Tuesday, April 19, 2011

So it seems... and, If you wanted my vote you should have kept Firefly on the air

Only half the internet seems to be working this morning, it makes me wonder if the Gov't decided to drop an anti-info bomb and block the social networking sights it thought were "unhelpful" in the recent "unrest". If this is the case, and it isn't just the normal "nothing works in Africa" boner, I'm having a hard time figuring out what's meant to be gained. As best I can figure it, stuff like this only makes people more irritated at the people in charge.

Up to this point most of the locals I talk to laugh or shake their heads at the protesters. I mean, they are protesting the rising cost of fuel and food. Guess what, the cost of food is going up because the crop production is down due to no one investing in irrigation, and the fuel costs are up because they are up everywhere in the world. Regardless of decisions made by politicians, short of restructuring the nations infrastructure and production values years ago, the current issues aren't part of some conspiracy to eff up the common mans life. Of course, the people on the outside maneuvering for power - political figures disconnected from the ruling party and those who lost in the recent elections - don't care about the reality of the situation and only see opportunity when others see hardship. This means the vilification of a ruling party that, regardless of their other actions, aren't directly responsible for the current problems. The end result... a bunch of young folks full of vinegar, but lacking common sense, get riled up to pawn themselves of in a power-play between politicians where the only real losers are the people who let themselves be used and the innocent who get caught in the crossfire.

I'm not one to defend any government anywhere, least of all this particular ones response to the situation - I WANT MY FACEBOOK, but the cause of this social unrest seems to be flat out stupid. It's like throwing rocks at the president because FOX canceled Firefly... granted keeping Mal and the gang on TV for a few more seasons would have got me to vote for almost anyone, but the negative response to a guy surrounded by dudes with guns seems a bit stupid to me.

I'm just a visitor here, so I'm likely missing more than a few pieces of the puzzle, but it seems the irony of the situation is, due to tribal culture, the one where the chief makes all the decisions, is a big father figure, and releases all the "smaller" people from the responsibility of thinking for themselves, the leaders that wanted all the power, respect, admiration, and to be the "Big Men", are having problems now simply because they are in control. Hooray for politics of power, congratulations for getting what you wished for!

The reason I don't trust politicians doesn't start with their politics, it starts with them wanting power. Regardless of what they want to do with it, anyone dumb enough to want to dance with a bull makes me wonder about their sanity and motives. I heard someone asked "Who's your favorite president?" the other day and it made me wonder about it myself. I realized it was Washington, not so much for any of his policies, but because he was the only guy to ever hold the position who didn't want it and was eager to leave it.

I rarely trust any leader who always wanted to be a leader, this especially goes for pastors and people in ministry. If the power, position, and respect had anything to do with a persons desire for a place of authority, chances are, they are ill equipped to make the right choices once they have it, again, especially in ministry. If you want my vote or respect, tell me why you don't want it or will be just fine if you don't get it, that or bring back Firefly... you know, whichever works for you.


  1. Yup, Facebook and Yahoo are for sure down... $%^&bags!

  2. "but the cause of this social unrest seems to be flat out stupid"

    So let's imagine for a minute that Obama was 25 years in power, grooming his daughter to replace him. Was spending billions of tax-payers money on keeping himself in power and trying to bribe everyone with any influence to support him. He rigs an election and then threatens anyone who will protest with jail or worse. But you just accept it.

    And then food prices go up and your struggling to make ends meet. You decide.. feck it.. you've had enough.

    As MLK put it "a riot is the language of the unheard". Why is it stupid when Africans take to the streets to demand to be heard? Why should they have to put up with corrupt leaders?

  3. Had that been the official protest I would have kept my mouth shut about it. As it stands, it isn't a "down with corruption and totalitarianism!" platform, but a food and gas cost too much... the prices are going up because the international cost of crude is going up. Once Uganda starts refining its own oil there could be grounds here, but not yet. The food costs are going up because the rain has jacked with farmers and production is down. The gov't isn't screwing with prices, the supply is down but the demand isn't. The politicians "stimulating" the people aren't fighting for freedom, but trying to gain more personal power at the cost of the people who listen to them.

    I'm NOT defending the Big men, I'm saying the foundation of what is going on right now is dumb. No real change can or will come from it, at least in its current form, all that is going to happen is more jail, hospital visits, dissapearances, and teargas... and I might not get to go on FB.

