Thursday, July 24, 2008


That the problem with Africa is Africans and that aid won't cure it is a truth that almost everyone skates around. One compassionate Irish columnist has finally had enough of the prevarications, however, and has spoken out. Below in chonological order are three of his articles so far on the subject. H/T Hibernia Girl

Africa is giving nothing to anyone -- apart from AIDS

By Kevin Myers

No. It will not do. Even as we see African states refusing to take action to restore something resembling civilisation in Zimbabwe, the begging bowl for Ethiopia is being passed around to us, yet again. It is nearly 25 years since Ethiopia's (and Bob Geldof's) famous Feed The World campaign, and in that time Ethiopia's population has grown from 33.5 million to 78 million today.

So why on earth should I do anything to encourage further catastrophic demographic growth in that country? Where is the logic? There is none. To be sure, there are two things saying that logic doesn't count. One is my conscience, and the other is the picture, yet again, of another wide-eyed child, yet again, gazing, yet again, at the camera, which yet again, captures the tragedy of . . . Sorry. My conscience has toured this territory on foot and financially. Unlike most of you, I have been to Ethiopia; like most of you, I have stumped up the loot to charities to stop starvation there. The wide-eyed boy-child we saved, 20 years or so ago, is now a priapic, Kalashnikov-bearing hearty, siring children whenever the whim takes him.

There is, no doubt a good argument why we should prolong this predatory and dysfunctional economic, social and sexual system; but I do not know what it is. There is, on the other hand, every reason not to write a column like this. It will win no friends, and will provoke the self-righteous wrath of, well, the self-righteous, letter-writing wrathful, a species which never fails to contaminate almost every debate in Irish life with its sneers and its moral superiority. It will also probably enrage some of the finest men in Irish life, like John O'Shea, of Goal; and the Finucane brothers, men whom I admire enormously. So be it.

But, please, please, you self-righteously wrathful, spare me mention of our own Famine, with this or that lazy analogy. There is no comparison. Within 20 years of the Famine, the Irish population was down by 30pc. Over the equivalent period, thanks to western food, the Mercedes 10-wheel truck and the Lockheed Hercules, Ethiopia's has more than doubled.

Alas, that wretched country is not alone in its madness. Somewhere, over the rainbow, lies Somalia, another fine land of violent, Kalashnikov-toting, khat-chewing, girl-circumcising, permanently tumescent layabouts. Indeed, we now have almost an entire continent of sexually hyperactive indigents, with tens of millions of people who only survive because of help from the outside world.

This dependency has not stimulated political prudence or commonsense. Indeed, voodoo idiocy seems to be in the ascendant, with the next president of South Africa being a firm believer in the efficacy of a little tap water on the post-coital penis as a sure preventative against infection. Needless to say, poverty, hunger and societal meltdown have not prevented idiotic wars involving Tigre, Uganda, Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea etcetera.

Broad brush-strokes, to be sure. But broad brush-strokes are often the way that history paints its gaudier, if more decisive, chapters. Japan, China, Russia, Korea, Poland, Germany, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the 20th century have endured worse broad brush-strokes than almost any part of Africa. They are now -- one way or another -- virtually all giving aid to or investing in Africa, whereas Africa, with its vast savannahs and its lush pastures, is giving almost nothing to anyone, apart from AIDS.

Meanwhile, Africa's peoples are outstripping their resources, and causing catastrophic ecological degradation. By 2050, the population of Ethiopia will be 177 million: The equivalent of France, Germany and Benelux today, but located on the parched and increasingly protein-free wastelands of the Great Rift Valley.

So, how much sense does it make for us actively to increase the adult population of what is already a vastly over-populated, environmentally devastated and economically dependent country? How much morality is there in saving an Ethiopian child from starvation today, for it to survive to a life of brutal circumcision, poverty, hunger, violence and sexual abuse, resulting in another half-dozen such wide-eyed children, with comparably jolly little lives ahead of them? Of course, it might make you feel better, which is a prime reason for so much charity. But that is not good enough.

