|Vol. 17, No. 2||February 2006|
Nigerian Fool’s Gold: Behind the ‘419’ Scams
For many Africans, fraud is a form of ‘reparations.’
A few months ago I received an e-mail message from “Professor Bello Usman,” branch manager of the Lagos, Nigeria-based United Bank for Africa. He was offering me a 30 percent cut on nearly $13 million in unclaimed assets. All I had to do was step forward and help collect the money. Here is the message with its original grammar, spelling, punctuation and spacing:
AN URGENT BUSINESS PROPOSAL
I am pleased to get across to you for a very urgent and profitable business proposal,Though I don’t know you neither have I seen you before but my confidence was reposed On you when the Chief Executive of Lagos State chamber of Commerce and Industry handed me your contact for a confidential business. I am the manager of United Bank for Africa Plc(UBA),Ilupeju branch, LagosNigeria.
The intended business is thus; We had a customer, a Foreignera Turkish) resident in Nigeria, he was a Contractor with one of the Government Parastatals. He has in his Account in my branch the sum of US$12.7Million(Twelve.Seven Million U.S.Dollars). Unfortunately, the man died four years ago until today none of his next of kin has come Forward to claim the money.Having noticed this, I in collaboration with two other top Officials of the bank we have covered up the account all thiswhile. Now we want you (being a foreigner) to be fronted as one of his next of kin and forward Your account and other relevant documents to be advised to you by us to attest to the Claim.
We will use our positions to get all internal documentations to back up the claims .The whole procedures will last only ten working days to get the fund retrieved successfully Without trace even in future. Your response is only what we are waiting for as we have arranged all necessary things.
As soon as this message come to you kindly get back to me indicating your interest,Then I will furnish you with the whole procedures to ensure that the deal is successfully Concluded. For your assistance we have agreed to give you thirty percent (30%) of the Total sum at the end of the transaction. It is risk free and a megafortune. All correspondence Towards this transaction will be through this e-mail address.
I await your earliest response.
It is hard to know which was more preposterous: the letter’s sub-literacy (from a “professor,” no less) or its assumption that anyone would bite. Unfortunately, there are people around the world, including Americans who should know better, who do. The promised riches prove fraudulent. And people end up handing over thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to get their hands on the money. A few errant treasure hunters have lost more than money.
This is the world of the “advance-fee letter.” Also known as the “419” letter, after the portion of the Nigerian legal code outlawing it, it has become one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing financial crimes. It may be tempting to say the suckers who fall for this trick get what they deserve, but the real wrongdoers are professional Nigerian grifters. Far from being minor-league pranksters, these people are — or work for — high-rolling racketeers who extract hundreds of millions of dollars annually from gullible foreigners. And they operate with little fear of legal action from the Nigerian authorities.
Although just about anyone with an e-mail address has received a “419” letter, few people have noted the racial element of these scams. This is a strictly African con; even letters from the US, Canada and Europe are written by Nigerians (or people from nearby African countries), and often refer to a Nigerian “home office.” Most victims live in the West, and at least some scammers target them specifically because they are white.
The Spanish Prisoner
|“White men, I will eat your dollars, will take your money and disappear.”|
The advance-fee letter scam is a variation on an old con, “The Spanish Prisoner,” dating back to the 1920s. David Mamet’s 1998 movie of the same name depicted a modern corporate version of this hustle. The original scam involved an imaginary wealthy Spaniard whose son was unjustly imprisoned. The grateful father would shower you with money if you helped spring the prisoner, and you, of all people, had been picked to offer some relatively trivial assistance, and then enjoy your reward. The situation was invariably “urgent,” and to be handled in confidence, but problems always seemed to arise that required cash contributions from you. In the Nigerian version, a bank, government agency, charity or lottery offers you a percentage if you help launder several million dollars.
Africans have long honed this game to a science. For many years they used regular mail to fleece their victims, but shifted to sending faxes in the 1980s. The Internet revolution of the 1990s was a real bonanza for con artists, who can now reach millions of potential victims at practically no cost.
Although the above letter does not make this appeal, “419” scammers often pose as victims themselves. Unlike Prof. Usman, who is asking you to help him steal someone else’s bank account, many hustlers pose as rightful owners who desperately need your help to get their own money back. They are not cutting you in on a heist; they are asking you to help right a wrong.
Anyone who takes the bait soon finds out things are not as easy as they looked. There is invariably a hitch or a delay in the payment. The stated reason may be additional bank or government paperwork, unexpected transaction fees, or even a sudden threat to the scammer’s life (this is especially effective if a woman is said to be threatened). Whatever the reason, the mark must send money to set things right. The demand is phrased in language to convince the target that handing over a few thousand dollars now is a small price to pay for the millions he will get later. But collection day never comes. There are more obstacles and delays, and the scammer keeps asking for larger sums in order to finalize the deal.
The successful scammer is a master manipulator. Although “419” thieves occasionally get control of their victims’ bank accounts and clean them out, their real power lies in getting people to empty their own accounts. They play on two basic emotions, one of which is obviously greed. They dangle a large prize before their victims’ eyes, and once they begin to pay, they keep paying because they can’t bear to think their first payments were “wasted.”
|Nigerian rap group: The 419 Squad.|
The other appeal is sympathy, at least when the scammer is claiming to be trying to get his own money back. These crooks have a carefully practiced ability to bond with the victim, to marry his avarice to his natural impulse to rescue an innocent person. Ruthless criminal cunning can appear as affectations of friendship, even love for the victim. Scamming is as much psychological as financial warfare.
Sometimes, the scammer persuades his mark that the final step needed to close the deal is a face-to-face meeting with a bank or government official. The sucker flies to Nigeria for a meeting — if there even is one — that is invariably staged. Some thieves use the old trick of showing the mark a suitcase of defaced banknotes that have to be “cleaned” with a special chemical. The crook demonstrates how the “cleaning” works, and then asks the victim for a huge sum to pay for the chemical. Victims have been known to hand over tens of thousands of dollars. Eventually the sucker realizes he’s been fleeced, and that he has virtually no chance of recovery.
Far worse can befall someone foolish enough to go to Nigeria. Some victims have been kidnapped, held for ransom, or even killed. They may be smuggled into the country without a visa and then threatened into giving up more money; the visitor is at the hustler’s mercy since Nigeria has stiff penalties for entry without a visa.
The Treasury Department reports that in 1995, an American citizen, whose name was not released, was murdered in Lagos in pursuit of a promised fortune, and many Westerners attempting to collect their “reward” in Nigeria have been reported missing. Others who lost money have committed suicide. An American businessman, Jerry Stratton, 47, took his life in a London hotel in October 2000. His suicide note read: “If anything happens to me, look for three people. They are Nigerians. They are responsible.”
There is no denying that advance-fee victims are gullible and greedy. “Anybody who falls for a Nigerian letter scam deserves a whack with a stupid stick,” says FBI spokesman Ray Lauer. This does not diminish the very real human toll. Victims have included a doctor in Modesto, California, who kept getting sucked in until he had lost $800,000, and a Florida retiree fleeced of $320,000.
One elderly couple in San Jose, California, lost more than $700,000. They were approached by Brian Malzkuhn, a Nigerian professor at nearby Ohlone College in Fremont, who promised them $68 million from family members of former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha. The couple kept sending cash installments, and even refinanced their home several times to cover the payments. A neighbor told reporters, “He [the husband] really believes the money’s coming. He thinks his best friend’s gonna help him through it, and his best friend happens to be Brian [Malzkuhn].” As for con-man Malzkuhn, he told a reporter, “I love the [couple]. I would never hurt them.”
Some victims resort to theft to cover their losses. Donna Burbank, owner of a title and escrow company in Washington State, was sentenced in June 2004 to three years in prison for ripping off more than $670,000 from customers. She got in over her head with “Dr. Udo Udoma.” In January 2001, he sent her a fax claiming to work for the Nigerian government, and seeking her help in transferring $21.5 million.
