Letters Readers’ views
Niger Delta: The rape of paradise In reference to Osasu Obayiuwana’s report, “Nigeria: The Rape of Paradise” (NA, January), it is saddening that the incumbent Nigerian government has decided to maintain the status quo in as far as addressing the Niger Delta environmental catastrophe is concerned. The situation in the Delta is shocking and morose and yet remains one of the most underreported stories in the world. Everyone knows that Nigeria is an oil giant, yet its oil revenue has failed to trickle down to its people. In the meantime the ordinary citizens have borne the brunt for the environmental crimes in the Niger Delta.
But the people of the Delta are not alone. Here in the Congo we share the same story. I am personally extremely worried about the environmental impact of the massive oil discovery in Virunga National Park in Goma, Eastern DRC. As many know, since the discovery of the DRC’s coltan (used in the mobile phone and other electronic gadgets) its extraction has by and large contributed to the deaths of millions of Congolese, and many of us now worry about the impact the oil drilling in Virunga National Park will have on both the people and the environment. It is sad to say that the legacy of these natural resources in both Eastern Congo and Niger Delta, is that of suffering and death. When will we and the future generation benefit?
uhendwa Martin Lubumbashi, DRCongo
Not every white person is racist I picked up a copy of your excellent publication whilst on holiday in South Africa for the first time – as a white man I found your article on the 100 years of the ANC extremely illuminating and educational and I certainly cringe at the way South Africa was carved up by the whites and the obvious injustices that were perpetrated.
My main reason for writing to you concerns the article by Akua Djane (“Racism still alive and kicking in Britain,” NA,Feb), which I feel contains sweeping generalisations and does not reflect the bigger picture in Britain.
She states “the British do not like Black people” (she certainly does not speak for me and millions of others!) and bases this on the appalling racist murder of Stephen
Women sitting in front of a gas flare fire near the Niger Delta port city of Warri
Lawrence in 1993. I would just like to say that 99.99% of white Britons felt revulsion and disgust at this murder and were also furious that it has taken 18 years to obtain any sort of justice.
Does Akua seriously think that every white person that looks at her wants to attack her and wants her dead? If that was the case there would have been a plethora of racist murders and this is patently not the case – yes, there have been isolated incidents but your correspondent makes out that the whole of Britain is at war with itself.
I take objection to her sweeping statements which presumably are based on living in a particular area of London and her dealings with the media, who are equally insulting to Scotland. I live in Scotland and we are constantly being patronised by the English in the media, but it doesn’t mean I hate all the English as I know all individuals are different and most superficial differences can be addressed with a sense of humour.
I do agree with her that some expats (not all) do speak to blacks as inferior people. I experienced this myself in South Africa when overhearing a conversation in a hotel among some local Afrikaaners. I also agree with her that black people are very hospitable and accommodating but disagree that all white people think and say: “What are you doing here? Go back home.”
I have always been met with great friendliness in Africa and I have reciprocated that friendliness. I will keep returning because the people are genuine and (this is where I agree slightly with Akua) this seems to have been lost to a degree in Britain – you just have to go a bit further to find it here but it still exists!
Keep up the good work!
The rise of the middle class in Africa While working in Cameroon as an outsider, I have come to notice a trend that I find to be quite problematic and perhaps a substantial hindrance to the growth of this society. The outward gaze towards a Western elite lifestyle seems to be a common inclination. This obsession with media-induced ideas of a Western lifestyle is in fact nonviable and harmful to social progress at the local level. And this harm needs some unravelling.
I had rather pertinent questions upon reading your article “The rise of the middle class in Africa”. (NA, Feb), in which the author brings up a valid argument about the new middle class. The scepticism about this rising group is well-founded and needs to be brought into the public sphere. I am not in opposition of such economic progression, but my fear derives from the mistakes made among the disintegrating middle class in the US.
The middle class of the 1950s that established the privatised, individualist, corporate-ridden ideologies so prevalent in today’s society, is the same middle class that is increasing the gap between the wealthy and the poor. It is the same avarice-induced consumerist mentality that will lead to the implosion of society through the increase of inequality and commodity obsession. This is the mentality I fear this new middle class will fall into if their idea is to model themselves after former, or current, international middle-class lifestyles or societies. Remain critical of all societies including those of your own.
eah Kelly Kumba, Cameroon
6 | April 2012 | New African