Africa ‘threatens the future of the planet’

By ISAAC SANEY*

I picked up the Globe and Mail to read that Africa “threatens the future of the planet.” Under the guise of advancing the rights of African women, correspondent Geoffrey York (in his front-page article “U.S. cutbacks undermine efforts to keep Africa’s population in check”, Globe and Mail, April 17, 2017) openly advocates the long discredited neo-malthusian imposture.

Moreover, this utterly anti-black racist tract is embedded in the open white supremacist view that there are too many Africans. York actually states “humanity is increasingly becoming African…The result could be an escalating crisis in hunger, over crowding, ecological damage and rising immigration pressures in Europe and North America and within Africa itself.”

Thus, all the problems of Africa are attributed to the existence of excess Africans NOT to the global imperial system that has been built on the dehumanization, brutalization, plunder and exploitation of Africans and the African continent.

York tries to disguise his white supremacist agenda as a defence of women’s rights. The disempowerment of women, in Geoffrey York’s mind, is utterly disconnected from socio-economic and political relations of exploitation and oppression that capitalism and imperialism have sustained not only in Africa but across the world. What he elides is that, in Africa, women have been most empowered, seized the most control of their lives collectively and most effectively challenged and undermined patriarchy through their participation in the radical anti-imperialist cum socialist projects that emerged out of the anti-colonial and national liberation struggles of the post-Second World era. While, these efforts to build new societies may have had their limitations, being necessary but not sufficient in-and-of themselves for the complete liberation of women (and people) they did open the path in that direction. However, imperialism destroyed them through massive economic pressures and untold violence.

In the case of southern Africa, for example, from 1975 to 1988, apartheid South Africa, with the support of the United States, embarked on a campaign of massive destabilization of the region. This war wrought a terrible toll. The financial and human cost cannot only be measured in direct damage and deaths but also in the premature deaths and projected economic loss caused by destruction of infrastructure, agriculture and power networks. While it is very difficult to estimate the economic cost and damage, it was undoubtedly enormous. One study calculates that up to 1988, the total economic cost for the Frontline States was in excess of US$45-billion – in Angola alone the economic cost was US$22-billion; in Mozambique US$12-billion; in Zambia US$7-billion; and in Zimbabwe US$3-billion. Between 1981 and 1988, an estimated 1,5-million people were (directly or indirectly) killed, including 825 000 children. This was the result of Pretoria and Washington sponsored terror (Unita in Angola and Renamo in Mozambique) and direct military actions by the South African armed forces.

Returning to York’s odious and central claim that Africa’s population growth is out of control, one is left with the sickening feeling and reminder that in the last century the world suffered the horrors of that way of thinking. Does not the logical culmination of York’s call for the number of Africans in the world to be reduced lead into the terrible corridors of quasi-genocide?!

Added note May 7th

Geoffrey York’s article (“U.S. cutbacks undermine efforts to keep Africa’s population in check,” Globe and Mail, April 17, 2017) is in the print edition. It appears under a different title in the online edition as “Trump’s aid cuts risk pushing African women ‘into the Dark Ages’, spelling trouble for rising world population.”

*From a post on Facebook by Isaac Saney, who is on faculty, Dalhousie and St. Mary’s universities, where he teaches Black History and International Development. He is author of Cuba: A Revolution in Motion (Fernwood).

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5 Comments

Filed under Africa

5 responses to “Africa ‘threatens the future of the planet’

  1. Geoffrey York

    Good job of distorting, twisting, misquoting and flat-out lying about every single thing I wrote in my article! I’ll let fairer-minded readers reach their own conclusions about it.

    • What a dither! A journalist should not jump to such quick conclusions on the basis of speculation as his riposte to criticism. I do not monitor this blog on a daily basis. Instead of casting aspersions and innuendos about the author’s character or myself, why not simply state your views. I have added a link to the online version of the article, as the Globe has changed the title from the print edition.

  2. Geoffrey York

    This blog is filled with factual errors, deliberate misquotes and false statements about my article. I am happy to list all of the errors, although I doubt that the author is interested in the truth.
    This is the second time I have tried to respond, but you seem to be refusing to post my comments. I wrote a response two days ago, and it was never posted. Not interested in hearing the fact, perhaps?

  3. Geoffrey York

    Amazing. You post a blog that calls someone a “racist” and a “white supremacist” (on the basis of a completely false and fictional version of what I wrote) and then you don’t even bother to monitor the comments. For an entire week, you make it impossible for anyone to comment. And then you proclaim that I should “simply state my views.” How can anyone state their views when you don’t even bother to monitor the comments?

  4. Geoffrey York

    Among the many factual errors in this blog: it claims that I wrote that the African population should be “reduced.” Of course that is completely fictional. Nowhere in the article did I say anything like that. The author, Prof. Saney, has invented a false version of my article — so that he can attack the false version. The reality is this: I simply made the point that African women deserve the right to control their bodies, and they deserve the same access to modern contraception that Canadians enjoy. Prof. Saney implies that it is somehow “white supremacist” to believe that African women should have the same reproductive rights as Canadians and the same access to services that Canadians have. I would be interested to see his explanation of why he thinks this is somehow “racist” and “white supremacist.”

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