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Thread: CAR Central African Republic: Fragile, failed and forlorn

  1. #41
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    Default Carl:

    As Stan will tell you, I can't pronounce English - or, at least, I have an "odd" accent ! So, perhaps, "mndele" would be a better way to write it - leaving the initial vowel sound up for grabs.

    However, since it seems both of us are easily launched on insatiable quests for knowledge (not a bad thing), I've now looked at a couple of Lingala online translators - note that I was using the word in the plural ("a bunch of mindele" and "the mindele colonialists") - and here we go:

    translation / dictionary Lingala - English:

    mindele
    exists as the plural of singular "mondele", "mundele"

    mondele, noun, pl. mindele (class 3 / 4 : mo- (mu-) / mi- (objets))
    mundele, noun, pl. mindele (class 3 / 4 : mo- (mu-) / mi- (objets)) (kin)

    white (white man)
    zombie
    European-style person
    person with light skin color
    whale
    FREELANG Lingala-English and English-Lingala online dictionary:

    Searching for: white (4 results)
    white mondele
    A white car Motuka ya mpembe
    white mpmbe
    white? pembe?

    and

    Searching for: whites (1 results)
    whites mindele
    So, it seems that both of us are correct.

    -----------------------------
    KingJaja:

    Africa's problems are for Africans to solve. My point is that after the seemingly endless cycle of violence and external intervention - at a certain point, some unstable states will either fall apart permanently or work out an indigenous solution to their teething problems.

    CAR for example, has bifurcated - it a essentially a "Christian" enclave in the South and a much smaller "Muslim" enclave in the North. No amount of elections will change that essential reality. And international community is wasting time by impeding the process of formation of two independent separate states in that part of the World.

    In my native Nigeria, we are preparing for a National Dialogue, a three month discussion on what different ethnic nationalities want from the Nigerian state. This goes beyond mere elections, Africa's artificial states have flawed foundations and the best way forward is for locals to proactively discuss these challenges and build a state that caters to their needs (not a mere ex-colonial administrative unit).
    Yes (we've discussed this before).

    But, why didn't you say that from the start - rather than playing the old "big bad colonialists; run, run, the white giants are coming" card ?

    That era ended 50 years ago - despite Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner - and the modern-day "Rolands" are not from the "Land of the Midnight Sun". It's time that both Africans and Europeans understood that. You and I long ago agreed that the US should not be a major African player.

    Regards

    Mike

    PS: And, there's still the Roland game - animated Zevon !!
    Last edited by jmm99; 03-01-2014 at 01:11 AM.

  2. #42
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Mike:

    Mndele and mindele work for me.

    In Congo anyway I think they use the word for a westerner of any color. At least that was what a black American former Peace Corps worker told me once. He was drunk and headed for a cliff at night and the people in the village were yelling that they were going to lose their mndele.
    Last edited by carl; 03-01-2014 at 03:57 AM.
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  3. #43
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    Default Carl:

    In the case of the African-American PCer (singular), the Lingala online translators give either mundele or mondele (one "white" person; interesting that the second meaning is "zombie").

    The distinction between mu an mo may something like the name Mattila in the Copper Country - usually pronounced Mat-tila (as in "mat" or the first name Matt), but among the "true Finns" pronounced as Mut-tila.

    The singular form "mundele" has "dominated" the discussions at SWC (9 posts, soon to be 10) going back to a Brit in 2008, but mostly by Stan and you.

    The "Roland Game" was a new one for me. It has an inaccuracy in its geography; having Roland flying from Norway to Biafra - located in Northwest Nigeria !! (0:30) - as opposed to:



    The real Biafra should be close to (or is) KingJaja country.

    In any event, the Roland song has kept growing on me since Dayuhan sorta suggested it as SWC's theme song. Turns out it was Zevon's last performance before he died of cancer.

