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Aid to enemies…

A bill that would make the death sentence mandatory for gay “repeat offenders” has been reintroduced in the Ugandan parliament, a move likely to draw fresh condemnation from western aid donors.

Well, yes. The death penalty for a victimless crime is utterly obscene and quite frankly such a government does not deserve aid. And no, we shouldn’t be building bridges in the ‘stan either. We should have gone in hard and fast, snagged the baddies and burnt the bodies and then fucked off and let them wallow in their own crapulence. We should not be taking tea with twinkly tribal elders with beards you could lose a medium-sized mammal in who don’t want anything to ever change. I saw on the tellybox a couple of years ago a junior US Army officer (a Lt or Captain of engineers) eating his own teeth in frustration after a meeting with such. Yes they did want the primary school rebuilt, but only for boys and only to teach what they “needed to know” – the recitation of the Qu’ran. The US Army officer also noted (after the meeting – he was offering work for young fellas from the village) there weren’t many young fellas about. Guess what they were up to? Yes, they’d gone a Talibanning! He looked about an inch away from calling in an air-strike on general principles. “This is PBR Streetgang…”

Much like a similar twinkly elder with a similar beard in Pakistan who said in a twinkly manner following the influx of foreign aid-workers rebuilding his local primary school after a terrible earthquake, “Just the Qu’ran and just for boys or we’ll kill them and burn the school down.” You know I felt extremely sorry for the poor folks in Pakistan following that terrible natural disaster but after I heard that old git I began thinking awful things like, “Well if that’s their view then fuck ‘em”. This elderly chap specifically noted that not even the lads needed to know mathematics or science – just the Qu’ran. Which is why his village (what was left of it) looked like a goat-fucker’s paradise with a level of infrastructure that my iron age forebears would have been embarrassed about. I mean there was fuck all there and they didn’t want anything else. So bugger them, frankly.

At this point I need to make another comment. This is deeply ironic. The UK military is (due to defence cuts) cutting the number of Gurkhas. We are doing this whilst overseas aid (including Nepal) is ring-fenced so our overall spend on Nepal is the same but we have fewer of those ineffably hard bastards dis-ordering Mrs Kirchner’s pantyhose. Moreover guess what the single most effective means of overseas aid is? It isn’t government and it isn’t charities. It is very simple and if you have lived in a major British city over the last 20 years you shall know it. It is folks coming over here, getting a job and wiring money to their rellies. It is effective because after Western Union (or whatever) take their modest cut it’s all gravy and it’s wonderfully targeted. The same applies of course with the Gurkhas. Time to get out Ms Lumley again! I mean if we give money to Uganda they’ll only spend it on rope to hang queers and the rest they’ll waste. Children will die of diseases that just don’t happen here but some high-roller will get a swimming pool and a third car with a three-pointed star on the hood. You doubt me? I have a phrase to counter that, “gap year”. Very popular with the upper middle-classes here in a sort of white-man’s burden way (and yes it’s just as fucking patronising) because it elicits the same responses, “But how could you cope with seeing the poverty…” Seeing poverty is easy. Being poverty isn’t. Did you know Addis Ababa is a par-tay town due to the number of posh kids doing something for their CV? Does fuck all for the lokes. And if the posh kids are environmentalists who object to electricity on principle via their iPads then they are making matters worse. The great famine in the ’80s was largely due to deforestation for cooking and heating. I mean when you, dear reader, want a pie do you have to chop a tree down? No, thought not.

I was oddly enough conceived in Zambia (not a million miles from Uganda). My parents were teaching for the FCO. They lived in Luanshya in the copper-belt. It wasn’t a bad town but that was entirely due to the mine that built schools (do you want the illiterate shot-firing?) and hospitals and even ran a small farm which was the only source of fresh fruit and vegetables other than imports from Rhodesia. Nowadays Zambia exports fruit and veg to Zimbabwe – so complete is the devastation Comrade Bob has wrought. I guess invoicing is an issue – the average Zambian wholesaler has to leave space for an unspecified number of additional zeroes. Uganda was a hell-hole then due to Idi Amin (King of Scotland). My parents went there (wonderful game parks and such) but the cost of admission was a case of Marlboro and a bottle of Scotch and a number of USD to the “Border Guard Benevolent Fund”. My parents also had another aim in mind. The Zambians (who had a space program – they did) employed a whole load of teachers from all over. Many were Indian and had relatives in Uganda so my parents took in the lions and leopards and also ran valuables out of Field Marshall Amin’s wonderland. Now I’m not saying my parents were secret squirrels as such because it is easy to secrete gold and diamonds around a Ford Cortina 1600E if the border guards are (a) already pissed (b) ripped to their tits on cannabis and (c) you have 200 ciggies Americano and a bottle of Johhnie Walker for ‘em. Of course if you actually had cannabis on you you were for the high-jump despite the fact your arresting officer almost certainly had a spliff on the go at the time. Attempting to cross that border without your “passport” of booze (and it had to be pukka Scotch) and ciggies (Camels or B&H would do at a push) would lead to the fella having jump leads from a filched car-battery applied to the scrotum and “his” (for that is how they thought*) wife being “enjoyed” repeatedly.

