The largest armed conflict and famine of the world are happening in Tigray and its surroundings. Yet most of the world pays little attention nor seems to have concern for the well being of millions. For some countries like Canada the value of Tigray is not about the people but instead about the potential mining of precious minerals at low costs and minimal liability for environmental concerns or worker welfare. For China Tigray and Ethiopia are stepping stones to acquiring wealth and influence in the pursuit of being the ultimate global power.
This week the African Union and European Union are having a joint summit. At the meeting in Brussels this week the stated purpose of the event is to “discuss how both continents can build greater prosperity”. Diplomats are having loquacious meetings that are empty of significant content relevant to the needs of millions in distress. What counts is having a picture taken with an African diplomat representing a tyrant who will then proclaim his acceptance by European leaders. Discussions of unpleasant topics like imprisonment without trial, starvation, and violations of human rights are avoided.
The American view of Africa is bit more complex but not always lofty or committed. Former President Barack Obama made the following observation on his initial visit to Kenya saying “Africa had become an idea more than an actual place . . . with the benefit of distance, we engaged Africa in a selective embrace”. When most Americans saw the television story of Roots (Author Alex Haley’s story of his slave ancestry), they felt compassion. Yet when informed about African suffering prejudiced views of Africa being an eternal hotbed of disease and conflict that will never change have caused a dominating concept to prevail in policy decisions that Africans are a lesser people doomed to a lesser existence. When it comes to Africa, American leaders often ignore the message in the Bible that all men are created in God’s image and in the American Declaration of Independence which Thomas Jefferson penned in 1776 during the beginning of the American Revolution that reads, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”