Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
susanne

Is dictartors at the heart of darkness in Africa?

Well we all know that Africa is not a good place to live in; with all its human rights issue, illiteracy, crime etc.But who do you think is to blame, or at least to take a majority to blame for these "darknesses"? Our next debating topic is "that dictators are at the heart of darkness of Africa", in which, I do agree with it, but what are your thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At first I thought you were talking about Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness XD

To be honest I think most of the developed countries are to blame for not only Africa's poor welfare state but any other place in which people are deprived of basic human rights. Dictators are not the only ones to blame; there are also corrupt/inefficient politicians/leaders of countries that spend the national budget pretty badly(money that could be used to help or sponsor humanitarian causes). We could all live happily if countries just helped each other instead and shared their knowledge. The only thing they really share is political tension :confused:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An interesting discussion for sure, but one I think is being over-simplified by blaming dictatorial regimes and singular Heads of State for the majority or entirety of a frankly larger issue.

I think the "heart of darkness" in Africa is due to a wider concern that trickled down from a dictator to the layman: socially accepted selfishness. it is no secret that humans are self-involved and selfish creatures by nature, the problem arises when the desire to better oneself at the cost of another is so overwhelming and socially prevalent that it overcomes a people.

I read a fascinating paper on Burundi a couple of years ago that alleged that a lack of education perpetuated superstition, ignorance, and encouraging ignoramuses. It make it easier to maintain control. Ignorance of a greater consciousness of the world around us breeds an insular mindset, one that essentially makes the less enlightened person think that anything outside his/her sense of 'normal' is wrong. This engenders fear and eventually precipitates into social exclusion, isolation, and in worst case scenarios, violence.

The problem is that to build a nation from the ground up, what is needed is idealism. A strong leadership that is dedicated to the betterment of the State populace is definitely a part of that. But what is also needed is a vocal and vociferous and active people that are at least somewhat organised and united on all-encompassing rights and privileges such as honest practices in trade, etc. The people, individually, don't want to do the work in most cases. They're more interested in building a fortune and securing the lives and futures of their generally impoverished families. A consideration which is unquestionably vital for them, but one that reinforces the insular mindset and promotes the My Family v The World outlook.

Patriotism is needed.

of course, this isn't the only concern. Sometimes, the people do organise, they do speak up, an idealistic leader with dreams for a great nation does ascend with popular support and everything still goes to sh!t.

We have seen situations where particular leaders have been ousted and clearly unpopular candidates put in their stead to appease international interests of More Economically Developed States (MEDC). What the history textbooks in the US won't openly tell you is that the US government was the one that initially put Saddam Hussein in power in Iraq. Sometimes, the opposite is also true, the Ian Smith government of Southern Rhodesia, famed for its all-white conscription (even though whites comprised 4% of the total population of the State) was tacitly supported and backed by the UK, USA and France (though it remained openly condemned). it is for this reason that their governments survived two attempted coups and lasted a little over 3 decades despite its admittedly and proudly racist agenda.

International interests and 'concerns' can overwhelm any kind of democratic institution - idealistic, imagined or even endeavoured realisations of it.

No, dictatorial regimes are not at the heart of the darkness. They would be an artery, a major one certainly. But only one of the many, many chains and arteries that pump poison into the core of the continent that remains the richest in its unfulfilled potential.

Those are my musings on the matter in any case.

EDIT: I should add that I recently completed my dissertation on a topic that does incorporate some elements of the discussion you've prompted. Since nobody's ever going to read the hard work and effort I put into my paper (except the examiner), let me know if it's something you would be interested in browsing. Fair warning: it's long, technical, academic and legalistic.

Edited by Arrowhead
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah this is extremely complex, dictatorships can easily lose control and become corrupt. Thats just a fraction of the issues plaguing africa alongside a myriad of social, economic and political issues, both domestic and international.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well we all know that Africa is not a good place to live in; with all its human rights issue, illiteracy, crime etc.But who do you think is to blame, or at least to take a majority to blame for these "darknesses"? Our next debating topic is "that dictators are at the heart of darkness of Africa", in which, I do agree with it, but what are your thoughts?

Why are you taking the whole of Africa as an example? Africa is a enormous and huge continent with a lot of different countries. Some of them are, yes, full of what you are listing, but in a lot of cases this is also not true. Look at Morocco, Libya, South-Africa among some countries that are quite successful. Please nuance your view on Africa and maybe specify what countries you are talking about as Africa is large and the countries differ largely in their demographies, economies and level of development.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well we all know that Africa is not a good place to live in; with all its human rights issue, illiteracy, crime etc.But who do you think is to blame, or at least to take a majority to blame for these "darknesses"? Our next debating topic is "that dictators are at the heart of darkness of Africa", in which, I do agree with it, but what are your thoughts?

Why are you taking the whole of Africa as an example? Africa is a enormous and huge continent with a lot of different countries. Some of them are, yes, full of what you are listing, but in a lot of cases this is also not true. Look at Morocco, Libya, South-Africa among some countries that are quite successful. Please nuance your view on Africa and maybe specify what countries you are talking about as Africa is large and the countries differ largely in their demographies, economies and level of development.

sorry, I think that I made this too broad; in this debate we are mainly talking about African countrys that are ruled by dictators. I do respect South Africa and everything. Thank you for reminding me

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are some African democracies that are pretty corrupt as well. its almost irrelevant in that continent as I said before, dictators are one cloak for the same evil hidden by a democratic cloak in another african country. Dictators are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Africa. First years of wrong doing and destruction from colonization have to be reversed, then the real work of building a way of life starts...

