state within a state, Buganda. Originally Buganda was one of four Bantu kingdoms in what is now Southern Uganda. It had made a deal with the British in 1900, and eventually took over much of the rest of what became Uganda on their behalf. Later it wanted a special federal status within the rest of Uganda, or even outright independence, and also to keep territory it had acquired with British help. This issue is still very much at the heart of Uganda politics in 2011.

But then nearly every state in Africa has a legacy problem. For example nearly all of them have a mixture of different ethnic groups brought together in an arbitrary fashion by the infamous carve-up of Africa at the Berlin Conference in 1884: whatever the participants were thinking about it was not nation-building.

In Africa as a whole there are something like 5 quite distinct ethnic groups - Uganda has 3 of them living side by side. The only African country with a single ethnic group is, ironically, Somalia. Nkrumah, the leader of the first black African country to be given its independence by its colonial masters in 1957, recognised this particular colonial legacy right from the beginning, and tried to work towards a united Africa. This is a radical idea I'd like to return to, but for the moment I would like to concentrate on what I see as the irrelevance of revolution to the problems of black Africa today.

How to depose a tyrant. Once Amin had consolidated his power the kind of resistance we saw in South Africa from the 1970's and more recently in North Africa was impossible. Amin was ready if necessary to kill his own soldiers in large numbers, as well as civilians. Potential demonstrators fled to the United Kingdom rather than demonstrate. The only way to depose him with any chance of success was with another coup, but Amin was particularly adept at preventing one. His removal could only therefore be arranged from outside Uganda. There was an opposition to Amin based in Tanzania, but it was only when Amin foolishly chose to claim some Tanzanian territory that he was at last removed – by the Tanzanian army.

Amin was followed by Milton Obote (Part 2) and a number of military successors, all relying on an army composed of soldiers drawn from Uganda's North. In 1985 Museveni's National Resistance Movement rose up as the nearest equivalent I can think of to what happened in the Arab Spring, but from the beginning was an armed rising of the Ugandan people, though much of its support came from Southern Uganda fed up with the domination of Northern soldiers. It also exemplified the total militarisation of the country, when young boys armed with AK-47's would enter Ugandan villages and tell the elders what's what – the ultimate turning upside down of traditional values. In the way Museveni took power and in the way he initially aimed to use it, he lead a genuine revolution, and he did bring peace to a thoroughly traumatised country. In doing so he had had to tackle all of the major problems that had faced Uganda in the quarter century since Independence. One of the problems that faced opposition politicians in Uganda (apart from a degree of ballot rigging) was Museveni's record in bringing peace.

In 1967 I did some research for a Ugandan politician who was writing a History of the kingdom of Buganda. One of his chapter headings referring to events in the 1950's rather struck me – 'Crisis after crisis'. It reminds me of how somebody once characterised History in general: one damn thing after another. North Africa has been largely free of revolutions since the 1950's. The rest of Africa needs change even more desperately, but it's had too many failed revolutions and too much violence to want any more.

#47 William Kelly

William Kelly

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 9,137 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 13 September 2011 - 11:45 PM


Perhaps a real democratic revolution in the only solution?


Bill.
Your analysis of the politics of the Arab Spring in a way highlights the unique heroism of the ordinary people who stood up the tyrants and their bullets: they must have been aware that there was a risk that even with the tyrant removed things might just return to where they were before.

My point has been that South of the Sahara there is much more than a risk that nothing will change: there is a probability that a revolution will degenerate into civil war, and civil war into chaos. Generally speaking, what black Africa needs is more and better government. The UN thinks so too: http://unpan1.un.org...unpan020257.pdf

Let me take the example of Uganda - because Museveni falls into the category of a ruler who appears to be founding a dynasty, and because he is one of the two dictators (the other being Mugabe) that many thought ought to follow the rulers of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. But Uganda is typical of the rest of black Africa in many ways:
The coup.

While President Milton Obote was at the Commonwealth Conference in 1971, taking the lead against African opposition to British policy in Southern Africa, General Amin, the army commander, took over the country.

The takeover was typical of many such coups which took place all over Africa in the second half of the 20th Century. In fact by the late 60's if you wanted to get on in politics in many African countries a sensible career choice would have been to join the army. Before the time of these African coups, Samuel Finer, in his book 'The man on horseback', had pointed out that poor underdeveloped countries were particularly vulnerable to army coups - for one thing simply because the army contained a concentration of technical expertise which the country as a whole lacked. The last half century of African politics has proved his point. Many of the leaders of these African coups were highly educated and believed - as far as one can tell genuinely - that they were in a position to save their country from corrupt politicians. Some, like Amin, were NCO's promoted too rapidly because the colonial power hadn't appreciated the need to africanise their forces until too late in the day.