Some outraged victims take justice into their own hands. Beginning around 1997, people posing as representatives of Nigerian firms fleeced Czech Republic pensioner Jiri Pasovsky of roughly $500,000 by offering him bogus investment opportunities. Mr. Pavosky, who had borrowed much of the money, eventually tried to get it back. He regularly visited the Nigerian embassy in Prague looking for help. Nigerians started threatening his family. One day in February 2003, Consul Michael Wayi told the broke and desperate Mr. Pasovsky that he would help him if he agreed to turn over half of the recovered money to Wayi. Mr. Pasovsky got angry and says Wayi attacked and tried to strangle him. He says he does not fully recall what happened next, but he pulled out a gun and killed Wayi and wounded Wayi’s secretary. In July 2005 he got an eight-year prison sentence.
Fleecing the Maghas
How much do “419” scammers take in? Estimates vary, but back in 1997 Special Agent James Caldwell of the US Secret Service’s Financial Crimes Division spoke of “known confirmed losses just in the United States of over $100 million in the last 15 months.” “That’s just the ones we know of,” he added. “We figure a lot of people don’t report them.” The Secret Service recently estimated that since 1989, advance-fee crime has cost victims worldwide $5 billion. Every day the agency now gets about 100 phone calls, and 300 to 500 pieces of correspondence from actual or potential victims. The Nigerian government estimates that these scams took in $500 million in 2004, again noting a widespread reluctance by victims too embarrassed to report their losses.
A report in the Oct. 20, 2005, Los Angeles Times profiles some of the 419 thieves, dedicated men and teenagers working the graveyard shift in Internet cafes in Lagos’s Festac neighborhood. They lock themselves in at night to keep robbers and perhaps the police from stealing their computers and e-mail lists.
Predictably, they do not have much respect for their targets, referring to them as maghas, Yoruba slang for “fools.” One operator, age 19, says he sends about 500 messages a day, and gets an average of seven replies. “When you get a reply, it’s 70 percent sure that you’ll get the money,” he says. He has been plying his trade since age 15, when he was discovered by a local crime boss who recruited him with promises of money and the good life.
Many Nigerians see 419 as payback to the white man. Here are some of the lyrics from “I Go Chop Your Dollars,” a popular song on the Lagos airwaves:
“419 is just a game, you are the losers, we are the winners.
“White people are greedy, I can say they are greedy.
“White men, I will eat your dollars, will take your money and disappear.”
One African probably spoke for many when he wrote the following message to an anti-con website called crimes-of-persuasion.com.
“You a**hole … why can you not mind your own business? This is the way they earn their living and if anybody is greedy enough to fall victim, so be it. If Africans are smart enough to dupe the so-called ‘white civilization,’ all well and good. What better reparation for all that the white man inflicted on the Africans over 100 years ago when the best of the breed were cut from their roots and taken away as slaves.”
It is not exactly clear why Nigeria became the maypole for the fastest-growing con game in the world, but it may have something to do with Nigeria’s record of corruption, which is staggering even by African standards, and which feeds on oil revenue.
The current regime of Olusegun Obasanjo is bad enough, but is not in the same league as that of the late dictator, General Sani Abacha. During his half-decade of misrule (1993-98) he is thought to have stolen at least $3 billion from the national treasury (one of the lawyers representing Abacha’s estate was Johnnie Cochran). Every so often the country makes a half-hearted attempt to crack down on corruption, but basically nothing has changed since independence from Britain in 1960.
Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (yes, it has one; see below) estimated that from 1960 to 1999, successive Nigerian governments stole the equivalent of nearly $400 billion from Western aid sources. This figure does not include exactions from oil companies that are extortion in all but name. In 2003 Shell Oil, for example, “contributed” $54.5 million to the government-backed Niger Delta Development Commission, much of which no doubt ended up in the pockets of the well connected.
Not surprisingly, the 2005 rating for Nigeria by the Berlin-based watchdog group, Transparency International, ranks it at 152 out of 159 countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index. (Thirty-one of the bottom 44 countries were African. Five of the 10 least corrupt were Scandinavian. The US ranked 17th.) Nigeria’s scammers are fully aware of how their country works, and are likely to think, “If our leaders can steal billions, surely we can steal thousands.”
At the same time, despite oil revenue, Nigeria remains a poor country, with a per capita income in the bottom six percent of the world’s nations. As many Nigerians believe “white people” have caused their poverty, why not seek reparations with an “urgent business proposal”?
Section 419 of the Nigerian code forbidding these scams has been on the books for a decade. The government knows that if it lends even the appearance of sanctioning fraud, foreign aid and investment would dry up. In 2002, the government set up the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate money laundering, advance fee fraud and counterfeiting, and a new law passed in 2005 holds not only fraud artists liable for damages, but also cybercafe owners and office managers who knowingly lend their facilities.
These measures are not entirely useless. For several years, a trio of Nigerian con artists persuaded a top official at Banco Noroeste in Sao Paolo, Brazil to divert $242 million into bank accounts around the world on the promise that he would earn $13.4 million on an “airport contract.” The bank went under when much of its money disappeared. The Nigerian crooks got prison sentences, and were ordered to return the money. In November 2005, the EFCC actually refunded an initial $17 million.
|The crooks may send you fake documents like this.|
In July 2004, the EFCC arrested more than 500 e-mail fraud artists and seized over $500 million of their assets. The authorities even picked up some previously “untouchable kingpins,” including lawyers, politicians and bankers.
This was an encouraging development, but for several reasons successful prosecutions are the exception. First, Nigeria’s 36 states have been an unstable religious and tribal patchwork from the start, and the northern region has lately become a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism. The nation has at least 250 ethnic groups, which makes it hard to govern. Even an honest national government could do only so much to hold local governments accountable, and in Nigeria the police are notoriously corrupt.
Second, despite official condemnations of 419 fraud, any number of top Nigerian officials have winked at it or taken part. According to a nonprofit monitoring group called The 419 Coalition (home.rica.net/alphae/419coal/), the advance fee scam has become the third-to-fifth largest industry in the nation. There is no way this could have happened without powerful backers.
Third, the pool of scam artists will continue to grow. Nigeria’s population doubled from about 65 million people in 1980 to its present 130 million, and according to UN projections, is set to reach nearly 340 million in 2050. It is hard to see how law enforcement can avoid being overwhelmed by the scam industry. In 1997 — nearly a decade ago — the Secret Service reportedly estimated that 60,000 of Nigeria’s roughly 400,000 phone numbers were 419 lines.
Much of the time, working with authorities, Nigerian or otherwise, tends to be an exercise in futility, even when there are arrests. In January 2004, for example, Amsterdam police arrested 52 Nigerian suspects in a massive raid at nearly two dozen locations. They said the criminals had e-mailed about 100,000 Americans and Japanese, promising a large share of a $20 million haul. The Dutch deported 38 of the 52, who were no doubt free to keep playing the game back home, but managed to convict only one of the remaining 14. The rest were released for lack of evidence.
Europeans increasingly are faced with the problem. Nigerians have lately been entering the Netherlands via the Dutch Antilles, now a major transit point for drug trafficking. According to the Unusual Transactions Reporting Centre in Holland, loot from advance-fee scams often finances drug purchases. The disease has spread to Spain as well. In July 2005, authorities in Malaga arrested more than 300 fraud artists, most of them 419 scammers.
Although not many of the criminals work in the United States, we have our share of victims. In October 2005, Microsoft announced it was teaming up with Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to catch West African Internet con men.
The advance fee letter scam is another example of the Third World’s revenge, a combination of greed, manipulation, and racial retribution. Don’t try to fight back. Even replying “just to see what happens,” can bring a months-long onslaught of high-pressure e-mails and maybe even threatening phone calls. If you get an e-mail solicitation but have not paid any money, you can forward the letter to the Secret Service at 419.fcd @usss.treas.gov. If, Heaven forbid, you have lost money, you should call the nearest Secret Service field office. The Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc. gov or 1-877-FTC-HELP) and the State Department (www.state.gov) also help people who have been conned, but you should be prepared to give as much detail as possible. The Secret Service in particular wants all the details, not just a copy of the scam letter.
All the law enforcement in the world cannot save someone who is blinded by greed. Con men work by appealing to the spirit of avarice that lurks at some level in all of us. Nigerians will continue to exact “reparations” only for as long as whites are foolish enough to keep paying them.
Carl F. Horowitz is a Washington, DC-area-based policy consultant on immigration, labor, welfare and housing. He formerly wrote for Investor’s Business Daily.
Will Whites Ever Learn?
For Africans, self-rule means misrule.
Martin Meredith, The Fate of Africa: From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair, Public Affairs Press, 2005, 752 pp., $35.00.
