J and D's Corner

From the Letters Archive

To:    AV Press

Date: 02/2003

Re:    What To Do About Africa (aka Who is to Blame?)

Although Horton Scioneaux frequently makes sense when he can keep his political imperatives under control, I think he missed the boat badly in his Centerpiece column blaming all of Africa's current woes on European imperialism.

In essence the anti-imperialist view seems to be that the moral thing to have done with Africa was to have walled it off from the rest of the world, preserving it as some kind of museum of pre-technological tribal lifestyle.

Impractical and, in my view, not really any better for the average African. Westerners have a badly over-romanticized view of the joys of tribal life at the subsistence level.

The sad fact is, Africa today has pretty much devolved back into the same Africa which existed before the imperial period, except now it has an overlay of Western technology and the larger population that technology allows. A few changes in tribal boundaries but exactly the same behavior patterns and the same self-inflicted woes, albeit on a larger scale.

As far as Horton's repetitious complaints that President Bush is failing to meddle sufficiently in Africa, hey, didn't the whole column just argue that Western meddling was the very cause of all their problems?