Apr
25

TEARING THE MASK OFF THE UGLY FACE OF AFRICAN GOVERNMENTS

TEARING THE MASK OFF THE UGLY FACE OF AFRICAN GOVERNMENTS
By CAMERON DUODU

In what must count as one of my worst nightmares, a grandchild of mine calls me just after having watched the news on TV and says:

“Grandpa, they say 800 people – many of them Africans – were drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, trying to get by boat to Italy from Libya. The boat capsized and they were thrown into the water. They say some of the people, including women and children, were locked inside parts of the boat and could not even get a chance to get into the water, to be saved by passing ships, or by people on the boat who were good swimmers…!”

“Yes – Hmmmm! – I saw the news item too. Very very sad. Very heart-breaking.”

“But Grandpa, why do people take such dangerous risks, only to come and die in the sea?”

“My dear, many of the dead people went to Libya from areas where there is war, especially Syria. But others, particularly the Black Africans, voluntarily sought and found work in Libya. But when the government there changed in a matter of weeks, everything fell apart. They were no longer safe in the country. Right now, there are two governments in Libya, each fighting the other. The police and the army have split into factions. Each faction does what it likes. The European countries, like Britain, which helped the enemies of the Libyan leader of the time, Colonel Muammar Gaddhafi, to overthrow him by bombing Gaddafi’s forces from the air, are just sitting and watching and doing nothing. Yet they contributed to the chaos that now exists in Libya. They just destroyed the law and order that was in Libya, and did nothing to fill the vacuum caused by the demise of his administration. Everyone could have told them that usually, chaos follows the overthrow of a dictator and that they should be prepared to create something new and better to fill in the gap left he has been overthrown. By failing to do any of that, the European governments bear a special responsibility for the deadly chaos that now reigns in Libya.

“Sadly, the Black Africans who went to work in Libya were sometimes picked upon – even during Gaddafi’s time – by the Arab population, roughed up and robbed of their few possessions. Some were deported back to their home countries. If that happened to them under Gaddafi – who was a Pan-Africanist and had an eye on becoming the leader of the whole African continent – just imagine what is happening to them today, when there only armed bandits masquerading as politicians in Libya. There is no-one for the Black Africans to turn to for help. Some are jailed without having done anything wrong. Many have even been killed.

“In this unsafe atmosphere, it is easy for profiteers – known as people-traffickers – to be believed when they circulate information on Facebook and other popular social media where the persecuted communities exchange information, that the traffickers can ferry them by boat to Europe on such and such a day by such and such a boat, if they are paid well enough. These wicked people collect as many people as possible, charge them upfront, and then cram them into old and useless boats which they wouldn’t mind to see sinking in the ocean. They then set off “for Europe”.

“In the middle of the sea, the overcrowded rickety vessels almost always run into difficulties when they encounter rough seas. Some of the boats simply get lost on the ocean, because the “sailors’ are not qualified to navigate the boats correctly. As soon as that happens, the crews of the vessels quickly board a smaller boat, known as a “dingy”, which they would have brought on board for the purpose, sail away, and leave the passengers to their fate. That’s what happened with the 800 people they were talking about in the news. A large ship was trying to pick up some of the people on board, but because the crews were incompetent, the refugee boat capsized and over 90 percent of its passengers were drowned. Many many thousands more have suffered the same fate. “

“Yes, Grandpa, they said on the news that nearly 2,000 people have drowned in the Ocean in the past four months alone! Grandpa, that makes it about 500 people per month! That is even worse than those that were dying each month from Ebola not too long ago!?”

“My dear, it is distressing beyond comprehension. You would have thought that by now, information would have reached the foreigners in Libya that to set foot in one of those rickety boats is to deliberately check into a watery grave! But mankind is full of delusional optimism, and people keep telling themselves, “It will happen to others, but not to me!” So they pay good money to go – and get drowned in those ships. But other, similar ships continually set out – overcrowded with people. Some of the people are quite simply stupid in trusting the people-traffickers, when there is so much evidence that the traffickers are murderers only out to make money. But these people are largely poor and uneducated, and so their sources of information are suspect, especially against the slick marketing carried out by the people-traffickers. But not all of them are naïve. Some are genuinely so desperate that they resign themselves to whatever fate awaits them – so long as it is not what they are experiencing in Libya at the moment.”

“Okay, Grandpa, I understand what is going on inside the people who have escaped from the war in Syria, or Somalia. But what about the Black Africans? I know there is Boko Haram in Nigeria and I hear there are other dangerous terrorist movements in places like Mali. But they said that some of those who have drowned came from Gambia, or Senegal, or – even Ghana! When Dad took us to Ghana, I thought it was a very peaceful and lovely country. Why would anyone want to leave such a country, suffer great hardship across the Sahara Desert – where they might die of thirst or hunger or illness – and go to Libya and from there to Europe?”

