As this interminable war between the MPLA government forces and the opposition UNITA enters a new summer campaign (Angola being in the southern hemisphere), UNITA announces its habitual November offensive. As usual, this offensive is aimed at the most fragile sector of the MPLA’s forces. Both sides have 100,000 troops in a vast country which allows neither side to control all the territory at the same time. As one side advances in the East, the other attacks in the North, and so on. UNITA announced today that its offensive will run along the frontier with Zambia, at the same time announcing that the Angolan Government’s policy in this neighbouring country could lead to a regional war. More deaths, more children without school, more homeless, more hungry, more impoverished, innocent families trying to make an honest living fleeing their homelands, leaving their fields and abandoning their animals. To find, in the city, abominable, inhuman conditions in an absence of comfort, hope, sanitation or even sanity. Unfortunately, whoever reads the recent history of Angola reads the recent history of large parts of the African continent. Great mistakes have been made by Europe and the USA. Too many lines were drawn on maps. One has only to observe the map of Africa to see the straight lines forming frontiers between countries…which were never really countries. Europe uses mountains and rivers to form natural frontiers, Africans live on both sides of a river and never venture into mountains. Europeans favour nice, straight lines on maps and in cities, with the square and rectangle being taken as the norm in civic order. Africans prefer the circle, many circular homes placed in a circle around the village circle, in which the old men of the village sit in a circle to discuss their problems and future plans….the circle, not the square or rectangle. In a circle, there is no head, no leader. A round table, favoured by many Medieval European leaders…not least the famous King Arthur of England and his knights of the Round Table. By fomenting hatred and division, the European colonial powers unwittingly created monsters on the African continent. The Angolan conflict is a relic of the 1960s and maybe someone should tell them that times have changed and we are all supposed to be friends now.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey Pravda.Ru Lisbon

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