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Cecil the lion and the U.S. plunder of Africa

Commentary by Rudy Pala |
August 1, 2015
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Salt Lake City, UT - It is undoubtedly tragic that the famed Cecil the lion is dead at the hands of a well-off American seeking to fulfill his absurd fantasies of power in Zimbabwe. But let's pause for a moment and think about what happens to humans in Africa. Hasn't Africa always had been the playground for Western imperialists? And, even worse, hasn't Africa always been the source of the very wealth used to subjugate it?

Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist, lured Cecil into an area where it was illegal to kill lions and killed him. The beloved Cecil had long been tracked by both researchers and the public, and the world responded with outrage at the animal's death. Rightfully so: Yet another arrogant, well-to-do white man took something that did not belong to him for no other reason than it brought him pleasure.

This is, in a certain sense, the story of Western imperialism in Africa that continues still. The rich and powerful pillaged a continent and decimated countless peoples, all for their own enrichment.

The world cries out for an African lion, but before dentists were hunting lions, capitalists were hunting actual people in Africa. The U.S. was built on the backs of African slaves, kidnapped and killed for profit. That legacy is still felt every day by oppressed nationalities in the U.S., especially African Americans, with every racist death and every unjust imprisonment.

Be it minerals or oil, U.S. corporations roam Africa in order to keep Western coffers filled, and there are factors like IMF loans and imperialist foreign investment that force African nations to the very bottom of world hierarchy, stifling the freedom of millions of people.

Yes, Walter Palmer should be condemned and held accountable for his crime. But while one weeps for a lion, millions of Africans suffer and die in order that the rich in the West can lead a life of luxury.

Perhaps the best thing we can do in the wake of Cecil's untimely death is to rally against U.S. imperialism Africa and build support for the forces who are fighting to liberate Africa from it.

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