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05 November 2011 - Much to have a fury about!

Words! To be furious is two-a-penny. To experience a fury about something is altogether a stronger thing. Don’t ask me why: it may even be that the distinction I put forward is only mine. But it came on the BBC Homepage on Monday: “Uganda fury at UK gay aid threat”. It went on: “The UK is showing a “bullying mentality” by threatening to cut aid to countries where homosexuality is illegal, a Ugandan official says.”

Neighbour, the official was me, or do I mean I?! For good measure: “Mr. Nagenda accused Mr Cameron of an ex-colonial mentality.” And I had concluded: “Uganda is, if you remember, a sovereign state…If the British take their money, so be it!” Can I confess to a surge of pride? Alas, since all this was broadcast Live, I couldn’t therefore thrill to the fury in my voice.

My second fury was when the U S of A, cut off its commitment of an annual sum of $80 million (about 12% of the total sum) to the UNESCO budget, because that organisation had accepted Palestine as a Full Member. The temerity of it; to accept Palestine, without the agreement of Israel, meaning also of America, the two inseparable as Siamese twins! The US announcement came out with shocking alacrity.

This meant President Obama had acquiesced. Perhaps he had no alternative, the law having been passed in the House: that giving full membership to Palestine meant clear loss of American funds, but could you imagine, say, previous presidents: the Bushes, Clinton, Carter, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, caving in with nary a fight, on an issue on which, at commencement, and soon afterwards at Cairo, Obama had seemingly put so much weight on changing unfair practices of old?

An Indian friend of mine had scoffed at my dream recently about the forthcoming Obama in the next elections: “You’ve no idea Obama is a puppet/slave…” My dreams faded and died, with W B Yeats in my ear: “I have spread my dreams under your feet;/ Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

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Obama, Obama (How one oscillates!) My fury this time was of the inner sulphuric variety which bubbles in  the bone marrow. Why can’t the Most Powerful Nation on Earth stand equidistantly between the two warring sections (Semites each) and bring about a just equation between them?

It is ridiculous to think one of these, Israel, would ever agree to give power to the Arabic side, in the same way, were they ever asked, that the Arabs would allow the Jews the overriding power over them, which they currently possess. Such is human nature. The real difference between the two sides is that most of Arabia no longer seriously hankers to hold superior power over Israel, but Israel does so over Arabia.

Guess which way it will all end if America shirks its duty of bringing about real equality! And the conflagration will spill into the remaining world, far beyond the Middle East, making way for World War 3! You don’t believe? Read about young Arabs, immigrating to America for a better life. Increasingly some of them return to their original homes as fully-fledged warriors, not for but against Uncle Tom, who had offered them a new life, garnished with plenty.

Some will say it is typical of your Columnist to pile agony on agony; even when the facts are joyful. On Thursday came the wonderful news when President Museveni announced an extra Sh 700,000,000 (US$ 280,000) had been given to Soccer and Athletics for 2012. Your country thanks you seven hundred million times, Mr. President.

But the gift will, like plans of Mice and Men, go to ruin, as many times before, if strong precautions are not securely in place. What these should be, I will discuss fully in the coming weeks.  

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Leave the Fury behind, and be highly delighted with news, unexpected but well deserved, that Lonely Planet, the world’s largest travel guidebook and digital media publisher, has rated Uganda number one country to visit next year. Many would kill their mothers for less! Mark you, many of us have said this for years, but it is good to have it confirmed. We must not be caught on the hop.

You can bet your bottom shilling that 2012 will see a huge surge in tourists pouring into the country as a result of Lonely Planet’s unequivocal recommendation. Those with unfinished constructions on the tourism trail had better finish them fast. The Uganda Tourist Board (if still extant) had better start encouraging those in the tourism industry to take on and thoroughly train new staff, to save our blushes by being named in No 1 spot, but with No 20 spot in service! (In fact Government should fund this necessary mission.

At this level you never get a second chance, if found wanting!)

The Governor of the Central Bank will be smiling in his beards at this windfall. Our dicey denomination, which has only been finding its feet against the mighty greenback by his manipulations at the banks, will find a stronger level by the number of dollars pouring into the country. Still it is necessary for me to holler: ARE YOU LISTENING UGANDA GOVERNMENT, and your various departments? Amen! 

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