Thursday, March 09, 2017

African immigrants and refugees

Most of the controversy is about the Somalis who might bring in terror.



AlJ laments man made famine in Somalia. Want to fix it? Kill the bad guys who are intimidating aid workers and stealing food.

Somalia has been policed since the early 1990's by the UN (as is the Congo civil war). Including well trained soldiers from Kenya trying to keep the peace. The trouble is that peacekeepers keep the peace, they don't kill bad guys.

on the other hand, this explains the little noticed phone call Trumpieboy made to Kenya's president a couple days ago.

Kenya is having trouble with these "refugees" from Somalia, and deporting a lot of them

so the question is, of course, why they can't be settled in these nearby countries, where there are already a lot of Somalian workers. The answer: these countries don't want them because they cause crime and terrorism.

from my main blog. I think refugees need to be helped, and the best way to do this is pacify their countries.

But who will risk invading and doing this (as Britain did in India and was the excuse for colonialism in Africa).

Resettling refugees is good, but does have problems, the main one being you can't resettle all of them, the second is that the problem of assimilation takes three generations. (at least it did for the Irish, Italians, and Jewish immigrants into the  USA).

about ten perdcent of Zimbabwean population has emigrated to find jobs, mostly to South Africa or the UK. Wikipedia article.

There are various conflicting unofficial figures about the number of Zimbabweans in the US. The RAND Corporation estimated in 2000 that there were 100,000 in the state of New York alone.[12] 
it's hard to find later statistics.  Indeed it is hard to find exactly how many Zimbabweans are working or emigrating abroad.

Rough estimates vary from place to place:

However, tacit agreement among nongovernmental organisations is that the Zimbabwe diaspora is spread out mainly in South Africa, Botswana, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia. South Africa is estimated to have the bulk of Zimbabwe’s diaspora community, with an estimated two million to three million Zimbabwean nationals living in that country.
Second to South Africa as a destination of permanent settlement for Zimbabweans is the UK. Community-based organisations estimate the total number of Zimbabweans living legally in the UK to be 200 000, but say it is about 500 000 if one includes undocumented immigrants. 

not many go to the USA: Only 45,000 is the estimate in this article. (2008).

this article states that since 1980 immigrants from Sub Sahara Africa number 1.8 million. into the USA. But few are from Zimbabwe.

and this video frrom the US Library of Congress discusses recent African immigration into the USA.



Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Armyworm devestates crops

DW report on the Armyworm eating the corn crop.

Global warming? No. Imported from South America, probably by an imported plant, and spreading around the continent.

Slow government response, and farmers believe the rumor that pesticides won't work


most farmers are still not aware of what can be done to reduce it's damage. Some farmers in Gokwe district bought all kind of theories about a mysterious worm due to lack of information and clear guidance from the government. As a result some healthy looking crops were left at the mercy of the devouring fall armyworm. Many of the farmers are now counting huge losses....
FAO warned that Zimbabwe is likely to be the hardest hit with 130,000 hectares of maize and corn crops largely affected. So far the fall armyworm has spread in at least 10 provinces in Zimbabwe.
Despite the farmers' concerns, the government sees no urgency or panic regarding the armyworm. The head Plant Protection Research Institute at Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Agriculture, Godfrey Chikwenhere, said the yield reduction obeserved was minimal. "The only issue now is that we are using a substantial amount of money on chemicals," he said."
Though from the casual observer when you see the worm and all the plant being [attacked] you might estimate that the yield is very high," Chikwenhere added.
The caterpillar stage is the dangerous one that eats the crops. Ah, but then it turns into a moth, which is how it can migrate so quickly into new area.





this WIKIHOW is more about how gardeners can control it in rich countries

BBC article:

Why is it such a threat to farming? It is very hungry (and not picky) - This pest targets maize (corn) and other cereal crops, like its African namesake, but it also attacks cotton, soybean, potato and tobacco crops. When it does invade, up to three-quarters of the crop can be destroyed.
Unknown enemy - Governments, communities and farmers have no previous experience of dealing with the new pest, which may be even harder to deal with than its native equivalent.
  • It is fast - According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), it has taken only eight weeks for the pest to spread to the six southern African countries where there are suspected infestations.
  • It travels far and wide - The caterpillar stage does the damage but "it's the adult moth that migrates long distances and that's how it's managed to get round Africa," says Professor Ken Wilson, an expert on armyworms.
  • It is not just targeting any old crop - Maize is the primary food staple in many of the areas where the pest has been identified.
  • It is hard to find - The fall armyworm burrows right into the stem of maize plants, concealing itself from view and preventing farmers from spotting the problem early.
  • Bad timing - It comes after two years of record droughts, which have already affected more than 40 million people in the region, making 15% less food available, according to the UN.

often outside the crop looks good, until you open the cob.







