Talking points for July 24th

Thank you Abdelilah for moderating overnight.

Good Morning, it’s Priya with a few suggestions for what we might discuss on today’s programme…


Overnight many of you discussed China’s role in Africa – is it a good or bad thing? Is it better or worse than how the West has/is behaving in the continent? Some strong views have been expressed below, have a read and let me know what you think.


Dwight had a thought about Oil. Specifically, whether the US government should be the ones drilling for Oil rather than private companies. It would create jobs and maybe help control the price. Certainly most oil -producing nations prefer nationalising this important resource.

There is the battle over rights to Arctic oil brewing too.

I have already blogged about it before, but the debate is on in Iraq as to who should have access and control of their massive reserves.

And in Nigeria production has been badly damaged in recent years by militants attacking pipelines and taking hostages in the Niger Delta. The main group, MEND, say they are fighting for a bigger slice of the countries’ oil wealth after decades of massive corruption.

There are now suggestions that the authorites in Nigeria have taken to paying off the militants to protect the pipelines

Nigerians are normally extremely poor, having seen little of the oil wealth invested in improving their lives. The more oil you have the less developed your country is likely to be. There are a some exceptions, like Abu Dhabi, but not many.



In France, a country that gets up to 80% of its power from Nuclear, has suffered several leaks in recent weeks. With debates all over the world over increasing use of nuclear technology for energy (in Britain, Germany, and a passionate debate in India which threatens to bring down the government), what is your view on nuclear energy?

Is it the answer to our low carbon, anti-oil prayers?

Or is it still a safety concern?

What about the potential for nuclear weapons?


Should the unemployed be made to work?

Get in touch.

105 Responses to “Talking points for July 24th”

  1. July 23, 2008 at 20:43

    China says it will allow demonstrations in three designated city parks during the Olympic Games in Beijing. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7521321.stm

    Should sporting events be an opportunity to express political views and demands?

  2. 2 nelsoni
    July 23, 2008 at 20:45

    Capital No

  3. 3 Julie P
    July 23, 2008 at 20:53

    Having lived through a number of Olympics, like it or not, politics has been a part of them. Notably coming from two American athletes in the 1968 Games in Mexico City, with support coming from the medaling Australian athlete. Of course, there was the 1972 Games with Black September, the boycotts of the 1980 and 1984 Summer Games, and the partial boycott of the 1988 Seoul Games by other SE Asian countries. Of course, there was the Olympic park bomber at the Centennial Games. Should they be an opportunity to express political views? Too late they already have been.

  4. 4 Colleen
    July 23, 2008 at 20:58

    well usually no, but the Olypmics have symbolic significance beyond just sports… so i think it’s a natural podium for social and political activism…

    at the same time, this activism should be respectful and not overpower or interfere with the games or other attendees… especially not in a negative or threatening way

  5. July 23, 2008 at 21:04

    A thought that came out in a debate with a friend.

    Would you want you government to go into the oil business?

    Would people support a government sponsored petroleum supply chain? Not one drop of gasoline, whether it is brought out of the ground in Saudi Arabia or in the Texas oil fields, is completely controlled by US only companies. Would the readers support the their government going into the oil business. They would be government jobs like say Air traffic controllers. The government would higher the drillers, logistics, and refineries. The oil would be distributed through your country’s self owned stations. All profit would be returned to the American people.

    The good, it could be used to control the global commodity market prices. The bad, Governmental business of this nature are a swing to the communistic side. The ugly, it won’t help us get off fossil fuels any faster. What do you think?

  6. 6 victork13
    July 23, 2008 at 21:05

    There has been discussion here about what the Chinese really have planned for Africa. Hundreds of millions of Chinese are never going to share in the country’s increasing wealth. Yet there is an entire continent packed with mineral resources, resources that China desperately wants, a continent whose leaders and inhabitants have so far proved incapable of exploiting that mineral wealth efficiently or successfully.

    The Chinese leadership is ruthless and amoral. According to this story they are already planning to Tibetanise black Africa, a strategy that makes sense from the Chinese point of view. It’s amazing to think that Africans are eagerly co-operating with a regime that, in 50-100 years, may have reduced them to a despised and down-trodden minority in their own ancestral lands. Unfortunately Africa’s leadership class is stupid enough to let this happen. The settlement of hundreds of thousands of Chinese in Africa is only the start.


  7. 7 Dennis
    July 23, 2008 at 21:06

    Hi Abdelilah….

    I have been attending Community College, Second Semester started on 7 July and ends on 10 August….Then I will be back to CC on 31 August 2008….

    I hope everything in Morocco has been going great…..

    To answer your question: Not really a great place to protest at the Olympics. In my own opinion, but it will happend this time.

    Syracuse, New York

  8. 8 victork13
    July 23, 2008 at 21:21

    And then you read a story like this: dozens of prisoners, some still waiting to be tried, have starved to death in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


    Almost enough to make you think that Africa as a Chinese colony might not be such a bad thing after all. Almost.

  9. July 23, 2008 at 21:23

    Here are extracts of two BBC reports about the worsening diplomatic and economic relations between Libya and Switzerland over the arrest of Libyan leader’s son by the Swiss police: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7512925.stm

    Geneva police held Hannibal Gaddafi for two days last week after he and his wife allegedly hit two of their staff, a Moroccan man and a Tunisian woman who had accused the couple of hitting them in their suite at the President Wilson Hotel.

    Swiss companies ABB and Nestle have been ordered to close their Libya offices and Swiss staff there have been arrested.

    The Swiss foreign ministry has protested to Libya over what it called retaliatory measures for the arrest of Muammar Gaddafi’s youngest son.

    Is it politics to go to a deep crisis over a personal matter that should have been dealt with legally instead of going to extreme measures?

    Doesn’t this incident show that in Libya, there is still the mentality of the master and the servant and it is degrading for the son of a leader to be arrested over an incident in which the victims are just servants?

  10. 10 Mohammed Ali
    July 23, 2008 at 21:29

    Hi to all WHYSers, I can’t be with you much tonight. I went on a bike ride and had an accident. I’m currently in hospital and doctors say I need some rest. @olympics in China, the answer is a big NO. I always beleive that for sports to remain a uniting force, it should free of politics. Good night to all.

  11. 11 Robert
    July 23, 2008 at 21:31


    So the Chinese have plans for Africa. Is this any different to the European powers or the US. As for being amoral China looks after it’s interests, UK it’s own, the US it’s own. It is no better than the other super powers before it.

    Europe was an open invasion and colonization effort which I shan’t waste space going through details again

    The US take over is more subtle. African minerals are brought by the west. Fine. Money pours into the country right? But it’s dollars. Dollars which has to then be spent to buy products manufactured by US companies. Little of the money is actually put into the local African economy.

    So the Chinese are taking oil etc in exchange for new infrastructure (roads schools….) instead of giving money. Perhaps this will be better for Africa. Instead of expensive American goods which benefit the few in power the majority end up with new facilities which will promote the local economy and perhaps give them a chance to stand on they’re own two feet.

    Africa needs to use its resources to get the most for it’s people. From what I have seen the Chinese are perhaps offering the best deal.

  12. July 23, 2008 at 21:33

    Hi Mohammed Ali,
    I hope you will be fine soon. You are now an established member of the WHYS community.

  13. 13 victork13
    July 23, 2008 at 21:33

    It’s nothing to do with politics. Libya is a tyranny. The rule of law is unknown. It’s despot and his family are in the habit of getting their way. They have no understanding of how things operate in a country like Switzerland where, if you break the law your status is not a defence.

    The Swiss need to deal with Gaddafi in language that he understands. Hold his son until their nationals are released and have left Libya. Then expel the spoilt brat from Switzerland.

  14. 14 victork13
    July 23, 2008 at 21:39

    @Robert: make an effort to read the story and then offer an opinion.

    The point is that if China succeeds in colonising Africa with 400 million Chinese that will be the end for Africans. All of black Africa will become an apartheid state with Chinese enjoying the continent’s mineral wealth and Africans enjoying their status as houseboys and entertainers to their new masters.

    It’s very simple, really. Do you want an entire race to be enslaved in their ancestral homeland or not, in the way the Tibetans have been?

