..the truth shall make you free
Jn8:32
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
GOD's  truth  is  essential for
us  to  choose  to  be  free  of
sin and its consequences Rom1:18
 
 
 
GOD the Son is truth Jn14:6,
so He alone can free us from
sin, disease and eternal death.
 
 
 
GOD the Son saves from sin as
sin is death Mat1:21 Rom6:23,
but very few seek true salvation.
 
 
 
GOD the Son fully saves 1Thes5:23,
as He purges into perfect health
so we live in His likeness Rom6.
 
 
 
[see World Vision Jer23 plan]
In America

BOB HERBERT
 
Refusing
To Save
Africans

 

    Giving the back of his hand to the suffering of millions, a key Bush administration official is opposing any extensive use of the life-extending anti-AIDS drugs in Africa, insisting that the health care infrastructure is too primitive and that Africans, in most cases, are incapable of following the regimen.
 
    As head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Andrew Natsios is the administration's point man on foreign aid. In an interview with The Boston Globe, he said the money raised by a new global fund to fight AIDS should be used almost entirely for prevention services, not for the antiretroviral drugs that have been so successful in extending the lives of people infected with H.I.V.
 
    Painting with a very broad brush, Mr. Natsios said attempting to get the drugs to Africans any time soon would not be worth the effort because of the difficulties posed by a lack of roads, shortages of doctors and hospitals, wars and other problems.
 
    According to Mr. Natsios, the problems extend to the Africans themselves. Many Africans, he told The Globe, "don't know what Western time is. You have to take these (AIDS) drugs a certain number of hours each day, or they don't work. Many people in Africa have never seen a clock or a watch their entire lives. And if you say, one o'clock in the afternoon, they do not know what you are talking about. They know morning, they know noon, they know evening, they know the darkness at night."
 
    This view of Africans as so ignorant they can't master the concept of taking their medicine on time has become a touchstone of the Bush administration. Back in April, The Times' Joseph Kahn reported on concerns voiced by an unnamed senior Treasury Department official: "He said Africans lacked a requisite `concept of time,' implying that they would not benefit from drugs that must be administered on tight time schedules."
 
    Africans may be dying by the millions from AIDS, but the brutal stereotyping of the Dark Continent lives on, encouraged by U.S. government officials who should know better.

    Mr. Natsios's primary response to the epidemic that is roaring like a fireball across southern Africa is to just say no. "Just keep talking about prevention," he told The Globe. "That is the strategy we're using even though I'll be beaten up and get bruises all over me from the fights on the subject."
 
    Mr. Natsios may not realize it, but just talking about prevention has failed. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 25 million people are infected with H.I.V., and more than 17 million have already died. In South Africa, which is being brought to its knees by this epidemic, the rate of infection for all people 15 to 45 years old has nearly reached 20 percent.
 
    The United States, a rich and healthy nation, cannot close its eyes to suffering on such a colossal scale. There is medication available to ease the suffering and its cost is coming down. Now the steps must be taken to get the medicine to the people in need.
 
    I spoke with Mr. Natsios last Thursday. He conceded that in South Africa and the country with the worst outbreak of AIDS in the world, Botswana, the health care infrastructure is, in fact, pretty good.
 
    As for the difficulty Africans or anyone else might have following the daily antiretroviral regimen, now might be a good time to burst a widely held misconception. Antiretroviral therapy does not always require patients to take dozens of pills a day.
 
    "Our patients take two pills in the morning and two pills in the evening. That's it," said Toby Kasper, an official with Doctors Without Borders, which recently established an antiretroviral therapy program for patients in a village in South Africa.
 
    The trend in drug therapies in the U.S. and elsewhere is toward newer, more consolidated regimens that are easier to follow.
 
    Mr. Natsios reluctantly acknowledged that some limited use of antiretroviral treatment in Africa may be O.K., and he said he didn't mean to offend anyone with his comments about African concepts of time.
 
    The truth is that both prevention and drug therapy are desperately needed in Africa.
 
    No one believes antiretrovirals can be effectively administered in countries that are at war, or in areas devoid of doctors and hospitals or clinics. But there is a role for antiretroviral therapy to play in the catastrophe in sub-Saharan Africa. And it would be to the everlasting shame of the United States if its officials proved to be a barrier to that kind of life-saving treatment.

 
New York Times - June 11, '01
 
Hatred brings Lies and Death
 
The New York Times
Sunday, November 4, 2001

    Thabo Mbeki's views on AIDS have drawn so much criticism that he has lately kept them to himself. Last month, however, the South African president gave two speeches that showed he remains badly misinformed about a virus that now infects one in four adult South Africans and will kill between five and seven million over the next decade, the vast majority of them poor black people. Mr. Mbeki downplayed the problem, exaggerated the toxicity of antiretroviral drugs and suggested that advocates for treating the disease are racist.
 
    South Africa, with a medical infrastructure capable of providing antiretrovirals, should be a global leader in AIDS treatment. Yet even though thousands of affluent South Africans buy these drugs, the government has done nothing to make them available to the poor. It has not accepted international offers of free or low-cost medication and runs only a few programs to cut mother-to-child transmission. Meanwhile, Mr. Mbeki has appointed scientists to government panels who do not believe that H.I.V. causes AIDS. In August, he used old statistics to argue that AIDS is only the 12th-leading killer in South Africa it is actually No. 1 and asked health officials to reassess the budget accordingly.
 