“Well, my dear, during the years that Libya’s dead leader, Colonel Gaddafi, was in power, Libya was very rich. It was an oil-producing country, you see, and could afford to pay high wages to workers of all types – carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, tailors and and so on. Libya also paid well to lure people willing to undertake jobs that Libyans themselves thought too demeaning for the citizens of an oil-rich country – road-workers, building labourers, household helps, street-cleaners, night-watch guards, hospital orderlies and the like.

“These people worked hard, lived very frugal lives and carefully saved their money. So they were able to buy cars and things like that. Sometimes, this aroused the envy of the poorer Libyans, who did not take such good care of their own money. So when the iron grip of Gaddafi on the Libyans vanished overnight, some of the Libyan people gave vent to their resentment of the foreigners. They put many in jail and robbed them of all their money and possessions. That’s why they want to leave Libya. But Libya’s borders are now the playground of armed and murderous bandits, so it is not easy to get out of the country. This is what has given the people-traffickers their opportunity to make a “killing” (almost literally!) . They say, “We can get you out — not only to leave Libya, but to go to prosperous Europe!” And unfortunately, people do listen to their slick talk of being able to relieve people out of their current misery in Libya. But it’s all lies, of course..”

“Grandpa, what I find it difficult to understand is that when the would-be migrants try to escape from their troubles in Libya, and their boats begin to sink, the European governments don’t want European lifeguards in patrol boats to pick them up?” I had read that it is the duty of every ship, government-operated or not, to save the lives of people they see who are about to perish in the sea?”

“Yes. The European governments say that too many people have been rescued already and that they cannot accommodate any more! If the people keep drowning, say the European governments, they will stop trying to cross to get to Europe!”

“But Grandpa, that sounds so heartless! What should the African governments do to save their own people from this inhumanity shown by the European governments?”

“My dear, that’s the saddest part of it all! The African governments simply do not care enough to be of of any real help to their citizens in distress in the Mediterranean countries . If they cared, they would have sent military forces to Libya by now to help evacuate all Africans who seek to leave that country. They can do it if they act together through the African Union, for Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco – all members of the African Union – would join them and these North African countries all have a good military and naval capability. The African governments should also have brought pressure on South Africa to stop giving unwitting justification to the European governments that are trying to stop African migrants from reaching Europe. Now, the Europeans can say, “Look, even some South Africans are trying to scare African “foreigners” away, by killing or injuring them. So why not we in Europe?

“The regrettable truth, my dear, is that most African governments are totally useless. They are in the business of government for business purposes only – they are in it to improve the living standards of the members of those governments and their families alone, and think nothing of the rest of their citizens. That is why Africa goes from crisis to crisis. During each crisis, the mask is torn from the faces of Africa’s ugly governments, and they are shown for the noxious entities that they are. But they are too uncaring to change”.

“So Grandpa, what am I to do? I am half-Ghanaian!?”

“Yes – you are a Ghanaian by birthright and please never forget that or allow any bad incidents to make you think poorly of your country. The country is good; it is its government that is awful. So do not think only of today. Acquire as much skill and knowledge as you can over here, and then go back to Africa with it to help make the important changes to the place that are so badly needed. The opportunity wilt come, and if it does not come, make it for yourself. Only people can change places for the better – people with education, skill, intelligence and above all – concern for the welfare of others. People like you, my dearest one!”

“I shall always remember that, Grandpa. Thanks, Grandpa!”

Apr
18

APARTHEID IS ALIVE AND WELL AND [STILL] LIVING IN SOUTH AFRICA

 

APARTHEID IS ALIVE AND WELL AND [STILL] LIVING IN SOUTH AFRICA

By CAMERON DUODU

Daily Guide 18.04.2015

They have given them a pejorative name – “Makwerekwere”.

 

Just as the apartheid monsters used to call all Africans “Bantus” — not from a neutral, demographic starting point, but from a supremacist social stance, which in code, postulated that “Bantu” was synonymous primitive, backward, inferior: e.g. “Bantu Education Act”  (educating Africans [''Bantus''] in basic literacy so that they could  usefully service the South African economy, but not advance any further in intellectual development; at any rate, give them an education that was different from that given to  Whites!

And now, having learnt from the apartheid practitioners, Black South Africans have “raised” themselves above the “Bantu” level and created a new element in their society: the Makwerekwere.

 

These are blamed for almost everything that is going wrong inside South Africa.

