August 23, 2023
From The Real News Network

YouTube video

News stories about Africa and the 1.4 billion people who live there, about 17% of the world’s population, have always been systematically de-prioritized in Western media. But it goes deeper than that: For people living in the West and the Global North, especially for those living in the heart of US empire, Africa and Africans have been permanently relegated to the outskirts of our imaginations. Why? Why is it so hard to get people to pay attention to this vast, diverse, important swathe of the world? And as we enter a new era, a 21st-century realignment on the stage of global competition for economic, political, and military influence in Africa from the likes of the US, China, Russia, India, Turkey, and more, and as Africa itself becomes one of the critical sites of resource extraction in the fossil fuel and green energy wars, and as Africans themselves bear a disproportionate amount of the disastrous effects of the climate emergency, will that perpetual relegation of Africa to the status of second-class concern change? And if so, will it change for the better?

TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez speaks with Nii Akuetteh. A Ghanaian-born policy analyst and activist, Akuetteh is the founder of the Democracy & Conflict Research Institute based in Accra, Ghana, and he is the former executive director of Africa Action and Editor at TransAfrica. This conversation was recorded on June 30, 2023.

Studio Production: David Hebden, Cameron Granadino, Adam Coley, Kayla Rivara
Post-Production: Cameron Granadino


The following is a rushed transcript and may contain errors. A proofread version will be made available as soon as possible.

Maximillian Alvarez:

Welcome everyone to the Real News Network. My name is Maximillian Alvarez. I’m the editor-in-chief here at The Real News and it’s so great to have you all with us. In the description of his blockbuster 2021 book, Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War, author Howard French lays out his project thusly, “Traditional accounts of the making of the modern world afford a place of primacy to European history. Some credit the 15th century age of discovery and the maritime connection it established between West and East. Others, the accidental unearthing of the ‘new world.’ Still others point to the development of the scientific method or the spread of Judeo-Christian beliefs and so on, ad infinitum. The history of Africa by contrast has long been relegated to the remote outskirts of our global story. What if instead we put Africa and Africans at the very center of our thinking about the origins of modernity?”

Especially for people living in the West and in the global North, and especially for those of us living here in the heart of US empire, the relegation of Africa and Africans to the outskirts of our collective imaginations is a constant that persists to this day. As someone employed in the news industry, I can tell you firsthand that this systematic deprioritization of stories from and about the vast continent of Africa and the 1.4 billion people who live there, who make up about 17% of the world’s population, is a problem that is general and widespread. And The Real News is frankly not immune to this. Yes, we are a small independent outlet doing the best we can to cover news from the front-lines of struggle around the globT but we do not provide nearly enough consistent coverage of such stories happening in and across Africa.

As the editor-in-chief of the Real News, I can assure you we are working hard to correct this but there’s a larger question to reflect on here. Why? Why is it so hard to get people to pay attention to this vast, diverse, important swath of the world? And as the 21st century stage for a new era of global competition, for economic, political, and military influence in Africa from the likes of the US, China, Russia, India, Turkey, and more, and as Africa itself becomes one of the critical sites of resource extraction in the fossil fuel and green energy wars, and as Africans themselves bear a disproportionate amount of the disastrous effects of the climate emergency, will that perpetual relegation of Africa to the status of second class concern change? And if so, will it change for the better?

To talk about all of this and more, I’m honored to be joined on The Real News Network by the great Nii Akuetteh. A pan-Africus originally born in Ghana, now based in the US, Akuetteh is a policy analyst and activist and the founder of the Democracy & Conflict Research Institute based in Accra, Ghana, and he is the former executive director of Africa Action and editor at TransAfrica. Nii, thank you so much for joining us today on The Real News Network.

Nii Akuetteh:

Max, the honor is all mine. Thanks for having me back.

