Friday, 4 April 2008

THE AGONY OF AFRICA...




To redeem the past and to transform every ‘it was’ into an ‘I
wanted it thus!’ - that alone I call redemption!
Nietzsche, Zarathustra


Africa’s agony is far from over!

And while it is hardly an extreme position for an African statesman - such as Mugabe - to take, that it is legitimate for Africa to preserve her identity as a black continent, I am, personally, deeply disturbed by this development. And not least because it indicates a catastrophic discontinuity in what was clearly a subversion of a natural Darwinian law:

That of successive historical evolution!

It is, I believe, a mistake to say that Englishmen had a contemptuous attitude to the proprieties of global colonization. If global colonization was an Anglo-Saxon idea which might appear sinister to post-colonial minds, it was also part of the cut-and-thrust of historical evolution. And within the limits imposed by mans inhumanity to man the British Empire was well enough executed in welding over five-hundred million disparate peoples into something like a commonwealth of nations. It meant as much to have extended the frontiers of western genius, than those, indeed, of its empires. In fact, it is the peculiar distinction of England to have bequeathed a constitutional ethic which, today, covers almost the entire globe.

Moral hindsight, by contrast, is the cheapest intellectual function available to posterity.

This may seem curiously heretical, but it is worth remarking that the result of the vastly premature emancipation of sub-Saharan Africa resulted in economic disaster and human tragedy on a colossal scale. The abolition of slavery in 1834 was perhaps the greatest civilizing culmination in human history. But the sudden colonial independence movement that had its inception some six decades ago, has in fact destroyed Africa’s commercial agriculture and turned a continent which should export food to the entire world into a basket case whose main export are destitute political immigrants.

This reversal is unique in human history!

It is also based on a moral misapprehension. Upon a distortion of the terms nations use in their Declarations of Independence. Moreover, I also find that, if not legally invalid, it is in fact illegal under the Articles of International Law, that it should be more important for justice to be seen to be done than to be in any sense effective. For that is not just bad or wrong - it is deceitfully, historically disastrous. It would be an omission to describe it as anything else. In a matter of decades, three-hundred years of European settlement in Africa came to an end as tens of thousands of settlers abandoned their holdings. The Empire was closed down, on the politically correct grounds that it was considered ‘predatory’ or worse, an ‘anachronism‘. The most presumptuous part of this exercise was the presentation of Africans themselves in the role of builders and reformers, the legislators and indigenous organiser, who perceived in their freedom not just the salvation of Africa and the black race, but the basis for a great new confederate Pan-African dispensation.

I, too, admire freedom and I believe in equity. And that the most abhorrent and devastatingly exploitative of all European acts of aggression were perpetrated against Africans, I would not even attempt to deny. But what is truly abhorrent and devastating about this freedom, is that African history not only ground to a halt but started juddering backwards. The once impressive communications infrastructure left behind by the European colonisers has been allowed to fall into almost total disrepair. It is virtually impossible to believe that Western politicians ever tolerated, much less condoned such a reversal. Instead of redeeming their empires, by creating a true commonwealth of independent nations, these spineless rascals rendered tens of millions of people dependent upon UN handhouts, and - in an irony not to be surpassed - had the temerity to apologised for past injuries, while adding insult to new-fangled ones.

We no longer have an industry to talk about,” said Callisto Jokonya, the head of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries. “We have de-industrialised ourselves." The enormous problem of self-determination remained only partly answered with the eviction of the white man. It was too early, at least by fifty or a hundred years, even to talk of setting up purely native states as part of the process of political emancipation. It simply led to massacre, loss of freedom and greater tyrannies than those that preceded them. Fraud was rampant. Political office an invitation to plunder! Once the most affluent country in Africa, Zimbabwe now has the world's lowest life expectancy's. Leprosy and malaria are back and flourishing, along with the new kid on the block, Aids. The streets with their Mandela statues and fading colonial mansions are being reclaimed by vegetation. Once-fertile fields now lie scorched or weed-ridden. Steam trains are being re-commissioned, and ambulances are being pulled by donkeys.

Some African countries were so far from being qualified , in fact, to govern themselves, that any such efforts did little to alter the fundamentally tribal character of the hunter-gatherer communities. The conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is hugely rich in mineral resources, to this very day still exacts a monthly tally of some 45,000 lives. Indeed, we can argue about numbers, but it remains indisputable nevertheless that the murderous number of contemporary deaths in Africa is by far surpassing the levels of colonial casualties under Imperial stewardship. It may seem lacking in a sense of discretion to mention these two projects in the same breath, and yet it is amply justified, because in terms of self-inflicted African casualties there simply is no comparison.

With roadblocks made of skulls and human intestines, Africa’s physical degradation is complete. The philanthropic view of the African as a converted native is metaphorically striking, but untruthful. His belligerent tribal nature seems hard-wired, unchanged and unchangeable. Survival requires exceptional cunning, shrewdness, and a complete lack of moral scruples. Above all her catharsis is incomplete. Part of her destiny ended up in the hands of infant soldiers who became notorious for murder, rape and hacking off limbs. What’s more, a million children are dying from malnutrition. Truth to tell, children are fighting children in guerrilla wars that are entering the third decade. Rwanda’s genocide, at its peak claimed 8,000 lives a day, a rate faster than the Holocaust. Governmental forces invariably are either incompetent or implicated in the very casualties that are compounding the sectarian conflicts. And so the genocide grinds on, with no chance of victory.

But if victory is impossible and peace unimaginable, where can Africa go?

Far from having given leave to Africa, The Empire, today, stands at the receiving end of the intercontinental migration from poor to rich countries that is comparable in scale only to the great resettlement of the classical past. As the Romans themselves found out, democratic engagement with the world became an inescapable cause of their own demise. Roman identity had always been plagued by a sense of her own adulteration, and if the Babel of foreign languages in her public places, was bound to cause demographic apprehension as well as considerable cosmopolitan pride - then, Europe today, must assume the same swagger at her peril.

Dreamy

5 comments:

Semaj Mahgih said...

There is a concerted campaign to destabilize Africa under the guise of helping it - the Kissinger Syndrome.

So its troubles have barely begun.

mutleythedog said...

Yor writing has gone really teeney... is this a serious post and where were the photos of naked natives dancing ?

Selena Dreamy said...

There is another campaign, Semaj, conducted by celebrities and private organisations, to trivialise the problem, reducing it to a question of aid...

Well, let's face it, being short in the leg and long in the body Bob Geldorf looks best on a donkey!

Selena Dreamy said...

... the natives are no longer dancing, Mutley. They are being starved, beaten, burned, raped, shot, stabbed, speared, massacred, humiliated, and tortured to death at a rate of some 50,000 a month - thanks to Labour and the moral collapse of the Empire!

It’s a bit like Britain’s inner city ghettos where the survivors today congregate (and where vodoo is now recognized as the State religion) - but more of that in my next post!

Crushed said...

I agree with some aspects of your post.

I agree that decolonisition happened, because we ran out of money.
It's cheaper to give a little bit of overseas aid, than actual continuing developing a crown colony.

But of course, western business still controls the resources.
So the hidden Empire continues.

And western business interests odften dictate which dictators rule.

So Western capitalism still extracts the wealth, but no longer pays to support the people.