    It is hard to understand how Mr. Mbeki, a reformer in many other ways, can be so irresponsible about AIDS. His misunderstanding seems to be rooted in a defensiveness about race. In one speech, he said that those advocating AIDS treatment viewed black people as "germ carriers and human beings of a lower order." Many politicians in Mr. Mbeki's African National Congress disagree with him. But virtually none speak out publicly, a testament to Mr. Mbeki's unhealthy level of control. Even Nelson Mandela seems reluctant to challenge him on this issue.
 
    Mr. Mbeki came to politics after a lifetime of fighting white rule in South Africa. Though it is hard to imagine a more malignant evil than apartheid, AIDS has already taken more South African lives. If Mr. Mbeki does not begin to address the crisis, millions more deaths will follow.

Mugabe' s Descent
The Wall Street Journal
Friday , August 17, 2001

    Forget racism, colonialism, land reform and all the other excuses trotted out by the head of Zimbabwe's tottering regime. This past week's violence and the arrest of 21 white farmers should finally put the lie to those excuses. The crisis in Zimbabwe is simply caused by an autocratic government that is itself destroying the legal protection of its citizens in a desperate attempt to hold onto power.
 
    For the past week, government-backed mobs have stormed farms in northeast Zimbabwe, the breadbasket of Southern Africa. Even as starvation looms in many regions, the mob has invaded some of the most productive farms on the African continent. They have attacked white farmers and black laborers with axes and machetes. Houses have been torched, tractors smashed, crops trampled and livestock hacked to pieces. Which begs the question: If these criminals truly wanted land reform, why would they destroy the farms that they hoped to own?
 
    Some 60 farms have been evacuated and whites are leaving the country. Some determined farmers are staying, but they are painting their radio call signs on their roofs to make contact with passing planes. Zimbabwe hasn't seen that since the worst days of the 1970s civil war. Most of the whites carry Zimbabwean passports, have lived there for generations and risk losing everything when they flee the country.
 
    The police simply refuse to enforce the law. Valid court orders to remove farm invaders are ignored, as are urgent calls from farmers. When the police do become involved, things sometimes become worse. During a farm attack last week, the owner desperately radioed for help. Twenty-one white farmers came to his rescue. Then the police appeared -- and arrested all of the whites. They are being held without bail in an unheated prison in the middle of the Zimbabwean winter. Meanwhile, not a single farm invader was arrested.
 
    The motives for these attacks are not primarily racial. Before the waves of violence instigated by the regime of President Robert Mugabe, an American visitor to Zimbabwe's farm belt would be reminded of California's Central Valley. These were modern, highly mechanized farms worked by men of different races and tongues without enmity.
 
    Some recent events show that race and tribe mean less in Zimbabwe than ever before. Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, is the largest interracial political party in Africa today. Even the two rival tribes that divided Zimbabwean politics for decades, the Shona and the Ndebele, have come together in the MDC. If the opposition is not cheated out of its expected victory in next year's presidential elections, Zimbabwe could be ruled by the most diverse and liberal coalition in Africa.
 
    Land reform is also a red herring. In 1980, when Zimbabwe became independent of Britain, the U.K. pledged to help finance the purchase of white-owned farms. After a decade and more than $44 million spent, the British government cut off the funds. Zimbabwean officials were forcing white farmers to sell -- a clear violation of the agreement that the U.K. government had struck with Zimbabwe. As for the farms that the Zimbabwean government did buy, most were simply looted and abandoned.(cont...)
 

Settling city dwellers with no agricultural experience on large commercial farms simply didn't translate into success. Most of the hapless urbanites were reduced to demolishing farm buildings and selling the bricks for food.
 
    In 1998, Britain agreed to another land-reform scheme. The U.K. agreed to pay for the purchase of 100 farms. Mr. Mugabe responded by demanding funds for 1,500 farms -- nearly one-quarter of all white-owned farms. When the British government learned that the farms would remain government property, it balked.
 
    Thus began Mr. Mugabe's crusade for land seizures. His government has announced plans to seize 95% of all 4,000 white-owned farms, mostly without compensation. Remember, these farms are an economic pillar of the Zimbabwean economy and are heavily taxed. It makes little economic sense to destroy what is still working -- but sadly it does make political sense.
 
    Nearly two million blacks live and work on white-owned farms. Mr. Mugabe believes they are the source of the opposition party's strength. Wrecking those farms and turning those blacks into refugees will flatten the opposition. Too bad he has to destroy the country to do it.

 
 
Another African disaster
Editorials
The Chicago Tribune
Saturday, August 16, 2003
 

    With all eyes on the Liberian tumult, it was easy to miss a more subtle disaster in another corner of Africa last week. Zimbabwe's Supreme Court green-lighted the trial of Morgan Tsvangirai, the country's opposition leader, on charges of treason. This is the latest of several fits and starts in President Robert Mugabe's attempt to silence his loudest critic. But the opposition will not settle down--even if Tsvangirai is convicted (and executed) on trumped up charges of trying to execute the president--until Mugabe steps down.
 
    In response to Mugabe's corrupt and undemocratic rule, Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change have called for strikes and denounced despotism. That has landed him in jail several times since April, when Tsvangirai accused Mugabe of rigging the 2002 election that extended his 22-year rule. Mugabe and the MDC have not been in contact since then.
 
    Zimbabwe, a former paragon of African industrialization, has melted into a simmering economic and political hell. The poverty-stricken population is enduring severe fuel and food shortages. The government recently printed a new currency to offset the 365 percent inflation rate that has made smaller denominations worthless. And Mugabe has seized huge parcels of white-owned farms in the name of "equitable land reform," handing out the spoils not to destitute peasants, but to inept cronies and party hacks. Many have let the land lie fallow. Thankfully, the MDC is a nonviolent party. The country has not become another Liberia.
 
