Tuesday, October 07, 2003
This is interesting. There's a blog and a site dedicated to the return of Ethiopia's Maqdala treasures. Read all about it.

A reader points out that Sam Nujoma of Namibia also is eyeing president-for-life. This is pretty odd:
In April last year it was announced a new State House would be built for R186m, provoking bitter opposition pro- tests that this was wasteful in a country where more than a third of the population earns less than R7 a day. The total rapidly reached R468m as the project became increasingly grandiose.

Construction work on the 40,4ha site was started this year by Mansudae Overseas Projects, the same North Korean firm appointed without tender to build the giant Heroes Acre monument in Windhoek whose centrepiece is a many times life-size bronze statue of Nujoma wielding an AK-47.

Like Robert Mugabe, Nujoma is another of Africa's "freedom fighters," a status which puts them well above any criticism, especially from other African leaders. Now I don't think that Nujoma has abused his power quite as flagrantly as Mugabe... Then again, this article says that "Nujoma denounces all critics as pro-apartheid reactionaries," so that sounds awfully similar.

Monday, October 06, 2003
Seem like people should be paying a lot more attention to Zimbabwe:
AFTER shutting down The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday, Junior Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and Media and Information Commission chairman Tafataona Mahoso say they have turned their guns at The Standard and The Zimbabwe Independent.

Ranting and raving at the official launch of New Ziana, a multi-media State organisation charged with publishing pro-Zanu PF information, an agitated Moyo made it clear that after the closure of the two Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) titles, he was now after The Standard and The Zimbabwe Independent, two newspapers he called "running dogs of imperialism".

I think it's bad that this kind of behavior hasn't been condemned more strongly by Western leaders. But wouldn't you expect more outrage from African presidents?

A Blogs of Noahs webring? I never would have guessed. Go find out about other blogging Noahs.

It's old news now, but US Marines have left Liberia. Mission accomplished? Not to my satisfaction. Yes, Charles Taylor has been removed from power, at least officially speaking, but if stuff like this continues, Liberia is far from secure. The idea seems to be that UN diplomats and ECOWAS peacekeepers will be able to pacify and stabilize the country, remove the thugs of the former regime from positions of power and influence, and guide the country in its transition to democracy.

I hope they can do it, but I'm not too confident.

Denis Boyles on France's Ivory Coast quagmire:
France has been a conflicted leader in Ivory Coast. For one thing, France has a huge and growing Muslim population, and they're all on the side of the rebels — as the government discovered when it tried to arrest some of the rebel leaders in Paris, only to release them when Muslims in both Paris and the northern districts of Ivory Coast squawked. For another, the French method of "peacekeeping" is to put soldiers on the ground, concentrate them in a small area, then declare peace in the place where the soldiers are — but not where they aren't.

The French fiction is that they are working with the rebels and the government to move the country back to a minimum of security, but in fact the government in Ivory Coast is make-believe.

The current government certainly isn't going to last long. It looks like it's just an interim situation until one faction or another gains an upper hand (politically or militarily) and succeeds in pushing the others from power.

Don't get me wrong--I'd like to see France succeed (in the sense that I'd like to see a peaceful and democratic Ivory Coast), but I'm afraid that this will never be the result of France's current policy.

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