Wednesday, June 26, 2013

China in Africa

A long article in StrategyPage discusses how China's investments in Africa might fail:

the problems?

Instead of hiring locals, they import their own workers, who live in segregated compounds.

Support of hated dictators (and folks will remember this long after they forgot what the development projects helped: The USA is learning this over and over again in the Middle East).

But mainly Chinese racism against Africans.

Neocolonialism, anyone?

The Chinese were mainly after raw materials, especially oil. A lot of that $13 billion was bribes for local officials. As usual, the average African was getting screwed by these deals. For example, a lot of the investment was for infrastructure (roads, bridges, structures), and a lot of those deals stipulated the use of Chinese labor for most of the work. There was never any intention of employing many Africans. The Chinese pay such low wages that they could afford to fly in Chinese for many jobs. China is also flooding African markets with inexpensive goods. Both of these tactics are hurting local businesses, and causing unrest among African business owners and workers. As a result, it's become common for opposition parties in Africa to accuse China of "neo-colonial exploitation." The accusation fits, and the Chinese will pay for it down the road, as will peacekeepers brought in to help clean up the mess.
Chinese merchants have been doing this to SE Asia for a couple hundred years: And even as late as World War II, their kids were called "Chinoys", and there is an Asian hospital in Manila that was started to treat them.

Of course, here in the Philippines, the rule is that foreigners are not allowed to own land or businesses, so usually the Chinese married Filipinas from rich families and put the businesses in their names (local custom allows women to run businesses). So most of the elite who run the country have Chinese ancestry (you can identify them by their paler complexion and round faces).

This intermarriage is not being done in Africa, so makes the Chinese more vulnerable to being ousted, similar to Idi Amin's deporting the many Indian merchants who ran the country, or Indonesia's ethnic cleansing of their Chinese community years ago under the guise of fighting a communist takeover.

As for Chinese exports: here in the Philippines, the exports have ruined a lot of local industries because of the Chinese low wages and their artificially low currancy. The good news is that they are cheap. The bad news is that they are poor quality. For example, our American plumbing fixtures bought 20 years ago still are okay but the ones we had installed in the new area of the house have deteriorated in two years, so we had to replace them from the hardware store in the mall (and have to hope that they are not counterfeit). Ditto for shoes, clothing, and (alas) drugs. Counterfeit and sub standard drugs (originating in China and India) kill hundreds of thousands every year, including Africa,  but when the US "green" types discuss the need to replace the expensive US/European brand names with "generics" for the HIV and other aid programs, this fact tends to be ignored.


I am lax in posting to this blog about Mr.Mugabe mainly because I no longer ave the time or energy or contacts to know if what I read in the papers is accurate enough to post.

so I will limit my links to articles from places I trust, mainly about the development in Africa.

As for Zimbabwe, my last contact there now has a cellphone and internet access from the high school where she teaches, so things seem to be improving.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

China in Africa

from StrategyPage:

These unreported economic problems (because the chinese overreport their economic success) are one reason over a million Chinese have headed for Africa. But that place has not always been the land of opportunity. For example, Ghana recently cracked down on illegal gold mining and among the many people arrested were 134 Chinese. This was not unexpected as the Chinese are displacing Arabs as the main facilitators of illegal activities (mining, logging, poaching, smuggling, and so on) in Africa.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Male rape and gay laws

Instapundit cluelessly suggests Obama pressure Africa to stop passing laws against Homosexuality.

Which only proves he lives in an equal society, where gay sex is assumed to be consensual between equals.

Yet in Africa (and to a lesser extent, here in the Philippines) we have a hierarchical society, where inferiors are supposed to obey superiors.
And, with tribal conflicts, rape, including homosexual rape, is a weapon of war:

So what about nowadays?

From AlJazeerah: a report on male rape in tribal conflicts.
The use of rape as a weapon against women in Congo's many conflicts has been widely reported. However, the number of male victims is also suspected to be high. Most cases remain unknown because men, like women, are often too ashamed to come forward and talk about their ordeal.

CAPE TOWN, 13 October 2011 (IRIN) - Sexual violence against men, including rape, is under-reported, poorly addressed and has a severe impact on both men and their families, according to a presentation at the annual Sexual Violence and Research Initiative (SVRI), held in Cape Town, South Africa...
Male rape is here often associated with homosexuality, which in Uganda is condemned and stigmatised. Men also choose not to speak out for fear of being branded homosexuals, and victims cannot get proper support because they are accused of being gay.

