Unfortunately, time won't allow me to pay much attention to the much anticipated Hillary Clinton visit to the continent. On what is to be considered her biggest overseas mission to date, Mrs. Clinton started her seven-nation Africa trip in Kenya, which was then followed then by South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, today, and then Liberia and Cape Verde. As for the Nigeria trip, I will try and stay in tune with the blogosphere's reaction to her visit. So far I know know of that of NigerianCuriosity, who highlighted that Clinton's failure to meet with Nigerian "non-officials" does nothing support those largely responsible for most reforms we see in the country.****
Yesterday, a few news media outlets seemed to temporarily forget the incessant Michael Jackson death probe and highlight Mrs. Clinton's almost desperate desire to distinguish herself from her larger-than-life husband. Details found here. Anyway, personally, I could care less of her inability to stifle her insecurities - even on the public stage - and continued commitments to aid and SA-authored Zimbabwean hand-holding are so tired. What really caught my attention was her response, noted at the end of the article, to a question about the West and an apology for what is considered to be one of the most bloodiest colonial histories - that of Congo (I would recommend King Leopold's Ghost as a pretty good primer or for the moving-picture inclined, I hear the documentary, White King, Red Rubber, Black Death, is another good start.)
"...another student had asked if the U.S. and the West felt a need to apologize to the people of Congo for colonialism and postcolonial interference.
That brought a pointed rebuttal as well.
"I cannot excuse the past and I will not try," [Clinton] said. "We can either think about the past and be imprisoned by it or we can decide we're going to have a better future and work to make it."
It seems like Clinton is toeing the line of her boss, Barack Obama, who in his last visit to Africa, nearly absolved the West of its hand in Africa's problems. In relegating colonialism as a non-issue, she indirectly minimises its horrors and denies its influence on present day affairs. Yes, we should focus on moving forward, but like I have mentioned time and time again, we cannot move forward without acknowledging the mistakes of the past. Clinton and Obama refuse to acknowledge such mistakes; and through their position, they encourage the world to follow suit. To ignore the West's assault on the Congolese pre-independence, to me is more than a "glaring omission" (yes, I borrowed the term from NigerianCuriosity), it's grossly insensitive on the part of the American Secretary of State. In fact, I would almost liken it to those who continue minimise the travesty of the Holocaust. True, Hillary,or anyone in the Obama administration, has nothing to do with Congo's past....but some modicum of sympathy would at least nudge the Secretary of State to acknowledge the brutality that was meted out to the nation's citizens.
****Just learned that Clinton will be holding a town-meeting with (American Embassy selected) Nigerian NGOs. Can't wait to hear what comes out of it.