of no fixed subtitle
August 28, 2008
Africa is giving nothing to anyone--apart from AIDS.
13 years ago
I suppose I should mention that this article intrigues me in that I have had similar thoughts at times and then feel guilty for those thought going in that direction. I'm certainly not bitter, like this journalist seems to come off as, but just overwhelmed and sad in thinking about the whole vicious cycle.
There is, no doubt a good argument why we should prolong this predatory and dysfunctional economic, social and sexual system; but I do not know what it is.
It's unimaginative and morally repugnant to suggest that the only way to end this "dysfunctional system" is to let people die.
I completely agree with that.
1. Keep the people alive. Give them food and get them access to clean water. 2. Give them access to birth control and teach them to use it, even if it means changing their cultural traditions. 3. Teach them to have a peaceful pluralistic society, where different clans and tribes coexist without killing each other, even if it means changing their cultural traditions. 4. Teach them to educate their people, even (and especially) their girls, even if it means changing their cultural traditions. 5. Teach the boys that fathering children with multiple women and not sticking around to raise them is unacceptable, even if it means changing their cultural traditions. So far, the West is doing the bare minimum on #1 and not much else. This guy wants to stop doing #1.
We're getting plenty from Africa here in China, thank you very much, and repaying with some solid infrastructure investment in many nations (plus lots of lovely armaments for selected kleptocrats, of course).
Here's a article also from the Irish press on Chinese links with Angola
as an example of what I mean.
Nothing from Africa, of course not. Other than oil. Gold. Diamonds. Rubber. Cocoa. Coltan, that refined as tantalum is usused in just about every current electronics consumer product. And people. Their muscles do lots of low-pay jobs in Europe. All kinds of jobs. And of course AIDS transmitted itself all over the world exclusively via mail and along the footpaths of african tourists, sure. While the author's bitterness and despair over the fucked up situation there is easily understandable (what could be done, really to change thinmgs there? When many interests want to keep their cultural traditions and death economies of weapon smuggling and slavery?), it comes out sounding just too xenophobic.
How 'bout we export some edumacation? (and free birth control--the asshole men wouldn't take it, but you can bet the women want it)
That article should have been called 'The Dark Continent's White Man's Burden' and be read whilst shooting at lions off the back of an elephant. Or something.
*settles into armchair, complains about the demmed natives, smokes pipe*
Can we export Mugabe off the planet?
I've met this guy Myers a few times. He's a shit-stirring wanker, to be honest. To Rocket88's 5, I'd add another: 6. Deal directly with the people as far as possible. Avoid giving money to the self-serving, money-grabbing, corrupt, and despotic politicians who control much of the continent.
Not that self-serving, money-grabbing, corrupt, and despotic politicians are particular to Africa; they're rampant, just somewhat more restrained in other countries.
Wikipedia's list of the sovereign states of Africa, for the record:
Algeria · Angola · Benin · Botswana · Burkina Faso · Burundi · Cameroon · Cape Verde · Central African Republic · Chad · Comoros · Democratic Republic of the Congo · Republic of the Congo · Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) · Djibouti · Egypt · Equatorial Guinea · Eritrea · Ethiopia · Gabon · The Gambia · Ghana · Guinea · Guinea-Bissau · Kenya · Lesotho · Liberia · Libya · Madagascar · Malawi · Mali · Mauritania · Mauritius · Morocco · Mozambique · Namibia · Niger · Nigeria · Rwanda · Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic · São Tomé and Príncipe · Senegal · Seychelles · Sierra Leone · Somalia · South Africa · Sudan · Swaziland · Tanzania · Togo · Tunisia · Uganda · Zambia · Zimbabwe
Of these 54, I'd say 10 are in severe difficulties politically and economically. Another 5 or 6 are borderline. This isn't a good situation, but it gives the lie to Myers's tosh.
This guy wants to stop doing #1
Don't be so mean to kitfisto - he's almost ready for big boy pants!
How much morality is there in saving an Ethiopian child from starvation today, for it to survive to a life of brutal circumcision, poverty, hunger, violence and sexual abuse, resulting in another half-dozen such wide-eyed children, with comparably jolly little lives ahead of them? Of course, it might make you feel better, which is a prime reason for so much charity. But that is not good enough.
Allow me to attempt a mollification. Africa is, in fact, a vast land mass, and it contains many millions of human beings, and a multitude of cultures tha vast range of which you and I will never fully learn about; and human habitation there existed long before our own nation-states were established. Rest assured that Africa will continue to exist when you and I and dead. In that context please feel resolved of your illusory obligation to save Africa. It doesn't need you. So if you personally feel that paying a few centimes so another human being can eat, or obtain fresh water, or have a job, is too odious, because black people will but multiply in their third-worldness, feel free not too. Johannesburg will not disappear, the Nuer will not forsake their cattle, the village of Windaba will still elect a Chief, and tourists will still buy dope in Chefchoun. Both your attitude and your distaste are insignificant to Africa as a whole. Your money could, however, save a single human being from dying, or your friendship could make someone happy, or you could learn something interesting from your sisters and brothers. Even in Africa. So there is no need to feel so wracked with the weight of your responsibility, Kevin Myers, poor little judge of the fate of the world.
it might make you feel better, which is a prime reason for so much charity. But that is not good enough
I want to add another thought, here. Mr Man is intimating that one's (for example) donations to WaterAid are somehow suspect because the only grand and timeless consequence is to make me feel good. I feel compelled to point out that I do an enormous range of activities merely because it makes me feel good: I smoke because it makes me feel good. I drink because it makes me feel good. I fuck girls because it makes me feel good. I comment on MonkeyFilter because it makes me feel good. It's not really been a problem for me, so far, to do things I actually enjoy doing, so I wonder why it's a problem for Herr Journalist, save for the fact that only the well digging allows black people to breed.
Sometimes he does them all at once!
Other than oil. Gold. Diamonds. Rubber. Cocoa. Coltan, that refined as tantalum is usused in just about every current electronics consumer product. And people. Their muscles do lots of low-pay jobs in Europe. All kinds of jobs.
I just wanted to repeat Flagpole's comment. And add: raw coffee and cocoa at cheap prices so that we can make money roasting and processing, rubber, maize, cheap fresh fruits and vegetables for winter consumption in the north, flowers for our tables, palm oil, copper...
Africa Export Goods
- note how many are primary resources (agriculture, fishing or mining) which support manufacturing and industries all over the world. (And, except for oil and few other commodities, often make more money for the manufacturers than the initial producers.)
For a gut-wrenching view on the unbalanced state of trade happening in Africa, check the
documentary. It's been attacked for suspected bias but still shows some pertinent information.
And, of course:
Monkeyfilter: I do them them all at once because it makes me feel good