Gizmodo articcle on efforts to control the pest. They blame global warming of course.

As if the drought/rain cycle was due to global warming, not a normal event that has been going on for years.

Actually all they say is that the moth didn't spread quickly during the drought, but once the rain came and there was a lot of good crops to eat it spread.

Nature article on droughts in Africa:


Our data indicate that, over the past millennium, equatorial east Africa has alternated between contrasting climate conditions, with significantly drier climate than today during the 'Medieval Warm Period' (approx ad 1000–1270) and a relatively wet climate during the 'Little Ice Age' (approx ad 1270–1850) which was interrupted by three prolonged dry episodes.
We also find strong chronological links between the reconstructed history of natural long-term rainfall variation and the pre-colonial cultural history of east Africa4, highlighting the importance of a detailed knowledge of natural long-term rainfall fluctuations for sustainable socio-economic development.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The Congo peace accord backstory

Awhile back, the Catholic bishops in the Congo backed a peace accord.

 StrategyPage has a summary on the story and what is going on there.


 February 6, 2017: Many Congolese are not convinced the president Kabila will ever comply with the December 31, 2016 agreement brokered by the Catholic Church. That deal (“the December accord”) was made between the political opposition and several senior members of Kabila’s government. However, Kabila himself was not personally a party to the agreement. The agreement stipulated that Kabila could remain in power until national elections are held near the end of 2017.... 

so why does he want to stay in power? follow the money:

Kabila and his family are wealthy and that fortune could be lost or severely depleted if a reform-minded new government decides to recover billions stolen by corrupt politicians. The Kabila clan has extensive mineral interests (including gold, cobalt, diamonds and copper). Many of these family interests are in Katanga province. Corruption in the government Kabila controls has made his family and associates wealthier. It’s an old and wretched story. (Austin Bay)

 read the whole thing.

AlJ has an article on the M23 rebels.


International human rights groups say M23 fighters have been responsible for widespread war crimes, including summary executions, rapes, and the forced recruitment of children. In March 2013, following infighting between two M23 factions, Ntaganda turned himself in to the United States embassy in Rwanda and was extradited to The Hague.
Why the rebellion?The rebels say they started their rebellion because they were not happy with the pay and conditions in the Congolese army. But Congolese government officials and analysts say the mutiny began when the government came under pressure to arrest Ntaganda and hand him over to the ICC.
Given the fact that M23 is a ragtag army, and the vast 1136km distance between Goma and Kinshasa, it is highly unlikely that the rebels can topple the government. But they have continued to fight, sometimes emerging victorious after battles with poorly trained and ill-equipped soldiers. Many say the rebellion is fuelled by the presence of vast mineral resources in eastern DR Congo, claiming the rebels want to win control of them.
again follow the money.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Pedophilia scandal.

The UK Telegraph story of a friend of the Archbishop of Canterbury who is a pedophile. And a murderer.

A previous court case in Zimbabwe was dropped because of irregularities

A lot of our ric criminals get off this way in the Philippines.

I believe Jesus called this a wolf in sheep's clothing, and advised the millstone treatment for such people. (the old fashioned equivalent of the Mafia's cement sshoe treatment)

Sickening.

famine news

I am sending money to a friend in Zimbabwe to help her family (mainly to pay school fees for her nephews and nieces) and I haven't heard from here in several months. I hope she is well: She has high blood pressure and has had a stroke, and the last email said she is having problems getting to a computer or using her cellphone to text me that she received her money. I can't send much: I am on social security, but every little bit helps.

