Does true independence actually exist? Post#1

Madonna visits Malawi. Her philanthropic efforts and adoption of Malawi children have been criticized.  This photo underlines Madonna's "obscurity," a theme talked about in Theroux's article.

Madonna visits Malawi. Her philanthropic efforts and adoption of Malawi children have been widely criticized in the media. This photo underlines Madonna’s “obscurity,” a theme talked about in Theroux’s article. Image courtesy of portalpopline.com

After reading Paul Theroux’s “The Lesson of My Life,” I wanted to cry.  Was I the only one on that? It takes a true writer to effectively evoke a clear and distinct emotional sentiment in a reader.   What caught my eye in particular in his article was the salient theme of interdependence.  He pointed out that:

“Africans knew neglect, drought, flood, bad harvests, hunger, disease, and–more insidious than any of these–tyrannical government; and yet in the face of these adversities they had developed survival skills, and prevailed…but I seldom hear…how Africans, ignored by the world, have managed to save themselves, often in the bitterest of circumstances.”

Theroux’s reflections beg the question: what even IS independence, if first world civilization needs all of our established institutions in order to “survive”? I know that I personally would be dependent on locals in Malawi in order to survive there without my usual accoutrements. Yet, the media displays the third world as largely lacking first world materials.  Indeed, they need more resources to improve survival rates, but the media, like Theroux says, should acknowledge their strengths as well.   I think the first world lacks the third world’s emotional and physical resourcefulness, and is thus largely dependent on a mind-numbing routine to stay afloat–shoot, the Americans, individually and collectively, aren’t even economically independent as we claim to be in comparison to the impoverished third world.//

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