At close to 800 pages, The Fate of Africa is a huge book about a huge subject: the history of Africa since independence. Martin Meredith, who worked for years as a journalist on the continent and who has written eight other books about Africa, carries off this nearly impossible task with just the right combination of style and scholarship. At the same time, he sugarcoats nothing and spares no one. As any honest contemporary history of the continent must be, this is largely a story of greed, corruption, oppression and massacre. There may be no better and more up-to-date single-volume account. The Fate of Africa covers North Africa as well, but this review will concentrate on the continent south of the Sahara. Although Mr. Meredith draws few broad conclusions, he offers a wealth of evidence for anyone who wishes to.
Untouched by Europe
As Mr. Meredith explains, even though in some cases colonization had lasted 200 years, most blacks were essentially untouched by Europe. The French ran their West African empire with only 385 white administrators, and the British were famous for equally thin-stretched, indirect rule. At the end of the Second World War, only the British even thought in terms of eventual independence for these untutored lands, and did not foresee it until the end of the 20th century. It was pressure from the United States, post-war exhaustion, and militant independence movements that forced a pace no one anticipated in 1945.
Whatever the timetable, because it was West Africa that had been in closest contact with Europe, it was thought best prepared for self-government. By 1920, for example, the Gold Coast (future Ghana) had 60 practicing black lawyers, whereas Kenya did not get its first lawyer until 1956. The first black deputy to the French National Assembly came from Senegal in West Africa in 1914. Leopold Senghor, another deputy from Senegal, helped draft France’s Fourth Republic constitution in 1945. His French was so good he was in charge of policing the constitution’s grammar.
Independence consequently did come first in West Africa, with Kwame Nkrumah as leader of Ghana. Nkrumah’s career set so many patterns for the new Africa that it is worth following in some detail. What began with great promise ended in tears, in a cycle so often repeated that Mr. Meredith has adopted it as the subtitle of his book.
|Charles Taylor campaigned on the slogan “He killed my ma, he killed my pa, but I will vote for him” — and won.|
Nkrumah had one of the most sudden rises to power of any politician in history — from prisoner to prime minister in a single day. Held in a Gold Coast prison for stirring up anti-British riots, his party managed to win 34 of 38 contested seats in a 1951 election. The British governor, Charles Arden-Clark, stiffened his upper lip, summoned his prisoner, and asked him to form a government.
Ghana went on to six years of democratic self-government under the close supervision of Arden-Clark. It seemed to be perfect training for sovereignty for the perfect candidate for independence. Ghana had a sound educational and economic infrastructure built by the British, excellent natural resources, and healthy foreign currency reserves due to cocoa exports. The Cold War was raging, and both the United States and the Soviet Union were eager for new clients. Mr. Meredith writes that when independence came in 1957, there was world-wide hope and optimism on a scale now difficult to imagine. The six-day gala was a love-feast of goodwill and high expectations.
|Monument to Nkrumah.|
Once the British were gone, Nkrumah stamped out the opposition, built up a personality cult, squandered money on gold-plated projects, and ran the economy into the ground. He built the largest dry dock in Africa, which was almost never used. He set up a national airline and insisted it fly to politically fashionable places like Cairo and Moscow for which there was no commercial demand. He set up state-run corporations and state farms that only spread failure and corruption. He made it a crime for anyone to “show disrespect to the person and dignity of the Head of State.” Foreign businessmen learned that anyone with a glib tongue and a bright idea — the more grandiose the better — could get a fat government contract. The head of state himself signed deals.
Nkrumah had ambitions for the entire continent. In 1958 he hosted an All-African People’s Conference to promote anti-colonial agitation. Among his guests were many who later became heads of state: Julius Nyerere (Tanzania), Kenneth Kaunda (Zambia), Hastings Banda (Malawi), Patrice Lumumba (Congo), Amilcar Cabral (Guinea Bissau — assassinated shortly before independence), Holden Roberto (Angola), and Joshua Nkomo (never quite made it to the top in Zimbabwe). Nkrumah is still something of a saint for many Africans and American blacks because of his militant anti-imperialism. He dreamed of an Africa as mighty as the United States, and squandered millions on a huge complex of buildings he hoped would become the capital of a continent united under his leadership.
Nkrumah’s follies had predictable results. By 1965, just eight years after independence, what had been one of Africa’s most prosperous countries was bankrupt. Increasingly deluded and anti-white, Nkrumah blamed every failure on imperialists and neo-colonialists. He might have gone on wrecking Ghana had he not tried to clip the wings of the army. In 1966, while he was junketing in Peking, the generals took over and told him not to come home. School children who had been taught to chant “Nkrumah is our messiah,” now chanted “Nkrumah is not our messiah.”
| Lumumba in Stanleyville,
The cashiered messiah found refuge in a clapped-out house in Guinea Conakry, where he received ever-dwindling bands of admirers, and spent his days drawing up impossible plans for Ghana. He was convinced that a popular movement would rise up to bring him back to power. By the time of his death in a Bucharest hospital in 1972, he was a pathetic figure.
In many respects, therefore, Nkrumah set the pattern for the continent: dictatorship, corruption, mismanagement, quirks bordering on madness, and involuntary departure from office. In particular, his example of one-man rule caught on almost everywhere. A few dictators explained that nation-building required unity of purpose, but most simply siezed power without explanation or apology. When someone once asked Habib Bourghiba of Tunisia what kind of political system his country had, he relied, “System? What system? I am the system.” Hastings Banda of Malawi once observed, “Everything is my business. Everything.” He also said, “Anything I say is law. Literally law.” In 1965 he went further: “If, to maintain the political stability and efficient administration, I have to detain ten thousand or one hundred thousand, I will do it.” Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, whose attempt at African socialism will be examined later, explained that political parties arose in the West because there were economic classes. In Africa, there were no classes, so only one party was necessary: his.
Nkrumah was also typical of a surprising number of independence rulers who had been jailed or banished by the white authorities before taking power: Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Bourghiba of Tunisia, Banda of Malawi, Mohammed V of Morocco, and Patrice Lumumba of Congo (convicted of embezzlement, not independence activity).
| Teodoro Obiang talks to the UN.
Did he talk to God first?
Also, like virtually the entire first-generation of independence leaders, Nkrumah had lived and studied in Europe or the United States. Men who went abroad were undoubtedly a better sort to begin with, and some experience of the West probably tempered their excesses, at least at first. In the next generation, semi-savages like Idi Amin (Uganda), Samuel Doe (Liberia), and Jean-Bedel Bokassa (Central African Republic) would shoot their way into presidential palaces, and go on to ever-more gruesome antics.
Unlike most African rulers, however, Nkrumah did not surround himself with toadies and mistresses, and seems to have been lonely and isolated. He decided, apparently on a whim, to marry, and asked Gamel Nasser of Egypt to find him a wife. Nasser did: an Egyptian girl who spoke only Arabic and a bit of French; Nkrumah understood neither language. He married her the same day he met her, and she gave him three children but little companionship. The only real friend Nkrumah seems to have had in power was a British woman, Erica Powell, whom he met when she was Governor Arden-Clark’s private secretary. He hired her away, with the governor’s blessing, and always said she was the only person who gave him unbiased advice.
Nkrumah’s interest in a European woman did not lead to marriage, but for many rulers it did. Kenyatta, Bourghiba, and Banda had white wives, as did Leopold Senghor of Senegal and Seretse Khama of Botswana. Jean-Bedel Bokassa, who crowned himself “emperor,” had 17 wives, including a blonde Rumanian cabaret dancer, a German, and a Swede. (He kept wives in separate houses and left his office several times a day to call on them.)
Finally, Nkrumah differed from other African rulers in another important way: He does not appear to have looted the treasury. He enjoyed the privileges of office — his secretary Powell wrote that he was “a-gog with excitement” at the prospect of meeting the Queen of England — but his own greatness was to come not from bank accounts but from a spectacular new Ghana.
All things considered, by African standards, Ghana’s transition to independence was a great success. Elsewhere, there were failures, some so spectacular the West could not ignore the mess. Mr. Meredith’s account of the Congo’s almost immediate implosion is worth summarizing.
