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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Africa at the Olympics

By chance, this past year I have read two books about Africa: The Translator by Daoud Hari (Sudan) and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Belgian Congo/Zaire/Democratic Republic of the Congo). The word searing seems invented to refer to the experience of reading about the colonial history of Africa. It made it so heart-breaking and strange to see the parade of athletes at the Olympics. To compare the EXPENSE of the opening ceremony against the rhetoric of helping the needy. Why do we even bother to say to we care about helping?

However, I do think that "Liberalism is the racism of the West." (Who said that?) I do not see the solution as being "pour money into the African nations and they will become like us and be saved." That type of policy has led to a corruption which has done more harm than good. Nor does the desired solution seem to be "democracy". There is clearly little will to choose rep by pop.

I also think that our current historical period is not "post-colonial" exactly, but the end of the bell curve of "colonialism". We have yet to see a "post-colonial" world where First World governments and/or interests are not manipulating ex-colonies. The current borders in many parts of the world are unnatural, leaving ethnic groups miserably cut in half, or miserably joined. We Westerners think: why can't they just share a government and get on with life? We do. (Semi-successfully.) They don't want to, but like I said, 'Liberalism is the racism of the West'. Our way is best, therefore they must have it too.

Even China only feels uncomfortable to us because we think they should do it our way. The whole point of the Olympics being awarded to China was to invite/induce/pressure China to do it our way. Actually Chinese policy does not accord well with Olympic policy, (although no more does Olympic policy accord with Olympic ideals).

The marigold asks nervously:
Isn't it all just enough to have made you cry at the parade?

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