  15. 15 Dennis
    July 23, 2008 at 21:48

    @ Mohammed Ali:

    We all of us blogging on World Have Your Say, hope that you will
    get better soon…..

    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  16. 16 Shirley
    July 23, 2008 at 22:03

    HTML Help
    Just curious:
    1) do we have Farsi-speaking WHYSayers on board today?

    2) Do our Arabic-speaking WHYSayers know much about using HTML Arabic fonts? I cannot figure out how to make a standing fatah or standing kasrah. I have something for the normal fatah and kasrah, and something else for the double fatah and double kasrah, but not for the standing fatah and standing kasrah. (Fatah and kasrah are diacretical marks used to represent short vowels in Arabic.)

  17. 17 nelsoni
    July 23, 2008 at 22:05

    @ @ Mohammed Ali:

    Get well soon
    Thank God you still got your hands to type with.

  18. 18 victork13
    July 23, 2008 at 22:06

    An update story on Israel’s exchange of prisoners and remains with Lebanon and also, it’s reported, Syria.


    A lot of euphemism, misdirection and bias in the account, I’m sorry to say.

    The word ‘terrorist’ isn’t used once (too sympathetic to the Israelis, I suppose, however factual). But ‘guerrillas’ is there. It’s applied to the remains of Jordanians, Libyans and a Tunisian. Since Israel isn’t and hasn’t recently been at war with Jordan, Libya or Tunisia, and isn’t occupying any of their territory, how is ‘guerrilla’ (a word with a specific meaning) in anyway appropriate, and ‘terrorist’ not? A significant proportion of the remains appear to be of Palestinians based in Lebanon, and also Syria: I they were not members of the armed forces of either of those countries and would most probably not have qualified as recognised combatants under the Geneva Conventions.

    The mealy-mouthed phrase ‘Arab fighters’ is also used.

    If a Western media outlet was to describe the 7/7 bombers in London, or the Madrid bombers, or the 9-11 set as ‘guerrillas’ or ‘fighters’ there would be hell to pay for such partisan and propagandistic reporting. But not in Israel’s case.

  19. 19 victork13
    July 23, 2008 at 22:07

    @Mohammed: here’s wishing you a speedy recovery!

  20. 20 Robert
    July 23, 2008 at 22:10


    I had read the article. Much of it sounds exaggerated, much like the rest of the mails output.

    First 400 million Chinese? Let’s begin by putting this into context a third of the entire Chinese nation. Even with the renowned central planning off the Chinese it sounds a little far fetched to pull it off.

    Second. Western powers stand by and watch Africa struggle while deliberating about the smallest of details in the deals. Money and action takes years to be put into action. America and Europe forces the continent to open itself up for trade whilst maintaining subsides on our own economies. Inappropriate technologies (GM foods) are then sold to African wasting money

    China trades. It deals with the countries and gets what it wants and deliveries to the country the new roads , hospitals and schools that it so badly needs. Unlike western companies which simply dole out the cash which we all know goes to the elite, the Chinese develop the continents infrastructure and benefits more of the population. And most impotently to Africans they are doing it now. The improvements are being seen today.

    The article talks about corruption and waste of the governments. Where do you think the money from big western companies operating in Africa go? What the African governments do with the investment is their responsibility not that of China.

    I fully acknowledge China is not a shining example philanthropy, but at least they are honest and keep promises. The way in which the Western powers act is nearly as bad and much more decietful.

  21. 21 Robert
    July 23, 2008 at 22:14


    I hope you recover quickly

  22. 22 Virginia Davis
    July 23, 2008 at 22:17

    @Mohammed Ali:

    +++++thoughts your way to rest and heal.

    @Abdelilah: Thank you for moderating.

    Re: demonstrations at the Olympics. As noted, has happened before, will happen during the upcoming Games in China.

    Read earlier that some “performers” such as Bjork have already been banned from China because of expressing sympathy publicly with Tibet, etc. I doubt if the authorities will allow much to get “out of hand.”

    And as for China taking over Africa, this I doubt. However, I do agree that China and the Chinese will play a role in the development of Africa. Personally, I like diversity and interracial children: I imagine beautiful children being born from these joinings.

    And to bring in the conditions and xenophobia in South Africa: today authorities have begun to round up immigrants (illegal) to deport to their home countries.
    Legal immigrants of a variety of types will be needing their papers. I will go find the CS Monitor article and post in a few minutes for those interested in a fuller explanation.

    In the article, it is emphasized that economic conditions of long standing are the basis, as well as government neglect.

    Virginia in Oregon

  23. 23 nelsoni
    July 23, 2008 at 22:23

    Hi every one,

    What do you make of this story?

    All doctors face annual test of their


    Is it really necessary or it’s just a waste of time?

    Would this sort of practise help in improving health care delivery in your country and your locality?

  24. 24 victork13
    July 23, 2008 at 22:24

    @Robert: the point of the article, which you’ve read but clearly not understood, was that China was looking to colonise and take physical possession of sub-Saharan Africa. Chinese trade was not the issue. Chinese hegemony was.

    Over a period of 50-100 years there’s no reason at all why several hundred million Chinese couldn’t be settled in Africa, if Africans let it happen.

    The Chinese do not share skills or technology with Africans. They do not teach Africans how to build and maintain the infra-structure they need. The Chinese do it all themselves. That has two advantages: it justifies a permanent, and growing, Chinese presence in the continent, and keeps Africans as dependent as ever. But fortunately there are plenty of suckers to dispense fairy tales about the benefits of China in Africa.

    Your animus against the West is as cliched as it’s absurd. Western companies, for example, disinvested from the Sudan: who replaced them in propping up the genocidalists? Your beloved Chinese, just as they showed how good they were for Africa by trying to ship arms to Mugabe.

  25. 25 Virginia Davis
    July 23, 2008 at 22:40

    @WHYSers interested in SA deportations:

    Article is “South Africa prepares to deport hundreds of migrant workers.” in July 23rd edition at


    re annual testing of NHS in Great Britain. Good idea. First in world, article says. Also five years to develop. Here in US it is now possible to obtain ratings for physicians, procedures (surgical), hospitals from a government website. Makes the whole process much more of an educated gamble, I think.

    Virginia in Oregon

  26. 26 portlandmike
    July 23, 2008 at 22:41


    I think we could weed out the non-performing doctors (and dentists) by random drug testing.

    @Mohammed: I hope you heal quickly!

  27. 27 victork13
    July 23, 2008 at 22:46

    Virginia Davis wrote: “Personally, I like diversity and interracial children: I imagine beautiful children being born from these joinings.”

    Well most of the world doesn’t like diversity or inter-racial connections. And the Chinese are especially xenophobic. There are several hundred thousand Chinese in Africa already. They are so little inclined to diversify and have Afro-Chinese children that they generally make a point of segregating themselves from the Africans whose wealth they’ve come to exploit. The experience of blacks in China itself underlines the force and depth of Chinese racism.

    Let’s look at these issues according to known facts and not personal fantasies.

  28. 28 nelsoni
    July 23, 2008 at 22:51

    @ portlandmike / Virginia Davis

    I wish it could be enforced world wide.

    A lot patients with out knowing, gamble with their lives at the hands of doctors due to incompetence.

  29. July 23, 2008 at 22:51

    @ Nelsoni,

    A routine professional test for doctors is good for the patients and the doctors themselves. There are doctors who don’t refurbish their medical knowledge once they graduate and get a job.

    Doctors should be in the know of the latest medical discoveries concerning their domains.

    This topic also leads to catastrophic medical errors that can be the result of ignorance or negligence. There were cases of patients wrongly treated. A patient in UK had the wrong kidney removed, which led to his death : http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/health-news/surgeons-removed-wrong-kidney-in-catastrophic-error-572924.html

    A surgeon removed the wrong kidney from a patient leaving her with a diseased one and requiring dialysis. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/5008468.stm

    A professional test should include all professions demanding special skills. As an incentive, those doing extremely well in the tests should be rewarded with a money prize or a promotion.

  30. 30 nelsoni
    July 23, 2008 at 22:58

    Victork13 wrote: “Well most of the world doesn’t like diversity or inter-racial connections.

    Can you provide conclusive evidence (briefly) to support this statement?”