    Roland's song doesn't fit the usual American solution to foreign "problem children" - which boils down to "Send Lawyers, Guns and Money" ... "The $hit has hit the fan." - Samantha Power's call to the WH after meeting the troops.

    Regards

    Mike

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    As Stan will tell you, I can't pronounce English - or, at least, I have an "odd" accent ! So, perhaps, "mndele" would be a better way to write it - leaving the initial vowel sound up for grabs.

    However, since it seems both of us are easily launched on insatiable quests for knowledge (not a bad thing), I've now looked at a couple of Lingala online translators - note that I was using the word in the plural ("a bunch of mindele" and "the mindele colonialists") - and here we go:
    Ok then:

    White man in local languages around here - South and east coast:

    Umlungu – South Africa (isiZulu)
    Mzungu – Malawi (ChiChewa) and Kenya (kiSwahili)
    Murungu – Zimbabwe (ChiShona)
    Lekgowa – Botswana (Tswana)

  5. #45
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    Default Lingala and failed States

    Gents,
    Carl is correct... The word Mundele was a generalization for a Westerner regardless of skin color. Although an often offending word if you were French or Belg, it was not some racial term. In Lingala, many things are tied to the verb (and there's only 100 verbs to choose from), not necessarily plural or singular as most would think or were taught. If it could be so easy with less than 800 words

    If you want a real "nut buster" we could all start using Finnish along with Mike's slang

    I was often reminded by elders just how great the (Belgian) colonial times were in both Léopoldville (K-town) and Stanleyville (Kisangani). Surprisingly enough, there was more hatred (or jealousy) against/among the various tribes than any former Western power.

    Regards, Stan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    I was often reminded by elders just how great the (Belgian) colonial times were in both Lopoldville (K-town) and Stanleyville (Kisangani). Surprisingly enough, there was more hatred (or jealousy) against/among the various tribes than any former Western power.
    Stan, how many of your compatriots understand this?

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Stan, how many of your compatriots understand this?
    Hey Mark !

    None in civilian clothes. Strange how military can just sense things like this.

    I've said this at least 1,000 times.... we suck at Africa and we are not interested in some investment like training people to understand and appreciate what and who they are dealing with.

    How goes it ?

    Regards, Stan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Hey Mark !

    None in civilian clothes. Strange how military can just sense things like this.

    I've said this at least 1,000 times.... we suck at Africa and we are not interested in some investment like training people to understand and appreciate what and who they are dealing with.

    How goes it ?

    Regards, Stan
    As you were close to the people on the ground you would learn... even if you arrived with preconceived ideas - which happens all the time in Africa - you will leave with an understanding of the truth on the ground.

    But here is the rub for the civilians - especially the liberals... most can't return and tell their liberal friends that they had it wrong and this is the truth as they now understand it... they would be shunned.

    It is this lack of understanding of how Africa 'works' that leads to aid and interventions being misguided and misdirected. Its a continuing sad story.

    In the case of the CAR how is it possible that the French having been there for 120 years continue to display a near total misunderstanding of the dynamics in that country? Quite pathetic.

    Just spent a year in West Africa. Listened to what the locals said and only asked expats their opinion to see how way off the mark they were... which is sadly pathetic.
    Last edited by JMA; 03-02-2014 at 11:22 AM.

  9. #49
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    The AU / UN intervention in CAR remains in trouble trying to stop bloodshed, although with little reporting of late. So the decision of Chad to withdraw will reduce the mission, even if the Chadian soldiers being Muslim are not seen as neutral:
    Chad has contributed roughly 850 soldiers to a 6,000-strong contingent.....The statement said the forces would remain in CAR while the details of the withdrawal were being worked out.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-26873572
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  10. #50
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    A rare BBC report from outside Bangui, CAR's capital:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26817382

    The cauldron of hatred has been stirred by failed politicians who want to stage a comeback, and by the country's northern neighbour, Chad, covetous of Central Africa's resources.

