May 01, 2003
Bradford Is Annoyed II

I find myself annoyed beyond reason by two short passages in William Hitchcock's otherwise very nicely done Struggle for Europe (William Hitchcock (2002), The Struggle for Europe (New York: Doubleday: 0385497989)): The second is an even more truly bizarre passage on Decolonization: p. 171: ... The independence of Ghana now led British colonial officials to accept a new logic... independence... ought to be granted swiftly so as to preserve a modicum of control over the process.... Nigeria... 1960... Gambia... 1965.... In Kenya, a large white settler population resisted a swift withdrawal, and they had to be placated.... On balance, the British experience of decolonization in Africa was a successful one... swift, done with an earnest desire to promote viable African successor states, and carried out with a marked absence of violence... I don't think many Africans today would view decolonization as "successful": I think that they would say that power was handed over to the wrong people, in successor states that had the wrong institutions, in a manner that appears in retrospect as if planned and intended to destroy Africa's hopes for progress, development, peace, and happiness for at least a full generation. Julius Nyerere and his belief that Tanzanians...

Posted by DeLong at 09:55 PM

July 14, 2002
2002-07-13: Notes: African Development

2002-07-13 Notes: African Development: An Email Exchange > And? Don't keep us in suspense! Was the fertilizer plant feasible? > Was it built? Does it work? Do thousands of cheering Tanzanians daily > praise the name of ________ _______? > The plant was actually in Uganda, but Tan-zanier is one of the main markets. But no. It fizzled. Not because it wasn't feasible, it was an excellent project, IMO. Trouble was the whole thing ground to a slow stuttering halt, because there's too many people who want to know what you can do for them, instead of doing their jobs. <shrug> ________ > Too many people in Britain? In Cyprus? In Uganda? > > > Brad In Uganda. Like endemic bribery and corruption to a degree that was almost a self-parody. _________ But Yoweri Musaveni is supposed to be one of Africa's best rulers, and his government one of the most honest......

Posted by DeLong at 03:21 PM

July 05, 2002
Are There Really Worse Things for the Congo Than Mobutu Sese Seko?

Chris Bertram reads this week's Economist, and reports that the answer is, "Yes." The current state of the Congo in its pointless civil war is worse than things were back when Mobutu was dictator. Junius. But the highlight of this week's issue is a truly heartrending piece on the Congo: IN THE chocolate waters of the Congo river, a mutilated corpse rolls by. The rebels' "minister for children" shivers. How is he going to explain this to the horrified UN peace envoys from the capital, Kinshasa, who are at that moment stepping on to the quay to meet him? Not by telling the truth, obviously, which was that his rebel group had slaughtered 150 people in the town of Kisangani on May 14th-15th, then pitched their disembowelled bodies into the river with stones crammed into their bellies. Instead, he smiles, accepts the envoys' offerings of food aid, and talks chummily of other things....

Posted by DeLong at 09:16 AM