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Africa’s Forever Wars (aka Jeff Gettlemen is a Twat)

February 25, 2010

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Welcome to Africa

The amazing blog ‘Wronging Rights‘ brought this to my attention. The New York Time’s Jeffrey “I-know-Africa” Gettlemen has graced the online pages of Foreign Policy with an article about War. I mean Africa. Nope I mean War. Err…oh right, ah, of course Jeffrey, the two are synonymous. Whateverz.

The article starts as such:

There is a very simple reason why some of Africa’s bloodiest, most brutal wars never seem to end: They are not really wars. Not in the traditional sense, at least. The combatants don’t have much of an ideology; they don’t have clear goals. They couldn’t care less about taking over capitals or major cities — in fact, they prefer the deep bush, where it is far easier to commit crimes.Today’s rebels seem especially uninterested in winning converts, content instead to steal other people’s children, stick Kalashnikovs or axes in their hands, and make them do the killing.

He goes on about how money and robbery and nasty stuff like that is driving these conflicts. Well, that’s true. But its arguably the case in all wars. The only difference is what you choose to look at in a war and how you choose to see it.

But then he says:

What is the military or political objective of ramming an assault rifle inside a woman and pulling the trigger? Terror has become an end, not just a means.

The savages! The SAVAGES! They just do it FOR FUNSIES!!!!

Again, there’s truth to a lot of what he says, about how rebellions have often morphed from ideological movements into predatory movements (again not uniquely African), but there is something about his whole style of reporting that gets me. For example:

The LRA, for example, never seized territory; it seized children. Its ranks are filled with brainwashed boys and girls who ransack villages and pound newborn babies to death in wooden mortars.

Really Jeff? I mean, really? Besides the whole inaccuracy child soldier thing (the numbers of child soldiers are actually far lower than Jeff and his hack gang would want you to know, and its actually really complex – oops, sorry Jeff, I know you don’t like that word), and besides the fact that he gets his facts and history selectively wrong in several places in the article, that’s not what pisses me off. No. What pisses me off is his whole idea of Africa. Again:

these ceaseless conflicts I spend my days cataloging as they grind on, mincing lives and spitting out bodies.

And of course, its ALL fucked, and all the selective examples are but mere representations of the people and the country called Africa.

But what if Somalia is less of an outlier than a terrifying forecast of what war in Africa is moving toward?

But Wait! What’s this?

All this might seem a gross simplification, and indeed, not all of Africa’s conflicts fit this new paradigm.

Yes Jeff. It might just be a gross simplification. You twat.

Read more (or don’t) here.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. StrangeGlobal permalink
    March 8, 2010 11:32 pm

    I hate that I laughed out loud when you wrote “funsies” – but I couldn’t help it, it was spot on.

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