Friday, June 10, 2005

Live Aid

To the "huge and loyal" following of this blog :-), i extend my sincerest apologies for the week during which i've posted nadda. Whoever said the pen was mightier than the sword must have lived in utopia. The futility of social criticism is so daunting that sometimes one can't help but give in to it. But as a wise man once said; there may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice but we must never fail to protest. That and an editorial i read in the Jerusalem post (the online edition) got me inspired for the first time in weeks!
The article is about the controversy surrounding live aid. For those of you not in the know, the upshot of it is that Andy Kershaw, a DJ at the BBC, has criticized the live aid project, which is intended to raise funds and awareness of the dire plight of Africans, for including only one African, Youssour N'dour, in its artist lineup. "If we are going to change the West's perception of Africa, events like this are the perfect opportunity to do something for Africa's self-esteem," said Kershaw. "But the choice of artists for the Live8 concerts will simply reinforce the global perception of Africa's inferiority." The insightful Mark Steyn, author of the article, points out that Bob and Andy agree that paternalism and condescension are the only ways to deal with Africa, they're just quibbling over the particular form of condescension.
I do not doubt that Africans are inferior- of course, there are exceptions:-) - and neither should anyone who views reality objectively. And skin colour has nothing to do with; any moderately well read 15 year old knows that. (Narrow minded Caucasian and Asian- Take that!) All races were equal to begin with; yes even Ashkenazis were not always exceptionally intelligent: European Jews in medieval times were restricted to jobs in finance, money lending and long-distance trade — occupations that required greater mental gymnastics than fields such as farming, dominated by non-Jews — their genetic codes over the course of some generations selected genes for enhanced intellectual ability. But i digress; Africans are inferior because we have forfeited the right to be equal by shirking our responsibilities; we have failed master our fate: we are at the mercy of the weather, when the rains fail, famine breaks out and we forced to beg for relief. Further more, our governments have failed to provide the most basic services: access to medical services is limited, the few education institutions we have have failed in their duty to alleviate our children's ignorance and have made them stupid instead -they are taught compliance above all else. How is it that decent housing is beyond the reach of most Kenyans? Our people have been robbed of their dignity, they are at the mercy of benevolent Europeans!
Yet, we , the people are ultimately responsible for the quagmire in which we are. We have allowed our leaders to rob us blind. We too have forfeited our rights: we do not demand our due; and show gratitude for travesties of it. We turn a blind eye to all manner of ills in the name of patience. But patience taken too far is cowardice. The fact is that we are all cowards; yours truly included. We express no outrage when we should And on the rare occasions when we are outraged, we are easily pacified by government tokenism. Our governments understand us perfectly; which is why they stay in power for long period in spite of their ineptitude and incompetence to govern. Indeed, we get the leaders we deserve!

When we don't stand up for ourselves, then those who are too humane to stand by and watch us sink are obliged to advocate for us. And yet their advocacy for debt cancellation, fair trade, and greater aid donation is a recognition of our inferiority. Why should Africa's debt be cancelled? When one borrows money, it's generally understood that he or she will return the full amount with interest. But reason and common sense do not apply to Africa. Appeals to pity will do just fine for us, thank you. Shame on us!!


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