Maximillian Alvarez:

As I said, it is no secret that in the world of English language media, especially here in the global North, news about Africa and Africans always takes a backseat to news from other parts of the world. So I wanted to ask you, with all of your wealth of experience, why do you think that is? And how is our understanding of the world that we inhabit distorted by this perpetual manufactured blindness?

Nii Akuetteh:

Thank you. It’s a wonderful question, it’s a great question. It’s the right question to ask because another way of putting it, I might say, is the coverage of Africa by US media, but also by the media of the developed world, the Western world is so flawed. The first place I would like to start is to point out that it is self-defeating. It imposes a cost on those countries. But you are right. We should start at why does it happen? And I’ve been agonizing over this, Max, I have to tell you. It’s almost every day, at least every week when I wake up and I look at how bad the coverage of Africa is, it hits me between the eyes. And so the question is why? And I’ve been reflecting on this for a while. There is more than one reason but the first reason I choose to highlight, the one that we have to really focus on even if we might not be able to understand it; it shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody, it is white supremacy.

Recently we’ve had the G7 in Japan. For a longtime I’ve thought, if you want understand what’s wrong with the world, look at the picture of G7; It does not reflect the diversity of the globe we live on because these are people who wield power. Now they meet over economics, but they wield a lot of political power in the UN and they sure wield vast power, in terms of arms and security. They run the world. And that picture, if you want to put it that way, is a white supremacist picture. There are very few people of color in that picture. So that’s one reason. And particularly in the US, it is also very jarring because this is a country with close to 40 million people of African descent. So why they wouldn’t cover Africa properly is a mystery but it’s because they are so focused on things that are white and Western. That’s one reason.

A second reason is that they are not highly informed about what’s going on in Africa. They don’t get it that what happens in Africa affects the US affects the rest of the world. Summer will be starting soon; we are going to get a lot of hurricanes. Hurricanes through the Atlantic, that come slamming into Florida and up here through DC, Baltimore, all the way into Canada, they are shaped and determined by the Sahara Desert in Africa. It is in the US’s interest to be watching that but when the major American news media cover the weather, they’ll call it the world weather, they don’t even look at Africa. They don’t look at West Africa. That’s where those weather patterns are born.

This one is a symptom of how bad they cover Africa. Whether it’s the Washington Post or the New York Times, or even, God forbid, the Wall Street Journal, you count how many bureaus they have in say the UK, Britain. One country versus how many they have in Africa. As you mentioned, it’s a vast continent, 1.4 billion people, 54 countries in the UN. Some of us even say it’s 55 because we think Morocco is holding onto the Western Sahara, which it shouldn’t. Western Sahara is a member of the Africa Union. So those are 55 members. The number of correspondents that they have covering that vast area of the world with thousands of languages and cultures, with different people doing different things, it’s a sliver. Probably none of them have maybe more than two or three correspondents covering Africa.

They have more covering Great Britain. And the other thing they do, even when they choose to cover Africa, the coverage is so bad. First, they ignore the continent, then they go looking for negative stories to tell. So it fits back into what I’m saying that it is racism, it is white supremacy. The New York Times, editors there were telling correspondents occasionally when they write — And this was way back in the ’50s when Ghana was getting independent — A correspondent will send a story and they say, no, it’s not negative enough. Put in this and put in that and put in that so that people have the negative view of Africa we want them to have. And finally, one of the things that hits at me now, as I said, I’ve taught a judge, that I’m teaching at GW, there are many people who have big jobs in Washington including Congress that used to be my students.

Well, American journalists might, say, be in Addis Ababa and they talk to a couple of Ethiopians and then they call Washington and get “experts” and they call Americans. They don’t call people like me, they don’t call any of the 5 million African immigrants like me. And according to the Census Bureau, African immigrants from Africa, right now, are the smallest. If you compartmentalize by continent, they’re the most highly educated because once slavery ended, the US position seems to be, we’ll not let you in if you are from Africa unless you are super smart, super highly educated, and you are coming to graduate school. So average educational achievement is the highest among people from Africa. Yet the news media, when they are talking about Africa, they don’t talk to the Africans. So I’ll pause it there. But you put your finger on it, it hurts everybody. It hurts the US, it hurts the West. It also hurts Africa because a lot of things are going on that are completely ignored. But one of the reasons is ignorance. We’re thinking that the only things that matter are things that are Western and white.

