Leo Zeilig

South Africa: Burning Anger in the Townships

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There has been an explosion of riots and community uprisings across South Africa for more than 18 months.

Townships and squatter camps have been in flames as thousands of poor people burnt down local government buildings and fought against the police. These protests express the growing frustration among black South Africans at the dreadful state of public services, and their bitterness with the government.

Liberia: Blood and Diamonds

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Leo Zeilig traces the history of the crisis gripping Liberia.

On a demonstration in the Liberian capital Monrovia in June, a demonstrator held up a handmade placard that read 'America Come and Save Us'. The depth of the crisis that has gripped Liberia in the last few months - which has resulted in thousands fleeing their homes and thousands more being killed in fighting - has led many to hope that the US would intervene to stop the fighting. In August the president, Charles Taylor, was forced to step down and was granted asylum by the Nigerian government. Taylor was installed in Calabar, in two palatial mansions.

Pride Before the Falls

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Review of 'A Night in November', by Marie Jones, Tricycle Theatre, London

Kenneth Norman McCallister is a Protestant 'dole clerk' living in Northern Ireland. He has been brought up to believe in the inherent superiority of Protestants over 'pope lovers' and 'Fenian bastards'--his Catholic neighbours who he has been told to patronise and dislike. But there is a problem. For all his fake pride, he realises his job is less secure than he was told, and he is beginning to question his attitude towards Catholics.

Ripe for Revolt

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Review of 'Against Global Apartheid', Patrick Bond, University of Cape Town Press £14.99

In 1995 after Chad, a country in West Africa, had been destroyed by war, an IMF official commented that at last there was an environment that they could work with. Structural adjustment and neoliberalism could proceed unhindered, as the country was now 'ripe for the development of a free market economy'.

Zimbabwe: Still Living in Limbo

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Zimbabwe was gripped by depression immediately after the recent election results were announced.

For most people the thought of six more years under Mugabe is a death sentence. For the thousands of people still being beaten and killed by Mugabe's 'youth militias' or facing massive food shortages this is not an exaggeration. People walking the streets of the city are starving. Most are surviving on one meal a day, and the prices of basic commodities are set to rise when the government removes price controls.

Truth Massacred

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Review of 'Black Hawk Down', director Ridley Scott

The US intervention in Somalia in the early 1990s was called 'Operation Restore Hope'. It was part of an ongoing UN mission in the country that brought despair, not hope. When the UN was forced to flee in 1995 Somalia was in tatters--the warlord General Aideed's popularity had risen for resisting foreign intervention, an unknown number of Somalis had been killed (perhaps several thousand), and the country was further plunged into warring chaos that would last for years.

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