  4. And say what you want to about the guy being in power since the 80's and his use of power and funds, but talking to fiends who voted against him and were involved in the voting system, there were fixes in some of the lower elections, but the big one turned out the way popular opinion dictated (the percentages were off, but the result was likely the same). Until the popular opinion shifts I'll question the motives of most of the protests, especially when they fail to address the core issues or offer real options for change.

  5. It's not even an "official" protest - to get around the government banning all demonstrations - people are officially "just walking to work". But they're getting killed in some cases even for that.

    "I'm NOT defending the Big men"

    You are. You're saying they suck but that's the best Ugandans can have, and anyone unhappy with that is "stupid"

    "but the big one turned out the way popular opinion dictated"

    Yes after he bought popular opinion with public money. I'd still call that rigging. And now most of the opposition leaders are in jail.

    Nobody can change the fact the prices of fuel and food are going up. What people are unhappy about is that they are struggling whilst the government lavishes money on itself. Probably asking questions like why M7 has just bought $800 million worth of fighter jets?

  6. Another question is why are they going to spend God-knows-what on the coronation party of someone who has been in power for the better part of three decades? When 25% of the national budget comes from foreign donors aren't there more effective ways to influence the political structure?

    Almost all popular opinion is bought, regardless of the nation, and the tribal divides provide a huge foundation for support that don't depend on money or advertising. Regardless of how he got it, he has it, which means attempts to transfer power come against the majority through the actions of the minority.

    Here's the thing, unless there is a viable solution to the current situation the protests, official or otherwise, are pointless, especially when the people organizing them are more concerned with getting in the inner circle of money and power than bringing about lasting positive change. The protesters, more often than not, are pawns getting chewed up by the machine for the benefit of the few. I'm all for freedom and justice, I just don't think what's going on right now is sustainable or has a chance at being beneficial. Without core values, national unity, and strong ethical leadership, a successful revolution is more destructive and damaging than a failed protest.

    This may shock you, but I believe the U.S. could have gained it's independence through non-violent revolt, though I'm glad things eventually turned out the way they did. Concessions were made to the colonists demands but, thanks to the delay in traversing the Atlantic, war started before anyone in the Americas knew about it. The French revolution was a cluster-eff, the overthrow of Russian royalty was a mess, and, with great regularity, popular uprisings in Africa create a revolving door of carbon copy dictators, prolonged stretches of violence, and tribal animosities that bubble up in periodic genocides. I hate corrupt leadership, as did the prophets of old, but the path that is being toyed with can only end badly.

  7. Who are you to dismiss the entire political opposition as "more concerned with getting in the inner circle of money and power" and the protestors as "pawns"? You forgetting that you're the super-privileged white guy whose life is not going to be affected by food prices or who is in power.

    I don't think there's going to be a revolution, but if people want to show their frustration with a corrupt system then who are you to call them stupid. They are the ones who have to live under it, and maybe it will at least remind the NRM that they are accountable.

  8. Fair statement. I'm the guy with no vested interest and is likely the least to suffer regardless the outcome. I'm also the guy who lives down the street from one of the opposition members who got arrested and then released, and the guy who talks to a bunch of the locals, from both sides of the political spectrum, the ones who are directly and aggressively effected by the rise in food prices, the one who stays at a school that is having to figure out how it is going to pay for food next semester, and the one who watched a 14 yr old friend of his get a face full of teargas while hanging out at school. Aside from the politicians on both sides, the cops who are being ordered what to do, and the handful of unemployed people protesting because they have nothing else to do (I met one guy who did have a job and walked to work, but other than that I've only seen people out for the excitement of the thing and obstructing traffic with large rocks), everyone is irritated by the mess and wants it to stop. The older people I talk to feel sorry for the protesters because they think they are being manipulated by the politicians and that some of them are going to end up dead or disappeared.

    No doubt people are frustrated, but the vast majority recognize the ulterior motives and the futility of the current action. I've always understood the emotion behind rioting, but I've never understood the value in it. There is a lot to be irritated about a dictatorship, functioning as an oligarchy, and presenting itself as a democracy. Far be it from me to tell people how to interact with their own government, they are the ones who have to live with it, but I join the majority of the locals on the sidelines as we shake our heads and wonder what the heck they are thinking.