Two weeks of violence and hatred have ripped apart the image of South Africa as a nation which seeks to assume the leadership of Africa. The fury that was unleashed against foreign workers in the country has never previously been witnessed and in the wake of what happened thousands of innocent people are left without a home, without clothes, without a job and without food. Estimates are that up to a 100,000 have been displaced and dozens killed as mobs rampaged through towns killing, beating and burning. At least 50,000 Zimbabweans and Moczambicans have left the country in fear of their lives. There are about five million immigrants in South Africa of whom at least half are from Zimbabwe where President Mugabe has destroyed the economy and viciously attacked opponents.
Reporters have found hundreds of people camped out near police stations huddling under blankets as winter begins. “We are living like dogs,” said a Sudanese refugee, “please tell somebody to help us.” Most aid to refugees is coming from church groups, relief agencies and individuals. Despite making speeches about how terrible everything was, government leaders are not initiating any large-scale relief efforts. The Red Cross has complained about the lack of national coordination to deal with the impact of the riots.
Perhaps, if President Mbeki would exert pressure on his close friend, President Mugabe of Zimbabwe, a fair election in that nation would bring to power a government that would restore the wrecked economy and most probably result in millions of Zimbabweans in South Africa returning home.
Silvio Berlusconi held his first cabinet meeting in Naples as a token of his commitment to solve th city’s perennial problem with garbage collection, and the equally present issue of crime. The cabinet arrived in a city whose roads had been cleaned up overnight in preparation for the arrival of the Prime Minister and the cabinet. Perhaps, Berlusconi has found the perfect solution to garbage collection in Naples, fly in the cabinet every day for meetings in the city and that immediately ends any problems with garbage. Now, if Berlusconi could find an equally simple solution to deal with the Camorra, the Naples version of Sicily’s Mafia, he will definitely fulfill goals of some signs which read “Berlusconi Santo Subito” which translates into immediate sainthood for the mult-millionaire.
The Berlusconi administration approved a package of anti-immigration laws, including making being an illegal, a crime punishable by jail, and ensuring tougher sentences for any illegal who commits a crime. It is strange why a crime which has a punishment would provide for a tougher punishment if the same crime was committted by an illegal immigrant. The new law is simply in accord with the “get tough” image Berlusconi seeks to project.
Silvio Berlusconi bought himself another electoral victory in Italy because the nation is simply tired of politicians and decided to go along with a right wing egomaniac as the best of all possible choices. Center-Left leader, Walter Veltroni conceded defeat as his party garned 38.2% of the vote to the victor’s 44.9%. It appears at first glance that Berlusconi will be able to govern without relying on votes from smaller parties, but the confusing pattern of voting in Italy sometimes leads to unexpected results when voting is completed for the lower house of parliament. The Northern League Party, which is allied with Berlusconi, scored a rather impressive showing due to its strident anti-immigrant platform.
One piece of news tht helped doom Veltroni was a European Union report which indicates the Spanish economy has now surpassed that of Italy. The question is whether Berlusconi could stimulate the Italian economy even though the last time in office he failed at that effort. When all is said and done, the Italian people were disgusted by their choices and went for a famous man who has money and could use his control over media to get across his message.