Mindsets and Mines

It seems like sometimes our (and by our, I mean the Western world) attention span is incredibly short, but even shorter when regarding anything to do with Africa.

One of the posts from yesterday talks about a 15 year old trying to do something to raise awareness and funds for Darfur.  Even better than that, we, as a collective, need to stop boiling any situation in Africa down to “tribal conflicts.”  Not everything is that simple.  It grates on my nerves how genocide in Africa is only a news item for a month or so until the public provides a term for each situation (for example, tribal conflict) , as if nomenclature is the first step to a solution.

There are so many avenues that need to be seriously explored when considering each issue in Africa, but sometimes the fight is courted between stats and motives.  There was an interesting opinion piece in the NY Times by Sam Dealey about the Save Darfur organization and how they were overestimating some of their facts.  While it is true that the result hindered their overall efforts, what must be looked at is what we are really discussing.  The complaints come from there not being approximately 400,000 dead, but closer to 158,000 with 131,000 of them being “excess.”  As if 131,000 people being killed is normal.

If you want to see what the international community thinks about Africa, read Romeo Dallaire’s book, Shake Hands With the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda. Also, see the very well done, Hotel Rwanda, starring Don Cheadle.  If nothing more, start the process of changing your mindset and keep abreast of what’s going on.

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