Africa is giving nothing to anyone -- apart from AIDS
Warning. This article has a PC rating of "X".
No. It will not do. Even as we see African states refusing to take action to restore something resembling civilisation in Zimbabwe, the begging bowl for Ethiopia is being passed around to us, yet again. It is nearly 25 years since Ethiopia's (and Bob Geldof's) famous Feed The World campaign, and in that time Ethiopia's population has grown from 33.5 million to 78 million today.
So why on earth should I do anything to encourage further catastrophic demographic growth in that country? Where is the logic? There is none. To be sure, there are two things saying that logic doesn't count.
One is my conscience, and the other is the picture, yet again, of another wide-eyed child, yet again, gazing, yet again, at the camera, which yet again, captures the tragedy of . . .
Sorry. My conscience has toured this territory on foot and financially. Unlike most of you, I have been to Ethiopia; like most of you, I have stumped up the loot to charities to stop starvation there. The wide-eyed boy-child we saved, 20 years or so ago, is now a priapic, Kalashnikov-bearing hearty, siring children whenever the whim takes him.
There is, no doubt a good argument why we should prolong this predatory and dysfunctional economic, social and sexual system; but I do not know what it is. There is, on the other hand, every reason not to write a column like this.
It will win no friends, and will provoke the self-righteous wrath of, well, the self-righteous, letter-writing wrathful, a species which never fails to contaminate almost every debate in Irish life with its sneers and its moral superiority. It will also probably enrage some of the finest men in Irish life, like John O'Shea, of Goal; and the Finucane brothers, men whom I admire enormously. So be it.
But, please, please, you self-righteously wrathful, spare me mention of our own Famine, with this or that lazy analogy. There is no comparison. Within 20 years of the Famine, the Irish population was down by 30pc. Over the equivalent period, thanks to western food, the Mercedes 10-wheel truck and the Lockheed Hercules, Ethiopia's has more than doubled.
Alas, that wretched country is not alone in its madness. Somewhere, over the rainbow, lies Somalia, another fine land of violent, Kalashnikov-toting, khat-chewing, girl-circumcising, permanently tumescent layabouts.
Indeed, we now have almost an entire continent of sexually hyperactive indigents, with tens of millions of people who only survive because of help from the outside world.
This dependency has not stimulated political prudence or commonsense. Indeed, voodoo idiocy seems to be in the ascendant, with the next president of South Africa being a firm believer in the efficacy of a little tap water on the post-coital penis as a sure preventative against infection. Needless to say, poverty, hunger and societal meltdown have not prevented idiotic wars involving Tigre, Uganda, Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, etcetera.
Broad brush-strokes, to be sure. But broad brush-strokes are often the way that history paints its gaudier, if more decisive, chapters. Japan, China, Russia, Korea, Poland, Germany, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the 20th century have endured worse broad brush-strokes than almost any part of Africa.
They are now -- one way or another -- virtually all giving aid to or investing in Africa, whereas Africa, with its vast savannahs and its lush pastures, is giving almost nothing to anyone, apart from AIDS.
Meanwhile, Africa's peoples are outstripping their resources, and causing catastrophic ecological degradation. By 2050, the population of Ethiopia will be 177 million: The equivalent of France, Germany and Benelux today, but located on the parched and increasingly protein-free wastelands of the Great Rift Valley.
So, how much sense does it make for us actively to increase the adult population of what is already a vastly over-populated, environmentally devastated and economically dependent country?
How much morality is there in saving an Ethiopian child from starvation today, for it to survive to a life of brutal circumcision, poverty, hunger, violence and sexual abuse, resulting in another half-dozen such wide-eyed children, with comparably jolly little lives ahead of them? Of course, it might make you feel better, which is a prime reason for so much charity. But that is not good enough.
For self-serving generosity has been one of the curses of Africa. It has sustained political systems which would otherwise have collapsed.
It prolonged the Eritrean-Ethiopian war by nearly a decade. It is inspiring Bill Gates' programme to rid the continent of malaria, when, in the almost complete absence of personal self-discipline, that disease is one of the most efficacious forms of population-control now operating.
