(A Reply to one Robert Cooper)
© Femi Akomolafe
“The people of the Third World are derided because they can't feed themselves. The people of the industrialized countries have a far worse kind of hunger which they can't stay with their technological achievements: the hunger for love, security and community.” - Mother Theresa.
Read this: “The challenge of the postmodern world is to get used to the idea of double standards…” Among ourselves, we operate on the basis of laws and open cooperative security. But when dealing with more old-fashioned kinds of states outside the postmodern continent of Europe, we need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era -- force, preemptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those who still live in the nineteenth century world of every state for itself. Among ourselves, we keep the law but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle… “[T]he opportunities, perhaps even the need for colonization is as great as it ever was in the nineteenth century…What is needed then is a new kind of imperialism, one acceptable to a world of human rights and cosmopolitan values.” Robert Cooper, “The Post-Modern State,” essay in Reordering the World: the Long-term Implications of September 11, Foreign Policy Centre (London), 2002. Quoted in Gregory Elich's brilliant article 'Zimbabwe under siege,' published by Swans.com
And who the heck is Robert Cooper? He's the foreign affairs advisor to ex British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Remember Blair the liar?
That some racist ideologues are talking about re-colonising Africa is no surprise to Femi; the surprise here is that some serious Africans are taking them seriously. From whichever way we throw it around, the physical colonization of Africa a la 1884 is an impossible task. And my plea here is that we Africans should engage our intellects in better enterprise, rather than continue to speculate on the sophomoric ejaculations of some racist dreamers.
Of course, Europe, lacking any meaningful natural resources, and still unwilling to engage those that have them in mutually beneficial honorable commerce, will continue to produce mis-adventurists like Mark, the son of Margaret Thatcher, sponsoring coups here and there.
But the very idea that Africa will ever again be re-colonised is simply laughable and we can safely dismiss it. I simply cannot conceive a new Riebeeck leaving Holland today to go and grab land in South Africa; or a Glover cutting a swathe in colonizing Nigeria; or another Cecil Rhodes massacring Africans in Monopotama in order to steal their land!
No way, sir! I am more inclined to agree with Professor Ngugi wa Thiong'o that we should rather engage in the battle to decolonize our minds; which I believe is the most urgent battle awaiting our attention.
With what is Europe going to re-colonise us? Is it with the band of badly-educated, badly-informed, uncultured, uncouth weirdoes with mutilated bodies and with their heads and minds filled with every chemical known to chemistry, that one see on the streets of Europe today?
Of course, they can also try and throw their 'precision bombs' here and there. But then bombing is not occupation or colonization, as the Iraqi and Afghan resistances are gallantly proving! Or perhaps, the oxymoronic outfits they call intelligence agencies have gathered another 'solid evidence' that showed that some Africans are waiting with garlands of flowers to welcome new colonizers. Give me a break!
The Yorubas have a saying: “Ti a ba ma je opolo, ki a kuko je eyi to leyin.” It means that: If we have to eat toad, we should try, at least, to eat one that has eggs. If (God forbid) Africa have to be colonized again we should, at least, be colonize by a more decent specimen of the human race, and not by the miscreants and the riff-raffs and the homophobes that only Europe is capable of siring!
No one, especially not a European, is ever going to colonize me. And this is true for every African I know, aside from a few sad cases who have been conquered by materialism and consumed by pessimism.
It makes me wonder sometimes what Europeans really think of themselves. Our forebears could be pardoned for not understanding Europeans – having not been to Europe. But very few Africans I know who live in Europe today are impressed with Europe or with anything European.
This reminds me of another Yoruba saying: “Eni ti a nwo ni awo sokun, ti o nwo ara e lawo rerin.” “Someone that we look upon with utter contempt, who continues to look at himself with admiration.” Of course, Europeans, like the perpetual little children they are will continue to sing and dance to their make-up lullabies. They were there dreaming that the Asians were waiting for a Caucasians Messiah until the Asians met, overtook and passed them by. They can keep on dreaming until we Africans also overtake them, which is only a matter of time.