For self-serving generosity has been one of the curses of Africa. It has sustained political systems which would otherwise have collapsed. It prolonged the Eritrean-Ethiopian war by nearly a decade. It is inspiring Bill Gates' programme to rid the continent of malaria, when, in the almost complete absence of personal self-discipline, that disease is one of the most efficacious forms of population-control now operating. If his programme is successful, tens of millions of children who would otherwise have died in infancy will survive to adulthood, he boasts. Oh good: then what?I know. Let them all come here. Yes, that's an idea.


Writing what I should have written so many years ago

By Kevin Myers

Last Thursday week, with famine approaching yet again, I wondered about the wisdom of forking out yet more aid to Ethiopia. Since the great famine of the mid-1980s, Ethiopia's population has soared from 33.5 million to 78 million. Now, I do not write civil service reports for the United Nations: I write a newspaper column, and I was deliberately strong in my use of language -- as indeed I had been when writing reports from Ethiopia at the height of that terrible Famine.

I was sure that my column would arouse some hostility: my concerns were intensified when I saw the headline: "Africa has given the world nothing but AIDS." Which was not quite what I said -- the missing "almost" goes a long way; and anyway, my article was about aid, not AIDS. Since dear old Ireland can often enough resemble Lynch Mob Central on PC issues, I braced myself for the worst: and sure enough, in poured the emails. Three hundred on the first day, soon reaching over 800: but, amazingly, 90pc+ were in my support, and mostly from baffled, decent and worried people. The minority who attacked me were risibly predictable, expressing themselves with a vindictive and uninquiring moral superiority. (Why do so many of those who purport to love mankind actually hate people so?)

We did more in Ethiopia a quarter of a century ago than just rescue children from terrible death through starvation: we also saved an evil, misogynistic and dysfunctional social system. Presuming that half the existing population (say, 17 million) of the mid 1980s is now dead through non-famine causes, the total added population from that time is some 60 million, around half of them female.

That is, Ethiopia has effectively gained the entire population of the United Kingdom since the famine. But at least 80pc of Ethiopian girls are circumcised, meaning that no less than 24 million girls suffered this fate, usually without anaesthetics or antiseptic. The UN estimates that 12pc of girls die through septicaemia, spinal convulsions, trauma and blood-loss after circumcision which probably means that around three million little Ethiopian girls have been butchered since the famine -- roughly the same as the number of Jewish women who died in the Holocaust.

So what is the moral justification for saving a baby from death through hunger, in order to give her an even more agonising, almost sacrificial, death aged eight or 13? The practice could have been stamped out, with sufficient political will, as sutti in India once was. And the feminists of the west would never have allowed such unconditional aid to be given to such a wicked and brutal society if it had been run by white men.

But, instead, the state was run by black males, for whom a special race-and-gender dispensation apparently applies: thus the two most politically incorrect sins of our age -- sexism and racism -- by some mysterious moral process, akin to the mathematics of the double-negative, annul one another, and produce an unquestioned positive virtue, called Ethiopia.

I am not innocent in all this. The people of Ireland remained in ignorance of the reality of Africa because of cowardly journalists like me. When I went to Ethiopia just over 20 years ago, I saw many things I never reported -- such as the menacing effect of gangs of young men with Kalashnikovs everywhere, while women did all the work.

In the very middle of starvation and death, men spent their time drinking the local hooch in the boonabate shebeens. Alongside the boonabates were shanty-brothels, to which drinkers would casually repair, to briefly relieve themselves in the scarred orifice of some wretched prostitute (whom God preserve and protect). I saw all this and did not report it, nor the anger of the Irish aid workers at the sexual incontinence and fecklessness of Ethiopian men. Why? Because I wanted to write much-acclaimed, tear-jerkingly purple prose about wide-eyed, fly-infested children -- not cold, unpopular and even "racist" accusations about African male culpability.