But that was then… How much has changed? Well, Zambia is doing better (due largely to the hike in Copper prices because the likes of me keep buying electrical thingies, Zimbabwe has starving billionaires and in the “Rainbow Nation” of the RSA they are raping lesbians to “cure” them. Well, at least they aren’t eating each other anymore. Yes, my Dad does have a clipping from the Times of Zambia about an outbreak of cannibalism in a remote province. Guess what the headline was? If you thought, “Gobblers Strike Again!” you’d be right. Apparently this was an isolated outbreak of that sort of Tom and Jerryism which had spread from Congo where it was (probably still is) rife. Forty years ago the Congo was the Heart of Darkness. Still is and indeed was when the Belgians were behaving like epic cunts there. The Belgian Empire – for fuck’s sake! Anyway my Dad had a pal who’d been into Congo and got out by the skin of his teeth. He’d seen a market-place there where slaughtered nuns were on sale. On hooks.

I guess what I’m saying is that governmental foreign aid doesn’t work. Foreign people coming over here and wiring money home does work. Because if they just got a text from their uncle back in the old country and he needs to rebuild the hen coop or fix-up his scooter or whatever then that is what the money shall be spent on. It will not be spent on greasing already greasy palms or on grand-a-night hookers or half-arsed attempts to sell India Typhoon jets – God knows what The Sarcophagus did to clinch that. But don’t believe me. Believe a lad I temped with about ten years ago. Tunde was from Nigeria. This is almost an exact quote, “I love Nigeria – my friends and family are there and I love the music and the food but I want a proper job (he was doing an MSc in Computer Science at Sunderland University) and I can get that here – back in Nigeria nothing can be done without bribes, nothing”. I can imagine how wearing that was to a decent, productive soul like Tunde.

I should perhaps leave the final word to Tunde but I can’t help but add this gem…

This is a Communist-era Georgian (Think Tblisi, not Atlanta) curse…

“May you have to live on your salary”.

*That is not a reflection of the general populace. Just the sort of cunts who think, “Border guard – that’s the job for me!”. It’s pretty universal. The difference is whilst the US’s TSA are arseholes of the first water they are still under the rule of law and the Constitution and such whereas this mob was under the diktat of Idi Amin. Big difference.


  1. TDK says:

    Actually at the time of Heart of Darkness, it wasn’t so much the Belgian Empire as the Belgian King’s private empire.

    Not to claim that much changed after he handed it over.

  2. NickM says:

    I almost said that you know. I know a bit about the history of the Congo – most of it appalling. Mea Culpa – I was trying to keep it simple and avoid digressing over what was always going to be a sprawl of a post!

  3. Tim Newman says:

    We should not be taking tea with twinkly tribal elders with beards you could lose a medium-sized mammal in who don’t want anything to ever change.

    There’s a documentary out there somewhere – a Norwegian colleague of mine told me about it – which shows how since the fall of the Taliban an ages-old practice has returned amongst Kabul’s elite men: having teenage boys dance for them and a whole lot more. The documentary shows these men eyeing up the boys they want to bring home, then bringing them home, then them dancing almost naked in front of these learing old men, then being led off to the next room for the night. When somebody suggested to these old perverts that they might be gay, they went bananas, saying that homosexuality is an unnatural sin and homos should be killed, etc. Apparently having sex with teenage boys was not a homosexual act and in fact proved ones manliness. These people are fucked up in the extreme.

    And the rest of your post? Yup. Foreign aid here goes on Porsche Cayennes. I heard one story, again from the Norwegian, about how Norway had spent something like $5m on air ambulances in one Nigerian state to assist those in remote areas. Two helicopters were bought, and were promptly commandeered for the private use of the state governor and his mates. I heard another story about one of the oil companies being pressured by local ambulance chasers and western do-gooders into building a school in a village near the onshore oilfields in the Niger delta. When the oil company handed it over, the village chief immediately took it as his own possession – as is his right in such societies – and started charging school fees. These people are complete cunts, and there are more of them – many more of them – than non-cunts.

