Archive for April, 2011
By Hama Tuma
The Western machine of demonization and disinformation is huge, very, very huge. The absolute control of the media and its unhealthy impact on the world has been documented by the likes of Chomsky and Michael Moore and I have little to add to all that. You run a murderous regime but if the West likes you, definitely you will be enjoying much slack and tolerance. And even praise from the World Bank, the IMF and the Western ambassadors. The West hates you, then you become a demon and the huge machinery rolls over you. Check out many of America’s allies that have been demonized when their luck changed.
The disinformation also knows no bounds. Saudi Arabia crushed a demonstration in its own land with brutality and not much was said about it. Bahrain has done the same and the invasion by the Saudis is glossed over. Yemen’s Saleh has burnt himself and is now being abandoned as Washington becomes the kingmaker aggressively saying this or that ruler has to go and must be replaced in this or that way. When Khadafy’s turn came Libyans under his rule were almost being presented as the most destitute in that part of Africa! No one cared to explain why thousands of foreign workers flocked there. Where did the Obama promise to treat others with respect and not to arrogantly strut and ride roughshod over their sovereignty go to? The American president is telling every Saleh and Gbagbo to leave. Who gave him that right especially when he cuddles pro American tyrants from Ethiopia to Equatorial Guinea to Saudi Arabia and beyond?
Khadafy is Jewish said the Western media fearing no ridicule whatsoever. We are being told also that some of his sons are plotting against him and all of them are at one another’s throats. The man called The Guide is now being called a tyrant as if the West discovered his nature just last February. On the other side of the ideological divide, Hugo Chavez ridiculed himself recently calling Basher Al Assad a humanitarian, a good doctor trained in London! Goebbels was Dr. Goebbels, no? What has being a doctor trained in London got to do with it? Basher, son of Assad, presides over a military-security junta of sorts described by polite Syrians as dictatorial. In other words, by declaring Basher a humanitarian Chavez has exposed the sad truth of the deficiency and warped state of his concept of humanitarianism.
The tin pot dictators allied to the West have learnt from all the disinformation and the double standard. Have oil and reign supreme is the underlying motto and for those that got the oil it is working just fine. Gabon, Congo Brazza, Eaquatorial Guinea, Saudi Arabia and more are examples. Those without oil can sell and peddle themselves to the West and serve as canon fodder and mercenary. The Meles, Museveni, Ben Ali, Saleh and Mubarak regimes come to mind. In any case, they all try their own pathetic disinformation aided and abetted by the West. Take an example: American ambassador to Ethiopia, Donald Booth, has expectedly joined his predecessors in praising the butcher of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi and his regime which benefit annually more than a billion dollar of aid from Washington.
“Ethiopia is an island of stability in a very troubled region,” Booth said explaining that the US is keen to continue working with Ethiopia to promote regional peace and stability. “We look to Ethiopia to help resolve regional conflicts, to contribute peacekeeping forces where those are needed in Africa, and for cooperation in countering terrorism and violent extremism,” the ambassador elaborated.
Do not be mistaken—Booth does know what is going on. He knows the regime he is endorsing directly and otherwise is a repressive and violent regime that has massacred thousands and is far from being stable. The Meles regime is actually the problem par excellence in the search for the region’s stability. A war mongering regime like many, the Meles regime praised by Booth has remained alien to peace. But all this does not matter. The dictator is on the right side of the alignment, taking orders from Washington, proving itself the obedient baby of the West, corrupt and malleable to boot. Aren’t Meles, his wife and many officials keeping millions of stolen money in America, Britain and other Western countries?
Meles Zenawi has in the past committed one the most heinous acts of national betrayal in Ethiopian history by forfeiting strategic land. The ceding of Ethiopian land to the Sudan and the ongoing land grab by foreigners constitute more treasonous acts of high perfidy. The damage that foreign companies engaged in the land grab have brought to the land and the environment is known by the world at large and even criticized by the UN itself. And yet, the regime has the chutzpah to “wash its eyes with salt”, as we say in Ethiopia, and to formally and openly declare the following:
“ Land deals in Ethiopia bring food self-sufficiency, and prosperity
Foreign investments help Ethiopia to develop, and provide knowledge, skills and taxes. The Ethiopian government’s absolute prime concern is ensuring food self-sufficiency at both national and household level. The first has already been attained and we are now working towards the second”.
