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Old 07-29-2007, 07:04 PM   #21
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Default Re: U.S. pledges funds to fight Central America gangs

Well, think about this, though. In a sense we may deserve to be hated, at least a little bit. I can't help but think of America's insane fascination with the triumvirate of evil, Drunky, Cokey and Dopey (Spears, Lohan and Hilton), Harry Potter book releases, reality TV, etc, etc.

Our young people idolize pieces of human garbage and expend thousands of hours a year wasting away in front of the boob tube, wedging their increasingly expanding behinds deeper into the sofa pillows munching Doritos and playing XBox while kids from around the World flock here to take advantage of the greatest post secondary and post graduate educational infrastructure ever established. We are lucky enough to retain enough of them to enable us to keep our edge. God forbid if these kids ever decided to go home en masse. We'd be left with a Country filled with blithering idiots. Ever looked at a list of graduates from a PhD program at any US College? 80% are foreigners. If it's science or engineering it's closer to 100%. Read this.

Children study under parking lot lights
Impoverished Guinea students lack electricity
Friday, July 20, 2007
Rukmini Callimachi
Associated Press

Conakry, Guinea- The sun has set in one of the world's poorest nations and as the floodlights come on at G'bessi International Airport, the parking lot begins filling with children.

The long stretch of pavement has the feel of a hushed library, each student sitting quietly, some moving their lips as their eyes traverse their French-language notes.

It's exam season in Guinea, ranked 160th out of 177 countries on the United Nations' development index, and schoolchildren flock to the airport every night because it's among the only places where they'll always find the lights on.

Groups of elementary and high school students begin heading to the airport at dusk, hoping to reserve a coveted spot under the oval light cast by one of a dozen lampposts in the parking lot. Some come from more than an hour's walk away.

The lot is teeming with girls and boys by the time Air France Flight 767 rounds the Gulf of Guinea an hour and a half before midnight. They hardly look up from their notes as the Boeing jet begins its spiraling descent over the dark city, or as the newly arrived passengers come out, shoving luggage carts over the cracked pavement.

"I used to study by candlelight at home but that hurt my eyes. So I prefer to come here. We're used to it," says Mohamed Sharif, 18, who sat under the fluorescent beam memorizing notes on the terrain of Mongolia for the geography portion of his college entrance test.

Parents require girls to be chaperoned to the airport by an older brother or a trusted male friend. Even young children are allowed to stay out late under the fluorescent bulbs, so long as they return in groups.

"My parents don't worry about me because they know I'm here to seek my future," says 10-year-old Ali Mara, busy studying a diagram of the cephalothorax, the body of an insect.

Most are working on memorizing their notes, struggling to commit to memory entire paragraphs dictated by their teachers on the history of Marxism, or the unraveling of colonial Africa, or the geology of Siberia. Tests are largely feats of memorization, a relic from Guinea's French colonial rulers.

The students at the airport consider themselves lucky.

"We have an edge because we live near the airport," says 22-year-old Ismael Diallo, a university student.

It's an edge in preparing for an exam in a country where unemployment is rampant, inflation has pushed the price of a large bag of rice to $30 and a typical government functionary earns around $60 a month.

The lack of electricity is "a geological scandal," says Michael McGovern, a political anthropologist at Yale University, quoting a phrase first used by a colonial administrator to describe Guinea's untapped natural wealth.

The territory has rivers that if properly harnessed could electrify the region, McGovern says. It has gold, diamonds, iron and half the world's reserves of bauxite, the raw material used to make aluminum.

For 23 years, the former French colony has been under the grip of Lansana Conte, a reclusive and temperamental army general who grabbed the presidency in a 1984 coup.
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