"Consider the extent to which he Second World War of just 6 years duration has pervaded the consciousness of our developed world for 2 generations
and imagine how 4 centuries of enslavement might have seized the entire social and cultural ethos of an undeveloped continent."
Why are there so Many Conflicts in Africa?
Why are there so Many Dead every Year?
Why do People Starve every Year?
Why do they Die of completly Curable Diseases?
Why is this Human Tragedy in Africa SO Ignored?
Why don't the People Talk about it?
If it Happened in Heart of Europe (like for example the Yugoslav Civil-War did) people would call it World War 3, and I am sure that the International
Community would actually DO SOMETHING about the Problem, to Solve it. But Instead, the Ongoing African Suffering, seems to have no end at all.
CONFLICTS IN AFRICA
There have recently been numerous civil wars and conflicts going in Africa, some of which are still going on, including:
- The Democratic Republic of Congo
- Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
- Sierra Leone
No less than 28 Sub-Saharan African states have been at war since 1980, as pointed out by
International development organization.
I will not get Into Detail of Each and Every Conflict in this Post - maybe Later, this is more of an Introduction for this Thread.
ROOTS OF AFRICAN CONFLICTS
- The Legacy of European Colonialism
European colonialism had a devastating impact on Africa; the artificial boundaries created by colonial rulers as they ruled and finally left Africa
had the effect of bringing together many different ethnic people within a nation that did not reflect, nor have (in such a short period of time) the
ability to accommodate or provide for, the cultural and ethnic diversity. The freedom from imperial powers was, and is still, not a smooth transition.
- The natural struggle to rebuild is proving difficult
The natural struggle to rebuild is proving difficult and the transit from colonialism to a so-called modern society is not an easy, short one and it
can not be overcome in just few years.
"We must remember that the European agreements that had carved up Africa into states paid little attention to cultural and ethnic boundaries
and ethnic groups had little opportunity or need to form political alliances or accommodations under repressive colonial rule."
Richard H. Robbins, Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism
- Unequal International Trade; Comparative Disadvantage
Colonialism had thus transformed an entire continent. Vast plantations and cash crop-based, or other extractive economies were set up throughout. Even
as colonial administrators parted, they left behind supportive elites that, in effect, continued the siphoning of Africa's wealth. Thus has
colonialism had a major impact on the economics of the region today. Colonialism in the traditional sense may have ended, but the end results are much
- Cold War by Proxy; Supporting and Arming Dictatorships in Africa
Throughout the Cold War, major powers such as the USA, the Soviet Union and others supported various regimes and dictatorships. Some possibly
promising leaders in the early days of the indepence movements throughout the Third World were overthrown.
- Corporate Interests, Exploitation, Corruption and Other Issues
Corporate interests and activities in Africa have also contributed to exploitation, conflict and poverty for ordinary people while enriching African
and foreign elites. Just an easy acess to vast natural resources and to fuel rebellions with arms sales.
It is more then obvious, that the ongoing problems in Africa are the result of western imperialism and the legacy of colonialms, which left Africa and
the People that live there in total state of Chaos, endless Civil Wars, Poverty, Famine, Hunger and spreading Diseases.
And the Western MAINSTREAM Media does practicly Nothing in order to Inform the Public or to increase the awerness for this World problem. Most news
can be found on the internet, but other means of mass media are just simply ignoring that.
"The five permanent members of the UN Security Council—France, Russia, China, the UK, and the USA—together account for 88 per cent of the
world’s conventional arms exports; and these exports contribute regularly to gross abuses of human rights."
It is no news, that during the Cold War the Superpowers used Africa for Dumping ground for their older and used weapons. It is no news, that USA,
Russia, Europe and China are a big part of this business.
Due to the continuing legacies of its Cold War policies toward Africa, the US bears Responsibility for the cycles of violence and economic problems
plaguing the continent. The ongoing civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) is a prime example of the devastating legacy of
US arms sales policy on Africa.
At least 3.3 million people, mostly Women, Children and the Elderly, are estimated to have died because of the conflict, most from disease and
starvation, and more than 2.25 million people have been driven from their homes, many of them beyond the reach of humanitarian agencies.
Ofcourse the Real Weapons of Mass Destruction are the Small Arms:
- There are around half a billion military small arms around the world
- They are the major cause of civilian casualties in modern conflicts
- Some 300,000 to half a million people around the world are killed by them each year
Whats more Troubeling are the Following Facts:
The Arms Industry
From 1998 to 2001, the USA, the UK, and France earned more income from arms sales to developing countries than they gave in aid.
The arms industry is unlike any other. It operates without regulation. It suffers from widespread corruption and bribes. And it makes its profits on
the back of machines designed to kill and maim human beings.
"We can’t have it both ways. We can’t be both the world’s leading champion of peace and the world’s leading supplier of arms."