If his programme is successful, tens of millions of children who would otherwise have died in infancy will survive to adulthood, he boasts. Oh good: then what?I know. Let them all come here. Yes, that's an idea.
A note from Radarsite: This is a tough article. No holds barred. I gave it a great deal of thought before deciding to cross post it here to Radarsite. However, what finally pushed me over the edge was the answer to this simple question: Is it true? Putting aside for the moment the obvious question of whether or not Mr. Myers' article is a racist rant from an angry white supremacist -- is what he is telling us the truth?
The truth, whether we deem to acknowledge it or not, remains. The truth has an annoying habit of outliving the lies. It is there, like it or not. The truth of Africa is indeed a bitter truth. A hard pill to swallow. Since the self-inflicted defeat and departure of the colonial empires what has happened to the Dark Continent? Has the future for Africans under black rule become brighter? Or has the Dark Continent descended even deeper into that wretched darkness of violence and anarchy? Has the spear merely been replaced by an AK-47? Are we being racists to comment on this catastrophic downfall? Is discussing this subject just automatically taboo? Obviously, for some it is.
I wonder, am I becoming that quintessential xenophobic racist? Am I becoming just another embittered old man, resentful of progress and change, distrustful of anything new, deeply suspicious of the Other? Am I allowing myself to buy into that simplistic Us versus Them mentality?
Perhaps. I know that since that awful day in September 2001 I have become harder. And the more I've studied the issues that confront us, the enemies that confront us, the harder I've become. I'm not sure that I buy into the Us versus Them paradigm quite yet. But I do believe that it has become Them versus Us. They have made this quite clear. It is They, after all, who have defined the terms of this universal Clash of Civilizations, not I.
Who, then, are They?
They are all of those disgruntled peoples of this planet who have declared war on the Judeo/Christian world of Western Civilization. They are all of those who blame their every misery on the white man and the white man's world. They are the professional victims and professional haters, those who lust after blood and booty and revenge. They are all of the miserable failed, and failing, societies around the world who hate us because we are successful, because we have been doing it right.
The truth is hard, but it won't go away just because we refuse to look at it. Africa is a failed/failing continent. Almost the entire Middle East (with the exception of brave little Israel) is a failed/failing region (and without oil it is a virtual goner), Islam is a failed/failing religion (cult). American Black Separatism is a failed/failing movement. Communism and fascism are failed social systems, which have brought nothing but emptiness and disaster to all who embraced them. Sorry, but that's the truth.
The city of my youth is gone, the black people moved in and destroyed it. Sorry, but that's what happened. Africa is going, going, gone. Sorry, but that's what happened. Islam has destroyed every civilization it has conquered. Sorry, but that's what happened.
Am I a racist? Maybe I am. I'm not even sure what that word means anymore. But I am sure of this: I will not allow myself to be intimidated by that word any longer. I will not be forced to look away from the truth out of fear of being called names. I will no longer pretend not to see it.
We are facing an array of formidable enemies, from both within and without, who are utterly determined to destroy us. Truth is our only sure ally. We must learn to see the truth and to speak the truth once again. We must have the courage of our convictions. We must learn to believe in ourselves once again, to believe that we really deserve to win this war, this veritable Clash of Civilizations. To survive, we must have to courage to face this world as it really is, not as we would wish it to be. - rg
Update: Here is a copy of an email I just received from Kevin Myers, the author of this courageous piece. Evidently, he is paying a price for his honesty. I have posted a copy of my email to his editors below. If you believe that this sort of honesty is vital in confronting our dangerous world, please write you own letters of support. Thanks. rg
"Thank you. The lefties are writing in, howling for my scalp. If you could
write a letter of support for what I wrote to my newspaper, it would be
great.The address is email@example.com
It's up to you. Either way, thanks.
To the editor. The truth is volatile, isn't it? I think perhaps we should just stay away from it altogether, it's too dangerous. I think writer's like Mr. Myers should be silenced because they are exposing their readers to the truth, and we can't have that, can we? We must keep ourselves comfortably wrapped in our denials and delusions.
