In light of our previous posts on the the power of positive portrayals, here’s the dilemma of presenting “Africa” to “the West”:
- More money is available in the West than in Africa (even when the Western stock markets have crashed and the economies of the West are in recession).
- Africa has lots of places to put that money to good use.
- The West is more likely to give money to Africa, when Africa pulls on its heartstrings.
- To pull on the heartstrings of the West, Africa presents its many “dire” needs (and there is no shortage really “dire” needs).
- In the presentation of Africa’s dire needs, the positive Africa gets lost – usually totally lost.
- Compassion fatigue and cynicism sets in; but see #1, #2, and #3 again . . . try harder at #4?
It’s a vicious cycle, and we all fall into this trap.
What can we do about this dilemma?