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Poppy Fields in the United Kingdom?

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The HD’s Afghan source relays this information (a bit outdated): “Whilst we are eradicating poppy fields in Hellmand, British farmers can’t have enough it, over 10,000 hectares of land in Oxfordshire andNorthamptonshire is dedicated for growing poppy this year because of shortage of morphine in the National Health Service UK.

A Scottish pharmaceutical company called Macfarlan Smith has an exclusive contract from the home office to grow poppy in the UK. under freedom of information act you can ask MS to provide you to full account of poppy growing in the UK.”

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Written by hybriddiplomat

April 20, 2010 at 20:56

Different Perspective: Zim Edition

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The Hybrid Diplomat does his best to obtain critical analysis from those close to political action and elites around the world. So when New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof decided to make a big show of his Zimbabwe column, the HD had the article wired to his CLOSEST Zimbabwean source in Zimbabwe. So rather than reading the words of a man who only spent a few days in Zimbabwe, the HD tries to bring you the perspectives of people who have spent their whole lives in a country. His point by point response, below, is rather SCATHING (Read the Kristof column first):

“Start by asking asking people whether or not things were better before or after independence and then pause. The counterintuitive answer you will most certainly get will allow you to purge any form of historical racial guilt that your reader might have. Ignore the fact that people will almost always tell you what you want to hear, especially if you are white, but remember more important than anything keep it simple.

Then talk about how dangerous it is to be found “committing journalism” in Zimbabwe, but tell stories about how you have snuck in and out of unnamed villages (in a discreet four by four of course). Don’t forget to describe the villages as made up of mud huts. That should really draw the attention to the misery these people have suffered under this oppressive regime. Draw attention to the bon sauvage battles the natives have with elephants.(Now would almost be a good time to mention re-legalising the ivory trade: but remember your audience they are after all very sensitive to the plight of black man and elephant alike. Besides they probably don’t want to have to think about anything too complicated as the CITES treaty and all that: remember keep it simple!

Now get back to the poverty: Talk about the precipitous decline of this once thriving country since the whites were kicked out in 1980 but give your facts of decline from 1990, too much nuance would ruin your report.

Talk about the schools and the healthcare and how they have declines.

Now might be a good time to mention Rhodesia again. This particular school was built during Rhodesia, and was probably more efficiently run, but possibly not as well as the segregated schools, but we had better not mention that?

Now talk about how much you love the country, its pretty much one of your favourites, the scenery, the animals, and the people, don’t forget the people, just magical! Big smiles.

End it with a bold political statement about how political pressure ended Rhodesia, you might want to forget the brutal bloody war that the current dictatorship had to wage against the Rhodesian regime, and ignore the tacit as well as overt military support that the regime got from the western states: but that was a different time, a simpler time when the quaint issues of racial discrimination and a ten year bush war.

Ah, kids say the darndest things: Zimbabwe, a brutal bloody dictatorship for the whole family.

…..

The point is it is complicated, so on one hand when you have the Harare Herald writing absolute crap about american imperialist interests in Zimbabwe (they even busted on michelle obama the other day, seriously!). It doesn’t help to get trite simplistic articles in the New York Times.”

Well said, the rise of the commentator (Kristof) over the specialist (my source) in international affairs is troubling.

And for all those who want to learn  “How to Write about Africa”.

ADDED: The good sir has just released another column. I’ll leave you to read it. The HD must attend to diplomatic business and ensure the world is running smoothly.