The discourse on Africa in the West (and elsewhere) is laden with a lot of offensive stuff. And the offensive stuff is not restricted to plebes in the streets or newspaper articles written by ill-informed correspondents. Even more informed people still lapse into the default way of conceptualizing Africa. It is not uncommon to hear prejudicial and condescending comments about the Continent and its people in academic seminars and workshops.
Reading through Foreign Policy (FP) I found a piece that despite its tone and subliminal cues, should be required reading for Africa’s ruling elite. The article is offensive (may be innocently so) in the sense that the editors of FP thought it worthwhile to publish an article that seeks to tell the world that Africa is not a reincarnation of England circa 1200 A.D. The reason I suggest this as required reading is that sometimes I wonder if the ruling classes in some of the states on the Continent ever pose to think of the consequences of their actions in the wider setting of the globe. How do images from eastern Congo, Darfur, Somalia and other such places contribute to the definition of the Continent and its peoples?