The Concoction

An Ethiopian woman's musings on Africa, the world and everything in between

Groove section
Currently praising...
    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
      Similar artists
      • African Music Encyclopedia
      • NPR's World Music feed
      • Supporting

      • Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
      • Books
        This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Fikirte's travels. Make your own badge here.
        Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
        Friday, February 24, 2006
        Riddle of the month...
        What do hungry Eastern Africans, politically troubled Nigerians, government officials in Florida and the US media have in common? Oil. Huh? This is how.

        Nigeria is pretty messed up right now while sitting on the highest quality crude oil. In the north, riots following the cartoons about Muhammad are causing chaos and the whole country is turned up side down because of elections and constitution tweaking. To make things worse, the north and south haven't really decided how to equally benefit from the oil.

        Orlando. Government officials in Orlando are in the spotlight because they are driving around in SUVs, which are notoriously fuel inefficient. And, a rumbling of sorts has begun about tax payers’ money being wasted.

        East Africa. It is hungry. Again. Experts (of development, agriculture, economy, politics and Lord knows who else) have been saying for decades that the food crisis in sub-Sahara Africa is due to primitive farming methods, absence of infrastructure, population explosion, HIV/AIDS, rural-urban gap, illiteracy, bad governance, civil unrest/wars, food aid addiction.... We've heard it all. I really wonder how many of these factors are being seriously tackled. Or is there somebody who is benefiting from all these problems therefore doesn't really want them to be solved? I'm not usually one to fall for a conspiracy theory, but ever since I saw a play about the American prison system - the privately owned ones lobbying politicians to help them expand their clientele base i.e. criminals, the backbone of the prison industry - I've become a bit paranoid about development, too.

        The US media. Normally, African disaster gets, at best, a three second mention after news about a certain celebrity's latest plastic surgery as if the whole country is not about to float from all the silicon being implanted in people. And, as if bodily fat is not being manually rearranged on daily basis. My mom would definitely have a Biblical explanation to the obsession like 'the last will be first...' except in this case it is "the bottom will be top". NPR had an interesting program last year about, basically, the rush through serious news items and lack of analysis, and one of the interviewees from another company baldly said that they give their audience what they want. Nigeria, however, is getting a special treatment now.

        So oil connects all of them. Social cohesion in Nigeria depends largely on oil. The mess in Nigeria affects the price of oil in Florida. Florida government officials are accused of wasting tax payers’ money, and may be forced to give up one of their American dreams, driving a big car, because of high prices of oil. The media is paying attention to Nigeria because it is a sensational story (oil prices are up again, and it is Nigeria's fault type of hype). Or may be, they are afraid that they will soon be forced to stop using their helicopters to bring us breaking news. East Africa needs something valuable like oil so that if - knock on wood - the next Darfur happens, America won't be left in the dark. Am I protected under the freedom of stretched imagination act here? Now, read these poems for more reflection...
        posted by Fikirte @ 11:23 PM   Digg!
        • name<="c114088571859427951" id="c114088571859427951">

          At 11:41 AM, Blogger zinzi said…

          Great thought-provoking blog.
          My mind is going in different directions on this one but the threads will all knit together to form one ugly garment and that is the reality of the oil fiasco and the absolute necessity of keeping the under-developed world right where they are while nurturing their hope that one day they will grow up to be a developed nation, that a time will come when no one will steal their milk and honey (Oops! oil)and that their vote will count because they will now be a member of the then G16...Hope is a wonderful thing. Like the Freedom of Stretched Imagination Act it has no limit.

        • name<="c114088664467833518" id="c114088664467833518">

          At 11:57 AM, Blogger Fikirte said…

          Thanks, Zinzi for being my first victim of provoked thoughts. And thanks for the poems:-)

        Post a Comment
        << Home
        The face of VAW

        Kamilat - victim of acid burning The face of VAW - violence against women. It should and can be stopped with enough commitment. Helping one woman at a time is a start.
        Go to the blog
      • VAW - Do something!
      • Also blogging at
        Feeds, links and such
        Previously on The Concoction...
        News on Africa
        Blogs on Africa
        On development
        Western development agencies
        Template by

        Free Blogger Templates