Wednesday, February 22, 2006


the only region in the world that the u.s. news media covers worse than central asia is subsahara africa. the only news that gets reported out of the region is war, famine, and the occasional story about corruption or a despot's attempts to cling to power. the democratic success stories in the region, like mali, are basically absent from the news.

considering just how many americans are of african descent, the lack of news is really quite astounding. especially when there are stories of the kind that would hit the front pages if they occurred anywhere else in the world.

i would bet that most americans are completely unaware at the ongoing series of hostage crises in the nigerian oil regions. last month four foreign hostages were taken and held for almost three weeks, and right now another nine are being held. in each case, there were american hostages. and yet the story was largely reported as business news, explaining why the price of crude oil was so high (the hostages have all been oil workers and the hostage-taking has been accompanied by attacks on oil facilities in the niger delta). that's how i found out about it. and, of course, as business news the focus is on the effect of oil production, not the reason for the strife or what exactly is going on there.

about a year ago i wrote "no one gives a shit about africa," at least in the u.s. we don't. but what really surprises me is that no one gives a shit about americans in africa either.