    Yet to many Zimbabweans and African leaders, disenchantment with Mugabe's mismanagement doesn't mean sympathy for Tsvangirai. Because much of the Western world has embraced Tsvangirai's reformist politics--particularly after the seizures of white-owned land--many in the country see him as a tool of foreigners (read: whites). Meanwhile, Mugabe is still revered as one of Africa's greatest anti-colonial freedom fighters, and he has portrayed his political problems as an extension of that cause. Many African leaders would support the MDC but don't want to diminish Mugabe's history.
 
    Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's president, is one of those leaders. While President Bush has almost no leverage in Zimbabwe--there will be no regime change from afar like Liberia's--Mbeki has plenty. South Africa is a major provider of Zimbabwean electricity and water, which it could use to force Mugabe and the MDC back to the negotiating table. Intervention is clearly in Mbeki's interest: An estimated two to three million Zimbabwean refugees have already fled to South Africa. That is only a shadow of the humanitarian crisis that would ensue if Mugabe's government really collapsed.
 
    Bush used his trip to South Africa in July to force the issue on Mbeki, who assured him that talks were progressing and that South Africa would mediate through back channels. That, apparently, has not happened. The two parties are as far apart as ever, and though Mugabe has hinted he may step down at some point, he has never been forthcoming with details. He even demanded that Tsvangirai "repent" before entering negotiations.

 

    Zimbabwe's impoverished masses will not see relief until the nation enjoys democratic rule through new, uncorrupted elections. That seems unlikely to come soon, given Tsvangirai's sedition charge. With Liberian mayhem subsiding, Bush has enough clout on the continent to pressure South Africa--as well as the two Zimbabwean combatants--to find a peaceful solution.

 
There's Nothing Natural About Zimbabwe's Woes

 
    NEW YORK -- In the waiting room of Zimbabwe's mission to the United Nations, posters advertise the country's natural wonders, including wild elephants and the splendid Victoria Falls, with the caption "Africa's Paradise."
 
    Yet in today's Zimbabwe what looms large is not paradise but famine. "The situation is deteriorating fairly rapidly," says Kevin Farrell, country director for the U.N.'s World Food Program, reached by phone in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare. He says that in any village right now, "you will see people clearly hungry." The U.N. is appealing for $611 million worth of emergency aid for sub-Saharan Africa. Almost half of that is for Zimbabwe, the region's former breadbasket, where aid workers now predict that without massive help, hundreds of thousands may soon starve to death. But, as Rev. Jack Finucane of the U.S.-based Concern Worldwide, told me after his recent visit to Zimbabwe, "There's a problem about getting food into the country."
 
    There is nothing natural about this. True, Zimbabwe has had a drought. But in our modern world of swift transport and global markets -- supplemented in a crisis by eager aid agencies -- there is no way that famine can be chalked up to natural disaster. Given any reasonable degree of freedom, people will make mighty use of their own ingenuity to survive. It takes a lot of work, by determined tyrants, to starve human beings to death.
 
    Stalin in the 1930s, Mao in the 1950s and '60s and North Korea's totalitarian Kim Jong Il today all belong on the list of rulers who have forced starvation on their own people in the course of consolidating their own power. Ethiopians starved in the 1980s under the brutal Marxist rule of Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam, who was finally ousted in 1991 -- and retired to luxury digs in Zimbabwe, where he still resides.
 
    At Zimbabwe's U.N. mission hangs a portrait of the ruler who has enrolled this once-fruitful country in the axis of famine: "His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe" -- Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
 
    Mr. Mugabe peers out from behind big dark-rimmed spectacles, looking younger in this official portrait than his 78 years. He has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, tightening his grip over time. As some countries in Africa have begun to liberalize, Zimbabweans have been looking more urgently for change. Mr. Mugabe has responded with increasingly destructive tactics for keeping power -- imposing price controls, nationalizing enterprises and turning loose gangs to brutalize opponents.
 
    In March, Mr. Mugabe "won" re-election in a vote that the State Department said was "marred by disenfranchisement of urban voters, violent intimidation against opposition supporters, intimidation of the independent press and the judiciary and other irregularities."
 
    Over the past two years, Mr. Mugabe's bid to boost his waning support has included a land "reform" in which his government ordered commercial farmers belonging to the 1% white minority to quit farming and surrender their land to be parceled out to blacks. This was done in the name of redressing racial injustices of colonial times. But the huge farms and their economies of scale were the most productive source of the country's food. Their confiscation, carried out in many cases by violent mobs, has brought food production to a near halt. And though the drought ended months ago and many of the reservoirs are now full, Mr. Mugabe's "reform" means there is now almost no effective irrigation or new planting. The worst hit by these ruinous tactics are huge numbers of Zimbabwe's 12 million blacks.
 

 

    Nor can people buy supplies on the open market. The government runs a Grain Marketing Board that has monopoly rights to import and deal in commodities such as corn -- the staple food in Zimbabwe. Farmers are forced to sell exclusively to the state marketing board, at well below world price, which further reduces incentives for large-scale planting. According to the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Andrew Natsios, the grain board "has politicized the distribution of food," funneling grain toward Mugabe supporters and away from the opposition.
 
    Mr. Mugabe's policies have also sent inflation into the triple digits, eroding the buying power of ordinary Zimbabweans. The official exchange rate is now about 1/16th the black-market rate, meaning that food prices are increasingly out of reach. The effect is a "mass destruction of the middle class," says Mr. Natsios. In neighboring South Africa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has warned that "Zimbabweans are now suffering the brunt of policies that could soon spill over into the entire region."
 
