Saturday, March 24, 2007 (Part A)
I was up at 5:30 am feeling surprisingly well. After finishing my journal
entries, I went to breakfast. Yahya joined me later. He reported that
he had been up all night. The airplane never felt the ground. In the
light of the drastic development, we formulated our plans for the week:
First, we needed to secure reservations at a hotel. Our reservations
at the Nevella ends today, really last night. We thought we would have
We needed to meet President Deby. Yahya said the protocol officer had
promised to come by the hotel this morning. We needed to complete travel
arrangements for Abeche. Then, I came up with the idea to drive to Abeche.
Yahya paused, pondering the idea. I continued, “It would be a
chance to see the country.” We would return to N’djamena
for a Wednesday night flight home. Yahya nodded agreement, and then
counted up the cost. He calculated it would be less expensive. We agreed
to explore the idea further later.
We needed to fix meeting times with other rebel leaders, once we were
in Abeche. We needed to visit the refugee camp. This time we will not
need to do any paperwork.
I needed to call home.
After we finished breakfast, we continued an interesting conversation.
Yahya was in a talkative mood. As we surveyed the scene, the whiteness
and poverty, he asked if I thought the poor blacks in the USA would
ever launch and all out revolution? “No!” I said. “There
are too many vents to siphon off the steam of discontent. And, the power
elite has learned how to keep things in check. The closest we came to
a revolution, or all out urban warfare, was during the 60ties. Cities
across America exploded with violence. Then there are opportunities
for improvement.” He said that one of the reasons there is lack
of progress, even while immigrants are prospering, is that African Americans
know little or next to nothing about import/export. A lot of money could
be made just importing things. He related his own experience, at the
same time, he emphasized the game was fixed by the people in power.
He referred to a conversation he had with a Sudan official regarding
the Darfurian refugee camp. The official said he wanted the camps to
remain till their children had the PhDs and Master degrees, in a word,
until their children had the education and the skills, then they could
abolish the camps. Yahya emphasized the point, “Once there is
an elite structure, well-educated, while the majority remain ignorant
or uneducated, they will be the only one who can run the country. Thus,
they can turn the government over to whomever. They know they are the
only ones who can run the country.” This is what had happened
in many African countries. They are supposed to be free, yet other nationalities
control and really own everything. It was a fascinating discussion.
Yahya recalled the plea of the rebel leader Ibrahim. He said, “Send
us some books, any kind, even Chinese.”
Then we grabbed a cab and headed for the airline office. We arrived
at 9:30. It was closed. While we waited looking around and reflecting
on a statement which I made, “In African, there is something for
everybody, but the Africans.” We saw Asians, French, and Italians
moving about with arrogance and distain, ordering, directing and lording
it over Africans in every way.
Yahya pointed to the street that has a square, thriving streets with
crowds of people. Even this early, stores were open, with promise of
greater activity to come. Across the street was a huge crane digging
up the ground. He said, “The Taiwanese and French bought the square,
up to several blocks away, for 60 million dollars. Later they put it
on the market for 600 millions. The government tried to buy it back,
but the duo refused to sell it. The government threatened, the duo threatened
back. They threatened to have the capitalist countries flex their muscles.
The government backed down. The duo offered to sell the square for 1
Looking up and down the street, Yahya said, “They own the streets,
everything on both sides of the streets, and look, (pointing to the
big rig - its name is CATSP, an English company) most Chadian can’t
even read English.”
It is true all across Africa, Indians own Kenya, I’m told. Chinese
have great influence in Africa and will gain more. They encourage their
people to go abroad and start businesses. Then the government will give
them support. The cheapest things in Africa are clothes, made by Chinese
of course. Food, hotel and cars are very expensive. I remembered the
Chinese support of Sudan, surely for investment reasons. “Yes,”
I said, “And don’t forget the Arabs.” The Arabs have
been the most subtle, treacherous, deceptive, and cruelest of our enemies.
They kill us softly with their game. When it is convenient they boast
about their Africanness and Islamic religion. But, their true colors
shine through when their interest is challenged by Africans. All the
Arabs stick together. Africans are divided. Arabs claim that since some
Africans are their brothers and share Islam, there should be togetherness.
(Interpreted, let us have our way.) Thus, African Muslims are divided;
support for Arabs, into which most fit, with relatively few supporting
their own African brothers and sisters.
To be continued…
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