Too many robberies? “Bo, I tell you it is the Makwerekwere!” As if there were no robberies in South Africa before Nelson Mandela became President in May 1994, and allegedly “opened the floodgates” to allow people from other African countries to go and live and work in South Africa. Ha — easy to forget that when the “Bantustans”  were striving to make something of the inferior  educational system bequeathed to them by the Whites, it was University graduates from other African countries who stepped in to provide quality education for Batustan inhabitants!

 

Too many unemployed people? “But what do you expect, Bo? Unregistered Makwerekwere migrants are taking all the jobs!” Again, easy to ignore the fact that the gold and diamond mines that give South Africa its wealth have depended, from time immemorial, on “migrant labour” from Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.

 

Companies like the Anglo-American Corporation, working through the South African Chamber of Mines, played the “migrant laburers” against workers they could recruit locally from South Africa’s own  so-called “labour reserves”. Both sets of labourers were forced, through this “competition”, to accept lower wages, and terrible working conditions, exemplified by the single-sex hostel and/or compound system, that was the only accommodation available to  Black miners throughout the country.

 

By these obnoxious practices, South Africa’s White-owned mines became extremely wealthy, and paid huge sums of money to the Government by way of taxes. But  who are the Makwerekewere, now that South Africa has become  a free country, to seek to enjoy some of the fruits of this wealth that they helped to create, by continuing  to work or trade in the country?

 

Of course, the situation has changed and “migrant labourers” are not now forcibly repatriated  back home at the end of their short-term “contracts”.  But is killling or maiming them and burning their homes and properties the answer?

 

The complaints mount, however, against the Makwerekwere.  Rents are too high in the townships? “Ach, Bo! Why won’t they go up? The Makwerekwere are outbidding everyone by paying higher rents and advances.”

 

Too few shop spaces left for hire? “Yes – they come from as far as Nigeria and Somalia and before you can say “Yeebo!” they have got themselves a shop!”

Yes – the Makwerekwere have had it in South Africa. The origins of the  term itself is nebulous; some say it is how the South Africans hear other African languages that are spoken around them (from say Zimbabwe or Mozambique). But you get the idea: Makwerekwere are Africans who are strangers to South Africans.

The term is back in the news again (after it was widely used in the media in 2006 and 2008, when “xenophobia” in South African resulted in many non-South African blacks being brutally killed) because violent attacks against fellow Africans have begun again in South Africa. The current attacks started in Durban, in the Kwazulu-Natal Province: at the time of writing, five people – including a 14-year-old boy – had been killed and over 1,000 had been driven to seek refuge on a football field in Durban.

President Jacob Zuma has condemned the violence.  And the police have been  battling to bring the situation under control. And, to their credit, thousands of South Africans who do not agree with the way the attackers are ruining their country’s image, took to the streets in Durban, calling for an end to the attacks and condemning the “hooligans” who are baiting foreigners from other African countries..

The fuse to the current attacks was lit by King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulus in this speech he made at a ceremony on 24 March 2015:

QUOTE: “Most [South African] government leaders do not want to speak out on this matter because they are scared of losing votes. As the king of the Zulu nation, I cannot tolerate a situation where we are being led by leaders with no views whatsoever. We are requesting those who come from outside to please pack up and go back to their countries…”

 

The Zulu king must have very good speech-writers, for the speech also made a  snide attack on Africans who believe that they helped to liberate South Africa from the oppression of the apartheid practitioners and are therefore owed some gratitude, not brutal attacks. Said Zwelithini: “The fact that there were countries that played a role in the country’s struggle for liberation should not be used as an excuse to create a situation where foreigners are allowed to inconvenience locals. I know you [South Africans] were in their countries during the struggle for liberation. But the fact of the matter is you did not set up businesses in their countries,” Zwelithini said.

 

Is Zwelithini  aware that South African companies like Shoprite and MTN are currently making heavy inroads into the economies of other African countries? Does he know what “Anglogold Ashanti” signifies?

The Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party in South Africa, knows about these things and it has told Zwelithini that “given the recent spate of xenophobic attacks in South Africa, he [the King] should do the right thing — retract and apologise”. But the king is in no mood to do eother. Instead, he has blamed the media for “distorting”  what he said and meant!Oh yeah? What’s new? 

What King Zwelithini does not know is that his action will reignite the issue of the relevance of monarchy to present-day Southern African concerns, and by extension, the concerns of modern Africa in general. Zwelithini, along with King Mswati The Third of nearby Swaziland, spends a lot of tax-payers’ money marrying a multitude of wives and lavishing luxuries on them. More than 20 million South Africans live in areas that have kings or traditional leaders, who serve as a link to the ancestors of their subjects. “But” [notes one writer] “there is growing disenchantment” over their “taxpayer-funded lifestyles and abuses of power.”

