I strongly encourage everybody to take a look at Joe’s blog’s most recent post (available here) on how the capitalistic media is exploiting the most gut-wrenching atrocities in the Sudan for profit. Joe does a good job of explaining MacLeans’ sickening disregard for the subject matter they superficially claim to care about, but I wanted to add a few words.
The worst thing about the advertising on which MacLeans (like most of the West’s media) is dependent, is the fact that it drowns the humanity of the genuinely heart-wrenching article in the cold calculating bath of viewership, advertising and accumulating capital. Neither I nor Joe, is surprised by the fact that a magazine uses advertising to subsidize the cost of the production of news stories.
What I think we all ought to object to, however, is the fact that on the one hand we in the West call ourselves humanity’s ‘beacon of light’ and an inspiration upon which all other nations must emulate in order to become “modern” while we hypocritically do nothing to back-up this lofty claim of humanity’s moral leaders. If virtually any African country had the resources we do, there would have been peacekeeping forces in Darfur years ago whereas we in the West are still debating the semantics of how many people must die before it is called a “genocide”.
But the worst thing of all about this is the shockingly short memory the West has about what exactly caused the continent of Africa to become the ravaged, wasteland that it is now. It was not tribalism which has caused Africa‘s poverty. The first English settlers to Africa found vast kingdoms that had no standing armies (like the English did) and relative prosperity. It was not race which caused Africa‘s poverty, although there still are people in white hoods who claim that this is the case. It was us who caused Africa to become what it has become.
Has this really become like George Orwell’s 1984 where we can’t remember that it was us who imposed national borders on
Africa to suit our companies?
Can we really not remember that Apartheid South Africa was not just a spontaneous phenomenon which was caused by this “backwards” continent, but rather was deliberately supported by the US and the UK?
Can we really not remember that it was Italy which decided to make Ethiopia and Eritrea and much of Eastern Africa what it is today?
Can we really not remember that when the Egyptians decided that they should profit from their canal, the US and the
UK bombed the crap out of them for their insolence?
Yes, we have a responsibility to help the continent of Africa, but it is NOT because we are morally superior. We have a responsibility to help Africa in order to begin helping to repay the debt that we owe them! In short, if our current capitalistic system were truly just, you and me and our children and grandchildren would owe reparations to the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Africa. And if our system were truly just, we would understand that even this would not cover 1/100th of what we have done to them.