Talking points 18 December

Somalia has been named as the most lawless place in the world, Zimbabwe sits at number 4. Two countries where it’s been argued the international community should intervene, but it hasn’t. So do we have to accept that there are some countries we don’t care enough about? 

Despite calls from the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for a UN force to be sent into Somalia, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the time isn’t right.  He says he’s contacted 50 nations – but none have agreed to lead such a force and only one or two are willing to send troops.

In Zimbabwe the Cholera epidemic is now thought to have killed over 1,100 people out of the 20 thousand cases since August.  Still the international community makes noises about intervening, but still no action.  Some maintain the need for an African solution to an African problem.

Is it true that if these countries don’t have oil, or strategic value, we don’t get involved?


British troops will leave Iraq by the end of May next year. But by setting a timetable are you just playing into the hands of the enemy? Are the insurgents now going to sit back, stockpile weapons and mount an offensive as soon as the British troops leave Iraqi soil? Doesn’t the art of war advocate you don’t tell the enemy what you’re going to do?

33 Responses to “Talking points 18 December”

  1. 1 VictorK
    December 18, 2008 at 12:13

    Re not caring about certain countries, it’s important to be clear about the ‘we’ who are accused of not caring.

    ‘We’ as the BBC: you do have preferences. Western, especially American, involvement in a country seems to count a lot in grabbing your attention (hence your indifference to Chechnya, a greater tragedy than Iraq). Similarly, the greater a contrast some issue presents to Western practice & values, the more likely you are to be excited by it (e.g. adultery as a crime).

    ‘We’ as the West. There’s an element of ‘Hesperocentricism’ whereby you are constantly assuming that it’s for the West to sort out the world’s problems, or to be condemned for not doing so, or to be condemned for trying and failing. Somalia & Zimbabwe are never reported as issues that Muslims and Africans respectively have any obligation to put right. The BBC’s world-view lacks ‘diversity’.

    ‘We’ as ‘the world’. This ‘we’ is usually a subterfuge. It’s used when a problem cannot, however hard you try, be blamed on ‘Bush’, the US, or Europe, but when only Western moral, financial and/or military resources will make a difference, the rest of the world not caring about the issue. It’s a way of demanding Western action while refusing to acknowledge Western moral superiority.

  2. 2 VictorK
    December 18, 2008 at 12:39

    Re Iraqi troop withdrawal.

    Sounds like a case of wanting to have your cake and eat it: lambast Britain for being there, and lambast Britain for preparing to withdraw. Just lambast Britain. I’m for a complete and immediate withdrawal of all Coalition forces.

    The insurgents aren’t my enemies. They aren’t Britain’s enemies either, not having invaded or occupied us. I suspect that this is the first time that the BBC has referred to them as ‘the enemy’. The enemy of the Iraqi people, perhaps? Surely not. Isn’t that why they were never called terrorists or criminals, but always ‘insurgents’?

    If they have any nous and listen to their Iranian handlers then of course they’ll conserve their energies, stockpile weapons, wait for the occupiers to leave, and then give the Iraqis what they say they’ve always wanted: a country free of invaders which will soon be ruled by unaccountable warlords with private armies, until a strongman emerges to impose his rule on all factions.

    I just hope the people of Iraq enjoy getting their wish.

  3. December 18, 2008 at 13:00

    What DOES it take to make other countries “care” enough to intervene? Let’s remember that the invasion of Iraq was justified by the POSSIBILITY of weapons of mass destruction, suggested by some very dodgy intelligence reports.

    Somalia, on the other hand, is KNOWN to harbour pirates who are holding something like 20 ships, including one load of tanks and armoured military vehicles and a Saudi supertanker full of oil. That’s a genuine, proven threat yet they’re allowed to get away with it.

    It may not be a “biological weapon” but Zimbabwe is now exporting cholera to surrounding countries. This on top of the untold misery being suffered by all the people living there. Mugabe and his cronies are allowed to get away with it as well.

    Find some logic. I can’t.

