If Americans want to care about Africa, maybe they should consider evaluating American foreign policy, which they already play a direct role in through elections, before they impose themselves on Africa itself. The fact of the matter is that Nigeria is one of the top five oil suppliers to the U.S., and American policy is interested first and foremost in the flow of that oil. The American government did not see fit to support the Nigeria protests. (Though the State Department issued a supportive statement — “our view on that is that the Nigerian people have the right to peaceful protest, we want to see them protest peacefully, and we’re also urging the Nigerian security services to respect the right of popular protest and conduct themselves professionally in dealing with the strikes” — it reeked of boilerplate rhetoric and, unsurprisingly, nothing tangible came of it.) This was as expected; under the banner of “American interests,” the oil comes first. Under that same banner, the livelihood of corn farmers in Mexico has been destroyed by NAFTA. Haitian rice farmers have suffered appalling losses due to Haiti being flooded with subsidized American rice. A nightmare has been playing out in Honduras in the past three years: an American-backed coup and American militarization of that country have contributed to a conflict in which hundreds of activists and journalists have already been murdered. The Egyptian military, which is now suppressing the country’s once-hopeful movement for democracy and killing dozens of activists in the process, subsists on $1.3 billion in annual U.S. aid. This is a litany that will be familiar to some. To others, it will be news. But, familiar or not, it has a bearing on our notions of innocence and our right to “help.”

-Teju Cole, The Atlantic

Read the rest here.

How many “third world nations” and “non-Western cultures” can this same statement be made about?

Do you think that religion or spirituality lie at the heart of the world’s instabilities? Can the world’s ills be solved by $25 sent to your favorite international organization? Perhaps a rainy spring rally in Washington, DC would do? Maybe we should adopt some children from those terrible, undemocratic countries? Maybe kill a few important figureheads via military drones?


We are good. We are just.

God bless America?


~ by timberwraith on April 5, 2012.

5 Responses to “Enlightenment…”

  1. I think that if we took religion out of the world, it would be such a better place.

  2. To Haunted Timber
    Not only do you hide behind a phony name, but in this post you deface an American flag. A flag I spent 20 years of my life defending.

    Eugene J. Pinder
    MSgt. USMC, Ret.

  3. Well Gene, I knew this post wouldn’t be popular…

    (See the tags and categories at the bottom of the post.)

  4. Larry, if you read through my blog a bit, you’ll notice that I’m not much into conformity. Not the version of conformity you propose, nor the version that conservative people of faith propose.

    I know plenty of religious and spiritual people who are quite reasonable, open-minded, and caring people, some of whom are my closest friends. Their forms of faith and spirituality are integral to who they are. When you wish for the non-existence of religion, you inadvertently wish for their non-existence. They would not be the people they are without their embrace of faith and spirituality. I can not abide your desire to see this take place. Where you see ugliness, I see beauty.

    I don’t see religion as the source of the world’s problems. The abuses of religion reflect something far deeper. I see tribalism and the desire to control others as an ever-present, strongly resistant source of violence and instability. Anyone can manifest those tendencies: you, me, everyone. One might say they infect our relationships with strife and disappointment.

  5. And Gene, for goodness sake, you’re still addressing me by the wrong name.

    By the way, many of the people who write online use aliases. It’s pretty common, particularly for women and LGBT people. As I’ve mentioned to you before, this is a matter of safety. I suppose you could take that as a sign of ethical infirmity, but that would be pretty odd.

    Notice that Larry isn’t using his full name. Check out the other people on my blog (or any blog). You’ll see the same pattern.

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