"Lost" in this context means I've been looking for this article since a few weeks after stashing it in the morass of the hard drive last year, and found it again just now while roaming through the hard drive looking for something else. Here, it will be safe.
How does Los Angeles compare to Africa?
Well, the climate is a lot like eastern Nigeria where I grew up—around the Abakaliki Basin. And even though Nigeria is a former British colony, architecturally it takes more from America. If you drive through a small town in America, it literally is like a small town in Nigeria, the way the power lines are overhead, and all that sort of stuff.
The other thing I love about Los Angeles is that it’s so much like Lagos, which used to be the capital of Nigeria. Lagos is a city that constantly seems threatened, as if it’s about to fall apart, and it’s sort of held together purely by a sort of collective will, as it were. Los Angeles is the same way. It’s beset by natural disasters all the time. There’s really no reason for its existence. It’s in the desert, they have to bring water in. And yet it constantly flourishes and grows. So it’s almost like being back home in different ways. So I love it here.
You’ve said you’ve noticed an interest in this subject recently.
Well, social anthropologists have been studying this phenomenon for years in much of Asia. There was a lot of sex tourism where men from Europe would go to the Philippines to have underage sex. And it was talked about almost in a jocular way and nothing was ever done.
But with the fall of the Soviet Union, the poverty of the Eastern Block has made it a European problem. The German government is so aware of its citizens going into, say, Prague to engage in illicit sex with minors that they have a law that allows them to prosecute even though the act [was not] committed on German soil.
And it has begun to crop up in the media quite a bit recently. There’s a movie starring Mira Sorvino, called “Human Trafficking,” which deals with this in the Eastern European context; and the movie “Lilja 4-ever,” which comes out of Sweden, also deals with the issue.
But that’s really what happens when a trauma becomes a Western trauma. As with much of the world’s problems, they become public--or much more of interest--the moment they begin to impact the West.