Yet this is the tip of the iceburg.

So sleeping with the maids in the third world is "normal" (which is why most of our maids insist we hire them in pairs, for a chaparone), and if your employer is "gay" and you are an attractive  male, well, watch your back... literally....And then there are the boarding schools and high schools, where teachers prey on their student (including pressuring girls or boys to become prostitutes).

However don't point fingers:

One of the unreported story of Africa is the sexual outlet of the "white bwanas". The Dominican sisters entered Rhodesia to nurse the first settlers. They soon were setting up schools, not just for the white students, but for the "coloured" children who quickly appeared. When the whites objected, sister said sarcastically that they were "their" children (and hinted she'd name names) so they'd better provide money...

Yet another unreported story of colonialism is that many of the white settlers (at least in British colonies) were exiled there because of their behavior: They were "gay". And of course, in Africa, your employees don't dare say no to a superior.

And gay abuse predates colonialism, as the story of the Uganda martyrs shows.

Yet colonial policies imposed taxes for money on village people, so essentially forced men to work to pay taxes, and colonial policies hired men without making accomadations for their families. Under Apartheid, where pass books were needed, this was even enforced by law.

Then you have the problem of old age: No social security, so an aging man would have to support himself or be supported by his family on his land. But in African custom, the land is owned by the tribe, so this meant you had to leave your wife at home to care for the land or the land would be given to another, meaning you would have no way to support yourself when you returned if she went with you. And although polygamy was legal, few men were rich enough to buy more than one wife.

So where did the men get sexual release? Prostitutes cost money...

Despite all the American talk of "cross cultural understanding", few medical studies of the problem seem to realize that Africans or Asians might not think the same as upper middle class white educated Americans.

Western investigations of gay identity such as this one from Princeton see the problem via western white culture.

This report also discusses MSM in South Africa but ignores the elephant in the living room: The fact that men are pressured by the system to leave their families behind while they go to work in the cities.

Teenaged boys who have sex with each other may not be gay, but merely not have access to girls: ditto for factory workers or those whose wives are at home in the villages caring for the family land. And in rural areas, if a tribe has taboos against vaginal intercourse with a pregnant or nursing wife, one would expect some MSM to be going on to relieve sexual tension (yet without putting that into context you are again missing the problem)

Then there is the problem of street children. When I adopted, we were told to assume if we adopted an older girl we should assume that they had been abused, and we were warned that many of our boys had also been abused.

One report said the MSM abuse rate was 25% among street kids in Addis Ababa

which, by the way, is the same rate as reported among inner city kids in the USA.
(in contrast, a broader survey shows that only 5% of teens admit sex below age 13, but 20 plus percent of gay kids...this does not include rape or sex under threats of violence, 10%).

What is going on in Africa is that with modernization (and the fruits of colonialism) you see a break down in tribal rules. You get chaos and all sorts of immoral behavior (not just sex but monetary corruption and violence) that were limited by tribal laws and customs in the past, but now have few ways for the community to protect itself from predators and sociopaths.

These countries however do have an alternative: religion.

Christianity, which for years was seen as an outside influence, is now indigenous (including many indigneous Christian churches). Even the hated "boko Haram" of Nigeria, seeking Sharia law, is more about stopping the epidemic of Nigerian corruption/bribery than about Islam per se.

The mosques and churches teach strict religious rules, and use shame to enforce them.

The breakdown of the family, a lot of which can be laid at the foot of an oppressive colonialist system that destroyed tribal ties and customs, is a major problem, and the churches are trying to solve it by preaching strict behavioral rules that encourage marriage between equals.

 So the "anti gay" laws are part of a spectrum of laws trying to redevelop and heal the culture from the chaos and immorality inherited from colonial times.

And outsiders who see this as a "gay rights" problem are missing the point. It's not about two equals chosing to marry each other, even though they are the same sex. It's about trying to reestablish morality on many levels.

Westerners who assume  it is about sex between equals are merely making things worse, because the average African sees this an merely another western plot against Africa.

And the revulsion against gays is visceral,

You see sex between equals, so whenwhen you say "don't make homosexual actions illegal", you are saying: "Let those born gay be able to have sex with one another as equals without punishing them".
But Africans interpret it differently: They hear: Let men rape our boys and get away with it.

Given the sex tourism with boys we see here in the Philippines, one could suggest they may have a point.

Free hit counters
Free hit counters