What Bono doesn't say about Africa - Page 4 - U2 Feedback

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Old 07-16-2007, 12:17 PM   #46
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Wow, personally I think she's spot on. That's a great article. I didn't get the feel that she's trying to bash Bono personally. She points out what has always made me very uncomfortable about the whole "Save African" thing - that people seem to be going it more as a fad (unintentionally) and are doing it mainly to appease their own feelings of guilt (again, unintentionally). If everyone REALLY cared, then why is Africa worse off today than it was a few decades ago? Where were all these celebs then?
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Old 07-16-2007, 12:20 PM   #47
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Living here myself, I cannot how stand how people think we a poor, ignorant, backward starving people. We, here in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania have pretty much everything, if not more than the West does.

It's only the discrepancies, the vast divisions between the rich and the poor here, (that go on everywhere else in the world) that are magnified tenfold.
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Old 07-16-2007, 12:21 PM   #48
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Also, it's true about the cellphone usage, haha. Every single person on the street has one, and it's all really cheap, as it's pay-as-you-go. People are surprised to hear of my monthly $50 bills in the US.
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Old 07-16-2007, 12:47 PM   #49
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Originally posted by Babydoll
Also, it's true about the cellphone usage, haha. Every single person on the street has one, and it's all really cheap, as it's pay-as-you-go. People are surprised to hear of my monthly $50 bills in the US.
lol. I miss my pay-as-you-go cellphone from Mali. At least you always knew where you were at as far as airtime goes. We used to send SMS text msgs all the time because they were cheap. I'll never forget being in Timbuktu (of all places) and being able to use my cell phone in the Sahara Desert.

Liesje, I wanted to go back a bit and comment on what you said about your expectations being changed when you actually spend time in Africa. I think one of the biggest things I learned in Peace Corps was that I was there to meet the needs that the people themselves felt they wanted, not what I in my masterplan Western egocentric way felt was "best" for them. So a lot of my job ended up being training people how to use technology, teaching them how to use programs like Microsoft Excel, and giving feedback on product development for the tourist market. Because that's what they (Malians) asked me to do. Not exactly the sexy glamourous "saving" work that I had imagined for myself. But in the end, if I helped pass along some marketable skills to local people that will help them build capacity in their local economy, then I will spent those two years well.

My boyfriend and I have talked about the whole western guilt/superiority complex on many occasions. He's a patient man, but even he gets tired of having to put up with well-meaning strangers complimenting him on how "lucky" he is to have gotten out of Africa.
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Old 07-16-2007, 03:17 PM   #50
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As if there weren't enough fuel for bashing u2.com, it really gets on my nerves that they have that little teaser "Out of Africa: the band have been in africa....."

Like hey people, they are on the mysterious continent. Can't they just say Morocco? If they had been in Eze, or anywhere else in Europe (Abbey Road comes to mind) they would have at least specified the country, even in the teaser.
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Old 07-16-2007, 05:31 PM   #51
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Originally posted by sulawesigirl4

Liesje, I wanted to go back a bit and comment on what you said about your expectations being changed when you actually spend time in Africa. I think one of the biggest things I learned in Peace Corps was that I was there to meet the needs that the people themselves felt they wanted, not what I in my masterplan Western egocentric way felt was "best" for them. So a lot of my job ended up being training people how to use technology, teaching them how to use programs like Microsoft Excel, and giving feedback on product development for the tourist market. Because that's what they (Malians) asked me to do. Not exactly the sexy glamourous "saving" work that I had imagined for myself. But in the end, if I helped pass along some marketable skills to local people that will help them build capacity in their local economy, then I will spent those two years well.

Yes, that's precisely it. That, and we also got to see how much great work grassroots orgs are doing and have already been doing for many years. Often, it's detrimental for Westerners to suddenly sweep in and start sucking up resources. I've always been uncomfortable with "mission trips" to such different cultures than here b/c so much time and money is wasted training people to do tasks that locals could be doing for work and not wasting that time acclimating. This is why I've avoided going back even though several opportunities have presented themselves. If I do go back, it will be for at least two years (like Peace Corps) b/c research has shown it takes that long to properly adjust to a new culture. One simply cannot become productive in just a few weeks. The reason I originally went with the program I chose was because we went to observe, learn, and listen to what people had to say, not try to "save" them all and tell them how to run their organizations. They taught us about government funded religious organizations, micro-finance, their economic structures, how they differ from the West and what implications this has, etc. I would not have learned any of these important things if I'd just gone on a mission trip to an organization started, funded, and operated by white Westerners.



