Trouble for Tin Tin In Toytown!
I usually don’t get hysterical about stuff and I’ve got a pretty good threshold for chaotic situations. There have been several times in my travels when I’ve been confronted with some difficult circumstances… but I was happy to walk around Stonetown today with my tin tin t-shirt rip off… however, as I was catching the taxi-dulla dulla to Jambiani to start my new life on paradise beach…something terribly shit happened…
The market kind of exploded into chaos. Rocks were thrown on the street, lampposts were bent over…I suddenly saw armed guards in front of the Peoples Bank of Zanzibar… and there were tires burning… the usually busy market of dharjani was suddenly quiet…
-the smoke from the burning blockades twirled everywhere and there were mobs shouting the odds… again…nothing I havent seen a dozen times…even in London and Paris… nothing special… but this was so sudden…I saw another white guy mzungu taking pictures and walked over to him… I said hello – and then detected from his accent he was from Poland…” why is it said that wherever I go around the world I always seem to find Israelis -Irishmen,
Poles and South Africans in the midst of a shitty situation?”
Jan replied he didn’t know- but he was thinking twice about investing in Zanzibar… he said he wanted to invest 300 000 dollars in a hotel business and bring his family out here to live.
“Well ,” I said…” let’s go have a drink and talk about it…”
Make no mistake, I love this place- in fact as I sat on the flat roof of the maru maru hotel on the 4th floor- its got the only working elevator on the island- and listened to the soft cuban music in the background… felt the balmy breeze of the evening air caress my face from the warm Indian Ocean..I thought… ” I’VE ARRIVED!”
It’s not the first time I’ve found myself in a mob situation… I’ve experienced it in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola and in the Amazon… The important thing to do when unreasoning faces start shouting at you is NOT …I repeat… NOT to panic…! you just have to keep your cool…but the situation was very fluid… some of the shops closed immediately… the dulla taxis were nowhere to be found… an indian guy had his shop looted for all the liquor- its seen as un islamic to sell alcohol… – but guys were seen carrying 3 cases of beer on their heads…
some others were targeting tanganyikans- ” mainlanders”- saying – “you’re taking our jobs!- we want you out of here!…”
so what was this mess all about – really?
-was it triggered by the arrest of a muslim cleric…? or was it simply another step to agitate for independence from the mainland?
some islamic fundamentalists want to create an islamic state with shariah law apart from the mainland… they want to chase out the ” kaffirs- the unbelievers…they want to be independent- with their own flag and their own president… all well and good… but what does it mean? – historically this was the centre of trade in east africa…but that was a long time ago-
-they believe that zanzibar can do without them all… even if most of the electricity and water and foodstuff and fuel all comes from dar es salaam.- they just want to be a separate state-fullstop
-of course in the short to midterm it will mean total disaster for the zanzibar economy…but could they go it alone?
The islamic states like former colonisers Oman would support them in the short term with money…Dubai with food stuff and Saudi with fuel…
tourists would eventually dribble back…IN A FEW YEARS!- when everything is ruined…
-more agriculture and more taxes would come back to the island…
But it would turn Zanzibar into a pariah state… – then there is the gas finds offshore…they could eventually just buy electricity from the mainland…- even if sanctions were to drain them in the short term…
maybe the chinese would build a power station and they could import the coal…or they could turn to solar and wind energy…but that is doubtful…and 80% of the GDP comes from tourists – the majority of whom are from Europe, South Africa and America.And they could carry on with their own way of life- without interference from the mainland…in fact they have already started issuing ID cards for Zanzibar – from the 15th of October… and yes, some hotel operators would be allowed to stay…
But in the short term… there would be total utter chaos-
even when we went to the fish market in the evening – it was only half full-
-certainly the american embassy is already edgy- it’s released an emergency message to its citizens to be aware of the sudden changes in the political situation.
Would Zanzibar suffer?
Yes , with the international tourists …yes… except for the Arabic tourists… that would carry on…. as normal…but you certainly could NOT rely on this market to sustain the economy…
What should the Tanzanian president do?
He has two options.
1. DO NOTHING AND LET IT BLOW OVER- SEND PATROLS TO KEEP THE PEACE ON THE STREETS.
BUT DO NOTHING.ABSOLUTELY NOTHING…ACCEPT IT AS INEVITABLE.
2. DO SOMETHING. JULES NYRERE KICKED IDI AMIN OUT OF UGANDA AFTER ITS STUPIDITY…
IT COST HIM…BUT HE DID IT AND WAS SUCCESSFUL.THEY COULD SANCTION THE ISLAND FOR A WEEK OR TWO… ARREST ALL THE AGENTS PROVOCATEURS… AND SEND IN THE MAINLAND ARMY AND POLICE TO KEEP THE PEACE. ALSO HE COULD GET PROPAGANDA TEACHERS TO COUNTER THE CLERICS ARGUMENTS AND DESTROY THEM.HE COULD PUT HIS FOOT DOWN AND SAY: “NO MORE!”you are married to us whether you like it or not…
MY BELIEF IS THAT HE SHOULD DO SOMETHING AND DO IT SOON
…NIP IT IN THE BUD…DOING NOTHING IS NOT AN OPTION…THEY BURNED DOWN 3 CHURCHES IN MAY…AND THIS IS THE THIRD TIME THERES BEEN TROUBLES FOR TIN TIN IN TOY TOWN!!!
