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Eco-Warriors for Real

Say Good-Bye to the Tree Huggers, Snail Darter feeders, Owl petters.....and don't move

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, October 30, 2002.

NPR, this morning, had a fascinating piece revealed by National Geographic. Its implications and stuffed placement are of interest from just about every point of view. The reporter was Tom Clynes, and I obtain most info from his work on that website.

The Central African Republic has been at war with its neighbors and itself forever. It is an economic basket case whose leader, so-called, can barely protect his capital. It is a nation about the size of Texas. To the East, Sudan routinely allows its citizens, often its soldiers, to rape and pillage the CAR, mostly to poach any animals it can for food but also for rape, slaves, and anything else it can bring back of value. As happens in these circumstances, eventually a seeming love of inflicting pain and demonstrating power for its own sake has appeared. Sadism needs small watering.

Bluntly and cruelly, this is pretty standard news from Africa. What makes it unique is that the C.A.R. allowed some folks from Wyoming to come in and train a mercenary anti-poaching force of about four hundred people. They are allowed – encouraged – to kill on sight all poachers. They are the first organized army of what can be called an armed army of eco-warriors.

Shadows have fallen across the endeavor. Sudan is mostly Islamic while the mostly French speaking CAR is mostly Christian and aboriginal religions. Sudan is a thug laden nation that has annoyed Europeans since long before Kitchener visited. It has, of late, been a terrible neighbor to virtually all the weak nations in central Africa. It has no known interest in restraining its citizen pirates.

So, a brief, over-simplistic summary.

Bruce Hayse, the Wyoming medical doctor who started the endeavor, hired a bunch of South African mercenaries, who are probably mostly if not all white, to come north and train the locals. They were granted control of the eastern third of the nation – think about that a second – by the C.A.R.’s President, who, although supported by Libya, has not been able to control that area anyway, and he can now withdraw his small forces to consolidate power and civilization since he has no need of them in the East anymore. Hayse apparently felt he could support his army through legal and ethical participation in the diamond trade, an oxymoron which has been a horrid failure and is Africa’s second most awful problem after the pointless slaughter of its animals.

Much of the starving world’s people engage in bush meat, which is the eating of local animals regardless of whether or not they are protected. From this we probably acquired the HIV virus, among other joys, so it is a world wide problem.

But the Sudanese pirates are preventing the local CAR natives from enjoying their own animals, and simply machine gun the elephants and giraffes and anything that moves, smoke the meat, and send it to ex-patriot Africans around the world for top dollar, much in the manner of the ivory trade in years past. The locals are shot, enslaved, or left to starve. So Hayse’ army is probably fighting a good fight. And recall: Richard Leaky, of sainted memory, was among the first in Africa to engage in shoot on sight anti-poaching efforts. His courage, and those of the young men who fought for him, saved the elephants and rhinos of the Serengeti, because fear works. It also cost Leaky his legs. If only a small percentage of those whose eyes well up over Dianne Fossey would recall Leaky, some justice might prevail.

But how to spiritually integrate human slaughter for animal and human benefit? Remember that the Sudanese are not goobers feeding their families but well armed soldiers themselves.

Of course, the utilization of South African mercenary soldiers, among the world’s best and most effective, even in a just and beneficial action raises all sorts of racist questions, as if they would go anywhere simply to shoot black people. Yet it was a nation in central Africa that hired them; or, rather, allowed them regional plenipotentiary power and recourse to diamond riches.

Needless to say, ecological groups, even the ones who admit that Hayse’ success would be ecologically beneficial, are loathe to support him. His group solicits money from their own supporters, and it is, truthfully, an endeavor that can be portrayed as sexy to the public. Imagine your female friends being introduced to Roger, an Eco Ranger in Africa for the last four years saving women, children, lions, elephants, fighting the slave trade and killing lots of uppity Muslims in the bargain. Hemingway with a child in his arm, a baby rhino cowering in fear behind him, an M-16 ready to go. Then, kiss them goodbye.

And because the ecology movement, mostly the Greens, is really not so much ecological in motivation since the discredited and failed American Left chose to back a winner for once and infiltrated it in droves, it will be hard put to censor the effort even though it would find itself on the same side as its apartheid enemy from years past. This will be a most interesting tale.

Keep your hypocrisy detectors on stun. Naw. Kill.