Former US President Jimmy Carter, presidential campaign, 1976
World Policy Institute
- The United States transferred weaponry to 18 of the 25 countries involved in active conflicts
- More than half of the top 25 recipients of U.S. arms transfers in the developing world (13) were defined as undemocratic by the State
- When countries designated by the State Department’s Human Rights Report to have poor human rights records or serious patterns of abuse are
factored in, 20 of the top 25 U.S. arms clients in the developing world in 2003—a full 80%—were either undemocratic regimes or governments with
records of major human rights abuses.
A Ban on Private Ownership of Military Weapons Including Assault Rifles and Grenade
Launchers? Bush Administration Just Says NO!
John Bolton, the U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control, bluntly told the delegates that “The United States will not join consensus on
a final document that contains measures contrary to our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.” He also said the United States, the largest
supplier of arms worldwide, would not support moves to outlaw any arming of rebel groups, nor would it help fund a campaign by human rights groups to
raise awareness of the trade. He also said the U.S. would not support a ban on private ownership of military weapons, including assault rifles and
"Trade, not aid"
UN Conference on Small Arms
The Conference, held July 9-20, 2001, began on a rather sour tone with the statement of U.S. Under Secretary of State John Bolton, who expressed
the U.S. position on the issue of small arms and the Conference in no uncertain terms. Bolton stressed that the Conference should address only the
illicit transfer of military style weapons, excluding firearms and non-military rifles (the weapons responsible for terrible carnage and destruction
around the world every year).
Bolton bluntly stated the position of the United States in front of the ministerial-level portion of the meeting, describing the U.S. “redlines,”
items unacceptable for inclusion in the Conference plan. Bolton stated that the United States could not support a final Conference document that
- restrictions on the legal trade and manufacture of small arms and light weapons;
- promotion of international advocacy by NGOs and international organizations;
- restrictions on the sale of small arms and light weapons to entities other than governments;
- a mandatory review conference; and
- a commitment to begin discussions on legally binding agreements.
is regarded as an important part of development promoted by some nations.
Meeting the Challenge of Poverty Reduction
Some Northern governments have stressed that “trade not aid” should be the dominant theme at the [March 2002 Monterrey] conference [on
Financing for Development]. That approach is disingenuous on two counts. First, rich countries have failed to open their markets to poor countries.
Second, increased aid is vital for the world’s poorest countries if they are to grasp the opportunities provided through trade.
Recently, there was an EU pledge to spend 0.56% of GNI (Gross National Income) on poverty Reduction by 2010, and 0.7% by 2015. The Problem is, that
lmost ALL Rich nations have Constantly failed to reach their agreed obligations of the 0.7% target. Instead of 0.7%, the amount of aid has been
around 0.2 to 0.4%, some $100 billion short.
For example, USA’s aid, in terms of Percentage of their GNP has almost ALWAYS been Lower than any other Industrialized nation in the world,
though paradoxically in the last four years, their dollar amount has been the highest!
(Why Recent Increases in Development Aid Fail to Help the
Net ODA in 2004 as US dollar amounts
So according to ODA numbers, the United States are placed on almost the Last place with the percentage of GNI used for Foreign Help - only a slight
change in their Policy, to actually increase that percentage from 0.17 to the desired 0.7%, would SIGNIFICANTLY increase the ammount of Help for those
who Really need it.
: US Will 'Seek Advice On Spending Aid
"Commenting on the latest US pledge [of $10 billion], Julian Borger and Charlotte Denny of the Guardian (UK) say Washington is desperate to
deflect attention in Monterrey from the size of its aid budget. But for more generous donors, says the story, Washington’s conversion to the cause
of effective aid spending is hard to swallow. Among the big donors, the US has the worst record for spending its aid budget on itself—70 percent of
its aid is spent on US goods and services. And more than half is spent in middle income countries in the Middle East. Only $3bn a year goes to South
Asia and sub-Saharan Africa."
Myth: More US aid will help the hungry
- First, US economic assistance is highly concentrated on a few governments. Its focus has nothing to do with poverty
- Second, aid is used as a lever to impose structural adjustment packages on the third world. Since the 1980s US foreign assistance worldwide has
been conditioned on the adoption of structural adjustment packages designed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
- Third, food aid often does not target the hungry. When they hear about foreign aid, many people automatically think of ships loaded with food, but
such aid constitutes only a fraction of total U.S. bilateral foreign aid, hovering around 9 percent during the 1990s
- Fourth, food aid can actually forestall agricultural development that could otherwise alleviate hunger. The inflow of food aid-even in many
emergency cases-has proved time and again to be detrimental to local farm economies. Cheap, subsidized, or free U.S. grains undercut the prices of
locally produced food, driving local farmers out of business and into cities
- Fifth, through military aid, the United States contributes directly to armed conflicts around the world-which are a major cause of hunger and
famine. Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. military aid has declined, yet in 1998 it still totaled $6 billion, outweighing development assistance by
a six-to-one ratio
- Sixth, “good” aid projects serve a public relations, “window dressing” or “fig leaf” function that obscures an uglier reality. Focusing
on the best projects funded by USAID can be misleading as to the overall impact of foreign aid
- Finally, even most “development assistance” fails to help the poor and hungry. Only 18 percent of U.S. bilateral aid is even called development
After years of studying our foreign aid program, we have learned that foreign aid is only as good as the recipient government. Foreign aid only
reinforces the status quo. It cannot transform an antidemocratic process working against the majority into a participatory government shaped in its
12 Myths About Hunger
So, there you have it. It is pretty much clear, that the African people are Trapped inside a giant Prison Island called Africa. Foreign Nations and
Goverments - or better yet, CORPORATIONS - have really shown little Mercy or Compassion for the Suffering of this People, and are as we speak,
Exploiting them and their Land further. Maybe the days of colonization have ended, but there is still a silent and deadly new form of
going on, aone that is skilfully crafted, to keep the Rich in Control, and the Poor imprisoned in their own little Prison, that
the Rich have crafted for them.
