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Old 06-05-2008, 02:25 AM   #31
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People jump on him because he's Bono. If this came from a politician, it would be different. Bono knows one or two things about these issues. And this isn't a new idea, it's not like he made that up some days ago.
If this came from a politician I'd be frightened by said elected official's ignorance and lack of good advisers.
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Old 06-05-2008, 03:40 AM   #32
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OK, Bono has been to Africa more than twice, excuse me. He's been to Africa a lot more often than we realise. Making a little fun of Bono now and then is okay, but I don't think these issues are exactly funny. Bono has a vision and he believes in it, he's totally serious about these issues (much more serious than about his music). I don't see why this topic can't be discussed on a more objective level instead of jumping on Bono and making fun of him. But then again, I guess it should be moved to FYM. Topics like this are always an invitation for the usual suspects to bash Bono. I don't support everything he does and I sometimes think he's wrong on certain issues, but then again I don't know half as much as he does about these things and I can always kind of see where he's coming from.
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Old 06-05-2008, 03:49 AM   #33
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Tell me about it.

The continent (let's not even talk about the countries comprising it) has been culturally fractured for centuries - and that's not about to change any time soon. Africa simply cannot be united in the way that Europe or America are united. Tribal rivalry is a fact of African life. Take away tribalism, and you take away an integral part of African identity. Yes, it causes major problems in politics, but it's the way it has always been. It will not change.

Hmm.... WWI and II anyone? Europe had been 'culturally factured for centuries' until after WWII on a scale that is incomparable in Africa. Just a reminder than less than 100 years ago, Europe went through two major wars in which tens of millions of people died. Still today there is a European Union functioning rather well, but of course cultural differences are still there and will remain.

The idea that Africa is fundamentally more divided than Europe is crap IMO. If anything there is a stronger natural continental identity there than anywhere else in the world. This is not to say that tribal differences are not a fundamental aspect of the relationships between people (and I agree it is not about to change miraculously), but the question of identity is a mix of tribal, national, regional, religious, and continental. The point here is that national identity as we understand them in Europe or America is rather weak there, mostly due to the fact the countries are quite 'new' (less than 50 years of independence for most) and that the borders were drawn up by colonial powers irrespective of existing cultural identities at the time.

This idea of 'United States of Africa' or Pan-africanism is, as some have pointed out, not only not Bono's idea, but an enduring and very important movement among African politicians, intellectuals, artists and so forth, and has been for decades. When most African countries became independent in the 1960s this was a widespread ideal, and there was very serious discussions among the emerging leaders to have much larger political entities than the ones we know today. Just look at the flag of West African countries, they all look very similar and that is not a coincidence.

Now of course this US of Africa did not work then, because of rivalries (many of them tribal, very true), and we are nowhere near being able to achieve something like that today. But no one (including Bono) is talking about making Africa one country, but rather try to re-enforce pan-African identity (which, I argue, already exists and is getting stronger) and continental institutions. I do not think Africa is on the brink of becoming like the EU, but I do think that it is a very sensible ideal to aspire to and move towards.

I am not saying this just to defend Bono because I have no problem disagreeing with him, but those who think he is talking nonsense and doesn't know what he is talking are the ones who need to get better informed and should go read up about African history or better, go there to see for themselves and they will see that this ideal is in fact shared by many people on the continent.
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Old 06-05-2008, 04:01 AM   #34
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I'm European and I don't see how people can compare the unity of Europe to the unity of America, it's just not the same. Europe has a history of being fractured by rivalries, conflicts and wars, and - unlike the US - a very recent history as well. The European Union is a peace project, the states are supposed to keep their identities. There still are a lot of tensions and difficulties, and probably will always be, but there it is still important for the states to work together on certain issues. I don't see why this shouldn't work for Africa as well.
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Old 06-05-2008, 04:05 AM   #35
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We woulda gone United States of Australia but no one could be bothered finding a pen to sign the papers and cracked a few stubbies instead.
And we did it without having wars or anything.

Drinking. It solves everything.
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Old 06-05-2008, 04:39 AM   #36
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I'm European and I don't see how people can compare the unity of Europe to the unity of America, it's just not the same. Europe has a history of being fractured by rivalries, conflicts and wars, and - unlike the US - a very recent history as well. The European Union is a peace project, the states are supposed to keep their identities. There still are a lot of tensions and difficulties, and probably will always be, but there it is still important for the states to work together on certain issues. I don't see why this shouldn't work for Africa as well.

Exactly. The point of comparison, if there is to be any, would be the EU, not the US (despite the similar name).

Ambitious plan for a new Africa: Welcome to the U.S.A (that's the United States of Africa) - Africa, World - The Independent

For a bit of context. Of course the fact that Gaddafi is one of the main proponent these days does not exactly make the idea more credible! But this is not coming from Bono's imagination. Agree or not with the idea, it's been around for long and is likely to become more and more on the agenda (it already has actually since the Organisation of African Unity became the African Union only a few years ago).
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Old 06-05-2008, 06:13 AM   #37
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Soon we'll have one country called The World and there'll be no more need for visas.
And you don't even need to apply for a US visa.