Khadafi is Jewish? Fantastic! How come then he is not treated as such? We never saw Israel being bombed for bombing Gaza or the Palestinians. And no less than 10 million Ethiopians under the Meles regime are not surviving through food aid but are self sufficient in food at the national level. As we say in Ethiopia “beje! Ewinet? lelas?—what else is there to say? Fiction of the fantasy genre. Disinformation to be effective must base itself on a portion (however tiny) of the truth. It must appear believable enough to dupe the victims. Disinformation does not mean spinning wild tales and macabre stories so much so that the listeners and readers break into a frenzy of laughter or disgust. Still, Khadafy being Jewish is more believable than arguing land grab brought self sufficiency and that now Ethiopians are nationally self sufficient in food. Mind you nationally but not individually which must mean the country is awash with food and the citizens are as hungry as ever. Oh yes, and to declare boldly, as Booth did, that Ethiopia is an island of stability in the troubled region and a bulwark of peace falls within the realm of Newspeak. To add insult to injury, Meles says Ethiopia will by itself fund a US $ 4.7 billion dam project which is, among other factors, very close to the Sudanese border and thus security wise very stupid. Who will pay? Not Meles and his cronies from their stolen millions, no. The very, very poor people are going to be forced to buy bonds, to hand over a month’s salary and to give up their provident funds and savings.
Teret Teret is all this talk of national food self sufficiency as the land of Ethiopia gets auctioned for cheap and millions survive on food aid. The days of the Meles regime are numbered and it is not disinformation at all. Khadafy is not Jewish but he did tell the world Meles Zenawi is an Arab from Yemen. This can be believed as it was Meles himself who told him that Ethiopians are Arabs from Yemen, Ethiopia would join the Arab League, and that even his father’s name Zenawi is a Yemenite name. Now, this is an interesting and amusing statement which can be made to fly every which way you can.
The situation in other continents may be different but I know for certain that dictators in Africa disrespect the people. The very fact of their tyranny is contempt towards the people but to add, as the saying goes, a crossed eye over goiter the dictators also go out of their way to treat us as dim-witted and dense. Didn’t one ZANU PF official declare “ if we tell the people to vote for a donkey, they will” thereby not only insulting the people but also talking a jab at dear old Robert, the master of the Zimbabwe domain, the self declared elect of the people. African elites also disrespect the people more than often and they strut and proclaim themselves men of wisdom flashing their PhDs (“call me doctor, professor please!”) like feudal elements with their titles (Sire, Emir, Prince, Dejazmatch, Ras etc).
One time lay Pastor Jacob Juma has joined the fray. With some 20 children credited to the equipment he calls his machine gun (thereby exposing the people to mockery) he has now returned to his priestly roots and shown his contempt for the people he rules over. Last February, he warned people at an ANC rally that if they vote for the ANC “”you are choosing to go to heaven. When you don’t vote for the ANC, you should know’ that you are choosing that man who carries a fork … who cooks people.” Vote for me and go to heaven is a political sale or an election slogan as ridiculous as any since everyone knows that at the end of the day people will return inevitable to their hell of a life. The aides of Juma tried to calm the hue and cry surrounding his declaration but pastor Juma did not relent: “When you are carrying an ANC membership card, you are blessed. When you get up there, there are different cards used, but when you have an ANC card, you will be let through to go to heaven.” Admittedly no dead ANC member has come back to confirm Juma’s declaration but the whole idea of a party card opening the gates of heaven does show Juma considering his people as unintelligent dupes and, in addition, raises very many interesting questions. What if?
