A really simple statement. It’s not supposed to be the way things are done, yet it applies to two countries I know of, and could apply to possibly many more.
I received this statement as part of a longer comment made by someone living in the Philippines, as a response to one of my blog posts, Why do so many religious people hate themselves so much. Here’s the full comment:
Philippines, it’s in South-East Asia. The most corrupt, poor and only Christian country in Asia. I love my country and people but this is our reality. The poor admires the thieves, the thieves get money from the poor, the church demands money from the thieves and then the church comforts the poor with the promise of richness in heaven. It’s a cycle most of us refuse to see.
It’s essentially a comment about religion, but when I look at the South African political situation, it fits just perfectly. The poor people of this country, who are in the vast majority, voted into power a corrupt government, which already had a poor track record from their previous term of office. It means only one thing; they’re mesmerized by the thievery and incompetence. It’s just like religion!!!
Off course one could offer reasons why the poor still won’t trust anyone else but the current crop of thieves to run their government; one of which would be that it was a legacy of apartheid. In other words, they still don’t trust the white folk to govern them, because of apartheid. But that’s utter hogwash. Apartheid was in place more than 15 years ago; it’s time to move on. Also, there are believe it or not, still some decent non-white public figures around who could do a fine job, if given the chance (and I don’t mean the Indians – they can’t be trusted anywhere near politicians).
The thing is, the ruling government does not want people to ever forget apartheid. It’s far too useful to them. It’s an easy scapegoat to use, each and every time they fuck up, and it’s a pretty handy tool to keep the people afraid of ever trusting the white man again. Yep, apartheid will never die, because the ruling regime is keeping it on life support, and milking it for all its worth, to boot.
And the most damning thing about this regime, is that they need the poor, quite desperately in fact, to keep themselves in power.
You remind me of a discussion we’ve had in Kenya hypothesizing whether the common man would be better off if we had remained under British rule. The government has not added even a inch to the railway network since independence. In fact, politically correct thieves have even managed to pilfer the iron rails for the smelters’ market. Neither do we had a post independent seaport. Granted, the government seem to have woken up to the fact that the road network systems collapsed long time ago and for the last four years, Chinese contractors have replaced the local cowboys who’s work litters across the country’s road with craters comparable only to the moon surface. Economically at independence, we were at par with the Asian tigers countries. Looks like we destroyed our country while they developed.
These are the same leaders whom we will elect back comes 2012 and each one of them is now busy being crowned tribal chief (with the tribesmen in ecstasy) in order to bring to the scramble-for-resources table a bigger bargaining chip/voting block. But political and religious leaders have learnt the art of subjugating the people with promises of heavens in the-after-life such that poor have abdicated their rights to see that fellow humankind live with dignity. How do you expect a person so gullible-they take/plant their live saving to religious leader who promises them tenfold in return-to make any somber judgment when it come to electing the politicians?
At least in the Philippines, the president takes home only a fraction of what my member of parliament take home in salary. This looks like the gap in government wages is not exorbitantly wide. The leaders in that Asian country do not seem to have mastered the art of legalizing theft from the public coffers!
It now seems that I know about 4 countries which have habitual thieves for government; I’d forgotten about Zimbabwe when I wrote the piece above. What are we to do with these miscreants, apart from rising up in rebellion, and at what cost?