Here is what I think. You should be proud of yourselves for having the courage to print Mr. Myers brave article. We are facing a multitude of enemies in this real world of ours, enemies from both within and without, who are determined to destroy us or steal our cultural heritage. Our only hope is truth. We must be able to confront the truth, no matter how "volatile" it may be. If we continue describing our world with wishful euphemisms and continue to ignore the truth we are lost.
Bravo Mr. Myers!
And bravo Independent IE for supporting him!
Roger W. Gardner
Email to Editors from Katie (Findalis):
What Mr. Myers wrote was absolutely correct. For 25 years the West has supplied Africa with food and medicine. The mindset on this was to feed the starving children. But what has the world gotten in return for such generosity?We have seen Rwanda, Darfur, Zimbabwe. We have seen the rise if AIDS, malaria, TB, and other disease. We have seen cultures that rely on handouts not even trying to become self-sufficient in food production. We have seen nations who only care about war and forget about the needs of their people in education and health care. These same nations know that the kind, dumb westerners will send food and medicine if they show pictures of their starving children.The time has come for the West to turn off the spigot of aid and force these nations into caring for their own people. Until they are forced to do so, more and more children of Africa will starve.
Palatine, IL USA
Email to editors from Lew Waters:
Reading the recent article by Kevin Myers, I am struck by the bitter truth he speaks. No, it is not racism to point out the irresponsibility of so many who fight each other for no good reason and slaughter their own and who then cry for help from foreign nations, only to deny donated goods and money to those who need it most and who, sad as it is, mature into savage like marauders preying on the very people among them left deep in need.
While it is noble and kind to desire to reach out and help those disadvantaged people, at some point in time people need to step up and help themselves and show appreciation to so many others by passing along that help, not slaughter or rape and pillage less fortunate people. It is not generosity to enable roving bands of marauders and rapists or irresponsible men whose lust cannot be checked and who over populate famine-ravaged regions, expecting others to step up and care for any offspring that may result, it is folly.
How many decades now has aid been sent to these African Nations? How many implements of farm equipment and instructors on sensible farming techniques have been sent in the past three generations? How many Peace Corp and United Nations Volunteers from around the globe have lost their lives trying to help and educate these warring peoples?
In Biblical Times, those who were fortunate enough to harvest good crops were instructed by the Almighty to leave the edges of their crops in the field for the poor and disadvantaged. What is missed by so many today is that the instruction to leave a portion of the crops in the field for the poor and disadvantaged placed the responsibility upon the poor and disadvantaged to go and harvest those left over crops themselves, not sit back and wait for them to be brought to them (Leviticus 19:9, 10 & 23:22).
The plague of AIDs, one of the easiest to prevent, is rampant across the continent of Africa. Why, when it is so easily prevented by merely using a condom or living a monogamous life style?
The bitter truth is that it is incumbent upon those who ravage their continent and the people of Africa to begin to show their willingness to care for their own nations and people instead of expecting and demanding the west to continue to keep pouring aid into the morass they continue to create.
Mr. Myers has revealed a very bitter truth, hard as it may be to swallow, but a truth the world needs to wake up to.
From Susie Ryder - NZ
Having read Kevin Myers' African article, (10 July 08), I can only imagine the subsequent wailing and chest-clutching from the truly righteous. But of the latter, has anyone countered the content of his article? Probably not. So much easier to play the man instead of the ball, eh, especially when it comes to slaughtering sacred cows.
Like it or not kids, much of Africa is a hellhole. Its vast population lives in abject misery and starvation in spite of the foreign billions that have poured in since time immemorial. Its governments are routinely despotic, and tyranny and barbarism reign.
Holding hands, singing Kumbaybloodyyah while passing the basket in the relative safety and comfort of the first world might make the bleeding hearts feel good, but the sad reality is that, to date, it's achieved sweet FA.
Freedom and prosperity are what the have-nots have not got. Only the implementation of full individual and property rights would see the lives of Africa's citizens begin to improve. But don't hold your breath. Those fat cat despots aren't going to give up all that foreign largesse in a hurry, nor will the notorious armies and militia want to end their favourite pastime of terrorising innocent people.
Feed the world? Make poverty history? How, exactly, by continuing to do what isn't working?
Pukekohe, New Zealand (end)
And from Kevin Myers: