Saturday, June 28, 2008

Celebrities Trot-Trotting and Tut-Tutting All Over Africa

 Really people, this has reached such a level of show -  offishness that I have and need to speak out. Indeed, I must. 

The latest celebrity to dodge the bombos in the Congo is Ben Affleck, a fine actor. I believe he won some lolly as a professional poker player in a tournament in Las Vegas. 

The late Nicolas Dandolos, otherwise known as Nick the Greek would have been amused. Not impressed about the poker exploits because Nick the Greek loved the pursuit of Knowledge and Wisdom. I think he had a command of five languages if not eight. Banks and financial syndicates bankrolled Nick's games. He played for millions when the American dollar was King of the world. 

Back to Ben Affleck. He is only part of a continuing flow of celebrities who visit the poor in areas well planned and selected for them by their handlers. I may be wrong but the first such person  may have been actor and comedian Danny Kaye. He did the entertaining- the- poor stint dressed in tails. True I have seldom seen anyone who wore tails with such eclat, other than Fred Astaire and Cary Grant. Kaye conducted an orchestra under the swaying branches of an acacia or a baobab tree. How did this help the poor I could not say. 

My late Italian husband was Vice President for Unicef Italia. I was then spin Dottoressa for Gucci throughout the world. We usually sponsored our own events and never the twain met.I was involved with Amnesty International which really went out on fragile limbs to make a dent in Human rights  and Medecins Sans Frontieres - Doctors without Borders. Those chaps are true Heroes. 

All of Africa is in flames but the Congo is the heart of Africa, hence the ravagers have singled out the Congo with particular savagery and barbarism. It will never stop.  The Congo is the richest country in the planet. The wealth is in the hands of international financiers and multinational corporations that will never, never, never give up their strangle hold on the Congo.

 I cannot pretend to know what is in the heart of an Actor of both sexes. Surely Ben Affleck must know that the Congo is super rich while most of its inhabitants most of which are children are destitute and desperate. I think it would be a mistake to call them poor. They are worse than poor if such a thing exists. They are slaves of the never ending rich companies who have no hearts, souls or compassion. 

Affleck's television report for ABC network television, please correct me if I am wrong, will be well meaning babble. Get reaL Man. The television audience will never be in a position to change a single leaf from the Congo's vast dwindling rain forest. Horrors! Are you proposing to re- educate child soldiers, assassins, sharps shooters, prostitutes, drug dealers, gem dealers, arms smugglers, traffickers in body parts and slave dealers of their fellow children? It will never work. Unless...I repeat, unless you have the palle fumanti - flaming balls to challenge those directly responsible for the Congo's plight. You have a talented and lovely wife and a child. Don't fight battles you cannot win. These are not windmills. 

Some aristocratic Belgian families are still reaping incredibly handsome profits from their operations in the Congo which begun 200 years ago. King Leopold II's brutality towards the people of the Congo must surely rank as one of the most horrendous acts of cruelty of man towards his fellowmen and his brothers under God. Yet all we hear and read about is the suffering of human beings under Hitler, Stalin and Mao.

Joseph Conrad's villain Kurtz in his novella about the then Belgian Congo "Heart of Darkness" gasps '"The horror, the horror."  

Why single out the Belgians? That is most unfair and unjust of me.  The Anglo-Americans are probably the biggest Exploiters, but then the French are no slouches either. The Dutch could teach them all a thing or two. The biggest diamond trading company in Kinshasa is Israeli. The list is endless. Everybody who is anybody in the exploiting business is present in the Congo. Even some of the aid agencies are engaged in the buying and selling of babies and children. Some use the children as fences for their illicit diamonds and drugs.

These angels and sparrows as the homeless and hunted children of the Congo are known, have seen nothing but death, deprivation, sorrow and despair. And Yes! Holocaust after Holocaust for centuries. The Congolese angels are in the millions.

Please read an article I published on this blog last January entitled " Why The Congo Matters." 
I have written a book about the Congo and its children and its people . It is currently with a publisher. I have written a black story in the sense that its protagonists are a black woman and an African-American Doctor from Medecins sans Frontieres. The supporting cast are the angels and the sparrows.  This was long before the Congo was "in fashion" so to speak. Before the minions of Hollywood ran out of countries to pose in, photograph, publicize and feature in endless tabloids and television shows about entertainment and show-business.

