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Might for the Right

a son of a bitch in Africa has it coming

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, May 07, 2014.

If you were going to select the worst place in the world with the worst people in the world in charge, there are, admittedly, many candidates that spring to mind. In this Hemisphere, there are places where the poor are, actually, dirt poor, and not composed of 38 inch waists begging at intersections, like here in Boulder. Surprisingly, one of the worst might be the Cluster Coitus that is Brazil, currently readying for the World Cup this summer in the sport we call soccer and everyone else calls futbol.

That worthy nation has revealed itself to be both attractively licentious and corrupt as any place on earth. It is screaming to get the World Cup facilities up and running, but it is not looking good. Worse, in two years they host the summer Olympics, for which Brazil was called this week the worst prepared nation ever by the Olympic overlords. If the World Cup is the fiasco predicted, with incomplete facilities and poorly constructed stadiums and hotels, and if the millions of Brazilians who live in the slums actually riot as they're swept into the jungle so as not to blight the beaches or media cameras, the 2016 Olympics may find themselves either cancelled or divided between several nations.

But my vote this week is for Nigeria. Like Brazil, Nigeria is a big nation of vast resources that should make it rich, even richer than South Africa, which is saying a lot. Run by competence, it has potential for huge ecological tourism, great beaches and general natural beauty, and a ton of mineral wealth including gas and oil. It could power its continent alone.

But, Nigeria's development was derailed by slavery and all attendant problems that came with it and aside it. Most Americans may only know of its existence because of a quarter century of fiscal scams that start with an email from a wife, child, partner, former Prime Minister of Nigeria hoping that if you send them some thousands of dollars to allow them to open an account or some such hooey, they would split millions with you soon after. It seems to have a lot of international scam artists.

It also is involved in a civil war, not surprising for an equatorial African nation. In February, a rebel group called Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of young female Christian students. Boko Haram apparently is a term for "western education is forbidden" and so can be considered a conservative and insane Islamic street gang of long and pointless duration. The current leader of this septic assemblage is Abubakar Shekau, who has announced plans to sell these young girls in the marketplace. Shekau's feel good slogan is "I enjoy killing anyone that God commands me to kill — the way I enjoy killing chickens and rams."

In the past, kidnapped victims have been forced to marry their abductors, who lay out the standard fee of $12 for a wife. They might, though, be open to ransom. Of this recent bunch, two are said to have died from snakebites, many are ill, 53 have escaped, and 280 are still being held. This according to the Nigerian police.

Almost perfectly, the current President of Nigeria is the august Goodluck Jonathan, which is his actual name. Jonathan has excelled at doing near nothing whatever to find the girls or go after their captors. When demonstrations by parents of the children annoyed his wife, she had them arrested, apparently for embarrassing the government on the eve of an economic conference. Ethically, Goodluck Jonathan and his family resemble the rounded produce of dung beetles. Oddly, even more people are demonstrating today. Nigeria has started asking for help against the Islamic thugs.

Shekau has long been a known terrorist who has killed hundreds if not thousands of people, and the US has a price on his head, now $7 million. And it now seems that the US has turned its spy cameras on Nigeria and prepared military action there.

We'd like to think everyone would agree that a man who has locked children in a building and burned them alive deserves to be brought to justice. But the Christian vs. Islam issue is tricky, and there are those who would love to see our first black President in a swamp of an unwinable central African war while not moving in on the Ukraine, as if he only cares about fellow blacks. But if we bring down Shekau, the upside for us in Africa is huge.

More important, if we CAN do it, we absolutely should.