Europe no longer holds any appeal to anyone. And, as one of our prophets, Frantz Fanon, warned: “Come, then, comrades, the European game has finally ended; we must find something different. We today can do everything, so long as we do not imitate Europe, so long as we are not obsessed by the desire to catch up with Europe. Europe now lives as such a mad, reckless pace that she has shaken off all guidance and all reason, and she is running headlong into the abyss; we would do well to avoid it with all possible speed.
Yet it is very true that we need a model, and that we want blueprints and examples. For many among us the European model is the most inspiring. We have therefore seen in the preceding pages to what mortifying setbacks such an imitation has led us. European achievements, European techniques, and the European style ought no longer to tempt us and to throw us off our balance. When I search for the Man in the technique and the style of Europe, I see only a succession of negations of man, and the avalanche of murders.”
What the racists dreaming about the re-colonisation of Africa failed to configure into their inebriated analyses is that the world's geopolitical dynamics have changed dramatically in Europe's disfavor.
Sadly for these mindless Euro-Jingoists, and happily for the rest of us, Europe no longer rules the waves, if it is ruling anything at all! And it never will again. It was the perceptive Satre who once said that “Europe once made history; today history is being made of it!”
The era of Euro-domination is finally and happily forever over. The technological, financial and industrial power centers have shifted away from Europe, and it sure is not going to return anytime soon. In but few years Europe would become totally irrelevant. Those drunks dreaming about re-colonisation should be advice to leave the bottles alone awhile and start to smell something else.
I often tell whoever will listen that were I a European, I will be more worried about my future than an African. Why? Simply, because Africa has no way to go but up! As more and more African nations continue to solve their political problems, they will have more time to develop their abundant natural resources for the benefit of their own people, instead of the current situations where European middle-men are stealing them!
What those arrogant European racists blissfully forget is that Europe remains the only continent (if we can even call it that) that cannot survive on its own!
Take the case of Ghana and Nigeria, two countries I know rather well. Given energetic leaders with vision, and who are prepared to invest some trust in their own people, these countries can develop economically in very short time. From Tarkwa in the South-west to Wa in the North-West, Ghana is literally and figuratively dripping with gold. And the enormously blessed land of Nkrumah had just discovered commercial quantity oil.
Nigeria's corrupt elite are still too busy making easy money from petroleum to have time to develop the other vast resources abounding in the country, including gold in this writer's grand-maternal hometown of Ijero-Ekiti.
Luckily for Ghana, she's managing her politics rather well, and it is only a matter of time before her leaders stop groveling at the altar of Western capitals and starts to energise Ghanaians to wake up and start building their country.
Europeans for years stole African resources at thieving prices by claiming that they were 'adding values' to them. They could do it because they had virtual monopoly on the sciences and the technologies needed to process our mineral resources.
Luckily for us, this is no longer the case. Any African with a brain would do well to equip herself sufficiently to face the bright morrow which will surely emerge. The Asians are so far ahead of the Europeans in technology so much that the French are studying how they did it. Already many Africans are participating at the highest levels of mathematics, sciences and technologies. So, what exactly are these racist dreamers talking about?
European mythorians (ideologues masquerading as scholars) would want us to believe that the colonization was a humanitarian enterprise undertaken by God-fearing Europeans to save Africans from themselves. We were told that colonialism brought forth such nice things like education (as though the first universities in the world were not to be found in Africa). They claimed that they brought us Christianity, as though the superstitious fables of their Bible were in any way superior to the Yorubas' Ifa religion.
It bothers me greatly that the same people that brought forth such fallacious arguments are not, in any way, prepared to accept that the Nazi occupation of their lands was also beneficial to them! Can't we argue, with the same twisted logic, that the Nazis built better autobahns and rail systems in the lands they occupied!
Another lie we are being told is that colonialism was a walk-over, with the colonialists doing all the killings, while the ever passive Africans were doing all the dying and the surrendering.
