Monday, July 18, 2011

Sad Times In Africa

In addition to the hideous situation in Somalia, which is spilling over into northern Kenya, (and which has made the news cycle), there is more grim news out of Africa.

South Africa is preparing a mass expulsion of between 1 million and 2 million Zimbabwean refugees. Now, to refresh your memory, those Zimbabweans fled across the border to South Africa because their nation has been reduced to a basket case by 30 years of dictatorship under a man named Mugabe. More specifically, they fled a cholera epidemic, government violence against political opponents, and an inflation rate that ran into five digits. Yes, I'm serious.

Zimbabwe, where to begin. Zimbabwe is one of the most promising nations in sub-Saharan Africa, and all of that promise has been squandered, murdered, bastardized, prostituted, and sold down the river. Zimbabwe was once a major exporter of food to its neighbours. Today, Zimbabwe is a major importer of food. Zimbabwe once had the best educational system on the African continent. Even today, after thirty years of neglect, 90% of all Zimbabweans over age fifteen are literate in English. Yes, the official language of Zimbabwe is English.

It's enough to make you scream for the sheer criminal waste of human potential.

And further north in Kenya, the government has just carved a big chunk off the Selous Game Reserve, a World Heritage site, in order to make room for a uranium mining project.

Now, let's think about this. A game preserve, a place where a small fragment of East Africa's rapidly vanishing wildlife is given a home relatively safe from poachers and bulldozers. And they're going to carve a chunk off of that for a massively polluting, incredibly toxic uranium mining complex.

Granted, there are other problems closer to home. Granted, as a 99er, I have umpteen bazillion things to worry about, and which have more to do with how well I eat next month, and whether I can keep lights, water, and internet turned on for another 30 days. But in the end, I am only one person. If I fall over dead five minutes from now, the planet will keep spinning and life will go on and the species will survive. But if we irretrievably fuXX0r our planet, the species Homo sapiens will not survive.

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