Dear British Tabloids and Media,
I figured it’s about time I wrote this to you. What you have been and continue doing to Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, is just but a classic form of othering. It’s dramatic and leaves a lot to be desired. I do not know if you realize that the world is watching and reading. And if you do, you remotely care about how whatever you constantly seem to be projecting comes across. I am not addressing the whole lot of you British journalists but specifically the ones who delight in this unnecessary critiquing of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The ones who seem to believe that Duchess Meghan is a problem that deserves to be bullied away.
Let’s talk about the private jet saga and the created furore surrounding it. I have noted with concern how the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been branded hypocrites for the choice of private jet for their summer holiday trip to Nice. Sir Elton John, English award winning singer, close friend to the late Princess Diana and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, even felt compelled to come to the couple’s defense by clarifying the reasons which led to his providing Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan with his carbon neutral jet for the trip to Nice. As if the British media didn’t already know that the couple deserves to be protected and especially with the kind of abuse they have been forced to constantly contend with.
But since the British tabloids and media have decided to openly show how much travel on a private jet, which the owner has taken the necessary steps to portray an obvious environmental consciousness deserves to be viciously condemned, I am forced to highlight a couple of things to them;
On Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan being called hypocrites
An article dating back to 2006 on The European Greens website is tellingly titled, Europe must stop using Africa as a dumping-ground for its hazardous waste. Why is that?
Cote d’Ivoire and its capital city, Abidjan, have once more been at the scene of tragedy. During the night of 19-20 August, highly toxic waste shipped from Europe in a Greek cargo vessel was dumped illegally at a number of tips around Abidjan, resulting in the deaths of seven people.”
The article states.
Another article on The Independent UK website, dated 18th February 2009 by Cahal Milmo and approximately 3 years after the publication of the above titled, Dumped in Africa: Britain’s toxic waste clearly acknowledges that,
Hundreds of thousands of discarded items, which under British law must be dismantled or recycled by specialist contractors, are being packaged into cargo containers and shipped to countries such as Nigeria and Ghana, where they are stripped of their raw metals by young men and children working on poisoned waste dumps.
And yet another article on the Return to Now website, dated 9th January 2018, approximately 9 years after the publication of the above titled, “First World” countries are using Africa as a dump for old electronics mentions in its opening statement that,
Tens of millions of tons of toxic, trashed electronics from America and Europe are quietly, illegally dumped in Africa.
From these, it’s evident that the West has been dumping and continues to dump its toxic waste in our developing continent of Africa, which I am an inhabitant of. To see the British tabloids and media actively going after a couple that has decided to do their own little part in making the environment better for future generations, screams hypocrisy on their part when Africa’s environment as a whole seems to be considered unimportant by the developed world. If there are people who need to be thoroughly and loudly condemned by the British media, it definitely needs to be those ones who ever considered shipping toxic waste to other continents and went ahead to maliciously do it while endangering the lives of the inhabitants and future generations.
We have all witnessed the Duke and Duchess publicly applaud environmentalists around the world on their efforts. On 12th August 2019 and International Youth Day, to mark the celebration, the couple on their Instagram Account, Sussex Royal, hailed 3 particular initiatives founded by young people. Two that are environment related. The first was Green Generation Initiative (GCI), founded by 23 year old Kenyan, Elizabeth Wathuti whose focus is tree planting to try and cub deforestation, climate change and pollution. The second was GirlDreamer, founded by Amna Akhtar and Kiran Kaur in the UK and focused on female empowerment. And finally the third was Eco Brixs, -a closed loop- recycling system that has provided employment while creating a positive environmental impact in Masaka, Uganda and founded by Andrew Brownds.
As if that is not enough, in the British Vogue’s September 2019 Issue, guest edited by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, 16 year old Greta Thunberg, a Swedish Climate Activist is featured as one of the Forces for Change, the issue’s theme. In January 2019, Greta had spoken to economists at Davos on the dire need to take action on global warming. This young girl has been protesting against climate change outside the Stockholm’s Parliament House once every week for an entire year prior to her Vogue feature, an act that would end up being copied by children and teens across the world. For the Duchess to consider her as a Force for Change, communicates just how much she and her husband value the input of other environmentalists who have gone out of their way to engage in this particular form of activism. Not forgetting Prince Harry’s Q&A feature with renowned environmentalist Dr. Jane Goodall in the same magazine issue.