Quote:
Living here myself, I cannot how stand how people think we a poor, ignorant, backward starving people. We, here in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania have pretty much everything, if not more than the West does.

It's only the discrepancies, the vast divisions between the rich and the poor here, (that go on everywhere else in the world) that are magnified tenfold.
Thought that was definitely worth repeating.



As for cell phones, I was also shocked at how cheap and widely available they are. One of my peers got an e-mail from her boyfriend telling her he was going to be deployed to Iraq before we got home. Needless to say, she was very upset. She was going to buy a phone on the street so that she could call him and straighten some things out. Luckily, our professor let her use his phone, and he ended up not having to go away that soon.
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Old 07-17-2007, 05:34 AM   #52
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Thanks Lies
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Old 07-17-2007, 05:39 AM   #53
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Also, I find the whole concept of Madonna adopting a kid kinda... odd. If she really wanted to do this, what took her so long? Why only now, when anything "Africa" is in style?

Publicity stunt, anyone?

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Old 07-17-2007, 08:52 AM   #54
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^ I don't think so. I am not a fan of Madonna in any way, but I wouldn't judge her motives. I am glad that the little boy has a good life now.
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:57 PM   #55
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Originally posted by Babydoll
Also, I find the whole concept of Madonna adopting a kid kinda... odd. If she really wanted to do this, what took her so long? Why only now, when anything "Africa" is in style?

Publicity stunt, anyone?

I don't know if anyone can say either way, but I do know that only THREE babies were adopted out of country from Malawi in the year that Madonna filed. They have very strict requirements generally do not adopt to any foreigners unless they live in Malawi for a given period of time or have residency. Ultimately, it's their decision whether or not to approve the adoption, so they must have seen something good in Madonna for choosing her.
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Old 07-18-2007, 11:04 AM   #56
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I think it can be viewed as a publicity stunt by the Malawian government as well as by Madonna - tourism and interest in the country are up.
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Old 07-18-2007, 02:26 PM   #57
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Originally posted by Babydoll
Also, I find the whole concept of Madonna adopting a kid kinda... odd. If she really wanted to do this, what took her so long? Why only now, when anything "Africa" is in style?

Publicity stunt, anyone?

The thought of Madonna adopting anything more than a pet grasshopper scares me.
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Old 07-18-2007, 04:53 PM   #58
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A couple of thoughts:

Guilt is always a poor motivator in the long run. Either pretending everything is fine in Africa or getting caught up in trying to "save Africa" is ultimately about assuaging guilt and in the end won't do anyone much good.

When someone (like Lies of Sulawesigirl4) who has been to Africa speaks, we'd do well to listen. When someone who has not only been to Africa, but IS African speaks (like Babydoll) we should listen hard. They know from whence they speak, at the very least, more than we do.

One of the most thought-provoking and worthwhile threads I've come across in FYM in awhile.
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Old 07-18-2007, 09:32 PM   #59
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^ Regardless, the bottom 10-15 countries(except one or two) ranked by annual per capita GDP are in Africa, with dollar amounts of $90-$350.
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Old 07-18-2007, 09:59 PM   #60
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Originally posted by maycocksean
A couple of thoughts:

Guilt is always a poor motivator in the long run. Either pretending everything is fine in Africa or getting caught up in trying to "save Africa" is ultimately about assuaging guilt and in the end won't do anyone much good.

When someone (like Lies of Sulawesigirl4) who has been to Africa speaks, we'd do well to listen. When someone who has not only been to Africa, but IS African speaks (like Babydoll) we should listen hard. They know from whence they speak, at the very least, more than we do.

One of the most thought-provoking and worthwhile threads I've come across in FYM in awhile.


While I agree with the general premise of your statement, things are not as simple as you phrase them, maycocksean.



The problem is that the author of this horrendous article about Bono's activities for Africa was a former World Bank employee who traveled to Africa many times yet look at how ignorantly he writes.


Just being from a part of the world does not make you an instant expert of that part of the world - especially when it is the most culturally complex and varied part of our world. (Africa)


People may be an expert on their experiences of Africa but that doesn't qualify them to be an expert on all of Africa. That would impossible.



But I agree that guilt is not the best approach to trying to help Africa out of some of its current challenges. You must spend a lot of time coming to know the people, the history, the cultures, etc of any area of the world before you can really understand the issues facing the people that you wish to "help".



And I also agree that this is one of the better threads in FYM for a long time - mainly because people are discussing with each other and not attacking each other.
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