Wednesday, December 21, 2011

No News is Good News

WACCA JAWACCA - At least that's how the saying goes.  But is it true?  We have heard little from the government since the elections.  President Jujubee Shakerattl'n'roll, a tribal medicine man from the southeastern provinces, has taken office and now sits at the head of the most modern government Yerbouti has ever had.  Interim President General Charles Robert Aygotcha has returned to his regular position of Butt-Kicker-in-Chief of the Combined Defense Forces.  Jones Dimpel-T'shad is packing up the election materials and dreading the next national elections in two years.  The people of Yerbouti are waiting for the other shoe to fall. 

The big news is the fall of the Crazy Colonel, H'wakhy K'Dhaffy, in the country to the north.  Although locals are still reporting that they occasionally see him wandering the desert seeking shelter and food in exchange for some little green books, the international rumor is that he was offed by his own people who finally got tired of his shenanigans.  So much for the policy of "dar dar, bait, bait, zenga, zenga."  Yerbouti is expecting much more peaceful relations with the new government now.  Unless another bunch of zanies takes over.

The renovation of Yerbouti's heavy military equipment is complete and made its debut in training manuevers in the desert, doubling as protective patrols.  The World War II-era vehicles were dredged up from the bowels of the fabled Warehouse 51 located at Fort Don'wannagohdeh where they had been mothballed by the French colonial army who knows how long ago.  The equipment was restored to combat readiness with the help of Honest Abdul's General Goods and Military Surplus, located in the Sultanate of Ifat.  General Aygotcha stated that "we appreciate the help of the government of Ifat expediting the exportation of various parts for our military hardware to help us prepare ourselves against enemies foreign and domestic.  So you countries eyeballing our beautiful lands better watch yourselves.  Or else."  Next up, the equipment will be repainted as soon as it returns from maneuvers.

The section sergeant reports in after arriving on station in the
 borderland where the desert meets the savanah.

The early morning patrol gets underway.

Two soldiers depart their armored personnel carrier.

The Kathy Lee Sweatshop Project is running right on schedule and will shortly be ready to open its doors to Yerbouti's workers, producers of high quality goods for export.  The building itself is almost finished and the company is simply awaiting the latest-model sewing machines it ordered from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the fabric to get the workers started in production.  Applications are now being taken.  Please apply in person.  Foreigners need not apply.  Finance Minister Shomy da'Muny believes this project and its spin-offs will triple or even quadruple the miserable economy of Yerbouti. 

An example of the modern sewing machines
ordered from the Democratic People's Republic of
Korea.  Picture from an informational brochure.


This just in: President Jujubee Shakerattl'n'roll has returned from his retreat to the wilderness where he was seeking a vision of the future of our grand country.  We didn't even know he was gone.  Still in a trance-like state, the president mumbled to our reporter, "The leopard has been killed.  The lemurs are playing in the trees.  The lion will eat the gazelle."  OK.  We're not sure what any of that means, but it's obviously going to be interesting around here for a while.

Coming at you from Wacca Jawacca, it's 'What's Happening in Yerbouti?'.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Election Results Released

That's right - you read it here first!  The results of Yerbouti's first national democratic election has been released by the government.  Jones Dimpel-T'shad, Manager of Election Services is breathing a sigh of relief.  The elections are over and have come off without a hitch, despite the threats from various fringe elements to wreak havoc on the day of the elections.  Interim President General Charles Robert Aygotcha congratulated Mr. Dimpel-T'shad on his success and is looking forward to turning over national authority to the rightful president of Yerbouti in a change of power ceremony in the coming month which will also see the swearing in of the new Parliament.  And now, the long awaited results showing the party, % of popular vote, seats won in Parliament and a reminder of their primary platform:

Colonial Party: 21.26%, 11 seats (seeks a return of French colonization)
Good Juju Party: 22.71%, the winners of the election, 11 seats (seeks the
     leadership and wisdom of Jujubee Shakerattl'n'roll, a tribal medicine man in
     the southeastern provinces)
Hezeb al-Neby: 4.83%, 2 seats (seeks an Islamic state and the Sharia)
Kathy Lee Party: 13.04%, 7 seats (seeks the presidency of Kathy Lee Gifford)
Labor Party: 7.25%, 4 seats (as there will soon be labor in Yerbouti, seeks to jump on the band wagon)
Loyalist Party: 6.76%, 3 seats (seeks to return the pre-Civil War regime to the presidency)
Nationalist Party: 10.14%, 5 seats (seeks to keep General Aygotcha in the presidency)
Tribal Party: 14.01%, 7 seats (seeks the end of governmental authority and the return to tribal leadership)

In the form of a brief analysis, even though the Good Juju Party has a plurality, it does not hold a majority of seats and will have to form coalitions with other parties to accomplish pretty much anything in Parliament.  While they will receive considerable support from the Tribal Party, this support still does not give them a majority and it is commonly supposed that the more established (such as they are) parties will be cautious to combine with them as they are most definitely a regional party focused on their own interests. 

