Is Africa the richest continent on the face of the earth, or is it the poorest? Do its economic woes spring from the reign of tyrants or the tyranny of the West? From massive corruption or unfair debts to the IMF? Do Africans see us in the Diaspora as brothers and sisters, or foreigners and inferiors? Does media coverage of Africa unfairly focus on its problems, or point to serious issues we would rather forget?
Will Nigeria, most populous country in Africa, and richest in oil by far, splinter along ethnic lines, or hold together and prosper? Is Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe fighting to obtain land for his people, or simply seeking a diversion to remain in power? Was Libya’s Muammar Khadaffi, a rich patron deeply interested in his African brethren, or Arab interloper seeking pawns in his war with the West?
Is the African Union (AU) old wine in new bottles, or a dynamic configuration to replace the Organization of African Unity (OAU) which, it seems, had run out of steam? And is the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) the right path for the AU to follow, or something that was quickly hatched, without consulting the African people, to satisfy Western leaders and banks? Does it promote trade amongst African nations, or foster continued foreign economic penetration?
Is Africa’s AIDS crisis overblown or understated? And can it be tackled indigenously, or only under Western direction and supervision? Is Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s leader, a worthy successor to Mandela or the puppet of foreign powers? In short, Africa, who are you? From what fabric are you sewn? Or are you woven from dozens of contradictory strands? Is there a cloth for every weaver, every dreamer, every perceiver, or one true garment we have yet to discern? Africa, who are you, and who are we who have long been torn from your breast? Can we, in the Diaspora, play a meaningful role or merely sit and watch things unfold as we talk and write and just theorize?
(by Dr. Arthur Lewin, author Africa Is Not A Country: It’s A Continent, www.AfricaUnlimited.com )