Few Americans pay any attention to what’s going on in Africa, and especially in what we might call interior Africa. Of course, we’re not overly good at noticing what goes on beyond our borders in general. “War,” Ambrose Bierce once commented, “is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.”
Unfortunately, with regard to Africa I don’t do any better myself, most of the time. I’m not sure what the reasons for that neglect are. It’s a depressing area, of course. Impoverished, unstable, often oppressed. That’s probably one reason. We don’t often travel there. Europe? Yes, of course. Asia? Very possibly. (Thailand’s beaches summon us, as does the Great Wall of China.) Latin America? Sure. Rio. Machu Picchu. Tikal. Palenque. Cancun. The great pyramids at Teotihuacán. But Africa? Especially central Africa?
And few of us have any real ties to Africa. Even American Blacks with ancestral links there had those links abruptly broken by the obscenity of violent enslavement. You don’t see many proud immigrant communities based on slave ancestry. There’s little equivalent to a nostalgia for, say, County Clare and Gaelic music. Few traditional recipes proudly passed down from African ancestors. Relatively few American Blacks (I’m guessing) have any very firm idea about exactly whence their forebears were unwillingly torn.
In any case, though, I’m grateful to have had this piece called to my attention the other day (by Matthew Wheeler, perhaps). It’s several years old, though, and now I need to find out what is going on currently:
Many of us will at least have heard of the crimes of the Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram against Christians in Nigeria (e.g., its abduction of young girls, and so forth), but it’s important (and discouraging) to know that the offenses go both ways.
Here’s another area of which we in the West tend to hear little or nothing:
This article — a little bit more upbeat, certainly, than the foregoing — will perhaps interest anybody who cares about the history and prospects of Christians in the Middle East, as well as anybody who wants to know what’s going on in Syria today:
Posted from St. George, Utah