Am I able to rebut good and honourable people like John O'Shea, who are now warning us that once again, we must feed the starving Ethiopian children? No, of course I'm not. But I am lost in awe at the dreadful options open to us. This is the greatest moral quandary facing the world. We cannot allow the starving children of Ethiopia to die. Yet the wide-eyed children of 1984-86, who were saved by western medicines and foodstuffs, helped begin the greatest population explosion in human history, which will bring Ethiopia's population to 170 million by 2050. By that time, Nigeria's population will be 340 million, (up from just 19 million in 1930). The same is true over much of Africa.

Thus we are heading towards a demographic holocaust, with a potential premature loss of life far exceeding that of all the wars of the 20th Century. This terrible truth cannot be ignored.

But back in Ireland, there are sanctimonious ginger-groups, which yearn to prevent discussion, and even to imprison those of us who try, however imperfectly, to expose the truth about Africa. And of that saccharine, sickly shower, more tomorrow.


Is this the tolerance that our thought-police take pride in?

By Kevin Myers

On the one hand, I expected some uproar in Ireland over my piece about Ethiopia on July 10. But there really wasn't any. On the other, I didn't expect an attempt to jail me by a state-sponsored body. Yet Denise Charlton, of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, has urged An Garda Siochana to investigate me under a special law, by which I could be tried and imprisoned for two years without even the benefit of a jury.

Oh, Denise, Denise, you silly, silly little girl: have you nothing better to do with your time and talents than to try to get someone jailed for saying something you dislike? So there we are. The apparatchiks of the equality industry merely have to contemplate the sector of their psyche wherein their self-righteous emotions reside: and if these are sufficiently overwrought, they decide that a hate-crime has been committed.

Actually, I hate no-one. Personal, political and racial hatreds are the most corrosive and ruinous of all passions. Why, I don't even hate Robert Mugabe, or his chum, the former Ethiopian dictator, the lovely Mengistu, who is hiding out in Zimbabwe, or the Emperor Bokassa, or Idi Amin, and any of those fine fellows who have brought such lustre to the name of Africa.

And so, not hating, I certainly don't want anyone to hate anyone else either. However, I know and feel and applaud measured hostility, the guardian of our civilisation, and the father of our laws. Measured hostility is what puts the gunman behind bars: it drives the mugger from the street and the burglar from our homes.

It also protects freedom of speech from those who would steal it from us -- most particularly in Ireland of today, the quango thought-police of doctrinaire liberalism, and single-issue vigilantes in the media. This latter group is most conspicuous in Metro Eireann, the magazine of full-time, professional immigrants: that is, immigrants who write about immigration. Gosh: what interesting and varied lives you people lead! METRO e-mailed me the following questions.
"1. Do you agree with the charges levelled against you by the Immigrant Council of Ireland (namely that the article can be seen as inspiring racial hatred?) Why/why not?

"2. Do you agree that your article could be misunderstood in some quarters? If so then what is the main idea of it and what was it really trying to say?

"3. Do you agree that some of the statements you made could be offensive to people from Africa who live in Ireland? Did you think about them when writing the piece?

"4. It's definately (sic) not the first time that your writing offended somebody. Can you recall any other instances/ official complaints/death threats etc that you got from, say, the Irish republicans?

"That is all. It would be great if you could answer these questions or give your comment in any way you wish. I just want to add that there are a lot of Africans associated with Metro Eireann and they're all very offended. So we'll have to run comments from the African community, aid groups etc and it would be really great to have your comment to balance all of that."
So, "a lot of Africans" are "all very offended", are they? All of them? The poor dears. Well, if the countries on whose behalf they get so easily offended are so bloody marvellous -- Sudan? Rwanda? Zimbabwe? Sierre Leone? Congo? Somalia? Eritrea? Etcetera? -- why aren't they enjoying themselves back home? Why are they here, working for a magazine which cheerfully invites me to incriminate myself before our new thought-police? Or which thinks that journalistic balance consists of Lots of Offended Africans of Metro, plus anyone else they can enlist, versus little old me? If the countries on whose behalf they get so easily offended are so marvellous -- Rwanda? Eritrea? Etcetera? -- why aren't they back home?