Frogmore Cottage, the couple’s official residence has also not been left behind in their quest to be eco-friendly. Prince Harry has been known to switch of the lights in his residence to save on energy according to the BBC documentary, Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70. With all these confirmed reports, I wonder why at this point in time, the British tabloids and media, feel the need to focus on a carbon neutral private jet trip of a couple who have clearly worked tirelessly to champion environmental friendliness. By branding them hypocrites, is it yet another ploy to discredit all their efforts toward environmental activism, some which I may have left out here?
I live in a country that has clearly started to realize the importance of carbon emissions reduction. The late Professor Wangari Maathai, a social, environmental and political activist and the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize in 2004 was from my country. She founded the Green Belt Movement which is largely focused on Tree Planting and Water Harvesting, Climate Change, Mainstream Advocacy, Gender Livelihood and Advocacy. Prof. Wangari Maathai tirelessly and courageously fought for the preservation of forests including Karura Forest, within Nairobi, the capital city. She endured a lot of opposition as a result. Currently, when she has long been laid to rest, is when we are starting as a country, to see and appreciate the value of her efforts while still alive.
It would be such a shame for you British tabloids and media to be so blind to the importance of environmental activism, all for the unnecessary bullying of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Wokeness is indeed cool if it involves championing for causes that are likely to benefit not only the present but the future generations as well. A carbon neutral private jet that a small family chooses to use to fly to Nice in should not even be the main focus here.
2.On Duchess Meghan being the problem
The British tabloids and media seems to be hellbent on painting Duchess Meghan as the villain, the wrong influence in Prince Harry’s life. My questions are, for you to be married into the royal family, must you be English or British? Must you be from an aristocratic background? What exactly are the points in the list of requirements to be an appropriate candidate, likely to be considered for marriage by anyone in the British Royal Family? I ask these questions because all we have been seeing ever since Duchess Meghan joined the family is the many ways she is wrong for it. And if indeed she was such a wrong match and unfit to be Prince Harry’s wife, why then did the Queen have no qualms in accepting her? Why was the Queen present at her wedding? Why did the Queen agree to have tea with Duchess Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, an African-American woman who looks every bit of African descent?
I urge the British tabloids and media to do a lot of self-reflecting, if at all they are even capable of acknowledging the blatant racism they constantly treat Duchess Meghan, of mixed-race with. As an African from the African continent, I have found myself wondering countless times how someone in my position, African and living in Africa, would have been treated had she been the one to marry Prince Harry. If the Duchess of Sussex, a woman who can easily pass for white to many who may not be very keen on ethnic identification, can be treated in this callous way, what about one who has a darker chocolate shade and a head of kink?
I have read articles online suggesting that due to the so-called “PR Fails” often attributed to Duchess Meghan, the Queen has been considering sending the couple away on a lengthy stay in Africa. Their upcoming Southern Africa tour has been touted as one of the strategies to “silence” the two. May I remind the ones peddling these kinds of rumors that Africa is not a continent for “misfits”. And by trying to paint Duchess Meghan as a “misfit” you are in essence communicating to the rest of the world the little regard you have for others considered as minority groups or from developing countries. As a matter of fact, I believe should the Duke and Duchess consider relocating to Africa, they will be quite comfortable here as our tabloids and media focus more on politics and politician antics rather than on devising different ways to bully public figures.
As I conclude, I would like to remind the British tabloids and media again that the world has been watching and reading and will continue to do so. At the moment, we are really wondering when exactly you are going to tire of these shenanighans and focus on what you acquired in journalism school for better objective reportage. Duchess Meghan is not the problem and never was. You are the problem if you are finding it very difficult to accommodate diversity and a visionary mind. What you brand “wokeness” are important and necessary initiatives that are crucial in ensuring our continued existence on planet earth.