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Attributing African woes to dictators conveneintly draws attention away from more complex factors, such as Europe's past and present relationship with and intervention in many African states. To even ask the question of dictators and dictatorships invites a certain way of thinking.

Though the eminent journalist Ryszard Kapuskinsci is only one of many who have written on the African continent (and one of the few i have read thoroughly), his literary-reportage style invites reflection and suggests many influences (African and non-) which have been shaping the lives and destiny of many Africans, in the nations he traveled. He wrote some of his best-known works during or a little after the Cold War era, and so events are not "current" "up-to-the-minute" as you find on CNN, BBC and other news channels, but nor do these offer much by way of intelligent editorial. He certainly has his critics, who are worth reading and taking seriously, but the nature of his writing and his subjects evoke less firm answers to problems than an attempt to come to grips with exisiting in Africa, as an African or European. As you can guess, one criticism (valid) is his lumping nations together under the term " Africa", ignoring the fact that is a continent of diverse nations; but that should not distract from his ideas on what the problems may be and where they stem.

Edited by Blackcurrant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Attributing African woes to dictators conveneintly draws attention away from more complex factors, such as Europe's past and present relationship with and intervention in many African states. To even ask the question of dictators and dictatorships invites a certain way of thinking.

I suppose the question I have about this sort of view is: are these viewpoints useful? From my not-necessarily-amazing understanding of history, Europeans did some pretty messed up things to many more places than African countries. Going just from what the British did then India, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and lots of other places all received the short end of the ignorant conqueror stick. Thing is, all of these places are now fully functional and democratic. Some of them more or less related to the UK still than others are, but nevertheless completely independent and most certainly powers in their own right.

So is saying that it's these European invasion type factors which are the overshadowing problem actually putting the emphasis in the right place? Or is it the dictatorships, corruption and absence of democracy which are the over-riding force and old intervention actually a distractor from that? There's a whole lot of guilt, aid money and so on which pours constantly into places like Zimbabwe where there have been horrific human right atrocities - and the people have only survived in spite of the governing powers because of European aid. Guilt money, blood money, whatever. I think it's certainly an argument which can be made. Present-day interventions allow for a lot of these regimes to continue on the basis of aid subsidising economies and the way populations are treated, without the governing powers having to feel the repercussions of what's truly happening if nobody stepped in to help. Whether it's right or wrong to keep providing aid in areas where you suspect it's just allowing for the regime to be propped up, I for one am definitely not qualified to say, and nobody really has the power over people's lives to say "let the people die now in order to punish the government" although who knows, that might be the only way to get things sorted long-term.

I'm meandering a bit, but I suppose my main point is that Europeans certainly screwed over many African nations, but also a lot of nations around the world. Including tribal nations. The vast majority have picked themselves up off the ground, received apologies, aid, attempts to make up for what we did, and are now by and large nations on equal standing with those in Europe. If not better. So I don't think you can say that European interference and atrocities of the past necessarily doom any nation. There IS something unique about countries which remain in turmoil, however. Africa is a story of varying successes - some countries do comparatively fabulously better than others, some are in chaos, and actually whether or not there was European intervention doesn't seem to have determined whether they succeed or not. Is it right to keep returning to what happened in the past and letting present-day problems be attributed to retrospective crimes, when it's never going to help us solve the problems happening now in the present? I don't think aid and subsidies are really solutions.

I don't think it's an elaborate plan to avoid guilt as much as that guilt helps absolutely nobody. It props up places which should be falling (and, as I said before, you can argue that this hinders progress) and means that instead of addressing underlying issues, it's just about chucking money, medicines, supplies etc. at people who actually need an infrastructure, an economy, a working government. Personally I think that corruption IS the key factor in the whole mess, not a distractor, so I'd argue against you saying that it's just a convenient way of covering up the crimes of the last century.

...then again I'm not claiming to have done more than follow the news, but I am interested in this sort of thing, so please take me down on it! :P

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is plenty that I agree with in what you say, Sandwhich. i should have realized sooner that invoking Europe's role in Africa would trigger thoughts of (sole, primary) blame. Blaming Europe was not at all my intention. The European relationship with Africa over the centuries, in its various guises, is just one factor in explaining how African nations got to be the way they are (for better or for worse), as I was hoping to make clear in my previous message.

For me, what is interesting is the question itself, as posed by the assignment: it strikes me as a very odd and almost anachronistic (perhaps "dated" is a better term) way of broaching the subject. With the current re-affirmation of "context" in the IB, one should think the question would focus on the conditions that allowed for the rise of dictators in some of these countries, and on the continuous, abject suffering of populations which has now become, in the Western mind, synonymous with "Africa". Europe certainly has a part in creating and sometimes perpetuating these conditions (my intention is not to blame or praise here), but certainly, Africans themselves (the powerful, generally) have a hand too. And then there are nations that have succeeded despite everything. All the more reason to find the question odd for inviting a simplistic, humanistic thinking which dwells on the individual mover and shaker. I am wondering how much this is a throw-over from an older IB system.

Thank you for your reply, which shows that we are in accord in many respects.

Edited by Blackcurrant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0