And in that contest, by God, I know the sword whereby I stand: the measured hostility that comes from a Tolerant, European Secular Christian Order, the very one that allows Metro people come from all over the world to work here, and ask me stupid questions, and even be offended. Its origins lie in the Christian ore of our history. It was forged in its present form in Europe's evil wars of the 20th century, where it was tempered in the Holocaust and shaped against the anvil of communism. TESCO stands for personal freedom, unlike the new authoritarian "liberalism" that neo-Leninist state functionaries are now making into an official political orthodoxy.

ONE of these orthodoxies is that Africa's woes are the legacy of "colonialism". But Ethiopia (formerly Abyssinia, and far older than any European state) was never colonised. However, it was conquered by the Italians in 1936, and liberated in 1941 by a British army led by General Sir Allan Cunningham: a Dubliner, after whom a road in Addis Ababa is still named. This final titbit comes from one of a half-dozen Ethiopians who e-mailed me, supporting my attempts to broaden the discussion about Africa away from the grotesque pieties of simple victimhood.

Accepting criticism of one's own country, and from a foreigner like me, is not easy: so thank you, Oh gentlemen of Ethiopia, for truly embodying the principles of TESCO. Metro, please copy.


British welfare reform coming?

Two of the benefit payments that underpin Britain's welfare state are to be abolished as part of a streamlined system that will remove the option of "a life on benefits", the Government said yesterday. People who are out of work for more than two years, and those caught abusing the system, will be forced to work. Incapacity benefit and income support will disappear.

Other moves to tighten the system include people having to work for six months, rather than four weeks, before they can claim benefits, and those unemployed for more than two years having to take part in a full-time activity such as community work. The unemployed will be required to take advice and learn new skills to carry on claiming, and drug users will have to seek treatment or face losing their benefits under the plans announced by James Purnell, the Work and Pensions Secretary.

The extension of the qualifying period from four weeks to six months for those claiming benefits is aimed at those coming into Britain from the EU and Eastern Europe, it emerged. Immigrants will be told that they cannot claim incapacity benefit - which will soon become a new employment and support allowance - until they have worked for six months. Mr Purnell's Green Paper on welfare reform said: "This reform will help to ensure that access to the UK benefits system for workers from other countries, including nationals from other European Economic Area states, is limited to those who have a connection with, and have made a contribution to, the UK." Ministers want to address Britain's reputation as a soft touch for claimants.

The package has provoked a negative response from some Labour MPs, but the Conservatives - who claim that Mr Purnell was taking many of their ideas - promised to support it. Mr Purnell said he wanted to end the idea there was a choice between claiming and working. "Instead, the longer people claim, the more we will expect in return," he said.

Under the proposals, claimants will be required to intensify their search for a job and comply with a back-to-work action plan. After a year, an outside provider, possibly from the private or voluntary sector, will take over and be paid by results. Claimants will be required to work for their benefits for at least four weeks, or longer if the provider requires it.

Incapacity benefits will be scrapped by 2013 and income support will also be dropped to make way for a system based on two working-age benefits - the employment and support allowance (ESA), for those who have a medical condition that prevents them from working, and jobseeker's allowance (JSA) for those who are able to work.

Mr Purnell said the paper proposed a simpler system that rewarded responsibility, encouraged people to do the right thing and stopped people being written-off on benefits for life without any hope of getting the support they needed to get back to work. "We will help people find work, but they will be expected to take a job," he added. Everyone currently on incapacity benefit, and new claimants, will undergo a more rigorous medical assessment than at present. Doctors will be asked to make clear when the individual should be fit for work and people will be reassessed at that point.

People with severe disabilities will get more cash under ESA. Others, who may qualify initially for benefits but whose condition may improve, will be placed in a "work" category. They will then receive personalised back-to-work support. It will be made clear to this group that the ESA is a temporary benefit intended to help them return to work. Ministers also announced that child maintenance payments will not be taken into account when calculating how much out-of-work benefits a parent should get.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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