Traffic stops in Nongoma, as South African Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini passes through his bustling capital in a Mercedes-Benz.The 66-year-old king is the most influential among South Africa’s 10 kings and one queen, each of whom receives an annual salary of about US$100,000. In addition, King Zwelithini gets about $10m from the KwaZulu-Natal government for the upkeep of his seven palaces, six wives and 28 children.

Not satisfied, Zwelithini attracted a lot of criticism from within South Africa when he paid several visits to the late Libyan ruler, Muammar Gaddhafi, who harboured a desire to be crowned “King of Kings” of Africa, and was known to spare “no expense” in trying to achieve that objective. Zwelithini was prevented, at the last minute, from signing “documents” proffered to him by Gaddhafi. This was on the insistence of the Kwazulu-Natal Provincial Administration, which, presumably,  did not want to have anything to do with the installation of  an African “King of Kings”.

King Mswati of neighbouring Swaziland, known by his detractors as “The Cock of Swaziland” has increased his budget to $61 million per year — a sizable  proportion of Swaziland’s annual budget. In 2012, much anger was expressed in Swaziland when it was learned that three of his 30 or so wives were to be part of a 66-strong royal retinue flying by chartered jet to the US gambling destination of Las Vegas Nevada!

 

The Swaziland Solidarity Network claimed that the royal party was expected to stay in 10 villas, each costing $2,000 a night. And the general secretary of the Swazi Public Service and Allied Workers Union described the expenditure as showing “the utter disdain that the royal family has for the people of Swaziland…, They can go on an expensive and indulgent trip like this when …there are people languishing in poverty, not knowing where their next meal is coming from. These people spend all this money on a shopping trip… this is is sheer arrogance and is more proof than ever that we need democracy in Swaziland to be able stop this abuse of public funds… We are living in a dictatorship… The king is an absolute monarch and his family is allowed to do as they please.”

But despite the unpopularity of the monarchs’ spending habits, their words are often translated into action by the more traditional-minded members of of the societies in which they rule. However, some observers of Southern African politics believe that the monarchs are only behaving like the French Kings did, on the eve of the French Revolution of 1789. They are, in fact, behaving in a fashion that brings to historians’ minds, the dictum of Stanley Baldwin, in that they have: “Power without responsibility – the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.”

So, the King of the Zulus may live to regret inciting his people against the Makwerekwere. For after the people  have dealt with the “strangers” in their midst and tasted the fruits of misdirected popular anger, could  they not easily turn their anger upon those who deliberately waste tax-payers’ money? Tell that to Marie Antoinette!






Mar
24

WHEN SCIENCE DELIBERATELY GOES WRONG

WHEN SCIENCE DELIBERATELY GOES WRONG
By CAMERON DUODU

The Ghanaian Times 24-03-2015

There are thousands – probably millions – of people walking this earth today, who would be dead and buried, had it not been for the ability of practitioners of science to intervene in their degeneration, whether natural or outwardly imposed; in other words, to detect and cure ailments that have afflicted their body systems, either through illness, accidents or the infirmities created by time.

One never fully appreciates the good work done by health practitioners – doctors, nurses, laboratory assistants and other paramedics – until one has woken up from a successful surgical operation and realises that despite all one’s fears, one is – still alive. The marvelling grows as medication restores one’s weak, ravaged body gradually back to a condition as near to what constitutes “normal” in its particular case, as possible. Indeed, we do not give as much credit to men and women of science as we should. And that’s a shame.

It is personal experience of the miraculous powers possessed by modern medicine that makes many of us place total trust in our medical personnel. And it is also that personal experience that gives us a shock that goes right to the very roots of our being, when we hear that a few– probably very few – members of the medical profession not only cut corners when treating sick people, but also, sometimes deliberately make trusting patients worse than they were when they first sought medical assistance. This is such a mind-blowing charge against medical personnel that one shudders to make it. But the evidence is present, and it would be remiss of us not to unwrap it.

On 25 March 2015, a report will be published in Scotland that every medical establishment in the world would do well to force all its staff to read and openly discuss. There is an adage often employed to mock the medical profession – half jokingly – which says that doctors “bury their mistakes”. Well, this report, called “The Penrose Report” will prove to the world that institutional pressures on doctors and other medical personnel, and an insidious corporate culture that swears them to secrecy, can be as dangerous to the health of individuals as disease itself.