The militarisation of Africa.

At Independence (1962) the King's African Rifles in Uganda was only 1,200 strong. The British had been able to deploy forces from elsewhere if it ever became necessary. Obote wisely began to build up the strength of the Ugandan army, and used it to powerful effect in 1966 when the Kingdom of Buganda appeared to threaten national unity. But in doing this he created a rival to power, because it was actually Amin, at that point just a Colonel, who was given the job of expelling the king Freddie (who was also the President of Uganda) from his palace.

The militarisation of Africa continued.

The increasing size and firepower of the Uganda army helped to secure Amin's position in 1971, and enable him to pursue increasingly bizarre policies. This included the expulsion of the Asian community, and the massacre of hundreds of thousands of people in tribal groups who opposed him. Amin began a cycle of inter-tribal rivalry that culminated in the phenomenon of the Lord's Resistance Army, which turned Northern Uganda into a wasteland, and pillaged and murdered its way into Sudan and the Central African Republic. The L.R.A. still continues to evade capture today and still causes occasional mayhem. The horrors of Amin's rule were well portrayed in the film 'The last king of Scotland'. Altogether he probably caused the deaths of 300,000 people, which puts him on the same chart of other more famous 20th Century tyrants.

The legacy problem.

Uganda had inherited a fundamental problem when it became independent. It had a state within a state, Buganda. Originally Buganda was one of four Bantu kingdoms in what is now Southern Uganda. It had made a deal with the British in 1900, and eventually took over much of the rest of what became Uganda on their behalf. Later it wanted a special federal status within the rest of Uganda, or even outright independence, and also to keep territory it had acquired with British help. This issue is still very much at the heart of Uganda politics in 2011.

But then nearly every state in Africa has a legacy problem. For example nearly all of them have a mixture of different ethnic groups brought together in an arbitrary fashion by the infamous carve-up of Africa at the Berlin Conference in 1884: whatever the participants were thinking about it was not nation-building.

In Africa as a whole there are something like 5 quite distinct ethnic groups - Uganda has 3 of them living side by side. The only African country with a single ethnic group is, ironically, Somalia. Nkrumah, the leader of the first black African country to be given its independence by its colonial masters in 1957, recognised this particular colonial legacy right from the beginning, and tried to work towards a united Africa. This is a radical idea I'd like to return to, but for the moment I would like to concentrate on what I see as the irrelevance of revolution to the problems of black Africa today.

How to depose a tyrant. Once Amin had consolidated his power the kind of resistance we saw in South Africa from the 1970's and more recently in North Africa was impossible. Amin was ready if necessary to kill his own soldiers in large numbers, as well as civilians. Potential demonstrators fled to the United Kingdom rather than demonstrate. The only way to depose him with any chance of success was with another coup, but Amin was particularly adept at preventing one. His removal could only therefore be arranged from outside Uganda. There was an opposition to Amin based in Tanzania, but it was only when Amin foolishly chose to claim some Tanzanian territory that he was at last removed – by the Tanzanian army.

Amin was followed by Milton Obote (Part 2) and a number of military successors, all relying on an army composed of soldiers drawn from Uganda's North. In 1985 Museveni's National Resistance Movement rose up as the nearest equivalent I can think of to what happened in the Arab Spring, but from the beginning was an armed rising of the Ugandan people, though much of its support came from Southern Uganda fed up with the domination of Northern soldiers. It also exemplified the total militarisation of the country, when young boys armed with AK-47's would enter Ugandan villages and tell the elders what's what – the ultimate turning upside down of traditional values. In the way Museveni took power and in the way he initially aimed to use it, he lead a genuine revolution, and he did bring peace to a thoroughly traumatised country. In doing so he had had to tackle all of the major problems that had faced Uganda in the quarter century since Independence. One of the problems that faced opposition politicians in Uganda (apart from a degree of ballot rigging) was Museveni's record in bringing peace.

In 1967 I did some research for a Ugandan politician who was writing a History of the kingdom of Buganda. One of his chapter headings referring to events in the 1950's rather struck me – 'Crisis after crisis'. It reminds me of how somebody once characterised History in general: one damn thing after another. North Africa has been largely free of revolutions since the 1950's. The rest of Africa needs change even more desperately, but it's had too many failed revolutions and too much violence to want any more.





