Monday, May 14, 2007

Africans die, world yawns

Most reports that complain about the West's lack of action in Africa are political. Many are NGO's or churches that work with refugees. Others are using it as a club to bash the US and prove "racism". The link is to a politically neutral site, and is the most accurate and cynical explanation of why the West ignores Africa....

"...There are over a dozen wars going on in Africa, and the daily death count far exceeds that of Iraq.
Occasionally, the African violence gets into the news.

Somalia gets mentioned, but only because of a failed UN intervention in the early 1990s.

There are occasional references to the Congo, where millions have perished in recent years.

Sudan gets mentioned from time to time because millions have been driven from their homes, and several hundred thousand killed by a few years of tribal and ethnic violence.

But what of the wars in Chad (civil war), the Central African Republic (civil war), Ivory Coast (civil war), Guinea (rebellion against corrupt government), Senegal (civil war), Ethiopia (civil war), Eritrea (border dispute), Kenya (tribal wars), Nigeria (rebellion against corrupt government), Burundi (civil war), Rwanda (ethnic revenge), Uganda (civil war), Burkina Faso (border dispute), and Niger (border dispute)?

And then there's the Islamic terrorism of northern Africa. Algeria is still dealing with the diehard remnants of a ten year rebellion by Islamic radicals. Lesser forms of that violence are showing up in all the other North African nations, and spreading to those to the south.

Nigeria has had several deadly flare ups of Islamic violence. One rebel group even fancied them selves "African Taliban," had were put down with much bloodshed.

Let us not forget that Africa, even at peace, is not a peaceful place. The murder rate in South Africa is higher than in Iraq. The difference is the dead bodies are all over South Africa, while in Iraq they are concentrated in the central part of the country, and closely watched by hundreds of foreign journalists. ...(italics mine)

Non-Africans don't care about Africa, just as they don't care about foreigners in general. ....

While most of the world supports democracy in general, they are not willing to die to help others achieve it. And the world's attitude towards African attempts at democracy are the unspoken reason why. Developing a functioning democracy takes time, and often gets ugly.

In the 1990s, after half a century of socialism, communism and dictatorship, African countries concluded that the rule of law and democracy was the way to go. But the way was mined and covered with snipers and bandits.

Making democracy works means overcoming a lot of people who are willing to kill you for your beliefs.

Most of the world, and a lot of Americans, don't believe it's worth getting too involved in this process. It takes courage and self-sacrifice to aid others in building democracy. But courage and self-sacrifice are seen by most as spectator sports.

The world sees Americans in Iraq as arrogant fools, for trying to practice what they preach.

The U.S. is divided on this point. Do we fight for what is right, or be practical? No matter who rules Iraq, they will want to sell their oil. Terrorists will always be around, and will potentially have access to more powerful weapons. So what? Let the police take care of that.

Building democracy and fighting the forces that oppose it is something you talk about, not something you send your soldiers to get mixed up in.

That's what everyone does with Africa. Seems to work, for everyone but the Africans.

For that reason, the world is hoping that the American effort in Iraq fails.

Because if America succeeds in Iraq, ignoring Africa gets a lot harder.

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