  4. 4 Lubna
    December 18, 2008 at 13:11

    Hi Chloe my darling… 1stly, in my opinion, no one at all can decide which human tragedy is bigger, more important, and more devestating than the other one… The sufferance and ordeal of every human being on this miserable planet is a human tragedy that should never be underestimated under any circumstances… To the ones who say that the Iraqi ordeal is much less significant than what’s happened in other countries I say : Come to Iraq (if you’re brave enough!) and try to live my ordinary day to-day life for only one week, try to lose over fifteen of your loved ones over five terrible, intolerable, and horrific years of war, occupation, invasion, conflict and sectarian violence like I did (including close relatives, best friends, teachers and mentors), try to experience EVERYTHING that I have experienced in my life since 2003 and till this moment, only after you do all of that, you’ll become qualified to estimate the scale of the Iraqi tragedy and to judge whether its size is bigger or smaller than other human tragedies in other places of earth, and the same thing goes for Palestine, Darfur, Somalia, Afghanistan, DRC, Zimbabwe, ect., ect. With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  5. December 18, 2008 at 13:31

    Today’s Mugabe is what he has been for many, many years. There is no real pressure from within the country for him to step down. Tsvangirai and his MDC party have failed to rally the people behind his cause, however good it is. He has been shuttling between world capitals and giving interviews to leading media. Change doesn’t come this way. On this context, why would Mogabe just step down and let Tsvangirai succeed him? I wouldn’t do that had I been Mugabe. Sending foreign troops to Zimbabwe is out of question. Why does the BBC always try to bring Zimbabwe to discussion forums? As Mugabe has accused, is Britain (in this case, BBC) the one who took the cholera to Zimbabwe? The people have to rise up. They have to break all barriers and break open the gates of Mugabe’s palace. Then only the international community can rally behind the people. I realise that there is no use rallying behind Tsvangirai, who can learn how the Nepalese people have brought about radical changes in Nepal within just a few years.

    Tilak Pokharel
    Kathmandu, Nepal

  6. 6 Jennifer
    December 18, 2008 at 14:39

    Re: Are the insurgents now going to sit back, stockpile weapons and mount an offensive as soon as the British troops leave Iraqi soil? Doesn’t the art of war advocate you don’t tell the enemy what you’re going to do?

    I don’t think the insurgents care one way or another. They are going to do what they want to do; no matter what. I hope that the US troops also come home soon. I am tired of hearing people complain about how horrible we are for being there. Just let the insurgents take over!

    I think when we have more attacks here, as I believe will inevitably happen, maybe some people will wake up. Who knows……

  7. December 18, 2008 at 14:44

    remember this kind of lethargic approach of united nations was the reason why ruwandan massacre touched 8lakhs as united deliberated for 3months whether the continuing massacre in ruwnanda would come under the DEFINITION of genocide or not .within this period of defining the massacre under genocide 8lakhs were hacked to death .same will be the case with zimbawe,sudan and somalia which will be cause of concern for the whole world in the immediete future?

  8. 8 Ogola Benard
    December 18, 2008 at 15:02

    After they have defrauded countries off their money, they never call for intervention since its a business at human cost!

  9. 9 gary
    December 18, 2008 at 15:23

    Do I care about Somalia, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, or Iraq? For what it matters, I care about every human on Earth. How shall I help them to better their conditions? On even the best days, my powers to affect change extend barely to the end of my nose. My knowledge and wisdom are similarly feeble. Maybe I should mind my own business. If they see me in diligent efforts to solve my own problems, perhaps they will take it as a good example, or maybe they will not. Shooting and shouting advice does not seem to be helping much. Perhaps I should allow them a quiet space in which to think. Until they formulate the question themselves, they will not believe the answer I might attempt to provide.

  10. 10 VictorK
    December 18, 2008 at 15:26

    @Lubna: I think it’s very easy to rate humanitarian disasters. How many have died? How many are dying? Are future deaths inevitable? What is the extent of non-fatal suffering? Is there a possibility of national extinction (physically or culturally)? Is a malevolent invading force present?

    By this scale Palestine is merely a grievance; it deserves little of the attention it gets. The DR of Congo’s 5 million deaths put it at the head of the class. Tibet is the victim of deliberate cultural genocide: its very existence as a nation is at stake. It’s one of the few countries of which this can be said. Chechnya has suffered more deaths than Iraq (and I believe it has a smaller population). Iraq’s plight is almost entirely the fault of Iraqis, just as Somalia’s is down to Somalis. Both country’s would be at peace if only their people wanted it.

    Intervention, when it happens, should be regional and/or from countries that are racially and culturally cognate, simply as a matter of effectiveness. Somalis waged jihad on the Americans who tried to help them before because they were mainly white and Christian. The Americans would be fools to return.

  11. December 18, 2008 at 15:50

    Sirs, I assure you the most lawless place on the planet is Wall Street.

    All the Somali pirates combined could not steal the $2 trillion that the Federal Reserve effectively just did, nor the $700 billion that American criminal bankers are in the process of stealing.

    Let’s not fixate on tiny malefactors like pirates when the elephant in the living room is the American banking cartel.

  12. 12 David
    December 18, 2008 at 15:56

    Just read Lubna’s article above and if you are really human, you will come to terms with your conscious. Good on you Lubna, what you said is quite true and made my eyes wet.