    I really would like to know

  31. 31 nelsoni
    July 23, 2008 at 23:06

    @ Abdelilah Boukili

    I totally agree with you. In the developing Countries where such “quality control” measures are not in place, we can be very sure that casualties as a result of catastrophic errors by doctors and other support medical staff would be in high numbers but most of these cases are not reported.

  32. 32 victork13
    July 23, 2008 at 23:14

    @Nelsoni: have you heard of something called ‘commonsense’?

    Do you pay attention to what people and countries say and do?

    Go back-packing in eastern Europe: I can guarantee that you will, at some point, be assaulted. Go back-packing with a white girlfriend in Russia: the first group of skinheads you encounter will murder you.

    Tribalsim in Africa is a euphemism for ethnic racism.

    South and east Asians are surprisingly frank about race, especially when it comes to blacks, who they either dislike or loathe as sub-human.

    Latin America has plenty of racial tensions involving whites, indians, mestizos and blacks.

    The Caribbean is plagued by skin-shadism.

    Outside of a handful of Western countries ‘diversity’ and ‘anti-racism’ are not officially endorsed and are usually completely unknown.

    I could go on, but I won’t. Commonsense.

  33. 33 Robert
    July 23, 2008 at 23:33

    re medical competency reviews.

    Its should be a good thing. Medicine is one of the few professions that don’t regularly check the suitability of the practioners skills. The doctor of 30 years may still be a good doctor but they need to be up to date with the advances of science. I could barely believe my ears this morning listerning to a doctor complain on the radio about having to undergo a review once every five years.

    The trick will be how to stage the review. For the good doctors it mustn’t take up too much time. There must also be upside for themlike pay or promotion. For the average doctor the review needs to be able highlight notonly where the weakness lie but also how to improve on them.

  34. 34 victork13
    July 23, 2008 at 23:35

    Here’s an interesting non-story that illustrates, with a nice twist, a fraudulent approach to public issues.

    It’s a piece about the small number of blacks in the top ranks of the American military.

    As you read it you the culmination to be the usual cliched, foaming, denunciation of American racism.

    And then the report identifies the range of process issues that, innocuously, lead to the low representation of blacks in senior military positions (such as half of blacks in the military having non-combat roles!).

    There is absolutely no reason to expect every group in society to be equally represented in all fields. The most one can reasonably expect is that the processes that lead to appointments should be as fair as possible. Given an impartial process, the outcome should never be an issue, however representative or unrepresentative.


  35. 35 Will Rhodes
    July 23, 2008 at 23:50

    Victor –

    I’m sorry – but as soon as I see Fox News I know the content and cannot bring myself to read it.

    I have watched Fox News – and I know that if it was a British program it would be taken off-air rather quickly.

  36. 36 victork13
    July 24, 2008 at 00:02

    Will: is Fox really that bad? I think that a lot of people dislike it as much for its openly conservative line as for its alleged poor quality.

    Minor aside: even Fox – who you’d have thought would have jumped at the chance – wasn’t prepared to release the tape of some particularly indiscreet remarks by Jesse Jackson. You’ll recall the recent incident when the Reverend was recorded saying how he wanted to cut off poor Obama’s ‘nuts’? Well he – Jackson – also casually let slip the ‘N’ word as part of that performance. But Fox was considerate enough to spare America’s leading socialist rhymester. Quite decent given the reputation the network has, I thought.


  37. 37 victork13
    July 24, 2008 at 00:12

    Well it’s just past midnight in London. I want to do some reading then get some sleep.

    Not a single long post in sight. Real progress! I’ll treat it as a learning experience: sometimes people express opinions that don’t deserve the effort of more than a few sentences. I suppose that means that the more respect I have for an opinion, the fuller my response. Either way, I’m a reformed blogger now. Selena would be proud.

    Pet peeve (since people have deafened me with theirs about my long posts): people who express an opinion, sometimes very feistily, and then take refuge in silence when its challenged. Errrr, it’s supposed to be a debate? Bet some of them post once they know I’ve gone. Very unimpressive.

    Good night all.

  38. 38 Will Rhodes
    July 24, 2008 at 00:20

    Victor –

    I won’t deny my liberal bias – but I will also not deny my belief in the freedom of speech and expression.

    As I have said, Fox News wouldn’t be allowed to broadcast a significant number of its stories in the UK. It would be reported constantly. Our American friends don’t see that side of UK broadcasting and will label the whole of Europe as being too liberal and biased toward the liberal press/media.

    As far as I can remember it was another news company that said more was recorded re: Jesse Jackson, you are correct. But a debate then ensued as to the use of that word amongst the black community – as, as far as I can see, is still on-going.

    From my sole point of view, Fox is overtly biased toward the conservative viewpoint. Is that a bad thing? Is it a matter of balance? I cannot say definitively as I can’t speak for those viewers – but it is accepted in the US so we cannot argue that point.

    All I do know is that I cannot bring myself to watch it with any sort of integrity.

  39. 39 Will Rhodes
    July 24, 2008 at 00:22

    G’night, Victor

  40. 40 Julie P
    July 24, 2008 at 00:25

    So, you don’t know what to eat for dinner tonight (or lunch, or breakfast today)? Try one of these delights!

    Some of the world’s most expensive foods.


    I’ll pass on everything, expect the saffron and vanilla.

  41. 41 Bryan
    July 24, 2008 at 00:31

    Will Rhodes July 23, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    “Victor –

    I’m sorry – but as soon as I see Fox News I know the content and cannot bring myself to read it.”

    Fox is actually much more fair and impartial than the BBC. It is streets ahead of the BBC in that respect. How about the Hannity and Colmes show, which is basically a right winger and a left winger battling it out over some unfortunate guest?

    The BBC would never in a million years allow a right wing anchor or host on any of their lefty dominated programmes on a permanent basis and give him equal and fair opportunity to express his views and question guests from a right wing perspective. It simply would not happen.

  42. 42 Will Rhodes
    July 24, 2008 at 00:36

    Bryan –

    Fox is actually much more fair and impartial than the BBC. It is streets ahead of the BBC in that respect.

    If that is what you believe, then so be it. You are not the first, nor will be the last, to espouse that the BBC is a leftist organisation. Which I must add, I vehemently disagree with.

  43. 43 Julie P
    July 24, 2008 at 00:55


    While I’m thinking about it. I am researching the developments of events concerning the Great Lakes, since two Canadian provinces are involved with the restoration and preservation of them, what are some newspapers in Ontario and Quebec where I do some reading on the subject? I have to include them as Canada is a signatory on the Water Boundary Treaty, with these two provinces playing vital roles.

  44. 44 Pangolin- California
    July 24, 2008 at 00:59

    @ China-Africa trade- As much as it pains me to say it, I believe that victork13’s analysis of Chinese-African trade arrangements to be essentially correct. The Chinese have been playing the empire game longer than the rest of the world and with the exception of a nasty period where the court ignored the rapid changes that western technology was bringing they have been better at it.

    In the trade with Africa, the African nations get no machine tools, no independent sources of energy, no cadres of trained and experienced engineers and technicians, no plants that can be used to produce goods locally. They get exactly the infrastructures that are needed to make Africa a better source of raw materials for China and a better consumer of finished products.

    While this may benefit Africa in the short term it continues the long term disaster that colonization started. Africa needs hundreds of millions of bicycles yet it imports every one from China and India. It needs millions of cheap and cheaply manufactured stoves to reduce deforestation and wasted time spent wood-gathering yet the projects to produce these are tiny and foreign led and supported. It needs millions of water filters in order to reduce water borne diseases yet the filters available are produced abroad. It needs millions of cheap solar concentrators yet if a single project is in production in Africa I would be shocked.

    It’s hard to develop when your population spends half it’s time walking around looking for fuel, food, clean water and tending the ill. When they do make money they promptly give that money to China in order to get manufactured goods. Right now, the Africans are suckers for the old free printer-expensive ink game writ large.

  45. 45 Dennis
    July 24, 2008 at 01:23

    About the food story! I am not able to AFFORD that Right now….I am a college kid, living in campus housing, where my food budget is already spent…..

    About the FOX News –it is totally “right-wing” with some left-wing folks….

    About the BBC, interest of full disclosure–i do receive most of my news and a lot of daily email from the BBC and its programmes, they are a fair organisation to deal with…..

