The myth of the Noble Savage and some unconvenient thruths

When it comes to talking about Africa, there’s a familiar story doing the rounds almost everywhere in Italy. Stop it if you already know it and directly go to the second part of this post.

The African story.

You see, Africa could be the paradise of our world. Without the evil interferences of foreigners and the horrible acts of the multinational companies, our African friends will be free to use wisely their valuable resources and be finally free. The worst of the worst are the European countries, that never stop to crush every hope for the Africans.

Does it sound familiar? Well, this tale is spinning since the ’60s, so I guess that you have heard it before. The subtext is that the white European monsters are the true enemies of the African countries and that before the start of the European colonialism the tribes and the nations of the black continent were in peace, free and happy. Modern-day companies, according to this tale, are no more than another evil scheme to oppress Africans. It’s the old myth of the Noble Savage.

I know for sure that studying history is not the favorite pastime of many people in my country, not to mention the absence of the most fundamental notions of geography, but now and then I like to speak out about this dull notions. You see, I’m getting older and my patience is becoming scarce, think about Einstenium to get the picture.

Continue reading

Advertisements

France and Africa: a matter of money

The recent hush-hush between Italy and France about immigration from Africa stirred many discussions in the ‘net, with a whole lot of rage and indignation for the harsh words used by the French President and other people related to the French authorities against Italy.

When it comes to Africa and to the complex history between African countries and the former European powers the name of France stands out for a decision made in 1945, right after the Bretton Woods Agreements. They created two brand new currencies, named CFA Franc and CFP Franc, for their colonies with a fixed exchange with the French Franc. The former was created for the African colonies, the latter for the overseas territories (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna). To add a layer of bureaucratic redundancy, CFA Franc was split in West African Franc and Central African Franc.

Continue reading

The last flight of SE-BDY

Douglas_DC-6

53 years ago a plane like this one, A Douglas DC-6 marked SE-BDY, crashed near Ndola (then in Northern Rhodesia, today is in Zambia) leaving just a survivor. It was the last journey of Dag Hammarskjöld and many others, a tombstone over every choice for a peaceful solution in Rhodesia.

Continue reading