The victory of the Good Juju Party was something of a shock to the national system.  Most analysts considered General Aygotcha a shoo-in, though some foresaw tough competition from Kathy Lee, who, by the way, has not been heard from since her nomination to the presidency although construction of the sweatshop which will be producing her clothing lines for American consumers continues on schedule in the outskirts of the national capitol, Wacca Jawacca.

For his part, General Aygotcha is happy to be returning to his rightful role as Big Daddy of the Yerbouti Combined Defense Forces.  While appreciative of the support of the Nationalist Party, he is more at home with his troops than in the big city of Wacca Jawacca.  "Yerbouti needed a strong man to get them over this hump, but can now revert to civilian authority and the leadership of a crazy man.  Fortunately, I will remain at my post as Head Honcho of the CDF and will be here to pick up the pieces next time as well," our microphones caught General Aygotcha telling his supporters off camera at a post election rally.

When asked for comment the Good Juju responded, "Let the good times roll!"  And good times there are in Yerbouti's future as jobs and trade will begin to flow and the country profits from its global connections. 

In other news, the Sultanate of Ifat has announced that it is sponsoring the training of Bongolesian rebels by a Russian officer.  We sense that this does not bode well for Bongolesia, the Sultanate of Ifat or the rebels!

This is "What's Happening in Yerbouit?" signing off until next time.  Coming at ya from Wacca Jawacca.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Elections Successfully Completed!

Editor's Note: We apologize for the delay in the elections.  It seems that Jones Dimpel-T'shad, Manager of Election Services, was so busy teaching our citizens about democracy that he forgot to ensure that the ballots and ballot boxes were in place.  He received a stern talking to from Interim President Robert Aygotcha.

Aryn al-Ibn Aawa:  The national elections came off without a hitch this week, and without the wholly unexpected violence that usually accompanies these sorts of things in this part of the world. 

The Carter Center agree that it was an unusually successful third-world election.  Robert Kransninski, graduate student in political science at the University of California - Berkeley and Carter Center observer, reported having a wonderful time assisting with the Yerbouti elections.  He described the residents as "polite, friendly and very helpful."  He was especially impressed with the sincerity of the Yerboutians and their desire to hold secure elections.  Robert, who spent the day in the northern village of Aryn al-Ibn Aawa, told us that "Throughout the day, armed men guarded the polling place from danger and even escorted residents to the polls to ensure their safety.  I have never seen anything like it.  Yerbouti is the best!"

Robert was kind enough to snap pictures of the election in
Aryn al-Ibn Aawa for us.  Here, armed men are ensuring the
safety of local residents as they are escorted to the polls. 

We have to agree.  Yerbouti is the best!

The election results are still being tabulated and will not be released for some days.  But locally, we were amazed to learn that Hezeb al-Neby received 100% of the vote here in Aryn al-Ibn Aawa.  The people seem to be of one mind in this remote desert village.

Stay tuned for your election results.  We are all waiting with baited breath.  Who will lead Yerbouti into the future?  We don't know yet.

This has been just one more edition of 'What's Happening in Yerbouti?' coming at you from Wacca Jawacca.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Yerbouti National Elections Special Edition

WACCA JAWACCA:  With the Yerbouti national elections coming up at the beginning of September, 'WHiY?' is going to give you the scorecard today so you can decide in advance which party you want to represent you in Parliament and in the presidential hotseat as Interim President General Robert Charles Aygotcha will step down as soon as the elections are concluded to resume his role as high mucka-mucka of the Combined Defense Forces.  In the end, eight political parties were able to get their Petitions to Represent submitted in time for the election deadline. 

The following parties will be on the ballot, along with a brief synopsis of their platform:

*Colonialist Party: Wants to return to being a French colony.
*Good Juju Party: Supports the teachings of a traditional shaman from southeastern Yerbouti.
*Hezeb al-Neby: Wants to make Yerbouti an Islamic state and institute Sharia.
*Kathy Lee Party: So excited that she is opening a sweatshop in Yerbouti that they want her for president.
*Labor Party: There is no labor in Yerbouti.  But since there soon will be they wanted to get an early start on the politics.
*Loyalist Party: Wants to return the former president to office.  If they can find him.  Early in the Civil War, he ran off to Syria with the national treasury of 250,000 pokah t'ships.
*Nationalist Party: Thinks that General Aygotcha is doing an outstanding job as president and wants to keep him as president.
*Tribal Party: Wants the dissolution of modern government and the return of all authority to the tribal elders and shiokh.

In preparation for the elections, Jones Dimpel-T'shad, named the nation's Manager of Election Services a month or so ago, has been frantically working to make sure everything runs smoothly and that Yerbouti has a fair election.  "And it better be fair," General Aygotcha once again warned the parties participating.  "Or else."