    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  46. 46 steve
    July 24, 2008 at 01:28

    Unbelievable. Al Jazeera throws a birthday party for Lebanese child murdered, Kuntar.


  47. July 24, 2008 at 01:45

    It’s too late in Morocco. I am leaving. I hope other moderators will take over.
    Good night/ evening/ morning everyone!

  48. 48 Count Iblis
    July 24, 2008 at 02:07

    Brian, the BBC brings the news in an objective, impartial way. In the US you consider such neutral news “left wing” news. Then, you want to balance that with “right wing” reporting, which amounts to mixing the news facts with non-objective views?

  49. 50 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 24, 2008 at 02:16

    Hello everyone!

    After a long day at the office here I am. The Hurricane Dolly will come to my town tonight, so probably tomorrow I´ll be at home all day.


    I can moderate for a while 😉


    I wish you a quick recovery. Take care!

    @Olympics and politics

    I don´t like when the Olympics is used as a fora for political debate/discussion/actions. However, it has happened a lot over the years.

    The Chinese Olympics and the arrest of Karadzic got me thinking on something… Do you think international opinion has been in the last years more effective to exert pressure over some countries to change internal policy/practices/costums that may be regarded as anti-western or against human rights?

  50. 51 Tom
    July 24, 2008 at 02:24

    The business deals between China and African countries is indeed driven by economic pragmatism than a genuine goodwill toward the African people. As in all kinds of business, there are trade offs for either sides. The Africans get their much needed infrastructures, the Chinese gets the resources they crave for. The governments of both sides agree to the things that are taking place. That makes the term “invasion” an unreasonable exaggeration – much like the term “armed robbery” when it comes to US and Iraq, which some of the bloggers here have vigorously defended. Though in both scenarios it leaves me somewhat disillusioned as far as global “good-spiritedness” is concerned.

    However when the article says 400 million Chinese presumably forcibly migrated to Africa I find this highly implausible and distorted.

    Firstly, doing so at such mammoth scale (30%-40% of the entire Chinese population) will result in societal breakdown within China itself – something that would resemble a nightmare to the CCP.

    Secondly, if this eventuates the Africans, who number in the hundreds of millions, will surely rise up and take arms. Unlike Tibet, arms in Africa is in liquid abundance and the Africans don’t believe in the middle-path.

    Thirdly, the Chinese are an extremely family and homebound people. Those who have travelled aboard will eventually long for their ancestral homeland. So unless they are forcibly removed and banned from returning home against their will, they will find the thought of uprooting and relocating to Africa particularly attractive. Africa, to the Chinese as with many western people, is perceived to be an exotic, improverished and unstable place.

    Chinese people emmigrate to foreign lands to escape tyranny foremost, and business opportunities second. If and when a revolution occurs and China becomes democratic, I foresee that millions of overseas Chinese will once again relocate back to their homeland.

    There is another example as to why this fear-mongering invasion of 400 million Chinese will not happen. The relatively empty Siberia forms a much more appealing place to decongest China than does Africa. Furthermore, Siberia is substantially more resource-rich than Africa in just about every way. Given that, why would the Chinese government give itself such a logistical nightmare of forcibly transporting a third of its population across 2 oceans to a politically unstable continent, when the virtually empty backyard of its next door neighbour seems ripe for colonisation? Maybe the Chinese are aware of the fact that there is a limit to everyone’s tolerance, that people has the nature to strike back when unreasonably provoked, that offending people you need is just bad business. That’s why it’s seldom to see Chinese people picking fights with someone unless they see a desperate need to.

  51. 52 Tom
    July 24, 2008 at 02:33

    “they will NOT find the thought of uprooting and relocating to Africa particularly attractive”

  52. 53 Dennis
    July 24, 2008 at 03:17

    @ Moderator on duty…Hi….

    Syracuse, New York

  53. 54 Tom
    July 24, 2008 at 03:18

    Something to share regarding inter-racial children:

    Just because I don’t want to marry someone outside of my race may make me xenophobic, but as a racist definitely not. Everyone has a choice of who they want to fall in love with. If I don’t want to marry you, and you happen to be black, maybe a bit fat also, that may make me insular or narrow-minded, but as a racist especially if I still respect you as a friend? It’s just like one can choose to remain straight without being homophobic.

    Some of my Chinese friends have mixed Indian-Chinese, European-Chinese, and even Russian-Chinese relatives. Their mixed features make them look exceptionally pretty. This may sound as a surprise to VictorK and may be dismissed as personal fantasy just because I am here and he is there.

    Several artists of mixed Indian-Chinese heritage have earned wide acceptance and made successful careers in Hong Kong – a place that unfortunately has a credible racist reputation. I guess it just shows that the Chinese are an extremely diverse bunch of people capable of diverse range of feelings, just like anyone of us.

  54. 55 Bob in Queensland
    July 24, 2008 at 04:07

    G’day All!

    @ Bryan

    Fox is actually much more fair and impartial than the BBC.

    You really should warn me before giving me a laugh like that while I’m drinking my morning tea! I just hope I can clean it out of my keyboard!

    The editorial stance of Fox News is somewhat to the right of Genghis Khan and the style is pure tabloid. I’m not saying this is a bad thing–they’re open an honest about the stance they take so, in that way, they do “what it says on the box”. However, to describe a media outlet that freely admits to its own conservative bias as “fair and impartial” seems a bit inaccurate.

    I’ve had this discussion with Fox fans before and it usually boiled down to “well, three days ago they found proof that Saddam had an atomic plant just outside Baghdad but only Fox reported it so the others are biased”. However, what the ardent Fox watchers don’t get is that the “others” were more cautious and waited for confirmation which never came. However, Fox never air the retraction when the atomic plant turns out to have made garden planters so people who get their news from that source remain convinced about WMD and think there’s a conspiracy of silence in the rest of the media.

  55. 56 Amy
    July 24, 2008 at 04:07


    I’ve been away for a while traveling but I wanted to wish you all the best! Take care and get well soon.

    Amy in Oregon

  56. 57 Bob in Queensland
    July 24, 2008 at 04:17

    @ Tom

    It’s interesting you mention the “credible racist reputation” of Hong Kong. I haven’t visited since the handover but was their fairly often prior to that and it was a place I never liked very much.

    I found it a very strange mix of prejudices on both sides. The ex-pat community were their usual insufferable selves. However, they seemed to more than meet their match in the Hong Kong Chinese who also had their own sense of superiority. Maybe it was just me but I found the mix very uncomfortable. I used to sum it up be describing walking down a busy street in a situation where nobody–expat OR Chinese–was willing to take half a step to one side to avoid running into you (as happens naturally in every other city). Not one of my favourite places, though I be interested in seeing how it’s changed since the handover.

    As an aside, since you mention physical appearances of mixed races, probably the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met (the niece of a good friend) was half Vietnamese and half French. Simply stunning…and far too young for an old git like me!

  57. 58 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 24, 2008 at 04:44

    @Mixed race and appearances

    I am a mestiza, but have curly hair and big eyes. Many times in Montreal they thought I was from a Middle East country. One of my best friends there is Lebanese; other people thought we were cousins. I suppose my phenotype come from my “Spaniard” part, which was “mix race” because of the Ottoman occupation in Spain waaaayyyyy back. I don´t have a way to know this for sure, but I think it makes some sense. I like that I am “mix race”. It is fun when people ask me my nationality; usually they cannot place me as a Mexican.

    About beautiful people: It is said that Brazilian women are the most beautiful in the world (mixed race, for sure). But finally it is all about preferences and taste.

  58. 59 Virginia Davis
    July 24, 2008 at 05:37

    Thanks all for a good sounding on inter or many racial children.

    @VictorK13: so get off my cloud. I happen to appreciate beauty and mixed race children seem to often glom up good genes and grow up with beautiful features. Why can’t I express my “personal fantasy?” Victor. I certainly let pass (but will not now) all your negative descriptions of what your posts are not the other blog.

    @Chinese/Africa trade: Interesting discussion on effects of Chinese trade on Africa. I do quite agree Africans should be manufacturing their own bicycles and their own stoves.