    Aid donors are now trying to maneuver emergency rations through Mr. Mugabe's horrific political maze, which has included objections by Harare officials to the importation of genetically modified grain. The U.N. has issued a call for swifter relief to avert catastrophic starvation, and nongovernmental organizations have been petitioning officials in Harare for permission to ship in food. Mr. Mugabe, meanwhile, was off in Cuba last week, lauding what he calls his "fast track" land policy and hobnobbing with his old pal Fidel Castro -- another septuagenarian believer in the power of rationing.
 
    By phone from Zimbabwe last week, a relief worker described to me the scene in village after village, saying that though people still look healthy, they are now running through their last resources. They are selling off the cow or the goats, boiling roots for food, and waiting in mile-long queues at local offices of the state's Grain Marketing Board.
 
    The relief worker described an old Zimbabwean woman who came with hundreds of others to a foreign aid center near a village school. She said that almost everyone she knows is getting desperate: "We beg, we borrow, we look for food." In hunger, if nothing else, she added, "we are all equal now.'
 

The above is excerpted from "There's Nothing Natural About Zimbabwe's Woes" by Claudia Rosett
The Wall Street Journal - Friday, July 26, 2002
 
Rising Muslim Power in Africa Causes Unrest in Nigeria and Elsewhere
 
By Norimitsu Onishi
The New York Times
Thursday, November 1, 2001
 
Photograph by Norimitsu Onishi

In the northern city of Kano, Nigeria's largest Muslim city, posters and information about Osama bin Laden, are big sellers.


    KANO, Nigeria, After Friday Prayers recently, hundreds of Muslims gathered in front of the emir's palace here and held a peaceful demonstration against the American campaign in Afghanistan. But the peace in this ancient Muslim city, already tense from a recent surge in religious clashes elsewhere in this West African nation, did not hold.
 
    Within hours, residents recalled, youths trooped out of poor Muslim neighborhoods, where posters of Osama bin Laden have become hugely popular. They invaded the Christian quarter, whose residents fought back with arms, waving T-shirts emblazoned with American flags and shouting pro-American slogans.
 

Photograph by Norimitsu Onishi

In Fagge, a neighborhood of Kano, graffiti praises Shariah, the strict Islamic law that was introduced to the city last year, causing hundreds of thousands of people to celebrate downtown.


    A three-day riot ensued and at least 100 people died, according to the Red Cross, yet another addition to some 5,000 Nigerians killed in religious clashes since military rulers handed over power in 1999. Most of these conflicts stem from the rise of Islam as a political force and the stunning spread of hard-line Islamic law from one small Nigerian state in 1999 to a third of the country's 36 states today.
 
    Islam in sub-Saharan Africa, an often overlooked member of the world's Muslim community, is growing in size and influence. Statistics on religious affiliation are difficult to come by, and are too sensitive a topic for governments with mixed populations. But most experts agree that Islam is spreading faster than any other faith in East and West Africa.
 
    In Africa it is not difficult to see why. Islamic values have much in common with traditional African life: its emphasis on communal living, its clear roles for men and women, its tolerance of polygamy. Christianity, Muslims argue, was alien to most Africans. Today, while Islam embraces the poor, they add, Christian churches are more interested in making money a criticism that is widely shared by many African Christians.
 

    Other Western values like democracy have been a disappointment here, often producing sham elections, continued misrule and deep poverty. Muslims have become an angry, organized force in several important African countries, and it often comes with a wariness of the West especially the United States.
 
    "The Muslims are winning they have won," said the Rev. Benjamin Kwashi, 46, the Anglican bishop of Jos, a city in central Nigeria where at least 500 people were killed in clashes between Muslims and Christians in September. "Islam is growing very fast. For many Africans, it makes more sense to reject America and Europe's secular values, a culture of selfishness and half-naked women, by embracing Islam."
 
Uneasy Religious Neighbors
 
    Islam came to sub-Saharan Africa on camel caravans that crossed the Sahara and boats that crossed the Indian Ocean; Christianity arrived from Europe on the coasts of West Africa and in much of central and southern Africa. Today, northern Africa is predominantly Muslim and the south is Christian. In between, the two religions rub shoulders uneasily.
 
    In East Africa, in Kenya and Tanzania, where American embassies were bombed in 1998, Muslims have long been shut out of power. That has given rise there, as well as in Uganda, to the emergence of radical Islam. Radicals have organized themselves politically and some have received military help from the Islamist government of Sudan.
 
    In turn, the governments of Kenya and Uganda have supported rebels opposed to the Sudanese government. In the Horn of Africa, governmental collapse in Somalia in the last decade led to a rigid application of Islamic law. In Sudan and Chad, Muslim northerners have long dominated Christians in the south, and new oil wealth is likely to tip the balance more in their favor. Sudan's Islamic government has sharpened its war against the Christians in the last year; Chad's Islamic government is likely to face opposition once it starts pumping oil in the Christian south in a few years.
 
    In West Africa, Ivory Coast has seen its Muslim population grow politically unified. In a country that was once a model of tolerance, successive Christian leaders in the last decade have sidelined Muslims, who have come to identify themselves as Muslims, first, Ivorians, second. Even in countries with near-total Muslim populations, like Mali or Niger, Islamic clerics have begun agitating and challenging their governments.
 
    But it is in Nigeria, Africa's most populated country, that the rise of Islam as a political force has been most explosive and violent. It began shortly after the country emerged from nearly 16 years of ruinous military rule. The 120 million inhabitants were living in a society where almost everything had collapsed. Their leaders were above laws and preyed on ordinary people.
 
