Saturday, May 5, 2012

Into Africa–Part 1

Apologies for the long hiatus. I’ve been busy with stuff.
I’ve taken quite an interest in Africa over these past many months and feel compelled to share a few blog-sized bits of that.
This excellent graphic, credited to Kai Krause, provides some perspective on the scale of the continent. There’s certainly room for a lot of trouble there.
There are many tragedies in Africa – exploitation, illness, poverty, and hopelessness just to name a few. Perhaps the core tragedy of Africa is the lost opportunity for Africans. The continent is rich in resources of almost every type. Inevitably, this leads one to the central question, namely,“Why is it Africa Always so #%$&@ up then?”
A good friend of mine shared this video with me back in October 2011 and it made a big impression on me. Much of the Bono-driven, well-intentioned aid going on in Africa is little more than paternalistic neo-colonialism. We’re often hurting at least as much as we’re helping.
I believe that two of Africa’s largest problems are too little freedom and too much socialism. There is an interesting cultural-historic perspective in many African cultures that focuses on group success and helping your neighbors (“It takes a village” etc.). This is not a bad thing per se, but it has been used and twisted by Marxist ideologues over the past 70 years or so to push collectivism. This is not unlike the leftist sloganeering gibbrish in the West of “Jesus was the first socialist”. Clearly there is a difference between my choosing to help and share with my neighbors and a government forcing that “charity”.
In addition to Poverty Cure, there’s also some great work being driven by micro-finance efforts like Unitus.
bookFor a truly interesting perspective, I wholeheartedly recommend The Heart and the Fist by Eric Greitens. Mr. Greitens was an international aid worker with experience in a number of trouble spots – including Africa – when he decided on a career as a Navy SEAL as the best way to truly help these people.
“Eric Greitens is exactly the kind of citizen-warrior that America needs to fight our wars abroad and to win our battles at home. A man wise enough to lead, courageous enough to fight, and compassionate enough to care, he has written a glorious book about how to live with purpose that should be required reading for every American.”
-- Bobby Muller, co-founder of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines
Stay tuned for more thoughts on Africa!

No comments:

Post a Comment