    Is war the only weapon known to many for sorting out countries? Can we stop all wars and open a new gate of dialogue? How can we convince those who lost love ones that we care about them? Is there an answer out there?

    Please when you think of invading the next country just think of the innocent ones, and do not call them collateral damage. there is nothing like that in my books. Every life is precious.

  13. 13 Arnaud Ntirenganya Emmanuel
    December 18, 2008 at 16:04

    Hi Ros,
    Where the US and the UK care, the world cares, simple.
    positively or negatively, for their interests.

  14. 14 Tony From Singapura
    December 18, 2008 at 16:06

    somalia: If we go in there, who & how many do we kill to put thngs right? No point messing with Somalia.

    Zimbabwi: when the people have had enough they will have an uprising to remove Mugabe, then we can help them with humanitarian needs. no need to kill anybody there.

    I say let them sort out their own problems , but be on hand with humanitarian aid once they stop killing each other.

    we should have left Iraq alone along these lines.

  15. 15 Anthony from Cleveland Ohio
    December 18, 2008 at 16:13

    Individualy as Humans , I don’t think that anyone of us would not say thzat any of those countries are Not important.
    Unfortunately, Our governments seem to think otherwise. I believe that we do not do enough for these countries. Remember, when our governments do intervene, there is almost always something “in it for them”. I don’t know what, if anything, would be “In it for them” in these third world or developing countries.
    I have seen many charities set up here in the US for places like Somolia, Zimbabwe, and other places. That is certainly not enough, and who realy know how much of that Money or food actauly gets there.

  16. 16 Ana Milena, Colombia
    December 18, 2008 at 16:57

    🙂 Hi, Lubna!
    The everyday tragedy you’re going through is really sad 😦 , and it’s the same suffering lots of people are living wordwide, that’s why I agree with you that none of the countries deserves more attention than the others: ALL OF THEM deserve attention!
    However, as the main question addresses, we (call it media, call it people) don’t give enough attention to all these people the same way.
    First, because most of the media informs according to the convenience of governments and tycoons. Second, because many people are ignorant, and they have enough with the info given by the media, taking for granted other sources that reveal the cruel reality: lots of brothers and sisters suffering in an unbearable and disappointing situation.

    One way to deal with this is with education. Authentic reflection, a critical view for all these issues, even from schools. Also, the media’s role is essential, as they’re our window to the world. Once we’re shaped in a critical mind, I’m sure that ‘caring’ about other countries will go further than concerns, but will be aimed with effective actions.
    It’s not easy, but that’s what I try to do with my students!

    A warm hug to WHYS, Lubna and everybody!
    May Jehovah bless you!! 😀

  17. 17 DENNIS
    December 18, 2008 at 17:12

    So do we have to accept that there are some countries we don’t care enough about?

    Yes, but in reality; the reality is that we need to help any and all countries that
    are in trouble.

  18. 18 Jeremy in the U.S.A.
    December 18, 2008 at 17:29

    It would be very interesting to know by how much trade that passes through the Suez Canal, has been effected by the Piracy. Surely the Egyptian government must be feeling a hole in their treasury pockets, due to the Somali freebooters?

    Anyhow, I believe that Somalia is in total disarray because they have reached bottom; they can’t sink any lower on the socioeconomic scale, and all the while the world just stands by and let’s it collapse in-on-itself. I truly don’t understand why this is, but I do feel very strongly that if only the U.N. was supported by it’s member nations properly, the U.N. are the ones that should be going in an cleaning this mess up. They should have arms and the sanction to use them.

    The pirate problem is first. Aid and supplies are second. A functioning government is third. The Egyptians should be working on the Somali problem too; Boosaaso should become one of the World’s largest seaports linking Asia with Europe through the Suez canal. Where is Egypt in all of this?

  19. 19 ben's younger brother
    December 18, 2008 at 17:43


    very moving. may your god go with you.

  20. 20 Tony From Singapura
    December 18, 2008 at 18:36

    When we speak of interfering in other countries affairs, we need ensure that the cost in our own lives is justified.

    There is a difference between losing your son/daughter to a situation that threatens the security of your own country versus losing them to a situation that has little influence on your home security.

    Iraq could have been left alone and not made any difference to the security of home countries.

    Afganistan was a different matter..

    The situation in Zimbabwi is a humanitarian disaster and I am sad to see it happen. However it is not threatening our own security and I dont need my own children to die because of it.

    The situation in Somalia only affects our shipping routes, these can be changed – goods might cost more because off it – none of our children need to die.

  21. 21 DENNIS
    December 18, 2008 at 18:48

    it’s good news, that the united kingdom is withdrawing its troops….but, the problem is telling the enemy (or) other parties that have the plan in there heads to start trouble….