The Belgians have long been derided for failing to prepare the Congo for self-rule, and there is some truth to the accusation. In 1960, the country had only 30 university graduates and no black doctors, secondary school teachers, or army officers. However, the Belgians had built good basic infrastructure, and a broad base of elementary schools. They simply had not foreseen independence, but did not try to thwart it when times changed. After riots in 1959, they proposed a four-year transition to self-government. It was the Congolese who insisted on a quick handover.
Mr. Meredith points out that the independence ceremony of June 30, 1960 set the initial jarring note. King Baudouin of Belgium praised the early colonizing work of his great uncle, Leopold II — whose exactions were so ruthless that the Belgian government took over in 1908 what had been his private preserve — and talked down to the Congolese: “It is up to you now, gentlemen, to show that you are worthy of our confidence.” Patrice Lumumba, prime minister to be, replied with a rant against “exploitation,” “terrible suffering,” and “humiliating slavery that was imposed on us by force.” “We are no longer your monkeys,” he added.
|When someone once asked Habib Bourghiba of Tunisia what kind of political system his country had, he relied, “System? What system? I am the system.”|
Just a few days later, black soldiers revolted against their white officers, and went on a rampage, beating and raping whites, singling out priests and nuns for particular abuse. Thousands of whites fled the country — setting a model for what was to happen with dreary regularity elsewhere. The Belgians asked Lumumba for permission to use force to save whites. When Lumumba refused, Belgium acted unilaterally. The southwest province of Katanga seceded. The Congo was just two weeks old and already in chaos.
Lumumba called on the UN for help, which arrived in July, but what he most wanted UN soldiers to do was kick out the Belgians. He gave the UN two days; otherwise he would turn to the Soviets. Ralph Bunche, the black American head of the UN mission described Lumumba as “crazy” and acting “like a child.”
Later that month, Lumumba visited the United States. Under-Secretary of state Douglas Dillon thought him “an irrational, almost psychotic personality.” Lumumba telephoned the Congo desk at the State Department and asked for a blonde companion. The CIA found someone to send over, but the White House quashed the tryst.
Belgian troops eventually left the Congo after they had evacuated whites, but Lumumba then insisted that the UN put down the Katanga rebellion. When another province, South Kasai, went into revolt, Lumumba really did call in the Soviets, who sent technical assistance. His attempt to put down the Kasai rebellion resulted in massacre and produced 250,000 refugees. By now, both Belgium and the US were convinced Lumumba was a menace, and both governments wanted him assassinated.
President of the Congo, Joseph Kasa-Vubu, dismissed Lumumba, who in turn dismissed Kasa-Vubu. In September, Joseph Mobutu, chief of staff of the army, ousted all politicians in a military coup. Lumumba stayed on in the prime minister’s residence in Leopoldville, guarded by an inner ring of UN troops to keep Mobutu’s men from arresting him. An outer ring of Mobutu’s soldiers made sure he did not escape. In pouring rain on the night of Nov. 27, Lumumba slipped out and headed for Stanleyville, where he had support, expecting to form a rival government. He might have reached Stanleyville, except that he kept stopping to harangue villagers. Mobutu’s men caught him and brought him back to Leopoldville, and his supporters in Stanleyville set up a government without him. That made a total of four competing governments, along with Mobutu’s, and secessionist regimes in Katanga and South Kasai.
Mobutu had Lumumba hauled before him and spat in his face. With the approval of the Belgians, he flew him off to the leader of the Katanga revolt, Moise Tshombe, who was certain to kill him. Tshombe helped torture him for hours, returning home, according to his butler, “covered in blood.” The next day, Belgian officers commanded a firing squad that executed Lumumba. The Belgians began to worry about bad press, and concocted the story that Lumumba escaped from detention and was killed by “patriotic” villagers. To cover their tracks, they cut up Lumumba’s body and dissolved it in sulfuric acid. Still, word of his murder prompted anti-Belgian demonstrations all over the world. To this day, Lumumba is a hero to nutty leftists because he called in the Soviets, and to nutty blacks because he was rude to white people.
The UN eventually put down the Katanga rebellion in 1963, and by the time Joseph Mobutu consolidated power in 1965, he could almost be seen as the savior of his country.
Far less well known is the independence disaster of the tiny country of Equatorial Guinea, which was a Spanish colony until 1968. The Spanish had groomed Francisco Macias Nguema to be leader, but like so many whites, had no idea how much he hated them. One of his first acts was to stir up anti-white violence, and most of the country’s 7,000 Spaniards left their businesses and farms and were gone in the first six months.
Nguema was a real monster. When a director of statistics published figures that displeased him, Nguema had him cut into little pieces to “help him learn to count.” On at least two occasions, he ordered the killing of all known former lovers of a mistress. Whenever he wanted a new woman, he had her husband killed. Of his 12 original ministers, only two escaped murder.
Nguema ran out of money and started paying only soldiers and the police. Every other part of the government shut down. Nguema closed all libraries, newspapers, and printing presses, and in 1974 emptied the country’s last school. He outlawed Christianity and turned churches into warehouses. To raise money, he started holding foreigners for ransom: $57,600 for a German woman, $40,000 for a Spaniard, $6,000 for a dead Soviet. He held hostage the last Claretine missionary, age 85, until he got a ransom. Nguema carried on for 11 years until a nephew deposed him in a 1979 coup. When it came time to execute Nguema, blacks were so afraid of his rumored supernatural powers they refused to pull the trigger. Moroccan soldiers had to be found for the firing squad.
The new man, Teodoro Obiang, is still in power, and the country still has no newspapers. A recent statement from an aide hints at the flavor of his regime: “He can decide to kill without anyone calling him to account and without going to hell because it is God himself, with whom he is in permanent contact, who gives him this strength.”
A few African leaders have sincerely tried to help their people. A curious and genuinely tragic figure, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania stole nothing, fought corruption, and worked tirelessly. The trouble was, his schemes were all wrongheaded. With his “Arusha Declaration” of February 1967, he set out to nationalize everything in sight, even private houses that were rented out. He wanted the whole country run on the principle of ujamaa or “familyhood,” which was supposed to capture the ancient spirit of “African socialism.”
| Haile Mengistu: “Let
my people starve.”
His state corporations posted huge losses, but his greatest folly were collective farms, or ujamaa villages. Joining up was supposed to be voluntary, but eventually 11 million people were herded onto collectives in the largest mass movement of people in African history. When farmers fled back to their old fields, government workers burned their houses. Nyerere tolerated no dissent from socialism, and under his rule Tanzania went from being the largest African exporter of food to the largest importer. Always the darling of Western leftists, he got enough foreign aid to keep the country from starving. In 1985, after 23 years of familyhood, he gave up and left office. With a frankness unusual in politicians anywhere, he announced, “I failed. Let’s admit it.”
Nelson Mandela is another exceptional figure. He, too, is among the tiny number who have not enriched themselves, who genuinely tried to better their people, and who sought true racial reconciliation. With his successor, Thabo Mbeki, South Africans are discovering what black rule is really like. Those who follow are likely to be worse.
The Facts as he Finds Them
Mr. Meredith records the facts as he finds them, and the result is largely a litany of horrors. He gives us full accounts of the complex and sordid events surrounding the Hutu/Tutsi genocide of Rwanda, the wars of extermination in Sudan, the chaos and barbarity of “liberation” in Angola and Mozambique, and the downfall of white regimes in Rhodesia and South Africa.
Still, a few of Mr. Meredith’s observations stand out: In Kenya, a popular saying is “Why hire a lawyer when you can buy a judge?” Omar Bongo of Gabon, who ran the country for 22 years and had a penchant for trying to seduce American Peace Corps volunteers, spent no less than $500 million on his presidential palace. Nigeria spent $8 billion on a steel industry that never produced steel. During the civil war in Chad in 1982, mobs sacked and burned both the national museum and the national archives. President Siaka Stevens of Sierra Leone once spent two thirds of the country’s annual budget to host a meeting of the OAU. When AIDS was discovered, Africans widely derided preventive measures as a racist plot to keep them from reproducing. In 1973, Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda forced everyone, even babies, to join his political party. And how is this, asks Mr. Meredith, for an absurdity: In the late 1980s, Cuban troops were protecting American-owned oil fields in Marxist Angola from attacks by US-supported guerillas.
