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Out of Texas and Into Africa

I have just been listening to a speech of quite nauseating hypocrisy from George W. Bush at the start of his visit to Senegal. This was from the President of a country, which not so long ago saw 10% of the black population of a small Texan town jailed on the word of a single corrupt police officer, a case that was drawn to the attention of one Governor George Bush, who did, absolutely nothing and allowed the innocent languish in jail, until, I’m pleased to say that they were all released this year when all the convictions were overturned thanks to the efforts of civil rights activists.

Two things really irk me about the Bush speech. Firstly, the staged apologism at the site of one of Africa’s ancient slave markets and secondly, the hypocrisy, as many of Africa’s poverty problems stem directly from American and European protectionism.

Let’s not forget that like it or not, Africa was a willing partner in the Slave trade and in some parts of the continent it continues today, despite all efforts to stamp it out. This doesn’t mitigate the extent of the crime against millions of innocent victims over three hundred years but the slavers depended on staging points in West Africa and Zanzibar, which I once visited, because they couldn’t venture inland, threatened by disease and malaria. Subsequently, millions of Africans were delivered to the slave auctions by corrupt local rulers, who grew very rich as a result.

Whole societies were wiped out by the demands of the trade and Africa was almost depopulated as a consequence of greed on the part of white man and black man alike. There must come a time however, when we move forward and stop apologising for the crimes of the past as if we were uniquely respopnsible. The Arabs don't even bother and for several hundred years before the slave trade in America started, the trade via Oman flourished.

Africa must be allowed to stand on its own feet and accept responsibility for itself and be given the opportunity to compete in the first world market that is closed to it or in other words protecting American and European farmers at the expense of African children. Competition however is meaningless unless the endemic corruption of African leaders is stamped out. Mugabe wouldn’t be tolerated anywhere else but political correctness prevails and we are prepared to sacrifice a once prosperous country like Zimbabwe because we fear the accusations of colonialism.

Bush will come and go, he’ll attract votes at home and Africa will continue to suffer because no western nation really wants to become involved in a continent which offers no solutions and only poverty, misery, ethnic warfare and corruption to show for thirty years of aid and good intentions. Africa, I suspect, has too little no oil and too many problems to really attract the interest of Mr Bush and if the political stability of both Sao Tome and Nigeria, which both happen to sit on large oil-fields wasn't an issue, I wonder if he would be there at all?.


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