Thursday, July 10, 2008
Journalist says that Africa has always had a propensity to turn to massacre and genocide
The BBC has received complaints of alleged racism on the Today programme Thought for the Day, following a claim in the Radio 4 show's long-running spirituality slot that Africans suffered from an "endemic moral deficit". In a Today broadcast on June 30, 2008 the journalist and author Clifford Longley said he had spoken with a Nigerian theologian who suggested that "African culture has always lacked a developed sense common humanity", which he said explained "Africa's propensity to turn to massacre and genocide". In the Thought for the Day broadcast, Longley said: "A Nigerian moral theologian I met recently was quite frank about it: African culture has always lacked a developed sense of common humanity, of the solidarity that extends beyond village and family and which entails a commitment to the common good." This 'us and them' mentality was not just tribal. The moral deficit explained, he said, how African tribal chiefs had felt no moral qualms about capturing slaves from neighbouring districts and selling them to white slave traders; and later, doing land deals with white settlers. "Hence also Africa's propensity to turn to massacre and genocide such as we saw in Rwanda and Congo, and narrowly avoided seeing again very recently in Kenya."