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The third World War has be­gun and, as a friend of mine once said, the only sta­tis­tics that mat­ter are the avail­able ones. We don’t have the stats of the peo­ple who died in Syria, so it doesn’t mat­ter. The bombs that have been dropped by the 65 or so coun­tries fight­ing in that coun­try are smarter, kinder, hu­mane and more right­eous than the ones that rang in Paris ev­ery few years.

Writ­ers like to tell us that in war there are no win­ners. The sol­diers lose their lives and fam­i­lies lose their loved ones. The vic­tors, we are told, have an air of sad­ness, a sense of cheat­ing be­cause they get to live while oth­ers paid the ul­ti­mate price.

There are vic­tors in war, which is why so many coun­tries have joined the Syr­ian bomb bo­nanza. If you had bought shares in Lock­heed Martin back in 2005, they would have cost you $60 a piece. To­day, you’d be able to sell them for a cool $220 (R3 126) each. The killing busi­ness has never looked brighter. Bri­tain, which has so far stayed out of Syria, is now look­ing for an in. Every dropped bomb needs to be re­placed.

I re­mem­ber sit­ting on my bed in Cal­i­for­nia read­ing the LA Times, won­der­ing whether I should con­tinue work­ing in the US or re­turn home to South Africa. As I went through the daily news, I came across an ad­ver­tise­ment from an arms man­u­fac­turer. The ad said some­thing to the ef­fect of: “Now that the Ber­lin Wall has fallen, we need some­one who will find new mar­kets for our weapons.”

The whole idea had a pu­trid smell to it.

My world-view was formed at a time of ex­ten­sive hu­man con­flict. Lo­cally, white peo­ple were at war with black peo­ple, vot­ing ev­ery five years to keep their own coun­try­men op­pressed.

On the SABC, the word ‘ter­ror­ist’ re­ferred to the ANC, the Pan-African­ist Congress, but mostly to the Zim­babwe African Na­tional Union (Zanu), led by the great­est “ter­ror­ist” of the time, Robert Mu­gabe, and all the while the South African po­lice and sol­diers were ter­ror­is­ing us in our homes. Africans were at war with them­selves: Zanu against Zapu; Fre­limo against Re­n­amo in Mozam­bique; MPLA against Unita in An­gola. The wounds of the Bi­afran War were still sep­tic, and Nige­rian lead­ers seemed to change with the weather – there were coups af­ter coups.

We lost Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah to the guns of Em­manuel Ko­toka. Our hope died by the hand of Joseph-De­siré Mobutu when he over­threw and then killed Pa­trice Lu­mumba in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo. In both cases, the hand of the West was pal­pa­ble.

After the sun set on the Bri­tish Em­pire, and the last colo­nial out­post, Rhode­sia, was lib­er­ated, Africa ceased to be the fo­cus for most of the Western coun­tries, which had to quickly fix their economies now that the colo­nial cash had stopped com­ing.

Only France re­mained with the French For­eign Le­gion, which is sta­tioned in var­i­ous coun­tries in Africa, such as Dji­bouti.

The le­gion, with all its mar­ket­ing prow­ess and fear­some­ness, is like the Rhode­sian Selous Scouts – a strong mil­i­tary unit in a dy­ing coun­try, be­cause France’s fu­ture is worse than its his­tory. There is no more money to fund French chivalry and other lux­u­ries of the Western world.

We are reap­ing the con­se­quences of the Ber­lin Con­fer­ence, which reg­u­lated im­pe­ri­al­ism among the Euro­pean pow­ers and sowed the seeds of ha­tred among na­tions and their var­i­ous re­li­gions.

The con­ti­nent that spoilt its chil­dren with money pil­laged from the Third World, and by in­stalling dic­ta­tors as its pup­pets, is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing what the devil calls “pay­back time”.

“The chick­ens,” as Mal­colm X said af­ter John F Kennedy was as­sas­si­nated, “have come home to roost.”

War talk will not save us; only lead­ers who are will­ing to in­vest in peace will. Kuzwayo is the founder of Ig­ni­tive,

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