Author: Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

More On Somalia

Here’s a superb article on what has led to the current crisis in Somalia. It really is essential reading, and I’d urge everyone to get through to the end.

Somalia has long been of strategic interest to American policy makers. The country sits aside the strait of Bab al-Mandeb, a key oil transit waterway between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean — the second closest point between Africa and the Middle East. Under the Cold War the allied dictatorship of General Siad Barre was the longtime recipient of generous amounts of American military and economic largesse. In 1991, after years of unrest, rebellion, and protracted drought, Barre’s regime collapsed into the famine, war, and chaos now virtually synonymous with the word Somalia. George H. W. Bush ordered American forces into the country a year later in support of the United Nations relief program, culminating in the Battle of Mogadishu and the now-famous Black Hawk Down incident.

It then goes on to discuss the CIA’s role in aiding the Ethiopian invasion, which has led to the humanitarian crisis that much of the world seemed to forget about. Really does highlight the role of foreign governments in destabilizing a region.


Mogul’s Myths

Listen carefully to the article. He is fearful of Obama creating “protectionism”, and that “free markets” lift people out of poverty around the world.

Don’t believe a word he says. There is no such thing as a truly free market, and the markets that exist are generally to keep people in poverty by stealing things from them and selling them in our own markets. A bit like what has happened in the Congo.

But don’t believe someone like me, think it through further, and investigate things like Reagan and Thatcher selling arms to the evil dictator Suharto in order to free up the markets there to get to the resources labelled as “the greatest prize in the South-East Asian area”. Sure, a few hundred thousand people get slaughtered, but it’s all in the name of neoliberalism, right? Free markets to the likes of those with power, but not to the likes of you and me. I doubt very much you’ll be seeing much coverage of those things on his news corporation.

We’re likely to be hearing more of this sort of thing in the coming few years. But at least currently, the rest of the world breathes a sigh of relief. I’ll be watching the hegemony with interest.


Important Reading

Some important and sobering reading on the crisis in the Congo from the Independent.

Congo is the richest country in the world for gold, diamonds, coltan, cassiterite, and more. Everybody wanted a slice – so six other countries invaded.

These resources were not being stolen to for use in Africa. They were seized so they could be sold on to us. The more we bought, the more the invaders stole – and slaughtered. The rise of mobile phones caused a surge in deaths, because the coltan they contain is found primarily in Congo. The UN named the international corporations it believed were involved: Anglo-America, Standard Chartered Bank, De Beers and more than 100 others. (They all deny the charges.) But instead of stopping these corporations, our governments demanded that the UN stop criticising them.


T.S. Eliot—The Waste Land Part V. (What The Thunder Said)

Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves
Waited for rain, while the black clouds
Gathered far distant, over Himavant.
The jungle crouched, humped, in silence.
Then spoke the thunder
Datta: what have we given?
My friend, blood shaking my heart
The awful daring of a moment’s surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract
By this, and this only, we have existed
Which is not to be found in our obituaries
Or in memories draped by the beneficient spider
Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor
In our empty rooms
Dayadhvam: I have heard the key
Turn in the door once and turn once only
We think of the key, each in his prison
Only at nightfall, aethereal rumors
Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus
Damyata: the boat responded
Gaily, to the hand expert with the sail and oar
The sea was calm, your heart would have responded
Gaily, when invited, beating obedient
To controlling hands

I sat upon a shore
Fishing, with the arid plain behind me
Shall I at least set my lands in order?
London Bridge is falling down, falling down falling down
Poi s’ascose nel foco che li affina
Quando fiam ut chelidon
– O swallow swallow
Le Prince d’aquitaine à la tour abolie
These statements I have shored against my ruins
Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo’s mad againe.
Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.

Shantih shantih shantih


Death Of Democracy? An Example.

Forgive the huge dose of inaccurate and simplified journalism by the BBC, but this Social Libertarian community in Copenhagen, Freetown Christiania is under siege by the Danish government, and protests have kicked off in response. This is a community where people have chosen to control over as man aspects their own lives as possible—it’s a genuine democratic process.

Not like in, say, a capitalist-dominated country where you surrender your opinion to two or three parties that have very little variation, and act in the favour of big businesses under the illusion it’s more freeing. Where, over the years the people have been steadily removed from political activity. Or in other State Socialist governments that dictate your choices.

So when the government is trying to interfere with a place like Christiania, it is a loss of real democracy and real freedom.

To quote V For Vendetta: “People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”


Seamus Heaney—”The Underground”

There we were in the vaulted tunnel running,
You in your going-away coat speeding ahead
And me, me then like a fleet god gaining
Upon you before you turned to a reed

Or some new white flower japped with crimson
As the coat flapped wild and button after button
Sprang off and fell in a trail
Between the Underground and the Albert Hall.

Honeymooning, moonlighting, late for the Proms,
Our echoes die in that corridor and now
I come as Hansel came on the moonlit stones
Retracing the path back, lifting the buttons

To end up in a draughty lamplit station
After the trains have gone, the wet track
Bared and tensed as I am, all attention
For your step following and damned if I look back.


Guillemots—Made-up love song #43

Double music bonanza this weekend. I love the Guillemots. They’re one of the most original bands around, and fabulous live. They’re genuinely passionate about music, and it shows so much.