Christina Aguilera, ambassador for World Food Program (WFP), recently went to “war-torn Rwanda” People Magazine tells us. Well thankfully she made it back home safe. War is not an easy thing. Although, I’m not sure exactly which war People Magazine is referring to – last I checked, the civil war and genocide in Rwanda ended twenty years ago. Well, Rwanda has other problems and its government is implicated in violence in neighboring DRC, but it is not war-torn. Also, Rwanda is an entire country. Where in Rwanda was Aguilera?
The song the children are singing in the video is of course inaudible but Aguilera’s is crystal clear. Her Light Up The Sky forms the background to the video. We hear her sing “When skies are grey, I’ll light your way, I’ll be your shoulder, You can lean on me” while seeing her feed “starved African children.”
Interestingly, one word from the kids’ song in Kinyarwanda is clear: Tuzarwubaka: We will build it (i.e. the country); clearly indicating that meaningless charity is not what they have in mind but rather that they are actively engaged. This is of course lost to all the non-Kinyarwanda speakers.
“The people of Rwanda touched me in a way I cannot express or put into words. They are in a place that needs our help and I am so proud of the work that we are doing there,” Aguilera insists. “This trip came at a time when I needed to step away and connect with bigger issues in the world,” she continues.
Africa: helping white people who’re a wee bit down-in-the-dumps feel better about themselves since 1884.
Even if we were to accept this blatant lie that Rwanda is a “war-torn” place where “refugee camps” abound, what kinds of superpower do Aguilera and the WFP have to make them think they alone could change such situation? War and poverty are the result of larger structural inequalities, part of larger historical, political circumstances that no individual can resolve. And certainly not Hollywood style celebrities: Aguilera, Invisible Children’s Jason Russell or even Bono. Enough of these white celebrities scrolling out of nowhere wanting to save African lives. Keep to your various professions thank you very much.
Also, the participating ‘restaurants’ to help world hunger, partners with the WFP are: KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Really? Junk food providers helping end ‘world hunger.’ Given all the information available to indicate the disastrous effects (heart diseases, diabetes) of eating junk food this partnership couldn’t be more ironic.
The video ends with Aguilera singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to a group of children. One among them is singing along and she seems a bit surprised by this. Too unfathomable that children of ‘war-torn poor Rwanda’ might know an English/American nursery rhyme? Welcome to the 21st century Ms. Aguilera!