    Perhaps sensing this void, the leaders of a small northern state called Zamfara introduced Islamic law, or Shariah, in late 1999. The move proved wildly popular.
 
    Crime has reportedly dropped in some of the states with Shariah, with all of them banning alcohol and prostitution. Women are pressed to cover their hair; girls are separated from boys at school, if they are schooled at all.
 

    Cow thieves have had their hands cut off. A teenage girl was given 100 cane strokes for premarital sex; another woman has just been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.
 
    Soon northern politicians encouraged the spread of Shariah, partly to challenge their new Christian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, who was its military ruler until the late 1970's.
 
    But the real push for Shariah came from the ground. Ordinary people moved to Zamfara to live under the laws. Politicians who resisted initially, fearing a loss of power, gave in.
 
    When Shariah was introduced last year in the northern city of Kano, Nigeria's biggest Muslim city, hundreds of thousands celebrated downtown. No one had ever seen such a crowd. Kano has been a center of a new generation of radical Islamic preachers who have been spreading anti-Western messages here and pressing the government to impose Shariah.
 
    In Fagge, one of the biggest Muslim neighborhoods in Kano, a place where children and goats share dirt roads and open sewers, Osama bin Laden posters are plastered on many walls and stickers on many vehicles.
 
    On a recent evening, a group of boys and young men were sitting on a cement floor on a street in Fagge, waiting to hear a lecture by one of the most popular preachers, Umar Sani Fagge.
 
    A reporter was told on this occasion and on two other visits that Mr. Fagge was unavailable and was asked to leave.
 
    Tapes of Mr. Fagge's sermons have sold well among young Muslim men for 75 cents each, a significant sum here.
 
    The best seller now is a lecture on Afghanistan by Mr. Fagge and another popular young preacher, Yahaya Farouk Chedi, and two others.
 
    In the lecture, delivered in the language of the Hausa ethnic group, one preacher explains how the Afghans won the war with the Soviets in Afghanistan. The victory, he said, came because God was on their side. The Afghans, he said, would offer a prayer, kiss grains of sand and toss them to stop the Soviet tanks.
 
    "I'm prepared to go and fight America," said Aminu Barde, 23.
 
    Sayid Ali, 20, a resident of Fagge, added: "Anywhere Muslims should love Osama. America does not love Islam. So I'm happy over what happened to America, and I feel more should happen so that America can feel the impact of what it does to others."
 
    Asked to explain the emergence of Islam in politics, Dr. Ibrahim D. Ahmad, the president of Hisbah, which has deployed hundreds of young men in green uniforms to enforce Islamic law in Kano, said: "It is the failure of every system we have known. We had colonialism, which was exploitative. We had a brief period of happiness after independence, then the military came in, and everything has been going downward since then. But before all this, we had a system that worked. We had Shariah. We are Muslims. Why don't we return to ourselves?"
 

Jihad, Two Centuries Ago
 
    Islam came centuries ago to the Hausa ethnic group who dominate northern Nigeria. Two hundred years ago a famous jihad was started to spread Islam as far south as possible. The jihad reached the center of the country, now known as the Middlebelt, where the Hausa converted the natives to Islam.
 
    But the campaign stopped at Jos, the capital of Plateau state, about 200 miles south of here. The effects of the jihad linger still, especially in areas inhabited by Hausa settlers and natives who resisted Islam, eventually becoming Christian or remaining animist.
 
    The historic tension between these groups, fed by the government's neglect and scarce resources, lay behind the clashes in September.
 
    To Christians in Jos, Muslims are more aggressive and are getting strong support from the Arab world. By contrast, African Christians can no longer rely on the backing of a secular West.
 
    "We have been abandoned by the West the West no longer believes in God," Bishop Kwashi said on Sunday, after preaching at St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church in Jos. "If a church here goes to America for assistance, it might get $10,000, $15,000 a year. But when the Saudis fund a project, they will fund it from start to finish."
 
    A few months ago, the federal government appointed a Muslim to head its poverty program in Plateau state. Since these programs are essentially a way to dole out money to supporters, a lot was at stake. The Christians, fearing the rise of Islam in their midst, protested.
 
    "We Hausa, we Muslims, our people have been here for 200 years," said Ado M. Ibrahim, a Hausa leader in Jos and the owner of a primary school. "We tell them we have the same rights. But they are always trying to portray us as outsiders."
 
    Soon leaflets began appearing around town, "Vote for Muslim Party," with the signatures of prominent Muslims. Mr. Ibrahim said they were forgeries intended to mobilize the Christians against them. But Christians said they were genuine.
 
An Explosion of Anger
 
    The anger on both sides exploded on Sept. 7, as Muslims prepared for Friday prayers. Although versions differ, everyone agrees the violence began at a mosque. As the faithful gathered inside and spilled outside onto the surrounding streets, a young Christian woman tried to go up one of the streets. "She said she must pass," recalled Musa Abdullahi, 42, who was praying on the street at the time. "The young guard told her she could not pass while we were praying. I begged him to let her pass. She went to pass, but he stopped her. She shouted, `I must pass!' "
 
    What happened next is in dispute. Muslims say Christians suddenly attacked them with bows and arrows and rocks a planned offensive. Christians say Muslims began attacking them on the streets and burned down two churches.
 

    The riots went on for days, and were reportedly inflamed by the Sept. 11 attacks in America. At least 500 died, though a Western diplomat in Abuja said the real figure might be as high as 2,000.
 
    The riots in Jos, meanwhile, were reverberating elsewhere in the country, especially here in Kano, where many of the Muslim Hausas, outnumbered in Jos, had fled.
 