Here are more vignettes from The Fate of Africa:
|Bakassi Boys enforce the law.|
Abeid Karume became ruler of Zanzibar in 1964 before the merger with Tanganyika that produced Tanzania. One of his first acts was to supervise the slaughter and expulsion of Arabs and Asians. Somewhat more unusually, he stopped all anti-malaria measures, claiming Africans were “malaria-proof.” There was a huge upsurge in malaria. An army officer shot Karume to death in 1972, not for political reasons but over a personal grudge.
In 1984, Haile Mariam Mengistu of Ethiopia spent $150 million on the 10th anniversary of his Marxist-Leninist “revolution” rather than do anything about a terrible famine ravaging his country. As he explained to an aide, “There was famine in Ethiopia for years before we took power — it is the way nature kept the balance.”
Liberia has had a particularly colorful history, but a few episodes stand out. Thomas Quiwonkpa led a revolt against tyrant Samuel Doe in 1985. When Doe’s men caught and killed him they publicly castrated him, cut him in pieces and ate him. Five years later, it was Doe’s turn. Prince Johnson ate at least one of his ears while he was still alive. After suitably torturing him, Johnson’s men paraded Doe’s mutilated body through the streets of Monrovia in a wheelbarrow. Doe had been a guest of Ronald Reagan at the White House in 1982.
In 1996, one of the groups fighting in the streets of Monrovia earned the nickname the Butt Naked Brigade, from its belief that fighting naked gave protection from bullets. In 1997, when Liberia held elections of a sort, warlord Charles Taylor announced there would be killing if he lost. He campaigned on the slogan “He killed my ma, he killed my pa, but I will vote for him” — and won.
| Guevara was stuck with
a ‘parasite army.’
Nigeria, with its oil revenue, should be one of the richest countries on the continent, but hundreds of billions of dollars have disappeared. In 2000 and 2001 in the eastern part of the country, crime was so bad and the police so corrupt that vigilantes took charge. A group known as the Bakassi Boys liked to herd criminals into a public square, where huge crowds watched while they hacked away with blunt machetes. If some of the condemned men were still alive, writhing on the ground, the boys would finish them off by tossing gasoline-doused tires on them and setting them on fire. Street crime disappeared, and the Bakassi Boys were hugely popular.
Mr. Meredith tells us that even the fabled revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara had an African mishap. In 1965, he went to north Katanga in the Congo to test his “detonator theory” that revolution could be kicked up with a little violence. It was a complete failure. He was supposed to be helping Laurent Kabila (who was still knocking about 30 years later and had a brief stint as Mobutu’s successor) but Guevara found him “addicted to drink and women.” “The basic feature of the People’s Liberation Army,” he wrote later, “was that it was a parasite army; it did not work, did not train, did not fight, and demanded provisions and labor from the population, sometimes with extreme harshness.” It was worthless as a fighting force: “Often it was the officers who took the lead in running away,” he wrote. Guevara gave up in disgust after seven months.
The French, who had been in Africa for a long time, seem to have understood that European forms of government are not natural to the continent. They kept bases and soldiers in Africa, and used them frequently to keep order. As one spokesman explained, it just wouldn’t do “for a few men carrying machine guns to be left free to seize a presidential palace at any time.”
Even with Europeans around to spoil the fun, African politics have been a gaudy business. By the end of the 1980s, of the 150 heads of state the continent had boasted, only six had left office voluntarily, three of these after more than 20 years in power. Not one had been voted out of office. That did not come until after the Cold War, when the US and the Soviets stopped propping up thugs for ideological reasons. Western donors began to pressure the Big Men to hold multi-party elections, and in 1991 Benin became the first country to see a ruler voted out. Democratic change hardly caught on. By 2000 only three others had been voted out.
| Scretse Khama: one
of the few good ones.
When pressured to produce “democracy,” Africans showed considerable resourcefulness. In 1989, General Babangida of Nigeria set up two parties. His government wrote their constitutions, gave them their emblems, and most of their cash. One was to be, in the general’s words, “a little to the left” and the other was to be “a little to the right.” Three years later he got tired of them, and abolished both. Sani Abacha, also Nigerian, did even better. In the mid-1990s, under yet more pressure to democratize, he set up five political parties. Each duly chose him as its candidate for president.
The idea of elections makes no sense to the average African ruler. The whole purpose of government is to make him rich and powerful. An election, of all things, is the stupidest reason to step down. For the huge majority of Africans, political activity is therefore palace politics; the closer you are to the Big Man, the better your chances for patronage, kickbacks, payoffs, and outright theft. Mr. Meredith writes that almost without exception, government jobs mean legalized theft. Public service is an empty concept on a continent of what he calls “vampire governments,” where nepotism and corruption are as natural as breathing.
Like all experts on Africa, Mr. Meredith notes that Botswana is the great exception. Independent in 1966 under Seretse Khama, it has little corruption and regularly-contested elections. Diamonds supply half of all government income, but the Big Men have kept hands off. By the end of the 1980s, careful use of diamond income had given the country a per capita GDP that hardly sounds like black Africa: $1,700. Like other experts, Mr. Meredith ventures no explanation as to how Botswana does it.
Elsewhere, the picture is bleak. Since independence, the continent has swallowed more than $300 billion in Western aid with, as Mr. Meredith puts it, “little discernable result.” Corruption eats up an estimated one quarter of the continent’s gross domestic product. Although sub-Saharan Africa has ten percent of the world population, it has 70 percent of the AIDS cases, and accounts for only 1.3 percent of world GDP. By the end of the 1980s, per capita GDP was lower than in 1960, when many countries became independent.
Mr. Meredith generally refrains from drawing larger conclusions, but does note near the end of the book that “in reality, fifty years after the beginning of the independence era, Africa’s prospects are bleaker than ever before.” At the beginning he writes of “the extent to which African states have suffered so many of the same misfortunes.”
| American food aid keeps coming no
matter how many people you kill.
Why the mess? Mr. Meredith does not say. Perhaps the closest he comes is to note that tribalism has been a continuing curse. Ancient enemies sometimes buried the hatchet during the independence struggle but dug it up again once the common enemy was gone. The simplest conclusion is that Africans are simply not like Europeans and cannot build European-style societies.
Another conclusion Mr. Meredith could have drawn but did not is that white relations with post-independence Africa have been naïve and stupid. Interventions have been consistent failures. Whether it is Americans in Somalia or Liberia, the British in Sierra Leone, the French in Rwanda, the Soviets in Ethiopia or Somalia, no one gets what he expected. Even semi-Third-World people like the Cubans, North Koreans (in Zimbabwe) or Chinese (in Tanzania) got nothing for their efforts. When Europeans ruled Africans outright, without illusions that they were dealing with people like themselves, they had modest goals and achieved them. As soon as they started reading cultural anthropology, they lost their bearings.
Mr. Meredith writes that not until 1989 did the World Bank acknowledge that Africa’s problems were not all economic, that there were also leadership problems. Men from 100 years earlier like Lord Lugard or Sir Garnet Wolseley would have been amazed by such stupidity.
|When the director of statistics published figures that displeased him, Nguema had him cut into little pieces to “help him learn to count.”|
Another remarkable aspect of recent African history is how easily one thug after another duped the white man. Both the United States and the Soviet Union funneled enormous sums to people who claimed to be either capitalist or communist but were really just thieves. Samuel Doe was not the only White House or Kremlin guest to end up in a wheelbarrow.
Mengistu of Ethiopia, who let his people starve while he celebrated ten years of “revolution,” also played whites for fools. Once word got out about the famine, whites shipped in tons of food. Mengistu learned that it made no difference what he did with it — sell it on the black market, dole it out to friendly tribes, deny it to starving enemies — it kept coming. Gaafar Numeiri of the Sudan learned the same thing. The famine of 1984 did him a lot of good. White people showed up with boatloads of food he could use as a weapon. Whites fed his people while he bought guns and kept killing his enemies.
Perhaps saddest of all is that time and again — in Congo, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, the Guineas, Angola — whites who spent their lives in Africa and should have known better, underestimated the hatred of blacks. Whites everywhere think blacks will love them if they treat them kindly. They do not realize that kindness or fairness are not enough; many blacks hate whites because they cannot be like whites. No matter how they are treated, blacks will blame their failures on “racism.”
|Sir Garnet knew better.|
Some of the whites who fail to understand this end up in piles of bloody corpses. Others get out while they can. Two hundred thousand fled Mozambique, 300,000 left Angola, many thousands fled the Congo, Zimbabwe lost half its population immediately after black rule, and a steady flow of whites is now escaping South Africa. It was 40 years after independence, but thousands of French left the Ivory Coast when blacks started running through the streets shouting “Kill the whites.” There are pockets of friendliness and lulls in the process of dispossession, but once blacks take power, they do not like to live with a minority whose success highlights their own failure.
