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Nigeria: Western Media And Cultural Imperialism ( 0) Printer friendly page Print This
By Dan Amor
All Africa
Tuesday, Mar 2, 2010

The media blitz in the Western and American press against Nigeria which is an age - long practice assumed a frightening dimension recently following the unfortunate December 25, 2009 incident in which a Nigerian child adopted by the West attempted to blow up a plane in the United States. But the crusading cultural imperialism in which every black man or woman is now branded a criminal by the West should be a concern for concerned Nigerians vis-a-vis Africans who are now the butt of world jokes. It is not as if American and Western journalists are more informed of the bad sides of events in Africa than those in their respective countries. Neither is it that Western media men and women are more concerned about the plight of the people of African and Asian countries than the blatant unemployment crisis rocking the United Kingdom or the constant savage attacks on black by white policemen in the United States even when an Afro-American is the number one occupant of the White House. But while the aspects of colonial exploitation of Africa in the guise of "civilizing" the people should not here be over-emphasized, it would be just as serious an error to de-emphasize them.

To retreat into a kind of abstract humanism and cosmopolitanism under pressure from Western "liberal" and universalist media manoeuvres, Africa and indeed Nigeria, could just as easily miss the reality of the media war against us. Initiated as an economic enterprise aimed at creating sources of raw supplies as well as markets for manufactured goods of European countries, colonialism was turned into a political game in which the distant pawns of Africa, Asia and Latin America were arranged to reflect the ever - changing political power constellations in Europe. Political, economic, social and cultural factors combined to establish imperialism in which by force of arms, inequitable treaties and many other devices - oppressive measures were imposed and promoted by Europeans over native peoples with a view to exploiting the resources of their land for the benefit of European 'mother countries' All this was done under the umbrella of a ' civilizing' mission whereby the assumed superiority of European culture was to replace 'primitive ' backwardness in the process of 'civilizing' the native peoples who were characterized as childlike or mentally retarded and therefore unable to take care of themselves.

Indeed, elaborate rationalizations were often used to justify the domination of foreign lands by Europeans who colonized Africa and Asia in order to preserve the indigenous peoples from barbarism, to convert them to Christianity, or to bring to them the benefit of civilization. Regrets were frequently expressed that the native constituted 'the white man's burden' . In truth, however, as has been aptly remarked, the greater part of this "burden" consisted of transporting the natural resources of the colonies to the distant "mother countries" ' Memories of Pondoland, Sharpeville, Soweto, Gugulethu, etcetera, evoke the painful images of white gunmen killing innocent black children in apartheid South Africa a few years back, just as at one time the black slum of Watts in the United States signified the rumble of tanks and the clatter of fifty calibre machine -gun bullets into rundown black tenements.

Where were the Western media when this organized official violence on an immense scale was being used by the whites as a deliberate terrorization of the black population all over the world? Who, in the first place, manufactured the arms and chemicals Africans use to kill themselves in the name of political rivalry engineered by Western imperialist propaganda?

Whereas Britain sponsors the nightmare called military dictatorship and sit -tight ruler- ship in Africa, the United States makes hypocritical noise about these rulers just for the helpless and hapless African population to think that at least something is happening in the international community to their favour. The Western media are collaborators in this selfish imperialist propaganda. A case in point is the studied silence maintained by the Western press over the recent devastation of Iraq by the United States in her expansionist bravado. Iraq's major sin was her courage to say no to the United States neocolonialist manipulations. The Western Press knows all this but cannot say it as it really is. Even at the moment of writing this piece, whites are still beheading blacks in Germany, Britain and America, yet how many Western papers carry such stories? You need to travel to Europe and America to see how otherwise good and cultured Nigerians are being treated like common thieves by those countries' security agents whereas those who loot the nation's treasury into these European banks move freely with impunity before you can appreciate the enormity of the damage these Western media have done to the image of the average Nigerian.

If Nigerian journalists and intellectuals should revel in timid retreat in spite of the murderous media campaign against us and the black race, how then can we deflate the over-inflated cynicism in Western media that Nigerians constitute the worst sort of homo sapiens? How then can we get them to realize that European racism as it extended to Africa in the wake of European selfish expansionism brought with it new dimensions and was underscored by the need to rationalize the exploitative relations that evolved after the period of initial contact? And, finally, how then can we get them reminded that colonialism itself played a significant role in the evolution of class antagonism and elite misrule in Africa? Nigeria would have fared better if not for Western imperialist pretensions. They should allow us to evolve our own type of democracy gradually through a formidable internal cohesion after a genuine bid to liberate ourselves economically from European exploiters of our resources just like Indians did. This cultural imperialism by Western media must be resisted by African media.

All Africa

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