    But it is partly about jealousy between those who had political power but were poor - the Christian majority - and those excluded from politics who seemed slightly richer - the Muslims, Central Africa's main traders and herders.
    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday in CAR:
    French and African soldiers serving in Central African Republic are "overwhelmed" by the "state of anarchy" in the country
    A larger UN mission is planned, although who will provide troops is unknown and only expected to arrive in September. An EU battalion group is due to arrive soon.

    Do I sense a photo-opportunity is coming?
    The US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, plans to visit Central African Republic next week.
    Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...n-Ki-moon.html
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-06-2014 at 12:16 PM.
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  11. #51
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    Default Disarmed to the teeth in Bangui

    A first-hand report from Bangui, which includes:
    The CAR’s interim president, Catherine Samba-Panza, has few of the tools most heads of state rely on to restore order – the army is not allowed to carry guns and her administration has almost no political skills.

    (Later) The latest internal peacekeeping crisis shines an unwelcome light on soldiers from Congo-Brazzaville. Human Rights Watch has documented a number of cases of torture, murder and abduction of locals by the Congolese in areas under their watch. In September the AU forces will change the colour of their helmets and become United Nations peacekeepers.
    Link:http://mg.co.za/article/2014-06-05-d...eeth-in-bangui
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  12. #52
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    Default The CAR ceasefire: a (very) small step towards stability

    With the MSM focus being elsewhere I doubt few outside Africa noted diplomacy has ended with a multi-faction ceasefire agreement in Brazzaville:http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/artic.../#.U9JQFKORcdV

    Needless to say some are sceptical that it can be effective:
    I see the ceasefire as a non-event,” said David Smith, director of South Africa-based media firm Okapi Consulting and an expert on the region. “Disarmament is not part of the deal, and that's what Central Africans want most.
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  13. #53
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    Default New berets, no change otherwise

    Hurrah? From VOA:
    A United Nations peacekeeping force will deploy Monday in the Central African Republic.....The Security Council authorized the force, known as MINUSCA, to take all necessary means to carry out its mandate in the CAR. For many in Bangui this means that the U.N. troops will not hesitate to use force against armed groups.... Most of the 6,000 African Union troops already in the CAR will join the new U.N. mission.....new troops from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia have recently arrived. According to the United Nations, a 400 member U.N. police force will be deployed in the coming weeks in Bangui.
    A note of realism from MSF:
    It seems that forces will look different. But right now, we are not confident [in] their efficiency in the coming months in CAR..We have been noticing that although things are improving in Bangui in terms of security, it is not the case in the rest of the country..
    Link:http://www.voanews.com/content/un-pe...c/2449591.html

    The two thousand French troops are not part of the UN mission:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-29213557

    Do they have an exit plan?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-15-2014 at 10:40 PM. Reason: Add 2nd link and line
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  14. #54
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    Default MINUSCA prepares the ground for the same looters

    A pungent comment by David Smith, director of South Africa-based media firm Okapi Consulting and an expert on the region:
    But if history teaches us anything, and it should, then Minusca is likely to be as successful as its numerous predecessors. From the time of Misab and Minurca…through Bonuca, Binuca, Fomuc, Fomac, Micopax, Misca and now Minusca we have, to a large extent, many of the same players trying to do the same thing all over again – stabilise the country and prepare the ground for presidential elections. The big problem is that MINUSCA is preparing the ground for, to a large extent, many of the same people who have been looting and pillaging the CAR for decades to take over once again.

    The peacekeeping effort needs drastic surgery that includes a strong and lengthy mandate that help to create a new network of functionaries, politicians and professionals that can start building the institutions any normal country has for running a country and providing the services and infrastructural needs that have yet to be created in this shadow of a state.


    My biggest fear concerning MINUSCA is that once the UN containers are packed up in a year, two years, three years from now, the same people, both inside and outside the country who have benefited from a culture of impunity will be free to carry on as they have been since founding father Barthelemy Boganda was killed in a plane crash in 1959. What will the next peacekeeping mission be called?