Africans are used to disrespect. The Westerners who back African dictators who have no respect for the rule of law show their naked contempt for the people. They are declaring in effect that the people do not deserve any better—Mobutu was good and Kabila is fine for the Congolese, Meles is ok for Ethiopians, Nguema is God sent for Equatorial Guineans. And on and on, throughout history. The disrespect goes on to whiten democracy itself—the often repeated declaration being “you are not yet developed enough for Western democracy!” The prescription for Africans is at best a benevolent despot, take it or leave it. When people refuse and in their turn they disrespect the tyrants, or in other words stop fearing them, the Revolution happens. Ask Mubarak, Ben Ali or Assad and Saleh. After all this and more is said can we consider the notion of a funny disrespect? Does it exist? ANC members getting buried with their ANC membership card (how is it going to be preserved?) and showing the same to the angels for admission to heaven is funny enough. Opposition parties do not only suffer hell on earth but also up there in God’s domain. With such threats who is the devout Christian who would opt to join an opposition party to go straight to that ugly fellow with a horrible tail who carries a fork and cooks and eats people? Better to vote for a donkey and stay with the ruling party to assure a place in heaven. On another level, lay Pastor Juma is taking himself as a Moses or an Isaiah bringing the wrath of God on all those who may disrespect him by doubting his words though no one has yet called him baldy to his face.
The idea of joining a ruling political party to go to heaven makes priests and churches quite irrelevant. I am sure some would exult and say about time! No wonder the South African church hierarchy is livid. In Ethiopia, this means no less than six million forced members of the ruling party would go straight to heaven. As will Zanu PF adherents and all other members of ruling parties elsewhere. With tyrants assured permanent tenure in heaven, would this not mean now heaven would be turning into hell? In other words, hell could be a better place than heaven. The whole thing could turn official religion and the whole concept of hell and heaven upside down. What will the Pope say? Are all the churches and mosques to close down as they are being declared not the best conduits to heaven? All the atheists out there are going to have a feast day. No need to pray once or five times a day. No need to go on Hajj or pilgrimage. Forget Holy water or all kinds of benediction– if you want to go to heaven just join the ruling party. A party membership card to open the gate of heaven— the revelation of the new millennium is upon us.
Back in the days of the one party rule, a party membership card could get you ration cards and some perks that were in reality crumbs. The same was the case in the new millennium until President Juma came to the rescue. No benefit beats heaven even if the allure of the place would be reduced by the alleged preponderant presence of those whom we called dictators here on earth. Jacob Juma is encouragingly continuing the frank speak of the late Tubman of Liberia who never sought to hide the truth: “I know Tubman is not the president you want or deserve but face it Tubman is the president you got”. Such direct and honest talk sometimes made the burden seem lighter. To borrow a word from the dumbest wordsmith (aka Bush junior) it would not do to “misundersetimate” the importance of honest, direct and even brutal talk. Robert Mugabe calling Carson an idiot was not an insult per se but just, no offense, a value judgment. The hue and cry about multi partism notwithstanding, most African countries are actually one party states. Your vote hardly matters—the ruling party would win by over 95% or else would kill and maim to stay in power. Yet, membership card matters. The ruling party in Ethiopia has now six million members as a graduate needs to flash not his degree but the party membership card to get a job. During the previous totalitarian regime, the party card got you the ration card and your place in the long queue for scarce commodities.
Juma’s vote for the ANC and go to heaven call has introduced new factors into the complicated reality of African politics. If voting for the ANC assures automatic entry into heaven does this mean Juma’s party is God’s favorite? Has God started to take political stands? Where does all this leave the parties of God (Hizballah and others)? Are African opposition Satanists just because they bedevil the ruling parties? Africans hardly need new and difficult questions—life is already too burdensome as it is. And to come back to the main issue: is this total disrespect for our intelligence as African citizens funny? When they tell us vote for us and you shall go heaven and expect us to believe it are we expected to smile or to scream in anger? Juma has disrespected the wise people of South Africa just like other African presidents have done with theirs. The latest report that I have suggests not many South Africans are amused by Juma’s latest gimmick. Africans do not find disrespect funny but try telling this to Juma and African tyrants who think we are babes ready to swallow any lie. It is time we tell Juma and all African tyrants that we believe they are devils on earth and following them will never be a guarantee to go to heaven unless heaven is the dwelling palace of Satan and his followers. A mischievous question raises it head here: what if?