Wente Watch

Monday, October 16, 2006

They dark, they poor; ergo, they corrupt

Who among us does not feel pity for the plight of Africa? croons Wente. The answer is easy: Wente herself clearly does not. In column after column, including this one, she has shown only withering contempt for the continent and its people.

But of course, Wente doesn't like to admit, even to her fans, just how vicious and ethnocentric she is. So she picks an easier target: celebrities who have tried to help Africa or publicize its problems. It's certainly easier to pick on a wealthy celebrity than a poor AIDS orphan, even though Wente's natural instinct is to side with the rich. In any case, Wente's real goal is to denigrate any effort to help Africa that doesn't come from either conservative think tanks or the Bush administration. Never mind, of course, that those two have come up with nothing more than punishing structural adjustment programs and silly abstinence-only hectoring.

She repeats the same old lies conservative love to spin about Africa. Africa has gotten poorer, in spite of half-a-trillion dollars' worth of Western aid. Said half-trillion dollars is over a period of nearly fifty years. Crunch the numbers and it works out to about $14 per person per year. A good portion of that was military aid during the Cold War, funding right-wing dictators in order to stave off left-wing ones. Most of the civilian aid was, and still is, tied to imports from the donor country. Nor have donors done all they could to stamp out corruption and improve governance; they have, and still do, tried to manipulate it to their advantage in order to win concessions for their own companies.

This is not to stay that Western aid is all Africa needs; ultimately, Africans must find a path to development that works for them on their own. But Wente is not interested in a thoughtful discussion of Africa's problems.

She only cares about her stereotypes and her polemics.

Let them eat snide remarks.


  • And the Lib/Stephen Lewis approach: cut 'em another cheque, forgive the bank loans. Improve governance, no way, accountability for money already spent, nah that's too 'white'. And the Swiss bank accounts of the thugs, fund raisers, bureaucrats, dictators keep on growing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 16, 2006 11:59 a.m.  

  • Good post!

    (from Jeff House)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 16, 2006 8:40 p.m.  

  • Have you ever even spoken/communicated with Margaret Wente?

    By Blogger toobusyliving, at October 17, 2006 6:57 a.m.  

  • Peter, I understand that you are a friend of hers.

    I have never met or spoken with her. All I have to go by are her columns. She may well be much nicer in person than in print, but that hardly matters; the print is what people read.

    By Blogger Tyrone, at October 17, 2006 1:08 p.m.  

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