Thursday, January 15, 2015


Following decades of civil war since the Portuguese gave up the colony in 1975, Angola now appears on the list published by Freedom House* as one of the “not free” countries in the world; a splendid euphemism. 

When the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (the Very Unpopular Movement for the Murder and Enslavement of All Angolans Not Allied to the Ruling Elite - to use the redefinition from this blog's entry on Algeria) won more than 70% of the vote in 2012, international monitors refrained from using words like “rigged” or “coercion” and simply criticised the event as “seriously flawed”, describing election machinery as “outdated” and referring to “inaccurate voter rolls”. 

We have to wonder what power countries have to instill such fear in others that these "get-away-with-its" are sanctioned, exonerated and even collaborated with. Does Angola have that much oil? To which, sadly, the answer is, yes, Angola is one of Africa's major oil producers, and China will get it instead of the West, if we start to say nasty but true things about Angola. Not to mention diamonds, minerals, coffee, fish, timber... 

So the phrase remains "outdated election machinery", which we in the West will be happy to replace for you at low cost; and if it is "seriously flawed", well, so is this criticism, and so is my criticism of this criticism, so we are all equal, and can therefore move on. 

What the observers should have said is: Angola is yet another country where no one bothers to vote unless guns are pointed at their heads. 80% succumbed in 2008; only 60% in 2012, so either things are getting better or the thugs are losing their touch. A Communist country, it was closely linked to Cuba and the Soviet Union but is now closely linked to China, though not yet so close that we are having difficulty getting the oil at a reasonable price. 

The word "reasonable" is also open to the commentary of an observer. What is "reasonable" to us at the petrol pump in the UK or the USA is not the same as "reasonable" to the regular Angolan, who lives on an average $1 per day, and so cannot afford a car, let alone the petrol. El Presidente Jose Eduardo dos Santo, on the other hand, who has been in power since 1979, has fleets and fleets of them. We know this for certain. Observers have witnessed them, going from village to village, their occupants carrying rifles, generally in the weeks before the President's quintennial re-election, travelling for the purposes of ensuring that the Popular Movement is still a Popular Movement, and that Liberation still means Liberation.

Freedom House is a US-based non-governmental organisation that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights. Freedom House was founded in October 1941.

Marks For: 0

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
All rights reserved
The Argaman Press

No comments:

Post a Comment