Part of Mr. Dimpel-T'shad's job has been to teach the locals about elections and what it means to cast a vote.  In the village of Juuji Frute, Mr. Dimpel-T'shad explains the process to the residents.  "It's very simple," he said.  "All you have to do is put a pencil mark on the paper next to the name of the group that you want to run the country and then fold the paper up and put it in the box."  That does sound very simple.  "Not every one can win, but all of the parties will be represented in Parliament."  Concerned residents made faces indicating their displeasure with that statement.  "We will then collect the boxes, count the ballots, and name the winner after a suitably dramatic amount of time has passed," he concluded.

Mr. Dimpel-T'shad also announced in a special press conference held in Wacca Jawacca that Yerboutian ex-patriots will be eligible to vote in the elections.  All they have to do is watch The Miniatures Page Polls section in the coming week for the ballot and they will be able to vote once their identities have been verified. 

This has been another special edition of 'What's Happening in Yerbouti?' coming at you from Wacca Jawacca.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The French Foreign Legion in Yerbouti

WACCA JAWACCA:  We are receiving unsubstantiated reports that elements of the French Foreign Legion are patroling areas of Yerbouti unsupported by either Yerbouti's officer candidate or recruit trainees.  Neither FFL representatives nor the CDFY will comment on these reports.  Where they are operating - if they are operating - and what they are doing no one knows.

His Excellency, President-for-Life P'hat Daddee B'wonah of Bongolesia expressed concern that France was trying to reestablish dominion over our fair country, referring to the French Legionaires as "possible hooligan mercenaries".  While we appreciate His Excellency's concern, Colonel Gnu Gobangbang, interim chief of the Combined Defense Forces, assured us that Yerbouti has a very strict understanding with France regarding the deployment of the Foreign Legion to our pristine land.  In fact, they have already dealt with some of the foreign military intervention which was not invited to Yerbouti following the civil war.  "And if [the Foreign Legion doesn't] leave when it's time to go, we will throw them out, too," he added, sending a stern warning to our French partners. 

Apparently having the Foreign Legion on the prowl has quieted things down a bit in the outlying regions and there has been no more food thievery recently.  On the other hand, the restoration of peace and quiet hasn't helped the economic situation, with the pokah t'ship having dropped to 1/4 of an American cent and holding.  However, with the decline of the pokah t'ship, negotiations with Kathy Lee Gifford to establish a sweatshop to produce her fashion line in the capital, Wacca Jawacca, were brought to a successful conclusion and work will soon begin on construction of the factory and training of the workers.  Details of the plan were leaked and indicate that the common workers will be paid 2 t'ships a day, with a bonus for those who exceed quotas on a regular basis - giving the lucky few who will be hired there double the annual income of the average Yerboutian laborer.

Yerboutians everywhere are gearing up for the first national elections in . . . so long that we don't know when they were last held.  In the frontier village of Fruta Dalume, Mag'wannah responded with "What are elections?" when asked if he was excited by the upcoming event, which will be accompanied by a national holiday.  Camilla asked "What is a holiday?"  At last count there were at least eight political parties registered with the election commission, and the Carter Center was contracted to oversee the balloting, thus ensuring fairness for all.

Coming at you from Wacca Jawacca, this has been another installment of 'What's Happening in Yerbouti?'.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Will Yerbouti Be Exploited?

WACCA JAWACCA:  In breaking news, Colonel Gnu Gobangbang, interim chief of the Combined Defense Forces of Yerbouti has released photographs of officer candidates on patrol with their French Foreign Legion trainers.  Spirits are high as they trudge through the sands of the desert, grasses of the savannah and forest of the forest helping to secure their country and countrymen from the recent wave of violence that has threatened Yerbouti, and learning on the job at the same time. 

The neat lines of the patrol strung out in the desert waste.

Two of our officer candidates on patrol.

"The men of the CDF are excited to do exercises while contributing to the overall security of their homeland," explained Major Claude Roquefort, commander of the FFL troops in Yerbouti.  "And I even believe they would fight if they had to," he added hopefully.  "Of course they would fight," Interim President General Robert Aygotcha interjected.  "If they don't, the sissy girlie-men will not like the consequences.  Death in battle would be preferable."

In other news, Ai'tok U'lisn, Yerbouti's Foreign Minister, revealed that the government has entered into negotiations with the United States and Great Britain for a geologic survey team to explore Yerbouti for any mineral wealth that might be used to boost its economy.  The team is expected to begin its survey in the next several months.  A foreign scientist involved in the negotiations confided, "If we can find a way to exploit Yerbouti, we will."

This has been another update from "What's Happening in Yerbouti?" coming at you from Wacca Jawacca.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Another Mixed Week for Yerbouti

WACCA JAWACCA - With the exception of a couple of incidents this week, quiet has once again fallen over our pristine country.  In the north, gunmen are becoming more brazen in their attempts to get to food supplies.  A repeat of the previous daylight heist of food stores occurred this week along with a failed attempt to hijack a UN convoy.  The convoy was unguarded, but the gunmen were obviously beginners and simply stopped the convoy on the road rather than building a barricade to block it.  When he realized what was happening, the convoy master simply sped away from the gunmen followed by his trucks of food.  Interim President General Aygotcha was so angered by this brazenness he almost spluttered when he threatened, "Just wait until my army is once again trained and up to top notch performance.  Then we will see who gets the beans around here!"  The military commander of the UN peacekeeping force stated that perhaps his forces should occasionally accompany the food convoys for safekeeping.