    Any capitalists out there willing to part with some venture capital? All in good time, I suspect. There is a program I get mailings for about what a difference the gift of a goat (or other livestock) can make to a family in some parts of the world.

    @Fox News. I do watch. Locally/nationally. An emphasis on “bad stuff” which always brings me down. But then I watch BBC and I watch PBS and the three alphabets and CNN. Variety is the spice of life.

    Virginia in Oregon

  59. 60 1430a
    July 24, 2008 at 06:12

    hello everyone,
    A great day here in Bangladesh.But something is missing.The fever of olympics is too less.People here are not at all enthusiastic about the biggets sporting event in the world.
    Well i think most of us are just reluctant that we will not be winning a gold or for that matter any medals.But what can we do to get people more involved to the Olympics? Anyone with a suggestion?

  60. 61 Tom
    July 24, 2008 at 06:26

    @ Bob regarding Hong Kong,

    I guess it’s the similar kind of segregation one would find in many places around the world, especially when language forms a major barrier. For travellers, or overseas HKers who haven’t been back for a long time (like me), there is always a claustrophobic feeling when walking along the crowded streets of Hong Kong. There, personal space is non-existent which may give one the feeling that people won’t get out of the way for you. To them, brushing of sholders or even gentle bumps are a very normal part of life. Life there is fast, stressful and everyone is always busy going somewhere. But despite the crowd and dirtiness, it’s a very safe place to live and visit.

    I have to agree that HK people were and still are a very proud people. This is a result of a city-state that has survived on its own blood and sweat (sure the British provided the political infrastructure), is economically strong, has an influential culture, and being limited in its worldview due to its small proximity and territorial isolation. Their sense of superiority is also matched by its willingness to copy from the best of others, especially from Japan, to the detriment of its own brand and creativity. However, since the handover a combination of shock from the SARS outbreak, periods of economic decline, and its increasing economic and political reliance on China has made HK people more humble especially toward their mainland counterparts.

    I think the most important thing is that people there are learning as they are exposed more and more of the world and realise their place within the global community. It’s still not a perfect place but changes is not expected to happen overnight.

    The Australian model Miranda Kerr is of mixed French, Aussie and Japanese heritage. At 5’9″, dark hair and blue eyes, she is cute and stunning to the extreme!

  61. 62 Tom
    July 24, 2008 at 06:36

    Further to racism in Hong Kong, they have recently passed an anti-racism bill. Although controversial, due to its limited scope, it’s a major breakthrough in an effort to make the city a fairer place for minority groups – especially towards mainland migrants.

    Hong Kong enacts controversial new anti-racism bill

  62. 63 Bob in Queensland
    July 24, 2008 at 08:19

    @ Tom

    Thanks for the link about the anti-racism bill in Hong Kong. I found it very interesting, particularly the thought that it was necessary to enact legislation to protect mainland migrants.

    It’s a sad indictment of the human race the way that groups–any groups–tend to set themselves apart and feel superior to others. If we could somehow learn to get over that, a huge amount of the strife in the world would disappear.

    As for Hong Kong, it hasn’t been the same since they closed Kai Tak Airport…landing there just isn’t the same without being able to look into apartment windows as you fly by!

  63. 64 selena
    July 24, 2008 at 08:51


    Selena smiles at you warmly… 🙂

    By the way, is this supposed to be a debate? I am confused! I thought it was supposed to be a conversation between peoples of the world.

    A debate deserves long posts because everything said needs a backup. A conversation is just a series of opinions, no need for backup.

    You are a perfect debater, Victor… No doubt about it.

    And that is how I see it. 🙂

  64. July 24, 2008 at 09:04

    Hi WHYSers, the olympics is a huge platform for protests and venting grievances but i think the chinese action is rather cosmetic. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right that needs to be protected by all civilized nations. @ Mohammed Ali, i am so sorry. I guess your joyride turned sour. I told you the other day that bikes are stone age luxury.

  65. 66 Omunyaruguru
    July 24, 2008 at 09:05

    @ VictorK13,

    I hope you had a good night. I lost internet connection yesterday and missed most of the discussions.

    “@Nelsoni: have you heard of something called ‘commonsense’?”

    VictorK, that sounded a bit rude. You had a good discussion going but people get easily cut off by such comments.

    “It’s very simple, really. Do you want an entire race to be enslaved in their ancestral homeland or not, in the way the Tibetans have been?”

    It wouldn’t be the first time it is happening. The colonialists in Southern Africa did it; the native Americans suffered that fate; the aboriginees …. History would simply be repeating itself.

    From my experience as a black man that has had an above average exposure to the world out there, I’d rather have a white racist than an oriental one. The Indian and chinese companies in my country are places blacks work in only out of desperation. But don’t worry my dear VictorK, We have already started killing a few chinese and Indians because of the way they treat us in our own country and am sure that will keep them scared. Ha! Ha! Ha!

    I hope internet will be kind to me this time.

  66. 67 nelsoni
    July 24, 2008 at 09:10

    Good Morning Every One,

    Hurricane Kathrina, Cyclone Dennis, Cyclone Nargus and right under our noses,
    Hurricane Dolly. Please can any one tell me who is responsible for the naming of Hurricanes and Cyclones?


  67. 68 Omunyaruguru
    July 24, 2008 at 09:14

    “About beautiful people: It is said that Brazilian women are the most beautiful in the world (mixed race, for sure).”

    @Luz Ma, You have never seen Ethiopian women for sure. They are the most beauuuuutiful in the world.

  68. 69 Jonathan (cool, gray San Francisco)
    July 24, 2008 at 09:22

    Hey everyone, WHYS is fabulous at introducing the people of the first and third worlds. To that end, and reminded by something Virginia mentioned, I’d like to put in a word for my favorite nonprofit organization, kiva.org, which enables anyone to make a “microloan” of as little as $25 to people in the third world to start, or expand, their small businesses. One can review the loan applicants on the website–see their pictures, read their stories and theirplans–and then keep in touch to follow their progress after making the loan. It’s absolutely amazing to see how much difference even $25 can make to the lives of people in the poor world. The price of a good lunch can change a life. It’s a heartwarming, instructive, and genuinely useful enterprise that creates goodwill, and broadens perspective at both ends. This could truly change the world.

    And you get your money back! Default rate thus far is just 1.7%.

    As usual I’m inspired to post during the very slowest time on the blog. Perhaps a moderator might be kind enough to bring this to the attention of the poobahs and/or moguls of BBC/WHYS for consideration as a future show topic, story subject, or whatever.

  69. 70 nelsoni
    July 24, 2008 at 09:25

    @ steve
    July 24, 2008 at 1:28 am

    Unbelievable. Al Jazeera throws a birthday party for Lebanese child murdered, Kuntar.

    one man’s freedom fighter, another man’s terrorist

    In a world where strange things happen, nothing less is expected

  70. 71 Robert
    July 24, 2008 at 09:27


    It is decided by an international committee
    There are 6 lists of names that repeat in a cycle, unless there is a big hurricane that will go done in history. Under these conditions that name is removed from the lists and replaced with another of the same gender and starting letter.

    Details of the cycle are found here


  71. 72 nelsoni
    July 24, 2008 at 09:39

    @ Jonathan (cool, gray San Francisco)
    July 24, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Please read what I wrote here on the “Help Shape our Future page”

    It will be of interest to you

  72. 73 nelsoni
    July 24, 2008 at 09:40

    @ Robert
    July 24, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Thanks for the info.

  73. 74 Jonathan (starlit San Francisco)
    July 24, 2008 at 09:42


    Oh, Robert just beat me to it. The link he provided is the first returned by googling the string “hurricane names.” I now know the names of all hurricanes for the rest of this year, and next year, all the way to 2013 (the last of which will be Wendy). In 2014 they will use the 2008 names again. Interesting stuff.

  74. 75 Omunyaruguru
    July 24, 2008 at 10:18

    @ VictorK13, A few comments on the article about china:

    “From Nigeria in the north, to…. Angola in the west, across Chad and Sudan in the east …..”

    Nigeria is not in the north, nor is Angola in the west. We also do not consider Sudan to be an east African country. That is evidence that the writer is not as knowledgeable about Africa as he would want us to believe.

