The United States is playing a role similar to Higgins in the George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion in which Higgins portrays a manipulative character with a hidden agenda towards Eliza Doolittle. Higgins uses Eliza Doolittle as a pawn in his bet against Colonel Pickering pertaining to linguistics and phonetics while in the process neglecting her and disregarding her eagerness for knowledge. This correlates with The U.S.’s current activity in Uganda. The U.S., like Higgins, has a hidden agenda.
Colonel Pickering decides to take up a bet with Henry Higgins regarding Eliza Doolittle. Higgins is a professor of phonetics, Pickering also has a reputation in phonetics, is very much like Higgins but more considerate. Eliza Doolittle is a poor working class young woman selling flowers on the streets of London.
Higgins, boasting his skills in phonetics, tells Pickering that he can pass Eliza as a duchess just by teaching her proper speech. As Eliza hears this it sparks an interest in her to become more. Later Pickering makes a wager; if Eliza is passed off as a duchess at a garden party, he will cover all of the costs of the teachings. The U.S. took action and sent a military presence to Uganda in what looked to be a move with humanitarian intentions. However, Uganda possesses billions of barrels of oil in reserve, a resource that is in very high demand, especially to the U.S. (Martin 2009) In this paper Eliza represents the Invisible children and Uganda.
While Higgins represents The United States government. In the play, Eliza is a very common girl in England trying to make something of herself selling flowers to get by. Her ambitions are to succeed as more than a common person and open a flower shop. According to the World Bank, almost 40% of Uganda’s population lives off of less than $1.25 a day, most of which is corrupt (T.I. 2012). Uganda’s dream to become a middle class country with industry was in sight with the discovery of oil in the district of Buliisa. (Kron, Josh 2011) In Pygmalion, Eliza is being schooled by Higgins in the ways of proper English for a Duchess. At the same time, Higgins has taken up a bet with Col.
Pickering that he will pass Eliza as a Duchess at the garden party. While their goals are the same, Eliza and Higgins motives for proper education in speech are very different. Uganda faces the same problem as Eliza, if the help that is offered is accepted, control is given up. If the help is denied, the current problem remains at large. Eliza and the country of Uganda chose to accept the help.
While Higgins is teaching Eliza, he is subconsciously gaining control over her, and at the same time dependant on her. Eliza believes that without Higgins she is nothing. She does not want to upset him because she thinks if she does he will stop teaching her and her dream of owning a flower shop will collapse. Uganda still wishes to hold on to its dreams of becoming a middle class nation with an industry of its own that can support the infrastructure (World Bank 2012). If Uganda denies help from the U.S. it must some how solve the problem of the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) on its own, which it has been unsuccessful in so far. Since they accepted the U.S.’s help, they have in a way been forced to submit to the hidden agenda of America. The same way Eliza became part of Higgins’ bet.
Higgins’ mother is the skeptical third party in the play. She sees what Higgins and Pickering are doing along with their goals and motives. She comes to the aid of Eliza and stays by her side for support. In the same way that the people of the world are looking on at the situation right now concerning Uganda. The third parties want the people they’re supporting to get help but at the same time are trying to avoid them being taken advantage of.
There is a theory that the U.S. has interest in Uganda and sent one hundred American forces to Uganda as repayment for the service of Uganda’s military action in Somalia. The United States has not had forces in Somalia since Operation Gothic Serpent, more commonly referred to as the Black Hawk Down incident. “The U.S. doesn’t have to fight al-Qaida-linked Shabab in Somalia, so we help Uganda take care of their domestic security problems, freeing them up to fight a more dangerous – or a more pressing, perhaps – issue in Somalia. I don’t know if we would necessarily say that but it’s surely a plausible theory,” said Matt Brown, a spokesman for the Enough Project, a U.S. group working to end genocide and crimes against humanity, especially in central Africa. (AP, Jason 2012).
Even if the “Repayment” theory is true, and the United States is assisting Uganda as repayment for their military action in Somalia, it can still be considered a form of control. The United States has a normal government, one that looks after itself before others, and has only gotten involved with other nations when it can prosper. This is understandable, but as a nation the size of the United States, it must conceal its acts behind a mask of humanitarian purposes.
The United States has a role of the world police. Mainly due to its extremely modern and large military and eagerness to step up to challenges. It has always tried to distance itself from other’s problems. Even when the whole rest of the world is at threat. The United States stayed out of world war one until the rest of the world was about to fall, world war two until the United States military was attacked, Iraq war only because of economic/political gains for the United States, event though the people responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001 were in other countries.
Higgins only agreed to help Eliza after Col. Pickering made a wager with Higgins, giving him a challenge. While Higgins taught Eliza he did not treat her as a student, woman, or even a human. As soon as he was tired or through with her, he was done for as long as he wanted, no regard for her wants or feelings.
After a while Eliza realized that she was not being treated properly and decided that she could do better without Higgins. In this scene Higgins asks Eliza to get his slippers, she does but she throws them and hit Higgins in the face. From there she threatens to leave and teach others what he has taught her for a fraction of the price.
The United States government is one of the most powerful in the world. Especially in terms of military. While they play puppet master with other countries, eventually someone will step up to the United States. They only seek democracy but others around the world may not see it that way and eventually, one will retaliate in violence.
AP, Jason. “Analysis: Why Obama Sends U.S. Troops To Africa.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 15 Oct. 2011. Web. 03 May 2012. .
Martin. “Uganda: Massive Oil Well Tested in Bulisa.” Http://allafrica.com/stories/200903060207.html. The News Television, 5 Mar. 2009. Web. 2 May 2012.
Kron, Josh. “Uganda’s Oil Could Be Gift That Becomes a Curse.” Nytimes.com. 25 Nov. 2011. Web. 5 May 2012. .
“Uganda.” Uganda -. World Bank. Web. 03 May 2012. .
“Bribe Payers Index.” Corruption Perceptions Index: Transparency International. Transparency International. Web. 03 May 2012. .