restoration without freedom

May 19, 2010

I have learned much, this week, from Thomas Sowell's The Politics and Economics of Race. He offers data regarding the inequality of race, noting the strengths in certain cultures, and the weaknesses in others. Context is provided, as well as the history that has been woven into it.

It was on pg. 235 that he finally began to provide the kind of information I was hoping for -

"Much of the poverty, stagnation, and even retrogression found in Third World countries is not the result of an inevitable vicious cycle of poverty, for which dramatic aid programs or draconian domestic policies are the only cures. Indeed, a substantial part of the current efforts of the rulers and governments of such countries often consists in repressing, impeding, or even driving out of the country those who possess the human capital to develop it. The massive deaths on the high seas of southeast Asia of the 'boat people' [term used to describe the Vietnamese refugees who fled Communist rule after the Vietnam War] were not only a moral horror and a human catastrophe but also an economic insanity of destroying vast amounts of human capital desperately needed in that region of the world. It made sense only politically."

In Rwanda, as order is being restored to a warn-torn country, the government has begun to remove street children, and petty thieves, to a remote island. Children are taken without warning. Contact with their parents is forbidden. There, they are forced to labor in what residents call a "prison camp." Government officials call it "rehabilitation."

All in the name of restoration, both economically, and politically. All under the order of "clean streets," and the employment of the formerly unemployed.

I wonder just exactly how this kind of oppressive economic action in Rwanda might turn the very people President Kagame is interested in reforming into refugees, "those who possess the human capital" to develop a country rapidly becoming more oppressive.

I thought it only right to be clear, in the midst of praise concerning reform in Rwanda, that the kind of order being restored is, perhaps, not at all the kind one would hope for.

Perhaps it is time to turn our eyes to Rwanda, yet again. 

               World Press Photo of the Year: 1994 James Nachtwey, USA, Magnum Photos for Time.

"‘Enemy, enemy, enemy’ — that’s what they call anyone who thinks differently,' he said. 'This government’s record is dreadful. It’s only you, the international community, who is showering them with flowering praise.'"

- Jeffrey Gettleman


angela said...

oh horrors.

Anastasia said...

Wow. Thanks for putting this out there. I appreciate knowing the back story, not just hearing the praise.