06 May 2008

shark-jumping, space-shuttling, and being green: how africa and tang are now the same

Africa has jumped the shark. And its time in the spotlight was short-lived.

I realized recently that Africa as a social issue has passed its peak. Africa has become tired and predictable. It has fallen off our moral agenda. Death, AIDS, war, orphans, malaria, genocide, blah, blah, blah, blah...

Remember when watching the space shuttle take-off was a big deal? I certainly do. What might be harder to remember is the first time that you heard about such a feat and were no longer impressed. "People are going to the moon? Eh..."

Africa is now like going to the moon. A Feed the Children video is about as exciting as Tang. Ya, it has a little kick, but you've had it so many times now that the impact just isn't so great.

Today, the issue that inspires emotion and action in people is "being green". It is timely and it is important to live a more sustainable life for future generations. Unfortunately, in our short-attention-span society, it has replaced the movement to preserve the generations that are wasting away now. We think our grocery bill is getting expensive - imagine how much harder it is getting to live on $1 a day like so many desperately poor people around the globe must every day.

We must continue to think beyond ourselves. We must continue to put justice issues in front of those in power. And we must plead for less "coverage" of the issue we care so deeply about and more action on it instead.

As the children of Africa all sing: "If you believe, then I believe...Africa will be saved."

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