Hugging An African Does Not Help

It has been the big thing for fading celebrities who have an album, film or book to promote, they know it will make them look cool and right – on global champions of politically correct thinking and it is so easy and costs very little. They just get a charity or television company to send them to Africa as a “Goodwill Ambassador”, have their press agents inform the media and then, having made sure plenty of paparazzi are watching they grab the nearest African and hug them.

Hugging an African and talking about poverty, disease, hunger and how your new album / movie / book was inspired by the plight of so many Africans guarantees front page and headline stories all around the world. All the usual suspects are doing it, Bono, Madonna, Sting, Brangelina, Kylie Minogue, Gerri Halliwell, Joanna Lumley, Robbie Williams, Annie Lennox, Billy Conolly and the list goes on. It will not be long until you next see one of them grinning desperately for the cameras of the global media as they hug a bewildered and embarrassed African.

The western guilt trip demands celebrities make these gestures of course, but are they universally welcomed in Africa?

It is bad enough the west exploited the continent and its resources and people during the colonial era without western governments and charities pouring in financial aid while politicians and pop stars pour in and offer advice to Africans on how to run their nations and lives and less well known western guilt tourists just turn up and start hugging unsuspecting Africans oblivious of the fact that in many African societies hugging strangers is a total no-no. Not that telling the average fading celeb. or determined tourist something is not acceptable will ever stop them. They are being paid or have paid good money to hug Africans and they are damn well gonna, OK? There is nothing short of a panga through the skull that will stop them.

Bono of course knows beyond doubt that being patronised by him is the greatest blessing life can bestow on a person from the third world and if he just keeps on patronising bewildered third would peasants they will come to understand how fortunate they are. It is rumoured that Madonna has bought several small African countries and passed laws compelling inhabitants to be available for hugs whenever she wants a photo-op. What is certainly true is that Madge has threatened African governments that she will play gigs there if they try to stop her hugging the locals.

Hugging Africans is not the only problem westerners cause it seems. According to a new book, Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo, western aid and the “scientific advice” that is a condition of getting the money are counter productive. Dambisa, a Nigerian polymath whose qualifications include BSc (chemistry), M.A. PhD (economics) , MBA and being a premier league hottie claims aid and the conditions attached have stifled development and progress throughout much of Africa. If you are not convinced yet to buy the book (and for guys it is worth the price just for the picture of Dambisa on the dust jacket) read the article Everyone Knows It Doesn’t Work and learn more of Ms. Moyo’s ideas for solving Africa’s problems.

Perhaps if we started listening to Africans about how Africa’s problems could be solved rather than European politicians seeking votes and academics seeking grants and American Preacher – Politicians whose skewed view of African history is more fantastical than Lord Of The Rings we might start seeing social and economic progress in that continent.

Everyone Knows It Doesn’t Work A link to Dambasi’s interview with the G2 magazine.

Dead Aid: ‘Aid has not been able to increase growth and reduce poverty’ An analysis of the effects of Aid in this article.

Dead Aid – Dambisa Moyo (Penguin Books) Learn more about Dead Aid or buy the book.

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15 thoughts on “Hugging An African Does Not Help

    • Thanks. People think Boggart Blog is just a jerk off for me and my Little Sis but in facts we have always claimed to bring you relevant new and commentary.

      In fact we can truthfully claim to have pubslished news reports of major events before they happen.

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  1. Sir, from a literary point of view, I like the expression “compelling inhabitants to be available for hugs”… 🙂

    there is a word in German “Zwangsbeglückung” which means ‘making people happy by force’ – and many belive that it is exactly that some Western politicians, celebrities, etc. want to do with the Africans.

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    • The German language has many wonderful words, weltsmersch is one of my favourites – it means “a deep, heartfelt longing for a place one has never been to.”

      Zwangsbeglückung. What a brilliant concept (no wonder the Germans produce so many philosophers.) I wonder have psychologists ever thought of solving somebody’s weltsmersch through Zwangsbeglückung?

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      • one method of solving the Weltschmerz through Zwangsbeglückung would be to throw them some soil (from the particular Welt they are schmerzing after) on the head – I suppose… (now that you asked, I will think about other methods, of course…)

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      • As I recall Dracula has to take a little soil from Transylvania along wherever he goes. If your suggestion works it gould mean people suffering from Weltschmerz are just vampire who have neber been to Transylvania.

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      • don’t know about dracola and transylvania, but I would not advice to take soil from there to carry with you, because, you know, soil from the east in so radioactive(chernobyl and such) that you wil not be able to pass any airport check in detectors.

        Unless, of course, you are going to walk all that distance… 😉

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      • Justgrrl,
        On soil. I think the prescribed way of transporting the soil in in a coffin on board a small sailing barque which lands at Whitby on the Yorkshire coast.

        I have some expertise here because in one of my short stories a character who has been bitten by a very attractive Lady Vampire while holidaying in the Balkans tries to return home on his holiday flight but slides through the bottom of the aircraft and lands on the runway because he has omitted to pack a little soil in his hand luggage, perhaps for the reason you suggest.

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      • yes, indeed, you may feel schadenfreude because they are quite over-busy with using so many articles ‘der, die, das’ and all their inflectional forms, while you only the a “the” in English. 😉

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      • techonomist,
        I feel angst when Barack Obama speaks.

        First we mistook Mircosoft Windows for a computer operating system.
        Then we mistook the Internet for a secure medium for banking, shopping etc.
        Then we mistook Tony Blair for a leader
        Then we mistook George W. bushg for a human being.
        Now we are mistaking an imbecile for an intellectual.

        Where will it all end?

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      • In response to the comment you left this comment answers that comment and we have not mentioned these comments and those comments. And we have more personal pronouns that thou thoughest too, should thee need some help I will be glad to answer any questions of thine.

        We just found all that too much hassle so being less pernickerty than the Germans we simplified. 🙂

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