#48 Norman Pratt

Norman Pratt

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 291 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Essex

Posted 16 September 2011 - 12:57 PM

Bill.
I am about to move from my comfort zone of African history to commenting on African politics, thus laying myself open to enormous blunder. But here goes: I think Revolution is likely to be counter-productive in most African countries because of the experience of half a century of violence which followed Independence. I agree whole heartedly with the Revolutionaries' “... desire for change and a change in style and systems” as you put it, but I don't think the Arab Spring model is going to work South of the Sahara, or, in a sense, is needed: evolutionary change will work better, and it is happening.

Round about the time, at the beginning of this year, when Gaddafi turned on his own people, Uganda was having an election. Museveni beat Besigye by securing 68% of the vote - a figure that suggests he's beginning to get the hang of being a dictator. Commonwealth observers criticised the conduct of the election, for the exploitation of government resources rather than anything more sinister.

An account of the election:
http://www.bbc.co.uk...africa-12421747
Gauging the degree of government violence in general:
http://allafrica.com...1109121031.html

To fight the election Besigye headed a coalition of opposition parties, one of the difficulties of ousting Museveni having been getting a united opposition. Besigye announced that if he was cheated at the election, he would make trouble - and he has been as good as his word, organising boycotts. His followers have undoubtedly drawn comfort from events North of the Sahara. However, people are already looking round for a new (perhaps more charismatic) opposition leader for the next election.

To sum up, democracy in Uganda, and many other black African countries, has reached a critical point. Over the last year there has been much 'coup-or-election- watching', particularly in West Africa, to see which method would become the norm. Guinea is probably the next in line, and it's already being suggested that the use of social media may be a way of making the election process more effective.

However, one of the things I was hinting at when I quoted the Charles Abugre article in my post of September 8th is that if there is a flowering of democracy in Africa we may not be prepared for the stance that a liberated Africa will take. Africans have a longer history of being exploited by the West than even the arab and muslim world, and a stronger, democratic Africa that was not forever holding out a begging bowl might pose problems to the West, which has routinely used aid to influence the policies of African governments.

Another Ugandan example may illustrate this. Two years ago an anti-homosexuality law was discussed in the Uganda Parliament. Its aim was to strengthen the already harsh laws relating to homosexuality, including the death penalty for, as it were, persistent offenders. The demand for the law grew out of an (unsubstantiated) rumour that vast numbers of young men were being groomed by pedophile/homosexuals whose unafrican activities were being supported by foreign pressure groups. The bill was massively popular - and incidentally would have been over much of Africa – and only pressure from outside the country, such as (apparently) the threat of withdrawal of American aid, lead to its being gradually dropped, leaving the existing anti-homosexuality laws largely intact but thankfully unenforced. This is one example of human rights issues that may become much more common as Africa finds its own feet in the world.

#49 John Dolva

John Dolva

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 9,543 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Australia
  • Interests:remembering the two towers of 13,000 children that fall down, dying of starvation, preventable diseases, lack of clean water and basic health needs every 1 1/2 hours 24/7/365...
    9/11? Bah...
    ...Viva Che'...
    living in a nice world

Posted 22 September 2011 - 04:52 PM

duplicate post

Edited by John Dolva, 22 September 2011 - 05:16 PM.


#50 John Dolva

John Dolva

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 9,543 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Australia
  • Interests:remembering the two towers of 13,000 children that fall down, dying of starvation, preventable diseases, lack of clean water and basic health needs every 1 1/2 hours 24/7/365...
    9/11? Bah...
    ...Viva Che'...
    living in a nice world

Posted 22 September 2011 - 05:14 PM

triplicate post

Edited by John Dolva, 23 September 2011 - 01:55 AM.


#51 John Dolva

John Dolva

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 9,543 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Australia
  • Interests:remembering the two towers of 13,000 children that fall down, dying of starvation, preventable diseases, lack of clean water and basic health needs every 1 1/2 hours 24/7/365...
    9/11? Bah...
    ...Viva Che'...
    living in a nice world

Posted 23 September 2011 - 01:54 AM

Uranium and politics
http://en.wikipedia....du_Haut_Katanga

The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation
http://www.dhf.uu.se/

Dag Hammarskjöld and the Congo Crisis, 1960-61
http://www.nai.uu.se...-Full-paper.pdf

''... to analyse UNOC and Hammarskjöld‟s role in it: besides the cold war dimension, he had to consider a series of other factors, first of all the impact of the crisis over the new independent countries which were to form the bulk of UN members in the next future.
The decision to implement the mandate given by the Security Council resolution no. 143 through a regional approach is a good example of this double concern: by asking only African or neutral countries to contribute troops to the UN forces in the Congo, Hammarskjöld managed to keep the big powers out of the Congolese territory while offering an opportunity for assuming responsibility to countries that were looking for international recognition and visibility.''


http://www.guardian....goran-bjorkdahl

'' 'I have no doubt Dag Hammarskjöld's plane was brought down'

Göran Björkdahl has interviewed eye-witnesses who were afraid to come forward in 1961

In 1975 my father, then working for the UN in Zambia, visited the spot where Dag Hammarskjöld's plane crashed outside Ndola. He talked about the crash to a worker there, Dickson Mwewa, who offered him a metal plate found buried at the site, telling him it was a piece of the crashed DC6. My father told the Swedish authorities about the plate at the time but they showed no interest.

