Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Stop Trying To 'Save' Africa

The head of Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation (the Rev. Mike Kinman) wrote this:
I know a lot of you are working on the MDGs in your congregations and elsewhere. Well, this article from the Washington Post should be required reading for everyone working with the MDGs and global mission. It gets to the heart of the unique gifts the Church has to bring to the Millennium Development Goals. As Christians, we see people not as economic entities or as things broken that need to be fixed. We see each person as a uniquely gifted creation of the divine, bearing the image of God. For us as Christians, the work of the MDGs is about all of us bringing our gifts to the table and seeing where God is calling us to use those gifts together for the building up of the whole Body of Christ and the healing of the whole world. For us as American Christians, the most important virtue we need to bring to the table is not material generosity (though that is important, too), but humility.

To that I add, Amen.

Read the article:

Stop Trying To 'Save' Africa By Uzodinma Iweala
Sunday, July 15, 2007

Last fall, shortly after I returned from Nigeria, I was accosted by a perky blond college student whose blue eyes seemed to match the "African" beads around her wrists.

"Save Darfur!" she shouted from behind a table covered with pamphlets urging students to TAKE ACTION NOW! STOP GENOCIDE IN DARFUR!

My aversion to college kids jumping onto fashionable social causes nearly caused me to walk on, but her next shout stopped me.

"Don't you want to help us save Africa?" she yelled.

It seems that these days, wracked by guilt at the humanitarian crisis it has created in the Middle East, the West has turned to Africa for redemption. Idealistic college students, celebrities such as Bob Geldof and politicians such as Tony Blair have all made bringing light to the dark continent their mission. They fly in for internships and fact-finding missions or to pick out children to adopt in much the same way my friends and I in New York take the subway to the pound to adopt stray dogs.

This is the West's new image of itself: a sexy, politically active generation whose preferred means of spreading the word are magazine spreads with celebrities pictured in the foreground, forlorn Africans in the back. Never mind that the stars sent to bring succor to the natives often are, willingly, as emaciated as those they want to help.

Read the entire article here

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