A word about gorgeous George Clooney and his trip to Darfur. The civil war has been going on for at least 15 years. Darfur has oil. The chaps who own the oil empires are not going to allow the "silly" natives of Southern Sudan to break away. I mean, How dare they blather about independence when they are swimming in OUR oil?

 Enter the Janjiweed. In Arabic it means men on.horses. It makes for good fodder for the international media because the Janjiweed are Muslims while the massacred people of Darfur are Christian - Catholics. Don't you get it? The janjiweed are mercenaries in the services of the Oil Robber Barons. Their Paymasters are not Muslims. They are so called Christians and men of the Bible. Whose Bible? Does anyone know?

I think these actors and actresses mean well. Actors are insecure people. Pirandello and Brecht said most performers had no inner identity which is why they turned to acting. Spencer Tracy, an actor's actor, often said it was a dishonorable profession. I would not go so far. I do think that they are overpaid for what they are called upon to do. 

Some Roman Senators opined that the gladiators received untold and undeserved wealth for their violent deeds - maiming their opponents. The killings came much later when the hundred thousand people in the Coliseum demanded Death for the Losers.  By that time the Emperors depended on the goodwill and on the bribes they gave their Generals and Praetorian Guards, so they bowed to the inevitable to hold on even for just one more day to their Power. 

That is how the famous ancient Latin statement came about,"Panem et Circensis." Bread and Circus.

So long as there are human calamities we are going to have these unwitting but willing dupes called Actors flying to be photographed and "Help" the unfortunate. They cannot be helped. Their Masters do not want these poorest of the poorest to be helped in any way. It goes against the vested interests of the West. Get real.

What can we do? Nothing except pray. Public indignation will not work because the plight of the world masses is too desperate for them to do anything concrete which would change anything. 

The middle class is vanishing and rapidly finding itself homeless so we cannot expect indignation at the situation of others when they themselves are living in their cars or in caves.

The rich as a rule don't give a toss. Why should they? Bloody hell! They own important shares in oil, mining, armaments, logging, pharmaceutical, precious metals, gems and even in the prostitution and pornography companies. They cry when they lose a few cents on their shares, but for human beings and black ones at that, I would not put my hand in the fire.

The Congolese themselves will rise up one day and take over their country.

 I will never forget the incident in one of the market places of Kinshasa not so long ago. The individual who was tasked by the government to look after me gave a dollar bill to a girl whose legs had been blown off by a cluster bomb and whose face, neck and arms bore the pink scars of phosphorus. 

He was Special Forces and a white man of course. They are mostly insensitive clods. 

"Take your blood money you stupid jackal. What do you think a dollar will do? You are sentencing me to death. I cannot share it with the thousands of sparrows here in the market. We make more than that in a day in our various rackets. Get out of here before a seven year old sniper blows off your ugly head."  





  1. “Back to Ben Affleck”

    In all honesty, I wouldn’t recognize him if he bit me on the ass. Who the hell is he? I honestly have no idea.

    “Affleck's television report for ABC network television, please correct me if I am wrong, will be well meaning babble. Get reaL Man….Are you proposing to re- educate child soldiers, assassins, sharps shooters, prostitutes, drug dealers, gem dealers, arms smugglers, traffickers in body parts and slave dealers of their fellow children?”

    But of course! According to the neo-dark-age, superstitious, witch-hunting culture of Hollywood (and more broadly of America, the religion of the odious Dr Phil and Oprah), there is a NEW RELIGION afoot in America! (And they THINK it is the new World Religion – they think so, because they – the Oprah-ites of America – are superstitious barbarians.) And America’s new, neo-dark-age, religion, of whom the hack snake-oil psychologists are the Bishops, and the actors/celebrities are the Priests and missionaries, says:

    1. (A satanic corruption of the otherwise good ideas of Calvin): “Material wealth and health is the RIGHT and PROPERTY of those whom God favours!” And their Satanic corollary is:

    1.a. “If you’re poor or weak or otherwise suffering, it’s your own fault!”

    2. (Their Satanic corruption of the truth of Buddhism says): “If you suffer, it’s only because of how you think! If you change your thinking, you will cease to suffer!” (That is NOT what the Buddha said! Buddha said “Life IS suffering!” But Buddha’s, and Christ’s, teachings have become contorted into very evil half-truths, in today’s America.)