I discovered the plate 32 years later while helping my parents to move house. There were five strange holes in the metal. A forensics expert later told me they were too small for bullet holes, but he could not account for them. I have not managed to find any explanation in the four years since, but I have since become absorbed in the case, which remains one of the last century's great unsolved mysteries.

While on a mission to Zambia in 2007 I visited Ndola and met an old charcoal burner, Moses Chimema, who claimed to have seen the crash. His story intrigued me and I started to search for other witnesses. Together with my Zambian friend Jacob Phiri I went around in the bush, on bicycle and by car, asking for people who could have been there in 1961. After three years we ended up with a dozen witnesses – whose stories all match Chimema's but are contrary to the official inquiry reports. I filmed interviews with them.

Archive documents in Stockholm, Lusaka and Oxford painted a picture not only of the crash but also the events in Katanga and the political machinations that led to Hammarskjöld's last journey. Interviewing the witnesses and reading the 50-year-old documents became a journey back to an era of cold war, struggle for liberation and fights over mineral fortunes. The secret UN cables between UN headquarters in New York and the UN mission in Congo proved to be a mine of information. They reveal the growing frustration of Hammarskjöld and his officials over the tactics used by the powerful mining company Union Minière, owned mainly by Belgian, British and American investors, to obstruct and undermine the UN mission in Congo.

The documents show how the UN came to draw up a joint plan with the country's central government, Operation Morthor, aimed at ending the Katanga secession by force and the subsequent fury of US president John Kennedy and the British prime minister Harold Macmillan, who felt they had not been consulted. Hammarskjöld sent a robust reply and openly questioned the motives of the western powers in Congo. ...''

#52 John Dolva

John Dolva

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 9,543 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Australia
  • Interests:remembering the two towers of 13,000 children that fall down, dying of starvation, preventable diseases, lack of clean water and basic health needs every 1 1/2 hours 24/7/365...
    9/11? Bah...
    ...Viva Che'...
    living in a nice world

Posted 25 September 2011 - 03:17 PM

http://german-docume....de/films/41827

FILMS
portrait | conflicts | politics
THE SMILING MAN
D 1966 | 65 min


Posing as West German journalists, East German documentary filmmakers Heynowski and Scheumann pay a visit to the notorious Nazi-turned-mercenary Siegfried "Kongo" Müller, pump him with booze, and get him to talk. Müller fought in Congo's civil war in the 1960s, and the more Pernod he imbibes, the more fascinating this interview becomes. He asserts that blacks are no better than animals and shares his dream of enlisting in the U.S. Army to fight communism in Vietnam and beyond. He flaunts his military paraphernalia, including the Iron Cross he was awarded in Germany in 1945, and proceeds to deny his earlier statements about civil killings, the ethics of war, and the defense of Western libertarian values. This documentary tour de force is interspersed with pictures of Müller and his comrades proudly posing with severed skulls, and it touches on other Nazis who are active in Africa as well as American world dominance.
MORE INFO

#53 William Kelly

William Kelly

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 9,137 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 25 September 2011 - 04:26 PM

http://german-docume....de/films/41827

FILMS
portrait | conflicts | politics
THE SMILING MAN
D 1966 | 65 min


Posing as West German journalists, East German documentary filmmakers Heynowski and Scheumann pay a visit to the notorious Nazi-turned-mercenary Siegfried "Kongo" Müller, pump him with booze, and get him to talk. Müller fought in Congo's civil war in the 1960s, and the more Pernod he imbibes, the more fascinating this interview becomes. He asserts that blacks are no better than animals and shares his dream of enlisting in the U.S. Army to fight communism in Vietnam and beyond. He flaunts his military paraphernalia, including the Iron Cross he was awarded in Germany in 1945, and proceeds to deny his earlier statements about civil killings, the ethics of war, and the defense of Western libertarian values. This documentary tour de force is interspersed with pictures of Müller and his comrades proudly posing with severed skulls, and it touches on other Nazis who are active in Africa as well as American world dominance.
MORE INFO


John, what's this "Nazis who are active in Africa was well as American world dominance" crap?

