How Europe screwed up Africa in one sentence

“You can’t just march in to someone else’s country, give it entirely arbitrary boundaries, decide to rule it with only the minimum of resources, settle an alien population on its best land, brutally suppress any sign of resistance, then scuttle before you’ve properly prepared it for self-government – and expect everything to turn out OK.”

The first line of Bernard Porter’s review in the London Review of Books of Michela Wrong’s excellent book on Kenyan corruption, ‘It’s Our Turn to Eat’.

I got my copy in South Africa – Kenyan bookshops still seem to be too scared to stock it.

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9 responses to “How Europe screwed up Africa in one sentence

  1. I tried the bookshop in Nairobi but they refused.

    But I hear you can get copies online now.

  2. stevebloomfield

    Apparently it takes five days for Amazon to deliver it. Unless, of course, it goes missing somewhere in the depths of the Kenyan postal system

    • fyi

      Harper Collins have finally come up with an e-book of “It’s Our Turn to Eat”. So Kenyans can buy the PDF file, and there’s no excuse for any further piracy or bootlegging. Please pass this around on your mailing lists and post it on your websites. We’ve tried to keep the price as low as possible – you’ll see that it is a lot cheaper than the hard copy.

      http://www.harpercollinsebooks.co.uk/OurTurnToEat

      We’re also hoping to make this something Kenyans who don’t own credit cards can buy on M-Pesa, but at the moment that’s proving a logistical nightmare.

  3. stevebloomfield

    Great Ebba, thanks. I fear it may be too late though – there’s a PDF of a review copy which has been pinging its way around Nairobi for a couple of months

  4. wicked quote. but he left out “forcibly remove millions of the strongest individuals” and “methodically work to divide ethnic groups and allocate resources to some groups disproportionately”

  5. I hardly think colonial misrule is to blame for the current miserable state of Kenyan corruption

  6. stevebloomfield

    No, colonial misrule isn’t too blame. But it probably didn’t help.

  7. Come on Steve, look a bit harder:

    This paper has something quite sensible to say:

    http://rspas.anu.edu.au/~sambit/papers/revised%20JAE%20webpage.pdf

  8. stevebloomfield

    Cheers Mark, I’ll take a look

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