Africans: Streets Abroad Aren't Paved With Gold

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 [Commentary] 

 

 Continental Africans have not done a good job of revealing the realities of life overseas.     Many times friends and family back on the motherland get a one-sided story about what really goes on in the lives of Black people in foreign lands. For example, Africans living on the continent and fed through media a steady diet of falsehoods such as: It is better to start up a career overseas as opposed to striving to build one in Africa; earning your degree abroad is easier and the environment is comfortable; life is easy; money is easy to come by; Africans are inferior and are unable to build anything,without the help of foreign “partners”; whites, Arabs and others have the interests of Africans and Black people generally at heart; and, Arabs, Whites and others treat Africans as equals.  Granted there are continental Africans who have achieved status and wealth abroad. But I find the misinformation troubling because it creates conflict between Africans abroad and their family members at home and sometimes focuses on unrealistic hopes without showing the challenges.  I have met a number of Africans living in the United States who quit school in order to work menial jobs so that they could send money and gifts --iPhones, computers, Louis Vuitton bags, bleaching creams, and so forth-- to their overly demanding family members.  Some Africans are pushed away from achieving their dreams and get involved in crime in order to feed their relatives’ expensive taste for material things. Those that I have talked to for the past 10 years have agonized over the constant requests that they get from their families back home in Africa.  These relatives are less supportive of their long term goals and more excited about getting money to live it up.  Mainstream media such as BBC,VOA and CNN also contribute to this unrealistic representation of the reality of things. They paint inviting, peaceful, all-inclusive images of countries abroad and put less focus in promoting positive empowering success stories on the African continent.  As a result, many Africans crave fantasy-lives in foreign countries.  I suggest that Africans abroad be honest about the reality of life in the Diaspora and family members should stop pressurizing them into doing things that will create a financial burden.    More Africans stay on the continent and build from home. African governments must: create jobs; support innovation; and, provide incentives for quality African teachers and professors.    These steps would encourage more Africans to stay or return home to the continent.  I offer some concrete examples of the situation on ground overseas. As you go through these stories, think of the way forward:     1. Israelis attack Africans, calling them cancer in their country and saying they will do anything in their power to deport them. Black African-owned businesses were destroyed and looted, women with their children humiliated    There was also the report about Ethiopian women being sterilized   in Israel.  2. An African chemical engineering Student was beaten into a coma in India   last April 21 and left for dead -- he ended up being on life support machine and police took no action for two months towards arresting assailants who came from powerful families.  3. Ethiopian Women are abused  in the Middle East (UAE); one was beaten for years, burned and forced to perform a sex act with another maid by her boss who videotaped it.   4. A couple from Rwanda both trained doctors are stranded in rural Russia and became peasant farmers when their country collapsed in civil war. They tell their stories of depression, racism, disappointments and strong will and recovery.    5. African students share their experience of racism in Russia   and how the government ignores their cry.    6. Racism against African football --soccer-- players in Europe is ongoing with some spectators even throwing bananas at Black players.  Read “Zoro suffers more racist  abuse” and watch how racism is still a reality  in European soccer.    7. Nigerian women are duped into prostitution lured by promises of a better life in Europe. Immigrants form Nigerian mafia and sometimes battle Italian mafia -- they murder innocent people, sponsor drug dealers and prostitution rings.
  8. African immigrants in China  tell of their experiences.      9. Somalis encouraged to abandon their African culture and are then blamed for crimes in Maine.  10. An outstanding one-of-its-kind program on Al Jazeera is called “Surprising Europe”  . It tells the stories of some Africans who dream of leaving the continent and how some of them take risks in order to make it to Europe.   Once they get there they often are stranded with no job, put in detention camps, and live in abject poverty; but they are afraid of going back home to Africa because of pressure from their family members that are dependent on them.      11. Racism against people of African descent in Ecuador; 92% of them are ignored by the government and don't have access to basic services.  12. Sundown Town --White populated towns-- Black people are not allowed after 6:00 PM. If they stay, they get killed by racist Whites; this practice still goes on in America.    (Work by James W.  Loewen  can also be ordered. You can also listen to Dr. Loewen’s talk on C-Span about the book).  13. 1,000 Nigerian Muslim women in Saudi Arabia maltreated on hajj/pilgrimage.    14. In Brazil racism against people of African descent is deeply rooted in the History of the country, making it difficult for Blacks to accomplish their goals.   Helena Oliveira Silva explains in an interview how  Brazilian media continues to promote racist images of Black people in Brazil.  Yoknyam's also blogs on WEHNAM  paying Homage to men who support women: The blog that deals with matters specifically relating to African women those in rural areas and in the Diaspora

 

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