We have received information this week that the CDF's Foreign Legion trainers have begun taking their trainees on patrols in the countryside to teach them real world operations and tactics.  Are these strictly training missions?  Or are they a preemptive attempt to keep control of Yerbouti's peacefulness?

With the rise in food thievery and the attendant threat of violence, Finance Minister Shomy da'Muny sadly announced that the pokah t'ship, Yerbouti's official currency, has dropped to 3/8 of an American cent in international trading.  "Now we won't be able to buy so much," he solemnly informed his countrymen.

There is good news just around the corner, however.  Trade Minister Maik'n S'toff announced today that the government is in talks with Kathy Lee Gifford to open a sweat shop in Yerbouti's capital, Wacca Jawacca.  "Soon we will have many good jobs for our people," Minister S'toff proudly told the audience.  "It will be the first factory of its kind in Yerbouti.  Or of any kind, for that matter." 

Ms. Gifford speaking with our reporter in New York City

When we caught up with Kathy Lee, she told us, "When I heard how poor the people of Yerbouti were, I knew that I had to do something to help just like I helped the people of Honduras.  And Yerbouti is even less expensive than Central America!"

This has been another enlightening installment of 'What's Happening in Yerbouti?'  coming at you from Wacca Jawacca.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Trouble Brewing in Yerbouti

ARADIB BOOBOO:  Yerbouti was shaken Wednesday by an earthquake.  Centered in the Sultanate of Ifat, the 6.57 earthquake could be felt for quite a distance.  Here in Aradib Booboo, located 250 kilometers east of the capital Wacca Jawacca, resident M'gari said, "Earthquake?  We thought it was from eating the chicken gombo leftover from the community dinner last night."  The locals were relieved to learn it wasn't the chicken gombo leftovers.  We wish the best for our friends in Ifat.  Perhaps they would like some leftover chicken gombo.

In Wacca Jawacca, this week Interim President General Robert Aygotcha announced that elections would be held in early September.  The elections will include the presidency and all fifty seats, currently vacant, in the House of Government, Yerbouti's parliament.  The fifty seats cover Yerbouti's twenty-one governmental regions, with two or three representatives per region.  General Aygotcha also announced that he will not run for any position, president or otherwise, in the elections, and that he is looking forward to returning to his rightful position as big kahuna of the CDF. 

Hezeb al-Neby quickly declared its intention to field candidates for the elections on a platform of creating an Islamic state and instituting Sharia. A number of other parties likewise declared their intention to field candidates as well, each with their own pet platforms.   Other parties are in the process of forming and still have three weeks to declare before the ballots are finalized.  Interim President Aygotcha demanded of any parties desiring to enter the election that there will be no monkey business and promised "or else!".  He has also arranged for the Carter Center to observe the elections to ensure fairness and accuracy, an important consideration since many of the political parties are forming militas to back up their platforms.

In a masterful coup of journalistic reporting, 'WHiY?' has managed to discover who is responsible for training the officer candidates and recruits for the CDFY at Fort Don'wannagohdeh.  While working on another story, our reporter was able to surreptitiously snap this picture of a trooper from the French Foreign Legion conducting an exercise with Yerboutian trainees. 

A Legionnaire training Yerbouti's officer candidates

We knew it had to be an outside source training the CDF but could not have guessed who.  We have not seen the Foreign Legion in Yerbouti for many, many years but we are glad to see them here again, training our soldiers.  We know they will provide good solid training that will stand the CDF in good stead for years to come.  As long as we have good solid men to be trained.  Then again, the training might not last so long after all.

Elsewhere, we have recently begun hearing stories of food thievery in outlying villages.  At first, it was men sneaking into villages at night to try to pilfer a bag of rice or beans here and there.  But in the most recent incident reported to us, a truck with armed men drove into a desert village in broad daylight and took most of the food stores that the UN humanitarian mission had supplied to the village.  We find it appalling that such a thing could happen in Yerbouti.  These could only have been mischief makers from the country to the north of us or from Bamabar.  No Yerbouitian would do such a thing to his own people.  Interim President Aygotcha promised immedate action to protect the people of Yerbouti from such thievery as soon as he has a functioning army again.

This has been the latest news from 'What's Happening in Yerbouti?' coming at you from Wacca Jawacca.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

**WHiY? SPECIAL EDITION: The Geography of Yerbouti**

The country of Yerbouti is shaped roughly like a short, fat clown standing on his head, and tipping to the right a bit.  The country still retains roughly the same borders assigned to the French at the Berlin Conference in 1884 when the map of Africa was divided between the Europeans powers.  Split up with no consideration given to the cultural topography of the area, the country encompasses Arabs, dozens of native tribes, and (nowadays, at least) westernized Africans.  Languages spoken include Arabic, French, English and twenty or so native dialects.  Fortunately, though the country suffers from a particularly low literacy rate, most of its residents speak at least three languages so there is rarely a language barrier to hinder what trade there is. 

