Super-Strange Mini-Encyclopedia of Countries on Earth (Part III)


**********

SOMALIA

I am a bit unsure whether this is still a country or not, actually. But I resolved in a conclusion here: a stateless state, a lawfully ‘lawless’ sovereignty, and a country already facing its own brinks. A country so hopeless that seeing upon deaths is as common as breathing itself.

Following the coup led by Mohamed Siad Barre in 1993, and the subsequent invasion by US Army afterwards, Somalia was eventually broken up into many factions: each with his own sake to rule out the country. Millions of people, particularly women and children, soon became refugees, with most of them headed to either Ethiopia, Kenya, or Saudi Arabia, either. The war, until now, still takes place regularly every day. Pirates rule the oceans: almost everyday we can hear the main international headlines ‘Somali pirates demand for million-dollar ransoms from the tankers they raid in’. Even NATO almost raises its hands up while given tasks to stop these atrocities.

But, we can’t blame the pirates for all the mistakes, either. Most of them are merely teenagers, teenagers whose dreams have shattered in insecurity, in the almost seemingly endless sound of ricocheting bullets, and at last, those who need to feed themselves and the families.

Now, the societies do have only two chances: move up or get ‘eaten up’. As immigration regulatory bodies of Somalia, Kenya and Saudi Arabia have placed quota on the access to the refugees, they have only one last destination: Somaliland, a newly established, but is still far from officially recognized, country. Somaliland was formed as part of a peace agreement between several factions who favored peace (and another historical factor: Somaliland was once a British colony, compared to Somalia which ‘belonged’ to Italians at that time) in 1997. It is much more stable, much safer, but is still economically far from the ‘developing country’ status. They also have their own currency; they name it ‘Somaliland dollar’.

Experts keep on warning that one day Somalia will be totally ‘broken up’; and now it has been broken up today.

MYANMAR 2

What is in your mind when you conceive someone, of the similar ethnicity, who rules a country, but puts much hatred to his, or her own, ethnicity, until that person is very eager to terminate all the members of the ethnicity himself or herself?

Yes, they must have been lunatic. But history has proven that few individuals were willing to do so. Rumor has it that Adolf Hitler was actually a full-blooded Jew himself, but put much hatred on his own ethnicity due to his firm belief that ‘Jews destroy Germany’s economy’. When you ask whether the truth has been clarified, your guess is as good as mine. I don’t know.

And so had Myanmar. Subsequently after the military, led by General Ne Win, performed coup d’etat against Aung San, he assumed his role as ‘the highest leader’ in the country, exactly in 1962. He implemented policies which directly or indirectly led to the termination of ethnic Chinese in Myanmar. The military junta even incited riots targeting Chinese businesses: thousands of Chinese-owned businesses were wildly looted by propaganda-devoured civilians; women were burnt alive and raped, and many Chinese were killed as a consequence.

But all you need to know is that Ne Win himself is a full-blooded Chinese, who even obtained support from Mao Zedong at that time.

Despite eerie in the past, in the end, until 2010, it is still the Chinese who dominate Burmese economy, established well in forms of oligarchies with close connection to the military junta.

EL SALVADOR & HONDURAS

I admit firstly: I am surprised to see those bonek who fight like beasts, as shown from the TV. (For those who do not know what bonek  means, let me tell you: that is a vivid supporter of a football team) If you do have the same feeling, please tell me. But, even as ‘immoral’ as they fight against each other anarchically, Indonesia perhaps is still far much better than those Central American countries.

Only because of ‘football’ matters, both countries were involved in a war that lasted for a week. It ended up with massive destructions on both sides: cities and towns in both countries were massively bombarded by fighter jets, hundred thousand civilians on both countries ended up displaced, and a few thousand got killed. But the main factor was not simply ‘football matters’: it went deeper into other factors, such as land reform and immigration problems between both countries.

And the ‘football troubles’ were the culminating point of the dispute between both nations. It happened precisely in 1970, during the World Cup’s qualifying round. 3000 people got killed, as a result, and as an economic consequence, United States refused to assist both countries by creating Central American Common Market for 22 years, and due to overwhelming number of Salvadoran refugees coming back from Honduras and the government’s inability to stabilize the economy, El Salvadoran Civil War erupted 10 years after this embarrassing event.

NAMIBIA

Namibia itself is mostly as sizable as South Africa: contained in an area worth more than one million square kilometers, but has population which is less than that of Medan (Medan’s population: approaching to almost 3 million, while Namibia’s: only 2.2 million), which makes the country one of the least populated countries in the world.

The country did not obtain ‘absolute’ independence from South Africa until 1990, although it had actually been ‘independent’ from 1918. The country was previously colonized by German authorities. (the worst notoriety they committed was Herero & Namaqua genocide, in which almost 50.000 Blacks starved to death after being abandoned in deserts as a retaliation for the death of a few German officials they murdered.)

