Friday, October 09, 2009

Why We Love Africa

One of the biggest problems I have is lateral thinking. I am not sure if this is documented, but in my case; it’s a one way street. Confused? Well, think of cryptic crosswords. I can create the clues but cannot solve any. Weird, huh. Anyway, wandering off now, I wish to bring you up to speed on almost everything, but perhaps I will stick to Africa for the moment.

Why We Love Africa

The other day I was watching a documentary about Nigeria. What was different from the usual style of reporting was that the channel, Currant TV (an independent media company led by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and businessman Joel Hyatt), lets the viewers send in their own documentaries. Brilliant stuff. Anyway, this was about Nigeria.

Now, Nigeria is anarchy with a large A, especially when it comes to oil. In a brilliantly funny memoir Don’t Tell Mom I Work on the Rigs: She Thinks I'm a Piano Player in a Whorehouse, by Paul Carter, has him on a Nigerian rig. That particular chapter is as funny as telling God jokes to the Devil. Graft isn’t just rampant, it is de facto how the economy works, along with a little kidnapping and murder; it is a great tale of derry-do. The author got out asap, with barley his skin on his back intact; never mind loosing a shirt or two.

Now, going back to the documentary. So, this petrified young woman is filming around the Nigerian Delta. It is one huge slum surrounded by pollution and over swarmed with armed gangs. Then she reports (and this bit made me choke on my beer), a commission set up by the Nigerian government themselves into the investigation of corruption, concluded that –

In the decade 1996-2006, revenues from oil totalling - hang on to your hair – 400 BILLION dollars disappeared into accounts unknown of ruling party officials.

This was equal to the entire amount of donated ‘aid’ by Western governments to the continent of Africa during the same time frame. Not one cent was invested in the area. Cool Beans! Give this some thought next time you fill up at a BP station.

Okay, jumping laterally, but staying with Africa and whitey pass out the dosh, I quite happily admit I am a Barack Obama fan (he is the guy that picked up some type of clever award today). Barack knows his stuff when it comes to Africa. I will never forget his famous speech at some begging bowl summit organised by Smelly Bob Geldorf and Bonehead Bono –

“And I have a message for all my fellow Africans. The bucks stop with this black – go get a friggin job - I did.”

At that same summit, was a woman whom (according to Time magazine), is the most powerful woman on earth. I refer to recently re-elected Angela Merkel of Germany. I will never forget what she said to the Irish pikies, when those twat-twins took it upon themselves to champion the rights of the starving (as long as they are black).

Unlike Tony Blair, who would suck cockles with them just to have a photo opportunity, Merkel can’t stand the media circus. Blocked into a corner at the summit, she presented the two terrible tossers with a 50 Euro note and a cheque for half a billion. As I understand German, I was able to pick up what she said quietly to her finance minister seconds after the beaming bum bandits waved the cheque triumphantly at the cameras.

“Fritz, blitz zee cheque to go bouncy-bouncy.”

Changing subjects, I was reading an article in the Times suggesting more disabled children should be represented in their fiction. Er…More! I say less actually. As the subject I am studying covers all children’s arts, not just books, I beg to differ. The film Slumdog Millionaire had scenes that crippled me, never mind the cripples. Even my hardcore children, brought up since the age of two on such gore as Starship Troopers, were shell shocked by Slumdog. If you haven’t seen it, please do. It is most definitely NOT a feel-good movie.

As for literature, I just finished the classic Treasure Island. I read it four decades ago and recall I didn’t like it. This time around I was gob smacked. One beggar is blind and gets trampled to death by horses. Presumably, because it seems he was one of the bad guys, we can laugh at that. Besides the motley lot of alcoholics (they are presumably disabled too), there is Long John Silver. He is the pirate with one leg…and a parrot that swears.

It turns out that LJS whilst amputated at the hip (a serious operation with a cutlass in those days), could hop about like cooking popcorn.

But it was what he could do with his crutch that amazed me. In one scene, he spins it out from under his arm and hurls in the back of some back stabber pirate scally-wag and, it snaps the bloke’s spine! Just like that. Stops him stone dead. Nice one! Me thinks - he would win Gold at the paraplegics Olympics in Javelin throwing.

Doing some research, it turns out that the great-great, twenty times removed, grandson of LJS thought along similar lines. Here is the YouTube.

Finally – The latest decree to come out of the lips of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, made me lift a Spok eyebrow. With his hatred of whites well into paranoia, he instructed the Zimbabwean Broadcasting Corporation to broadcast the zillion times repeated, ancient drama Peyton Place, to be shown only in the original negatives. So you have all the people being black, with black teeth, dressed in ghostly white suits and dresses. Weird, but - it gets better. Somehow, the technicians also managed to negative the sound track. Everyone speaks backwards. Amazing! The local paper was deluged with complaints that the program was in Chinese.

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