Yerbouti is bordered by five countries.  The most important is the country to the north ruled by that crazy colonel, H'wakhy K'dhaffy.  Although the colonel has his hands full at the moment, he is always a threat to his neighbors and by-products of the problems there are always likely to spill over into nearby lands.  To its west, Yerbouti adjoins Ipekakya, which is economically, politically and socially stable and contains, for a change, no major (or minor) threats to Yerbouti.  Ipekakya tries to be a good neighbor to its less fortunate friend, and it was Ipekakya that allowed the UN to stage relief convoys in its territory following the civil war.  To the southwest is another of its most important neighbors, the Republique du Moz, which, though fairly stable economically, harbors certain elements that no country wants to see invade its borders.  The Black Water River and the swamps which share the same name separate the Republique du Moz from Yerbouti, but trouble always seems to find its way across this forbidding waterway.  The exact border through the waterway between these two countries is a continuing source of contention.  To the southeast we find Goannaland.  Goannaland has had a troubled history and finds itself in the midst of rebellion, revolution or civil war every 10 years or so on average.  Bamabar, Yerbouti's neighbor to the east, is likewise a poor country, poorer even that Yerbouti.  Politically, economically and socially it is in complete chaos most of the time and so busy dealing with its own problems that it is of little consequence (at the moment at least) to Yerbouti, except for the occasional groups of refugees that find their way to Yerbouti's borders.  Most of the potential refugees came to realize during the civil war that Yerbouti was worse off than their own country in some ways and avoided it like the plague it was.  Now that the civil war has ended and prosperity, such as it is, has returned, so will the refugees, we are sure.

Yerbouti can be divided into three distinct bands.  The northern third lies in the Sahara (which, by the way, is Arabic for 'desert' so it's redundant to call it the Sahara Desert - that would be like calling it the 'Desert Desert').  In this region, farming and herding is minimal, and found only in the occasional oasis where natural springs rise to the surface and provide life sustaining water for the desert dwellers.  This area does harbor approximately 1/4 of the country's population, mostly made up of Muslim Arabs.  Below that, the middle third is grassland dotted with occasional stands of trees.  Here there is a good bit of farming and ranching, supporting about 3/8 of the population.  In this region, most of the inhabitants still live in their traditional tribes and follow their ancient animist ways, though some Christians and Muslims live among them.  The southern third of the country is forested and likewise contains about 3/8 of the population, mostly Christians, some live in tribal villages while others have adopted the modern life of the the city and regional centers.  There is a fair amount of agriculture and ranching in this region as well.  As can be seen, these geographic regions also serve to roughly define the cultural regions of the country.

The east central portion of the country is located in high plateau, which slopes gradually down in all directions forming, at its lowest point, the Black Water Valley.  A few tributaries of varying sizes feed the Black Water River from Yerbouti's side, but only one extends as far as the grasslands, and none to the desert north.  There are no mountains to speak of, but rolling hills do serve to break up the monotony of the landscape, and in the north central part of the country there is an odd topography created eons ago when rushing water cut meandering channels into the landform which remain to this day, forming a sort of rocky badlands region.

Wacca Jawacca, the capital of Yerbouti, is located between the grassland and forested regions in the western half of the country on the Ray'nbo River, a tributary of the Black Water River.  Wacca Jawacca is the only locale that could be considered a modern city by any stretch of the imagination.  It created untold excitement in the country when the first - well, only - stoplight was installed, and sightseers from the surrounding villages still stop to gawk at the flashing light when travelling to the big market in the city square.  There is a small handful of towns that have risen to the level of regional centers where government services can be obtained, but these in no way rival Wacca Jawacca.  In essence, aside from the capital virtually all population centers in Yerbouti could be considered little more than villages by western standards, and even Wacca Jawacca is little more than a town to most westerners.

As noted elsewhere, the economy is subsistence agriculture with a small surplus for trade.  Cattle and goats are herded for their meat, hides and milk.  Herds tend to the small size.  Honey bees are kept in most villages.  An abundance of vegetables are farmed in most villages as well.  Yerbouti has no cash crops, though there is some small scale farming of cotton strictly for local use.  What industry there is is cottage industry.  The official currency is the pokah t'ship, currently worth about 5/8 of an American cent in international trading, and the average household in Yerbouti earns about 250 t'ships per year.  The surplus of veggies and other small crops are generally sold to neighboring countries to earn the country its limited budget, most of which goes to the military and to paying government employees.  Despite the small population - or perhaps because of it - a significant percentage of the population works for the government in some capacity. 

