By Ankob Zuta, Blogger of De Birhan Blogspot
It is almost half a decade since I left my beautiful but poor Africa/Ethiopia. When there, never been a day that I saw or was exposed to anything pornographic except short erotic sessions that we watch on most Western produced movies. Now that I am in the Western world, I would be compelled to see something that is pornographic while walking to work or surfing the net. The lovers kissing on the road, the billboards, the advertisements and the fetish, interracial, BBW, facials and other types of porn are made familiar to most of us these days by the increasingly virtualised nature of our life. I in fact did some research on it too. Last month I had come to learn through well informed friends that pornography isn’t anymore the exposure of the Diaspora but of the local African population. Like many other African countries, in Ethiopia, the use, rental and sale of pornographic movies, photographs and prints has reached an alarming rate. Movie rental shops and Mini Cinema Houses (video betoch) make their highest income from such movies. It is fair to say that the majority of Addis Abeba’s vis-à-vis Africa’s youth have become an addicted consumer of pornography. No African regime is hunting pornography channels as it is controlling dissident and critical websites and artistic copyright issues. In fact, the Artistic Copyright campaign, headed by the regimes right hand men, has its long-term agenda of controlling the spread of revolutionary,democracy and freedom oriented audiovisuals.
Naomi Wolf ‘s article
Naomi Wolf wrote a relevant article on Project Syndicate a month ago entitled “Is pornography driving men crazy?” The theme of her article is that the use of pornography by men is increasing and is having very debilitating effects including on decision making.
“What is driving this weirdly disinhibited decision-making? Could the widespread availability and consumption of pornography in recent years actually be rewiring the male brain, affecting men’s judgement about sex and causing them to have more difficulty controlling their impulses?”Naomi inquires.
She equates addiction to pornography to addiction of gambling or cocaine and says “As with any addiction, it is very difficult, for neurochemical reasons, for an addict to stop doing things – even very self-destructive things – that enable him to get that next hit of dopamine”.
Even if the article seemed to have been written solely from a feminist perspective, it well does nail the reality of porn addiction of today’s people, “Understanding how pornography affects the brain and wreaks havoc on male virility permits people to make better-informed choices – rather than engage in pointless self-loathing or reactive collective judgments – in a world that has become more and more addictively hardcore” she advises.
Pornography is a war against humanity. In fact it is less spoken or written about. It has waged war against human beings of all races and gender even though some research suggests that men are the highest users of pornography. The actors and actresses in porn movies are at war yes literally conflicting each other with one side winning the other. And us who watch these films are also the directs victims, losers of the cinematic media triggered war against human beings that reduces our virility/fertility, sociability, confidence, ambition and increasing our aggressiveness and abnormal sexuality. These all are big wars waged by pornography. They need an immediate solution. Naomi has, though late, recognized this negative effect and boldly wrote about the matter seeking a sustainable solution that saves humanity from apocalypse.
African Politics Vis-à-vis Porn
Some writers allegorically represent African politics as politics of pornography; don’t ask me who said that. I could be the one who said it. But anyway, the politics of Africa I see today ain’t any different from the belligerence of pornography I put above. Some of the side effects of pornography in similarity to Africa’s politics are :
· Pornography promotes destructive practices and can lead to progressive addiction. Most dictatorial leaders and regimes don’t do anything different from pornography they promote destructive practices, ethnicity, division, corruption, crime and repression that leads them to their own power addiction and elongates their lifetime.
· Pornography intensifies an individual’s drive to serve oneself, rather than serve others. Giving the population/subjects love, democracy, prosperity and justice are nightmares of repressive repressive regimes; they live on personal satisfaction, selfishness and lust. Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Djibouti, Zimbabwe, Libya, Malawi, Algeria, the then Egypt and Tunisia are prime examples.
· Pornography addiction can lead to debt. Many African countries led by money and corruption and power abusiveness addicted regimes are now in debt. Their inability to manage their treasures and policies that are easily manipulated by money lenders makes them highly indebted. Addiction to corruption is equal to addiction to pornography.
