We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Teeth grinding illogic and grotesque conflation…or perhaps genius?

I was watching the news on the television this afternoon when Bono, the Irish singer for U2 came on to opine on issues of third world debt, AIDS and trade, with reference to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Blantyre, Malawi.

For one brief shining moment I thought that a universal law of thermodynamics (that when entertainers talk about anything other than the entertainment business, their voices can be heard to emanate from their posteriors) was about to be spectacularly falsified. He remarked that it was appalling that Africans are denied access to US and EU markets due to disgraceful protectionist measures and how this was crippling the entire continents’ ability to develop economically… well, that certainly made me sit up: a singer who actually understands real world economics and genuine liberty? Surely not!

Alas cruel reality quickly reasserted itself. He then went on to rail against how banks were putting ‘profits before people’ because of the crippling levels of debt in Africa. Naturally he did not mention that this debt was not forced on Africa’s governments at gunpoint but was freely entered into by the purported leaders of various African nations. Somehow the actions of African borrowers of money result in Western banks ‘putting profits before people’. Interesting. I wonder if Bono also takes a neo-colonialist view that as African leaders are presumably not competent to make sound economic decisions, they should not be allowed to borrow money in the first place? Just curious.

And then, Bono deliverers the rhetorical coup de grace designed to impress upon the Western viewers how urgent the situation is:

After September 11, people cannot just ignore Africa any more. This is a problem that must be dealt with now by America and the West

Now please, will someone out there correct me if I am mistaken, but I was not aware that anyone from Zambia or Congo or Nigeria or Burundi or Mozambique or Senegal or Zimbabwe or Angola or Ghana had hijacked some American airliners and crashed them in to the Pentagon and World Trade Centre towers. What the hell does September 11th have to do with African poverty?

Perhaps someone should point out to Bono that the way the US responded to September 11th was not to shower Afghanistan with largess but with an earth shaking hail of 2000 lbs laser guided bombs and the forceful destruction of the Taliban government.

Then again…

…given that most of Africa’s economic problems are clearly derived from government malfeasance, perhaps my fleeting first impression of Bono as an astute observer was correct after all and that is indeed what he wants for Africa’s ghastly kleptocratic regimes: obliterate most of Africa’s governments, remove all Western trade barriers to African goods and services, declare victory and then go home to leave the formerly oppressed African man-in-the-street to get on with their lives unhindered by the likes of Robert Mugabe or Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

Cool, that works for me.

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