Cognitive Dissonance, African Aid Edition
I’m not buying Teju Cole’s argument. a) There’s a substantial and substantive between Nicholas Kristoff and Jason Russell; linking the two is like conflating James Frey and Proust because they both wrote memoirs. b) Cole seems to think that the logic behind targeted humanitarian missions precludes understanding the larger forces, like the oil industry and imperialism, behind systemic poverty and despotic violence. It seems to me perfectly possible to work for aid in Africa while simultaneously fighting against America’s deleterious role in the conflicts there, and not suffer any cognitive dissonance over it. Kristoff is right when he says suggesting otherwise does nothing but hinder humanitarian missions that are necessary whether you like the privileged people executing them or not.