Puppets of Purse
Thus, status quo in world relations is maintained. Rich countries like the US continue to have a financial lever to dictate what good governance
means and to pry open markets of developing countries for multinational corporations. Developing countries have no such handle for Northern markets,
even in sectors like agriculture and textiles, where they have an advantage but continue to face trade barriers and subsidies. The estimated annual
cost of Northern trade barriers to Southern economies is over US $100 billion, much more than what developing countries receive in
And at the End, some Numbers, which tell Alot about the World we live in Today...
Poverty Facts and Stats
- Half the world — nearly three billion people — live on less than two dollars a day
- The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the poorest 48 nations (i.e. a quarter of the world’s countries) is less than the wealth of the world’s
three richest people combined
- Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names
- Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn't
- 51 percent of the world’s 100 hundred wealthiest bodies are corporations
- The wealthiest nation on Earth has the widest gap between rich and poor of any industrialized nation
- The poorer the country, the more likely it is that debt repayments are being extracted directly from people who neither contracted the loans nor
received any of the money
- 20% of the population in the developed nations, consume 86% of the world’s goods
- The top fifth of the world’s people in the richest countries enjoy 82% of the expanding export trade and 68% of foreign direct investment —
the bottom fifth, barely more than 1%
- In 1960, the 20% of the world’s people in the richest countries had 30 times the income of the poorest 20% — in 1997, 74 times as much
- The lives of 1.7 million children will be needlessly lost this year  because world governments have failed to reduce poverty levels
- The developing world now spends $13 on debt repayment for every $1 it receives in grants
- A few hundred millionaires now own as much wealth as the world’s poorest 2.5 billion people
- The 48 poorest countries account for less than 0.4 per cent of global exports
- The combined wealth of the world’s 200 richest people hit $1 trillion in 1999; the combined incomes of the 582 million people living in the 43
least developed countries is $146 billion
- Today, across the world, 1.3 billion people live on less than one dollar a day; 3 billion live on under two dollars a day; 1.3 billion have no
access to clean water; 3 billion have no access to sanitation; 2 billion have no access to electricity.
- The richest 50 million people in Europe and North America have the same income as 2.7 billion poor people. The slice of the cake taken by 1% is
the same size as that handed to the poorest 57%.
- The world’s 497 billionaires in 2001 registered a combined wealth of $1.54 trillion, well over the combined gross national products of all the
nations of sub-Saharan Africa ($929.3 billion) or those of the oil-rich regions of the Middle East and North Africa ($1.34 trillion). It is also
greater than the combined incomes of the poorest half of humanity
- A mere 12 percent of the world’s population uses 85 percent of its water, and these 12 percent do not live in the Third World
Do Not Give the Needy Money: Build Them Industries Instead
With the record of corruption within impoverished countries, people will question giving them money. That can be handled by giving them the
industry directly, not the money. To build a balanced economy, provide consumer buying power, and develop arteries of commerce that will absorb the
production of these industries, contractors and labor in those countries should be used. Legitimacy and security of contracts is the basis of any
sound economy. Engineers know what those costs should be and, if cost overruns start coming in, the contractor who has proven incapable should be
replaced—just as any good contract would require…. When provided the industry, as opposed to the money to build industry, those people will have
physical capital. The only profits to be made then are in production; there is no development money to intercept and send to a Swiss bank
This is not the End - be sure that other posts will Follow...
SOURCES & LINKS:
Center for Defence Information
Stockholm International Peace Research Institut
Arms Sales Monitoring Project
International Institute for Strategic Studies
Campaign Against Arms Trade
Council for a Livable World
Arms Control Association
UN - Peace & Security throught Disarmament
Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
Economists for Peace & Security
Arms Control Association
Los Alamos Study Group
Institute for Democratic Economy
Bretton Woods Project
Third World Network
Focus on Global South
50 Years is ENOUGH
Communicating Development Research
World Food Programme
Reality of Aid
The Development Group for Alternative Policies
International Crisis Group
A Strategic Organization for the End of World Hunger
Human Rights Watch - Africa
Africa Dot Com
African Center for Peace, Education & Stability
Africa - Wikipedia
African Studies - Colombia University
Africa South of Sahara - Stanford University
African Studies - Chicago Universtiy
African Studies Center - University of Pennsylvania
Africa - Open Directory Project
Norwegian Council for Africa
[edit on 1/2/06 by Souljah]