30 December, 2006

Celebrities and Africa

Of late, in the last few months - Africa has become a darling for celebrities. It has hardly been out of International headlines; it is refreshing. In a way. I am tired of reading only about wars, famines, natural disasters, diseases and all the negative very painful reportage on Africa. These celebrities have got the World's attention on Africa's negative aspects, but with a difference. Most have, even in small ways, made positive contributions in changing lives.

Bob Geldof, Bono, Mia Farrow, Angelina Jolie and her hubby Brad Pitt, Jessica Lange, Oprah Winfrey, Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Matt Dillon and recently - George Clooney. All are taking up issues concerning Africa and letting the World be more aware of them. Whether the celebrities' concern are honest and well intended or just a way of creating and getting publicity for themselves, is irrelevant to me. At least, through them - some of Africa's problems have been getting International attention.

Has the year 2006 been good or positive for Africa?

The World Bank and The IMF say that - economically, Africa is on the right track; but haven't The World Bank and The IMF been (apart from: wars, HIV/AIDS and other diseases) the most destructive forces involved in Africa by their proposing means and ways for solving Africa's economic mess, while causing the suffering of Africa's millions only to increase and worsen?

In the DRC, even with the recent democratic elections held there, most Congolese have yet to feel any semblance of order or civil authority or economic benefits. Darfur is still bleeding. Uganda's Kony is still at large and Northern Uganda is not yet wholly peaceful and safe. Fighting continues in Chad. Mugabe is still going to be around for some times in Zimbabwe; though, I found Jeff Koinange's recent CNN report on Zimbabwe being "...a country that once exported surplus food now apparently falling apart, with many residents scrounging for rodents to survive" - too dramatic and unnecessary. The Horn of Africa, Somalia in particular - is still very explosive. And worse of all: malaria and HIV/AIDS continue claiming more and more lives.


There are moments one appreciates the involvement of the flashy, spectacular celebrities in Africa!

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