Friday, April 19, 2013

Dark Secret - I

The dark continent ... Africa.

"Africa has been woefully misunderstood and misused by the rest of the world."

"... In western imagery, Africa is the 'dark continent.' A synonym perhaps, but also the potent symbol of a persistent inclination to set Africa and its inhabitants apart from the rest of humanity.  The 'dark continent' does not refer only to the depths of Africa's equatorial forest, to the density of its tropical shadows, to the blackness of African skin, or even to a widespread lack of knowledge concerning the continent.  Above all, the phrase tacitly labels Africa as the place where a very particular form of darkness is found - the darkness of humanity.  In this context, Africa is where people do terrible things, not because the aptitude for such behavior is characteristic of all humanity, but because Africa is believed to be inherently more barbaric and less civilized than the rest of the world."
Thanks and a hat-tip to John Reader, A Biography of the Continent, Africa

Terrible things have been done in Africa, it's true.  Unfortunately, history shows us that such behaviors are not exclusive to Africa.  Today in Syria and Afghanistan, in the last century in Bosnia, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Russia, China, Japan, Cambodia and Vietnam, and in the century prior, in all of the Americas.  Genocide, massive war casualties without cause, millions of civilian war victims.  Manifest destiny was one of dozens of excuses for driving out the current population or killing them.  Racial superiority fed many national egos as reason for domination, and slavery persists today.

We are all one, and of the same stuff, and share a common mind.  Our roots, genetically speaking, all begin in Africa, and there's little of consequence to distinguish us once you get past color and language.  Similar awareness of good and evil, similar goals for ourselves as individuals and for our communities, similar hopes for our children.

Too, we find a similar willingness to succeed at the expense of another, similar desire to be above and not below, upper rather than lower, above-average at least.  We're virtually giga-tuplets when it comes to such traits.
To be accurate, we might suggest that the darkness did indeed begin in Africa.  And it spread across the world when we did.
So then, how does one go about stepping out of the darkness and into the light?