Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Perhaps there are other issues in Africa?

This morning, thanks once again to "The Lead," I found another African website of note: the African Monitor, "African voices for Africa's development." Archbishop Njongo Ndungane, the former Archbishop of Cape Town, is a regular contributor (some readers may remember that Archbishop Ndungane visited the Diocese of California at the time of our convention last year). Why, astonishingly, he seems to be more interested in issues of hunger, poverty and disease than with human sexuality.

That's one thing, upon reflection, that I noticed about the Top 50 list: where were the people who were making a difference in, oh, I don't know, alleviating suffering. It would be kinda nice if the Anglican Communion were notable for that.

At any rate, Archbishop Ndungane has a thoughtful piece about the recent G8 summit, which points out in its own way how issues of hunger, poverty, and disease get highjacked by sexier concerns. Ndungane reports that the G8 countries are way under target in meeting promised levels of aid; at current levels, they will fall an estimated $40 billion dollars under their target. Ndungane writes, "Notably, collectively, the G8 has delivered just $3 billion of the $25 billion that was pledged to Africa in 2005."

He goes on to say,

Africa’s problems were eclipsed by the Zimbabwe issue. There is nothing wrong about focusing attention on Zimbabwe- there is certainly a need to be concerned. However, to allow one country’s problems to take precedence over the rest of the continent, given the gravity of problems in Africa and the vastness of the continent was a big disappointment.


Archbishop Ndungane was not in the Telegraph's Top 50. I have no idea whether that's a correct assessment or not. But I do think allowing the issue of sexuality to overshadow everything else of interest and importance to Anglicans in the Anglican communion is, ultimately, a disappointment.

1 comment:

qoe said...

Now you are talking. The bickering about the colors of one's stripes and who one sleeps with is NOT in keeping with the teachings of Jesus. Feeding and clothing the hungry (whomever they are), giving all people access to clean water and training them to sustainable work in their communities, this IS what Jesus taught. So much more could be done if we could get out of the vicious circle of identity politics to deal with these more weighty, more REAL issues. And, of course, these issues are not in Africa alone, but Africa is the next biggest pot of natural resources that capitalist interest, backed by "developed country" governments (US and China, primarily) and the so-called World Bank are tackling with a vengence. Watch the corporations roll in, with promises of jobs for the people (that will never materialize, just as they did not in Latin America with NAFTA). I return to a previous question: how does the Anglican Communion address this crisis, on the one hand, and how could it be of real service, on the other. Our church by church sense of outreach is completely ineffective toward these larger issues. We should be pooling our efforts and money beyond our little local charity work in a more global "loaves and fishes" program that can make a real difference in a more global way. How do we ask for our church hierarchy (so busy squabbling about sexuality) to do this?