Save Africa!

There’s a good editorial in the Washington Post written by a real live African:

Why do the media frequently refer to African countries as having been “granted independence from their colonial masters,” as opposed to having fought and shed blood for their freedom? Why do Angelina Jolie and Bono receive overwhelming attention for their work in Africa while Nwankwo Kanu or Dikembe Mutombo, Africans both, are hardly ever mentioned? How is it that a former mid-level U.S. diplomat receives more attention for his cowboy antics in Sudan than do the numerous African Union countries that have sent food and troops and spent countless hours trying to negotiate a settlement among all parties in that crisis?

Actually, the best news comes from the horse’s mouth. Why get Bono’s opinion when you can get updates on Iraq from Iraqis or Afghanistan from Afghanis?

Are there any good African blogs?

(h/t Instapundit)

3 thoughts on “Save Africa!”

  1. Do you mean “best” as in “most accurate,” or “best” as in “most positive?”

    Assume that a local’s blog posts are 100% honest, from their point of view. Is a local necessarily in a better position to deliver accurate news that represents the “big picture?”

    Read blogs from around the US. Some are bright and optimistic. Unemployment is down. The economy is up. The GDP is growing (still!) Real estate values are up. Violent crime is way down. Youth drug use and teen pregnancy rates are dropping. Bowling scores are way up, golf scores are way down, and we have many excellent waterslides. At the same time, this country is going to hell in a handbasket. Debts are way up. Massive government deficits. There’s a war on. We’re tangled in a clash of civilizations. The gays are spreading their liberal humanist agenda. The immigrants are coming to take your jaerb. The terrorists are going to nuke us all. Dick Cheney is here for our souls. Suspension of habeas corpus, Guantanamo, warrantless wiretapping, DRM, rootkits, malware, spyware, phishing, spam, peak oil, global warming, GM crop proliferation. Take your pick of doomsday scenarios.

    I can answer the editorial’s question: media is a business, and they trade in attention. A celebrity who banks on their good fortune to “help” people in need is a more compelling story than a group of people working hard to improve their situation. Bono and Jolie probably have good, relatively selfless intentions. The western media fixates on their stories entirely because their stories draw an audience, though it might be that their stories draw an audience strictly because their stories are covered so much.

  2. Swong, why does wordpress keep thinking you’re comments are spam? :-)

    What do I mean by best? Well, locals seem to have a better grasp on what’s going on in their neighborhood. Different people have different narratives about what’s going on and that’s fine. I tend to trust the local narrative because they’re tied up in the fate of that location. Iraqi bloggers, for example, have a mix of positive and negative bents, but none tend to center their coverage on the latest road-side bomb. That’s not news to them. Building schools, the ins and outs of party politics, the influence of Iran, etc are what’s important to them.

    I assume the local narrative will be the primary driver of change in that locale. For example, did you know an Zimbabwean Bishop is asking Britain to invade Zimbabwe to overthrow Mugabe? My question: what do Zimbabweans think about this guy? Does he have the people’s ear or is a quack?

  3. My writing must suck if I can’t slip it past a bayesian filter. Viagra nigeria penis bank stock value calvary greetings.

    So you’re more interested in the aggregate of local viewpoints, which I guess has always been the strength of blogging. In the past, it was a strength of having many localized newspapers (the whole ‘fourth estate‘ thing).

    I wonder what would happen if you empowered local journalists to post anonymously, and figured out how to make their posts accessible to the general public (tough when your electricity is spotty). No reprisals for posting a view that might get them assassinated. I feel like there’s some history to using pseudonyms to criticize, and it’s a fantastic argument in favor of privacy, but I can’t look anything up at the moment. In this case, a citizen blogger wouldn’t be hiding from the government as much as they’d be hiding from the cell operating out of the shop across the street. Same effect?

Comments are closed.