Government hides the truth

If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that's something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can't live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organisations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time.
Noam Chomsky

Power is a drug on which the politicians are hooked. They buy it from the voters, using the voters' own money.
Peter Newman


The Mhlako Triumvirate

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Respectability in Malawi comes in two forms – a priest in his dog-collar and a banker in his suit. The image of the priest/holy man/self-styled prophet/bishop has become tarnished over recent years by stories of celibates with ‘wives’ and families living in the village supported by maize-mills bought by doting parishioners; men-of-the-cloth caught interfering with little boys, or ‘apostles’ sending their mistresses to Europe to abort incriminating pregnancies.
That leaves us with the bankers. By bankers I don’t mean those smiling guys and gals beavering away behind the counter but the men and women at the top, behind the scenes, who are manipulating our wealth (sic) and the wealth (sic) of the nation. Ours have not reached the pinnacle of perfection on which the ultra-respectable international bankers perch. But that narrow perch is looking increasingly less secure and the reputation of the squatters is in tatters.
Not to put it too finely – the world financial system is in a mess. These ultra-respectables and  their politician accomplices are no longer able to hide their crimes – crimes that have destroyed the wealth of millions of people around the world and whose greed has driven many nations, states and municipalities into bankruptcy. But here in Malawi we have hardly been touched.
The massive demonstrations we are seeing around the world are indicative of a malaise that has been, in part, fuelled by the criminal ‘banksta’ rip-offs. Their ill-gotten gains, surplus money provided for them by governments on behalf of the newly-impoverished taxpayers, is looking for places to make more. Speculation in food is one of the paths chosen, putting the cost of basic bread out of the reach of the many. Malawians in general are unaware of the massive upheavals in parts of the world which are seen as stable and wealthy. But – just as you don’t trust the cloth of the clergy any more, don’t trust the international black suits that we see on our TV screens.  Just reflect that at the recent Davos meeting, where the richest and most powerful people in the world get together, French President Sarkozy and  Jamie Dimon, CEO of J P Morgan (one of America’s TBTF too big to fail banks ), had a virtual public slanging match. Such disagreements in the past would have been settled in private. Massive changes are coming to our world and we, in Malawi, cannot avoid them. Our traditional ‘donors’ are themselves in deep financial distress. I guess that any excuse to cut aid will be pounced upon  - as we have seen recently!
When I was a teenager, John Steinbeck was my favourite author. He covered the distress in America at a time of massive social and financial reordering as the economy collapsed due to the machinations of the controlling financial elite – those guys in the black suits. And now they’re back.
Illustrated by extracts from Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath set in Depression America of the 1930’s John Quinn’s essay is the most comprehensive and revelatory presentation that I have read. I recommend it for anyone who wants to put the present situation into that historic and enlightening perspective..
Click on this link to download it.
by Jim Quinn - Burning Platform
The lesson to be learnt for Malawi is that our multiple ‘I’s’ must become a unified ‘We’. When we agree that we ‘own’ the problems communally we will defeat the ‘suits’ who set out to enslave us.
One man, one family driven from the land; this rusty car creaking along the highway to the west. I lost my land, a single tractor took my land. I am alone and bewildered. And in the night one family camps in a ditch and another family pulls in and the tents come out. The two men squat on their hams and the women and children listen. Here is the node, you who hate change and fear revolution. Keep these two squatting men apart; make them hate, fear, suspect each other. Here is the enlarger of the thing you fear. This is the zygote. For here “I lost my land” is changed; a cell is split and from its splitting grows the thing you hate–”We lost our land.” The danger is here, for two men are not as lonely and perplexed as one. And from this first “we” there grows a still more dangerous thing: “I have a little food” plus “I have none.” If from this problem the sum is “We have a little food,” the thing is on its way, the movement has direction. Only a little multiplication now, and this land, this tractor are ours. The two men squatting in a ditch, the little fire, the side-meat stewing in a single pot, the silent, stone-eyed women; behind, the children listening with their souls to words their minds do not understand. The night draws down. The baby has a cold. Here, take this blanket. It’s wool. It was my mother’s blanket–take it for the baby. This is the thing to bomb. This is the beginning–from “I” to “we.” - John Steinbeck

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