Beyond Afro-Pessimism

In “The United States of Africa,” the Djibouti-born novelist Abdourahman Waberi imagines a topsy-turvy world where a sorry stream of refugees flows from the squalor of Europe and America to escape poverty in the prosperous United States of Africa. Like an African Voltaire, Waberi uses the weapon of satire to raze a Western myth that has come to imprison Africans: that of the eternal African victim. Ironically, this myth of African victimhood emerged in Western political thought at the same moment that Africa achieved political liberation. As the French writer Pascal Bruckner trenchantly described in “The Tears of the White […]

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