Sunday, February 8, 2015


The BBC has a wonderfully terrible habit of trying so desperately hard to be completely, objectively neutral, that it ends up being biased by accident rather than design. Take this statement for example: “Potentially a holiday paradise with picture-postcard beaches, the Comoros islands are trying to consolidate political stability amid tensions between semi-autonomous islands and the central government.” What this actually means is: tourists, do not go there, no matter how cute the place looks in the tourist board propaganda; this is a land of continuous political violence that has reduced it to virtually “failed-state” status, and your chances of not getting caught up are so slight as to be not worth the risk.

Twenty coups since independence in 1975 is a better strike-rate than LeBron James when he was with the "Miami Heat" or Gareth Bale at Real Madrid, and to make things worse, what started as a group of islands has reduced by two, with Anjouan and Moheli issuing unilateral declarations of independence at the end of the 1990s; not that the main island accepted this, and there is now a peculiar arrangement, one that has been shown in practice not to work, though it is remarkably similar to the deal now being offered by London to Scotland after the No vote in the independence referendum – the islands have been granted large amounts of theoretical autonomy, but the central government retains control of all security and financial matters.

For the however-manyth time I am recording the sad statistic of a country which is ranked “one of the poorest in the world”. The Comoros islands have virtually no natural resources, which means that the one thing they do have is a deep dependence on foreign aid. The Moslem government, led by Ikililou Dhoinine, was brought to power by the usual democratic methods of stuffed ballot boxes, stolen voting papers, and opposition observers being chased away from polling stations. Mr Dhoinine has stated that he will stop at nothing to bring to an end the allegations of government corruption; which should mean that he will end the corruption, but sadly we have to take it to mean that it is the allegations that he proposes to arrest, by locking up the allegators, or setting his own crocodiles on them even, but at least there will, as he has promised, be no more allegations of corruption; in gratitude for which, assuming enough people pay enough back-handers to enough people, he will win his re-election fairly and openly. And there are still the potentially paradisal beaches.

Marks for: 1

Marks against: that depends on who is in charge of counting them

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