Despite the rotting bodies and mountains of evidence, despite the chronicle of barbarism Mr. Meredith tells so well, whites have an inexhaustible capacity to deceive themselves about the motives and behavior of Africans. Columnist Mary McGrory was fully exercising this capacity when she wrote in the Washington Post on May 12, 1994 about how wonderful black rule in South Africa was going to be: “[N]ewspaper readers will think they are reading scripture when they read dispatches from South Africa that cannot be read except through tears.” People wrote rubbish almost as bad about Kwame Nkrumah.
Whites will never understand Africa — or the blacks in their own countries — until they cease being capable of writing and publishing such nonsense. The Fate of Africa is an excellent corrective.
The French weekly Rivarol reports on the riots.
Zones of Islamic Law
What did our government do in the face of ethnic terrorism? While our head of state, standing like a zombie on the steps of the Elysée Palace, jabbered pathetic incantations about how “the law will have the last word,” Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy at least deplored the growing violence, but were, above all, pleased to note that there had been no “real confrontations” between the “youths” and the forces of order. And for good reason, since the latter were sent in as nothing more than a buffer force, like UN peacekeepers — we know how effective they are — and were ordered not to respond to provocation (see “France at the Crossroads,” AR, Jan. 2006.).
Under these circumstances, given that nature abhors a vacuum, who was providing the fabled “republican order,” about which our ministers were all babling? Who but the “big brothers” — from the Muslim Brotherhood, needless to say. As [France’s leading daily] Le Monde put it in its November 2 issue, “Recognizable by their beards and traditional dress,” they urged the youth of Clichy-sous-Bois to “stay calm.” They stood just a few meters away from the riot police “who were protecting themselves with their riot shields and appreciated their [the big brothers’] help.” Le Monde went on to praise the “the role of mediation, even of assuring order that Islamic representatives called for and assumed in the troubled areas … at this time of violence.” The paper quoted Mohamed Bellahcene “president of one of the eight [!] Islamic associations in Clichy,” whose initiatives “had been warmly welcomed by the authorities,” as were those of the extremely radical Union of French Islamic Organizations. In effect, as a General Intelligence officer in the Seine-Saint-Denis area explained to the paper, “In these neighborhoods, the mayors can do nothing without the representatives of the Muslim community.” The Socialist Mayor of Clichy agreed, conceding that “it appears that their presence helped calm things.” It was an odd sort of calm, given that the whole country then went up in flames!
| PM Dominique de Villepin:
“The youths have toasted
Sarkozy along with the automobiles. Now we have to put out the fires.”
Pres. Jacques Chirac: “OK … but how?”
| Villepin: “Firemen?”
They are being stoned.
| Villepin: “The police?”
Paralyzed. Arrest them without punishing them or touching them.
| Villepin: “The army?”
| Villepin: “Maybe the UN …”
Chirac: “What about our national independence?”
| Fortunately, there are … “Allah be praised!”
The Muslim big brothers!
What does one make of a country that claims to be sovereign but that abdicates all authority in the face of youngsters who are clearly being manipulated by both criminal gangs and the Islamists — General Intelligence has repeatedly shown collusion between the two — and then delegates essential prerogatives to foreigners shouting the war cry of jihad “Allah Akbar” at police and riot squads that cannot impose their will because they have been disarmed by their own government?
We have objected for years to the false expression “lawless zones” [commonly used to describe immigrant suburbs], noting that they are, in fact, zones of Islamic law. The current eruptions only prove us right. And this brings us to one of the darkest moments in the history of the West when, incapable of facing up to the immigration-invasion from the East, the Constantinople authorities gave the Seljuk Turks not only their daughters as wives but the authority to protect the imperial borders. Far from preventing the worst, these capitulations only hastened the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
Will France — our France — end up like Byzantium?
Excerpted from Rivarol (www. rivarol.com), Nov. 11, 2005, p. 1.
Those Who Were Right Too Soon
Wouldn’t you know it? The more than three weeks of violence in our occupied cities and suburbs is due to “racism, intolerance, and the poison of discrimination.” This, in sum, is the meaning of the surreal speech Jacques Chirac gave on television on the evening of November 14. Far from showing the slightest understanding for native Frenchmen, who are the number-one victims of massive immigration, he who passes for our head of state had sympathy only for the foreigners. He called on society, on elected officials, and on media bosses to celebrate the “diversity” of today’s France — in other words, to speed up the “colorization” of our country.
Our president boasted of the “considerable power” of the High Authority for the Struggle Against Discrimination and for Equality, which he himself established, and which will henceforth have the authority to “sanction” any employer that does not take part in Chirac’s across-the-board program against the alleged anti-black and anti-Arab racism of the native Frenchman. It sends chills down the spine to see the head of our government unable to look reality in the face, contemptuous of the suffering of his own people, and almost completely losing his dignity in the face of a few thousand adolescents spreading terror in their own neighborhoods. How indecent, after such reptilian groveling to dare criticize the agreements of Munich and Montoire [on Oct. 24, 1940, Marshal Henri-Philippe Pétain met Adolph Hitler at the train station of Montoire-sur-le-Loir, in what is considered to be the official beginning of collaboration].
Any leader of the left or extreme left could have given the same speech. And to think it has been voters on the right who have, for 40 years, underwritten Chirac’s splendid career in politics! It is enough to turn one misanthropic to think that the same conservative voters now appear charmed by the likes of [Interior Minister Nicolas] Sarkozy [see “The Man to Watch,” AR, Jan. 2006, p. 11.] or [leader of the vaguely nationalist Movement for France, Philippe de] Villiers. The foolishness of politics gives one a sense of the infinite! In any case, the “youths” completely ignored Chirac when, on two occasions in his speech, he called for “respect for the law.” …
The speech that Jean-Marie Le Pen delivered just an hour and a half earlier at the Place du Palais-Royal was, needless to say, quite different. Speaking to an audience estimated at 1,500 people — the largest for any speaker, right or left, since the beginning of the riots — the president of the National Front denounced our “insane and criminal immigration policy,” which he has fought tooth and nail for 30 years “despite ridicule and persecution.” He noted that during that period, 10 million foreigners had taken up residence and that another 400 to 500 million had set foot on French soil. He called for an immediate end to all new immigration, the abolition of birth-right citizenship, the return of all Third-World immigrants, foreign aid to African countries only in proportion to their willingness to take back their people, no more welfare for foreigners — “all foreigners living in France must see to their own needs and those of their families” — reestablishment of the draft, properly-patrolled borders, and a return to real sovereignty. All this would be preceded by “a national audit of France’s real population figures and of the social and education costs of immigrants.” The first point of order, however, would be a return to public peace, which would require that the police be allowed to lay hands on rioters, something now forbidden for fear of another “Malik Oussékine incident” — so named from the death of a handicapped North African, allegedly at the hands of the police, in connection with a December 1986 demonstration of high school students. Chirac was mayor of Paris at the time.
Will the current serious events open the eyes of the French to the mortal dangers of mass immigration? A survey by CSA/Le Parisien of November 9 suggests they will. Seventy-three percent of those polled are in favor of a curfew and, even more significant, 86 percent are “displeased” or “horrified” by what is happening in the suburbs, whereas only 13 percent “have some understanding” and only one percent “agree” with the rioters. It appears that despite attempts to soften the coverage and conceal the origins of the rioters, television reporting has shaken our fellow citizens. At the same time, with riots spreading throughout the country, with hardly a single region spared, taboos begin to crumble, since no one can now feel completely safe. So long as people are not affected directly or do not have their own property burned they can refuse to face the truth. However, when entire neighborhoods in our cities, our suburbs, and even our rural regions go up in flames, it is no longer possible to refuse to see. This is a vexing problem for big media, for radio and television, which are doing their best to minimize the extraordinary events we are now witnessing. The coverage by the foreign press is entirely different. In Germany, Great Britain, the United States, Italy, and Spain, television does not hesitate to talk about a state of war, and to describe the current violence as the worst the country has seen in 50 years.