· By viewing and/or purchasing porn, viewers are supporting the porn industry and facilitating its growth. By simply being ruled by repressive/undemocratic rulers and also being co-opted by finance or blackmail, many people support and legitimise diactators. Members of the African Diaspora who return to their homeland for investment with the intention of garnering incentives such as free land and huge sum of loan are the prime examples.
· Looking at porn can damage the viewer’s family relationships, not to mention increasing the chance of his or her spouse and children finding the material. Mal administration and bad governance damage society and future generations.
· Looking at porn at work could damage the viewer’s reputation, decrease his or her productivity and lead to job loss. Same is the case in “pornogrphised’’ organisations and regimes.
· Looking at porn will increase the viewer’s tendency to lie, because he or she will have a natural desire to keep it secret to avoid criticism, embarrassment, shame and/or having to surrender their habit. Abusive, corrupt, repressive and “pornogrphised’’ regimes are prone to lie, deception and confusion. They rule by deception and disdain; unwilling to receive criticisms.
These and many other consequences of pornography practically describe repressive regimes in Africa and other continents of the world. Over and above all these, pornography is resulting in 2 major side effects on African youth. One, it is promoting a culture of violence, conflict and war. Second, it is establishing a culture of hopelessness, passiveness and political impotence, I opine.
My good Facebook friend, Mandy Luke did a rigorously robust final paper on this issue entitled “Media, Peace and the Conflict of Sexual Abuse” in May 2011.It was kind of her to pass me the paper.
“In the world where media plays a defining role in our lives, it is inevitable that we will encounter conflict in the media. One particular conflict, sexual abuse, has been directly and indirectly been perpetuated by the media through propaganda, objectivity and corporate ownership. Nevertheless, these multiple media outlets have the potential to turn around negative behaviour through peace journalism to help eliminate the effects of sexual abuse Corporate ownership continues to promote sexual abuse through forms of pornography, songs, popular movies, etc, as acceptable. .”She begins her paper.
She then argues that even though this harm is being unleashed by the media (mainly the porn cinema) , a new trend of journalism that serves as a curative or preventive measure of the quandary is popping up: peace journalism. I have found the following definition of peace journalism to be the most agreed and used one “allowing or creating opportunities for society at large to consider and to value non-violent responses to conflict.” This form of journalism takes a completely opposite model of war journalism thus it attempts to report in an objectively balanced and solution finding manner.
Mandy (2011) cites organisations such as RAINN, Love146 and DNA as Projects and Organisations that are applying peace journalism. The organisations use various forms of advertising, reporting, campaigns and educational programs of peace journalism.
“Like all conflicts, sexual abuse may never be completely understood, but the pursuit of peace in journalism is a worthy cause because the media does have such an impact on the people of the world. The media has the potential to positively effect the world and draw attention to sexual abuse in the pursuit to promote peace.” she concludes.
I admiringly applaud and share Mandy’s view and analysis though I may also argue in few of the points. Let me leave the academic argument for another time.
- · Porn and Pornography has conquered African youth. The war it waged (both via the violent acts that take place in the movies and its aggressive psychological and cinematic penetration) is having wide ranging side effects.
- · The widespread of pornography is likely to cause a huge population reduction in the years to come.
- · It is having an aggressive and warring mentality on African youth. It promotes the youth to practically operate the scenes they watch on porn movies. This trickles down a nationwide frame of mind of war and violence.
- · Similarly, as scientifically proven, pornography is causing a societal isolation, selfishness and hopelessness within our youth. The spirit of fighting for truth, freedom, objectivity and fairness are relegated by the warring, hegemonic and dominating themes of porn movies. Many African countries especially the ones I have listed above look as if they were allowing the explicit trade and availability of pornography aware of its abilities to cause political impotence.
- · Pornography is war journalism and its major solution is peace and peace journalism. An organised, well studied global peace journalism needs to emerge that can robustly challenge this apocalyptic cinematic media.
- · African countries should strengthen their control of the illicit transmission of pornographic movies.
- · Peace journalism aimed at helping the already porn addicted African youth and preventing future generation from being sufferers should be started.
- And finally in essence, African politics ought to be free from its intrinsic “pornographised” nature