Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Here is one African rant (hillariously) about Western Media
German for; Misery Continent Africa , Should the Whites come to rescue?
Africa -- the world's comfort zone. (Western Media/Africa)
Source;The New African
There is more to the persistent negative portrayal of Africa by the Western media than meets the eye. The African mind, wherever it lives around the world, is preyed upon to regard the continent as a lost entity, filled with dying people, with no future, no hope.
I'm one of those people who believes that the millennium started properly on 1 January 2001. On that morning, I opened my window and said out loud, "We survived". After everything that we had been through, after all that had been thrown at us, Africa and Africans were alive to see the beginning of the next one thousand years in their history. I felt a mixture of joy, amazement, and almost unbearable pride.
And yet the attacks come, more ferocious than ever, deadlier than before, because they are cloaked in garments of concern (even friendship), but fooling only the gullible and the self-hating African. The war continues -- this time it's psychological.
The chief weapons of destruction are the use of the word processor, the lens, and the cathode ray: in other words, printed newspapers and magazines, photography, and television news, current affairs and documentary output.
The collateral damage is the psychological state of the African mind. Once the written and verbal shrapnel have lodged there, Africans are likely to self-destruct without any further help.
If proof were needed of the incredible potential of Africans, it is there for all to see in the wealth of material produced daily to strike at Africa, Africans and people of African descent in every way imaginable. Even just a cursory glance at the Western media's output would cause an intake of breath at the strength and constancy of the attacks.
If the media's role is to provide "a window on the world" or write "the first draft of history", then we need to ask whether this is being done in Africa without involving the prejudices, values, fears and distortions of the Western editors in charge of the output.
Television and photography are not new technologies. We now have decades of output which we can analyse to make Judgements on their role in our lives and their effect on our societies. When we include newspapers and magazines, we have centuries of archive material.
In all the decades of Western reporting on Africa, what has really changed in the way the continent is depicted? Is Africa better perceived by the outside world? No.
Has the reporting led to Africa being given its fair share of economic assistance -- aid and private investment -- by the outside world? No.
Has the media's coverage helped to heal the psychological damage caused by centuries of wilful destruction? No.
So, what are the foreign media really doing in Africa? Who are the true beneficiaries of their work?
The Western focus on Africa is rooted in three areas: sex, money (for "corruption" read "where did they get all that money from, and why have they got it and not us?"), and conflict (meaning "at least if they're killing each other, they're not threatening us or doing any work").
Let's look at Aids, the dominant form Africa now takes in the mind of the average non-African because it is now the main way the continent is reported in the European media.
From the typical coverage of Aids and HIV issues in the West, one would think that black people created the Aids virus by having sex. This kind of thinking -- a legacy of the continuing Western obsession (or is it jealousy?) with African sexuality -- means that there is hardly a discussion of Aids without barely concealed speculation about how many times we have sex and with how many people.
Strangely enough, we still do not know what did cause Aids, and most Western scientists don't want to know: the money to be made is in long term maintenance with drugs, not in prevention or cure.
Aids stories are always accompanied by those huge, big-eyed pictures of a dying African (a baby is their favouriet): there is never a problem about this image finding space across rows of columns on the front (and inside) pages of Western newspapers.
There are too many of these pictures, blown up too big (or shown in huge close-ups on TV), for the African reader or viewer to believe that this coverage is based on genuine concern.
Is it not, rather, sensationalism bordering on pornography? Do pictures of dead and dying Africans reassure some unacknowledged part of the Western mind that future generations of Western children will not be challenged for the world's resources by future generations of African children?
Does it not make a European feel better about his or her own personal circumstances when one looks at the living deaths of millions of Africans?
And how those numbers -- millions infected here, millions dying there, millions (all in sub-Saharan Africa) to be wiped out in the years ahead -- have ruined into a mantra.
Africa has become the world's comfort zone -- just look at how people have to live and die there for others elsewhere in the world to feel better!
Then there is the deeply offensive subtext that Africans care little for their own orphaned and dying Aids children: why else the sustained, repetitive coverage of the few Westerners in charge of looking after some of these African children?
The question I would like answered is why the Western media contorts itself into behaving as if a Westerner cares more about an African with Aids than a fellow African would? Especially when the reality is that all the mundane, routine, vital work involved in caring for African HIV and Aids victims is carried out by other Africans. Like in many other spheres, the majority of people helping Africans are other Africans. However, that is not deemed worthy of showing or reporting.
To top it all, an elected and powerful leader's position, President Thabo Mbeki's, is deliberately misrepresented. What is it in their psyche that appears to need to see Westerners in charge and in control of blacks in any situation?
Some Western journalists admit that they collude with this kind of reporting. I have observed in Africa how Western journalists are drawn towards what I call the "3 Ds": Disease, Deprivation and Despair.
They are not interested in anything else -- in fact they actually avert their eyes from signs of progress or modernisation, or evidence of plain, everyday normality: precisely the kind of stories they would go for in their own countries. They don't want to know. If it's Africa, it's got to be abnormal!
In this manner, the African mind, wherever it lives around the world, is preyed upon to regard the continent as a lost entity, filled with dying and dead people, with no future, no prospects, no hope.
So much energy is invested and expended in doing down Africa, that I have spent a great deal of time wondering what fuels these attacks. If the horse is dead (or, at best, dying) as the Western media claim Africa is, why keep flogging it? The conclusion can only be that there is deep fear of the unexplored, unused, suppressed power of Africa.
Is the Western psychological state so fragile that it can only function if it suppresses the truth about the circumstances that black people inhabit? Do they need to maintain deeply distorted images of Africa for their own psychological health and self-esteem?
European identity, throughout its history, has based itself on superiority and monopoly whenever it came face to face with Africa. The enormous historic changes of the second half of the 20th century have hardly affected these feelings of acute paranoid self-delusion and disabling greed.
The history of Western reporting on and about Africa, the lack of real change in modern times, and the immense damage that this reporting has caused Africans and people of African descent, mean that the time has now come to call for Western reporters to behave like responsible journalists (if not people).
We know they are not impartial observers -- they are partial to the whims, biases, negative historic legacies, and obfuscations of their cultural background.
The fact that Western reporters would hate to leave Africa alone -- despite all their outpourings of how lost and hopeless and dying Africa is -- is because they cover Africa the way they do for their own psychological needs -- not ours.