Gambia

We Need To Tell Our Own Story

If for all these centuries past, of European/Western domination we still tell people in the west that Africa is not a country, or that  one doesn’t speak African, then it says a lot about where we stand.
Africa matters only for what can be taken out of it or for when one wants to throw a pity party. The sooner we learn that, the sooner we can set out to change the course of Africa.
We have been indoctrinated en-masse to go with the narrative, to be politically correct, not to delve into ‘conspiracy theories’, and make excuses for the wrong actions of the West etc. But let a similar mistake happen in Africa, it’s the politicians and their corrupt nature, it’s the backward culture, it’s ‘illiteracy’ or ignorance. Something inexcusable is always to blame.
We need to learn to respect ourselves first, value ourselves first, before we expect it from anyone else.
Little wonder then that a dog is mourned more than the dozens of lives lost in Africa. Social media is rife with the hash tag #jeSuisChien (#I am a dog) in reference to the French police dog killed in the line of duty, meanwhile in Nigeria Boko Haram unleashed terror, as they always do, the dozens of human lives lost got overshadowed by the loss of a dog. And as usual, African’s flew the French flag highest as a gesture of solidarity.
In case it escaped you, Boko Haram is worse than ISIS but how much have you heard of them, in fact how many in the West know about them? Since they pose no immediate threat to the West, they can be side notes to those that already do. So what if the western media sidelines events in Africa?
Why should we expect any Western media outlet to put Africa front and center in their coverage anyway? The name says it all Western media, what they should care about is what matters to the West, maybe it’s because their opinion dominates the world and what they pay attention to matters most at any given time. So it’s understandable if we want to turn to them to shine the spotlight on us. But why can’t we put us first?
We may have a disadvantage in that we rely on foreign media for information dissemination. To start with, stop the non-stop news re-runs from CNN, BBC, VOA, RFI, and the rest, they shape our world view through our constant consumption of their news reels. They may have a better coverage of world events, but these outlets have proven time and again that they serve as propaganda tools to promote a certain world view.
If Africa culls from international news outlets only those stories that have a direct impact to African affairs and can be related to by Africans, the impact of the Western dominated worldview will be minimized.
It is not about jealousy or hatred for Western values; it is about ending the economic oppression of Africans and giving us a stable footing and a valued voice on the world stage.
“The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” Steve Biko
Let us start with decolonizing the mind.

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