    I could write for weeks on what I see going on in Nigeria, and there is no way on God’s earth is this place going to improve one iota, ever.

  4. Tim Newman says:

    Oh, and my employer is carrying out exploratory work in the Congo, as in DRC. The other Congo is not so bad, and we’ve been there for years. None of us want to go to DRC.

  5. RAB says:

    Well I can’t add much to what Tim has said, after all he’s the man with boots on the African street.

    All I can say is it just goes to show how much our politicians are out of touch Loony Tunes. We are borrowing billions we can’t pay back, in order to give it away to people who either say they don’t want it (India) or are the most corrupt bastards on the planet! How much more insane can you fuckin get than that?!!

  6. bloke in spain says:

    A couple days after 9-11 was listing to a talk radio show out of somewhere in the Mid-West & one of the callers, real gravelly tones made you think of Marlboros & whiskey with the ‘E’, opined that the Airforce had all them goddam nukes, ’bout time they saw if they worked. Burn the fukkin’ place to the bedrock. Fallout? Prevailing winds blow east. Tha’s China’s problem.

    Best sense I’ve heard since.

  7. Edward Lud says:

    I like Gurkhas only marginally less than I like Joanna Lumley, and I like Joanna Lumley a lot. Like her equal and opposite Helen Mirren she is proof that English women can occasionally be very sexy indeed.

    Now, where’s my pith helmet and my whangee…?

  8. JuliaM says:

    I do love your stories about Africa, NickM, mainly because I’ve just finished reviewing Robert Ruark’s ‘Uhuru’ for a blog post in the coming months, and it fits so perfectly!

  9. NickM says:

    I like to think we in the west have the right take on gayness – i.e. it is any sexual relations with someone of the same sex. Alas we are quite unusual and many cultures (such as the ‘stan) regard it as only being gay if you’re the catcher rather than the batter. Now in the ‘stan – well there are sundry nonce-senses afoot. A trad wedding party of the sort F-16s frequently bomb is a male only affair (without booze!). Now answer me this. How the devilment do you have a single-sex wedding party? Anyway the Afghan national epic poem (think something like Beowulf) contains the line… “Over the lake is a young boy who has buttocks like a ripe peach”. Utter preverts the lot of ‘em. But don’t trust me on that, trust the Paras. They went into this village in the ‘stan and ran away! Was it withering fire from GPMGs? No, of course not! These are Paras afterall. No they were chased by the men of the village dressed in women’s clothes who wanted an embuggeration party. That of course isn’t gay in the slightest. Even though a normal person might think wearing ladies clothes and make-up and chasing fit young men was ever so slightly queer.

  10. NickM says:

    bloke in spain,
    Someone wrote up on a 9/11 memorial in NYC in 2001. “You can run but you’ll only die tired”.

  11. Paul Marks says:

    Good post Nick.

  12. There’s an option you didn’t mention in terms of aid – don’t deal with governments of any sort, don’t deal with local ‘leaders’. Follow the model of the Grameen Bank and give the money directly to local women, who want to support their families.

    Couple that with education for local women and girls (keeping the so-called leaders out at bayonet point if need be) and over time things start to change. Expecting rapid change in countries as messed up as Nigeria or Afghanistan is living in fairyland.

  13. Tim Newman says:

    There’s an option you didn’t mention in terms of aid – don’t deal with governments of any sort, don’t deal with local ‘leaders’. Follow the model of the Grameen Bank and give the money directly to local women, who want to support their families.

    These are very good points, but sadly even giving money directly to local women will not work in Nigeria. One thing that Nigerians of any strata of society cannot abide is somebody else getting a benefit of any kind of which they are not getting a cut. Out of pure mean spiritedness, Nigerians will cut off any benefit which another receives unless he too is in on the act.

    Now our staff canteen is utter shite, as I wrote here. We get given tickets so we can eat there free, but because we often eat somewhere else, a place which doesn’t serve up turds for lunch, we give our tickets to our drivers, who are over the moon at a free lunch. Now somebody in management, absolutely certainly Nigerians, is trying to stop this. Now the company is not losing out – it gets charged by the catering company regardless – and the managers themselves probably don’t eat in the canteen anyway. But the fact is that drivers are getting a perk, and that will never do. Oh no, for the drivers to get a perk like a free lunch, they must first hand over some sort of fee to the managers. Given this is impossible to implement, then the only thing to do is to prevent the drivers eating there. On no account is anyone allowed to enjoy a benefit without somebody more senior getting his cut, and usually that cut is 100% of the benefit, even if the senior person doesn’t want it. It is one of the many reasons why the place is so utterly fucked up.

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