Monday, 19 March 2012

Kony, duty and African incompetence

Diarmaid MacCulloch's recent TV prog, on why the English are God's true Chosen People (and it's hard to tell whether his tongue is firmly in his cheek or not), is still available online if you missed it. His theory is that once we accept out innate superiority over all the other peoples of the world, we also bear the burden of a duty to intervene to improve their own ways of life; no foreigner can ever become English, of course, but we permit those in settling here from overseas to be British instead, as a sort of consolation prize, and to copy our way of life. 

Now when some Americans sought to publicise the activities of a particularly loathsome African warlord called Kony they attracted a barrage of criticism from Africans themselves, the pressure allegedly driving one of the film makers to wandering around on foot in his underpants in LA. It was the walking rather than than the nudity that alerted police; no sane person ever walks in LA. A flavour of the criticism they attracted as 'White' people daring to lecture black Africans can be found here. It's the usual faux-academic African mix of pomposity and chippiness.

With the possible exception of Tanzania, no African nation has effectively managed its own affairs post-independence. The whole is a well known mess of incompetence, graft, corruption, violence and atavism. No continent of people anywhere in the world is more needful of outside management, and of course as God's Chosen we English feel a deeply frustrated duty to provide this. I know in my bones that given a set of khaki drill, Sam Browne, Mark II landy and a couple of loyal Askaris with SMLEs I could govern a province the size of Suffolk, bringing peace, prosperity, equitable justice and the English Way to the benighted African. Ouch! That was my tongue I think ...


DeeDee99 said...

I watched this programme and a few things I agreed with. We DO have a sense of superiority but I don't think that translates into a burning desire amongst the ordinary population to act as the world's policeman - although it does seem to have that effect on our political class. Perhaps that is the arrogance of the 'titled elements/Public School' rather than the English in general.

Ordinary English would rather leave others' alone and be left alone - entirely when it comes to foreign supra-national governance and as little as possible by our own so-called government.

Richard said...

Much of this programme was twaddle. It failed to properly distinguish between those countries we colonised, like Australia and North America, and those which we governed, like India.
I was in Nyasaland before independence, and later when it became Malawi. It was peaceful, poor but not destitute, and largely happy.
A gentle country. Today nearly 50 years later, it must be amongst the most poor countries on earth. Shameful, but not our fault.
I also saw India, Malaya, Kenya, North and South Rhodesia, so I do have perhaps some experience in these matters.
Watching an old fashioned DC dispensing justice, alone surrounded by Africans was a priviledge to see. Very unPC of course, but it really worked well.
The day I arrived in Africa, an old hand said to me, "The best thing to do in Africa is to put a 20 foot fence around the entire continent, and leave it to the anthropologists".

Anonymous said...

I heard a slightly different and somewhat less PC version of that epigram a few years ago - it involved a 50 foot fence, waiting 50 years, and then negotiating with the 50 people left standing.

Barnacle Bill said...

Ah the good old SMLE,personally I always preferred the No.4 with the pigsticker on it, a nasty combination if ever!

I know it's totally un-PC of me, but I always believed of those countries we governed/ruled, the natives had a better standard of living then than they do today in relative terms.

I've watched the ANC destroy RSA, glad I got out of there when I did. Although I will admit the later days of White rule were not very pleasant.

Sierra Leone was a nightmare best forgotten.

savonarola said...

I made an offer which was not taken to a mining group extracting gold in NEast Congo. It was refused.

The offer was to despatch Kony who was infiltrating the mining area from across the border in Uganda.

For a budget of just $5m and cover for a month Kony and his cohorts would be captured and despatched. Would only require 50 men, some landrovers and about 20 locals.

These butchers are cowards and they can be tracked down. White faces are trusted when it comes to operations.

Greg Tingey said...

Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland?
For (by African standards) good governance?
Kenya now - after that nice lady got the Nobel Peace Prize for showing up the crooks???
Mozambique, now the insane war is over - grindingly poor, of course.
I doubt any others.....

Do N. African countries count, or are we discussing sub-Sahara only?
In which case Morocco .....