Still Moving Backwards In Africa All By Themselves
When my mother read my book for the first time she was offended by the chapter “backwards Africa”, mostly I suspect, because of how white racist will take it, as confirmation of every one of their degrading attitudes and preconceived notions of Africans and the entire continent in general.
I couldn’t help but forward her an article I read in Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone about raping going on in the Congo.
In this one particular incident, a woman was raped, her husband was killed and dismembered and she was forced to eat him by the soldiers that raped her. Then she was raped again. Her children were killed and her home torched.
I consider that pretty backwards.
"They mutilated my husband's body. Cut off his arms." And then, she says in an unfathomably calm tone, "they forced me to eat my husband's flesh. They said they would kill me if I refused."
She says that she wishes that she would’ve died then.
These rape victims are so numerous that they have actually organized themselves into support groups just to help them keep their sanity. The leader of one of these support groups theorized an even more sinister motivation behind the rapes.
"The actual aim of these soldiers," says the leader of one of the women's groups, angrily, "is to exterminate their victims by giving them AIDS.”
You know, Africa is terribly consistent in making me question the purity of human nature.
Are we by nature good or evil? By nature, do we help others or do we harm others? Since we are social creatures, is there an innate need for cooperation with others like us or are we by nature selfish and out for ourselves and cooperation is only taught to us as a means of strengthening the community?
I remember reading about how when the infamous super flu was ripping through America in 1918 that Americans were actually kidnapping doctors and nurses at gun point and holding them hostage in their homes and forcing them to care for their loved ones.
People were refusing to help the sick for fear that they would become contaminated themselves.
Some doctors claimed that it was very difficult to distinguish between who was black and who were white because white people would turn such a deep dark shade of blue from lack of oxygen.
Shit, I don’t blame the doctors from trying to keep their distance.
If you caught it you could die within 24 hours. Symptoms included bleeding from the nose, mouth, ears and eyes.
I consider America pretty civilized but is civility just a fragile illusion that we maintain because we have been fortunate enough to be spared earthquakes that kill 30,000 people in one pop?
How close are we to getting down to our nature, and when we do, will we like who we are?
Only in Africa will someone ask you to eat someone. Most places I don’t think something like that would even cross someone’s mind.
Lord have mercy on the poor soul that gets captured by a bunch of African rebels in the Congo, Uganda, Chad or any other lawless area on the continent.
I mean the shit that they do to each other makes you question a lot of things that you might’ve taken for granted about human nature.
HBO’s Sometimes In April is all you really need to see if you really want to have your eyes opened to how off the hook human beings can take things if you let them.
I forwarded the actual article to my mother. I don’t think I am going to be getting any more grief about my Backwards Africa chapter.
Source: Raping the Congo, Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone, Tuesday October 11, 2005
UN troops finally shooting back in Congo It took the death of nine Bangladeshi peacekeepers to do what the killing of thousands and the displacement of 70,000 couldn ’t do, get them to keep the peace.
Scale of African slavery in 2004 is revealed European slave traders weren't snatching enslaving Africans as much as they were exploiting what can only be called an African proclivity to sell your own children to anyone with a check book.