    “The Chinese are all over the place,’ says Trevor Ncube

    Yes they are!! When I went to San Francisco for business, many shops were filled with Chinese goods. Even the universities had so many slit-eyed people. Indeed they are all over the place.

    “The Chinese do not use African labour where possible, saying black Africans are lazy and unskilled.”

    Very true isn’t it? The Modern african has the worst work ethic I have seen on planet earth!!!! Lazy brats they are.

    “As well as enticing hundreds of thousands to settle in Africa, they have even shipped Chinese prisoners to produce the goods cheaply.”

    Not new at all, they have always done that. The national stadium in my country was built by Chinese prisoners. When they were through, they all walked away and the thing is falling apart in just 15 years.

    “They are here for plunder. After centuries of pain and war, Africa deserves better.”

    Well every body is here for plunder. Americans, Europeans, chinese, the whole bunch of them!!!

    Africa is like a beautiful innocent village girl who has been raped by several men but none has wanted to marry her. She is still beautiful and is very vulnerable in her innocence and ignorance. She can still be taken by an ill meaning man for exploitation or by one who cares for her to ‘love and to cherish.’


  75. 76 Jonathan (starlit San Francisco)
    July 24, 2008 at 10:19

    @ Nelsoni–

    (Panting from plowing through more than 50 posts on the “shape our future” page) I assume you mean your idea for the “WHYS Foundation?” That came up a few days ago; I had hoped it meant a foundation FOR the care and feeding of us groupies, not FROM us. I’ve been waiting for my check.

    No, but seriously, take a look at the kiva.org site. They have an elaborate and ingenious operation, involving field partners on the ground in communities all over the world to evaluate borrowers and projects, with guidelines and experience ratings and followup and all manner of things. I don’t mean to discourage your idea, but I’m so much in awe of kiva that I have to wonder if it is possible or desirable to try to reinvent the wheel when that one turns so well.

    Or maybe I don’t properly understand your proposal. You don’t provide much detail.

  76. 77 nelsoni
    July 24, 2008 at 10:31

    @ Priya (BBC WHYS)

    “Nigerians are normally extremely poor”

    I strongly disagree with that statement. Nigerians are not extremely poor. Some who has never heard about Nigeria is likely to be misled into thinking that every one walking the streets of Nigeria is poor unless there is another explanation for that staement. I suggest you do some research and there after change the wording of that statement. http://www.heartofafrica.com will be a good starting point.

    … having seen little of the oil wealth invested in improving their lives.

    Yes I agree with that.

  77. 78 Omunyaruguru
    July 24, 2008 at 11:09

    Has anyone ever read ‘Confessions of an economic hitman’ by John Perkins? It helps me understand why the new dam to be built near the source of the nile in my country and part financed by a world bank loan is going to cost 3 times what it ought to, not to mention the interest!!
    It shows you clearly the games the west plays and I doubt that China can beat the US at this game.

  78. 79 Jonathan (starlit San Francisco)
    July 24, 2008 at 11:26


    I’ve read ABOUT it. I think it confirms my judgment that top-down aid is mostly a wasteful fraud, and (at least by inference) that trade and bottom-up microloans are much more effective, efficient, and appropriate. Am I right?

    It’s on my list of books to read, but I’ll have to live three lifetimes to finish reading everything on that list, and it seems to keep growing…

  79. 80 Bryan
    July 24, 2008 at 11:41

    Bob in Queensland July 24, 2008 at 4:07 am,

    Well, Bob, while you are cleaning out your keyboard you can ponder the fact that you didn’t respond to my main point – and that is that Hannity and Colmes is a programme that has a permanent lefty and righty as hosts with equal opportunity to vent their opinions and question guests from a left or right wing perspective. Obviously Fox is conservative right wing overall. I never claimed that it wasn’t. But I repeat the challenge for anyone, Will Rhodes or anyone else, to point me to a BBC show that can rival Hannity and Colmes in terms of letting the left and right manage a programme on an equal basis.

    Failing that, maybe you can point me towards a couple of right wing political journalist at the BBC. Are there any? Or is it 100% dominated by the left?

  80. 81 Robert
    July 24, 2008 at 11:43

    Re Oil Companies.

    There are three basic models to oil production.

    1) Tax and Royality. (e.g. UK and US)
    The oil company owns the oil under the ground and it is its to do with how it chooses. Little government interference in the industry except a high tax rate (50% on UK NS oil).

    2) Production sharing agrueements. (e.g. Latin America, Angola, Caspian Sea)
    The government retain the ownership of the oil but the oil company finances the wells and the platform and then operates its under guidence from the government. The oil company is given a share of the oil to cover costs and a small profit. Price of oil goes up, share of oil goes down. Annual and cummulative caps are put in place to prevent the oil company taking too much over the years. At the end of the PSA agreement (15-20 years) all equipment and fields revert to the direct control of the government.

    3) Nationalisation (e.g. Middle East)
    The government retain ownership and do most things themselves. Speclist companies brought in as and when required but details are always managed by the state.

    Which model you choose depends on
    1) The philosophy of the government
    2) The ability of the local people
    3) The oil you have

    In the middle east the reserviors are big and simply structures. Technology wise it is very simple. It is possible for old technologies to simply be brought off the shelf and used. The middle east uses fifety year old technology not because they are cheap, but becuase they don’t need to use anything more complex.

    New locations which need don’t yet have much in the way of oil industry and need the latest technology to develop (like deepwater platforms or complex resevoir structures) favour PSA’s. They get the expertise from the oil companies they need and can use the buying power the company has but can still exercise control. But the strucutre of the contract are such that if the price of oil increases, all of that increase goes to the country. If the price of oil falls the costs are spread between the company and the government.

    The developed nations in which the majors reside (US, UK Noway) prefer tax systems. It’s built on the understanding the companies will get the most profit out of an assest and therefore the most tax. This system means the government doesn’t need to maintain a large oil diversion inside the civil service. The government of the developed nations can also be confident the money stays within the country as typically the service companies that they majors use are all based in the US, UK or Norway.

    Finally the notion that if the US where to nationalise its industry it would bring order to the markets has me in fits of laughter. Exxon, Shell, BP, Conoco, Total, Chevron….. to the smallest non national oil company in the world control less than 10% of the world production. There is no way that American production on its own will be able to control the markets.

  81. 82 victork13
    July 24, 2008 at 11:50

    @Omunyarugu: is there a good reason – other than that its leaders are useless – why African countries can’t simply stop taking loans and then not have an excuse to complain about the West, China, the IMF, etc when things turn out badly?

    When a grown man puts his hand in the fire nobody will cry with him. If that’s not an African proverb, it should be.

    Independence should also mean independence of global welfare.

  82. 83 Jonathan (starlit San Francisco)
    July 24, 2008 at 12:07

    @ viictor–

    “Other than that its leaders are useless?” That’s a pretty big exception. Who do you suppose arranges, signs for, and profits from bribes, skims, and kickbacks in those projects and the loans for them?

  83. 84 Jonathan (starlit San Francisco)
    July 24, 2008 at 12:34


    Thanks for an interesting and informative post on a topic about which one hears so much nonsense, including on this blog.

    Also a good example of a useful long post. If I weren’t interested, I’d use my scroll wheel, my page down key, my cursor down key, or click in the right scrollbar to zip through and past it, four painless techniques that I commend to those who complain about long posts by the way. But I digress.

    Where are you hearing talk of nationlizing the oil industry (or any other) in the US? We don’t do that here as of the last 70 years or so.

  84. 85 Bob in Queensland
    July 24, 2008 at 12:39

    @ Bryan

    I didn’t comment on Hannity and Colmes because I can’t in any sort of informed way. I’ve never seen the show–we get a version of Fox on satellite here but I’ve never come across the programme–I don’t know if this is because we get an “internationalised” version or maybe just to do with time zones since my main viewing hours are during your overnight.

    However, your post didn’t say that Hannity and Colmes are balanced. It said:

    Fox is actually much more fair and impartial than the BBC.

    To me this is certainly saying the ENTIRE editorial output is more fair and impartial when, very clearly, this is not the case.

