For part four of “The future of Africa looks bleak”, instead of doing a full write-up connecting all the dots as we did in the Introduction, “Part 1: Western Powers Go Full Retard on Africa: China vs. AFRICOM, a Resource War”, “Part 2: France Has Forgotten the Battle of Algiers, Africa Never Will”, and “Part 3: Recolonization of Africa, a Symptom of Our Addiction to Growth: Differential Accumulation, Why GDP Growth Rates Influence Foreign Policy”, I thought it would suffice to provide links to some of the most recent developments, news and information, that would complement our discussion so far.
The picture being painted should be quite clear, after all, what else would anyone think was happening in Africa other than the recolonization of its land and the subjugation of its people.
Western powers did not destroy Libya, a country that had achieved the highest living standard in Africa (1, 2) and did not just start selling weapons to one of the most brutal military dictatorships in Africa (see Egypt below) because they are interested in human rights, peace, prosperity, or a myriad of other reasons that our corporate representatives in government would like us to believe.
We are not in Africa because we care about the children, we are in Africa with force because we need Africa to subsidize Western living standards and corporate profits.
“Africa’s classic depiction in the mainstream media, as a giant basketcase full of endless war, famine and helpless children creates an illusion of a continent utterly dependent on Western handouts. In fact, the precise opposite is true – it is the West that is reliant on African handouts. These handouts come in many and varied forms. They include illicit flows of resources, the profits of which invariably find their way into the West’s banking sector via strings of tax havens.… Another is the mechanism of debt-extortion whereby banks lend money to military rulers (often helped to power by Western governments, such as the Congo’s former President Mobutu), who then keep the money for themselves (often in a private account with the lending bank), leaving the country paying exorbitant interest on an exponentially growing debt.…Additional news and information below:
“Another form of handout would be through the looting of minerals.… Finally, and perhaps most importantly, are the pitifully low prices paid both for African raw materials and for the labour that mines, grows or picks them, which effectively amount to an African subsidy for Western living standards and corporate profits.
“This is the role for which Africa has been ascribed by the masters of the Western capitalist economy: a supplier of cheap resources and cheap labour. And keeping this labour, and these resources, cheap depends primarily on one thing: ensuring that Africa remains underdeveloped and impoverished. If it were to become more prosperous, wages would rise; if it were to become more technologically developed, it would be able to add value to its raw materials through the manufacturing process before exporting them, forcing up the prices paid….
Libya in shock after murder of human rights activist Salwa Bugaighis - “The couple had just returned from voting in Wednesday's election, the attack reminding Libyans of the growing power of extremists in a country racked by violence….
“Bugaighis, a lawyer from a prominent Benghazi family, was among the first to the barricades in Libya's 2011 Arab spring revolution, and later resigned from the first rebel administration, the National Transitional Council, accusing it of freezing-out female members….
“Most recently Bugaighis had been a prominent member of a commission trying to bridge Libya's growing factional divide. That divide appeared as wide as ever on Thursday, with rival militias deployed on the streets of Tripoli and the supreme court suspending sessions amid fears of violence. “
“A car bomb wounded two people outside the assembly designing Libya's constitution in the eastern city of al-Baida and security officials said three soldiers deployed to guard ballot boxes were killed by Islamist militias in Benghazi.”
Additional information on Libya:
Johann Hari: We're not being told the truth on Libya WikiLeaks documents shed light on US-backed intervention in Libya The Top Ten Myths in the War Against Libya Libya Truth (DnB Soundtrack) Libya’s “Water Wars” and Gaddafi’s Great Man-Made River Project France eyes Libya deals after unfreezing $2 billion assets Look at ‘Liberated’ Libya and Despair U.S. moves more forces closer to Libya as unrest grows
Kidnapped Girls Become Tools of U.S. Imperial Policy in Africa - “The ‘humanitarian’ U.S. military occupation of Africa has been very successful, thus far. ‘The Chibok abductions have served the same U.S. foreign policy purposes as Joseph Kony sightings in central Africa.’ Imagine: the superpower that financed the genocide of six million in Congo, claims to be a defender of teenage girls and human rights on the continent. If you believe that, then you are probably a member of the Congressional Black Caucus….
“A chorus of outraged public opinion demands that the ‘international community’ and the Nigerian military ‘Do something!’ about the abduction by Boko Haram of 280 teenage girls. It is difficult to fault the average U.S. consumer of packaged ‘news’ products for knowing next to nothing about what the Nigerian army has actually been ‘doing’ to suppress the Muslim fundamentalist rebels since, as senior columnist Margaret Kimberley pointed out in these pages, last week, the three U.S. broadcast networks carried ‘not a single television news story about Boko Haram’ in all of 2013. (Nor did the misinformation corporations provide a nanosecond of coverage of the bloodshed in the Central African Republic, where thousands died and a million were made homeless by communal fighting over the past year.) But, that doesn’t mean the Nigerian army hasn’t been bombing, strafing, and indiscriminately slaughtering thousands of, mainly, young men in the country’s mostly Muslim north.
“The newly aware U.S. public may or may not be screaming for blood, but rivers of blood have already flowed in the region. Those Americans who read – which, presumably, includes First Lady Michelle Obama, who took her husband’s place on radio last weekend to pledge U.S. help in the hunt for the girls – would have learned in the New York Times of the army’s savage offensive near the Niger border, last May and June. In the town of Bosso, the Nigerian army killed hundreds of young men in traditional Muslim garb ‘Without Asking Who They Are,’ according to the NYT headline. ‘They don’t ask any questions,’ said a witness who later fled for his life, like thousands of others. ‘When they see young men in traditional robes, they shoot them on the spot,’ said a student. ‘They catch many of the others and take them away, and we don’t hear from them again.’”
