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Africa to Obama: Mind Your Own Business


Africa to Obama: Mind Your Own Business

Andrew Mwenda

United States President Barack Obama is the most admired foreign leader in Africa because he has ancestral roots in our continent.

This is partly the reason his ill-informed and stereotypical admonitions of our leaders attracted cheers from a large section of our elite class.

But it is also because we African elites have internalised the ideology of our conquerors that presents us as inferior, inadequate, and incapable of self-government.

Bob Marley's words that we must liberate ourselves from mental slavery are important here.


Thank you, Mr. Mwenda for a spot-on analysis.

Among many lucid, keen insights, this one stands out:

"Steven Biko, a hero of the anti-apartheid struggle, said that the greatest weapon in the hands of an oppressor is never his guns and armies, but the mind of the oppressed."

Of course, "successful" militaries and the armed states they prop up rely on both weapons and slick propaganda campaigns.


Great article.

If Obama needed to admonish anyone, it should be the white preacher(s) that instructed some Africans to hate and persecute LBGT's.


A right on article.

One of our readers (going under the screen name with initials TJ) will often take me to task when I speak about the corruption of the Government of the United States of America wondering why I do not acknowledge that there others that are worse.

This author states my mindset very clearly.

The Governments of Russia or of China or of North Korea do not send their militaries the world over to prop up despots and thugs while lecturing others on freedom liberty and democracy. They do not claim to be the worlds one indispensable nation and claim they are exceptional over all others . They do not claim that human values like peace and liberty and justice are uniquely their own as Presidents of the United States of America do.

They do not spout phrases like "America does not have to apologize for anything".

The words that come out of the mouths of leaders of the US government , that shameless hypocrisy that is expressed each time one of them speaks , is seen in the same way by this author as I and billions of people the world over see it .

This hypocrisy is about the only thing that is exceptional about the Goverment of the USA which has one and only one purpose, that to steal all of the resources on this Earth for the benefit of the one percent.


Excellent, first class analysis - that applies not just to the recent Africa occasion but to the world at large too. This is the writing standard CD should uphold.


I'm impressed by all these spot on, thoughtful responses by CD readers. Given U.S. foreign policy, Obama's patronizing speeches on human rights reveal a level of chutzpah that's truly nauseating.


I don't disagree that Obama was showing his US privilege. But I do resent the dismissal of problems which are occurring in some countries in one sentence -- the "human rights violations." And I resent your lumping all Africa together, as far too many Americans do.

For example, Obama brought up the egregious permission-to-murder gay citizens and objected to it. he should have. No one should gain the bully pulpit and NOT protest the human rights violations of citizens who themselves have no voice. If I went to Israel, I would not "mind my own business" and say nothing. Such people tend to have as their only excuse that they were just following orders.

Obama is not himself the highest moral authority, and I can understand resenting the hypocrisy of criticizing others with less than clean hands. But I see too often how those colonialized, oppressed, invalidated imitate their oppressors when they come to power. Silence to that reality is consent.


I will agree on one fundamental aspect of this article; the rich and powerful, whether black or white or Asian, wherever they live, are more often than not rather nasty people. Africa: you cannot blame ALL your ills on we Europeans. You have produced up some pretty evil folk yourselves, as has Asia, both before and after we turned up with our Gatling guns. In many cases the poor of Europe had far more in common with their counterparts in Africa than they did with their own European overlords, though they never realised it.


I think most Americans agree that we should leave Africa alone. We have enough of our own problems right here. Too many US-made weapons have been sold to African nations, encouraging more death. Too much money has gone into aid for African nations while we have a poverty crisis right here in America.


One disappointment of this era is the inability or unwillingness to see the human rights violations that have become routine right here in America. I think the explanation is that nations decide on their own definitions of "human rights." According to the UN's UDHR, for example, all people have a fundamental right to food and shelter -- even the jobless poor. Obviously, this generation (liberals included) disagrees. It has virtually been "open season" on our homeless poor for years, as they've been beaten, even killed, by police and citizens alike. We treat them like rats or pigeons, and demand that the police get rid of them. Unlike the more advanced nations, the US imprisons a huge number of children, in violation of international human rights standards. The US has built a massive prison system that makes the old Soviet gulag look puny in comparison. We can't blame a president for this. Every step of the way, this is what middle class Americans demanded.


Thank you for this blast of fresh air that, for a moment anyway, blows away the stench of American imperial hypocrisy.


In addition to human rights violations, Obama has presided over accelerating corruption within the most corrupt government anybody alive today has ever seen, making it ultra hypocritical for him to accuse African governments of being corrupt.

African government corruption negatively impacts people within the respective nations' borders and perhaps neighboring nations. Washington DC corruption negatively impacts people on every continent.


I think it is some form of something called humanity that unites all the entities in your post... plus a bit of blood and runaway greed.


Steve Biko wrote for years and following his death his writing was smuggled out of apartheid SA. Published as "I WRITE WHAT I LIKE" it is rich in the observations of a keen and loving mind in full resistance to and articulation of the dynamics being faced. Thïs makes it timeless. Taken from pg 87 just one example of what at first glance might seem simplistic - but challenges imposed fragmentation with unifying clarity.

"It is perhaps fitting to start by examining why it is necessary for us to think collectively about a problem we never created. In doing so, I do not wish to concern myself unnecessarily with with the white people of South Africa, but to get to the right answers, we must ask the right questions; we have to find out what went wrong - where and when; and we have to find out whether our position is a deliberate creation of God or an artificial fabrication of the truth by power-hungry people whose motive is authority, security, wealth and comfort...."


Good posts, DHFabian! The United States has to clean up its own backyard and stop trying to act as the top-cop of the world!


"Ehud" Barack Obama should not only leave Africa alone, he should leave the rest of the world alone. The USA has been interfering in other nations' affairs since 1776. Some of Africa's problems are results of colonialism and some of them are from having corrupt governments and people being too set in their ways to change.


Obama should not be admonishing anyone anywhere. What he should be promoting is the reality that American values are not universal.


People who kill LGBT's because American preachers told them to makes this an American caused atrocity. Obama should apologize to Africa and prosecute these preachers for inciting murder.