Americans are in Africa severing heads for fun?

What about Albert Schweitzer?

Was he a Nazi too?






#54 John Dolva

John Dolva

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 9,543 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Australia
  • Interests:remembering the two towers of 13,000 children that fall down, dying of starvation, preventable diseases, lack of clean water and basic health needs every 1 1/2 hours 24/7/365...
    9/11? Bah...
    ...Viva Che'...
    living in a nice world

Posted 25 September 2011 - 04:36 PM

duh

#55 John Dolva

John Dolva

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 9,543 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Australia
  • Interests:remembering the two towers of 13,000 children that fall down, dying of starvation, preventable diseases, lack of clean water and basic health needs every 1 1/2 hours 24/7/365...
    9/11? Bah...
    ...Viva Che'...
    living in a nice world

Posted 29 September 2011 - 03:18 PM



#56 John Dolva

John Dolva

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 9,543 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Australia
  • Interests:remembering the two towers of 13,000 children that fall down, dying of starvation, preventable diseases, lack of clean water and basic health needs every 1 1/2 hours 24/7/365...
    9/11? Bah...
    ...Viva Che'...
    living in a nice world

Posted 30 September 2011 - 10:36 PM


Congo: Lumumba's US-backed murder -- 50 years on
Sunday, September 11, 2011 By David T. Rowlands

Posted Image

Patrice Lumumba.


Fifty years have passed since Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba fell victim to a US-Belgian murder plot.

The killing of the Congo's first post-independence leader set the newly-independent central African country (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo) on a tragic course that has led to the horrors of today.

The involvement of Western imperialist interests in this resource-rich region has been disastrous for its inhabitants from the outset.

Under Belgian rule, which officially ended in 1960, the Congo became a byword for crimes against humanity.

In what has been described as Africa’s Holocaust, the entire population of this vast central African region was enslaved in the late 19th century by Belgium's king Leopold II to help extract abundant natural resources such as rubber.

Women and children had their hands hacked off by the tens of thousands to instil terror.

Police regularly burned entire village districts to the ground for the slightest offences, such as failing to meet rubber production quotas.

Shooting “natives” for target practice was considered an everyday diversion.

Such was the extent of the dehumanisation that colonialists’ gardens often had displays of human heads.

Up to 8 million people died in this epic of greed and mass murder. It enriched Leopold and his network of international backers, but left the Congo in a state of permanent evisceration.

After 1945, the Belgian state was desperate to retain its Congolese possessions, but the era of overt, flag-planting colonialism was increasingly giving way to the US-led order of proxy capitalist imperialism in the “Third World”.

In response, national liberation movements emerged across Africa and elsewhere in the colonised world.

In the Congo, these hopes culminated in the Congolese National Movement (MNC). The MNC was led by Patrice Lumumba, a one-time postal worker who had been imprisoned for seditious activities.
Ironically, Lumumba initially believed he could broker US support for decolonisation. It would not be long before he was given a sharp lesson in the true nature of the neo-imperialist Pax Americana.

Appearances were changing, but not the brutal reality of Western monopolisation of the rest of the world's resources.

Popular mobilisation of millions of ordinary Congolese forced the Belgian authorities to hold local elections essentially an independence referendum in late 1959.

In spite of Lumumba’s imprisonment, the pro-independence MNC won the most votes.

At the Brussels conference in January 1960, June 30 was scheduled as the date for independence. Elections were to be held in May to determine the shape of the national government.

Lumumba, by then released, was swept to power as the country’s first democratically-elected prime minister.

His vision of a united, progressive Congo transcending tribal and regional animosities deeply disturbed the Belgians, who were determined that the Congo should be independent in name only.

Tellingly, Lumumba was not even invited to speak at the official independence ceremony. But it would take more than a calculated snub to silence him.

The Belgian king delivered a nauseatingly hypocritical speech, extolling Belgium’s “civilising” mission in the Congo and falsely portraying independence as a generous gift of Belgian benevolence.

At that point, the 35-year-old Lumumba stepped up to the podium with a quiet, dignified yet unstoppable determination.

“For this independence,” Lumumba reminded the audience, “no Congolese worthy of the name will be able to forget that it was by fighting that it has been won …

“Humiliating slavery [was] our fate for 80 years of a colonial regime ...We have known ironies, insults, blows…because we are Negroes….

“Who will ever forget the massacres where so many of our brothers perished, the cells into which those who refused to submit ... were thrown?”