    Kano, even in the best of times, is a city with an undercurrent of despair. Hundreds of children beg on the streets or sell fuel in jerrycans on the highways; grotesquely crippled men crawl on streets strewn with mounds of garbage. In a near-feudal hierarchy, men who have become rich by siphoning profits from Nigeria's oil wealth live in huge compounds. Despite more than two years of civilian rule, the average Kano resident's condition is getting worse. In this context, the rise of Shariah has proved seductive.
 
    Given the general social tensions, the trouble in Jos and the start of the American military campaign in Afghanistan, Kano found itself on a knife edge. When the Nigerian government announced its support of the attacks on Afghanistan, Muslims organized a protest on Oct. 19.
 
    In explaining why Muslim youths then attacked Christians, Abdulkarim Daiyabu, 56, the chairman of Izala, a prominent Muslim organization here, said, "The young men were encouraged by hunger and the belief that Islam was being degraded." For some, it seems, Osama bin Laden has become a symbol and leader of the world's dispossessed.
 
    During the Persian Gulf war, residents here protested against the United States and put up posters of Saddam Hussein. But in the last decade, the sanctions on Iraq and a perception of United States bias in favor of Israel, have hardened opinions against America, residents here said.
 
    Foreign diplomats in Nigeria say they have noticed the change in attitude, though they say it should not be overstated. "These are extremely impoverished people living on Islam, air and three months of rain a year," one Western diplomat said. "There has been an accretion of anger building up over the years."
 
    On one of the 75-cent tapes widely circulating here, a popular young Islamic preacher, Yahaya Farouk Chedi, was introduced as the "commander." Mr. Chedi is heard joking that even though he is called the "commander," he has no gun. If he had a gun, he said, he would have started using it already. According to Mr. Chedi's speech on the tape, America is the great enemy of Islam and he summons Muslims to fight it. He describes the Sept. 11 attacks as the "work of God," causing his listeners to cheer. May God increase the attacks on America, he says. "Amen," the boys respond. "Amen."
 

The New York Times
Francis Bok's Story : Sudanese Slave To American Celebrity
 

    Francis Bok hasn't seen many movies, but he has a favorite -- "The Ten Commandments." As an escaped slave from Sudan, he says he identifies with the film's characters, who are delivered from the ravages of slavery to the joys and responsibilities of freedom.
 
    For Mr. Bok, who now lives near Boston, watching the film is both exhilarating and painful. "Moses said, 'Let my people go!' and God opened the sea," he says. "But for my people, the sea has not yet opened."
 
    And so the 23-year-old is on a mission: He rallies crowds at churches, meets with members of Congress and hits radio and TV talk shows to remind America that slavery still exists.
 
    Humanitarian groups charge that the Arab Muslim-dominated government in northern Sudan supports a slave trade targeting black villagers in the south.
 
    Mr. Bok's story rings true with U.N. officials as well as several Sudanese, though it couldn't be independently confirmed. It's "consistent" with other reports from the region, says Peter Crowley of Unicef's office for emergency programs. Piyo Tem Kuag, a distant relative of Mr. Bok's who served as a chief in the area where Mr. Bok lived as a boy, says he recalls that young Francis was reported missing by an uncle in 1986. Mr. Kuag, who now works in food service at a Fairfax, Va., hospital, says he helped Mr. Bok make it to the U.S.
 
    On May 15, 1986, he said, he went to the market to sell eggs, when hundreds of Arabs from the government-armed militia swept through on horseback, shooting the men or cutting off their heads with swords. Mr. Bok said most of his family was killed or abducted, and that women and children were grabbed and taken north to be slaves.
 

The above is excerpted from "Francis Bok's Story : Sudanese Slave To American Celebrity" by Jeffrey Zaslow
The Wall Street Journal - Thursday, May 23, 2002
 
 
Africa Needs Tough Love
By George B.N. Ayittey
The Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
 

    Just before President Bush left for Africa, the U.N. warned that at current rates it would take black Africa 150 years to reach the minimum development targets. Growth rates are negative on a continent littered with collapsed states.
 
    Africa needs help but that help is not measured quantitatively by the size of aid packages or promises. When President Clinton visited Africa in 1998, his caravan was chock-full of promises and new initiatives. By contrast, the Bush trip offered substance and form: a $15 billion Emergency AIDS Relief package, 20% directed at prevention, and a $5 billion Millennium Challenge Account in aid to developing countries that demonstrate results in better governance. President Bush correctly recognized that what Africa needs is straight talk, tough love. Short of recolonization, there's only so much he can do to help unless Africa's leadership is willing to get serious about tackling its innumerable woes.
 
    Africa's begging bowl is punched with holes. What comes in as foreign aid and investment ultimately leaks away. Foreign aid and investment into Africa amount to $18 billion annually. But current accounts are always in deficit and capital flight out of Africa exceeds $15 billion a year. Wars cost $10 billion a year in weapons, damage to infrastructure and social carnage. In 1991 alone, says the U.N., $200 billion was siphoned out of Africa by ruling gangsters and briefcase bandits. For Nigeria, the World Bank estimates that $250 billion flowed into government coffers between 1970-2000, but much of that leaked away. And Zimbabwe's economic collapse had caused more than $37 billion worth of damage to South Africa and neighboring countries. It defies common sense to pour more water into a leaky bucket. But African leaders are simply not interested in plugging the holes.
 
    On his trip, President Bush correctly resisted calls for the insertion of U.S. troops in Liberia. The U.S. can help with the provision of military transport to West African forces. And Secretary of State Colin Powell has stated clearly that southern African leaders must do more to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe. Such straight talk has already started producing some results.
 