The “Penrose Report” has taken six years to produce, at a cost of nearly $20 million. It will describe, in 1,800 pages, what has been called “the worst treatment disaster in the history of the British National Health Service – the infection of thousands of patients with deadly diseases, through [the] use of contaminated blood products.” According to the 22 March 2015 issue of the London Mail on Sunday newspaper, the Report will tell the public how:

QUOTE: “About 7,500 people, many of them haemophiliacs, are known to have contracted HIV and Hepatitis C after being given imported blood products taken from high-risk donors such as prostitutes and prisoners in the 1970s and 1980s. Their lives were devastated, with many unable ever to work again and forced into financial hardship. Scores of victims needed liver transplants or regular dialysis, while others inadvertently infected partners and children. Health officials believe another 27,000 patients may have been infected with Hepatitis without ever being identified.

“The £11 million inquiry led by Scottish judge Lord Penrose was set up by the Scottish Parliament to probe claims that Ministers, civil servants and health authorities were slow to heed warning signs and subsequently covered up their complacency. Since it covers a period before health services were devolved, the heavily delayed findings will have ramifications across the entire country [i.e. the United Kingdom]” UNQUOTE

One instance of how this disaster occurred is that in 1983, a man asked his doctor about reports of haemophiliacs [people with a blood disease that prevents bleeding from stopping once it occurs in their bodies] developing a mysterious new disease called AIDS, that was killing its victims within a couple of years. The doctors told him not to worry. So he returned to his wife and carried on with his life as usual, interspersed with bouts of treatment for his haemophilia. Little did he know it, but he had already been given Hepatitis C from contaminated blood products. Then in the following year, he was infected with HIV. Later, the lethal virus advanced into full-blown AIDS. His condition worsened and he could barely climb stairs; he and his wife were fortunate their son was born healthy. But the roll call of deaths in his family included two of his uncles, a cousin, and several close friends in the Scottish haemophilia community.

According to the Mail on Sunday, “What makes it even worse…. is that he was part of a group of Edinburgh haemophiliacs whose medical records indicate they were used to study AIDS from the year BEFORE he was infected. Clearly, they were being used as guinea pigs. There was medical knowledge of the risks they faced – yet the patients were not asked for consent, or given warnings over their treatments.‘I find this absolutely outrageous,’ the man told the newspaper. The paper added that Britain was “shamefully slow to react to rising concerns over tainted blood supplies as the dangers emerged in the early 1980s. Calls to ban dangerous imported products were made as early as May 1983, with the first British haemophiliac reported to have AIDS that August – yet patients were still being infected with HIV from blood products two years later.”

Altogether, some 1,500 ended up with the virus, many suffering in silence to avoid the acute stigma people faced at the time.

Haemophiliacs were hit hard since they rely on coagulants made from blood plasma to combat their rare genetic condition that makes their own blood fail to clot properly. They were treated with blood plasma made from pooled donations from thousands of people, including — it later emerged– some of the highest-risk donors imaginable, such as drug addicts and prostitutes. One Canadian company was even “discovered to have relabelled blood extracted from Russian corpses as coming from Scandinavian donors. In Britain, the use of paid donors is banned since it attracts people desperate for money.” Yet imports were permitted of plasma using blood taken from American prisoners paid to give blood!

As the scandal seeped into the open, it emerged that key British Government documents had been shredded, supposedly “in error”.. One Whitehall circular quoted a British Minister as saying ‘only haemophiliacs have died’. A leaked health department memo said that while saving their lives was ‘expensive’ there was a ‘strong cost benefit’ since ‘those already doomed, will generate savings which more than cover the cost of testing blood donations’.

Britain was not the only nation hit by a tainted blood scandal. But in France, Canada and Japan, there have been prosecutions and convictions of bungling officials, while in Ireland, people given Hepatitis C were awarded payouts averaging about $1 million each. One of the lawyers who appeared before Lord Penrose’s enquiry, asked: ‘Why is it so hard for institutions like the NHS and Government departments responsible for its administration to admit publicly [that they have made] mistakes and
misjudgements?’

A reader wrote to the Mail on Sunday: “Yes I am one of these people, our lives destroyed through no fault of our own. I am glad this is now coming to light, We cannot get insurance for health, holiday, houses anything. Our whole livelihoods were taken from us.”

The NHS is expected to come under fire for the way their doctors failed to tell patients they had contracted the viruses, despite knowing themselves that they had. People were not being told they were infected. Their doctors knew their patients had Hepatitis C or HIV but didn’t tell them for years – meaning they unwittingly infected their partners [and] their children.

In 2008, an Edinburgh-based consultant was investigated over claims that he endangered lives by keeping diagnoses about his infected patients a secret. One of his patients, a haemophiliac, said he contracted HIV in 1984 but was not told until 1987. He also accused the consultant of using patients for medical research without their knowledge. A report was sent to the police and other authorities but the outcome has not been revealed.

Campaigners hope the Penrose report will uncover details about medics who “deliberately” infected patients for research purposes.”We think there is certainly a suspicion that some doctors may have taken part in practices where they knowingly infected their patients on purpose,” one campaigner said. “There is a feeling that some doctors deliberately spiked and infected people and then watched to see how the disease progressed. There are a number of people within our infected community [who] would like to see criminal prosecutions come from this.”

To us in developing countries, the question we should ask ourselves is this: If this could happen in a scientifically-advanced country like Britain, then what about us? This was done by whites to whites. What happens when there is undisclosed racism involved? Can we, in the light of such reports, altogether dismiss speculation that research scientists might have used people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, as guinea-pigs in a search for a cure for Ebola?

Only time will tell – just as time has now revealed the mystery surrounding haemophilia, Hepatitis C and HIV/Aids.

Mar
21

DARKNESS BEFORE NOON

DARKNESS BEFORE NOON

By CAMERON DUODU

K1: Hey Koo, did you know there was a total eclipse of the sun in some parts of Europe on 20 March 2015?
K2: Yes! I was disappointed at the way that the Sun and the Moon do not seem to care about how we on Planet Earth view them (pun intended!)
  • What do you mean?
  • Well, do you know that if their wedding date had been propelled forward by just one week, the wedding would have taken place on Friday the Thirteenth….!
  • Oh? The 419-spiritualists would have had a field day!
  • Just imagine! Friday The Thirteen! At 0900, the Sun begins to turn into an apple with part of it bitten off….
  • Yiee – it would have been like going back in time to see how Adam was caught by God eating the apple Eve had given him!
  • Exactly. And at 0915 – half-eaten Sun! Didn’t God allegedly stop the Sun from setting at one time, so that a particularly horrific genocide could be completed?
  • That’s mere tribal tittle-tattle!
  • Go and say that in Israel and see!
  • And at 0930, total swallowing of the Sun by the Moon!
  • Many people would have timed their sexual activity to coincide with just that moment! I mean, if a spiritualist’s child was conceived at just the moment a total eclipse of the Sun occurred – and on Friday The thirteenth at that? He would walk on the Sea before he could swim on the Land!
  • Koo – you should set up an Interplanetary Pendulum Centre For The Interpretation of Ultra-Galactic Phenomena. (IPUCFTI-UGP) pronounced Ipji-fitiujip. Some would claim that they understood it to be an Egyptian word resurrected from a hieroglyphic papyrus discovered in the River Ankobra, when the Fantis were escaping down to present-day Ghana from Egypt. Others would claim it was a Hindi word copied from a 3,000-year-old vase retrieved from the Summit of Mount Everest. You’d just sit tight and quietly clean up.
  • Could I be your Spokesman, Koo?! Imagine the strong Terrestrial Entities we could call upon: the Holy Ganges River; the unpolluted sections of the Tigris and Euphrates; the Black Nile; Stonehenge; Tongo; Ypala! When someone came to see you with a child that had only one leg, you would charge money and ask the parents to wait until the full eclipse that would occur at Luxor, in Egypt, in 2027, when the Sun and the Moon would conclude their copulation and restore the limbs of all people on Earth who had suffered physical damage due to the fact that in previous couplings, the Sun had left The Moon behind!
  •  
  • Ei – you dey inside o! Do you also know that at Ypala, in Northern Ghana (which, by the way, is the true birth-place of Tigare, NOT Nkwantanang and Pepease, Kwawu, as some people imagine) if you see someone coming towards you, wearing a mask, at a festival, and you don’t run as hard as you can, your soul can be transported back into the animal you were before you were born as a Human Being?!
  • I don’t doubt it! Mankind has always tried to make sense, in its own terms, of anything unusual that the Universe projects at it. Do you understand the term, “Chercher pe aware?” [Chercher loves matrimony!] It is taken from the frequent alignment of the Planet Jupiter and its largest moon, Ganymede, in the sky! Our people say that it is because Ganymede does not want Jupiter to be separated from her husband, Jupiter, that she dogs his footsteps! When one of the other moons of Jupiter comes close – especially bisexual Callisto – it means that Jupiter’s “other wife” is waiting outside his bedroom door, waiting for her “turn” to go and pldeasure her husband.
  •  
  • And in saying this, our people legitimise polygamy as something ordained from the very Heavens?
  • Yeah!!
  • Do you know how the Indians explain a solar eclipse?
  • Don’t they claim that a sex goddess with six arms was dancing erotically and that when she turned her head in a 360-degree movement to make eyes at a potential lover, one of her arms, embarrassed by her lewd action, grabbed a floating chapati and covered her face with it? The received wisdom is that the sex-goddess-choreography of the action became so popular and stylish that even the Sun and The Moon borrowed it in their mating-dances!
  • Hmm – good thing that our Jet-Age prophets don’t understand too much science, or they would have used the eclipse to make even more money.
  • But how could they have made money out of the solar eclipse? I thought Florida Water….
  •  
  • Ho – easy, man! Don’t you know how vain most powerful people on earth, especially heads of state, are? The late Omar Bongo, of Gabon (for instance) used to order couture houses in Paris to fly a large jet to him, filled entirely with personal outfits for himself, so that he could try them on. He also  insisted that each jet brings lovely models, who would help him to decide what suited him best. Now if a prophet represented to such a guy that he was seen in the Universe as a Sun….
  • But because of a Very Powerful Juju (VPJ) possessed by one of his rivals, he was going to be quenched by the Moon….?
  • Yes –just think of it:  because of a Very Powerful Juju possessed by one of his rivals, he was going to be quenched by the Moon….!
  •  
  • I see it! I see it! Dumsor in The Firmament!
  • Yes!
  • He would cough up every dollar he’s hidden in Switzerland, Dubai, Abu Dhabi or elsewhere, in order to prevent his Sun from being quenched?
  • Charlie, let us go to the bank at once. This is a Business Plan that no bank would refuse to finance!
  • Yes!
  • And the next Total Eclipse of The Sun will occur in 2017 – only two years from now!!
  • All we need now is a a Financial Engineer set loose by a court!
  • Yes — I know precisely where we can purchase such financial engineering services.
  • Not in Austria, surely?
  • Hahahahahaha. That’s my secret, Koo!

Mar
18

ICARUS @ 2015 = DUMS⊃ SQUARED!

 

ICARUS @ 2015 = DUMSƆ SQUARED! By CAMERON DUODU

UPDATE:
Greek mythology tells us that there once lived a very sagacious craftsman called Daedalus. He was so clever that he was able to create wings, which he attached to himself and to his son, Icarus, to enable them to fly.
But before the flight, Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too high towards the sun, as the sun would melt the wax with which the wings had been fixed  to his arms.
However, once the flight began, Icarus was so intoxicated with the freedom of the skies that out of sheer euphoria, he forgot his old man’s instructions and flew higher and higher towards the sun.
The sun then melted the wax; his wings fell off; and he plunged into the sea – to his death!
Of course, scientifically, the story does not check out! For if Icarus had flown as closely towards the sun as the story maintains  he did, he would have frozen to death, not plunged to his death, because the wax in his wings was melted by he sun! This is because, the higher you go, the cooler it becomes!
But the Greeks did not tell us the Icarus story to illustrate the veracity of scientific principles. They used the story to open up our imagination to the things that we don’t normally think about, because we regard them as impossible to achieve.
How often had man looked at the sky and wished he could fly like a bird, into and across the vast expanse of it? The Greek story-tellers knew a story about that age-old aspiration would capture everyone’s attention. So they crafted a beautiful one – and damned the consequences of its not being quite accurate, scientifically.
The Wright Brothers of the United States were, of course, the first to realise mankind’s dream of flying into the sky. On December 17, 1903, Orville Wright piloted the first powered airplane 20 feet above a wind-swept beach in North Carolina. The flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet. Three more flights were made that day by himself and his brother Wilbur. From those 12 seconds of flight came the knowledge that has eventually turned our skies into major highways for all sorts of planes, and which enabled man to fly to the moon and come back to earth to land safely.

The trouble with modern flight, however, is that it depends on hydro-carbon energy for its power, and hydro-carbon energy emits polluting agents into the atmosphere that are so poisonous that they will, if left unchecked, destroy the ozone layer that protects us from the sun’s rays, and bake the earth and all the creatures in it to death.

Now, it isn’t only aircraft that emit poisonous agents into the atmosphere. Motor vehicles – all one billion or so of them, contribute their share. So do factories and the electricity-generating plants that power most of them. Coal, in particular, is absolutely noxious in the pollution it produces, although diesel isn’t much better. Unless the world does something drastic to change our patterns of power-consumption, we are dooming our children’s children to total extinction.

The science is clear – Beijing, in China, is one of the urban centres in the world where the effects of atmospheric pollution are most visible. People often wear face masks in a futile attempt to save themselves from breathing in poisonous air. And motor cars sometimes have to put their lights on in the daytime because the pollution shuts off sunlight. Elsewhere in China, a dense wave of smog began in North-east China, especially in major cities including Harbin, Changchun and Shenyang, as well as the surrounding Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning provinces, on 20 October 2013. Unseasonably warm temperatures with very little wind across north-eastern China coincided with the initiation of Harbin’s coal-powered municipal heating system. Record densities of fine particulates were measured in the city.
It must be pointed out that China is by no means the only country with a major air pollution problem. In April 2014, levels of air pollution smothered London and other British cities. Weeks earlier, heavy pollution had led to restrictions on car use and the offer of free public transport in Brussels (Belgium) and Paris (France).
Prof Frank Kelly of King’s College, London, said: “Periods of very high pollution in London arise usually because the city’s normal pollution emissions are increased further by polluted air arriving on light winds from neighbouring areas such as northern Europe. However, whether home-produced or arriving from the continent, the tiny particles we take into our bodies with each breath cause immediate problems”.
These problems are what make the solar-powered flight of The Solar Impulse 2 from Abu Dhabi  on 9 March 2015 so important.
The aircraft has a wing-span of 72 metres, which is wider than that of a jumbo jet. And yet it weights only 2.3 tonnes, compared to a jumbo’s 300-plus-tonnes weight. Its light weight will be critical to its success. So, too, will the performance of the 17,000 solar cells that line the top of the wings, and the energy-dense “lithium-ion” batteries that will collect and store energy for use to sustain flying by the aircraft at night-time.
Graphic
With refinement, the 17,000 solar cells will be whittled down to a hundredth of that number, if not a thousandth, as the fast-growing science known as “nano-technology”’ is brought into play in the capture and application of solar energy.
The BBC’s Environmental Correspondent, for instance, reports that the flight of the Solar Impulse 2 

“is a deep-breath moment in the history of technology…..because, pinch yourself, solar power is predicted to become the dominant source of electricity, globally, by 2050.”

The Corresppondent adds:  “The price of solar electric panels [has fallen by] 70% in recent years and costs are expected to halve again this decade….And Deutsche Bank [of Germany] forecasts that, based on current fossil fuel prices, solar will produce power as cheaply as gas in two thirds of the world before 2020. In the UK the solar industry thinks it can compete with wind within 18 months and with gas in the near future. In the USA, solar jobs already outnumber coal jobs.
The solar revolution was sparked by government subsidies, which attracted venture capitalists to fund innovation and created a huge market that Chinese manufacturers are battling to exploit. The solar boom is a huge help in the battle against climate change, but scientists warn it’s not nearly enough. And we must find ways of storing that mighty but capricious power, and making it work with the [existing national grids].”
A comprehensive report on the economics of solar power usage, entitled: “An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance,and Pricing Trends in the United States” has been published by the
Environmental Energy Technologies Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA. It was authored by Mark Bolinger and Samantha Weaver. I reproduce a few paragraphs to illustrate my belief that any serious person involved in trying to solve Ghana’s power problems, both of today and the future, would be criminal not to pout solar energy on top of the agenda as the Number One Priority. For what the report clearly shows is that living in an African country – with basically, 12 hours of sunshine a day – we can anticipate even LOWER costs than those experienced in North America and Europe (which arte in free fall, it appears!) Says the Report:
QUOTE ”Installed PV project prices have fallen by nearly one-third since the 2007-2009 period, from around $5.6/WAC to $3.9/WAC on average for projects completed in 2012
(with some projects higher and others lower)……
For PV, O&M costs appear to be in the neighbourhood of $20-$40/kWAC-year, or $10-$20/MWh. CSP O&M costs (for parabolic trough) are higher, presumably due to the plumbing and thermal components, and come in around $60/kWAC-year.
Capacity Factors: Like insolation levels, PV capacity factors vary by region. They also
vary depending on whether a project is installed at a fixed-tilt or uses a tracking device, with
single-axis trackers able to achieve capacity factors in excess of 30% in some of the better
locations (thus confirming the industry rule of thumb that single-axis tracking provides a
20% boost in output). In lieu of trackers, and enabled by the sharp decline in module prices,
some projects have instead opted to oversize the PV array relative to the capacity rating of
the inverters as a way to boost capacity factor.
On the CSP side of the market, parabolic trough systems that have been operating in the US. for more than 20 years are still (in 2012) achieving capacity factors in excess of 20% (solar portion only, no storage), which is comparable to newer trough projects. ….Several power tower projects
under construction will soon test that technology on a truly commercial scale in the United
States (several commercial power tower projects have been operating in the Mediterranean
region for several years).
PPA Prices: Driven primarily by lower installed PV project prices (which, in turn, have
been driven primarily by declining module prices), as well as expectations for further cost
reductions in future years, levelized PPA prices have fallen dramatically over time, by
$25/MWh per year on average. UNQUOTE
Over to you then, our DumsƆ operators! You have nothing to lose but your valueless excuses.



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