Top o’ the news: Africa? |

Top o’ the news: Africa?

Don Rogers

Bless her, NPR’s Terry Gross interviewed experts on Africa for her show “Fresh Air” tonight about beleagured Africa.

Africa is hot this week, thanks to Bob Geldof and the rest of the organizers and performers in Live 8 Sunday and the G-8 summit this week in Scotland.

As if starvation, corruption, epidemic AIDS, war and a continent swarming with tyrants weren’t enough.

As it turns out, it’s the Europeans’ fault, too, if I got the drift correctly. More academically, I guess this would be the consequence of “colonialism” generations after it ended.

I’m sure this is so, but is that the rank whiff of victimhood I’m smelling here? The poor oppressed peoples are incapable even now of recovering from the empires of the north that once ruled them?

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Much as with the Middle East, we drew them straight lines and called them countries ” never mind who actually lived on the ground, their differences in culture and language, or their incipient hostilities.

They wound up speaking the language of their ruler ” French, Portugese, English ” and adopted their cultures to a degree.

I can understand the damage, to an extent.

I’m not sure it explains the anarchy later, the horrific spread of AIDS, the black on black attampts at genocide. What does explain that, other than lack of education mixed with plenty of poverty in a thoroughly evil brew?

Without the colonization, would most African nations be better off? Why is it that the very worst country in terms of apartheid seems to be in the best shape today? How could that be?

It at least seems clear that the rich nations will forgive $40 billion or so in debt from Africa, and it looks like a pretty good chance they’ll cough up more aid for the continent. Sounds nice. But where exactly will all that money really go? The Third World is pretty good at funneling aid to exactly the wrong place, to the wealthy tyrants and their ilk, which of course only helps them keep their own countrymen down.

Colonization’s evils are history now. What are we going to do now to actually help? Throwing money at Africa could well be the very worst thing we could do.

I hope we do give more. But more than that, I hope we are smart about it. It’s that hand up, not just a handout thing.

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