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The darkest thing about Africa has always been our ignorance of it.
February 22, 2007 8:03 AM   Subscribe

I'd like you to meet Africa. It's a continent. You probably don't hear about it a lot in the news. That's because there's only like a billion people who live there. Global Voices has some further background on one news organization's quest to inform the masses about this little-known land.
posted by panoptican (45 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice! My old stand-by has been AllAfrica.com, but this certainly looks cleaner.
And of course, you'll want to check out Zablaza for the militant voice of southern African anarchist communism. I understand Reuters aren't one of their major funders :D
posted by Abiezer at 8:30 AM on February 22, 2007


Thank you for being patronising. Some of us don't live in the USA and therefore our news media reports from Africa. Some of us might even have been there, and some might even have posted African related links.
posted by adamvasco at 8:31 AM on February 22, 2007


Africa
posted by breakfast_yeti at 8:31 AM on February 22, 2007


Afriwha?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:33 AM on February 22, 2007


What does this have to do with Anna Nicole Smith?
posted by phaedon at 8:37 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, some of us listen to NPR and hear reports about/from African countries about as often as any other non-North American continent (which is to say not every single day, but definitely non-zero)
posted by DU at 8:37 AM on February 22, 2007


I'd like you to meet my cock and balls. While not as sanctimonious as this post, they still suffer from problems of untreated disease, lack of fresh air, and widespread public misunderstanding. Won't you help them?
posted by 1-2punch at 8:39 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Related.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 8:41 AM on February 22, 2007


Good God, we're all taking panoptican's wording a little personally aren't we? I was glad for the heads-up about a new news source. Tough crowd.
posted by Abiezer at 8:43 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, have I ever been put in my place. Who knew there was another continent besides North America?

Suggesting the average MeFite is ignorant and provincial: a great way to make friends.
posted by Banky_Edwards at 8:43 AM on February 22, 2007


Thank you for being patronising. Some of us don't live in the USA and therefore our news media reports from Africa. Some of us might even have been there, and some might even have posted African related links.

You FAIL at being less patronizing than FPPoster
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:44 AM on February 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Loose the editorialising
posted by jouke at 8:50 AM on February 22, 2007


Loose the hounds!
posted by gurple at 8:50 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Good God, we're all taking panoptican's wording a little personally aren't we?

Pretty hard to avoid. What was the point of putting it that way? Why not just say "Africa is underreported in many countries; here are some useful links"?
posted by languagehat at 8:51 AM on February 22, 2007


There are 69 posts tagged with africa.
posted by languagehat at 8:52 AM on February 22, 2007


I tend to pass over it and focus on the content unless it's really egregious languagehat. Honestly didn't press my buttons, but seems I might be in a minority.
posted by Abiezer at 8:53 AM on February 22, 2007


For the record, my wording was an indictment of the media in most countries, not Mefites. I know y'all are intelligent. It was also a bit tongue in cheek. Apologies to all offended and also to the queen.
posted by panoptican at 8:57 AM on February 22, 2007


are you kidding me? CNN in Europe is starving children in Africa 24/7, with cricket scores.
posted by phaedon at 9:00 AM on February 22, 2007


BBC
panoptician was that drama queen? because if it was I'm leaving right now - in a huff.
posted by adamvasco at 9:07 AM on February 22, 2007


I've done some subbing in my time panoptican. It got the eyeballs - job's a good'un.
So, Africa, eh? As a macro-issue, I'm particularly interested in China's current rush to invest and source raw materials and resources. Their support for the failed Zimbabwean regime is a case in point.
posted by Abiezer at 9:07 AM on February 22, 2007


Suggesting the average MeFite is ignorant and provincial: a great way to make friends.

Actually I've been surprised about some of the ignorance about Africa post right here. for example. Still, most mefites are pretty knowledgeable.
posted by delmoi at 9:12 AM on February 22, 2007


Geeze, folks, getting mad at this FPP is going about fifty miles out of your way to be pissy about something. If you'll notice, he said "you probably don't hear a lot about it in the news".

