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July 29, 2003


Iím a 35-year-old bum who works for the gubmint in some capacity. Alert readers probably already know, but I try not to advertise it.

Iím married with two adorable children. Iíve worked as a burger flipper, a counter person, a pizza deliverer, a waiter, a restaurant assistant manager, a salesman, and a linguist for the US Army. Sadly, my multiple applications for the position of ďgigoloĒ were unanimously rejected. If you have any questions about my exciting career as a counter person, Iíll be glad to answer any questions.

My main interest is in Asia, and China in particular, but I have a vested interest in keeping at least a passing familiarity with what goes on everywhere in the world. I knew about many of the problems Liberia and other western African nations are facing now as long as 2 years ago, but I havenít blogged about it because everyone always looked blank when I brought it up in conversation. Furthermore, it seemed rather straightforward: things really suck there, and no one cares to do anything about it because we have no national interest in the area. But when Zom By Boy offered the opportunity, I jumped at it. I hope you find my offerings worthwhile.

I think we need to get involved in Africa for several reasons.

First, I donít think we can stand by and do nothing while a region of the world sinks into chaos and lawlessness. Peoplesí lives are being ruined and snuffed out as we speak. If it was right to intervene in Iraq because of the inhuman tortures perpetrated by the Saddam Hussein regime (and I think it was justified), then we are even more bound to intervene in West Africa, where amputation of both hands is a common practice to prevent the amputee from aiding the opposition. Yes, both sides do it. There are literally tens of thousands of people in Liberia, French Guiana, and the Ivory Coast who have no hands.

Second, Africa is a treasure house of natural resources. But these resources remain untapped, and the people destitute and unable to benefit from the resources because the nations are too unstable to make it worthwhile to develop. If we can help bring about (not impose) stability, the people could bootstrap themselves up to membership in the international political and trade/economic society.

Third, many of the worldís most deadly diseases have developed in Africa. The more stable the nations are, the better chance we have to stop the spread of a deadly epidemic before it depopulates the globe.

Fourth, the average lifespan of an African is something less than 35 years. Iím 35 years old, and Iím still growing in wisdom and knowledge. I still hope to do great things. I can expect to live to at least 70, and maybe 90, if I avoid accidents. But people in Africa are dying out before they can contribute significantly to the world. People are people, and the bell curve of intelligence distribution applies in Africa just as aptly as the US. (yes, nutrition problems probably skew the curve to the lower end) How many Einsteins, how many Leonardo Da Vincis, how many Mozarts have died young and uneducated, unable to develop their minds for the betterment of themselves, their neighbors and all mankind?

But it all comes down to stability. We must help stability grow, wherever we can.

I asked to join this blog because I think that we humans are far smarter in groups than we are individually. As we writers bounce ideas off each other, as you readers come and comment, critiquing or applauding points as you see fit, we will be able to revise our ideas, and the ideas will most likely percolate through humanity, and maybe we can create a landslide of interest and concern about/for/in Africa, together.

I also agree wholeheartedly with Kelleyís reasons to participate, but she put it so much better than I could, Iíll just say, ďme, too.Ē

Posted by at July 29, 2003 02:55 PM
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