optic (optic) wrote in involve,

africa? anyone? bueller?


ANSWER is symptomatic of the left in general. A LexisNexis search going back to 2000 finds not a single reference to the crises in Congo, Liberia, Sudan, or Zimbabwe from Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Michael Moore, Michael Lerner, Gore Vidal, Cornel West, or Howard Zinn. In Congo alone, according to the International Rescue Committee, five years of civil war have taken the lives of a mind-boggling 3.3 million people. How can the leaders of the global left men and women ostensibly dedicated to solidarity with the world's oppressed, impoverished masses not care?

The answer, I think, is that the left isn't galvanized by victims; it's galvanized by victimizers. The theme of ANSWER's upcoming protest, after all, is "Occupation and Empire."

good ol knee-jerk left.
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

I've been disturbed by the lack of coverage and concern over the state of things Africa from both lefties and righties for the past decade. We should all be ashamed.

While I feel it's a a good thing that the US is getting involved in Liberia, I doubt there is any altruism in Bush's decision. The sudden interest is a result of pressure from Kofi Annan and let's keep in mind that the region is a potential new source for oil, but maybe getting oil from someplace other than the Middle East wouldn't be a bad thing?

I suppose what matters is that some stability is brought to that region and the barbarism perpetrated by warlords is put to an end.

The American Friends Service Committee is unusual for an American NGO, in that their focus is always on finding and helping indigenous efforts to improve life. AFSC volunteers who travel to those countries are usually directed by locals, unlike the Noblesse Oblige-type organizations who parachute in with their own agenda. The rare do-gooders who actually manage to accomplish some actual good.

AFSC is a Quaker organization -- more or less -- and is driven by Quaker notions of peacemaking and social activism. Another organization that does good work in Africa is Oxfam International: they have a presence in north Africa where AFSC currently does not have much. http://www.oxfam.org

An interesting thing about OxFam is that it started around a single issue: hunger. Once Oxfam began trying to address that one problem they found a widening circle of issues that need to be addressed; hunger is directly linked to issues like female literacy in the developing world.

When one talks about the American left, it's important to distinguish between people who are involved in trying to make things better, as opposed to the 'professional' left who plan demonstrations and harangue crowds. I've never been big on protests, because protests are immenently ignorable. 500 people who figure out how to work with their congressmen and senators on issues important to them easily trump 500,000 people milling around on the Mall in DC chanting stupid slogans.