    Two days before Mr. Bush left Africa, the Economic Community of West African States announced it will take the immediate leading role of sending into Liberia a force of 1,000-1,500. What took them so long? Equally important was Kofi Annan's statement at the African Union's summit in Mozambique: "The U.N. and the rest of the international community can appoint envoys, urge negotiations and spend billions of dollars on peacekeeping missions, but none of this will solve conflicts, if the political will and capacity do not exist here, in Africa."
 
    However, far more was achieved by President Bush on AIDS than can be measured in dollar terms. When the epidemic first erupted, African leaders were in denial. Many were reluctant to talk publicly about the disease and prevention. Only a few countries have made serious efforts to confront AIDS: Senegal, Ghana and Uganda. Most disappointing has been the failure of South Africa to provide leadership in the campaign against AIDS -- despite its 10% infection rate and its first-rate health-care systems.

 

    President Bush's straight talk on AIDS will prompt African leaders to speak more openly about the pandemic. But just as Africa takes one step forward, it takes three giant steps back. On July 11, a day before President Bush left for the U.S., Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was elected the new African Union vice-chairman. Imagine! Now, it will take Africa more than 200 years to attain minimum indices of development. And President Bush cannot be blamed for that.
 
Mr. Ayittey, professor of economics at American University in Washington, is the author of "Africa Unchained: the Blueprint for Development," out from St. Martin's Press this fall.

 
 
In Africa, AIDS And Famine Now Go Hand in Hand
 
As Farmers Die in Swaziland, Their Plots Lie Fallow;
Bush Visits the Continent
 
Five Orphans in a Mud Shack
 
By Roger Thurow
The Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, July 9, 2003
 

    MAPHATSINDVUKU, Swaziland -- Their father died in 1999, their mother in 2000, both of them from what social workers and village officials believe were complications from AIDS. Since then, Makhosazane Nkhambule, now 16 years old, has been caring for her four younger brothers and sisters in their one-room mud-brick shack.
 
    They sweep the floor of the house and the dirt yard with homemade straw brooms. They try to patch holes in the thatched roof and plug cracks in the mud walls. They fetch water from a well nearly a mile away. They scavenge wood for the fire. They go to an informal school in a neighbor's house.
 
    Makhosazane says they can do everything they need to do, except feed themselves. "I would like to plant corn and vegetables, but we have no money to buy seeds or tools," she says. Her parents' cattle could have helped with plowing, but they have also died. The garden beside the hut and the two-acre field behind it haven't been planted since their mother died.
 
    For two years, the orphans scrounged what they could, asking neighbors for scraps of food and waiting for relatives in distant villages to bring something to eat. Last year, the United Nations' World Food Program came to Swaziland to distribute food to those suffering from the drought that has gripped southern Africa. Although the Nkhambule children had no crops to be killed by drought, they began receiving the food aid. So, too, did thousands of other households where the adults who had been tending the fields have died. Most of the victims likely died of HIV/AIDS, which, according to government estimates, infects more than one-third of adults in this tiny, hilly kingdom.
 
    The Nkhambule siblings, barefoot and wearing dirty, shabby clothes, embody what is being called an entirely new variety of famine. It breaks the historical mold of food crises, according to people who are studying it. It isn't caused by weather, war, failed government policy or crop disease, all of which prevent or discourage farmers from bringing in a harvest. Rather, this is a food shortage caused by a disease that kills the farmers themselves. Recovery won't come with weather improvement, new government policies, a peace treaty or improved hybrid crops. Once the farmers die, there is no rain that will make their empty fields grow.
 
    Across southern Africa, the region of the world hardest hit by AIDS, some seven million farmers have died from the epidemic, according to estimates of governments and relief agencies. This has left many families with no means or experience to do the farming. The continuing AIDS crisis threatens to create chronic food shortages and leave large populations "reliant for their survival on a long-term program of international social welfare," says Alex de Waal, an official with the U.N. commission on AIDS and governance in Africa.

 

    President Bush yesterday began a five-day trip to Africa, during which he will confront the continent's AIDS abyss. In South Africa, Botswana and Uganda, he will see the human tragedies and the wider drag on national development, as well as local and international efforts to control the epidemic. He will also promote his own $15 billion initiative to fund various AIDS-treatment programs and prevention strategies in Africa and the Caribbean.
 
    What is emerging in Swaziland has researchers ratcheting up the costs of AIDS. While nearby Botswana and South Africa have great mineral wealth and considerable industrial development, Swaziland is a largely agrarian country. In places such as this, AIDS and food shortages are combining to unravel societies and destabilize populations in new ways. "A drought is usually in certain areas of a country, but AIDS is all over. It is an unbelievable impoverishment agent," says Derek von Wissell, the national director of Swaziland's Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS.
 
    He notes that the percentage of women at prenatal clinics diagnosed with HIV skyrocketed to more than 38% in 2002, from just under 4% in 1992. Only Botswana has a higher rate. Over the same period, per capita agricultural production fell by a third, even before the drought took hold last year. The government reports a 54% drop in agricultural production in households where at least one adult member died because of AIDS or other reasons.
 
    In traditional famine, the first to die are usually the weakest, particularly children and the elderly. In the new variety, AIDS strikes at adults in the prime of life, leaving the children and elderly to cope. In Swaziland, the government estimates that more than 15% of children under the age of 15 are orphaned. By 2010, the country forecasts the number of orphans could increase to 120,000, or 12% of the entire population of one million. International aid organizations say that 10% of the nation's households are headed by children, and even more are headed by grandparents too old and weak to work the fields.
 
