Posts Tagged ‘Abuse’

As Africa Gets Colonized, So Do We

April 25, 2018

Abstract: Formal “decolonization” worked splendidly… for global plutocracy (with few exceptions). Otherwise, decolonization is a myth. Worse: a crime the way it was accomplished, in all too many places. Nowhere is that more blatant than in Africa, where regimes after regimes are horror shows, and should be viewed as having run out of excuses. And therein a lesson for the whole planet. And in particular for the whole “left” and other pseudo-intellectuals of the simplistic type, who have been more busy collaborating with a system they set-up, rather than fighting it.

***

On April 18, at 6;50 am, heading for Turin Airport, I headed towards the Montgenèvre  pass. Montgenèvre is probably where Hannibal crossed the Alps, as it is the lowest pass. However the famous general suffering huge losses at the hands of the uncooperative Natives, the Allobroges… He lost at least a third of his army, nearly all his elephants. Those Allobroges with whom the Romans, under Augustus, would draw a treaty, two centuries after Hannibal, making them part of the Roman empire… as an independent kingdom: Augustus was so proud of himself, he mad a gigantic monument, still overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. (The world owes to Briancon, the Roman Brigantum, the word “brigand”, depicting well the rapport between Rome and the Briancon area…)

In some places, all what is left are ancient baobabs, from desiccation, and abuse of the land. Baobabs like many African things, starting with the land itself, are enormous. Unfortunately, most of African ecology gets ravaged as we speak. The problem is not sourced just in Africa, we are all part of the problem, thus, the solution.

Along the road, suddenly ten Africans, Subsaharan African, black as charcoal, walking… All French speakers. They came, illegally, from south of the Sahara desert, crossed Libya, and the Mediterranean Sea, thanks to smugglers. Once in Italy, charities gave them clothes, addresses and cell phones, with subscriptions working in France and Italy. Train transportation was provided. From Sicily to deep inside the Alps, at the foot of formidable passes enjoying more than ten meters of snow over the last few months. Only one road goes through, passing in a tunnel below the Montgenèvre,  the world’s oldest ski resort. There are kilometers of tunnels on the “Italian” side. This is the road those outlaws took, obviously hidden in smugglers’ cars (the border between France and Italy is not enforced, but the French Gendarmerie has descended upon some technically Italian towns to make anti illegal immigrant raids, to loud protests from the Ligua Norte (a pseudo-independentist party)…. That whole area of “Italy” was French until Louis XIV gave it to the enemies he had created for himself by throwing 2 million protestants out, and making his grandson king of Spain… The fury of some Italian politicians is explained by their desire to see Africans go to France, instead of enjoying Italy.

Those smugglers through that one French Alps’ pass don’t view themselves as smugglers, but as friends of man, as charities. Yet, ultimately they are the accomplices of horrible regimes in Africa, themselves set-up by global plutocrats and the Western governments which served them (no relief to be obtained from China, which is arguably doing worse, under the guise of helping, as French and US politicians recently pointed out).

Of course, should I be stuck in Subsaharan Africa (as I used to be), I would also walk through the desert, and swim across the sea. Why?Far from the pleasant land I used to know, Subsaharan Africa is in danger of becoming a vast “shithole”, as Trump may have noticed in private… we are well into the process of following it down the toilet. And this we will presently address.

***

A superficially absurd question in Quora, which turns out to be very deep:”Why aren’t the French colonies in Africa liberated? Why don’t they ask for their independence?

My answer:

Silly question, superficially: there are technically no colonies in Africa, at the present time. Or pretty much anywhere else. However, the reality is just the opposite. “Independence” and decolonization was pretty much a sham. It was more of a delegalization, and the creation of a wild west, with Natives to exploit freely, far from law and prying eyes.

Indeed, it’s not France, the French Republic which has the colonies (as it used to be). The truth is worse. Much of the world has been colonized. By global plutocrats, immensely wealthy men (typically men), conspiring with local leaders (“elected” or not).

When the French Republic was in nominal control of much of Africa, there were laws, rules and regulations, of a Republican, democratic character. Roads, trains, schools (mandatory, secular) were built, covered the land. Through Subsaharan Africa, one could find an hospital every one hundred kilometers, in populated areas (which was ruinous for France, from the point of view of some pro-independence French politicians… Most of Africa didn’t ask for independence, it was hurled at them by French racists).

For example, most of the Ivory Coast forest was protected from destruction. After nominal “independence”, very wealthy men came from the north, made deals with the local potentates, and freely exploited the African environment.

They were free, the rest were enslaved. Not just diamonds for Al Qaeda in Sierra Leone, forest in Ivory Coast, oil off Nigeria and Gabon, etc.

Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabists, decided to extend their influence worldwide with a Salafist project flushed with oil money. This completely changed the nature of Islam in Subsaharan Africa, sending the (gigantic) region into a turmoil that profited the Saudis, version 1970s… but few other people besides. Subsaharan Africa became partly a mental colony of Saudi Arabia, with disastrous consequences for economy, society, peace, wisdom, and knowledge.

Sadly, degradation is contagious. As exterior individuals became free to plunder Africa, African natives themselves duplicated the plunder, all the more as the top leaders were part of the conspiracy (consider the assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba in Congo, to be replaced by CIA pawn Mobutu). The later example shows it’s not just the French and the Saudis. For example the (quasi) dictatorship in Rwanda intervened in Congo, to grab rare earths, with discrete, ignored US support, bringing the death of 5 million Congolese citizens (and cheaper electronics for the rest of the world, and the fortunes of many a US plutocrat).

The problem was ignored: individuals such as Bernard Henri Levy, who became a billionaire by plundering African forests, is also an influential intellectual in Paris, or Morocco, and respected not just by left wing but right wing presidents… who financed him. He also controls (nearly) all media.

Worldwide plutocrats own most media, so they colonize us all. After they have made up our minds, the way they like it, we are free to opt to serve them further.

Just as the plundering of Africa, post “independence” has been contagious, and the natives have joined in the plundering, so it is, worldwide: the more the hyper wealthy plunder the planet and control minds, the more average people don’t care. That’s how the sense of citizenship was lost when the Roman Republic became Augustus’ dictatorship (the Roman “empire”, or, technically, “Principate”).

For the preceding to happen, it was necessary that the self-described “left” or “progressive” be completely blind to the preceding. Worse: much of the naive “left” is controlled by plutocracy.

Is there hope? Just a little. French billionaire Vincent Bolloré, a ten billion dollar billionaire, was arrested and detained on Tuesday near Paris over allegations that he indirectly influenced election outcomes for governments in West Africa and secured lucrative port contracts for his company in return. A Bolloré Group subsidiary allegedly undercharged for work, helping two African presidents win power in return for lucrative contracts.

According to a report by the BBC, Bolloré, 66, who is the head of the Bolloré Group, was taken into custody as part of an ongoing investigation into how his company obtained contracts to operate the Lome and Conakry ports in Togo and Guinea respectively. Now he has been charged. All, I repeat, all, billionaires who had to do with Africa, should be charged. That may not seem fair, not according to the “state of law” but all billionaires have overridden the legal process in the last few decades (at least in Africa). (Weirdly, Trump, whose pseudo-progressives love to hate, to change the conversation, gets a pass for now, being the less bad of them all, as he tries to change things, and didn’t become wealthy from corruption, as, say, Xi, Putin, Berlusconi, and an immense cortege of those lurking in the swamp between politics and greed…) 

The spirit of the law, worldwide, has been confiscated by the .1%. It’s not just Africa. We are all been colonized, or, more exactly, possessed (much of French Africa was more administered than colonized, in the sense that few “colons” ever came).

It’s high time to do something about ourselves becoming the property of others (consider the social networks and the virtual slavery they exploit us with). Because otherwise our future will be as bad, or worse, than the worst colonization (and there were very bad colonies, for example Congo, personal property of the Belgian king, where millions were enslaved).

Ah, a few technical points to finish: the French military interventions in Africa, from Rwanda to Mauretania, were, and are, not akin to “colonialism”: just the opposite (they tend to be all UN approved). They are efforts to free Africa from outrageous exploitation and plunders by (“religious”) gangs, or the likes of Gaddafi (who tried to physically invade Subsaharan Africa, before being stopped by the French military).

Part of the disaster that Subsaharan Africa has become has to do with demographic explosion (itself a consequence from the lack of intelligent administration, education and good healthcare). Many countries went from six millions in the 1960s (when the French administration left), to 45 millions now. In many countries, women have eight children (many to be tempted by violent Jihadism)

No ecology can sustain this, especially one which was borderline to start with. Thus, now dozens of millions of Africans from Subsaharan Africa are plotting to go to France, and try to do it at immense risks of lives and limbs (most of them fail, raped, drowned, eaten by Saharan hyenas, enslaved, or desiccating in the desert… but thousands a month make it to France…)

Something needs to be done, something drastic, and it won’t come from the old playbook…

Patrice Aymé

 

Do Violence, Bias & Abuse Help Research?

January 16, 2016

Sexism is not humanly, ethologically, culturally, economically, civilizationally, emotionally, poetically, romantically and scientifically correct. Moreover it flows and then encourages, a general mood of violence, abuse, exploitation against all and any human being. It also rests on many a stupidity, thus foster stupidity. But, as we will see, there is worse.