Maximillian Alvarez:

It’s one of those things that I always have to laugh about. As a Latino who studied Latin American history in the 20th century, I feel a kinship with you on that front because it never fails to amaze me when US media constantly falls back on these racist stereotypes. Like the proverbial strong man autocrat in Latin America or Africa, the ontologically corrupt governments of African or Latin American states. Not to pretend like corruption doesn’t exist, strong men don’t exist. Of course, they do. We know they do. But scapegoating Black and Brown countries as perpetually besieged by that corruption that is inherent to our nature, gives English-speaking pundits and audiences and politicians more reason to continually write us off.

And yet we don’t call it corruption in the same way when our Supreme Court justices are bought off by billionaire political donors or when members of both parties in Congress are trading on the stock market using privileged information. That’s not corruption, right? That’s all fine. So we could spend all day going over these double standards but I wanted to add that to the discussion for folks so you guys know a little bit more about what we’re talking about here. Because once you start seeing that stuff, you can’t unsee it. You start to really see how deep that white supremacy infects all of us and the way that we understand the rest of the world like Nii was talking about.

I want to come back to Howard French for a second. If folks haven’t already, I would highly recommend that you check out a great interview that my colleague, the great Mark Steiner did with Howard French when his book came out. You should definitely go check that out. It’s on The Real News podcast and YouTube archives. But French in that book does a really great job of showing the critical role that Africa has had historically in shaping the modern world. The fact that the gold found in Western Africa was what got European nations to fund explorations to cross the Atlantic. That’s one key point of how you can’t tell the history of modernity without also talking about the role that Africa played. And we can’t think about where we are headed without thinking about the critical role that Africa will continue to play in shaping our geopolitical reality here in the 21st century.

In the 20th century, for instance, like in Latin America, as I mentioned, and as well as the Middle East, Africa would become one of the fronts on which the heat of the so-called Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union was most intensely felt. It was a theater on which these big battles between world powers was played out. And as the site of competition between the US, China, Russia, et cetera, to establish and maintain spheres of influence, as a critical center of global resource extraction, let’s talk about how the big geopolitical changes that we’re already seeing taking shape in the 21st century are taking shape in and through Africa. And what does that mean for people living on the continent?

Nii Akuetteh:

Again, you’ve brought up a great question. You’ve touched on some of the key facets of it, beginning with Howard. By the way, I’ve known Howard for quite a while. I love his book. He started, as you mentioned, with Europeans going to Africa, looking for gold. And they did get gold. But especially if you’re looking at the Western hemisphere, the Africa connection, you cannot miss it because of slavery, because of people of African descent in both North America, South America, and the Caribbean. And Howard makes the point that once they went looking for gold, they decided, oh, we might even make more money and it will be more profitable if we capture these people and take them to the Americas to work under bondage. Because by then they had already started decimating the local peoples of the Caribbean and of North and South America.

So the connections are really huge. And I’m also so glad that you talked about the Cold War, the Soviet Union, US competition. It was also played out in Africa. In fact, I like to think that one of the most fascinating historical analysis that I would like to see is how the Cold War played out in Africa and how it played out in East Asia, Vietnam, Korea, and China. Of course, it played out in Europe too, the Berlin Wall. But the thing that fascinates me, and I wish I were a writer, a good writer to dive into that, I call it, of backwaters and frontlines. The West saw those Berlin and Korea as a frontline because they were so scared of a rising China that they wanted to block them and for the Vietnam War.