To rapturous applause, Lumumba promised a more equitable future: “We are going to keep watch over the lands of our country so that they truly profit her children.”

The independence of the Congo, he added, “marks a decisive step towards the liberation of the entire African continent”.

This determination that the Congo's resources belonged to its people, rather than the West, meant Lumumba’s fate was sealed.

“Operation Barracuda” was swiftly set in motion by the Belgian state. This was a plan to assassinate Lumumba and replace him with a more compliant leader.

And it was not only the Belgians who wanted Lumumba dead.

Official documents reveal that, in an August 1960 meeting, US President Dwight Eisenhower ordered CIA chief Allen Dulles to “eliminate” the dissident leader.

This response was driven by Cold War imperial geopolitics and the history of US involvement in the Congo.

In 1884, the US had been the first great power to back Belgian territorial claims, conferring a semblance of legitimacy on Leopold’s crime spree.

In the decades that followed, US corporations were granted full access to the region’s resources.

The uranium that the US military used for the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was extracted from the Congo.

Only days after officially taking office, Lumumba was deposed in a coup led by army chief Joseph Mobutu, a willing and well-paid pawn in the West’s game.

On January 17, 1961, Lumumba was executed by a Belgian-commanded firing squad.

Days of humiliation and torture preceded the killing, as soldiers under the United Nations banner stood by and watched.

Lumumba's body was dismembered and dissolved in acid.

Lumumba’s death terminated the vision of a democratic and universally prosperous Congo.

Mobutu’s subsequent dictatorship crushed the people back into grinding poverty for the next three-and-a-half decades.

Mobutu's regime allowed Western interests to exploit the Congo in return for kickbacks to the military regime.

The brutal and corrupt Mobotu enjoyed the full backing and support of Western governments until he was overthrown in 1997.

Post-Mobotu, the exploitation continues, with various Western interests employing local proxy militias in a violent armed struggle for control of resources.

The impact on the civilian population has matched the slaughters of a century ago.

In the past decade, it is estimated that more than 5 million have died.

It is no longer rubber that condemns the Congolese to perpetual torment at the hands of rapacious imperialists. Now it is minerals such as coltan, vital for making mobile phones.

But, in essence, nothing has changed since the brutal overlordship of the arch-parasite Leopold II. It was in defence of this system of exploitation that Lumumba was killed.


From GLW issue 896
Posted Image

#57 John Dolva

John Dolva

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 9,543 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Australia
  • Interests:remembering the two towers of 13,000 children that fall down, dying of starvation, preventable diseases, lack of clean water and basic health needs every 1 1/2 hours 24/7/365...
    9/11? Bah...
    ...Viva Che'...
    living in a nice world

Posted 15 October 2011 - 08:17 AM

Raúl receives Congolese President

Obama sending troops to aid Africa anti-insurgency

#58 John Dolva

John Dolva

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 9,543 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Australia
  • Interests:remembering the two towers of 13,000 children that fall down, dying of starvation, preventable diseases, lack of clean water and basic health needs every 1 1/2 hours 24/7/365...
    9/11? Bah...
    ...Viva Che'...
    living in a nice world

Posted 17 October 2011 - 04:52 PM

Raúl receives Congolese President

Obama sending troops to aid Africa anti-insurgency


It was not the warning systems that have been found wanting but the ability of world leaders to support and resource regional governments, the UN and aid agencies to ensure there was early and effective action, particularly in war-torn Somalia.

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Somalia's most dangerous militant group threatened Kenya with suicide attacks on Monday, saying Nairobi's skyscrapers would be destroyed and its tourism industry ruined in an ominous warning one day after Kenyan troops poured into Somalia.

Obama sending troops to aid Africa anti-insurgency ... sent to advise, not engage in combat, unless forced to defend themselves. ( Hmm ... where have I read that before? )

#59 John Dolva

John Dolva

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 9,543 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Australia
  • Interests:remembering the two towers of 13,000 children that fall down, dying of starvation, preventable diseases, lack of clean water and basic health needs every 1 1/2 hours 24/7/365...
    9/11? Bah...
    ...Viva Che'...
    living in a nice world

Posted 17 October 2011 - 05:13 PM

Posted Image Message to the Tricontinental Editorial note: This text was sent by Che Guevara to the Tricontinental solidarity organisation in Havana in the Spring of 1967. From his jungle camp in Bolivia, Che's last message called for the solidarity of the world workers' movement with the revolution in Vietnam, and the extension of revolutionary guerrilla struggle to create 'Two, three, many Vietnams'.

