Search This Blog


Saturday, January 09, 2010

Africa is a continent, not a country

The reaction to today's machine-gun attack on the Togolese team in Angola illustrates the extent to which Africa seems to be an abstract concept to many in the media. Presenting "Fighting Talk" on Five Live this morning (and in all other respects making a good job of it) Alan Davies made some comment about Didier Drogba being the first to claim to be hit by a bullet. This gag, which seemed to imply that he thought Drogba played for Togo and not the Ivory Coast, would have been considered tasteless if the victims of this outrage had been European or - imagine it - British.

Then there's tonight's press coverage which seems to be all about whether this will have an effect on the World Cup in South Africa, the implication being "well, it's all very well for African players to be risking life and limb in pursuit of their trade but this event involves *us*, for God's sake!" That's not to say that South Africa doesn't have its own security problems but to link those to what was going on in a war-disrupted region of Angola seems to betray a want of basic geography, let alone common decency.