What on earth is insulting about this? He's talking about the news, not you or your ability to find things out yourself. He may have made the oh-so-egregious error of forgetting that not all news media is like that in America, but it's not worth being personally offended over.

MeFites scare me a little sometimes.
posted by Malor at 9:15 AM on February 22, 2007


Metafilter: everything is about me, dammit.
posted by Malor at 9:17 AM on February 22, 2007


China, Africa and Oil. From Granta - View from Africa. and China's African strategy. And here is the African womens blog and archives.
posted by adamvasco at 9:22 AM on February 22, 2007


delmoi: Actually I've been surprised about some of the ignorance about Africa post right here. for example. Still, most mefites are pretty knowledgeable.

As soon as I saw this post, delmoi, I thought of that little exchange between you and I. I typically don't defend myself on the internet with people I don't know, and I don't know you. But since you were thoughtful enough to bring it back up, I'll say what I should have said then: "It was a joke, perhaps a poor one, intended to play on the typical arid stereotype of African geography. You have been around a lot longer than I and many people here like you. On occasion, however, I find you to be a douchebag."

So if you're done being patronizing, are we finished here? I have back copies of National Geographic I'm trying to catch up on.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 9:31 AM on February 22, 2007


Ah yes, Africa, AKA The Death Continent. As it happens I hear about it all the damn time, and it's all very depressing. The main result is I never, ever want to go there ever.
posted by Artw at 9:39 AM on February 22, 2007


Thanks adamvasco - I'd not seen the women's blogs or the Granta article. You might not have seen Danwei's section on China and Africa if you're interested.
That latter ended on quite an upbeat note, but it's not been all plain sailing. This article points to environmental concerns, and there's been rumblings on other issues too.
On preview: I have to agree that that comment you linked to was obviously a joke, delmoi.
posted by Abiezer at 9:42 AM on February 22, 2007


Oh, if all of you who were annoyed by panopticon's post, then prove that you know something about Africa by telling me what Dan buro ubanka shege, ko ni da fun iya la iya re, otu nnegi. Tani ode bi iwo n ro kpe o n ba soro naa? means.

I'm being facetious. I rather miss Abiola Lapite's rabid reactionary vitriolic responses to any white person who says anything about "Africa". He makes these sort of threads more fun. Hell, he'd be attacking panopticon right now just for generalizing about "Africa" in any way.

Note that although he was a real asshole about it (and everything else), he was usually right on this. (Excepting when he went off against me for my claim that in some African cultures there is a preference for so-called "dry sex" which is exacerbating the HIV problem. He denied this completely. So sometimes his reactions and responses were erring on the side of bending or even denying the truth to combat the otherwise widespread myths about African culture in the Euro/American culture.)

It is quite amazing how little even most Europeans hear or know about Africa. And they have the post-colonial interest that we North Americans do not. (Which, by the way, is a mild valid defense of our ignorance: relative to many other powerful countries, we have very little practical interest or involvement there. During the cold war we fought some proxy battles with the USSR, but now that that is over the US just has very little interest or much at stake.) Anyway, we should be much more aware of Africa because all of our long-term interests are probably much at stake. But it should interest us for a great many other reasons, not the least because it is the most ancient home of mankind.

What's really, really depressing is that my impression at least is that the developed world has sort of washed its hands of the general problem of Africa. We seem to see some light at the end of the tunnel with regard to the rest of the developing world, but Africa? It's like we've just given up and have come to believe that the major problems that are forcing so many Africans to live in deep misery are simply not solvable. And of course that's not true. You don't have to be a raging progressive to be aware that much of the problem (as in much of the rest of the developing world) is the result of colonialism. Does that make it everyone's responsibility? I don't know. But the point is that it's very true that in a sense that portion of Africa's problems is not endemic. It's the long-running consequence of colonialism. That doesn't mean we can undo this stuff, of course. But for the most part we're not doing anything and don't care. So we could at least try harder.

