A sundry search on Google for Pulitzer Prize Winners in Photography throws up a wide range of misery imagery.
Some scratch the memory and etch it with its apt description of man’s brutality and decadence. From mobbing to executions, rescues to escapes. The common denominator of these are…wait for it … colour. The others represent the world’s aloofness to hunger caused by instability and war caused by unseen hands playing the African continent for resources. The Starving Child and Vulture by Kevin Carter in 1993 seem to top them all. Carter himself would be driven to a sad end himself.
Trying times have always presented mankind with the opportunities to rise above self and protect the human community. The role of the media, especially Western media has been more than circumspect. Trying time in Africa have always been exploited by Western media to groom the clinched narrative of a diseased and hungry Africa. Of course, the expected would be images of a kid or two, rheumy nosed, teary large brown and yellowed eyes with skin darkened to an approved blackness in Photoshop to drive this narrative.
And has Africa provided a rich staple for these? Sudan. Congo. Biafra. Sierra Leone. Liberia. Under-reported Rwanda. Then HIV.
Then, wonder, despite the terrible casualty rates from Italy, USA, France, there has been no little blond or red-haired Caucasian kid or two, rheumy nosed, teary large blue and eyed with skin paled to an approved whiteness in Photoshop to drive this narrative?
Instead, we have had euphemisms for the courageous stand of the entire globe against the disease!
“WHO director-general lashes out at French doctors who proposed using African nations as vaccine testing ground”
However, those elements of the expected narratives did not fail to speak up. They asked for COVID-19 vaccine tests in Africa! They wondered why there were low casualty rates and (nothing to feed the media frenzy for “A Diseased Africa.”)
“This may be controversial, but shouldn’t we do a study in Africa where they do not have masks, treatments or resuscitation? A little as it is done in AIDS studies where they use prostitutes to test some things because they know that they are highly exposed and do not protect themselves. What do you think?” asked Dr. Jean Paul Mira, who is head of resuscitation services at the Cochin Hospital in Paris, on France’s LCI network.
In a headline on as.com, “Coronavirus: Eto’o, Drogba fuming at doctors’ “racist” and “disgusting” proposal for Africa”
Indeed the exchange caused outrage in France and beyond, with Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o and Everton’s Demba Ba taking to Twitter to express their anger at Doctors Mira and Loch’s controversial proposal.
“Welcome to the West, where white people believe themselves to be so superior that racism and stupidity have become commonplace. TIME TO RISE,” wrote Demba Ba in a post where he shared the video on his Twitter page.
The African continent is yet to have a super-rich omniscient virile media that protects its own. That should be a story for another day.
But for now, Western philanthropists and donors, according to a Facebook user, Iyiachukwu G C Achukwu, “If you are full of Charity, go and show it to Americans. They have a poor population that outnumbers most States in my country. They have many that can’t afford health insurance. Thousands that sleep in the cold streets of America. Go and show them charity!”
“You roll back Malaria and Polio and suddenly a generation is filled with confused sexuality and couples with fertile organs can’t explain why they can’t have children or have any more after the first two.
If you’re not up to something, then use your influence and wealth to force the repatriation of all the looted funds from Africa. You rather pally with these leaders and dash their regimes money instead? Get the best of lawyers and force our leaders to bring back our money from your country and from all over the world. We are not poor. We only have poor leadership – and you know that.
Now, for you and your wife’s Prophesy of seeing death in the Streets of Africa, I say, get a mirror! What do you see? Death in the Streets of your America!”
Africa shall be the testimony of the world when this plague is over. I repeat it, no matter the number of persons who shall drop due to frailty and vulnerability in Africa, when this plague is over and a count is taken, it shall be like Jehovah God himself, had made a Hedge of Fire around the Continent of Africa!
I don’t even need you to believe this before it is done. Power surpasses power. This is how it shall be in the name of Yeshua Hamashiach, Jesus the very one that was anointed. Amen.”
It seems many Africans are conscious of the scourge of a one-sided story. However, good governance, accountability, pragmatic leadership and a continent-first media will put all these right. For now, everyone is in a fight for everyone’s lives.