To save mankind, the gods send down a flood of red-tinted beer, which the bloodthirsty deity consumes until passing out.“Kiosks were set up with large vats of this alcohol,” Bryan says of the boozy, myth-inspired ritual.
“There was very little eating, just more or less inebriation and passing out from lots of alcohol.” Then, in the wee hours of the morning, drummers would besiege the out-cold celebrants, making a huge racket to wake them.
In the resulting hazy moments of hung-over consciousness, statues of the lion goddess would be brought forth.
“I think there is a value for someone like a George Clooney raising the issue of Darfur, especially when no one else was doing it,” Evans says. How has Western literature presented an incomplete image of Africa?
Africa is an incredibly vast and varied continent teeming with cultures, languages, and lifestyles.
The group, with some 40 members representing more than half a dozen African nations, holds monthly public meetings to discuss African customs and culture with occasional dances and field trips to local African restaurants or stores. How I went to a Jesuit high school and did some of the same things as a teenager that they do over here.” Bassey likes to talk about Africa’s cultural festivals, cinema, music, and close-knit families.
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“There are some people who still have the misconception that all of Africa is like a safari,” Bassey says. “I’m not trying to tell people there isn’t poverty,” he says. What was the ancient Egyptian “festival of drunkenness”?’” Bassey has learned to consider such ill-informed queries as teaching moments.And he is president of the Johns Hopkins African Students Association, which also aims to educate people about Africa.Then the question becomes not, are there democratic practices, but is democracy being implemented and enforced. What should we make of China’s surging interest in Africa?Although the roots of a Sino-African relationship can be traced back to the 15th century, it’s only recently that China—with its booming economy, brimming coffers, and hunger for oil and other resources—has seen its relationship with the continent bloom into a multi-billion-dollar proposition.He’s experienced mortar attack, gunpoint imprisonment in a mud hut, and other hardships and violence.Nevertheless, Irish rocker Bono, who is outspoken on a range of African topics including the need for debt relief, has earned Evans’ respect. “Africa has not just been a drop-in, fly-by-night cause for him.” Hollywood’s George Clooney, too, earns accolades, both for his visits to Darfur refugee camps and trips to Washington asking legislators for additional support for the war-torn Sudanese.“I say, more power to them.” Last October, Evans was named the national director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, a charity focused on the humanitarian needs of displaced people.He spent the previous 20 years living in Africa as the organization’s director for Eastern Africa.With the United States and Europe mired in a protracted economic downturn, Freeman says, “many of the Western political and economic models are being called into question.” And then there’s China’s less-than-stellar environmental record.“China’s reform has come at a tremendous cost to the environment, and from that perspective it’s a terrible model,” Freeman says.