Earlier this year I had the great pleasure to visit South Africa. Compared to most Americans, the passing of Nelson Mandela brought tears to my eyes many times as I recalled being in many of the places being shown on countless news shows.
“Forcefulness seems to come easily to Mr Hollande abroad”, noted one commentator for the New York Times, who contrasted the French president’s ailing political performance at home with his robust foreign policy.
Where Francois Hollande looks weak and beleaguered on the national stage, registering as the most unpopular French president ever, his fortunes seem to rise abroad with a strident interventionist foreign policy. We saw that in September when the French president unseated the British as America’s “special friend” by declaring his country’s readiness to join Washington in a military assault on Syria.
The former French African colony of Niger is facing famine – yet again – with international aid agencies reporting this week that up to one million people are currently without access to food.
It is the fourth such crisis to wrack the West African country in recent years, when famines struck similarly in 2012, 2010 and 2005. The immediate cause is extreme climate that has hit crop harvests. But the root cause is the deliberate underdevelopment of Niger under France’s parasitical neo-colonialism.
The bodies of two French journalists murdered in Mali were flown back to France this week – signalling a macabre blowback for President Francois Hollande and his interventionist military policy in Africa.
Hollande and other senior French government figures were at Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris, to pay respects as the coffins of the two journalists arrived amid a somber mood of national mourning.
Obama’s global terror campaign is not only dependent upon his drone assassination program, but increasingly it has come to rely upon the deployment of Special Operations forces in countries all over the world, reportedly between 70 and 120 countries at any one time. As Obama has sought to draw down the large-scale ground invasions of countries (as Bush pursued in Afghanistan and Iraq), he has escalated the world of ‘covert warfare,’ largely outside the oversight of Congress and the public. Continue reading
They speak of democracy, but act violently to suppress dissenting voices and control the people through the inculcation of fear: they ignore human rights and trample on the people, they are a tyrannical wolf in democratic sheep’s clothing, causing suffering and misery to thousands of people throughout Ethiopia. The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) government repeatedly scoffs at international law and consistently acts in violation of their own Federal constitution – a liberal document written by the regime to please and deceive their foreign supporters. Continue reading
Paul Theroux has long held the title of Dean of Travel Writers, as well as being an accomplished novelist and insightful literary and social critic. He started off his career in Africa where he taught for six years, and wrote about his travels around the continent. In his most recent travel book, The Last Train To Zona Verde—Overland From Cape Town To Angola (The Penguin Group, 2013), Theroux brings a thoughtful perspective unavailable to anyone without his experience in Africa.
talkingsticktv on Aug 18, 2013
Talk by Eric Holt-Gimenez, Executive Director of Food First – Institute for Food and Development Policy given August 2, 2013 at the Justice Begins With Seeds 2013 International Conference at Seattle First Presbyterian Church in Seattle, WA. Continue reading
In many parts of the world development has become an invisible cloak under which all manner of “state sponsored” atrocities and human rights violations are being committed. Married to growth, development has been (largely) reduced to economic advancement – meaning maximizing Gross National Product (GNP) figures month on month, year on year, and turning over glowing returns to the insatiable global monetary bodies – The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and – profit to private investors. No matter the human impact and environmental consequences.
To many people land is much more than a resource or corporate commodity to be bought developed and sold for a profit. Identity, cultural history and livelihood are all connected to ‘place’. The erosion of traditional values and morality (which include the observation of human rights and environmental responsibility) are some of the many negative effects of the global neo-liberal economic model, with its focus on short-term gain and material benefit. The commercialization of everything and everybody has become the destructive goal of multi-nationals, and their corporate governments manically driven by the desire for perpetual growth as the elixir to life’s problems.
Many people living outside Africa, most perhaps, have never heard of the Ogaden (or Somali) region of Ethiopia, they know nothing of the murders, rapes and destruction that the ethnic Somali’s allege are taking place there. We all have our problems and what can I do anyway, these governments are corrupt, we – meaning western governments shouldn’t be sending them money, especially now with all the public sector cuts taking place. So runs the uninformed, albeit understandable response.
Dancing to the tune of their corporate benefactors, governments of the ruling G8 countries are enacting complex agriculture agreements delivering large tracts of prime cut African soil into the portfolios of their multinational bedmates.
Desperate for foreign investment, countries throughout Africa are at the mercy of their new colonial masters – national and international agrochemical corporations, fighting for land, water and control of the world’s food supplies. Continue reading
This article may contain language depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be read by a mature audience.
The Ethiopian military and paramilitary forces, operating in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, are, it is alleged, carrying out extra judicial killings and gang rapes; falsely arresting and torturing innocent civilians; looting and destroying villages and crops in a systematic attempt to terrify the people. This is the consistent message coming out of the region and from those who have fled persecution and are now in the world’s largest refugee camp, in Dadaab, Kenya. Continue reading
How to describe the actions of Britain and France towards Syria and by extension, the wider Middle East and Africa regions?
This week, the insane British and French mis-rulers gave notice that they intend pouring fuel on the Syrian crisis – a crisis that they largely instigated – by openly sending more heavy weapons to the Western-backed mercenaries tearing that country apart.
It should be patently obvious that the murderous rampage against Syrian civilians that is entering its third year could not be sustained if it were not for the relentless Western government and media support. Continue reading