Monday, June 27, 2005

Live8: Where are my African Brethren?

To my fellow and more fortunate Africans, we must seriously consider how we WILL meaningfully contribute to the emancipation of our less fortunate brethrens. It is a fact that the stipends we routinely send home have enormously helped many of our next of kin, but we have to reach out beyond the circle of our immediate families; we have to complement these unexampled global efforts. We need to shed off the coats of apathy that many among us have worn for so long, and open our hearts to those that are not blood relatives and those that are of different clan, tribe, religion or faith. This is not the time for lethargy or ethnic sentiments; we have to come together, and creatively conceive plans for action- just as beings of different races have done under live8- to help ourselves, please.

The blogosphere is red-hot with all sorts of Live8 concert posts! From Tokyo to Johannesburg,and from Philadelphia to Rome, posts in almost all known languages abound. What an impressive display of human solidarity; this is really an epic moment in the history of mankind. Live8 rocks!

But in the midst of this supped-up cyberspace cacophony, and eager proclamation of, albeit not new, brotherhood, perhaps we need to stand back and think of whom all these feverishness and euphoria are for. These efforts are for some nameless and faceless homo sapiens in some far away hell-on-earth locale in Africa Who for all intents and purposes, have no inkling of what Live8 is, and as a matter of fact, care less about this urbane, intercontinental, star-packed, jamboree. What accounts for the bulk of burden (illness and death) carried by millions in this far away land of abundance yet impoverished masses are mostly the resultant and cumulative effects of human endeavors that range from politics to ethnocentricity, and greed to simple indiscretion.

How can this musical fiesta reverse the fate of millions that minimally exist at the bottom of the pyramid of life? These bottom feeders are helpless and live out their existence in sheer hopelessness; their collective fate often depends to some ignorant tribal warlords, or some bourgeois, westernized African politicians or bureaucrats somewhere. So to set these unfortunate ones free of bondage, we must party hard, and sing and dance into the wee hours of the morning? Will this entertainment package really bring peace to the multitude of displaced and war-wary Africans? Will debt cancellation and aid emancipate the poverty- and disease-stricken children in Africa?

I don’t know the answer to these questions. By nature I’m an overly optimistic being, and I’m most appreciative of the good intents of Bono, Geldof and other kindred spirits that have been clamoring for debt cancellation for Africa. However, I have some difficulty psyching myself up to believe that this festival of music in far away lands and cultures will have any meaningful impact on the lives of my fellow African brethrens. No offence please.

For as long as the likes of Joseph Kony of the Lord's Resistance Army, Robert Mugabe, Ibrahim Babaginda , Charles Taylor, and many other similar demented souls in Dafur still roam free in our midst. And corruption, nepotism, ethnocentric ideologies and religious bigotry remain practiced and cherished values, Africa will remain in perpetual misery.

My people will remain disillusioned, and will continue to be pawns played by those bestowed with the scared responsibility of leadership, raped and disfranchised by their next of kin. Bono and his cohorts can sing to high heavens, and G8 can give all the money there is in this world regardless of the built-in conditionalities, if there are no meaningful economic and political reforms, and President Bush's Millennium Challenge remains moribund, I’m afraid these noble concepts of debt relief and aid will fail in its entirety.