This, of course, is arrant bunkum. Given the internal strives Africa was facing at the time the Europeans invaded, history recorded that our forebears fought brilliantly and gallantly in the face of the overwhelming arms deployed against them. The re-colonisation dreamers can read up on the Ashanti, the Khoikoi, the Ethiopian, the Sudanese, the Yoruba and the Dahomenians valiant resistance – if they can get away from the bottle, that is.
Another powerful argument against the idea of re-colonisation is that, sadly for humankind, the world is saturated with arms. No one would ever be able to boast again that: “whatever happens, we have got the maxim guns.”
Europeans no longer have monopoly on weapon technologies. Gun-smiths in the Volta Region of Ghana and the Eastern parts of Nigeria can very easily make exact copies of virtually any kind of weapon. Given the raw talents this writer saw in both places, both Nigeria and Ghana can very easily build vibrant arms industry.
Whichever way we squeeze it, the fact remains that Africa is the only continent where European colonizers were forced to regurgitate every inch of stolen land! Since these continent-stealers never meant well, this was no mean achievement, and we Africans have a right to pat ourselves on the back, even as we mourn with the Maoris, the aboriginals of Australia and the various tribes of what is now the Americas and Canada!
Should we not ask what exactly is wrong with the European high-culture that made Europeans incapable of thinking of relationships with other cultures except in terms of violence, conquest and domination?
Why can they simply not see and admire people, places and things without thinking of conquering and dominating them? After contaminating and polluting much of the earth, they are now gung-ho about taking their mess to other planets.
As Bob Marley succinctly put it: “… they are sailing on their ego trips, blast off in their space ship, millions of miles from reality…” Of course, they will claim that their crass make-money mentality is all done in the name of science - A science without a conscience!
One is sorely tempted to ask these ideologues what Europe they are actually talking about when they talk of a 'rich Europe?' How many ordinary Europeans truthfully feel rich and wealthy? Certainly not the overstretched bloke living in tiny roaches and mice infested council flats, who is daily juggling three or four jobs, in order just to make ends meets, and whose only joy in life is found in bottles of liquor and tobacco and other brain-enhancers?
It appears those redundant talking-heads forever babbling about helping Africa have never heard the injunction: “physician heal thyself!” The way and manner these folks are going about thing, one would imagine a paradisiacal Europe that has managed to solve all her developmental challenges.
A keen chronicler has listed the following among what is ailing the so-called advanced countries: “… An imperiled ecology, irremediable pollution of atmosphere and oceans. A deepening suspicion of authority, distrust of established institutions, breakdown of family ties, decline of community, erosion of religious commitment, contempt for law, disregard for tradition, ethical and moral confusion, cultural ignorance, artistic chaos, and aesthetic uncertainty. Deteriorating cities, megalopolitan sprawls, stifling ghettoes, overcrowding, traffic congestion, untreated sewage, smog and soot, budget insolvency, inadequate schools, mounting illiteracy, declining university standards, dehumanizing welfare systems, police brutality, overcrowded hospitals, clogged court calendars, inhuman prisons, racial injustice, sex discrimination, poverty, crime and vandalism, and fear. The growth of loneliness, powerlessness, insecurity, anxiety, anomie, boredom, bewilderment, alienation, rudeness, suicide, mental illness, alcoholism, drug usage, divorce, violence, and sexual dysfunction.” - KirkPatrick Sale, quoted in 'The Death of Industrial Civilization', by Joel Jay Kassiola, State University of New York Press, pp.5-6.
It is not of a question of if but when Europe would have lost it. China and India have already become more important power than ANY European country.
As the global power paradigm shift inexorably away from Europe, the central question thus becomes: Who needs Europe with all her reckless bigotry, violence, virulent racism, cynicism, unbridled greediness, selfishness, rampant arrogance, immodesty and wanton decadence?
When the baton is finally and irrevocably pass from Europe, perhaps the rest of mankind can finally leave Europe, with all her negative baggage, behind and march to build new relationship of mankind based on mutual love, respect, peace, fraternity and solidarity.
PS: This article was written long before the collapse of the Capitalist system.
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