Why Africans Say ‘Stupid Americans’


Dear Editor of Foxnews, Re: Pitt-Jolie Baby Lucky to Be Alive Mr. Robert Friedman, the writer of the above titled piece should be shot! Okay, well at the very least, sued. I have rarely seen such a flagrant misinterpretation of facts. I am a foreigner living and working in Namibia and it is sad to see that the achievements of this little known African country are undermined by Mr. Friedman’s determination to “sell” news. Yes, Namibia has one of the worst cases of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa, but guess what, they are dealing with it. While no one wants any child to die, please note that Namibia’s infant mortality rate is one of the lowest in Africa and indeed many parts of the world. DSTV, the largest cable network in Africa, has almost 30 000 subscribers in Namibia. This is in a country of less than 2 million people. Match that to the number of people in the USA with cable relative to population size. OneAfrica, a pay channel has double that number in subscribers. The national TV station, NBC, reaches over 90% of the population with presence in every region. Telecom, the national telecommunications company has presence in over 80% of the country. MTC the GSM provider has presence in almost every region of this vast country. Electricity is available in places no one lives in across as much as 500 kilometers. Much more galling is Mr. Friedman’s insinuation that Namibia is so poor that even a hotel could not afford internet/tv/airconditioner! Come on Mr. Friedman, talk to your travel agent! Namibia’s tourism industry is one of the most vibrant in Africa. Many visitors come to Namibia for peace, and a taste of the wildlife. Hotels understand this, which is why many cater to the needs of visitors who wish to escape their frenetic, Blue-tooth-controlled lifestyle. This might account for why the manager of the hotel Mr. Friedman stayed in enjoined him to stop worrying about internet but rather to take the time to look at the elephants! But of course, this irony was lost on Mr. Friedman. Indeed, Mr. Friedman did not even feel stupid as he wrote this considering the fact that the hotel owner not only had a computer and a cell phone, but he was able to connect them! How many UN labelled “developing countries” can boast of this? Lastly, most trivial and yet telling of the complete ignorance of Mr. Friedman is this: Namibia boasts of at least four cinemas that I know of. There is Atlantic in Swakop, not far from where Baby Jolie-Pitt was born. But there is also the Ster Kinekor theatre which as I write this is enjoying a huge turnout for the viewing of “The Da Vinci Code”, “M – I – 3”, Tsotsi, Ice Age 2 and X men 3 – yes sir, we have that here too. And for the record, just in case somebody is ripping off the makers of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”, in all my time of living here, I have not seen a movie that ran for so long in one theatre. “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” not only played in our theatres, it enjoyed a run of almost two months! Further, in my time here, I am yet to find a single Namibian woman who wants to have a child outside of this country. Why would they? Indeed, the norm is that Namibians living abroad tend to come home to give birth. As a media practitioner myself, I find it shocking that Mr. Friedman relied on the CIA factbook even when it has been proven that the information from this organisation is both unreliable and many times untruthful a la Afghanistan and Iraq. Even more shocking is that Foxnews did not cross-check this story. Lastly, Mr. Friedman, a lot of Namibians and indeed Africans are saying “stupid Americans” as you have suggested. But it is not for the reasons you allude to. Rather, we call you stupid when we read pieces such as yours that perpetuate the myth that we are backward, AIDS-ridden, war mongering and poor. Even when the reality stares you in the face that this is not true, you refuse to acknowledge it because it fuels your ego and sense of being. After all, if we are not poor, where would your aid go? Wouldn’t America’s unemployment rise even higher from the number of consultancy jobs USAID will not be able to hire out? Wouldn’t musicians and actors have one less PR platform to walk on? And most of all, wouldn’t you, Mr. Friedman, end up being irrelevant since the truth will be out and you obviously cannot write about that? Again, let the record show, Namibians welcome and love Angelina Jolie. We appreciate that someone cares enough about us to come here and share such a precious gift as childbirth with us. We need more people like Ms. Jolie, for they prove that our continent is one of hope. I pray that Mr. Friedman will not only be sued but fired from his job. He is an irresponsible journalist and one who does not deserve to work in your esteemed orga-nisation. Enough said! Femi Kayode