Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stop "War" in Africa: Shoot the Leaders

On Freedom Day, let us reflect on the best means to ensure freedom in the world: killing savage war-hungry despots.

Great stuff from Ozzie Saffa.

Africa's Forever Wars

Welcome to Africa - where "classy" freedom fighters are a thing of the past and who have been replaced with predators. All they want is cash, guns, and a license to rampage....

There is a very simple reason why some of Africa's bloodiest, most brutal wars never seem to end: They are not really wars. Not in the traditional sense, at least. The combatants don't have much of an ideology; they don't have clear goals. They couldn't care less about taking over capitals or major cities -- in fact, they prefer the deep bush, where it is far easier to commit crimes. Today's rebels seem especially uninterested in winning converts, content instead to steal other people's children, stick Kalashnikovs or axes in their hands, and make them do the killing. Look closely at some of the continent's most intractable conflicts, from the rebel-laden creeks of the Niger Delta to the inferno in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and this is what you will find.

What we are seeing is the decline of the classic African liberation movement and the proliferation of something else -- something wilder, messier, more violent, and harder to wrap our heads around. If you'd like to call this war, fine. But what is spreading across Africa like a viral pandemic is actually just opportunistic, heavily armed banditry. My job as the New York Times' East Africa bureau chief is to cover news and feature stories in 12 countries. But most of my time is spent immersed in these un-wars.

I've witnessed up close -- often way too close -- how combat has morphed from soldier vs. soldier (now a rarity in Africa) to soldier vs. civilian. Most of today's African fighters are not rebels with a cause; they're predators. That's why we see stunning atrocities like eastern Congo's rape epidemic, where armed groups in recent years have sexually assaulted hundreds of thousands of women, often so sadistically that the victims are left incontinent for life. What is the military or political objective of ramming an assault rifle inside a woman and pulling the trigger? Terror has become an end, not just a means.

This is the story across much of Africa, where nearly half of the continent's 53 countries are home to an active conflict or a recently ended one. Quiet places such as Tanzania are the lonely exceptions; even user-friendly, tourist-filled Kenya blew up in 2008. Add together the casualties in just the dozen countries that I cover, and you have a death toll of tens of thousands of civilians each year. More than 5 million have died in Congo alone since 1998, the International Rescue Committee has estimated.

Of course, many of the last generation's independence struggles were bloody, too. South Sudan's decades-long rebellion is thought to have cost more than 2 million lives. But this is not about numbers. This is about methods and objectives, and the leaders driving them. Uganda's top guerrilla of the 1980s, Yoweri Museveni, used to fire up his rebels by telling them they were on the ground floor of a national people's army. Museveni became president in 1986, and he's still in office (another problem, another story). But his words seem downright noble compared with the best-known rebel leader from his country today, Joseph Kony, who just gives orders to burn.

Even if you could coax these men out of their jungle lairs and get them to the negotiating table, there is very little to offer them. They don't want ministries or tracts of land to govern. Their armies are often traumatized children, with experience and skills (if you can call them that) totally unsuited for civilian life. All they want is cash, guns, and a license to rampage. And they've already got all three. How do you negotiate with that?

The short answer is you don't. The only way to stop today's rebels for real is to capture or kill their leaders. Many are uniquely devious characters whose organizations would likely disappear as soon as they do. That's what happened in Angola when the diamond-smuggling rebel leader Jonas Savimbi was shot, bringing a sudden end to one of the Cold War's most intense conflicts. In Liberia, the moment that warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor was arrested in 2006 was the same moment that the curtain dropped on the gruesome circus of 10-year-old killers wearing Halloween masks. Countless dollars, hours, and lives have been wasted on fruitless rounds of talks that will never culminate in such clear-cut results. The same could be said of indictments of rebel leaders for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. With the prospect of prosecution looming, those fighting are sure never to give up.

How did we get here? Maybe it's pure nostalgia, but it seems that yesteryear's African rebels had a bit more class. They were fighting against colonialism, tyranny, or apartheid. The winning insurgencies often came with a charming, intelligent leader wielding persuasive rhetoric. These were men like John Garang, who led the rebellion in southern Sudan with his Sudan People's Liberation Army. He pulled off what few guerrilla leaders anywhere have done: winning his people their own country. Thanks in part to his tenacity, South Sudan will hold a referendum next year to secede from the North. Garang died in a 2005 helicopter crash, but people still talk about him like a god. Unfortunately, the region without him looks pretty godforsaken. I traveled to southern Sudan in November to report on how ethnic militias, formed in the new power vacuum, have taken to mowing down civilians by the thousands.


