A new collaboration began between SettimanaNews and the African magazine J’écris, je crie – in whose editorial staff there are also Dehonian confreres, who inspired its birth. A cultural and information synergy suggested with conviction by the superior general of the Congregation Fr. Carlos Suarez.
A few months ago a collaboration began between SettimanaNews and the African magazine J’écris, je crie – in whose editorial staff there are also Dehonian confreres, who inspired its birth. A cultural and information synergy suggested with conviction by the superior general of the Congregation Fr. Carlos Suarez.
In a short time we have gone from a work of translation and publication in Italian of the articles of the African magazine to a real synergy with articles written ad hoc for SettimanaNews by the editors of J’écris, je crie on issues concerning the Congo, specifically, and Africa more generally.
This contribution gave us, and our readers, access to an inside understanding of the events concerning the African continent. A non-Western and, therefore, non-colonial reading. A reading to which, probably, we are still unaccustomed – not least because we see it lacking those elements that seem to us decisive for understanding and interpreting this continent, which we often continue to think of as being in our possession.
Yet precisely therein lies the value and significance of this African contribution to the information work of SettimanaNews: it says and thinks in a way other than our own. The temptation to add something we feel is missing is always very strong, crouching right there beside us: to add what we feel is necessary to understand Africa (the unspoken being that we can do it better than Africans themselves). We struggle to get out of a colonial mindset, of occupation not only of land but also of thought.
A mentality that conceals a judgment: that of considering African peoples basically as lesser peoples, still in need of our paternal tutelage – and domination.
What is missing, from our Western point of view, from the valuable interpretation and information that comes to us from the colleagues and associates of J’écris, je crie? Where “valuable” risks becoming a euphemism, a patronizing benevolence of those who assume they always know better than those we have subjugated for centuries.
It lacks geopolitics, the great (colonial) interests of the West and the East in exploiting, once again, the material wealth of the African continent. Quietly occupying it with military bases, mercenaries, political corruption, exploitation of peoples, creation of poverty in lands far richer than ours.
And to this we superimpose a reading (our reading) of African cultures, of the organization of life among social groups, which is partial and incomplete. Social bodies become tribes that would prevent any advance of democracy in Africa. Traditions and customs, which we have disrupted and slaughtered, would do the same – impeding the spread of the most basic and fundamental human rights.
Of course, Africa is not heaven on earth – and this Western reading is therefore not entirely without its truth. But, for the sake of intellectual honesty, we have to ask why this group of people who collaborate with us do not resort to these key readings that are so important to us?
Not because they are clueless, not because they lack information, not because they are naive. What is missing in African writing about Africa must become a key for us Westerners if we are to understand this continent.
What is missing, in the articles that kindly and with professional seriousness the editorial staff of J’écris, je crie sends us, is the search for an external justification as the reason for the evils and turbulent events of their continent. And this must be seen as an assertion of independence – cultural, civil and political. It is a gesture of resistance to the Western reading of Africa – which at the end of the day, even nowadays, says something like this: without us you are not able to (do anything).
What for us is lacking in the African reading of Africa means instead for the African people a definitive renunciation of justificatory victimhood and an assumption of responsibility for the fate of their continent. Enough of hanging on to external causes, let us look within ourselves for the limitations and errors that prevent the rebirth of a fully African Africa.
Refusing to be victims of external forces, of geopolitical and economic interests, means taking charge of our own history, wanting to be authors of our own future: an African farewell to the colonialism that the West continues to impose on the continent.
Speaking the truth without seeking justification is a dangerous gesture; it can cost lives in those countries. And this should be honored and recognized. That is why we are grateful for this collaboration made possible by the African magazine J’écris, je crie.
SettimanaNews (WeeklyNews) is an online platform that offers religious information in the context of cultural and historical-civil confrontation. It inherits the paper magazine Weekly (1946-2015) which is characterized by its pastoral focus.
North Italian Religious Province of the Dehonians is the owner of the site.