Bono is speaking of the long-term, and I would think that's realistic. But it really needs time and in our lifetime we probably just will get to see the beginnings of that.
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Old 06-05-2008, 06:24 AM   #38
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I am not saying this just to defend Bono because I have no problem disagreeing with him, but those who think he is talking nonsense and doesn't know what he is talking are the ones who need to get better informed and should go read up about African history or better, go there to see for themselves and they will see that this ideal is in fact shared by many people on the continent.
I agree with you on the European aspect. In 1945 probably no one would have been able to think that there would be a day where a war between European countries is unimaginable.

On your last paragraph just a short hint: Both GibsonGirl and Babydoll are from African countries.
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:05 AM   #39
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The ANC is barely holding south Africa together and a lot of it is symbolic while Nelson Mandela is still around. When he dies, watch the ANC crumble and fall apart as different factions become more vocally unhappy.

So this UofAfrica idea strikes me as completely and utterly unworkable, regardless of how some people on the continent may feel. It isn't practical at this point, it isn't achievable, and frankly I don't think it's desirable either. Successful infrastructure, which is what Africa most importantly lacks, is built on a local level, and then expanded. The creation of an overseer bureaucracy would do absolutely nothing positive for the people on the ground.
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:08 AM   #40
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I agree with you on the European aspect. In 1945 probably no one would have been able to think that there would be a day where a war between European countries is unimaginable.

On your last paragraph just a short hint: Both GibsonGirl and Babydoll are from African countries.
Yes I am aware that GibsonGirl and Babydoll are African, therefore my comment about going to see for yourself was clearly not aimed at them!

There is obviously a whole range of opinions about this from people who live in Africa, from thinking this is the best idea ever to thinking this is non-sense and/or completely unfeasible, but there are a LOT of Africans who are very much in favour of moving towards greater African unity, and the fact that GibsonGirld and Babydoll, both being from there, seem to be leaning against it does not mean that the more African you are, or the more you know about Africa, the less likely you are to support it.
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:09 AM   #41
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Successful infrastructure, which is what Africa most importantly lacks, is built on a local level, and then expanded. The creation of an overseer bureaucracy would do absolutely nothing positive for the people on the ground.
My initial reaction as well.
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:20 AM   #42
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The European Union is a peace project, the states are supposed to keep their identities. There still are a lot of tensions and difficulties, and probably will always be, but there it is still important for the states to work together on certain issues. I don't see why this shouldn't work for Africa as well.
We both seem to have a different impression of what the EU are trying to become. As far as im aware the EU is much more than a peace project and is continuing to blur the lines of cultural identity within the Union.
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:20 AM   #43
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The European Union is a peace project, the states are supposed to keep their identities.
It´s not a peace project.

Most of all it´s an economic project and centralized politics controlling the member states.

It was once set up with the vision of peace for Europe, that´s true. But look where it´s going now, the EU has its own army and is heavily involved in so-called "peace-keeping" missions (in reality militarist interventions, often with strong economic interests by some of the EU countries).

To speak of a peace project when the EU is building Eurofighters en masse.. you meant to be cynical, didn´t you?

Africa unite! bless to the one who mentioned Marcus Garvey
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:26 AM   #44
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I agree with you on the European aspect. In 1945 probably no one would have been able to think that there would be a day where a war between European countries is unimaginable.
Unimaginable? In the 90s no one would have thought something like a civil war in Yugoslavia (now former Yugoslavia) could happen. European tribalism?
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:45 AM   #45
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Highly unlikely. We have a hard enough time maintaining the artificially created colonial-era borders as it is. One of the more grotesque realities about the organically created European nation states is that they were basically macro-tribal states forged out of hundreds of years of bloody warfare, and a cultural understanding that the survivors of the smaller, defeated tribes would automatically assimilate and identify with the larger, victorious tribes, which eventually created the nation-states that Europe has today.

This worked with the Germanic peoples, who knew that they were ethnically related at some point in history, so it probably wasn't too offensive to them. The problems have been apparent with other nations in Europe with little Germanic influence like Spain, Italy, and the Balkan states. The former two have a more tenuous union, it seems, while the latter couldn't get along in one nation at all. And so in dealing with Africa, it begs the question as to whether they have a larger, national identity, whether the stronger tribes are interested in co-existing with the weaker ones, whether the weaker ones would ever accept assimilation into the larger ones, and whether this whole process of organic nation-state building is even politically correct in the 21st century.

I think it is perhaps naive to think that we have reached a point in history, where these very banal, medieval-era national attitudes have been transcended, because, for the most part, they still seem to be very relevant to why certain nations have the borders that they have today, why certain nations are breaking apart in separatist movements, and why some nations just flat-out cannot get along internally.
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