It is a sign of progress that during the past three weeks the National Front has a seen a record number of new members (two to three thousand, according to party leaders), a figure not equaled since Jean-Marie le Pen made it into the second round of voting in the presidential elections of 2002. Even before the rally on Nov. 14, the front had conducted a clear and sober poster campaign: “Immigration, riots in the suburbs, Le Pen said it first.” All one needs to do is mention the suburbs for people finally to admit out loud that the president of the National Front was right. The “youths” themselves seem to recognize this; interviewed in Le Monde on Nov. 9, Kaba, a North African living in Aubervilliers is reported to have said: “Let me tell you something. There is one person in this whole country who can say ‘I told you so.’ It’s Jean-Marie.”
Excerpted from Rivarol, Nov. 18, 2005, p. 3.
IN THE NEWS
O Tempora, O Mores!
House Passes Immigration Bill
H. R. 4437, the immigration bill that passed the House on Dec. 16, 2005, by a margin of 239-182, shows that Rep. Tom Tancredo and his Immigration Reform Caucus are winning the debate. Unfortunately, the bill is unlikely to pass in the Senate, but it includes measures that would give real teeth to law enforcement. It shows that the House, at any rate, is no longer cowed by ethnic, religious, and business lobbies.
The bill would make illegal presence in the US a felony punishable by a year in prison; it is now only a civil offense. As for employers, according to current law, they must get an applicant’s Social Security number before they hire him, but they are not required to verify the number. The bill would require that employers check all Social Security information against a US government database that contains Homeland Security information on criminal aliens. Employers would have until 2012 to make sure their entire workforce is legal.
| An illegal climbs the
current flimsy fence.
The bill would also expand the definition of human smuggling to include any kind of help for illegals. Theoretically, an immigration lawyer who advised an illegal on his options could be prosecuted, as could charities that knowingly help illegals. Even people married to illegal immigrants could be prosecuted for human smuggling. Michele Waslin of the National Council of La Raza complains that the bill “makes criminals out of spouses, employers, churches, and organizations.” [Diana Washington Valdez, Immigration Bill Blasted by Area Officials, El Paso Times, Jan. 3, 2006.]
The bill also includes the CLEAR Act, which removes all doubt about whether local police can enforce immigration laws, and would require Homeland Security to train police departments in immigration law enforcement at no cost. Any state or locality that refused to let police enforce immigration laws would not get certain federal funds for help with criminal aliens.
The bill would eliminate the Diversity Lottery (see AR, “The Green Card Crap Shoot,” Sept. 2004), which lets 50,000 immigrants into the US every year, and would increase the number of deportable offenses. Aliens would be out if they were stalkers, abandoned their children, beat their spouses, or were caught three times driving drunk. [U.S. House Approves Norwood CLEAR Act, news release from Congressman Charlie Norwood, Dec. 16, 2005.]
The bill would also pay for 700 miles of walls along the parts of the border with the most illegal traffic. A majority of Americans want these walls, but Mexican officials, including Pres. Vicente Fox, have called the idea “stupid,” “underhanded,” and “shameful.” Mexican newspapers have published cartoons of Uncle Sam putting up walls with anti-Mexican messages, and ordinary people say a wall would be an insult. “It’s against what we see as part of our life, our culture, our territory,” says one Mexican. Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein, called the bill “inhuman,” adding that the US treats Latin America “as though it were a sub-hemisphere of criminals.” [Gary Endelman, After the Fall: Making Sense of Sensenbrenner, Immigration Daily, Jan. 4, 2006. Mark Stevenson, Mexico Retaliates for Border Wall Plan, AP, Dec. 20, 2005. Guatemala Slashes U.S. Immigration Bill, People’s Daily (Beijing), Dec. 30, 2005.]
Rep. Nathan Deal of Georgia tried to add an amendment that would abolish birthright citizenship but it was derailed. His amendment had 70 co-sponsors, but House leaders did not let it come up for a vote. Even this terrified the Hispanic lobby: as Miss Waslin says, ending birthright citizenship “was always seen in the past as an extreme, wacko proposal that never goes anywhere. But these wacko proposals are becoming more and more mainstream.” [David Crary, Bitter Debate Over ‘Birthright Citizenship,’ AP, Dec. 26, 2005.]
In other good news, the House defeated a proposal the Senate had slipped into a budget bill that would have increased immigration by 350,000 a year by giving out more worker visas (See AR, “The Sneaky Senate,” Dec. 2005.) [Erica Werner, Provision to Add High-Tech Visas Gets Dropped From Budget Bill, AP, Dec. 20, 2005.]
The Senate will take up immigration in February, but its version of the bill will almost certainly include a guest-worker program and weaken enforcement. The result could be deadlock and no new legislation at all.
Elite universities used to worry their campuses were too white. Now, some worry that they are too Asian. Since California voters banned racial preferences under Proposition 209 back in 1996, the percentage of incoming freshman at UC Berkeley who are Asian has increased to 47.5 percent. Thirty-one percent are white, 11 percent Hispanic, and three percent black. With only 129 blacks in a class of 4,000, Law School Dean Christopher Edley says “it’s simply impossible to provide that excellence [in education] if the student body is so lacking in diversity that graduates are unprepared to lead in a diverse world.” The university is trying to get private money to fund recruitment drives for blacks.
Chinese — nearly one fourth of all Berkeley freshmen — are the largest Asian group. Some academic departments, especially in the hard sciences, are overwhelmingly Chinese. Albert Wu, president of the Asian Political Association, says, “Some Chinese students can come here and graduate without ever having talked to a non-Chinese person outside of class.” He would like to see Berkeley admit more non-Asians, as would freshman Tommy Chen, who graduated from a California high school that was 70 percent Asian. “[Berkeley] should be at least diverse in proportion to the US population,” he says, “and I’m pretty sure it’s not 50 percent Asian.”
Some black students, like junior Jacquelynn Thomas, are angry there are so few blacks, but she seems pleased there are fewer whites as well. Last year she took part in a “Black Out” demonstration to protest the absence of blacks at Berkeley. “Caucasian students were more vocal against us,” she says, “like the Berkeley Republicans, they’re a strong group, but it’s all Caucasian. It’s easier to cope as a black student [because] the Asians are more apathetic, less hostile.”
UCLA is the only other major university that is comparable — an estimated 43 percent of its undergraduates are Asian. [Michelle Locke, Blacks Still a Minority a Berkeley, AP, Sept. 9, 2005. UC Berkeley Admits Few African Americans, KRON4.com, Sept. 13, 2005. Traci Kawaguchi, Record Number of Asians Matriculate, Daily Californian (Berkeley), Sept. 16, 2005. David Epstein, New Politics of Race at Berkeley, InsideHigherEd.com, Sept. 23, 2005.]
An increasing number of Hispanics — especially women — are converting to Islam. According to the Islamic Society of North America, there are now about 40,000 Hispanic Muslims in the US, most of whom live in New York, Texas, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami. “It’s a movement that is growing, particularly in urban areas,” says Manuel Vasquez, a religion professor at the University of Florida. “It’s part of the cross-fertilization that’s occurring among immigrant groups.”
Experts attribute the growth of Islam among Hispanic women to Muslim outreach following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when US mosques opened their doors to outsiders and promoted Islam through pamphlets. Melissa Matos, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic and a student at Florida International University, says she began reading about Islam after the attacks out of fear and curiosity. She converted in April, and now wears the hijab, prays five times a day, and recently observed Ramadan, a month of daytime fasting. “Sometimes it does get a little difficult,” she says. “I feel alienated from my family and my old friends, but Islam is so beautiful, it’s worth it. And with Ramadan, I’m just doing it by myself, just me and God.” Miss Matos is organizing a lecture series on campus this semester on Islam’s history in Latin America. Two of the lectures will be in Spanish. [Alexandra Alter, Hispanic Women Find Niche as Dedicated Converts to Islam, Palm Beach Post, Oct. 19, 2005.]
‘Lebs Go Home!’
Arab crime has been a problem in Sydney, Australia for a decade. Arabs are the main cocaine and heroin dealers, and specialize in carjacking and extortion. Gang members will rough up patrons at a club, for example, and then demand “protection” money to prevent further attacks. Arab gangs are Sidney’s most violent and, unlike other ethnic gangs, mainly attack whites rather than co-ethnics. Arabs strike far afield rather than sticking to home territory. According to Tim Priest, a former Sydney detective, the police have coddled Arab gangs and downplayed their viciousness in order to give the impression of good race relations. [Tim Priest, The Rise of Middle Eastern Crime in Australia, Quadrant Magazine, Jan. 2004.]
