jmp | 14.11.2001 00:55
Let's move the focus, not the direction and energy.
Watching the news tonight, it was terrifying to hear the US Republican Foreign Relations character comment on the fall of Kabul in this way: '..and now we need to get down to privatisation and democracy'. My shock was not substantiated by the limited vocabulary, I know very well that a Republican cannot think beyond the profit-maximisation paradigm; I was rather surprised that either he does not know what privatisation actually means (apart from more power, glory and dollars), or he does not know that there is nothing to ‘privatise’. A state hardly exists in a region where the CIA has been fuelling and training terror for decades, and the US immediately wants to privatise – I mean seriously?!
Later on there was the Shadow Traffic thingie: she spoke for a vote of no confidence because the ‘Labour’ guy had not assured ‘compensation for the shareholders’ (this is the Railtrack issue).
But let us stay with the war. Is it over, can we consider it over? And what will the future bring? Will the BBC follow up on this, will there be a ‘stabilising process’ in the region, providing security for a pipeline or two (one into China and another one under the Caspian Sea connecting with Georgia) ??
Where is bin Laden and will he be apprehended. Is Russian terrorism in Chechnya still fine – and state terror in Algeria (with western arms) and is the war ‘on drugs’ in Columbia still on (the Monsanto war) and so on and so forth? Are political activists, in Britain and elsewhere, now fully fledged terrorists?
While we reflect on these issues and now that the cruder aspects of (that) war seem to be over, and 'just' the lobbying, instalment of puppets and lesser power struggles remain - we shall not forget our anti-war movement.
There are more and possible even worse wars, if it is possible to distinguish between wars in that sense. Central Africa is torn by war. Africa is also the last continent to be swallowed completely by the neo-liberal paradigm: it is still not conquered fully. Africa is a continent of resources and it is field of mining. In other words: Africa has so far been abused ‘just’ to fight a hot Cold War and for exploitation of resources (human slaves, oil, minerals and diamonds), thus only felt 'indirect' consequences of of western ways of 'running' a country.
The war in central Africa, just like the Afghan scenario, is a long history of American support of terrorism. It has killed 2.5 million people over the last few years, significantly increased by the mining of and struggle for control of the Congolese / Rwanda / Burundi border region. Here the composite mineral ‘coltan’ is found and it is used, when processed into ‘tantalum capacitors, in electronic devices, especially laptops and mobile phones. The responsibility, at the end of the day, for the deaths of millions of people lies with you and me, for using the technologies, and with Sony, Nokia et. al for skimming the cream.
Let us focus on Africa and help the African peoples stand on their own feet and solve their problems. We caused the trouble – let’s sort it out.
Why not change our posters from Stop the war in Afghanistan to “Stop the War in Central Africa’ now that we have an anti-war movement mobilised?
What do people think?
....find a a few links to background material on this page (still in the making): coltan campaign
listen to this, if you missed the issues surrounding the war in Afghanistan, or if you want to get a clearer view: http://web.mit.edu/tac/www/chomsky-18oct01-16k.ram