MAYBE HE SHOULD EVEN SEND IN THE ARMY TO ARREST THESE MUTINEEERS…BANG EM UP!
Later that night I went with my Polish friend to the market… it was still a mess and patrols of helmeted armed soldiers were patrolling every 5 minutes…
I WENT TO BUY CIGARETTES LATER THAT NIGHT – and , I gave a big note- I didn’t have change……he went off and came back saying he was ripped off…
that didn’t wash with me… I don’t SHIT my pants either when there’s a hostile crowd… I eventually got the money after 30 minutes of negotiations. This is business – not politics… I want my change and I want it now!- I stood my ground…Eventually – I got it…that’s opportunism for you…the bugger thought he could rip me off because there was no law and order…
looking at the mess all around me I said: “THIS IS AFRICA!” -T-I-A
BUT IS IT? SINCE MAY ..THEY’VE BURNED DOWN 4 CHURCHES…
One thing I believe now… is this… God is GREAT!- this will eventually come right… but it wont blow over- ITS A SIMMERING POT THAT IS GOING TO BOIL OVER UNLESS THE LID IS TAKEN OFF… it is time for the president OF TANZANIA to arrest the ones causing all this trouble and incarcerate THEM…!- xenophobia- even to your own…is a form of apartheid… and this MUST STOP…
WE LIVE IN ONE AFRICA… AND ZANZIBAR IS AFRICAN!
Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Unrest in Stone Town (Zanzibar) and Dar es Salaam
Religious Violence; Political Violence
Africa > Tanzania > Dar es Salaam
Stone Town: The U.S. Embassy alerts U.S. citizens that Tanzanian authorities and local media report demonstrations, roadblocks, tire burning, rock throwing, and rioting in the Darajani, Mbuyuni, and Kisonge districts of Stone Town, Zanzibar this afternoon. Demonstrators are upset due to the apparent disappearance of a Muslim cleric in Stone Town.
Dar es Salaam: Police report a crowd is gathering at Police Headquarters on Ohio Street in central Dar es Salaam, demanding the release of a radical cleric who was arrested with 38 other Muslim clerics this morning. There is also a report of unrest in Mbagala, south of Dar es Salaam
These are fluid situations that may change rapidly. Avoid these areas until the situation has returned to normal and continue to monitor local media for updates.
We encourage U.S. citizens to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for the most up-to-date safety and security information. Keep all of your information in STEP up-to-date by maintaining your current phone numbers and email addresses where you can be reached in case of an emergency.
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UPDATE: THE SECOND DAY OF UNREST IN ZANZIBAR… TOURISTS ARE LEAVING THE ISLAND LIKE LEMMINGS AS I AWAKE TO THE EXPLOSIONS OF WHAT APPEARS TO BE EXPLOSIONS…HOME MADE BOMBS OF SOME KIND OR SOMETHING OF THE KIND. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE TWITS?- DO THEY WANT TO BANKRUPT THIS ISLAND? BUT THERE SEEMS TO BE AN ALMOST FESTIVE REVOLUTIONARY ATMOSPHERE IN THE AIR…OH I LOVE AFRICA… I REALLY DO.
Some further excerpts from mails received:
I never reply to posts but really this is getting ridiculous.
Some people are talking about the rioters destroying their “own economy”… More than half of the people in Zanzibar do not benefit from the “economy”, the foreign investment or the tourism industry. Please do not answer with: it’s the corruption, the un-education, blablabla… We all know the situation in Zanzibar. As an investor, I also get worried when there are riots or any kind of unrest on the island but let’s get real here. We are worried about “our” economy and “our” investment as we are here to make money. I am not justifying the rioters behavior because it does hurt the reputation of Zanzibar and the Zanzibaris. We all realize it. The ones who are really suffering right now are the people whose shops are closed or worst being looted, the children who can’t go to school, etc. Most of us are just seating at home or in the office blathering. Yes that’s what it is!
We, as residents have to stay calm. It is natural to be worried/nervous/anxious but we shouldn’t fuel in the fear and paranoia. When people who just arrived start analyzing the local situation just because they have been to Zimbabwe, South Africa or some other troubled country, it is just not right… Not to say revolting. There is more to Zanzibar and it’s complex situation than that 2 cents “Tin Tin” article.
Awaiting heated reactions.
Be safe and take it easy!
- Zanzibar’s Cabinet Reshuffled By Their President Earlier This Week! (karibublogdotcom.wordpress.com)
- Zanzibar Enchanting Archipelago (cliviavogel.wordpress.com)
- ZANZIBAR: Muslim savages put Christians in peril there, too (oyiabrown.com)
- The turquoise waters of Zanzibar! – Kaskazini A, Tanzania (travelpod.com)
- Asante Sana – Zanzibar, Tanzania (travelpod.com)