"Now is the time of the furnaces, and only light should be seen." Jose Marti

" ...
The Middle East, though it geographically belongs to this continent, has its own contradictions and is actively in ferment; it is impossible to foretell how far this cold war between Israel, backed by the imperialists, and the progressive countries of that zone will go. This is just another one of the volcanoes threatening eruption in the world today.

Africa offers an almost virgin territory to the neocolonial invasion. There have been changes which, to some extent, forced neocolonial powers to give up their former absolute prerogatives. But when these changes are carried out uninterruptedly, colonialism continues in the form of neocolonialism with similar effects as far as the economic situation is concerned.

The United States had no colonies in this region but is now struggling to penetrate its partners' fiefs. It can be said that following the strategic plans of U.S. imperialism, Africa constitutes its long-range reservoir; its present investments, though, are only important in the Union of South Africa, and its penetration is beginning to be felt in the Congo, Nigeria, and other countries where a violent rivalry with other imperialist powers is beginning to take place (in a pacific manner up to the present time).

So far, it does not have there great interests to defend except its pretended right to intervene in every spot of the world where its monopolies detect huge profits or the existence of large reserves of raw materials.

All this past history justifies our concern regarding the possibilities of liberating the peoples within a long or a short period of time.

If we stop to analyze Africa, we shall observe that in the Portuguese colonies of Guinea, Mozambique, and Angola the struggle is waged with relative intensity, with a concrete success in the first one and with variable success in the other two. We still witness in the Congo the dispute between Lumumba's successors and the old accomplices of Tshombe, a dispute which at the present time seems to favor the latter: those who have "pacified" a large area of the country for their own benefit — though the war is still latent.

In Rhodesia we have a different problem: British imperialism used every means within its reach to place power in the hands of the white minority, who, at the present time, unlawfully holds it. The conflict, from the British point of view, is absolutely unofficial; this Western power, with its habitual diplomatic cleverness — also called hypocrisy in the strict sense of the word — presents a facade of displeasure before the measures adopted by the government of Ian Smith. Its crafty attitude is supported by some Commonwealth countries that follow it, but is attacked by a large group of countries belonging to Black Africa, whether they are or not servile economic lackeys of British imperialism.

Should the rebellious efforts of these patriots succeed and this movement receive the effective support of neighboring African nations, the situation in Rhodesia may become extremely explosive. But for the moment all these problems are being discussed in harmless organizations such as the UN, the Commonwealth, and the OAU.

The social and political evolution of Africa does not lead us to expect a continental revolution. The liberation struggle against the Portuguese should end victoriously, but Portugal does not mean anything in the imperialist field. The confrontations of revolutionary importance are those which place at bay all the imperialist apparatus; this does not mean, however, that we should stop fighting for the liberation of the three Portuguese colonies and for the deepening of their revolutions.

When the black masses of South Africa or Rhodesia start their authentic revolutionary struggle, a new era will dawn in Africa. Or when the impoverished masses of a nation rise up to rescue their right to a decent life from the hands of the ruling oligarchies.

Up to now, army putsches follow one another; a group of officers succeeds another or substitutes a ruler who no longer serves their caste interests or those of the powers who covertly manage him — but there are no great popular upheavals. In the Congo these characteristics appeared briefly, generated by the memory of Lumumba, but they have been losing strength in the last few months. ..."

editformat

Edited by John Dolva, 17 October 2011 - 05:14 PM.


#60 John Dolva

John Dolva

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 9,543 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Australia
  • Interests:remembering the two towers of 13,000 children that fall down, dying of starvation, preventable diseases, lack of clean water and basic health needs every 1 1/2 hours 24/7/365...
    9/11? Bah...
    ...Viva Che'...
    living in a nice world

Posted 23 October 2011 - 03:43 PM


Raúl receives Congolese President

Obama sending troops to aid Africa anti-insurgency


It was not the warning systems that have been found wanting but the ability of world leaders to support and resource regional governments, the UN and aid agencies to ensure there was early and effective action, particularly in war-torn Somalia.

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Somalia's most dangerous militant group threatened Kenya with suicide attacks on Monday, saying Nairobi's skyscrapers would be destroyed and its tourism industry ruined in an ominous warning one day after Kenyan troops poured into Somalia.

Obama sending troops to aid Africa anti-insurgency ... sent to advise, not engage in combat, unless forced to defend themselves. ( Hmm ... where have I read that before? )


http://www.johnpilge...ts-crown-jewels


The Son of Africa claims a continent’s crown jewels

20 October 2011
On 14 October, President Barack Obama announced he was sending United States special forces troops to Uganda to join the civil war there. In the next few months, US combat troops will be sent to South Sudan, Congo and Central African Republic. They will only "engage" for "self-defence", says Obama, satirically. With Libya secured, an American invasion of the African continent is under way.


