Meanwhile, Africa continues in its doleful role as the most dysfunctional continent on the face of the globe. You've read about the terrors of being a Sudanese and perhaps you've heard of the crimes of Mugabe in Zimbabwe and how he has devastated that once beautiful and productive land. You've seen movies (Hotel Rwanda, Beyond the Gates) about the genocide in Rwanda and other films (e.g. Blood Diamond) about the horrors of child soldiers in Sierra Leone. You may have seen films such as The Last King of Scotland that give some insight into the thugocracy that afflicts these miserable people and you're also familiar, perhaps, with the ghastly gang warfare that plagues Somalia (see Blackhawk Down).
But have you read about what's happening in the Congo? If you haven't yet succumbed to compassion fatigue you might want to peruse a piece at the McClatchey web site that tells the awful tale: Five million deaths over the last decade, 45,000 refugees dying every month, and on it goes. If you've read one of these stories, you've read them all. Corrupt government, rebel militias, unimaginable cruelty and degradation, impotent U.N. and rampant disease and starvation afflicting tens of thousands of terrified refugees. It's the same awful litany of problems almost everywhere across the continent.
In his book The Bottom Billion Paul Collier suggests that the only way African nations like the ones mentioned above, as well as others like Chad and dysfunctional states elsewhere around the world (such as Haiti) will ever be able to achieve some level of normalcy for their beleaguered populations is via a concerted intervention - political, economic, and military - by the developed world. Of course, that means Europe and the U.S. since no other nation with the resources to help has much of a history of humanitarian concern, and unfortunately, because of the violence the radical Muslim world threatens to inflict as it seeks to establish global Islam, our energies must be diverted elsewhere.
It's such a tragedy to be able to help but to be unable and/or unwilling to commit the resources to do anything effective because radical Islamists have us tied down elsewhere. But even if that weren't the case I doubt that many Americans would have the stomach to send troops into Africa when our national interests are not at stake there. Instead we avert our gaze from the teeming mass of humanity that cries out for rescue from the tyrants and thugs and assuage our guilt at doing essentially nothing by sending a few vials of penicillin and a couple of crates of blankets.
The left deplored European colonialism in Africa as oppressive and exploitative, but the people of Africa were far better off under European rule than they are under the boot of the criminals who terrorize them now.RLC