According to the Cambridge Dictionary (see here), the title of this post means that something surprising is going on.
Fifty years ago there was something else on the making, let’s say that it’s my favorite explanation of this sentence.
Every time a democratic kind of government comes under discussion, sooner or later somebody will pick up a famous quote of the late Winston Churchill on the subject.
‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’
Winston S. Churchill, 11 November 1947 (*)
This is a perfect show-stopper. It’s a strong argument; it comes from a famous historical character, it also has that kind of British humor that always hit the spot. The real question here is: can we put democracy under a real debate?
This is for all the fuss about climate change. It will not be pretty, but the situation is dire enough to authorize a bit of extra effort.
When it comes to talking about Africa, there’s a familiar story doing the rounds almost everywhere in Italy. Stop it if you already know it and directly go to the second part of this post.
The African story.
You see, Africa could be the paradise of our world. Without the evil interferences of foreigners and the horrible acts of the multinational companies, our African friends will be free to use wisely their valuable resources and be finally free. The worst of the worst are the European countries, that never stop to crush every hope for the Africans.
Does it sound familiar? Well, this tale is spinning since the ’60s, so I guess that you have heard it before. The subtext is that the white European monsters are the true enemies of the African countries and that before the start of the European colonialism the tribes and the nations of the black continent were in peace, free and happy. Modern-day companies, according to this tale, are no more than another evil scheme to oppress Africans. It’s the old myth of the Noble Savage.
I know for sure that studying history is not the favorite pastime of many people in my country, not to mention the absence of the most fundamental notions of geography, but now and then I like to speak out about this dull notions. You see, I’m getting older and my patience is becoming scarce, think about Einstenium to get the picture.
The recent hush-hush between Italy and France about immigration from Africa stirred many discussions in the ‘net, with a whole lot of rage and indignation for the harsh words used by the French President and other people related to the French authorities against Italy.
When it comes to Africa and to the complex history between African countries and the former European powers the name of France stands out for a decision made in 1945, right after the Bretton Woods Agreements. They created two brand new currencies, named CFA Franc and CFP Franc, for their colonies with a fixed exchange with the French Franc. The former was created for the African colonies, the latter for the overseas territories (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna). To add a layer of bureaucratic redundancy, CFA Franc was split in West African Franc and Central African Franc.
This will not be an easy post. It will also not be a fancy reading for those who aren’t unfamiliar with the recent Italian history, or for those who like to practice a “creative” approach to it. You see, this is Liberation Day in my country. The end of the Nazi occupation, the end of the fascist rule and the dawn of a new nation, ready to arise from the ashes of the WWII.
For those who will get a brief about this day, please check out Wikipedia (here). It’s a short piece, but you can use it as a start point following the links until you get a greater picture.
All right, here we are. The UK held the exit-or-leave referendum and democracy worked again. Like it or not, UK leaves the EU and we’re in a new day, waiting for the future to happen.
What will happen now? Prime Minister David Cameron will accomplish to the article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty (see HERE) giving communication of the results of the referendum to the European Council. From that day, a two-year term starts and at the end of that term, if nothing else happens, every EU treaty subscription from the UK will be declared void. If the UK government starts to negotiate with the EU Commission about the said treaties, this period will be extended for the time needed. Cameron could ask to differ the start of said two-years period to October 2016 – in order to hand over the PM duties to a new leader.
At the last G20 Summit, Vladimir Putin declares a s follows: “I provided examples related to our data on the financing of Islamic State units by natural persons in various countries. The financing comes from 40 countries, as we established, including some G20 members.” At the same table there were seated the envoys from Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Both countries have a difficult track record when it comes about terrorism, not to mention a number of high-profile representatives with direct ties with known terrorist and/or terrorist organizations. I was looking at a video about ISIS yesterday on YT and all of a sudden I remembered where I had seen similar black flags in the past. And the connection with the house of Saud became graphically clear.
See this people? They were bedouin raiders, the flags are from the Ikhwan organization. What’s that? A creation of early days Wahhabi Ulama, back in 1913 (see here on Wikipedia) in order to convert potentially dangerous bedouin tribes into allies and muslims.
The parallel is quite tempting. Ikhwan militia was a real force back then, helping a lot the cause of the House Of Saud in its struggle to get control in the country that we now call Saudi Arabia. At the same time they were somewhat indisciplinate and scores of them became difficult to control, forcing the Saud ruler to crush’em in 1929.
The Ikhwan members were quite rigid in the application of the Wahhabi policies, including forced conversion of Shia muslims and enforce more control in the pilgrimage to the holy sites of Mecca and Medina. Since they want to be feared from their enemies, they applied a lot of gory practises like execution of male prisoners by cutting their throats. They opposed modernity like the introduction of gas, cars and telegraph – everything non-arab and not Wahhabi-like wasn’t welcome.
Nowadays, seeing similar flags in the Middle East and in other countries and listening to similar messages from ISIS makes me wonder. The House of Saud is actively looking for getting more and more influence all over the Persian Gulf area and the whole of the North Africa. The same for Middle East and the other islamic countries. That happened in decades of financing Wahhabi imam and radical movements all over, without even a single word of disapproval from the USA.
Back in the days Ikhwan turned against its creators and it took a while to get it under control (metaphor for “destroyed”) with the help of foreigners (mostly military advisors and personnel from UK). What will happen this time? Are the House of Saud rulers ready to discontinue their support for their black-clad allies?
Everybody knows about the Flying Tigers, the American air fighters group in China in WWII. Aside from the movies and all the narrative stuff, that was about a group of American personnel that acted in China, fighting side by side with Chinese against the forces of the Japanese Empire. They learned a lot from the experience made in Spain, where they fought against Italian and German pilots in the civil war that precedeed WWII.
But the Chinese were actively looking for warplanes in the ’30s, knowing for sure that war against Japan will come. So they looked for any option available, including purchasing Italian warplanes. So there was a time when the Kingdom of Italy supplied with machines and personnel and only the political decision to favor the Japanese side. In my country, referring to that years, there was somewhat a technological clash between those who favored a more traditional kind of airplane, biplanes, and those who were looking forward to the monoplane models inspired by American manifacturers.
So the hunt for the terrorists in France is over. The bad guys got a number of bullets each and the most part of their hostages survived the experience. Thanks to the French special forces and to the huge number of policemen and military personnel involved. But it’s not over. By any means, it will be never over. Not in France, nor in any other country. It’s time to tell the truth, to think about the subject “terrorism” with a broader focus and the will to solve some problem here and there.