Thursday, January 30, 2014

Poor Justin Bieber – ought one to describe as poor someone so young, so rich, with  a world-wide following horde of screaming adoring fannettes? Alas, is it yet another case of fame striking when too young and in consequence the lad unable to cope going off the rails? Despite his adoring fans he seems with his behaviour to have got up the nose with a number of folk who have been deriding him both as a person and for his talent. For one thing it would seem there is a deep suspicion, whatever the reason, that he is gay and won’t admit it. Well, if that’s the case, who cares? Though the “girlie” tag isn’t exactly flattering. Is he a boy or is he a girl? Is he Justin or is he Justine? If he is gay and came out he would probably have another million fans. However, whatever, whichever, it would seem fame has gone to his head as well as drugs and haven’t we seen it all before? Having never heard him sing I wouldn’t know if he is talented or not and despite Oscar Wilde’s adage that the only bad publicity is no publicity there is a limit to be drawn before the crash comes. Phew! What a collection of clichés.

“Money money money! Money makes the world go round.”  I wonder how many songs have been written about money. Correct me if I’m wrong but I bet there hasn’t been one about the adverse aspects of money apart from the itch to have it of course. Well dip me in shit and candy me over as one of my students used to say, whoever would have thought it? – “Cashgate,” the biggest financial scandal in Malawi's history, has affected the country's relations with donors and caused outrage among Malawians.
Allegations of the massive looting of government money became public following the shooting of the finance ministry's then budget director Paul Mphwiyo in September 2013.
Just days before, a junior civil servant was allegedly found with bales of cash totalling more than $300,000 in the boot of his car. So just tick off Malawi as yet another African country where billions in foreign aid has been lining the pockets of crooked politicians and government officials- that is if it isn’t being used to buy Kalashnikovs and other essential military hardware to continue the seemingly never ending game of my tribe is better than your tribe and my religion is better than yours, while people living in justified terror are forced to flee their homes swelling the world’s refugee crises. There are cities of opulence such as Abidjan, capital of the Cote D’voire with magnificent hotels, five star restaurants and, when I was there, shops where women could buy the latest Paris fashions, luxury goods, and French patisserie was flown in fresh daily. But it is surrounded, as so many major centres are, by slums and tin shanties and further afield people sill live in mud huts as they have done for centuries; have no access to clean water, electricity, hygienic facilities, and only the most basic of medical aid, if that, and should the crops fail are likely to face starvation, but western countries keep on sending aid which never reaches them. Colonialism is history, Africa’s a big girl now; she must stand on her own two feet, she can no longer blame the colonists for her troubles. Those wily oriental gentlemen the Chinese have much the better idea, instead of sending money to miraculously disappear they build railways, are granted mining concessions, open any number of shops in which to sell cheap Chinese goods etcetera which may help Africa somewhat but helps  the Chinese more.
And now, alas, the news from South Africa, the one country one felt might not go the same way, at least not quite so quickly, has fallen into the same trap. Many years ago Alan Paton wrote a novel about South Africa called “Cry The Beloved Country.” It was a terrible time for the African and the book, also adapted into film, television, and theatre, achieved great acclaim but a book with the same title could be written now, though with a different cry.  “The tragedy is not that things are broken. The tragedy is that things are not mended again.”

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