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AFRICA’S CLUB OBAMA

The ramshackle Club Obama is a shed on stilts above a garbage dump of a beach in Conakry, the capital of the West African country of Guinea.  It doesn’t get much business anymore because Obama is no longer popular here.  Guineans thought he would flood them with US taxpayer dollars but he didn’t.  “Obama did nothing for us,” they’ll tell you.

The sad truth is that Guineans have done nothing for themselves.  Independence from France came in 1958, and the place has been run by one party dictatorships, military juntas, and ridiculously corrupt leaders ever since.  It’s the size of Oregon, with 12 million people who have a per capita GDP of $800 a year.  Yet is has up to half the world’s reserves of bauxite (source of aluminum) and is #3 in world production, has diamonds, gold, and many other resources  – which all goes into the bottomless pockets of whoever the ruling elite are at the moment.

It’s the tragedy of so much of Africa writ large.  In 1974, after Cassius Clay had his “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire with George Foreman, he was asked by a reporter upon his return to America, “Champ, what did you think of Africa?”  With wit and wisdom he replied, “Thank God my Granddaddy got on that boat!”  (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #84 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)