    Link:http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/artic.../#.VBgUvVeRcdV
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    Default It's land ownership that matters

    A fascinating backgrounder on CAR, on land ownership - an issue I don't recall being mentioned before. Here is one passage:
    Stare at the situation long enough and CAR’s problems can largely be whittled down to two issues: how the state hands out concessions and leases to individuals and corporations with vested interests; and how Bangui defines land that is “not put to proper use”—land that sits fallow or is not mined or logged quickly enough.
    Link:http://gga.org/stories/editions/aif-...nciliation-1/?
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    An update on CAR, which rightly explains the context for the communal violence, with 'human terrain' details and a far from optimistic passage indicates this will be another long-haul peacekeeping operation:
    For that to happen, violence in the CAR must be brought under control. The U.N. peacekeeping mission, supported by French and European Union forces, will need to act forcefully to protect civilians, standing their ground when the Seleka or anti-balaka threaten civilians. They face a difficult task, with almost no local security forces with which to work. Former soldiers of the national army and local gendarmes have left their posts; many have joined the anti-balaka, whose top leadership is almost completely made up of former army and police commanders. But reorganizing and rearming the army is considered too risky a solution at the moment. Many Seleka soldiers want to join a newly constituted army, but their own horrific record of abuse and the hostility they are likely to face from the population means that integrating them will be difficult.
    Link:http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/12/11/...a-anti-balaka/
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    Default Look away

    A profoundly depressing first-hand account of a journey through the CAR. The thread's title 'Fragile, failed and forlorn' hardly seems appropriate. Maybe now it should be No Hope Here?

    Link:http://features.hrw.org/features/Unr...blic/index.php
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    Default UN report alleges child abuse by French troops

    A senior (Swedish) United Nations aid worker has been suspended for disclosing to prosecutors an internal report on the sexual abuse of children by French peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic. Sources close to the case said Anders Kompass passed the document to the French authorities because of the UN’s failure to take action to stop the abuse. The report documented the sexual exploitation of children as young as nine by French troops stationed in the country as part of international peacekeeping efforts.
    Link:http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...nch-troops-car
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  19. #59
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    Default Tentative Peace Reached in CAR

    Maybe some hope for CAR (the size of Texas), which starts with:
    More than two years after rebels in the Central African Republic (CAR) captured the country's capital Bangui and set off a cycle of retribution and ethnic cleansing, 10 groups in the war-torn nation have agreed to lay down their arms.
    The agreement, reached Sunday, is the culmination of a national peace forum that began last week in Bangui and included civil society, youth, women, and local representatives. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon welcomed the decision and called for "its swift and full implementation."
    Link:https://news.vice.com/article/tentat...utal-fighting?

    A different viewpoint:https://www.opendemocracy.net/opense...d-winding-road
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-13-2015 at 10:19 AM. Reason: add 2nd link
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    Default Nowt changes and patience is eroded

    A lengthy report by a FP journalist on the realities outside Bangui, for the people and the armed groups:https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/10/28...-un-violence/?

    It appears - once again - the French are tiring of engagement and if they withdraw the 'blue berets' will lose their most robust troops. Tired, why?
    France has intervened militarily five times since 1979 and maintained an active military presence for all but four years — 1999 to 2003 — during that period.
    Interesting section on troops from the DRC:
    On the way back from meeting with the anti-Balaka fighters, my translator and I stumbled into a tense standoff between Congolese U.N. peacekeepers and armed youths of the Fulani ethnic group, from which many of the ex-Seleka fighters are drawn. (Given the abundance of armed men in Bambari and the fluid membership of armed groups there, it can be difficult to distinguish ex-Seleka fighters from gun-toting Fulani civilians.) The youths, some of whom brandished AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades, were arguing bitterly with the peacekeepers, who remained remarkably serene in the face of superior firepower.
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