Chris Schmidt (crschmidt) wrote,
Chris Schmidt
crschmidt

Essay

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http://crschmidt.livejournal.com/157992.html

This is a "response" paper to a newspaper article. It will be presented to the class tomorrow at 9am. The three paragraphs are supposed to be, according to the assignment:
  • Summary of the article
  • Opinion/Response
  • relation to class material

It's already longer than it should be, so I"m not looking to "add" more length, but more content and less filler is always good.

The Tanzanian "Daily News" on May 4th, 2003 contains an article discussing the problems that ethnicity present for Africans trying to move farther into the developed world. 'Abuse of ethnicity is Africa's Curse' describes how President Benjamin Mkapa feels the Ethnic boundaries in Africa are significantly impairing the ability of these people to advance in their daily lives. The article describes how the scramble for land in the 1880's split Africa not by cultural groups, but instead by physical land features. He also pointed out that this kind of challenge is difficult to overcome. However, citing examples from his own country, Tanzania, he states that education can be used as a tool to unite tribes through integration of culture and languages to let tribes communicate with each other.

This article means well. It shows a forward thinking viewpoint that most countries have not yet shown in dealing with their past and the tribal cultures that are scattered around the continent. Over 130 different tribes, speaking over 100 different languages, have different cultural backgrounds, and have been thrown together in a mish-mash of countries, rather than any kind of culturally grouped land areas. To link all of these communities together would be a difficult task, however, it would alleviate many of the pressures Africa has to face today. The article seems to make a good point - if cultures are educated in such a manner that they can more easily work together, it will help Africa to be more independent and successful. Many of the problems of Africa, such as civil wars, military coups, and religious battles, can be overcome by better cooperation between the tribal cultures. However, the President claims that the solution is to bring these cultures "together" in more ways than just language. Many of the changes that have been made in Tanzania have served to group the cultures of together, which elimintates the tribes individuality as well as merging them together more. This creates major issues with the cultures of the tribes - being grouped together serves to remove much of their individual heritage, which some might argue is what makes them unique in the first place. Additionally, the President offers no proof that this method will help in any way. According to the "Index Mundi" (World Index), Tanzania is "one of the poorest countires in the world." Although recent changes have allowed the country to start a turn around in its economy, many of these changes are related to support from the World Bankd and IMF rather than from internal sources (Mundi). Even in this limited region, integration of tribal cultures has not proven useful in allowing the country to correct its economic issues, and there is no indication that even a continent-wide change would add to this effect. The idea behind the education movement is good, however, there is no proof that it is helpful to the people or countries who participate.

This article relates strongly to many aspects of this course. First of all, the division of countries in Africa being performed solely based on physical and geographical features is something that has been discussed and shown before in the course. It is also an example of the lack of caring for the natives of Africa: in King Leopold, we see how the ruler commanded what should happen from afar, and it was simply done, with little to no concern for the natives of the land. Additionally, the World Bank support aspect of Tanzania's revolution is something we have discussed in class. Support for developing nations is provided for these countries, with little to no thought of whether a sustainable environment is being created. Even Tanzania's limited economic revolution may fail, especially if the World Bank can no longer offer support, as has happened in countries such as Brazil, demonstrated by the video "Decade of Destruction".
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