Sorry about the "we", though. I know that many individuals are working very hard, as well as the fact that some countries are much more involved than others. And of course my generalizations about Africa are both as valid and invalid as a generalization about, say, Asia. Sometimes you can make sweeping generalizations and other times it's absurd. In some ways it's very absurd with regard to Africa because culturally the situation is not unlike the situation genetically: Africans are more diverse and in many cases more distantly related to each other than Europeans/N. Americans are to each other and even to some Africans. There is a huge amount of culturally diversity in Africa which is obscured by the European/N. American racist subconcious which simply identifies all "blackness" as being similar (and similarly alien).
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:45 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I love injira!
posted by DenOfSizer at 9:47 AM on February 22, 2007


Hmm...and here I'm thinking Africa's kinda the 'sexy' topic right now as far as aid work goes. My g/f did a 10-week clinical placement in rural Kenya last year and has the same impression. There's more attention on Africa now than there has been in a while. Lots of films about Africa now (Hotel Rwanda, Blood Diamond, Tsotsi, etc) are helping, as is the Brangelina thing.

Economically, Africa is the next southeast Asia.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:49 AM on February 22, 2007


Some of us have been to Africa. Some of us are from Africa.


So try to be a bit less patronising, mmmmkay?
posted by Flashman at 9:51 AM on February 22, 2007


You know some of us still live here.
posted by PenDevil at 10:02 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd like you to meet Canada. It's a country. You don't hear about it much in the news, but that's only because it's like your largest trading partner. You get more oil from there than anywhere else. You like to screw them on softwood lumber, and will likely try something sneaky if not outright dangerous for its freshwater someday.

Civil discourse was never so much fun.
posted by dreamsign at 10:37 AM on February 22, 2007


prove that you know something about Africa by telling me what Dan buro ubanka shege, ko ni da fun iya la iya re, otu nnegi. Tani ode bi iwo n ro kpe o n ba soro naa? means.

That made me laugh heartily. Good times, good times.

And of course you're right about both ignorance and handwashing.
posted by languagehat at 11:08 AM on February 22, 2007


the whitest thing about Antarctica has always been all the snow.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:14 AM on February 22, 2007


the cutest thing about Australia has always been the koala bears.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:22 AM on February 22, 2007


Meerkats! MEERKATS!
posted by tkchrist at 12:03 PM on February 22, 2007


I hear about Africa all the time.

Usually in the context of genocides or epidemics or banning gay sex, though.
posted by Target Practice at 2:04 PM on February 22, 2007


I'd like you to meet Grand Fenwick. Just as soon as I can find it on a map.
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:26 PM on February 22, 2007


Africa: depressing Mostly depressing
posted by Artw at 2:53 PM on February 22, 2007


Who you calling incontinent?
posted by staggernation at 6:51 PM on February 22, 2007


Well I was born in Africa, hear about it daily on NPR and the World Service, and read most of the major news stories on the BBC and other global news sites. I'll still freely admit that I know almost nothing about the continent; possibly more than I do about South America, or indeed this place but next to nothing all the same. This Reuters thing doesn't look like it's up to much, but I guess every little helps.
posted by nowonmai at 9:42 PM on February 22, 2007


Good God, we're all taking panoptican's wording a little personally aren't we?

Pretty hard to avoid. What was the point of putting it that way? Why not just say "Africa is underreported in many countries; here are some useful links"?
posted by languagehat at 8:51 AM PST on February 22


Actually, I'd have said, finally, here's a signal that Africa's recent efforts to rebrand itself in the global media to portray a far more positive image have finally begun to work.
posted by infini at 10:25 PM on February 22, 2007


oooh and the obligatory africa and the mobile as a post industrial platform for socioeconomic development at the bottom of the pyramid uberlinked plug here *snark*
posted by infini at 10:37 PM on February 22, 2007


It's cloudy and only 23.6 C in Africa today. But extremely humid, so it feels warmer. Light rain has been falling most of the day.

This is Goofyy, reporting Live, from Africa.
posted by Goofyy at 7:32 AM on February 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


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