The Al Jazeera trial: first they came for the Muslim Brotherhood... - “The Al Jazeera verdicts - roundly condemned by foreign governments, media organisations and human rights groups - are just the tip of the iceberg. Since the unseating (by military coup?) of Morsi a year ago, we’ve had hundreds of people sentenced to death, thousands arrested (estimates range between 16,000 and 41,000), and at least one secret military prison set up where torture is rampant.
“Egypt’s anti-Muslim Brotherhood, anti-Salafist and anti-democracy activist purges have reached such a fever pitch that surely even traditional backers of Egyptian military rulers are starting to squirm. Well, sort of. After the jailing of the Al Jazeera journalists, John Kerry said the sentences were ‘chilling’ and ‘draconian’, and the White House chimed in with its own condemnation. But only a few hours before Peter Greste et al were getting their hefty sentences it emerged that the USA was unfreezing military aid to Egypt (aid cut off last year after the violent ousting of ... the elected president Mohamed Morsi). Though the USA chides Egypt in public, behind the scenes it's still arranging mammoth arms deals - just as it did in the Mubarak era.”
Additional information on Egypt:
"Journalism in Egypt is a Crime": Global Outcry After 3 Al Jazeera Reporters Sentenced to 7-10 Years Egypt is a Police State: Senior Muslim Brotherhood Member Condemns New Mass Death Sentence for 683 Inside the Brutality of Egypt's New Regime: 2,500 Killed, 16,000 Political Prisoners, Torture Allegations Are Widespread
IV. Sudan and Somalia
South Sudan crisis: Donors pledge $600m at conference - “Donors including the US and the UK have pledged more than $600m (£360m; 440m euros) in aid to South Sudan at a conference in Norway. The sum raised will go towards the target of $1.8bn the UN says is needed to help millions facing starvation. UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos says it is still possible to prevent a famine in the conflict-torn country. More than a million people have fled their homes since fighting erupted in December.
“Thousands have now died in the crisis that started as a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar, but escalated into ethnic violence. The conflict has left people unable to farm and with little access to food, aid experts say.”
Map Room: Hidden Waters - “Across Africa, deep beneath a host of varied terrains, vast groundwater reserves lie almost untouched. These aquifers are some 410,000 cubic miles thick and contain 100 times the freshwater that exists on the continent’s surface. As Africa’s population expands, these aquifers could prove critical in increasing food production, reducing poverty, and adapting to climate change.
click image to enlarge
“Last April, scientists published the first comprehensive map of African groundwater reserves in the journal Environmental Research Letters. In the image above, World Policy Journal shows these water resources alongside historic drought conditions in an effort to define the enormous scope of this vital resource. Much of the groundwater lies beneath the Sahel belt, one of the most drought-prone stretches on the planet. Since water scarcity in the Sahel will remain a problem, tapping these hidden freshwater reserves could become a priority.
“Some countries have successfully exploited these gigantic fossil reserves in the past. In 1984, Libya’s surface freshwater was becoming contaminated with saltwater, so Muammar Gaddafi ordered construction of a $25 billion ‘Great Manmade River’ project to extract water from beneath the Sahara and bring it to cities near the sea. Some estimates suggest that despite its price tag, this method was still one-tenth the cost of the alternative—desalinating water from the Mediterranean. Though the “river” works for now, large government subsidies are still the only way most Libyan farmers can afford water to irrigate their crops. And contrary to Gaddafi’s claim that the aquifer would last 4,625 years, independent research has indicated that it will run dry in just 60 to 100.
“Many specialists say drilling fossil reserves should only be a last resort. They are costly to tap, and once they are gone, they are gone forever. Still, last-ditch options like the Libyan strategy could appeal to countries suffering from droughts when there is an abundance of clean freshwater beneath their feet.”
Stunner: Researchers retract paper because company complains it’s hurting profits - “It’s not unusual for us to hear allegations that journals have caved to corporate demands that they retract papers. And companies have certainly objected to the publication of results that painted their products in an unflattering light.
“But what we’ve never explicitly seen is a retraction notice that comes right out and says that the only reason a paper is being removed from the literature is that a company complained. That’s the jaw-dropping case with ‘Visual defects among consumers of processed cassava (gari),’ a paper published earlier this year in the African Journal of Food Sciences:
“The retraction is based on the fact that a Gari processing company has requested the retraction this paper from journal’s website and publisher’s database since it is crumbling their business inputs to their competitors leading to a drastic reduction in customers and consumers hence affecting their productivity and profitability.…
“The incidence of color blindness is higher in gari consumers than the non consumers. Visual defects are correlated to the frequency of eating gari, for how long gari has been eaten and age. The high prevalence of visual defects among the consumers of gari may be due to the exposure to unsafe amount of cyanide in gari that was consumed over a long period of time. This may consequently contribute to high prevalence of blindness and severe visual impairment especially among those aged ≥ 40 years.”
VII. China and the United States
China to build railway linking East Africa - “China has signed a deal to build a $3.8bn railway link between Kenya's Indian Ocean port of Mombasa and Nairobi, the first stage of a line that will eventually link neighbouring Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. The agreement was signed in Nairobi on Sunday by visiting Chinese premier Li Keqiang and witnessed by the presidents of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.
“Under the terms of the deal, Exim Bank of China will provide 90 percent of the cost to replace the crumbling British colonial-era line with a 609km standard-gauge link, and Kenya the remaining 10 percent. Construction is due to start in October and will take three-and-a-half years to complete, with China Communications Construction as the main contractor, the AFP news agency reported.”