6 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

GOOGLE NEWS: Greenpeace has today released a statement appealing to all African leaders for more wars to better control African population growth as they are one of the main causes of global warming. The South African president has stated that South Africa has contributed to reducing global warming by ensuring that the South African population is culled by crime and HIV medications are now given free to one and all. He reasons that with the African lack of resposibility and extending their lives with HIV medication they will continue to pursue woman without using condoms (as its against their culture) helping to spread HIV for longer taking down more with them.

Greepeace had applauded Mr Zuma for his efforts and hope to see negative population growth in the near future failing which a civil war has been called for. The South African Finance Minister Mr Kak en Betaal stated that in the next 40 years South Africa would be able to half it current government pension recievers leaving more money available for Ministers car allowances.

Foolius Malema the president in waiting has stated at a rally in Johannesburg on Freedom Day that no black man should wear a condom as its a white mans invention used to control the blacks population. He started singing the controversial freedom song, "One Penis, Two little time" to which the crowd grabbed each other crotches singing along as if it was a 1970's YMCA rally.

Bob Mugabe has appealed for Western countries to extend cap and trade to Zimbabwe as the country has more than enough "Green Dollars" after killing so many of their own. When asked if he understood cap and trade his Finance Minister replied, "Yes we cap your ass and then trade you for green points". Mr Mugabe has also stated that in the next 2 years they would have more than enough electricity and would sell electricity back to South Africa as an Independant Power producer (IPP) all from renewable energy.

When asked how this would be done he explained that instead of burials they will mandate that everyone is cremated creating electricity from the dead. He further stated that with the death and birth rates, Zimbabwe would become a leader in the region as thier renewable energy is limitless. With so many paupers the IPP (Independant Pauper Power)would be seen as the first black created invention which the white man would want to steal and take the idea back to Europe.

- Who cares if the blacks kill of each other. They don't seem to be bothered to much, why should I?

Anonymous said...

Excellent article and I would differ with the author on only one aspect.

"They were fighting against colonialism, tyranny, or apartheid."

They were not fighting against colonialism or apartheid. These were just convenient excuses to justify the fighting.

The problem they have today is that they have no more excuses for fighting and thus no reason to continue fighting. Yet they continue to fight, as if they are fighting against inner demons.

We do know that their lack at being able to assimilate into modern societies that operate on IQ is a major reason why for them, the struggle will never be over.

Take education for instance. In the apartheid days it was an convenient excuse to blame their lack at achieving educations on the whites. Since the abolishment of apartheid one would have expected the blacks to make use of their new found "freedom" and to get the previously "denied" educations. Instead after 1994 the blacks that are managing to get through school have dropped even further. Thus another excuse they had for blaming their failure on the white man was proved to be false.

The reason why the blacks continue to fight, or as they put it "to struggle" is because they as a stone age people have not evolved far enough to be able to adapt to the society of the white man.

For them the struggle is eternal.


Trey Cruz said...

"Shoot the Leaders" indeed; beginning with Zuma, Malema and the rest of the excreble enwords of the ANC that bestride suffering South Africa like brain damaged, syphilitic Cyclopes.
The "Nigga" cannot rule a nation; hell, they cannot even rule themselves.
They have all the impulse control of the average diaper wearing one year old..[just ask Zuma's rape victims].

Para Bellum said...

These "wars" are simply the continuation of the inter-tribal conflicts that were stopped by strong, intelligent, white governments.

Black governments have NO interest in stopping them as they are linked to thier tribes. Look for much of the same in SA after "the old man" (Mandela) dies. The amaZulu are positively salivating at the thought of going after "those dogs" (isiXhosa).

These little wars impoverish the entire region but they create immense riches for the top people involved.

Removing the head of the snake would go a long way to stopping this kind of "war".

Anonymous said...

The question in SA is, will the enfeebled white segment either want to, or be able to stop, a major tribal conflict?

I say we wash our hands.


Anonymous said...

Question : Looking at the picture. Has Julius Malema been told he has genital warts or not?