We hope that this special edition of 'What's Happening in Yerbouti?' has given our readers some more insight into our beautiful, pristine homeland.  We will cover Yerbouti's history and mixed culture in future special editions.  We love Yerbouti and hope you will too when you get to know us.  Coming at you from Wacca Jawacca.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Phoenix Rises from the Ashes

WACCA JAWACCA:  Day after day, week after week, the progress in Yerbouti is heartening and hopefilled.  Interim President General Robert Aygotcha is pleased that everything is running so smoothly.  "My plans for Yerbouti are coming along nicely," he was overheard telling his cabinet.  "Soon life will return to normal for our simple people."

Agricultural Minister Wa'tah da Plance, announced that everything has gone well with the planting season and most regions are reporting that they have completed planting their local crops.  Some regions are already seeing plants rising from the soil and hopes are high for a successful season.  Since Yerbouti has two planting seasons, three for some crops, this could be the best year in history for Yerbouti's subsistence agriculture-based economy. 

Finance Minister Shomy da'Muny stated that the pokah t'ship, the official currency of Yerbouti, continues to be stable and has actually climbed to 5/8 of an American cent, back to where it was when international trading in the t'ship began a few weeks ago.  This stability further increased the hope of Yerboutians everywhere and astounded international analysts, who questioned the economic basis for stability of the t'ship.  "The Gross National Product of Yerbouti is virtually non-existent...always has been...and probably always will be!" a flabbergasted Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of the United States, blurted out in a press conference.  Minister da'Muny responded to this statement simply.  "Deh Yerbouti pokah t'ship isn't just a colored bit of plastic. As every citizen of Yerbouti knows, it has real value and you can buy t'ings wit' it."  The pokah t'ship comes in five color-coded denominations - the 1, 5, 10, 25, and 100, which correspond to the colors white, red, blue, green and black, respectively. 

A flabbergasted Alan Greenspan commenting on Yerbouti's economy

Colonel Gnu Gobangbang, interim chief of the Combined Defense Forces of Yerbouti, announced that the CDF has already formed two training classes of recruits and one of officer candidates and that these first 125 trainees have this week begun learning the military arts at Yerbouti's primary military base, Fort Don'wannagohdeh.  Again, international experts question how Yerbouti was able to get classes formed and in training so quickly and wonder who is training them.  Rumors abound, but little hard fact is known as Colonel Gobangbang is not answering questions on these issues. 

It is known that General Lok N'Lode, Commander of the Bongolesian National Defense Forces, with the approval of His Excellency, President-For-Life P'hat Daddee B'wonah, has offered military assistance to Yerbouti in the form of advisors, trainers and specialists.  In a statement from the general he offered, "In the spirit of international cooperation the military advisors of Bongolesia are only too willing to get to Yerbouti, and do what we need to have done to Yerbouti, before they get overrun by the destructive forces of those surrounding third world hell-holes, (and you know who you are)...We merely await the invitation to move ourselves into, and to help protect and enhance Yerbouti..."

Upon consultation, Interim President General Aygotcha and Colonel Gobangbang decided to politely decline this most generous offer made by the people of the African Nation of Bongolesia on the basis that "Yerbouti is already overrun with foreign military assistance, most of which was invited by the government, and excellent military advisors are already beginning to train the fledgeling CDFY."

Curiously, a spokesperson for the Sultanate of Ifat thought it necessary to warn the government of Yerbouti, that Bongolesia's offer was "a trick."  No further comment was made and we have been unable to uncover what was meant by this comment.   

Additionally, the CDF announced this week a stunning find at Fort Don'wannagohdeh.  While clearing barracks and warehouse space for the new training classes coming in, CDF soldiers discovered some old French military equipment which had been left here when the country abandoned its former colony.  Among the equipment found in the back of Yerbouti's famous Warehouse 51 behind piles of boxes, crates, garbage and broken materiel were two World War II-era American-built M3 Stuart tanks, an M8 HMC and three M3 halftracks, along with a few other miscellaneous vehicles.  Work will begin shortly on restoring these vehicles to operating condition and they will become the backbone of the CDF's First Combined Arms Battalion once recruits have been trained to operate them effectively. 

One of Yerbouti's M3 tanks at Fort Don'wannagohdeh.  Fabled
Warehouse 51 is shown in the background.

Now that the planting season is over and people have time on their hands, rumors of unrest are beginning to circulate as well.  In the north, Islamic radicals are said to be forming factions aimed at taking over the country and making it an Islamic state.  In the south and east, opposition parties are said to be forming, some with militias in order to give them support at the polls.  Trouble has also been reportedly brewing with the foreign military contingents which have entered Yerbouti under the auspices of protecting it in the power vaccuum that formed after the end of the civil war.  All of this is, of course, rumor, but hopefully we will soon uncover what is really going on in Yerbouti.  Interim President Aygotcha issued the following declaration in response to our questions: "Any parties forming militant factions in the Republic of Yerbouti with the intention of overthrowing this, or any other legit gov'mint of this country, will be dealt with swiftly and harshly as soon as we once again have a trained military force available to us." 

