For the past several days, President Obama has hosted a summit meeting with the leaders of African nations. Actually, according to Vice President Biden the President could have saved a great deal of time and expense had he invited the leader of Africa. Yesterday, addressing the attendees, he asserted that there is no reason “the nation of Africa cannot and should not join the world’s most prosperous nations”. And naturally critics have jumped all over him.
As for me, I think it was a slip of the tongue. But it did bring up an interesting facet of how America views the world.
Africa is not a monolithic block of humanity. The continent contains 54 separate countries, each with its own history and customs. I would imagine that Hillary Clinton’s favorite phase “it takes a village…” would be greeted with a blank stare in Morocco. In fact, I’ve searched for years and have yet to find the catchphrase’s origins.
But hey, who knows?
It sounds good, and points out the need for quality childcare for pre-schoolers.
But each nation is made up of various tribes, equally disparate. The Idi Amin, “the Last King Of Scotland”, retain power for many years by playing one tribe against another. It’s a common practice among leaders, and not just in Africa.
South and Central America, for example. Ecuador is not Chile.
My former brother-in-law was Colombian, and had no use for Mexicans, Venezuelans, or Panamanians. He believed that his native country stood above people in those countries.
And no, they’re not united by a common language.
Several years ago, there was a proposal to issue ballots in Spanish, as well as English. A firestorm erupted as natives of Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and other countries of origin complained that the language appearing on the sample ballots failed to take into account certain idioms used in their speech.
The point here is that no matter how hard some might try to obscure or avoid the fact, the world contains 7 or 8 billion individuals.
There is, however, one way we could all come together.
Some genius at the online website VOX suggested yesterday the elimination of all time zones, and instead the adoption of a world-wide time standard. In other words, it would be 1300 GMT everywhere on Earth, whether it be night or day.
It could prove interesting. I’ve heard the phrase use to justify hitting the bottle early “it must be 5 o’clock somewhere in the world”.
If the plan was adopted, it could be “5 o’clock everywhere in the world”