The goal was the same, let’s keep communism from spreading across the world. But in Africa, their short, careless, vicious strategy was, hey, anybody who has power in any of the African colonies and countries, if you do what we tell you, then we’ll support you. And if you do what we tell you and if you kill anybody that you tell us is a communist, then you’re our friend. That’s how they fought the Cold War, I suspect. I’m no expert on Latin America at all and it’s you I’m talking to so I shouldn’t even mention it but some of it sounds to me like that might be what they use. Whereas in Berlin and especially in Vietnam and Korea, it was like, well, if we don’t want communism to seep out of China into these areas, then we better help them develop prosperous countries. Even if they don’t have democracies, the strong men we support have to make sure.

In Africa there was nothing like that. But to the main point of your question, which is really, really great because the world is struggling again. And these periodic struggles, in Howard’s book, goes back all the way to the 15th century and talks about those struggles, who’s controlling the world, who’s making the rules? George Bush’s father called it the New World Order, it’s a pretty good term. So every now and then we get the New World Order revised. So I tell my students, I tell people I talk to now, hey, listen, here is another revision of the New World Order. It’s almost like musical chairs. Who’s going to make the rules as we go down? The last one was made after the end of the second World War, although the Soviet Union kept contending, the two allies that had won the Second World War kept contending, and then it came to a head over Berlin and for various reasons, the Soviet Union imploded which is what is making Putin so mad.

But now we are at it again. The thing I’m pushing at the Africans, and I’m no historian, but I keep saying, history is so important. Let’s look at history. Every time the big powers meet to decide the fate of the world and the rules of the road, thus far, Africans have not been there. When the Popes were doing it in the 15th century, Africa was not there. And then you fast-forward to the 1800s, 1884 when Bismarck was doing it, Africans were not there. At the end of the Second World War when Roosevelt and then Truman and Stalin and others were doing it, Africans were not there. And every time we are not at the table, we are on the main; we get eaten. So I’m now preaching to a few people I interact with both here and on the continent, hey, look, it is happening again. So we need to be at the table because if we are not there, our issues are not looked at all.

And so your question is great. We’re going through a revision of the New World Order again, mainly China is bagging, and say, we are big, we are growing fast, we need a place at the table, and we need the rules changed. But if Africans don’t speak up, if they are not there when the rules settle, we’ll find out again that it is to our great disadvantage. Again, let me stress, Max, what you’ve put your finger on is so wonderful. We have talked about the deficiencies of the Western media. There are global issues that they don’t even cover well. They need to understand and say and educate people that the New World Order is being revised again and it is going to affect all of us, Africa included.

So Africa needs to be involved. I hope that later the people who have been paying attention will notice that South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, he said he was going to make peace between Ukraine and Russia and I almost fell out of my chair and so did many people. The Africans can do this? I don’t think they have succeeded because of the Chinese and the Turks and the United Nations and the Catholic Church, all say, we want to bring peace. The Africans say, we want to help bring peace too. We can look at that but it’s all part of this revision of the New World Order.

We are in a very critical time in global history and its impact in Africa is very important because there are things in Africa, positive things, that those who are fighting to control the world, their newspapers may ignore Africa but the powers that be at their corporation, I tell you, I declare they don’t forget Africa. They have been taking African resources for centuries and I don’t need to remind anybody in our audiences, likely in the US, that your people are your greatest resources and they’ve been taking people out of Africa for centuries.

Maximillian Alvarez:

That’s been the historical trajectory. It’s what we can — When I say we, I mean the imperial powers of the world. — How can we extract what we need from Africa to maintain our growing hegemonies, expand our growing empires? And that has obviously and in unobvious ways, contributed to the perpetual underdevelopment of African countries, to the creation of economies based on exporting and extracting singular sources of energy, minerals, and crops. Exporting the majority of a country’s internal product and importing cheap manufactured goods from other parts of the world.