Coming back at you from Wacca Jawacca, this has been another installment of 'What's Happening in Yerbouti?'

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Everything's Coming Up Roses in Yerbouti

CDFY Reestablished; Economy Still Progressing - Yerbouti is in Fine Shape

N'jamma Jamma:  Life continues to improve for the residents of Yerbouti as UN convoys roll throughout the country delivering their goodies to towns and villages.  The summer crop is mostly planted and in some areas, sprouts are beginning to show their green, leafy heads above the soil.  Village women in their bright native clothing are smiling again as children run barefoot through the streets happily yelling and calling to their friends.  Little Anthony in the town of N'jamma Jamma, southeast of the capital, giggles delightedly.  Today is a good day for him.  He received a new shirt for his birthday and despite being the smallest boy in his school, he gets to be General Aygotcha, Yerbouti's interim president, as the children play civil war at recess. 

Anthony, on the left, playing General Aygotcha with an older schoolmate

In the latest news from the capital city, Wacca Jawacca, the renamed Combined Defence Forces of Yerbouti (CDF or CDFY) are again taking applications for recruits and officers.  Recruiting was temporarily suspended following the termination of the civil war hostilities while the armed forces reorganized.  Colonel Gnu Gobangbang, chief of the Combined Defense Forces until elections are held and General Aygotcha can return to his rightful place as head of the Army, told us in an interview that "serving in the Combined Armed Forces, now the Combined Defence Forces, of Yerbouti will now be a fine upstanding tradition for the young men of this great country."  There are super benefits, he added, such as learning a trade, getting paid to do something you love, or even just being clothed and fed.  Finally, he recommended that all the young men of Yerbouti "visit your local recruiting office now and sign up before we have to come to visit you.  Things will go smoother that way."

The CDF plans to split what is left of its land forces and use them as a nucleus for a presidential guard and two combined arms battalions.  It hopes to have the first of the two battalions fully trained and fielded within a couple of months, despite the lack of equipment.  Advisors and analysts suggest that this could be a very difficult proposition to achieve successfully, but Interim President General Aygotcha and Colonel Gobangbang have both brushed off nay-sayers as "rebels and opposition in sheep's clothing."  In a joint press conference, the 52-year-old General Aygotcha, who has nearly 40 years of active military service clarified that "training the Army is not the difficult part.  Arming the Army is not the difficult part, though it is expensive and will take approximately 72% of the nation's annual budget for the next three years.  Making the Army stay on the battlefield and fight rather than running away like girlie-men is the difficult part."

We would also like to congratulate former chief economist Shomy da'Muny on his elevation last week to the post of Finance Minister.  He is the latest to join President Aygotcha's cabinet and so far he is doing a bang-up job as the pokah t'ship continues to hover around 1/2 of an American cent in international trading.  "It is important to have a stable value to our national currency," Minister da'Muny explained to fellow Yerboutians.  "That way, we can continue to buy things."  He clearly has a superior grasp of economics. 

This has been yet another installment of 'What's Happening in Yerbouti?' coming at you from Wacca Jawacca. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Aid Making a Difference; Army Reforming*

With the UN now able to get food to most of Yerbouti's citizens, the Army has announced that it is in the process of reforming and will soon be taking on new recruits and candidates. 

Juuji Frute: There has been surprisingly little trouble for the UN convoys and other humanitarian aid traveling the dusty roads of Yerbouti as they deliver food supplies to towns and villages throughout the war torn country.  Here in Juuji Frute, a village of a few hundred residents located about three hundred kilometers northeast of the capital, two of the familiar white trucks pull into the village square.  The village women turn out in droves to help unload the trucks and quickly pile sacks of beans, rice, flour, sugar, salt and other staples in a communal building designated to hold the supplies.  This food will supply the village for the coming month or two, during which time crops will be planted and life will begin to return to normal. 

Village resident J'ronga talking with one of our reporters

"We will be well fed during planting season," says J'ronga, the stocky woman who seems to have taken charge of the process.  "In no time, our husbands, those lazy good-for-nothings, will return to the village as well."  Most of the men, it seems, all ran off during the civil war.  They have not been seen or heard of for years.

*     *     *     *     *

In other news, the Yerboutian government in Wacca Jawacca has announced that it will soon be ready to begin training recruits for the Army and the National Police again.  Further announcements will be made as to where interested parties should report for examination.  The Combined Armed Forces of Yerbouti, once composing several thousand men and including land, air and naval units, was ravaged in the civil war and along with the rebel armies lost most of its men and equipment.

Foreign militaries have moved troops into Yerbouti to help keep the peace while the country is in the process of rebuilding.  Most of them have been invited by the government of Yerbouti, including UN forces from a variety of countries. 