Obama's decision is described in the press as "highly unusual" and "surprising", even "weird". It is none of these things. It is the logic of American foreign policy since 1945. Take Vietnam. The priority was to halt the influence of China, an imperial rival, and "protect" Indonesia, which President Nixon called "the region's richest hoard of natural resources... the greatest prize". Vietnam merely got in the way; and the slaughter of more than three million Vietnamese and the devastation and poisoning of their land was the price of America achieving its goal. Like all America's subsequent invasions, a trail of blood from Latin America to Afghanistan and Iraq, the rationale was usually "self defence" or "humanitarian", words long emptied of their dictionary meaning.


In Africa, says Obama, the "humanitarian mission" is to assist the government of Uganda defeat the Lord's resistance Army (LRA), which "has murdered, raped and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women and children in central Africa". This is an accurate description of the LRA, evoking multiple atrocities administered by the United States, such as the bloodbath in the 1960s following the CIA-arranged murder of Patrice Lumumba, the Congolese independence leader and first legally elected prime minister, and the CIA coup that installed Mobutu Sese Seko, regarded as Africa's most venal tyrant.


Obama's other justification also invites satire. This is the "national security of the United States". The LRA has been doing its nasty work for 24 years, of minimal interest to the United States. Today, it has few than 400 fighters and has never been weaker. However, US "national security" usually means buying a corrupt and thuggish regime that has something Washington wants. Uganda's "president-for-life" Yoweri Museveni already receives the larger part of $45 million in US military "aid" - including Obama's favourite drones. This is his bribe to fight a proxy war against America's latest phantom Islamic enemy, the rag-tag al Shabaab group based in Somalia. The RTA will play a public relations role, distracting western journalists with its perennial horror stories.


However, the main reason the US is invading Africa is no different from that which ignited the Vietnam war. It is China. In the world of self-serving, institutionalised paranoia that justifies what General David Petraeus, the former US commander and now CIA director, implies is a state of perpetual war, China is replacing al-Qaeda as the official American "threat". When I interviewed Bryan Whitman, an assistant secretary of defence at the Pentagon last year, I asked him to describe the current danger to America. Struggling visibly, he repeated, "Asymmetric threats ... asymmetric threats". These justify the money-laundering state-sponsored arms conglomerates and the biggest military and war budget in history. With Osama bin Laden airbrushed, China takes the mantle.


Africa is China's success story. Where the Americans bring drones and destabilisation, the Chinese bring roads, bridges and dams. What they want is resources, especially fossil fuels. With Africa's greatest oil reserves, Libya under Muammar Gaddafi was one of China's most important sources of fuel. When the civil war broke out and Nato backed the "rebels" with a fabricated story about Gaddafi planning "genocide" in Benghazi, China evacuated its 30,000 workers in Libya. The subsequent UN security council resolution that allowed the west's "humanitarian intervention" was explained succinctly in a proposal to the French government by the "rebel" National Transitional Council, disclosed last month in the newspaper Liberation, in which France was offered 35 per cent of Libya's gross national oil production "in exchange" (the term used) for "total and permanent" French support for the NTC. Running up the Stars and Stripes in "liberated" Tripoli last month, US ambassador Gene Cretz blurted out: "We know that oil is the jewel in the crown of Libyan natural resources!"


The de facto conquest of Libya by the US and its imperial partners heralds a modern version of the "scramble for Africa" at the end of the 19th century.

Like the "victory" in Iraq, journalists have played a critical role in dividing Libyans into worthy and unworthy victims. A recent Guardian front page carried a photograph of a terrified "pro-Gaddafi" fighter and his wild-eyed captors who, says the caption, "celebrate". According to General Petraeus, there is now a war "of perception... conducted continuously through the news media".


For more than a decade the US has tried to establish a command on the continent of Africa, AFRICOM, but has been rebuffed by governments, fearful of the regional tensions this would cause. Libya, and now Uganda, South Sudan and Congo, provide the main chance. As WikiLeaks cables and the US National Strategy for Counter-terrorism reveal, American plans for Africa are part of a global design in which 60,000 special forces, including death squads, already operate in 75 countries, soon to be 120. As Dick Cheney pointed out in his 1990s "defence strategy" plan, America simply wishes to rule the world.


That this is now the gift of Barack Obama, the "Son of Africa", is supremely ironic. Or is it? As Frantz Fanon explained in 'Black Skin, White Masks', what matters is not so much the colour of your skin as the power you serve and the millions you betray.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users