Nii Akuetteh:

And leaving pollution behind. I’m no expert on Latin America, let me say again, and the Americas, but I suspect that what they have been doing there has not been very different. This is how they look at “colored” parts of the world. In fact, somebody like Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister, looked at one African leader and said, oh, this man is dangerous. Why? Because he wants to keep the resources in his country for the development of his country. Okay? Western countries think that resources in Africa were put there by God for their use. And so they think a leader is dangerous who says, we are going to protect our resources, use it for our people.

Maximillian Alvarez:

Right. Again, here in the heart of US empire, we know this script all too well. If there are world leaders of countries that are sitting on resources coveted by the US and US-based corporations, you better watch out. And again, I want to stress to people watching and listening to this that this is the opening salvo. It’s a very big sort of bird’s eye view discussion. We are going to follow up on this discussion with more fine-grained, subject-based installments and discussions where we can look in more depth at the massive increases in trade and investment in infrastructure from Russia, China, and in Africa over the past couple decades. We’re going to look more at this new wave of financial restructuring from international financial institutions that are once again looking to capitalize on the economic position that many African countries have been left in with the Covid-19 generated recession, the global impacts felt by the war in Ukraine, to say nothing of centuries worth of economic development premised upon colonial domination and extraction from the global North and the West.

So we’re going to be digging into this in more depth moving forward, but we really wanted to get Nii on to talk about the elephant in the room, the bird’s eye view of why is it so hard to even get people to care about such discussions in the first place? And why do we have discussions in such a flawed and problematic way when we actually do discuss them?

Nii Akuetteh:

Also you mentioned it at the top of when we started, climate, climate, climate. Africa is again being buffeted by that. So I’m hoping we can squeeze in a few minutes and look at it and Africa’s role in this whole climate emergency.

Maximillian Alvarez:

Yeah. Well, you read my mind, man because that was going to be our next question. When we’re talking about resource extraction, Africa is going to be and already is a critical site of concern, especially when it comes to the extraction of materials like lithium and cobalt, which are central to the development of green technologies here in the 21st century. So let’s talk about Africa and the climate crisis for a second. Because even though the entire continent accounts for a tiny percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions, African countries and African people are suffering a disproportionate amount of the disastrous effects of climate change. So what does the story of the current climate crisis and the existential need to combat it, what does that look like if we put Africa at the center of that story?

Nii Akuetteh:

Oh, I can tell you that this one African and others that are here and others that I talk to, we look at it and we are aghast. But we need to pick our jaws off the floor and do something about it because it has many facets. To begin with — As you correctly pointed out, and I hope people are listening — One of the things about it that for me is sometimes a little worrying is if you don’t pay attention, you’ll say, oh, this is just nature. It has nothing to do with humans. Actually, quite the opposite. It has everything to do with humans. And the science is getting better so we can trace to the fact that at the age of industrialization, the middle of the 19th century is when humans started heating up the atmosphere.

Why? By making machines. So when we talk about Louis Stevenson and the engine machines, they are burning fossil fuels and pumping warming gases into the air. Now, admittedly, I will say when it was started, people didn’t realize the impact, but after a while, we started seeing the impact. And so you can trace where those gases were pumped in. And not to drag it on too long, 80% of the gases we put into the atmosphere goes anywhere. In fact, it stays there. So it’s like a blanket, which is why the earth is warming too fast. Another way of looking at it is if you are in a neighborhood and you see trash all over the street, but you know which houses have been putting that trash there, if they have colored bags or whatever. Those are two good ways to look at it.

So global warming is manmade, number one, it’s made by humans. Number two, we can trace who did it and when they started doing it. And if you then sum it up from the middle of the 19th century, the 1800s, all the way to now, we’ve been doing it for almost 200 years. But the West, Western Europe, Great Britain, France, the western edge of the Eurasian continent and the US, North America, they are responsible for 80% of it. So that’s their trash in the street and that is causing all of us to be sick. China has a big presence in Africa. They are also extracting African resources. It bothers me that democracy is not a big issue for them because Africa needs democracy. As we do these subsequent interviews, it would be great to dive into democracy and why Africa needs democracy.