The country itself constitutes the second largest ethnic-White communities in Africa after South Africa itself (5 million out of its 50 million people), approximately between 120.000 to 250.000 people. German used to be the most spoken language before 1990; nowadays people prefer speaking Afrikaans or English, either. However, despite the decreasing usage of German language, many places in Namibia still hold German names, like for example, Windhoek (the capital), Luderitz, Swakopmund, and etc.

However, there is a concern between the Whites that they fear the government would enforce more ‘land reform’ policies, in which their commercial farms are redistributed back to the black farmers, on whom many of them lack of skills to manage the farms. When the policies are still continuously implemented, they fear that Namibia would be the next ‘Zimbabwe’.

ZIMBABWE

Before 1980, Zimbabwe was named ‘Rhodesia’, and the capital, Harare, was named ‘Salisbury’. Before Robert Mugabe assumed the role, the country was led by a White nationalist, Ian Smith, who preferred separation from the Commonwealth. Despite isolation from international communities, especially Great Britain, Rhodesia was once one of the richest countries in Africa, in which 80% of its revenues came from exporting commodities. There were once 300.000 Whites and 6.7 million Blacks at that time. But, only the Whites who actually enjoyed the economic prosperity. Rhodesia was experiencing resistances from rebel groups who favor the abdication of Ian Smith, and the subsequent exchange of power to a Black.

Mugabe actually had a ‘good’ intention: he wanted an equality between Blacks and Whites, but the power had closed his eyes and tempted him to act beyond humane attitude. He ordered mass nationalization of White-owned large-scale commercial farms with little or no compensation to the owners; as a consequence, many of the Black farmers lacked of skills in managing the farms, and hence, the economic pandemonium was wildly heartfelt in the country. Inflation surged to billions of percent (once the central bank circulated notes worth 100, 250, and 500 billion Zimbabwean dollars. And another fact: At that time if you bought two hamburgers from McDonald’s, they would cost you 15 billion.), and unemployment rates soared to 80% of the country’s workforces, the highest level in the world. Until now, a few commercial farms are still owned by Whites, and the population itself has reduced to merely 50.000, but Mugabe insists on his policies that the farms be nationalized, therefore imposing much more threats into the country in the future. When they find out the future hopeless in Zimbabwe, to which country they are heading to next? Read below.

SOUTH AFRICA 2

The government is subsequently puzzled with this trouble: the soaring number of Zimbabwean refugees. They are estimated to be between 1 to 5 million, or representing between 2 to 10 percent of the country’s total population, and most of them are found to be ‘illegal’. Most of the population is situated in areas surrounding Johannesburg, and many of them are poor. There is also a considerate number of White Zimbabweans, in tens of thousands or hundred of thousands, either. Yet, there were frequent conflicts between the local Blacks and the refugees: the climax was the mass riots targeting foreigners, especially the Zimbabweans, in 2008. Tens of thousands of them became ‘refugees’, and have undetermined future they have to face in South Africa.

TURKMENISTAN

I honestly do not know whether they were inspired by the successful tourist-attracting coastal towns like those you may find in Bali, Thailand, Philippines, China, India, whatsoever, but Turkmenistan’s central government is now currently constructing a massive project which is expected to be a popular destination in the future: a 1-billion-dollar coastal town named Turkmenbashi, now a town inhabited by 50.000 people, which subsequently faces Caspian Seas.

With one billion dollars in hands, they are currently encouraging hotel-chain companies to set up hotels and resorts here, many of them from Russia. They plan to build ‘at least’ 60 hotels and resorts there. The current completion date, until now, is still unknown. (because the last time I checked out this article was a few months ago)

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Perhaps this is going to be the ‘next USA in Middle East’. Migrants from all countries, from all continents around the world, are moving here. (Fact: 75% of the country’s population – exactly 5 million –  is foreign migrants – they are never born here).

The largest of them are originated from Iran, Pakistan, and India, numbering at more than 2 million. The number of Chinese immigrants is ‘considerable’ as well, numbered at 180.000 – with most of the population is situated in Dubai (there is even a Chinatown), and many are involved in construction sector (and many of them are also entrepreneurs and restauranteurs). There are also 75.000 Indonesian migrants currently working in United Arab Emirates, too, most of whom are employed as housemaids.

The country is also currently witnessing the surge of Western migrants, especially from North American and European countries. (Note: there is also a sizable number of White South African migrants, numbered at between 50 to 100 thousand) Many Russian jetsets – the nouveau riches – are also known to have formed a distinct community in this country.

There is also a surge of Korean population in the country – 2000 of whom are from South Korea, and the other 1500 from the neighboring North (fact: the North Korean workers are much poorer compared to the Southern counterparts). So are the Japanese migrants – most of them are executives running Japanese companies which set up factories in Jebel Ali Free Zone. There are currently 4000 Japanese people making a living in United Arab Emirates – there is even an international school specially aimed at the children of the expatriates there (Dubai Japanese School).

What a mecca, isn’t it?

**********

Previous notes regarding to the same topic:

Super-Strange Mini-Encyclopedia of Countries on Earth

Super-Strange Mini-Encyclopedia of Countries on Earth (Part II)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s