Thou Protests too much about New York Times’ racist Africa coverage

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Dear Sir,

I read articles about your book “The Hearts of Darkness, How White Writers Created the Racist Image of Africa,� on the Web about how the New York Times’ coverage of Africa has been prejudicial and full of ignorance and exaggeration. I have no doubt that Africa was indeed portrayed unfairly and negatively by white Western journalists over the decades.

However, I must also tell you that the horrors of Africa are now not an exaggeration. Do you deny that the overwhelming majority of countries on the sub-Saharan continent are characterized by brutality, violence, wars, poverty and disease?

Moreover, you cited Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe, as one of the people who read your book and gave it a glowing recommendation. Are you aware what kind of “leader� Mugabe is? Are you aware that he has tortured, killed and forcibly starved thousands of his own countrymen? Are you “proud� of the legacies of such brutal dictators as Mobutu Sese Seku of Zaire and Idi Amin of Uganda?

I think you protest a bit too much.

Palash Ghosh,

No Ghosh, We Don’t Protest Enough

Milton Allimadi responds:
Thank you for taking the time to write. You do not need to tell me about the horrors of Africa. Countless innocent Africans know the suffering in eastern Congo, northern Uganda as we speak, Liberia, Rwanda, Burundi, and in South Africa during apartheid, etc. etc.

You are certainly not suggesting that the turmoil excuses racist and stereotypical representation? One can condemn despotism while also condemning racism and paternalism. Racism is a factor in the suffering. Africans have been so demonized that tyrants like Amin were tolerated (and today Museveni) and even sustained because their victims were “mere�Black people. Had Amin’s victims been Europeans he would have been deposed in a week – not in 8 years.

All these hypocritical cries about President Mugabe by the West is compromised and tainted by their self-serving agendas. They don't care about human rights in Africa Mr. Ghosh. Mugabe was their hero until he started seizing land stolen by whites and redistributing to Africans.

Why no similar outrage for Burundi’s victims and the 3 million people in eastern Congo? The West can’t pick the tyrannies to condemn—when they threaten Western interest—and the ones to protect—when they serve their agenda. We must all condemn and fight all tyrannies, and then Africa will indeed rise.

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