Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Awesome pic from This captures Angola in so many ways: the woman "a vender qualquer coisa" (selling whatever she can), the little girl behind her with the braids and beads, the light, the housing...

Observers of Angola's parlimentary elections last Friday (Sept. 5) by now know that the ruling party, MPLA, has won. Not only did they win, they beat up on the opposition, winning 82% of the vote. (Here is the NYT's take on it all, and a good Economist article about the period leading up to the elections.)

Media reports that all in all, the elections were free, if grossly disorganized. The Angola media has the Portuguese head of the EU mission giving the government praise for the election, while this BBC article has her saying that they were transparent but hardly free and fair. (The BBC also has some mon-on-the-street interviews here.)

I wrote a former colleague of mine there to get his opinion. He is an older man who has seen Angola as a colony, during the entire war, and now in peace. He said (rough translation):
Deomcracy must be practiced by and with men who are free, and the first
condition of freedom is education. How can we practice deomcracy when half of
our population doesn't know how to read or write? And how many times do we, the
people who know how to read and write, not know our own rights and

He also told me what a friend of his, from Cubal, said (again, roughly translated):
The people were satisfied with the campaign because, finally, we learned that we
no longer have to thank the government for having built a school or health
clinic because it is the obligation and duty of the government to do that. What
if your people spent all their time thanking the government for building a
bridge- as if it were a favor- what could you expect from your people?
Wise words from that mais velho, whom I admire, respect and miss.

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

Good overview of the background. and the picture is great! CGS