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Professor warns against ‘badvocacy’ on behalf of Africa

CWN - March 14, 2011

Laura Seay, a Morehouse College professor whose expertise is in African politics, has warned against Western ‘badovacy’ which, despite its good intentions, can do more harm than good in Africa.

“The act of buying a cell phone does not cause war in the Congo, and it’s downright misleading to suggest otherwise,” she says. “Why? Because it implies that if we could just stop the conflict mineral trade, the situation would markedly improve.”

“Darfur in the popular imagination becomes not a civil war over changing land usability and land tenure rights with people doing horrible things on both sides, but rather becomes the nasty Arab government going after innocent black Darfuris,” she added. “The reality, of course, is closer to the former description than the latter, but I don’t expect Mia Farrow to know that.”

Seay also said that Western policy experts’ “so-called solutions rarely work … Advocates on this side of the Atlantic should be asking intelligent victims of war what they think would help rather than insisting that the experts know best.”

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