"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

11.10.2005

anything but libre

I generally avoid posting on Jack Abramoff, the man-about-town/friend of Tom Delay/bff of Karl Rove/extra-close friend of Grover Norquist/fall guy for a number of scandals. But since Africa's involved this time, I'm making an exception. Seems Abramoff may have tried to get Gabonese president Omar Bongo (not exactly a savory character himself) to pay one his lobbying outfit $9 million (that's US$) for a meeting with the president. The Post has the letter.

Access to G.W. is obviously a tricky thing, but generally foreign heads of states who are not outright terrorists can get at least a tiny bit of access without having to pay a lobbyist. Which, of course, Bongo knew and later managed to get via the State Department for free.

I could make so many jokes about Libreville (which means "Free City") and the fact that the Gabonese capital is one of the most expensive cities in the world. And I could comment on Bongo's somewhat, um, what's the word, oh, yeah, abysmal human rights record. But I'd like to visit the place someday and I have to get up early to represent the family at the Veterans' Day Parade in the morning, so I'll refrain.

The Advisor informs me that I need to provide maps for the masses when talking about obscure places in Africa, so here you go, courtesy of the PCL map collection. You'll note that Gabon is right next door to my favorite African state, Equatorial Guinea, as well as the other Congo.

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