It is hard to avoid seeing the female anatomical metaphor in the AFRICOM logo. And right in the middle is Target Africa. When I thought about it in the phallic context of US military hardware, and the rapacious interest in African oil and resources, the opening lines of a song from the Heptones kept running through my head:

I hold the handle baby, you hold the blade
Don’t try to fight me baby or you’ll need first aid”

The Heptones sang in sweet sweet harmonies and rhythms that could easily deceive the listener into thinking this was a love song. Just listening makes you start to wind. But the lyrics were brutal, with the threat of violence and forced acquiesence. If you don’t go along you’ll get hurt. (The Heptones also sang it as I’ve got the handle on 20 Golden Hits or Nightfood, both still available, and sweet listening. There is no Heptones version on Youtube as yet.)

The AFRICOM logo implies the same message. AFRICOM holds the handle, Africa, the blade. The Pentagon tries to pour sweet deceiving syrup over its message:

According to the Pentagon, AFRICOM has been created in recognition of Africa’s global importance and is intended to allow the United States to bolster African security, enhance strategic cooperation, build partnerships, and support humanitarian missions.

History repeats itself, the true message is brutal:
. . . the military bias will, as in the past, contribute to human rights abuses and ongoing conflict rather than promoting security based on African needs.

In the 1980s Reagan and Brezhnev saw Africa as a place where they might play their cold war power games with little or no risk, resulting in arms races and proxy wars. Their rivalries displaced millions of Africans, resulting in burned homes, sadistic punishments, including dismemberment, and mass murder. The results of those policies continue to the present. Increased militarization is the problem, not the answer.

Whoever created the logo must have realized what it looks like. I’ve played around a bit with art and design, and I don’t think it is possible to do that and miss the connection. A casual observer might miss it, but I don’t think it is possible for the artist to miss the implications. Whether subliminal or conscious, like b real said – it speaks volumes about their intentions.

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