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NC man: 'We need a stable Africa'

Posted January 18, 2013

— Pete Strzok’s pine-shaded home in North Carolina is a long way from Mali. But the Pinehurst resident is drawn to that place and all of West Africa.

For more than 30 years, the retired Army officer has traveled repeatedly to the region as president of the nonprofit group Agency to Facilitate the Growth of Rural Organizations, which does development projects in rural areas.

Strzok said everyone should be concerned about what is happening in Mali, where Islamic insurgents have seized control of the northern part of the country.

“We need Africa,” Strzok said. “We need a stable Africa. Poverty drives people to desperation.”

He sees that desperate drive now in the news coming out of Timbuktu. Radical Islamist rebels, many backed by al-Qaeda, are imposing sharia law, a brutally strict form of Islam. Strzok says nothing-to-lose young people are drawn to these rebel groups and the glory of waging a holy war.

“It’s gruesome,” he said. “And the people are not used to this. This is not West Africa. West Africa is a country of hospitality.”

It was also a country with a proven democracy – one of the few in Africa. But the president was overthrown last year after an ethnic insurgency.

Africa should not be ignored, no matter how deeply troubled its past, Strzok said.

“That’s the great conceit, the great terrible belief that it is a country, a continent that can’t really be saved. So, let it go down the slippery slope,” he said.

Strzok said government corruption breeds the poverty that breeds the madness. It's a cycle that must stop.

“We have allowed the national governments to remain corrupt or become even more corrupt, and we don’t’ have the guts globally – whether it’s the World Bank or UN agencies – to insist on accountability,” he said.


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  • itsnotatumah Jan 22, 2013

    What we need is a stable US.

  • kermit60 Jan 22, 2013

    kmt- If the president was so much for small business why did he spend hundreds of billions bailing out the big ones? Why is it that most of the things he is for, Obama Care and Taxing the rich more do nothing but hurt the small buisness owners. He is not for any business. he is only concerned with more government control.

  • kmt Jan 22, 2013

    Its sad because the economy stabilizes when poor folk like us spend all of our money and give it to the rich. If we all started saving, the economy would collapse. Only way to secure your family's future is to ban with other commoners and start your own businesses. SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES AND TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR COMMUNITIES!!! This has been the President's message since day 1. Unfortunately, these larger companies have become too big to fail. Because you have a piece of them in your retirement accounts. People, please learn to be self-sufficient and stop supporting the same companies that seek to drive you out of business.

  • kermit60 Jan 22, 2013

    Islamic extremists in Africa. Where are there not Islamic extremists? The problem will never be fixed because no one will take the steps necessary to fix it. Like roaches, if you leave just a few alive they will multiply. The only way to truly fix the problem is to exterminate all the extremists. No amount of money, negotiations, aid or talk will solve the problem.

  • superman Jan 21, 2013

    It wont be long before the USA is in the same fix. Millions of people here are out of work and no hope of ever finding a job. Our people are getting desperate. None of us will live long enough to see America become strong. Our president will soon be appointed by the Chinese who now own us. People will come here from China to see the inauguration. The first Chinese president should draw a large crowd.

  • itsyoureternalsoul Jan 21, 2013

    Sorry. Stable Africa and Jihad will never meet

  • Crumps Br0ther Jan 21, 2013

    How much money do we waste there already?

  • tiffanyruth Jan 18, 2013

    Romney was also right on the Chrysler comment, but of course, media will never admit it. Obama is always right.

  • Fun Jan 18, 2013

    Think back to the Presidental debate, who brought Mali up a new concern for terrorism ? Mitt Romney.