No Apologies! says Clinton...

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.


  1. SOLOMONSYDELLE said...:

    I sent you 2 links re: her townhall meeting in Nigeria and the best that has come of it is that Conservatives and others are criticizing a comparison she made between the US 2000 elections and ultimate Bush v. Gore case to Nigeria's last 'shambolic' (borrowed from Reuters) elections.

    And, there it is, what I have been waiting for - the criticism that comes whenever this administration admits American faults to a 'lesser' nation. Will watch the news programs tonight to see how they dissect it before I share my thoughts.

    And as for Ms. Clinton's trip to Nigeria, I can't help but echo Beauty on this one, "How will Hillary Clinton's trip benefit Nigeria?" and I amend that last word to "Nigerians". The answer is as I concluded in my latest post - nada. As it should be, we Nigerians must pick up the falling pieces and try to put them back in place while juggling other falling pieces. That is our fortune. Hopefully, we will master the game.

    Nice post.

  1. Just found your blog via a comment on afrobella . . .I recognized the Igbo name. I'm very happy to have found it too--very informative and interesting things! I am also born in America, heart in Nigeria. :) And I didn't get the title of your blog until I said it out loud! It gave me a good chuckle.

    As for this particular post, I so totally agree. When I hear people demanding reparations, I wonder how that will ever happen when people are not even willing to acknowledge history and how the wealth of the West is built upon the near destruction of Africa. I'm with solomonsydelle . . . who needs Clinton to visit. It's up to us and us alone.

    Great blog.

  1. Beauty said...:

    "Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner." In a way we appear to need an outside force to show us that all is bad in our part of the world. However, Mrs Clinton, (just like everyone else) appeared to have two reasons for doing anything: "a good reason and the real reason". The Africa tour was intended to showcase some of Clinton's pet projects — women's rights and empowerment, food security and development — as well as cement her return to center stage in the Obama administration's foreign policy apparatus after a sidelining elbow injury and nagging questions about whether her diplomatic role had been eclipsed.

    I do not think it is so bad compared to First Lady Hajia Turai Umar Yar’adua who presented Gifts to School Children at Texas Medical Center in Houston while 15% of rural and urban poor children in the north of Nigeria still haven't been vaccinated against polio. NHW - source. Polio, the dreaded paralyzing disease stamped out in the industrialized world, is now spreading in northern Nigeria. And health officials say in some cases, it's caused by the vaccine used to fight it. Polio is about immediate and 95% at risk vaccination. Is this a reason our lot need a benchmark to see how things are done?

  1. Don Thieme said...:

    I am afraid that I just came across this post today. You have some very good insights which I wish that I had included in my summary at "Nigerians Talk."