The money crisis there is bad: They had uberiflation which got in the news a couple years ago, but later allowed people to use SARands or US dollars, which did help: I can now send her US dollars by Western Union and know she is getting the amount I sent her, not the amount that was legal by official government exchange, which was much lower than the money was worth.

now, if you know history, the lack of money in hand has caused frustration  and even hardship, so the latest item (VOA) says that the gov't is trying to have the rural folks use debit cards etc. instead of coins.

Zimbabwe has a fairly high standard of education, and when politics and financial collapse occurred (due to Mugabe's socialist policies, but also because of sanctions because Mugabe stole the land from White farmers to distribute to locals, and later to his friends. Of course the white farmers got the land from the people, but never mind).

So the educated skedaddled to get jobs elsewhere: in the UK but mainly in South Africa, often as illegal immigrants, who work to try to support the families back home.

Hollywood teds to blame Trump, but these problems are nothing new, and Hollywood has indeed had films/tv shows that examine the issues under the guise of Science Fiction.  If you saw the sciFi movie District 9, well, that started as a short film satire against the dislike of immigrants. So under Trumpie, will the US be District 9, or Alien Nation, which is about assimilating refugees from outer space?

Well, anyway, this year the rains didn't come again so hunger again is a problem in rural areas. Not getting a lot of publicity in the US MSM. Get Religion links to this story about famine in rural Kenya, which will break your heart.

The point is that governments are trying to cope, but not doing a good enough job. The Red Cross is there, as are many from the "faith communities", but Muslim and Christian, which are on the front line of assistance.

And the article ends with a plea for improving the ability to farm:


Meanwhile, Matolo and other many faith leaders in East Africa continue to stress better farming methods, the use of quality seeds and increased water harvesting. “When I see the people starving, I feel desperate. I also feel disappointed that many of the promises by government officials to deliver water have not been honored,” said Matolo. “If these people can get water for irrigation, the area will become the country’s bread basket. They are doing it in Israel, which is a desert. Here, the soils are very fertile and the people are not lazy.”
The US has responded by increasing aid: Trump just sent 4 million more, on top of the 131 million already sent there since June 2015, which the UN, US and other agencies will use to feed people and work on the infrastructure. (safe water and sanitation).

Relief net has a long article about the various aid agencies helping countries in East and South Africa during this drought.

Aid agencies are often used since money to local governments might just get diverted. China has helped in Zimbabwe when western aid was cut over "human rights" abuses etc. but of course, lots of their money got diverted to keep the Mugabe regime in power.

and they mention that in Zimbabwe, the corn and other crops are being destroyed by the FallArmy worm.  This will need pesticides, and GM crops might help control it.

 CNN Report here.

sigh.

There are huge back stories about why not: From the countries emphasizing modernization in cities instead of farming, to the NGO's that too often oppose GM crops and the green revolution (and influence local governments to ban these modern crops), or NGO's who were more worried about animals than humans, to political instability and tribal politics, where one tribe got the money and the others were neglected. Indeed, in parts of Africa, a lot of the religious conflict is tribal conflict and/or traditional rivalry between farmers and herders.

Zimbabwe doesn't have a lot of religious conflicts, although there is a low grade one between between the Matabele (a warrior tribe and Zulu offshoot) and the Mashona (pacifistic farmers).

These famines are not new: as I said in an earlier post, they had a major one when I was there in the 1970's, and another in the 1990's. Sigh.

but one thing that is often left out of these stories (which in the western press alas often follow the  "westerners aid poor African" meme): that the Diaspora is supporting their families.

This HuffPost story is about remittances sent back from those who migrated to work elsewhere and are sending money home.

According to a report published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in 2013, remittances sent to the world’s poorest countries including 33 African countries have increased to US $27 billion in 2011 from US $3.5 billion in 1990.

South African mining is a big source of these remittances, but then there are a lot of other stories out there about undocumented educated workers who do menial jobs to support their families.

This is the back story of all those Africans trying to sneak into Europe, or my previous post about Africans in China.

There are an estimated 400 thousand illegal black immigrants in the US: Some from Haiti or the West Indies, but many from Africa.

these immigrants have faces, and families. So do we gather them up and send them back, or work to integrate them? District 9 or Alien Nation? Anyone? Anyone?






 
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