    Also, you miss an important point. I can’t point to a BBC journalist that I can state with authority to be left OR right wing in their own political views. I can make a guess but, because of the rules governing the BBC, they are not allowed to take a deliberate political stance on air. If you think about it, there are no “Editorial” sections on BBC programmes. For that reason alone, there cannot be a “Hannity and Colne”. They can interview left and right wingers, but they can’t express their own views on air. Bias, if there is any, can only be expressed in editorial selection and subtle word choice. However, even in these areas I suspect you fall into the trap of thinking “if they’re not with us, they’re against us” and mistake balanced “centrist” reporting as being anti-conservative.

    Now I’ll reveal my lie above. I actually CAN point to the political views of several BBC journalists, having worked with them in the field. Of the ones I know personally, 1 is a dedicated labour supporter, 2 are Tory through and through, and 2 more are fairly centre in their views. I’ll not reveal names for obvious reasons.

  85. 86 Omunyaruguru
    July 24, 2008 at 12:42

    @ VictorK13

    Yes victorK, I agree with you. Its all about bad leadership. some characteristics of these leaders:

    1. Selfish sanguinary despots who feed on the blood of their people.
    2. Propped up by mighty nations (china in the case of mugabe, the US in the case of Mobutu, France in the case of Habyarimana)
    3. Often brought into power by a coup supported by some western power. The worst point in the politics of Uganda was when Idi Amin Dada came into power by military coup taht was engineered by the west against a marxist leaning Obote.
    4. Many times they are supported by a population that does not know what they should expect of a leader in todays world. In Uganda, the current president who has been in power for the last 23 years is voted for mainly by the rural folk who makes up 80% of the population. Look at South Africa, they are bringing in Zuma who is an immoral man and will definitely bow to populist ideals and run the country down the drain. An ignorant population!!!!

    In 1986, Museveni tried to say no to world bank/IMF loans and policies. They squeezed his balls until he relented. You cannot fight the establishment.

  86. 87 victork13
    July 24, 2008 at 12:43

    ‘UK MPs Call for Talks With Hamas.’


    The headline might just as well have been, “Attending to British affairs a cinch and a bore; UK MPs with time on their hands poke noses into other people’s business.’

    Did the Knesset ever pass resolutions calling for the UK to talk with the IRA? Have they been urging Brown to talk to Al Quaeda or the Taliban? How is it any more the business of UK MPs – now that the British mandate is a distant memory – to opine on Israel-Palestine than it is the business of MPs from Norway or Finland? Where there is no national interest there should be little national involvment and no national comment. Britain’s MPs need to get their House in order. We need to disengage from the Miidle East and the Muslim world.

  87. 88 victork13
    July 24, 2008 at 12:56

    @Jonathan: that African leaders are invariably kleptocrats goes without saying.

    I’d like to know if there’s any evidence that loans do any good at all, especially when they pass through thieving hands. What proportion of loans are typically stolen? Is it a case of Italian, or southern European style corruption, which is at least compatible with functional (if impaired) markets and operations? I think I know the answer but I’d like to hear from those on the ground.

    If loans/aid only or mainly benefit(s) corrupt leaders, then the loans/aid should be terminated unilaterally, without bothering with African opinion. Africans have a habit of calling for financial support and complaining about the lack of it, and also complaining about aid/loans given when the money in question has been misused by a sovereign state. Are they – at least those prepared to give an opinion on this forum – willing to give up foreign subventions?

  88. 89 steve
    July 24, 2008 at 13:06

    I think the BBC lost it’s argument for being “unbiased” during the Alan Johnston in captivity era. If you recall, people asking for his freedom would say “he is a friend of the Palestinian people” due to his stories being biased in favor of the Palestinians. Everyone would come out and say he was a friend, and despite that, he still got kidnapped and held for a long time. It was pretty true, his stories were biased, and nobody suggested he was a “friend of Israel”. So the BBC cannot be as unbiased as people claim. At least with Fox news, they don’t even try to hide their bias, other than their motto “fair and balanced”. You know if you don’t want to hear right wing stuff, you don’t listen to Hannity. He doesn’t hide his biases at all. However with other media sources, the bias is shown in what stories they choose to air and how they are titled.

    A typical biased story would be : title: Israel kills six Palestinians in a Raid on Gaza City

    body of the story: After a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv which killed 3 people, Israeli forces tracked down members of the group that claimed responsibility and launched a raid, killing 5 militants and one civilian.

  89. 90 victork13
    July 24, 2008 at 13:25

    1. “their people” – most African countries are so ethnically diverse that the ruling class, and power tends to be an ethnic monopoly, can’t be said to represent the entire country. A big reason, I think, for a lot of Africa’s failure.
    2. ‘propped up by mighty nations’ – can’t agree. You could just as well say that their internal sovereignty is respected by mighty nations, who have trade, political and diplomatic relations with them. There isn’t an African leader who couldn’t be toppled by a popular uprising, whatever big power supported him. Most Africans prefer despotism to losing their lives in order to liberate (oh the irony!) themselves. In retrospect, Mobutu was probably as good as the DRC could produce. I think the people of that country pine for the days of his rule (he did have the very real merits of not being a cannibal or a mass murderer, unlike some).
    3. There is an unmistakable contempt for all dark-skinned people when it is alleged (too often on this forum) that the Peerless Aryan Supermen of the West are, in reality, responsible for everything that happens in Africa, the Middle East, etc. African countries have their own internal politics and can manage coups and massacres without anybody’s help. I believe that Amin (a Muslim) took advice from his brother Muslim Gaddafi, rather than Queen Elizabeth.
    4. I have more confidence in ordinary people than in elites. 2329 members of the South African ruling class chose the clown Zuma as ANC Party President, not ordinary South Africans. It is Africa’s elite class who have ruined the continent economically and politically, and who are now handing their nations over to China.

  90. 91 Omunyaruguru
    July 24, 2008 at 13:42

    “If loans/aid only or mainly benefit(s) corrupt leaders, then the loans/aid should be terminated unilaterally, without bothering with African opinion.”

    That is an old argument that recently featured on WHYS. AID to Africa should definitely STOP!!!! Of course a few million people will die here and there but that’s normal life isn’t it?

    Of the financial aid I have personaly observed, 30% goes back to the donor country in various forms – especially American aid-, 50% is taken by corruption and the balance runs an inneffective program in place of what the money was to do.

    One of the reasons leaders like Moi, Kibaki, Museveni, Mugabe, Bia etc, do not want to leave power is the fear of prosecution for the corruption they and their buddies have been involved in.

  91. 92 Dennis
    July 24, 2008 at 14:15

    Good day, Priya and the rest of World Have Your Say friends

    Syracuse, New York

  92. 93 Omunyaruguru
    July 24, 2008 at 14:44

    @ VictorK,

    Am not sure that I’ll have many more posts coz my internet is beginning to behave like a third world leader.
    1. “most African countries are so ethnically diverse that the ruling class, can’t be said to represent the entire country.”

    You are spot-on there. And that is true of every society. Heterogeneity is a feature of all of society. Homogeneity does not exist. Ask Darwin, he will tell you the same thing. Ethnic diversity is just one of several lines of fission that could cause havoc in a society. America is therefore not homogeneous. Are you saying that Bush is not representative of the American people?

    2. I recommend that you read a little more around the politics of Africa in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. Libya only featured in amins decision making mechanism much later. Both Amin and Mobutu were antidotes to marxist ideologies that were threatening to take over a lot of Africa. Amin however bit the master’s hand that grew him and moved to islamic/socialist friends.

    “the people of that country pine for the days of his rule” just as the Iraqis wish Sadam were still their leader. How do you like that?

    3. “I have more confidence in ordinary people than in elites” You have confidence in them to do what?? Your confidence is in a vacuum. You are displaying ‘Sacchism’ which is the tendency to recommend interventions for Africa in complete ignorance of the real situation on the ground.

    “It is Africa’s elite class who have ruined the continent economically and politically”

    The fact that I am blogging on WHYS is simple evidence that am not among the ‘ordinary people’ of Africa. It is people like me who are the drivers of change in my country. The development efforts that I and my colleagues are involved in are taking more people out of poverty than any Kiva-like organisation would do, all this with no penny from the west. But the ‘ordinary man’ is keeping the dictator Museveni in power and he and his buddies are milking the country dry.

    I’ll be luky if the net behaves this time. Victork, I like your style. You sound very much like Steve. Anyone that would like to experience africa first hand to have a better picture of things on the ground is welcome to be my guest.