    Mr. von Wissell says aid workers have found children who haven't had any adult contact for months. He tells of encountering four siblings, led by an 8-year-old, walking naked down a road. Their mother had died, and they had walked 15 miles in search of their grandmother. Mr. von Wissell helped them look and then took them back to their home village, where they were put under the care of the local chief. "We never did find the grandmother," he says.
 
    To help feed and nurture the orphans, the national AIDS council is trying to revive old Swazi social structures. Last year, it persuaded about half of the roughly 350 chiefdoms to set aside a few acres of arable land each to grow food communally for the children. And it is establishing village social centers where the orphans can be fed and have more contact with adults and other children.
 
    In Swaziland, as elsewhere in Africa, the HIV virus has been spread by populations that move frequently between rural homes and jobs in cities, on plantations or in mines. Poor health networks hinder diagnosis, and a scarcity of affordable drugs impedes treatment. Initial efforts at prevention often failed because of ignorance about the disease and how it is spread, as well as a powerful taboo about acknowledging its presence.

 
 

    The new variety of famine is forcing international relief organizations to retool their strategies. Food relief is usually considered to be temporary aid, until a country recovers from its shortages. But with AIDS, and the prospect of no quick recovery, food relief becomes long-term care. As the AIDS crisis spreads, food shortages increase. As food shortages increase, so does malnutrition, which makes people more susceptible to diseases stemming from a weakened immune system. Although the drought in southern Africa has eased somewhat since last year, the U.N.'s World Food Program has recently launched another appeal to help feed the region. It is asking donor countries and organizations for $308 million to buy close to 540,000 tons of food, enough to feed 6.5 million people until next June.
 
    In Swaziland, "the drought combined with illness has pushed people over the edge," says Sarah Laughton, the WFP's emergency coordinator in the country. "Even if the rains come, they won't recover."
 
    At a WFP food-distribution center in the southern village of Ngologolweni, women and children gather under a big Mopani tree in a schoolyard to wait for their rations. They are "widows, women abandoned by their men, orphans -- all those who can't plant, who have no resources," says Dudu Ndlangamandla, a member of the local relief committee.
 
    Bags of food from around the world are lined up in neat rows: rice from Algeria, peas from Japan, a corn-soy blend from the U.S. A 14-year-old boy walks over from the school to register for his rations; he lives with his 17-year-old sister. An older woman with her left big toe sticking out through a hole in her tennis shoe also comes down from the school and joins the line. She helps to cook for the schoolchildren, she says, but she can't grow enough to feed her own family of six children since her husband died. She says he was "poisoned." Despite the high prevalence of HIV here, it is rare for someone to admit having it, or for people to acknowledge that relatives died of AIDS. Instead, they use various euphemisms.
 
    At a small community center close to the capital of Mbabane, a kettle of porridge cooks on an outside fire, and a big pot of vegetable soup heats up on a stove inside. This is one of a network of neighborhood locations that offer a warm meal to orphans every afternoon after school, with support from U.N. agencies. "We had been seeing the children scavenging for food in trash cans, and we said we needed to give them a meal to eat," says Janet Aphane, one of 20 local women -- most of them retired teachers, nurses and civil servants -- who prepare the food.
 
    They began a year ago with 30 children a day and are now up to 80. "We have to turn away a lot of children, because our resources limit us," she says. "About 500 children would come if we threw open the doors."
 
    The orphaned children also keep flocking to 73-year-old Mandathane Ndzima in the rural village of Mpathni. They are her grandchildren, 20 in all, who come under her care as her children die one by one. Her youngest son died first, of tuberculosis, a common illness of those weakened by AIDS. Then her oldest son died in a car accident. Then the middle son died, and his wife, too, of tuberculosis. In total, they left 12 children behind. Now a fourth child, a 40-year-old daughter also suffering from tuberculosis, has returned home with her eight children.

 

    "When my sons were alive, we had enough to eat," Mrs. Ndzima says. They filled the family's plot of several acres with corn and sweet potatoes. After the sons died, the family's few oxen, which pulled the plow, were stolen. This past year, the grandmother and her grandchildren planted only a small portion, without fertilizer, and most of that was lost to the drought. Tall grass grows over the rest of the field. Mrs. Ndzima hopes to cut some and bundle it up to sell as thatch. "If I get enough, maybe I can pay someone to assist us in plowing," she says.
 
    Mrs. Ndzima and her daughter, Moana, sit on a couple of cinder blocks in the middle of their cluster of little houses. Behind them are two cylindrical grain storage bins. At this time of the year, right after the harvest, when her sons were alive and farming, the metal bins would be full to the brim, Mrs. Ndzima says. Now they are empty.
 
    So every month, the grandmother and her grandchildren carry home their ration of food aid: 165 pounds of corn, 11 pounds of beans, a gallon of cooking oil and 11 pounds of the corn-soy blend. In order to get the grandchildren through the month, Mrs. Ndzima says she and her daughter have cut back to two meals a day.

 
 

Africaguide.com logo, click to go to there Home Page The map below was provided by Africaguide.com  
 
Image Map of Africa

Image Map
If you would like to view information for a particular country click on that country name.
 
Map of Africa
 
View all the African Flags

 
gambia senegal morocco reunion mauritius benin togo ghana ivory coast liberia sierra leone guinea guinea bissau burkina faso nigeria niger mali mauritania algeria tunisia libya chad egypt eritrea sudan central african republic cameroon djibouti ethiopia somalia seychelles kenya uganda equitorial quinea gabon congo Dem. Rep. Congo (Zaire) rwanda burundi tanzania angola zambia malawi mozambique zimbabwe botswana namibia madagascar swaziland lesotho south africa