Sunday, September 21, 2008

What's Going On In Africa and How It Affects You & Me

So I will start off with saying I am unfamiliar with the political and social goings on in Africa. I must first preface this by adding that Africa is a continent not one country, like the United States is not the sum total of North America. I'm sure the US likes to think of itself as the be all end all of the entire continent AND world - particularly with this administration. You know that Manifest Destiny outlook has been adopted and is still the motivation of every military/political/social/financial aspect this gov't pursues. 

"Africa" is rarely covered in the news and when it is there are only problems featured. Poverty, war and bloated babies with flies. Oh yeah and let's not forget rape, AIDs, starvation and an attempt to tie "Islamic fundamentalism" whatever that's supposed to mean. The continent is actually three times the size of the US, the second biggest continent aside from Asia and has 53 countries. And can we stop using this made-up term "Sub-Sahran" Africa?!! It is soooo annoying and signifies nothing! Just like there is no South Central district in Los Angeles. These are words used by some to connote a specific meaning - usually something steeped in prejudice. Like referring to Obama as elitist or uppity when they just want to use the "N" word instead. 

So why am I 'unfamiliar' with Africa? Because the focus of conversation is always from such a biased slant in the US and I can't trust what we're being told. Just like I think we're being sold fake gold with regards to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. And there's always this push to separate Egypt from the rest of Africa or to claim they're European because their phenotype is different. If that's the case then Italy should come and reclaim Argentina because they're descendants of Italians that speak Spanish, right?

Anyway two things happened this week that gave me pause. One is that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe 'decided' to share power with the opposition party. I have no idea if his candidacy is legit or not. I do know that the US had once supported him and is now backing his political rival. I also know when he took the country back from the UK he kicked out a lot of the whites that had been 'given' land. 20% of the white population 'owned' 80% of all the land. Colonialism at its worse. Today's freedom fighter is tomorrow's terrorist. Pinochet murdered millions of people who dissented to his rule but he was a friend of Thatcher of Reagan. 

I'm not sure if this will make the lives of the people better as the sanctions imposed on the country by the US & UK have kept them lacking in all basic services and food. That doesn't sound like a democracy that sounds like continued colonialism and punishment for trying to be a sovereign nation. The US nor the UK have any moral standing to dictate to any country about how they rule. Look at Haiti.  

The other event is that South African President Thabo Mbeki has been recalled and will be stepping down before his term ends. Jacob Zuma will be the next President. I'm not sure how much good he has done as head of the ANC but I do know I have some serious reservations. He went to trial for rape. That's bad enough but the woman, Fereka Kuzwayo was a family friend and is HIV-positive. She requested and was granted asylum in the Netherlands. Zuma was head of the National Aids Council and had unprotected sex despite being aware of her health status. What kind of judgement is that?!!! 

Nelson Mandela will always be held in high regard but he had a real opportunity to affect change when he was released from prison. Yes it was very Christ-like for him to turn the other cheek so to speak and not prosecute de Klerk and all the other white gov't officials, but I'd like to know if black South Africans feel they got the shaft? Was it another situation like with Civil Rights being focused on integration and not equality?

So I've been reading blogs written by African nationals and nobody likes to be thought of as a beggar or needing help. That's how they feel their entire continent is portrayed and I'd be kinda pissed off about it too. 

So there's my two cents. I haven't touched the cultural differences and the rampant woman-hate that exists because quite frankly it is not particular to Africa alone, but it is a factor in the armed conflicts that are still ongoing. I am aware of it and it sickens me and I want it to STOP!

I also haven't touched on the IMF and World Bank bleeding countries dry and causing a cycle of poverty. It's implied a few paragraphs up with my continued colonialism argument. Have I missed anything?

We all deserve to have our basic needs met and to lead productive lives. A few moments of inspiration would be nice as well. We who live in the West and are in a position to help. We can get our politicians to draft laws that assist rather than harm. Obama has passed legislation that does that. And he actually said Shrub has done some good with AIDs awareness and treatment. I'd like to get a confirmation of that one from people who live there though. 

There's organizations like Heifer International that not only give aid but provide resources for people to take care of themselves, particularly women. You know the recent hurricanes have caused so much damage but have hit Haiti really hard and they could use more help. 

**And for pure fun an escapism be sure to watch the Red Carpet events and millionaires wearing their free clothes and borrowed jewels during the Emmy Awards tonight. 

Right now I am not feeling it but I do want to find out if Sookie gets bitten on True Blood tonight!

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