We can safely assume that most European countries are sending aid. Glaringly absent, as usual, are any sub-Saharan African countries. South Africa might, perhaps, be sending aid; it still has some residual resources and infrastructure from when it was run by whites. What about the rest of Africa?
We saw photos of Abuja, Nigeria in a recent post on this blog. Abuja showcases what we are supposed to believe Africa is really about. We are told, time and time again, how Africa is not really as bad as the media portrays it to be. For example, in his photo project “The Other Africa“, Philippe Sibelly tells us that…
There is no denying that Africa faces many issues, but all the positives coming from the Continent are never reported on. This Afro-pessimism hides many encouraging news stories. African economies grow at rates far higher than in the West, boosted by high commodity prices. Many countries (France and the UK, the two main former colonial powers, the United States, but more importantly India and China) have a renewed interest in these lands…
My Senegalese friends (definitely not malnourished) insisted I visit them in Dakar and my vision of Africa has been changed forever since. I discovered Africans living in a very similar way as mine: getting up early in the morning, defying rush hour traffic on their way to work and planning their weekend over dinner with their family…
Having had the chance to travel to many other African countries after that, I realised they were not alone; they were not exceptional. All across the continent, African professionals live very similar lives to the Western middle classes. I decided to document this emerging African middle class and other aspects of this African ‘normality’ as the story of Africa I learnt from the Western media was not complete.
If so, why is it so rare to find black African nations contributing to humanitarian causes such as the plight of Japan? Even when their black brethren, in Haiti, were suffering and dying, Africans appear to have been among the last to join in the effort and their contributions were dwarfed by those of white and Asian nations. If Senegal is as “similar” to Western nations as Sibelly claims, then I want to know if it is among the scores of nations contributing aid to Japan. Either Africa is, indeed, poor and backward* or they don’t give a damn about anybody else in the international community. Another possibility (and I predict somebody will claim this) is that Africans are contributing mightily but the media is keeping this fact a secret from the rest of us. Not likely.
Of course some Africans will volunteer to travel to Japan to participate in rescue efforts. Some out of genuine goodwill. Others as a means to hook up with Japanese women.
For the record, I am not in favor of governments sending aid to either foreigners or domestics. Charity should be left to private individuals and organizations. Each dollar sent as aid was taken from an American and it would have been more productively spent by those who earned it. But let us not entertain illusions that the nations that are not offering aid are refraining from doing so for libertarian reasons. Either they cannot afford to do so or it is not a priority in their eyes.
* In which case, cities such as Abuja are merely “bling” on a grand scale.