"We are very pleased at the rate of redevelopment," Buta Moutaheditha, spokesperson for Interim President Charles Aygotcha, told our reporter.  "Within a year we will be able to sustain ourselves and defend ourselves once again, until the next crisis."  Chief economist Shomy da'Muny reported that the pokah t'ship, the national currency of Yerbouti, is already once again showing a positive value and is registering at 5/8 of an American cent per t'ship in international trading.  "It is very inspiring," he stated, clearly close to tears with national pride.

*We apologize to our dear readers for the delay in publication.  The local energy crisis has delayed our ability to publish on a regular basis although intended as a weekly journal.  If the energy issues continue, we may have to return to using hand presses for publication.  Thank you for your support.

Coming at you from Wacca Jawacca, this has been What's Happening in Yerbouti?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

UN Humanitarian Mission Reaches Yerbouti

Wacca Jawacca:  Reports indicate that a promised United Nations Humanitarian Mission to Yerbouti has reached the border and is now entering the country from neighboring Ipekakya.  This assistance will allow more people to be fed so that they can get the country's crops in the ground, thus restoring what little of its economy there is in as little time as possible. 
UN convoy entering Yerbouti

The United Nations had also sent the Hospital Ship Safety to Yerbouti's assistance.  The ship had to turn back, however, when it was unfortunately discovered that Yerbouti is a land-locked country.

The Safety enroute to Yerbouti

"We honestly had no idea Yerbouti had no port," Dr. Albert de Fromage was heard to comment.  UN officials offered their regrets and promised redoubled efforts to get additional assistance to the country in a timely fashion. 

In other news, General Aygotcha is advancing diplomatic discussions with the African Nation of Bongolesia, the Sultanate of Ifat, and Nova Caledonia de Coahuila y Tejas, three of the many nations that immediately welcomed Yerbouti back to the international spotlight.  The general indicated his willingness to open trade negotiations if the countries are willing and is preparing to meet personally with His Excellency, President-For-Life P'hat Daddee B'wonah and other ministers of the African Nation of Bongolesia as soon as His Excellency is able to free some time from dealing with the economic and financial crisis which is looming over his country.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Yerbouti is Now Open for Business

Wacca Jawacca: The Democratic Republic of Yerbouti, or just plain Yerbouti, is now open for business - or should we say, reopened for business.  Located in north central Africa - just south of that country where the crazy colonel himself, H'wakhy K'dhaffy, rules the roost -  the Democratic Republic of Yerbouti is finally beginning to recover from years of violent civil war that created the train wreck that is now the country's society and economy.

The multi-sided civil war was fought between various unspecified political factions, each sporting its own militia like some sort of fashion accessory, Islamic radicals (who actually do know how to accessorize), and a military divided between supporting what was the legitimate government and the various unspecified political factions.  Although the then-legit government was torn apart by the civil war, its supporting military force under the command of General Robert Charles Aygotcha - for all practical purposes and for lack of a better phrase - won the jackpot.  That is not to say that they defeated all of the opposing factions.  Oh, no.  It is simply that the good general and his men came out as 'King of the Mountain' so to speak.  With the coming of the uneasy peace, the general was named, or, rather, named himself, Interim Lord High Mucca-Mucca of the republic until formal elections can be held.  Speaking from the capital of Yerbouti, Wacca Jawacca, the general has announced that he has no interest in retaining power of the gov'mint, er, government, and only desires to return to his rightful place as kingfish of the military once more or less normal life is restored to the simple folk of Yerbouti.

In the meantime, the general has his work cut out for him, what with rebuilding the government, the military and the economy, pitiful as it was, of the destitute country.  None of these elements was any great shakes to begin with, and probably won't return to very much anytime soon.  General Aygotcha might actually do a better job of restoring government than what was in place previously.  Like all former colonies, Yerbouti's government was plagued with graft and corruption as a result of achieving indepence from its European colonizer - France - too quickly with little or no experience at self-governance.  Unlike the coastal provinces once held by the French Empire, the country maintained little to no contact with Yerbouti after its independence. 

The economy has always been based in subsistence agriculture, although they did trade agricultural products with neighboring countries for the little income they recieved.  This is one of the reasons, well, in truth the main reason, the French were so happy to be rid of it.  One of the purposes of building empires and holding colonies is to make money.  This one was a drain on the French economy and they actually couldn't wait to dump it.  Yerbouti's War of Independence is really closer to being a figment of someone's imagination than it is to being a historical event.

There was no infrastructure to speak of so there is no worry about rebuilding that.  But if the general is determined to serve his people, he might consider creating some infrastructure for them. 

Virtually all of the military's heavy equipment was destroyed in the civil war.  All that was left were small arms and uniform stocks.  With the state of the country's economy, it will be some time before they are able to rebuild the proud military they once had.  Which wasn't much, come to think of it.  Fortunately, none of their neighbors is currently a threat to Yerbouti.  Half of them are involved in their own civil wars at any given time and the other half are, like Yerbouti, too poor to be a threat.  Colonel K'dhaffy is the only possible exception and he has his hands full at the moment. 

With this, we leave you until next time.  Coming at you from Wacca Jawacca, it's 'What's Happening in Yerbouti?'