Thanks to Sean Carrol for an  excellent essay condemning abusive harassment of women in science: “We Suck (but we can be better)”. A reminder: sexist research found, decades ago, that the brains of women and men were different. Many powers jumped on that result to claim the poor results of women in science, or the intellect in general, were thus justified.

However, upon closer examination, that was simply not true. Unsurprisingly, it was found female and male brains are not quite the same, except that one could not tell, and some of the differences are the opposite of what’s expected: most brains are a haphazard mosaic of female and male features.

Researchers have identified several structural differences between the brains of men and women, but they form changing mosaics from individual to individual, making it impossible to tell the sex of an individual based solely on MRI images of the brain like the one above.

Researchers have identified several structural differences between the brains of men and women, but they form changing mosaics from individual to individual, making it impossible to tell the sex of an individual based solely on MRI images of the brain like the one above.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/11/brains-men-and-women-aren-t-really-different-study-finds

In the end, therefore, human beings are not just bisexual, but multisexual. To boot, the varying influence of some hormones rule, haphazardly, while having nothing to do with pure intellectual performance.

The reason for the intellectual equality between human sexes is obvious: prehistoric life required women to be pluripotent, because they had to replace men. When men were far away hunting big game, patrolling territory, or at war, women had to be able to replace them completely, even for defense and hunting. More recently, Roman legionnaires were very surprised when they discovered that German women wielding swords turned out be what prevented German men to retreat.

The reason for having a non-sexist society is that we double the number of brains, thus increase considerably the number of ideas. It was obvious all along that females could perform at the very highest mental level: Emilie du Chatelet, after all, discovered the concept of energy, ½ mv^2 (Newton confused energy and momentum, apparently). She also discovered a few other things, such as infrared radiation, although she died in childbirth.

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/12/28/non-locality/

So sexism is a form of abuse, and, ultimately, not just a form of abuse of particular individuals, but of society itself, as it deprives society of half of its best elements.

And that is the connection with the violence made to graduate students. The American fundamental research system depends upon 120 institutions. However, many of the most prestigious universities, in their most prestigious departments depend upon a system of exploitation, or even abuse, of their students.

It works this way, even in public universities: the graduate students make all the necessary work (be it basic research or basic undergraduate teaching, or both). However some of these university departments have ridiculously low rates of attribution of the PhD. Say 10%. This means they use to teach, or do research students who, statistically, have no probability to get what they are after.

I personally witness ultimate violence in some of the world’s most famous universities. All the way to murder (I may give more details in a further version of this essay).

In 1998, Jason Altom, a graduate student in chemistry at Harvard, took his own life. Renowned among his contemporaries as both an extraordinarily talented scientist and a meticulous personality, he left behind a pointed note:

“This event could have been avoided,” the note began. “Professors here have too much power over the lives of their grad students.” The letter recommended adoption of a three-member faculty committee to monitor each graduate student’s progress and “provide protection for graduate students from abusive research advisers. If I had such a committee now I know things would be different.” It was the first time, a columnist for The Crimson observed later, that a suicide note took the form of a policy memo.

It seems clear in the behavior of Harvard’s (Nobel Prize) Corey. By telling his star student who committed suicide that, after five years, he had made “no intellectual contribution”, Corey was actually committing a crime. OK, the law does not strike this sort of abuse yet for what they are: potentially lethal abuse. Why? Because this is so typical of what happen in so many graduate department in the USA. It’s a bit as when there were slaves everywhere in the USA: it was legal, and it felt normal.

It is important to remedy this. How? Notice science was not as cut-throat in the 1960s: young professors could afford to buy a house next to a prestigious university (it’s not the case anymore). Young professors were typically on tenure track, graduate student were treated decently, etc.

Then things changed: American man had landed on the moon, science was not needed anymore. Investment in science went down, culminating with Congress yanking out the super collider. Society decided to do science and intellect on the cheap. Cut-throat academia came into being.

Treating women students well enough to have as many of them as men will improve quality, it will also force society to realize that research cannot depend upon abuse and exploitation of people, but its exact opposite: the fragile blossoming of ideas rejects relations brimming with the grossest powers.

Rejecting violence, exploitation and abuse will force society to put more (relative) resources into (fundamental) research, the way it used to be, not so long ago. Instead of treating graduate students as modern slaves, universities will have to recognize their humanity, dignity, hence foster their responsibility and independent judgment, producing higher quality thinking. Ultimately thinking blossoms from the debate of many minds, and not just the celebrity cult. Cutting throats does not help.

However, a cut-throat establishment may want research to be in its image, abusive and exploitative, to justify its own mood. Hence the present plutocratic university system is not here by accident, engaging into satanic behavior, just because bad things happen. Far from it. To teach celebritism, oligarchism, and even abuse, exploitation, sadism, and inhuman behavior is entirely what the present educational system sees, secretly, as its mission.

Patrice Ayme’