The record of western imperialism and Africa is not markedly positive. Europe and America have, over the centuries, done little that was truly helpful there. But rather than developing a sensitivity to this issue, it seems that our leaders continue to think it appropriate to lecture the people of Africa about what they should do, which doesn’t exactly engender affection for the West when our President arrives on his 747, with his retinue of aides, journalists, handlers and secret service personnel (in other words, an untold amount of carbon emissions and squandered ecologic resources) all to deliver speeches where he asserts that if young African people are permitted cars, air conditioning, and big houses (i.e., the stuff that Pres. Obama has), the “planet will boil over”.
There’s a reason why people like Pope Francis: he is authentic. He expects himself to live in the same way he coaches others to live. In that sense, he is a great leader.
I’m not interested in having a debate on the fairness of a particular African country’s criminal system. I’m merely pointing out that when it comes to preaching, it is America that has the log in its eye and is not in a position to lecture about what constitutes a well-formed society. The way we live and consume here is finally taking its toll on the overall health of our society, not to mention our economy and ecology. Which is why I am grateful to Cardinal John Njue for telling the President the truth: that we have already ruined our society and we should not become teachers to tell Africa where to go. Huzzah for Card. Njue!