So the countries that take democracy seriously, China has a lot of strength, but democracy is not one of them, today’s China. So they are in Africa and so I have issues with them. The news media– And this is where I’ll throw in, one of the things wrong with handling climate change is how badly the Western media covers climate change. Arguably they cover it in Western before they cover Africa, in my opinion. So one of their flaws is to say, well, the biggest polluter today is China. Well, China, the economic miracle, was in my lifetime, it was in my daughter’s lifetime, has been only about 40 years since China started growing very fast since Nixon went to China. So China may seem to be putting out more warming gases today than anybody, followed by the US but the US and Western Europe have been doing it for almost 160 years.

If you’ve been putting the trash out 160 years, there’s a mountain of it. You can’t say, oh, that guy from that Chinese house over there put in more than me. So who has been doing it and for how long is critical. The scientists also have come up with a great piece of data. They now look at who’s been doing for how long and how many people they have there on a per capita basis. So even if you look at how much China has been warming, you have to divide it by how many people are in China and how many people are in Africa. So as you rightly put your finger on it, Africa has put in no more than 3%.

The West has put in 80%, and their media will not say this is manmade. So they let people think, oh, it is nature. We have nothing to do with it. If they were to tell Americans and Europeans, this is our trash there and this is how we got rich. So we should use some of that money to find ways to remove the trash, we should put out less trash, we should be more frugal in how we consume the resources of the world. These are all ways in which we in Africa who are watching this issue think it should be handled: stop putting out so much trash and you’ve made money off of it, so it is only just that you spend that money.

The other piece of it is how much the effects of climate change is hammering Africa. I was born in Ghana. One of the biggest cities in Ghana, which is right on the eastern edge of Ghana on the coast, was Togo. It has been smashed. It’s called Keta. About 80% of it, and in fact, locals all over West Africa say, oh, the sea is swallowing West Africa. Foreign policy covered this years ago because the sea is rising. As a kid going to school in Accra, one of my favorite times, I’ll escape from the house and go sit at the beach and read books from the library. The rocks I used to sit, now they’re covered by the sea because the sea is rising. It is smashing cities, is coming in and the sea is warming. I come from a fishing family. My father was a fisherman, okay? Now the sea around West Africa is so hot they can’t catch any fish because the fish, like anybody else, you are too hot, you move to a cooler place. The fish is moving away from the coastal areas of Africa. It’s not just West Africa. Angola, South Africa, Somalia, they are all paying the price of the warming seas and rising. So the fishing communities are devastated.

And then of course, inland, this is leading to both floods and droughts. You’re getting more floods in certain areas and you’re getting droughts in other areas. Somalia has been hammered, so they can’t grow their food. Their animals they used to keep can’t find water. So we could go on for days about how high a price Africa is paying for climate change. And again, Africans have contributed 3% or less of the total gas that is creating all these problems. And when I sit here in the US and read how the media covers the climate change story so badly and they don’t mention that it is manmade, they don’t mention that they made it, and they don’t connect it to what is going on even when you and I know. We are in Baltimore and Washington, we’ve gone through bad air quality because of the burning forest in Canada.

All this is linked to climate change and climate change, folks, it is something that was caused by people. It is something that the West is mostly responsible for. They would rather point fingers at China. They’ll say, oh, let’s not talk about this. We won’t stop using more polluting fuel, fossil fuels. Well, let’s look for some technology to do some miracle. The thing is, you can do things if the political will is there. And again, I happen to think, and I teach this in some of my classes, political will is very dependent on the media. Because to me, political will is not an issue with politicians. It is an issue with those who vote for politicians. If those who vote, say an issue is serious, the politicians will find the will. When you hear there’s no political will, what it means is that those who vote don’t care about that issue.