  93. 94 Omunyaruguru
    July 24, 2008 at 15:00

    By the way VictorK, did you contribute to the debate on African development on this blog on 25th June?

  94. 95 victork13
    July 24, 2008 at 15:46

    1. the US and the states of the West almost all have – as individual nations – a common language, history & culture. The US originated as a predominantly Anglo-Saxon, Protestant nation. The diversity of subsequent immigration did not, until very recently, challenge the cultural unity of the US. Immigrants were assimilated into an American national template and became Americans. Is there a common Nigerian religion? Is there a common Congolese language? Is there a common Sudanese national ideal? There is no comparison between ‘diversity’ in the context of a unified & historic national identity, & diversity that amounts to several distinct, alien and hostile identities.
    2. As you seem to be a Ugandan could you tell us which countries or country installed Amin in power and how, and what your evidence is? Africans are too ready to blame everybody but themselves for what happens in their continent. China, for example, may send arms to Zimbabwe & Sudan, but Africans are ultimately responsible for what happens in those countries (if the northern Sudanese will accept being called Africans), not China. Your example of Amin confirms my point: nobody controls African leaders; they are responsible for what they do.
    3. I don’t recommend any interventions for Africa or anywhere else. Every country is responsible for itself. I don’t believe in giving aid or loans either. Trade & diplomatic relations between states and – apart from exceptional circumstances like genocide – nothing more. Africans are independent; let them make the best of that.
    4. You denounced the people of African countries as ‘an ignorant population’. I pointed out that most of Africa’s disasters have been engineered by elites and despots, not ordinary people. I gave the example of the selection of Zuma, which you had raised in the same connection: a man chosen by the elite, not ‘the people’. I have more confidence in ordinary Africans to manage their own lives without anybody’s oversight. Less government and more freedom. The only charge that I’d lay at African peoples generally is that they are as culpable as anybody when it comes to the continent’s history of pogrom and massacre. Which is why I think African states should break themselves up into smaller, more ethnically compact successor states (since diversity is a curse).

  95. 96 selena
    July 24, 2008 at 16:04


    There seems to be a great deal of rationalization taking place in your posts on Africa.

    Present day Africa is a product of colonization. The fact that some Africans colluded with their colonial masters and continue to do so does not negate that fact.

    It will take many more generations before the scar is healed.

  96. 97 victork13
    July 24, 2008 at 16:23

    @Selena: present day Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, the USA, Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong – to name only a few – were all colonies for a far longer period of time than any African country (the first three for centuries). None of the first three countries listed has the mineral wealth to be found in most African states. In the 1950s, African states had living standards comparable to places like (South) Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia (the first the victim of a devastating war, the other two…former colonies). Look at the difference now The disaster of modern Africa is mainly the fault of Africans.

    Only South West Africa and the Belgian Congo were truly devastated by colonialism. In most other cases basic infrastructure, modern medicine and modern education made Western colonialism, on balance, a postive good. It is Africans who have squandered those benefits (the prime example being Zimbabwe).

    It really is as simple as that.

    For me the question is: are Africans adult human beings to be held responsible for themselves; or are they nature’s permanent wards of court, a race of child-like incapables who are too pitiful to be held to the same standard as the other peoples of the world? I take the former position.

  97. 98 selena
    July 24, 2008 at 16:41


    Well, I can speak for Canada and tell you categorically that the “white” people in Canada were not treated as the scum of the earth. Yes, they were seen as inferior but just an inferior type of “white” person. The lowest rung of the ladder but the ladder, nonetheless.

    The Aboriginals, on the other hand, were treated as non persons. They are still mired in a collective inferiority complex that will take many generations to erase.

    Can you seriously tell me that that kind of treatment does not such the lifeblood out of people?

    If you have no first hand experience with this kind of treatment of Natives, then you can’t be faulted for seeing the world as you do. I have seen the way the Aboriginals have been, and in some places still are being, treated.

    I agree with you on one point… they should be left alone to sort themselves out, away from the influences that still regard them as ripe for exploitation.

  98. 99 victork13
    July 24, 2008 at 17:11

    @Selena: so you’re not now saying that colonialism per se is the problem, but how the ruling power treats the people who have been colonised?

    Good. That’s progress. Plenty of people have been treated as badly and worse than Africans, people who are prospering today without obsessing about their colonial past (I refer you to the non-anglophone countries I previously mentioned).

    My objection is to facile and unsubstantiated claims that all of Africa’s present problems are due to colonialism, and that Africans themselves have no responsibility for what happens to them, despite having been independent for 50 or so years. AIDs and other diseases (including preventable ones), institutionalised kleptocracy, tribal massacre, economic mismanagment, bullying and pillaging of minorities, political incompetence, military government, failure to maintain infrastructure, and a general culture of dependency – these are all things that fall squarely at ther door of Africans and nobody else,

  99. 100 selena
    July 24, 2008 at 17:34


    What I am saying is we treat people worse than we treat animals and believe it has no effect on later outcomes.

    That has never changed and will not change until we understand that humans are basically the same.

    Who knows how Africa might have developed had the continent not been colonized?

    You know and I know that it is not possible to substantiate anything in this regard. Therefore unsubstantiated claim must describe your thoughts as well.

    You take a dark view of Africans and I take a view that the continent has been demoralized.

    Who is right will be left to the judgment of history.

    There is one thing clear enough though: as long as we possess the ability to rationalize our actions and view them as superior, conflict will continue to flourish.

  100. 101 victork13
    July 24, 2008 at 17:50

    @Selena: you wrote, ‘You take a dark view of Africans…’

    ‘Dark’? Why ‘dark’?

    We have a pretty good idea of how Africa had developed for the thousands of years it had existed without colonisation. Two aspects, pretty much universal, were endless tribal warfare and slavery. Both ended by colonialism.

  101. 102 selena
    July 24, 2008 at 18:13


    Gee Whiz! For a moment I thought you were talking about Europe!

    You know, this continent where one of the first acclaimed pieces of literature is about a tribe committing all manner of atrocities to fight another one over 30 cows and one women (the Odyssey). And where tribal wars stopped … well, in 1995? or something like that? (Balkans).

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  102. 103 Robert
    July 24, 2008 at 18:50

    @ Jonathan

    There was a comment added at lunch time to the top of the blog which said that some are talking about the US government being the ones drilling for oil. This is effectively nationalizing the industry in the US.

    It is an idea brought up every so often in the general media and it is touted by those who don’t fully understand how this complex industry works or what the implications might be if it were to be state controlled. It can be made to work no matter which method you choose, but the governments need to understand what they want before making a decision.

  103. 104 Tom
    July 25, 2008 at 00:55

    @ Bob in Queensland

    It’s indeed a sad indictement indeed that one has to dicriminate another one of the same kind just because of the perceived level of affluence and urbaneness. Prejudice against one’s own kind is probably the worse there is, and it’s good time that the society is aware of it and is doing something about it.

    Regarding Kai Tak Airport, I remember when boarding a flight for HK how I wish to be seated on the right side window seat. Because of the mounatainous terrains there, the plane has to bank sharply to the right as it rounds inside Kowloon. The banking would give you the most breathtaking birds eye view of the urban monstrosity that is Hong Kong. Then the exciting part is the landing as the buildings surrounding the plane creeps taller and taller, until when the plane was literally flying through a narrow channel in between buildings!

    The new ultra-modern airport is sterile in comparison. 🙂

  104. July 28, 2008 at 10:55

    Good afternoon world?

    I am a new listener to BBC it’s certainly interesting to read diverse people’s views on several matters. what I think about unemployed people working is oh YES!they should work otherwise continuity in the economy would remain backward due to “old” minds practising and recycling methods of doing work. current curriculums in some institutions of higher learning are cut out to help students innovate ways and explore their capabilities. we have seen this boost companies and cut them out above other related companies. wasting them away makes them frustrated and their minds lose the abiliy to be unique in creativity and flat, giving way to loss of memory of things learnt in the recent past.

    The unemployed should look for ways of keeping busy in related and relevant fields and employers as well should find the graduates and offer plecements for them progressively. reduce the unemloyed people’s traffic! everyone must have been there som time.

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