    3. And THIS part of the New American Religion, is, to me, the most execrable, most evil, most abominable piece of superstitious twaddle: “STOP WHINING!”
    Ahem. Um, my dear Isabel, kindly allow me to rant about that, a bit more:
    To me, one of the most execrable words in the English (and especially American) language, is the word, “whining.” (verb, to whine.) The Americans have contorted that word in ways which offend Christ. The Americans – most of them – today, believe that any and all expressions of pain, sorrow, loss – any and all expressions of outrage over injustice – and and all complaints about suffering – are to be dismissed snarkily as “whining.”
    Well, pardon my use of obscenity, but I say, “F--- THAT SHIT!” Because, at leas for
    Christians, the CENTRE of our Faith is Christ’s crucifixion, and the injustice which was
    done to him – done to GOD!
    I mean, at least for Christians, righteous indignation against injustice, and healing of the
    poor and weak and suffering, is the HEART of Christianity! So, how the hell can so

    many American “Christians” treat those who suffer – the “whiners” as they call them – with shame? To shame those who suffer – and/or to shame those who complain about suffering and injustice – as “whiners”, is, to me, the voice of the Anti-Christ.

    “…This was long before the Congo was "in fashion" so to speak. Before the minions of Hollywood ran out of countries to pose in, photograph, publicize and feature in endless tabloids and television shows about entertainment and show-business.”

    Yes! And many OTHER peoples and places are suffering out there, WHO ARE NOT “IN FASHION!”
    WHAT ABOUT THE POOR WHITES IN AMERICA? What about the poor American Whites in the rust-belt, like where the White rapper “M&M” grew up in a ghetto near Detroit? (Generally I don’t like rap, but I DO LIKE that White rapper named “M&M”!) What about the (mostly Black) “ghetto” of North Philadelphia, where I lived through my college and law school years? Yeah, a handful of “rappers” from such places, whore themselves out to the “entertainment” industry, to play up to rich White people’s fantasies of “what niggers are like.” (And THOSE people, those bastards, those Blacks who whore themselves doing their “Step’n-fetchit” rap, “cooning it up”, THOSE bastards are TRAITORS to MAINSTREAM Black Americans, MOST of whom are DECENT people with real dignity! But it seems that what most American elites WANT to see of Blacks, is to see Blacks humiliating themselves, playing the role of “dangerous, violent, mush-mouthed nigger” – while the truth is that MOST Black Americans are NOT LIKE THAT!
    So, yeah, maybe those American “celebrities” might party with a handful of rich Black whores who denigrate the image of Black Americans. But how many of them would really get down into the REAL ghetto – not with rich rappers like “50 cent”, but with the REAL African-Americans. Oh no, you won’t see Madonna (who adopted an African child) – you won’t see Madonna hanging out with any REAL African-Americans in the REAL ghetto! Because –well, among other things – because many (or most) African-Americans are DEVOUT CHRISTIANS who live by a very strong moral code.

    Yeah, “Madonna” is willing to go to Africa to adopt an African baby. (And I’m glad she did, BUT)…BUT, what bothers me is that Madonna COULD have adopted an AMERICAN black baby, and as charity begins at home, it seems that the reason why Madonna went to Africa to adopt her token Black baby, was mostly because of the image, the perceived “prestige” of adopting an African.

    Meanwhile, millions of Black AND White Americans remain poor and desperate, and Hollywood isn’t helping them – and in fact Hollywood is HARMING them through misrepresenting what they are really like.

    Yep, “Step-n-Fetchit”, those old icons of American hatred of Blacks, are still very much alive and well in Hollywood movies and New York TV. And what the likes of George Clooney (WHO is he?) are doing in Africa, is the equivalent of how the old Southern American slaveowners used to say, “I LOVE MY NIGGERS!”

  2. Buon giorno, Isabella,

    I am going to try posting here again. Initially, blogspot would not allow me to post on this link, but I think (hope) the problem has somehow been cleared up by John Ball. I just wanted to compliment you on your passionate words about the Congo (Hollywood opportunists, et al), and recommend your wonderful book Heart of the Congo to all readers. This book goes further than anything else available in the English language to point up the horrible plight of the Congolese. It's a fascinating story with great characters, shocking and impossible to put down.



    PS - Not to forget, in your comments on the Hollywood stars, "Bradgelina," Pitt and Jolie, who also fit the mold.


Isabel Van Fechtmann

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