Sunday, March 9, 2008

Viktor Bout arrested, Paul Salopek article disappears?

I usually like to stay away from heavy hitting news. It's...well, heavy. I do, however, have an obsession with Africa. This morning I was reading my Chicago Tribune, and found a fascinating article on page 14, by Paul Salopek(the Tribune's African correspondent) about the Arrest of Russian arms-dealer Viktor Bout.

The article is about the 8-year-long track of Bout by Paul. It was about how this bloodbath inducing arms-dealer of Africa (coined the "Lord of War") has been arrested in Thailand. Viktor Bout was described in this article as a "twisted genius" and it links him with FARC, Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Now, my interest in all of this is two fold. For one, I love to try to understand and pay more attention to what is going on in the world. I think it is important to see Africa and its problems, far deeper than the commercialized (but helpful) campaigns of "Go RED" and Oprah's South African school for girls. So I jumped online to find the electronic version of the article to share. I googled...nope. I went to the Chicago Tribune website...nope.

I searched the name of the article and its author and got a link that took me to a "Page Not Found" Hmm..curious. Maybe it slipped through editing. ( nothing slips through editing), or maybe it just happens to be the ONE article on the March 9th electronic version (with all the other articles present) that didn't get linked properly? Who knows. I do know, it's peculiar, like Anderson Cooper's deep breaths between sentences, or Webkinz.

So, here you are...The article ended with a provocative 2 paragraphs. Paul Salopek writes:

"Readers often write asking why Africa seems forever to be embroiled in mayhem and violence. The reasons are complex. But the fact that the U.S and the old Soviet Union dumped mountains of weaponry into the world's poorest continent during the Cold War- a lethal trade allegedly taken up with gusto by Bout, for sheer profit, not ideology-- is surely part of the answer.

Seeing Bout handcuffed on TV, I am reminded how remarkably young he is. Just 41- and how he will have his day in court, an accounting of Africa's vicious wars, long enabled by cynical outsiders, will never be afforded. "

If you don't believe me, try it yourself. Look for "Cause for cheer in war-torn Africa" -the name of the article. If I am wrong, and you get it...hooray, you can read the article. I'm not making any statements about accuracy, or free speech, or digging too deep, just saying...It's weird. Happy Sunday.

And, man if you are a first time reader of mine...just bounce on without looking around, the chances that the rest of these pages are for you, are about as slim as Nicole Richie when she stops nursing.

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