Out of Africa–On Guns

IMG_4815Over the next few weeks, I will continue to post a few lingering thoughts from my recent trip to Mozambique, Africa. This post is on guns.

I was comparing the gun situation in Mozambique to the massive gun problem they have in the US, where guns are entrenched in their culture. South Africa is very close by, and shares that dubious distinction of also being one of the most violent countries in the world, clinging stubbornly to their right to bear arms, refusing to evolve.

Mozambique is certainly not a crime-free country by any stretch, but widespread gun ownership and use does not appear one of their problems. Is it because of the people themselves, is it because they can’t afford them, or is it because there is strict access to them (you must make a case for why you need one)?

My sense is that it may be a combination of the latter two, and that easy and inexpensive access would lead to gun mayhem in Mozambique, just as it is in the US and South Africa.

For the past 30 years or so, Mozambique has basically been a peaceful country, having had more than its share of violence, and yet their flag features an AK47, the only country in the world to do so. I find it sickening. And primitive. Is there no other way to symbolize independence?Flag_of_Mozambique.svg[1]

9 thoughts on “Out of Africa–On Guns

  1. Thank you for the information about Mozambique. I didn’t know about that history with guns there. I agree that the flag is bizarre at best: a terrible combination of nationalism and its link to violence. I weep for my country most, though. The “wild west” started this crazed gun, and now it continues as it is encouraged by violence as entertainment on our television and in our movies.

  2. “the massive gun problem they have in the US …”

    Guns are not the primary problem in the US. Drugs and gangs are. The homicide/violence issues are largely in the ghettos where blacks and Hispanic gangs are fighting for turf and dealing drugs. The rest of the US has a gun and violence rate comparable to Europe. And the homicide rate right now in the US is reaching epic _LOW_ levels not seen since the 1960s – half or less than what it was in the 1990s.


    • Thnak you for the response lwk. I do not live in the US, and certainly do not have all the facts. Nor do I understand the gun culture. But it does seem that relatively easy access to guns–in the US and elsewhere–is a major factor for people who commit crimes. Perhaps for those in particular who cannot control their violent impulses.

  3. It would appear that even their own people agree with you, Jonathan. Below is what I found after some quick research. Perhaps what the gun symbolizes (their struggle for independence) is important – some might see it as politically incorrect, others might be inclined to disagree. It’s always good to know the big picture, and yes, it sends out the wrong message to most of us, who equate guns with violence.

    “In 2005, a competition was held to design a new flag for Mozambique. Mozambique’s parliamentary opposition would specifically like to see removed from the flag the image of the Kalashnikov assault rifle, which symbolizes the nation’s struggle for independence, according to press reports. The proposition of a new flag was rejected by the FRELIMO-led parliament in December 2005. 169 proposed flags were turned down, including the current flag without the rifle.”

    • Thanks for the follow-up Lorrie. Frelimo has been in power since independence, with no real alternative. Corruption is rampant, although it has not always been that way. Many of those that want to change the system are assassinated.

  4. It’s entirely too easy to get a gun here in the US.. I could go out right now, scour the streets and bet you a silver dollar within a few hours I would have any kind of gun I wanted..It’s a terrible situation here and then we shake our heads on why there are so many deaths at the hands of guns..

    • People in future generations will look back on us and shake their heads on how we lived our lives, conducted ourselves, what we did to each other, and our planet. We are not evolved or civilized, although we like to think we are.

  5. I cannot believe in a modern society, people will still use what are considered politically charged words such as ‘primitive’ in the context of Africa to describe a country or what it may stand for. Before you see this comment as a baseless attack on your blog, please just have a quick scan…even using google about the politics behind the word ‘primitive’ when used to describe people from Africa.If you see nowt wrong with it then I guess we have to agree to disagree. I just thought I would say something in case you did not realise how offensive some people may find the word ‘primitive’.

    • Hi Peter and thanks for your comment. It was not meant to offend. I understand your reaction to the word “primitive.” And I also understand that this and other many other words may be politically charged. I use it in the sense of “not evolved,” and would argue that there are many countries, including Canada and the US, that adhere to customs, traditions, and practices that are not in their best interest, and do nothing to advance their people and societies. Surely their are better ways to solve conflict than shooting each other, and promoting violence as a way to solve problems.

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