Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bread and Circuses, mostly circuses...

Jan Smuts' statue, Parliament Square - the placard and the sentiment are not permanent features

Towards the end of the afternoon, after most of today's Stop the War marchers were heading home, I was hanging around with a chum in Parliament Square, chatting with a couple of protesters, when we were approached by an African guy holding a photo album.

He wanted to show us some pictures

And very unpleasant they were too. The album was filled with page after page of photographs of victims of atrocities carried out, so our new friend claimed, in the Congo. I've been shown a few albums like that in my time and I couldn't be 100% sure that the pictures really were taken in the Congo

But it doesn't really matter. There's no-one denying that millions have been killed there. The guy with the album claimed eight million, 'official' western estimates usually never equal or exceed the magic six million figure

Once we'd finished looking at his snapshots the guy looked up at us and said in earnest, broken English

'The west takes our resources and kills our people. Please, they can keep taking our resources but stop killing our people'

That's not asking for much is it? And fucking heartbreaking to hear someone say that to you

The guy wasn't after money from us or even a few poxy signatures on a petition. He just wanted people to know what's going on in his country

And as he walked away, one of the protesters we were chatting with said something like

'Eight million people and it barely gets a mention in the papers!'

No it doesn't.

Come to think of it, our papers don't even serve the self-interest of the majority of their own domestic populations, let alone ordinary people in Central Africa.

Did the news that a major US investment bank has just died on its arse; bringing the prospect of a complete meltdown of the economic system on which we all currently rely that little bit closer, make it to the top of the news bulletins yesterday? Did it fuck. All the television channels and newspapers were full of this cobblers...

So, thanks to the anonymous commentator who left a link to this image under my previous post...

it really hit the spot, today of all days



cmain said...

Great post, and as you say, heartbreaking.

Congo's tragedy: the war the world forgot

Kier said...

Channel 4 report today.