The Arms Fair
The prestigious London Arms Fair took place recently, (2013) where 1,500 companies from 40 countries showed off their shiny new weapons and boast about their kill rates. The Defence Secretary praised a fabulous show with fantastic kit. It was sickening that a member of the government can get so excited by the best and most highly technical engineering excellence being devoted to means of killing people. That’s where the huge sums of money are – taken from the world’s taxpayers, the real wealth creators – so that’s where the hi-tech research and engineering will be applied. It can never be a fabulous show and fantastic kit, it’s about killing people.
These are recent articles seen about Britain’s dealing with tyrants and repressive states.
Another little snapshot of the world at the moment, we just happened to chance upon, the very modestly named and barely known Central African Republic, rich in minerals but one of the poorest countries even in Africa. It’s been in runaway anarchy, tearing itself apart, a living hell for its people. And arms are pouring into the country from British and European arms manufacturers. It’s just sick. And where is the finance coming from for these arms? The country is, of course, in debt, so where does the money come from for the arms? We can’t restrain ourselves from guessing that it’s the same people who are interested in gaining control of the country’s resources. It wouldn’t be surprising if the bill for it all didn’t end up being socialised.
We could be being unduly cynical, and it needs stressing, we really don’t know anything about the CAR, we are just making assumptions. Since we wrote this, French and international forces have now been sent to the country to pacify the situation. But even from afar, without knowing anything about the CAR, there is a glaring question: how can the CAR be so rich and be so poor? How exactly has that come about?
Some of the products, the kit, that have become sewn into African soil, will have been exhibited at this ghoulish fair, and defence ministers would have slavered over their efficiency. Africa has been treated appallingly by the world. For all the different reasons Nigeria is not Norway, among them are the old colonial reasons and the disastrous legacy left by the colonial powers. As Fela Kuti sang: Teacher Don’t Teach Me No Nonsense.
Colonialism never really ended, it just became much more sophisticated, remotely-controlled, locally sub-contracted, in many ways yet more barbaric.