World View: Ethnic Bloodbath in Kenya Kills 62, Mostly Women and Children

This morning's key headlines from
  • Greece asks for 'Air to Breathe' in austerity requirements
  • Ethnic Bloodbath in Kenya kills 62 people, mostly women and children
  • France's Hollande breaks campaign promise, ejects Roma Gypsies

Greece asks for 'Air to Breathe' in austerity requirements

Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in an interview on Wednesday that Greece didn't want any money but just wanted a little more time to meet its commitments: 

Let me be very clear: we are not asking for extra money. We stand by our commitments and the implementation of all requirements. But we must encourage growth, because that reduces the financing gaps.

All we want is a little 'air to breathe' to get the economy going and increase state income. More time does not automatically mean more money.

Greece plans to ask for a two-year extension on meeting its austerity commitments, and the problem for him is that this WILL mean more money -- an extra 20 billion euros because Greece won't be reducing its debt fast enough.

Eurogroup finance chairman Jean-Claude Juncker met with Samaras in Athens on Wednesday, and said that it was the speculators' fault, not Greece's fault, that Greece was in trouble:

I am coming to Greece as a friend... The truth is Greece is suffering from a credibility crisis. The first step should be to show Greece is taking fiscal consolidation seriously.

As far as the immediate future is concerned, the ball is in the Greek court. In fact this is the last chance and Greeks have to know this.

The Juncker statement was very cordial, but it more or less contradicted Samaras' statement. "Air to breathe" would mean a two-year delay in meeting its commitments, and that request would be taken by the Germans as meaning that Greece is not "taking fiscal consolidation seriously." Samaras will be visiting Paris on Friday and Berlin on Saturday to beg. AP and Kathimerini

Ethnic Bloodbath in Kenya kills 62 people, mostly women and children

At least 62 people, including 11 children and women, were massacred Tuesday night in an ethnic bloodbath in southeastern Kenya. Visitors described scenes as similar to mass murders of the Great Lakes region, with mutilated bodies of children and women, old and young, strewn across homesteads, their blood caked on the ground, and flies flying all over. Nominally, this was a conflict of a type that occurs in all countries, between farmers who plant crops and fence off their land and pastoralists (cattle herders) who want their cattle to graze freely. In the 1800s, this was a battle in the United States, as depicted in the 1941 Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical, "Oklahoma!", which contains the song, "Oh, the farmer and the cowboy should be friends!" 

But in Kenya, the conflict has taken on a much deadlier dimension. The ethnic Pokomo tribe of farmers attacked the pastoralist Ormas, burning down entire villages, killing people at random, as well as the cattle. This was a revenge attack for a small attack ten days ago, when the Orma herdsmen attacked Pokomo villagers. This has revived fears of an all-out tribal war in Kenya, the same fears that arose in December 2007, when widespread ethnic violence broke out across the country, following an election.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Kenya's last generational crisis war was the Mau-Mau Rebellion that climaxed in 1956. When the 2007 uprising occurred, I wrote that only 51 years had passed, so a new crisis war at that time was possible but very unlikely. As each year goes by, and there are fewer and fewer people left from the generations that survived the previous crisis war, a new crisis war becomes more likely. Today we're at the 55-year point, so a new crisis war is more possible today than in 2008. An analysis of hundreds of previous crisis wars in history reveals that a plurality of them occur at the 58 year point. Standard Media (Kenya)

France's Hollande breaks campaign promise, ejects Roma Gypsies

France's Socialist president François Hollande promised, during the election campaign, to stop the policy of ejecting Roma Gypsies from illegal, squalid camps in France that former president Nicolas Sarkozy had followed. Sarkozy came under severe criticism across Europe for the harsh policy, which put Roma Gypsies out on the street with no place to live. Hollande promised that the Roma would not be ejected unless an alternative place to live were provided, but he is breaking that promise and human rights groups are expressing outrage. AFP

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