Live8 and Those Who Would Steal African Humanity
July 1, 2005 29 Comments
Word on the street is that Gordon Brown, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer will march with protestors in the ‘Long Walk to Justice’. So who and what precisely will they be marching against? Poverty?
This is simply an exercise in white, Western megalomania. Now that the age of empire has passed for these British Isles, now that the economic consensus will brook no extremes of the right or left variety, now that there are no great foes to contend with, there are only two extreme conditions that remain in a world that has moved to the ‘middle’: Western self aggrandizement and African suffering. To the liberals and assorted ‘put Africa right’ brigades, they exist at the centre of the moral universe. Africans shall live or die according to their wishes. Now we are to be saved, but it could be just the opposite as it has been in times past.
They will be marching to display the rude health of their souls and to confirm their power and magnanimity over the huddled, miserable wretches of Africa. The monies that they give, no doubt in the billions of dollars, will be used to maintain and extend a vast system of spiritual and material privilege. Every dollar shall confirm their superiority and the inverse inferiority of the African. And of course because they are a pragmatic people, each dollar shall be used to employ that army of aid workers who would otherwise be flipping burgers or working in retail. Statistics will be thrown about with wild abandon. Eyes will get misty at the thought of ‘30,000 children dying everyday of extreme poverty’. Pledges will be made by mouths set grimly in the emotion of the moment. The rhetoric will be high flown and every speech will include words like Humanity, Universal, We, Justice, Suffering, History, Community, Brotherhood…
These words will be used to strip Africans of their problems in the name of brotherhood. Geldof and company will lay claim to the very last thing so many Africans own: our problems. And it will be terrible and evil beyond imagining for owning your problem is at the heart of what it is to be human. It is when we wrestle and suffer and triumph over our problems that we are most human, but this alas is not to be if the soul stealers on show succeed. I do not want anyone to suffer needlessly. I would prefer everyone to live in a democratic, prosperous community that knows no war or want. But these are conditions that must be battled and struggled for; they have never arrived as a gift from a stranger. And all those who promise them have always turned out to be thieves or murderers if not both. Geldof and the Live8, the G8, these governments and the eager little, statistic spouting NGO types are thieves of African humanity.