Maximillian Alvarez:

Well, again, I could talk to you for hours but I’ve got to wrap this up and let you go. But I’m very excited for many more conversations with you, many more conversations with other folks who can help us expand our reporting and analysis on key stories and struggles that are happening in and through Africa. But by way of a final plug for that coverage and a final parting word from you to our audience, I wanted to ask if there are any particular stories or struggles happening in Africa right now that you think people, especially in the West but around the world, really need to be paying attention to right now?

Nii Akuetteh:

I do. I do. We’ve gone through here in the US the whole Black Lives Matter movement. And some of my friends will say, well, it will seem as if some people don’t think Africans are Black. Because if Africans are Black and we believe Black lives matter, African lives should matter. There are different conflicts in Africa. A major one is terrorism. Last year, 2022, half of all the people who were killed by terrorism or maimed by terrorists, the victims of terrorism last year were all in Africa. But people act as if, oh, terrorism is no more an issue. The US, for terrorists in the Middle East, what they did was push the terrorists into Africa. They’re killing Africans. Anytime Africans need help to deal with terrorism, there are politicians who say, well, our civilians are too precious. They shouldn’t be risking their lives for Africans.

It is that kind of thing. So conflict in Africa is a big and worrisome issue for me. I have said democracy is important, climate change is important, but in a country, in a continent, nothing is important if the people are dead. And to my mind, too many Africans are dying. They need help. Some of it, again, you can trace to US and other Western policies. Why Africans are dying, we need to be looking at that. This is the US. The immigration on the border with Mexico is a big issue, immigration. I can tell you the immigration issue, the immigration injustice from Europe against Africans is much worse, Max. They have been allowing Africans to drown in the Mediterranean against international law. They will not let them come to Europe.

It burns me up because we haven’t even touched on– Europeans colonized Africa. After they had taken all these slaves and slavery was ended first and foremost by the slaves themselves, when slavery couldn’t work anymore, Europeans turn around and say, okay, now we’re going to go into Africa, colonize them, take their resources. They did it when I was born in Ghana. My country, what is now the country of my birth, was a colony of the British. The British were still governing us. So I lived under the British Empire. Now that it is over, you want to go to Europe, they say, no, you can’t come here. A British court there yesterday told the conservative government that scooping our people and taking them to Rwanda is against international law and British law.

So my point is another story that I wish would be covered is that how Europeans abuse immigrants from Africa and from the Middle East, not just Africa, by letting them drown in the Mediterranean constantly is horrendous. And I wish it’ll be better covered because Ukraine tells us that the Europeans look at the US as their big brother. When they are afraid of Putin, they come rushing to the US. I’ve always thought if we organize properly, we need to put pressure on the US, not only to clean up its own immigration policy, but then to say to the Europeans, we have a lot of Africans here, 40 million people of African descent. If you keep drowning Africans in the Mediterranean, they’re going to get mad at us. And if they get mad at us, we can’t help you that much. So those are just two of the issues that are burning. And then there is the issue of democracy, which we’ll get into.

And yes, I’m excited to be back. Thank you for having me back. We’ll put our heads together and make sure there’s good analysis and understanding of how Africa fits into all these global issues, to the interest, to the benefit of the US. So when The Real News pushes for better coverage and analysis of African issues, it is not something to the side, it’s actually for the good of the US. Because if you are not coming from Africa and you don’t understand Africa, but Africa is so important — Not just the history that Howard French wrote, but for the future — If you are misreading the future or if you are ignoring facets or indicators of what the future is going to be, you are shooting yourself in the foot. So better coverage of Africa benefits everybody, and I’m so excited and I cannot thank you enough.

Maximillian Alvarez:

So that is the great Nii Akuetteh. Nii, thank you so much for joining me today on The Real News Network, man. I really, really appreciate it.

Nii Akuetteh:

My pleasure.

Maximillian Alvarez:

This is Maximillian Alvarez for The Real News Network, signing off. Before you go, please head on over to Become a monthly sustainer of our work so we can keep bringing you important coverage and conversations just like this. Thank you so much for watching.

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