Category Archives: Nyerere, Julius

Olof Palme with political prisoners

Dalrymple writes that the Scandinavian governments

‘invested’ heavily in Tanzania because its dictator was a cuddly Christian socialist.

In so far as their ‘investment’ had any effect,

it was to reduce (an already very low) output per head, and to keep Julius Nyerere in power without having to change his policies.

The Scandinavians

belatedly admitted this, but it took two decades for the penny to drop.

African hero

With Olof Palme

The evil of Julius Nyerere

Dalrymple points out that the Tanganyikan dictator was cultured enough to translate Julius Cæsar and The Merchant of Venice into Swahili. His influence, however, was

almost wholly pernicious.

He was able to preserve his reputation for sainthood in rich countries, and especially in Scandinavia,

because he shrewdly realised that, to assuage its guilt for its colonial past, the West had need of an African hero.

Pauperisation of an already poor country

He also recognised that his audience

would be far more interested in what he said than in what he did.

Such an audience of Western dupes

had no interest in the reality of the Tanzania he had created.

Darling of the development economists

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 07.29.59Julius Nyerere, writes Dalrymple,

maintained his country quite unnecessarily in the direst poverty, to the hosannas of most development economists, especially Scandinavian.

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Postcards from Brasília

'Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer were both admiring followers of Le Corbusier and communists, hence their inhuman aesthetic. Niemeyer is by all accounts a financially disinterested man, though no one ever suggested that Lenin, Stalin, or even Hitler were in it for the money—they were disinterested monsters. One pronouncement of Niemeyer captures not only this egotism, but encapsulates much of the egotistical sickness of many modern artists and architects: “Whoever goes to Brasilia may like its palaces or not, but he cannot say that he has seen anything like it before.” The same would be true, of course, if Brasilia had been built of refrigerated butter, but the originality of Brasilia is not the question.'

‘Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer were both admiring followers of Le Corbusier and communists, hence their inhuman æsthetic. Niemeyer is by all accounts a financially disinterested man, though no one ever suggested that Lenin, Stalin, or even Hitler were in it for the money—they were disinterested monsters. One pronouncement of Niemeyer captures not only this egotism, but encapsulates much of the egotistical sickness of many modern artists and architects: “Whoever goes to Brasília may like its palaces or not, but he cannot say that he has seen anything like it before.” The same would be true, of course, if Brasília had been built of refrigerated butter, but the originality of Brasília is not the question.’

Lúcio Costa laid out a city according to the conceptions of Le Corbusier: embassies here, hotels there, entertainment facilities yet somewhere else—every quarter functionalised, disconnected by large open spaces, and not one within reach of the others except by motorised transport. Nor was shade provided for such eccentrics as might nevertheless like to walk or cycle: they were to be discouraged by the prospect of sunstroke and heat exhaustion. The few concrete seats available should be such as to give potential loiterers backache within five minutes or sores on the buttocks, and one cannot help but recall Custine’s remark about the open spaces of St Petersburg, that a crowd that gathered in them would be a revolution. Brasilia is a city for coups rather than for revolutions. Perhaps this was one of the underlying reasons for its design. Man in Brasilia is essentially an insect, a kind of ant, or perhaps a noxious bacterium.'

‘Costa laid out a city according to the conceptions of Le Corbusier: embassies here, hotels there, entertainment facilities yet somewhere else—every quarter functionalised, disconnected by large open spaces, and not one within reach of the others except by motorised transport. Nor was shade provided for such eccentrics as might nevertheless like to walk or cycle: they were to be discouraged by the prospect of sunstroke and heat exhaustion. The few concrete seats available should be such as to give potential loiterers backache within five minutes or sores on the buttocks, and one cannot help but recall Custine’s remark about the open spaces of St Petersburg, that a crowd that gathered in them would be a revolution. Brasília is a city for coups rather than for revolutions. Perhaps this was one of the underlying reasons for its design. Man in Brasília is essentially an insect, a kind of ant, or perhaps a noxious bacterium.’

'The sheer incompetence of Lúcio Costa as a city planner, at least from the point of view of all previously existent urbanized humanity, staggers belief. But of course, one’s assessment of a man’s competence depends upon what one believes him to be trying to do. I learned this hard lesson in Tanzania, where the president, Julius Nyerere (currently undergoing preparations for canonisation) had reduced the country by his policies to unprecedented levels of beggary, while speaking continually of the need for economic development. From this, I naïvely concluded that he was grossly incompetent, but once I assumed that his goal was to remain in supreme power for 25 years without much in the way of opposition, the scales fell from my eyes. He was, indeed, supremely competent.'

‘The sheer incompetence of Costa as a city planner, at least from the point of view of all previously existent urbanised humanity, staggers belief. But of course, one’s assessment of a man’s competence depends upon what one believes him to be trying to do. I learned this hard lesson in Tanzania, where the president, Julius Nyerere (currently undergoing preparations for canonisation) had reduced the country by his policies to unprecedented levels of beggary, while speaking continually of the need for economic development. From this, I naïvely concluded that he was grossly incompetent, but once I assumed that his goal was to remain in supreme power for 25 years without much in the way of opposition, the scales fell from my eyes. He was, indeed, supremely competent.’

The Britons to whom Stalin was and is a god

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E.J. Hobsbawm: awarded the CH for services to Stalin apologetics

What are they like, the apologists for tyranny, the supporters of Mao or Hitler or Stalin, the defenders of the gulag, the enemies of a free and open society, the admirers of terror and genocide, the ones who want to see what Orwell called the ‘boot stamping on a human face — forever’? What are creatures like Eric Hobsbawm really like?

Dalrymple brings out some of their attributes in the course of an account of a visit to North Korea as part of a delegation to the World Festival of Youth and Students.

I was accepted as a member [of the delegation] because…I was a doctor who had practised in Tanzania, whose first president Julius Nyerere was a close friend and admirer of Kim Il Sung.

He describes some of the delegates.

They were hard-faced communists, who dressed tough and cut their hair short so that their heads should appear as bony as possible. I overheard one of them describing a demonstration he had attended in England, in which there had also been a member of Amnesty International with a placard.

‘I went up to him and said, “I don’t believe in that bourgeois shit.” And he said, “Do you think political prisoners should be tortured and killed, then?” “Too fucking right, I do,” I said.’

The person to whom he related this charming little exchange laughed. What I found frightening about the pair of them was that their faces were contorted with hatred even as they laughed, and when they talked of killing political prisoners they meant it. They were members of a little communist groupuscule for whom Stalin was a god, not in spite of his crimes but because of them.