So often when the subject of Africa is raised on CTS TV’s Michael Coren Show, Coren tells us how much “we” owe Africa. Apparently, “we” have done such egregious harm to that continent that no amount of financial aid will ever be enough to absolve us of our guilt.
It is not clear who the “we” is in Coren’s charges. Perhaps Coren means the “Royal we.” He is originally from the UK, so may be using that affectation. But, to be serious, I suppose he means Western nations in a broad sense, and the UK in particular.
But how can that be extended to include me or other Canadians? Do Canadians exploit Africa? I know I haven’t. Has Canada benefited in a tangible way from the exploitation of Africa by Canada’s citizens, organizations or institutions? I don’t see evidence of such.
I am offended by Coren’s use of the all-inclusive “we” and by his habit of extending blame for the colonial excesses of his former homeland to include Canada. As far as I can remember, I have never exploited a member of a foreign nation, and I feel absolutely no guilt over the misery and depravation that exists in sub-Sahara Africa—sympathy, yes, guilt, no.
Too often we’re being called to account for the actions of earlier generations of Canadians. On occasion our government has even made an apology for some of them. But I’m damn well not going to start feeling guilty for the past actions of the UK during a time when Canada was itself a colony of that nation.
There is enough self-hatred going about. If Michael Coren feels he is personally culpable then I wish he would spell that out then shut up about it.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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