The general public comes across Arab gang behavior at Cronulla Beach, in a Sydney suburb. For years, Arab men have harassed women and threatened lifeguards. On Dec. 4, four Arabs told three Australian lifeguards, “Get off our beach. This is our beach. We own it.” One hit a lifeguard, who fell back and knocked himself unconscious on a metal fence. Eight to ten more Arabs joined the others and badly beat the other two lifeguards. [Fight for Cronulla, Daily Telegraph (Surry Hills, Australia), Dec. 6, 2005. Jane Albrechtsen, Racism is Repulsive, but So is Self-Loathing, The Australian (Sydney), Dec. 14, 2005.]
These attacks prompted a cell phone text-messaging campaign, encouraging Cronulla locals to rally to protect their beach. Talk radio also promoted the rally. The next Sunday, Dec. 11, 5,000 Australians gathered at the beach — most were white, but some were Aborigines and Pacific Islanders. They wore clothes with slogans like “We grew here, you flew here,” “Wog-Free Zone,” and “Ethnic Cleansing Unit.” They waved Australian flags, chanted “No more Lebs [Lebanese]” and “Lebs go home,” and carried a banner saying “LOCALS ONLY.” Nationalist groups like the Australia First Party and the Patriotic Youth League handed out pamphlets.
Some in the crowd drank too much, and things turned violent. Some people chased an Arab man into a hotel bistro, and soon there were thousands of people around the hotel, screaming and chanting. Eventually, police led the man out as the crowd tossed beer cans at them. There were assaults on other Arabs and people who looked Arab, including a Jew and a Greek. Two Arab girls were pushed to the ground and pelted with bottles. Word spread that an Arab gang was arriving by train, and some in the crowd went to the station and beat two men until police broke up the fight. In the afternoon, the mob smashed windows, kicked in doors, damaged police vehicles, and injured policeman. There were seven arrests. [Battle on Beach as Mob Vows to Defend ‘Aussie Way of Life,’ Roger Maynard, Times (London), Dec. 12, 2005.]
Arab retaliation began that night. In Woolooware, a Sydney suburb, a gang of 10 Arabs stabbed a white man in the back, seriously injuring him. Arabs tore down an Australian flag from a building near Cronulla Beach and burned it. About a hundred Arabs descended on the town of Maroubra, where they burned one car and smashed the windshields of 100 more. A witness saw an Arab brandishing a pistol and shouting “This place is ours!” The mob stabbed one white man and beat another with a baseball bat. [Luke McIlveen et al., Nation’s Day of Shame, The Courier-Mail (Brisbane), Dec. 12, 2005.]
Retaliation continued the next night, when 70 carloads of Arabs invaded the suburbs. In Cronulla, they smashed shop windows and cars, and stabbed a woman. In Caringbah, they knocked a woman unconscious, and attacked patrons at a pizza parlor. In Brighton-le-Sands, Arabs told a woman, “We’re going to rape you, you Aussie slut!” but she escaped. They then fired a shot at her car. Arabs vandalized other cars and strewed a street with rubbish. [Malcolm Brown et al., Armed Gangs on Rampage, Sydney Morning Herald, Dec. 13, 2005.]
As Christmas approached, Arabs made a point of attacking churches. On Dec. 12, they spat on children and parents attending a carol service at a church in Auburn, then fired shots into cars in the parking lot. On Dec. 13, they threw Molotov cocktails at a church in Macquarie Fields, and on Dec. 14, burned down a church community hall and smashed the windows of another church nearby in Auburn. The same night, Arabs with bats and golf clubs attacked two men after making sure their victims were Australian. A total of 40 people were injured and 27 suspects arrested during the rioting that started at Cronulla. [Nick Leys and Dan Box, Now Churches are Targeted, The Australian (Sydney), Dec. 15, 2005. Sydney: Text Messages Urge Peace, AP, Dec. 14, 2005.]
LETTERS FROM READERS
Sir — It is disheartening to see the French preparing to make the same mistakes as ourselves. Blacks and Arabs go on the rampage and what do the authorities propose? Reward them with racial preferences! Whites always blame themselves for the failures of non-whites.
There are two aspects to this, one praiseworthy, one not. There is a certain generosity in accepting blame for the failures of others, and it is impossible to imagine any other race doing this. (Of course, it is not high French officials themselves who are accepting blame; they are blaming other whites. Still, only whites willingly implicate their own group.)
At the same time, I detect a smug sense of self-importance. Whites do not seem to think anyone else is responsible for anything. If Bangladeshis starve, it is because we didn’t do enough. If Hutus kill Tutsis, it is because we didn’t stop them. In their own perverse way, liberal whites think they are the center of the universe, the prime movers both for good and ill.
Finally, there are the bureaucrats, who look forward to the new power of second-guessing private employment decisions. Just keeping order in a multi-racial society requires expanded government power; ensuring equal outcomes is a mandate for almost unlimited meddling.
It is not possible to know what combination of motives are driving the French; unfortunately, they are acting like whites everywhere.
Sarah Wentworth, Richmond, Va.
Sir — Jared Taylor’s “A Curious Madness” in the Dec. 2005 issue was excellent and informative. I did not know so much planning went into the “tired seamstress” story.
There is now a movement afoot to change street names to further commemorate Rosa Parks. Highway 19/41 was once the major north-south route through Atlanta before Interstate 75 was built, and is now known as “Old Dixie Highway,” a name I appreciate. There is a proposal to rename it after Rosa Parks. Tara Boulevard in Jonesboro is another candidate.
We know what Rosa Parks did, but what about the white man who wanted her seat. What was his name? What did he say? What did he do? Did the NAACP make sure a white man showed up? Was he a plant, a black sympathizer? What would have happened if it had been a white woman who wanted the seat? I’d like to hear the white man’s story.
James Boucher, Locust Grove, Ga.
Sir — I appreciate your dissection of Mrs. Parks’s “courageous act” that won her the title, “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.” Since college in the 1960s I have watched as one phony achievement after another has been credited to the black initiative and courage that made it possible to take “enormous strides.” This “initiative and courage” is really a series of concessions made by whites like Earl Warren and Lyndon Johnson. Rich, self righteous, irresponsible whites are the main reason why blacks made “enormous strides.”
As a white kid who grew up in a very blue-color neighborhood on the edge of Philadelphia, I watched as shiftless blacks in poor neighborhoods near mine were lauded by the press and given program after program — all to no avail. In fact, they made things worse by rewarding drunkenness, whoring, gambling, and drug-taking. The praise heaped on Rosa Parks is one more example of this distorted reward for dubious achievement.
Thank you for letting a bit of the air out of this balloon. I’m happy to have discovered American Renaissance. I no longer feel like the only person who sees things this way.
Sir — American Renaissance covers a wide range of issues, but I have yet to see any serious treatment of the problem of low white birth rates. While the burgeoning non-white population is a problem for Europe and North America, one can hardly fault groups that promote their self-interests by breeding.
Whites are failing to replace themselves. The United States is held up as the one Western nation whose women are giving birth at or above replacement levels, but it is rarely pointed out that this is not true of white Americans.
It is all very well to complain about the problems non-whites pose to Western — white — civilization, but we must balance these problems against those of our own making. Low reproduction rates are the primary cause of the West’s impending demise, but AR more often than not merely mentions this tragedy in passing. It is high time someone looked into why whites are choosing suicide.
LaVoy Thiessen, Parker, Colo.
Sir — Re your review of The Affirmative Action Hoax, it is well known — certainly among Jews — that there were anti-Jewish quotas in the Ivy League. What I did not know is that they were secret quotas, and that the president of Harvard was shouted down when he tried to make them official. Jews generally believe that the desire to keep them out was open and unconcealed. It says something about the WASP elite, that even in the 1920s they were ashamed to discriminate openly. Call it hypocrisy if you wish, but there would have been no need for hypocrisy if WASPs’ consciences were not bothering them. It is that WASP conscience — often, to be sure, egged on by Jews — that is the biggest obstacle to racial consciousness.
Dan Silber, Philadelphia