Did you hear, or see, George Bush’s announcement of the deployment of a ready task force of Marines to the coastal waters of Liberia? Besides the shockingly poor attempt at conveying empathy through his poor understanding of what it actually means to have mortars hurled at you, water supplies depleted and disease ridden and daily facing death by starvation, light and heavy artillery and street violence, here was the president of the United States revealing, once again, this countries abysmal lack of commitment to Africa.
I am currently reading A Problem from Hell: America and the Problem of Genocide, an insightful report into how this country responds to the threat of massive destruction of human life in other countries. Our response has been embarrassing and appalling. But this is to be expected. This country was taken through acts of genocide on the indigenous peoples living here. The first boom in our economy was based on the labor of enslaved persons. That these persons were taken from Africa and in the taking countless numbers died in the marches from the time of their capture until they reached the coast. Scholars think twelve million Africans were taken by ship. They think 2 million died in the Middle Passage from the West African coast to the Caribbean, Brazil and the United States.
Genocide has been in the economic and political interest of the United States, from a first contact that led to the eventual death of 95% of the 12 million Native Americans that occupied the area of the 48 states prior to Columbus ( see http://isis.csuhayward.edu/ALSS/soc/NAN/dd/6800sj/slj.htm ) to today’s neglect of Africa. Bush’s trip to Africa was a photo-op to convince African-Americans that he cares about our issues. His real concern is the ability of US corporations and multi-nationals to plunder the natural resources that feed our lifestyle. Only if the suffering of Africans interferes with the economic wealth of the United States will any US administration take action.