Geography lessons for Mr Bush.

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ANVER VERSI

The election of George Bush to the Presidency is being widely viewed as an unmitigated disaster for Africa. (See cover story, page 8).There are fears that all the good work done by the Clintons, (both Bill and Hilary) will be quickly unravelled by the new administration. It is believed that the Republican Presidency will not only cut back on aid to Africa but that it will unleash unscrupulous businessmen to further exploit the continent's dwindling resources without putting anything back.

Mr Bush's poor grasp of the world's geography coupled to the US's immense economic and military might is sending shivers down the spines of many in the developing world. He will be like a panicky, blindfolded teenager with a loaded machine gun in a crowded bazaar. There will be no telling who will be left standing when the bullets have stopped flying.

Powell heightens anxiety

The choice of Gen. Colin Powell as Secretary of Stare has not allayed any fears. If anything it has heightened anxiety. Both Powell and Vice-President Dick Cheney are hawks. They are determined to create the Son of Starwars' defence system at the cost of billions of dollars. They are thus busy looking for enemies to justify not only the expense involved but also the possible resumption of a global nuclear race.

Why should Africa be concerned about this -- isn't this something to worry the Russians and the Chinese? The answer is that in the absence of any real threat from either Russia or China, the Bush administration seems to be targeting Islam as the 'public enemy No 1'. The majority of people in Africa are Muslims.

They are peaceful law abiding citizens of numerous states who have no quarrel with either the United Stares or, as is being touted by the American Bible Belt, Christians. The opposite is in fact true.

All Christian prophets, from Adam to Jesus, are also Muslim Prophets. Christians, as 'people of the book', (the Bible) are not considered either heretic or unbelievers by the majority of Muslims. Christians and Muslims live without rancour in most African cities. Even in Sudan, as both parties to the civil war accepts, the conflict is not between Christianity and Islam as so often portrayed in the Western Press, but is the result of unequal development between two vastly different cultures.

Exporting religious hatred

The consequences of exporting religious hatred and intolerance into an Africa already reeling from conflicts could be catastrophic. It might win a...

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