Sunday, July 10, 2011

Southern Sudan independence day

South Sudan is now a new nation.
I once worked with a doctor who was from there. He and his brother as teenagers were refugees in a camp in a nearby country, and some Seventh Day Adventists picked out some of the smarter boys, including him, to send to get an education...he became a doctor...his wish was to go home and care for his people, but he knew that he would be killed if he did that, so he was working in Liberia instead. When I left that country, he had changed jobs to work in a rural Lutheran hospital in that country....that was before the Liberian civil war, so I don't know if he is still alive and able to go home.

But since I met him in 1980, it gives you an idea of how long these people have been suffering....

the bad news? The North is attacking along the border to get the oil fields given to the south, and will continue to try to destablize the government.

BBC report HERE.

And heh: the (right wing) Gateway pundit points out that the cowboy hat worn by their president in this photo was given to him by GWBush, who was pivitol in pushing for their independence.

The daughter of a British professor/blogger just moved there to work in anthropology, and has a blog HERE.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Mines behind Congo's wars

From StrategyPage: An article on how every war lord and militia group get their pay from their leaders who "own" their own mines.

. At the moment 70 to 80 percent of the working mines are controlled by militias. Some of the militias are bandit groups. Some are tribal war parties masquerading as a political party. Some are nominally Congolese Army units. Controlling a mine is a source of revenue for the militia, tribe, or army unit. There is a gray area here that receives little attention in the international media. Many legitimate Congolese Army units gripe that their pay is stolen or is in arrears. A commander controlling a mine can pay his troops.

But of course, these groups only get money from the mines: someone else owns and exports what is mined there.

so NGO's are pressuring the UN to devise a "blood mineral" designation to discourage the buying of such minerals...the problem is that the rich guys will just bribe the inspectors...and then there is the China problem. China will buy what they want and need from anyone, ignoring the human rights problems...
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