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CAR: How the West and its Media Laid the BRICS for Unrest

  • Opinion

As we have also seen with mainstream media narratives of South Sudan in recent months, to entertain the gawping Western audience, African political struggles have to be, well, Westerns.

JAMES APPLEBY, BA African Studies and Politics


A good depiction of François Hollande’s stance, but it is foolish to believe that China is now in Africa only to do business. Source: Carlos Latuff

Cowboys vs. Indians. Nuer vs. Dinka. Animists vs. Muslims. And coming up in Central African Republic (CAR), folks, BBC News brings you live from Bangui the clash of the titans revisited, as it’s Christians taking on Muslims once again. With a side order of corruption and cannibalism. Bet-in-play now.

But we, the civilising media of the civilised nations, can’t just film people pointing machetes at the camera while dubbing their cries in strange languages. Get the starving children and mothers in there for balance, but more importantly, one of our own civilised citizens, far from home, to explain to us ‘exactly what is the problem here’ and ‘what we need to do about it.’ Hence John Ging, a softly-spoken UN Peacekeeper, hogged at least half of Channel 4’s prime-time bulletin on CAR earlier this month. ‘They need support. The state is non-existent here. We’ve got to come in here and rebuild the infrastructure of a state!’, he cried.

Sorry John. Maybe you mean well, but you are a mouthpiece. WE knocked the state down in the first place, because WE didn’t want China and South Africa taking the newly-explored oil in North and South-West CAR. WE bizarrely tried to cover-up the existence of any oil in the country in an October 2012 IMF Report, but China and South Africa signed contracts with ex-president Francois Bozizé anyway in early 2013. WE had a back-up plan, however. Fund and arm numerous Séléka ‘Muslim’ rebels, prepare them in our friend Rwanda’s territory, then send them to oust Bozizé in March and revoke any previous oil deals by force.

The anti-Balaka ‘Christians’ responded, this month forcing the resignation of Michel Djotodia, Séléka’s interim president. Where the anti-Balaka are getting their weapons from has not been disclosed, but the deposed Chinese have cause to supply.

Students with an eye on Africa, please do not believe the mass-media’s lie that this conflict is somehow sectarian at its core. Loosely-defined Christian and Muslim beliefs were in harmony in CAR before these factions were funded. This is just one of many occasions in which financial superpowers have, and will continue to, arm Africans to fight one another, and then use ‘religion’ or ‘ethnicity’ to justify intervention.

All this conflict will determine is from which side of the world CAR is being exploited. Plenty of Africans (and Central Africans) know this. Just don’t count on them being given a mainstream media platform.


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