  22. 22 DENNIS
    December 18, 2008 at 18:50

    Is it true that if these countries don’t have oil, or strategic value, we don’t get involved?

    That is very true if you don’t have oil or a valuable resources; then the chance of getting involved is pretty much zero chance….

  23. 23 Michelle from Jamaica
    December 18, 2008 at 19:09

    I think the world does not care for two reason:-

    1. They are black
    2. They have no oil or stategic value

    I don’t think military intervention is the answer. I believe AID relief and infrastructural improvements such as water supply is what is required in Zimbabwe. That will benefit the people more.

  24. December 18, 2008 at 19:11

    Europe is the primary political-economic benefactor of the destruction in Africa. Europe has a huge population shortage to keep economic growth, and Africa is the perfect supplier of future cheap labor to provide this growth. By allowing Africa to deteriorate as far as possible, Europe is only helping itself to create the cheapest labor as possible. The U.S. has no need for this cheap African labor, and hence will not provide any support. It is not that people do not care about Africans, it is that Europe has a massive economic need to create CHEAP labor out of Africa.

  25. 25 Fred in Portland OR
    December 18, 2008 at 19:14

    Yes, there are a lot of countries that should have intervention to prevent the loss of life, and denial of human rights, but Great Britain, Canada, Australia and the U.S. can’t do it all and play global emergency response units. If other countries in Western Europe are so outraged at global problems, where are their armies and peace keeping forces?

  26. 26 VictorK
    December 18, 2008 at 19:27

    @Joseph: your theory is out of touch with reality

    (Western) Europe has a declining population but not a population shortage.

    Africans lack the skills to service Europe’s economy.

    Eastern Europe is a massive reservoir of labour for Western Europe.

    A labour shortage is good for ordinary Europeans, since it means a rise in wages.

    Some bosses may want cheap African labour, but most European peoples are opposed to mass immigration (the European Union recently made it more difficult for non-European economic migrants to enter EU countries).

    African’s are responsible for Africa’s problems.

  27. 27 Lauren in Portland
    December 18, 2008 at 19:28

    Unfortunately, the reason why the US didnt “stay the course” in Somalia is because there weren’t any resources and capital there for the US to gain from. That is really the underlying reason why we “stay the course” in Iraq. Sadly, it has nothing to do with human rights and compassion for people who truly suffer.

  28. December 18, 2008 at 19:42

    Read this article about the population/labor shortage in Europe, and see why Europe must create cheap labor out of Africa by letting this blood-letting occur.


  29. 29 Maurice
    December 18, 2008 at 19:50

    What right does the world have to ask the youth from another country to give their life in defense of another country ! As a former U.S. Marine I enlisted to “…defense and protect the United States of America” I would have rise from Hell had I been killed defending the Congo, Africa or any other country from a bad government. Especially as a citizen of the United States the world looks to America to send in the troops and criticizes America for sending in the troops and/or not providing enough money. The reality is American are just tired of being the policemen of the world. If its not important to the neighoring countries and/or the UN and its not a vital U.S. interest, its just too bad. Life is a bitch and then you die.

  30. 30 Ken
    December 18, 2008 at 19:54

    It is not a matter of not caring. It is a matter of fatigue. Westerners have been helping for years, if not decades, and things never seem to improve. Thi is especially galling when we see African leaders pay lip service to serving their people, even as they siphon off aid to put in their Swiss bank acounts while their people starve. Then they complain that the West is racist and won’t help.

    Begin to put your own house in order. Once we have confidence that our aid and efforts won’t be poured down a rat hole, may be we will return.

  31. 31 Marge
    December 19, 2008 at 05:22

    VictorK – thank goodness that someone out there is well informed and well balanced.Thank you for your comments.

    Far too many people out there work on their emotions only . They operate without facts or foundation for their allegations.

    The West has been helping these lawless, cruel pathetic countries for years and are vilified for it.

    How much of my charity gets into the wrong pockets? These countries should help themselves.

  32. 32 sharon
    December 19, 2008 at 18:58

    I tell you what. Even in the US we,as a people, don’t really care for ours either. We have the homeless,Katrina, a medical system that does not really support uninsured, people who have no food for days. Please note I am not saying ALL people but I am saying these problems have not been solved as yet.How do we develop a heart for other countries when we show little concern in ours. Just sayin’…

  33. 33 ~Dennis Junior~
    January 14, 2009 at 03:31

    So do we have to accept that there are some countries we don’t care enough about?

    I think that in reality, we most of the time; the international community does not care about some countries….

    ~Dennis Junior~

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: