Dust flux, Vostok ice core

Dust flux, Vostok ice core
Two dimensional phase space reconstruction of dust flux from the Vostok core over the period 186-4 ka using the time derivative method. Dust flux on the x-axis, rate of change is on the y-axis. From Gipp (2001).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A plague on all their houses--Ghanaian perspectives on the Ivoiran crisis

Recent news has the UN carrying out air strikes in Abidjan. But the idiots are bombing the forces that are defending the city from an invading force. Killings continue.

In this article I will present the prevailing understanding that lives on the street in Ghana (particularly western Ghana). I cannot verify the truth of these statements, and acknowledge the possibility that there are many misconceptions. However I believe their stories may add a different perspective than may be presented in western news media.

Many Ghanaians feel that both Ouattara and Gbagbo are unfit to preside over their country. They have both disqualified themselves by resorting to violence. Even in the case of Gbagbo (whom most Ghanaians believe is the wronged party in the dispute--see below), Ghanaians feel that once it became clear that his resistance would lead to bloodshed, he should have become a great statesman, yielded power, and waited for the next election.

Ouattara is from the north of Ivory Coast. He is Ivoiran, but of Burkinese descent, as are many of the Mosi-speaking peoples of Ivory Coast. In the last election, Ouattara benefitted tremendously from miraculous voting patterns, in which villages of 500 delivered thousands of votes (unsubstantiated statement, probably from Ghanaian news article). Allegations of voter fraud were not investigated. He has won the election, but that does not give him the right to massacre those who voted against him. (If it does, then I pray Harper doesn't win next month in Canada).

On his last visit to the African Union, the Nigerians offered to arm him. The Ghanaians were not in favour of him, so the arms were shipped by a northerly route, through Burkina Faso (unsubstantiated statements).

Gbagbo is from the south, representing peoples who generally originated in Ivory Coast. In a sense, he is following a tradition, in that when he first won an election, the former President also resisted leaving office, and both sides resorted to violence. Gbagbo reduced French involvement in Ivory Coast, leading to a resurgence of formerly suppressed Ivoirian culture. Under the French, the only culture in Ivory Coast was French.

The perception of Ghanaians is that Ouattara will return Ivory Coast to France. Hence the arrival of French troops to defend "French interests" including the airport.

The Americans have promoted Ghana as the gateway to West Africa. A part of this is the development of a highway system through Ghana from the coast to the interior. The French have their own ideas--that Ivory Coast will be the gateway to the interior.

Although cocoa has been much discussed in the media, there has been much less dicussion about the offshore oil, which has been the subject of exploration and exploitation for much longer than the recently discovered oil off Ghana.

The attack on Abidjan was remarkably well coordinated, with simultaneous strikes on key facilities, such as the Presidential palace, the radio and TV stations, and arms depots. Compare this to the mob-like efforts of the Libyan rebels. There was a three-day period in which Ouattara forces massed outside of Abidjan, as supplies and ammunition were brought to the front, and plans were made. Once again, this is a suspiciously well-disciplined mob.

A helpful summary

The French--bad
The UN--bad

A plague on all their houses!

A note about stepping back for the good of the country. When elections were held in Ghana in November of 1996, I recall being amazed at the distribution of votes. All through the thinly populated northern regions there were enormous numbers of votes for Rawlings' party (the NDC). Furthermore, the votes in the north were unanimously in favour of the NDC (e.g., 65,912 to 2). Kuffour's party (the NPP) decided not to contest the results. I remember the tension leading up to that announcement and the tremendous relief afterwards. The NPP were rewarded by winning the next election four years later.

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