This is almost prophetic

Lecky writing many years ago opined that

A state of great internal disquietude is often a temptation to war, not because it leads to it directly, but because rulers find a foreign war the best means of turning dangerous and disturbing energies into new channels, and at the same time of strengthening the military and authoritative elements in the community. 

And this is almost true to a T in the US presently. It is like they have all but forgotten about Russiagate, Ivanka, Kushner, Gorsuch? and their orange president. 

And while we are at it. The president has banned Syrians from going to the US but he can bomb it. And while bombing Syria he behaves like the god of the old testament, destroy whatever you can, kill whoever you want except the one responsible. Isn’t the act of the US government an act of war? 

Apologists of the empire

Sam Akaki writes in a Guardian article thus

Britain may have “buried a large part of its 20th century history, along with the rest of the country’s tradition of brutality and crimes against humanity in building its empire” (Building Brexit on the myth of empire, 7 March). But, to give the devil his due, it is an incontrovertible fact that Britain left positive legacies of social and economic development in the empire. In Africa, for example, the British transformed a borderless continent inhabited by warring tribes and clans, ravaged by disease, into modern nation states. They built hospitals, schools, elaborate networks of roads, railway lines, air and sea ports. Crucially, they introduced the rule of law, which protected all Africans irrespective of their tribe, clan or religion.

Tragically, the baby was thrown out with the bath water at independence, ushering in a vicious cycle of self-destructive civil wars across the continent, as demonstrated by the current violence in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. At the same time, despotic leaders are amending their constitutions and clinging to power for the sole purpose of stealing development funds. The result is a widespread lack of opportunities, which is forcing hundreds of thousands of African men, women and children to take risky journeys in search of a better life in Europe. In 2015 and 2016, an estimated 10,000 African migrants perished in the Mediterranean.

Ironically, it is Britain which is funding several NGOs that are performing the role of governments in providing basic education, health services and clean water. It is also feeding millions of refugees in internally displaced persons’ camps across the continent.

He, without shame, wants his readers to believe the British in building the Kenya- Uganda railway were concerned with improving our infrastructure for benevolent ends and not to exploit the hinterland. 

He tells us Africa was borderless and warring without presenting any shred of evidence. It should be remembered, especially for those who are ignorant, Africa before colonialism had nation states. They had their boundaries they had their system of governance and they definitely were guided by rule of law. Had they been a lawless horde, they would possibly have been all dead. Besides, in many places, for example in kenya, the boundaries many places have were extant before the colonialists and we’re adopted and have retained their names. I know Akaki doesn’t know this and that explains why he is an apologist for the colonial administration. 

Again, to demonstrate his ignorance further, he points to the Sudan which has been mired in civil war partly because of the actions of the colonial administration that forced the north and south into a marriage where the south is the abused partner that keeps on giving. It is ignorance that is only possible in the mind of a present day African fed on silly TV sitcoms and who does not bother to engage with the history of the continent. 

Lastly in giving the devil his due he tells us about NGOs in Africa. He forgets to mention the history of colonialism that forced almost all the able bodied African men and women to look for work in the settler farms and business to pay a tax regime that served only to impoverish Africa. He conveniently does not mention that most of the whites sent by the colonial administration as administrators were idiots and had failed back home. What were they to teach Africans in governance? 

African states have their own failings. That I must admit. But for an African to start lecturing us on how the British and other powers in Europe helped us is unbecoming of an intellectual. 

One must address issues of imbalance in trade agreements, puppet presidents, SAPs and their effects on the civil service in African countries and other emerging economies of the South. Finally one must address the plunder of resources from Africa that continues to date. The destruction of local ecology to feed Europe. An example in point is introduction of Nile perch in Lake Victoria mainly for export to Europe that has in about 40 years killed almost 400 indigenous species that were only found in the lake.

Akaki,  please give us a break and learn a bit of history. 

How Africa developed Europe

The end of colonialism in Africa only freed the continent politically. The international economic and political system after the Second World War, in the name of liberalism and free trade, pulled together all unequal countries (in terms of development in mode of production) to compete against each other in the open market. This in turn helped the continuation of the exploitative structures whose foundations were laid in Africa in the precolonial and colonial phases. Owing to a lack of access to technology, capital and skilled human resources, which colonialism stunted in Africa, the continent was not able to break out of the role of primary goods producer and supplier to the international market. The attempt at import substitution industrialisation (ISI) also failed and created more debt burden for African countries. Since colonialism never allowed the development of a strong bourgeoisie class in Africa, the state had to play a dominant role in the economy, and parastatals (public sector undertakings) became a common phenomenon in many states after independence (Ake, 1981, page 92). Developed countries, insisting on linear model of development based on modernisation theory, prescribed that African countries should open up their economies after independence to continue the trade relations

I think any discussion about Africa that does not look into the effect of colonization and the unfair trade agreements do not do justice to the problem.

I,too

Is a poem by Langston Hughes. He writes

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.
So while I am an African, and maybe proudly so, that poem is relevant in the discussion we are about to have. Africa interests me in many ways than one. In an earlier post, I did ask if an African philosophy exist? Today I want us to revisit the topic by addressing a different question, the challenge to African philosophy. As Hughes says in his poem, I want to say with him that tomorrow, Africa will be part of humanity and history and that her philosophy will be worthy of study.
In the Journal of African Studies Vol 1, Taiwo argues that Africa’s philosophy is haunted by the ghost of Hegel. This ghost is to be found in his, Hegel’s, seminal work, the Philosophy of History in which he claimed to treat the philosophy of the world.
Hegel’s work begins thus
The subject of this course of Lectures is the Philosophical History of the World. And by this must be understood, not a collection of general observations respecting it, suggested by the study of its records, and proposed to be illustrated by its facts, but Universal History itself.
And one might think with such a bold introduction, the world does not mean northern Europe alone but the everywhere he human spirit is to be found. This however is not the case with Hegel. To Hegel, Europe is absolutely the end of History.
According to Hegel, we are told
Africa must be divided into three parts: one is that which lies south of the desert of Sahara–Africa proper–the Upland almost entirely unknown to us, with narrow coast-tracts along the sea; the second is that to the north of the desert–European Africa (if we may so call it)–a coastland; the third is the river region of the Nile, the only valley-land of Africa, and which is in connection with Asia
And I think it is this view of Hegel that has lived on to present day, where pundits talk of Sub Saharan Africa. In Taiwo’s view, Hegel does this to make Africa safe for History. Since Egypt is no longer in Africa but the middle East, it can now be considered as making part of history. While placing Egypt in Middle East, North Africa is in Europe!
If Hegel is to be believed, the Negro
“exhibits the natural man in his completely wild and untamed state and has no knowledge of an absolute Being, an Other and a Higher than his individual Self.
One wonders then why others writing about Africa argue that it is littered with gods. That the Yoruba have a pantheon of 400 plus 1 gods if he, the Negro, has no knowledge of anything above his individual self. One wonders if this lack of knowledge is what led the colonialists to argue the African had no religion.
Taiwo concludes his piece thus
Until it is taken for granted that Africa is part of History, that the study of anything cannot be complete unless it encompasses this significant part of the world, no amount of iteration of what Africans have done will move the victims of Hegel’s ghost. Until they get rid of the voice of the Hegelian ghost whispering in their inner ear that Africa is not worth it, that Africa has nothing worthwhile to offer, they will continue to botch the challenge that Africa poses to philosophy.
Africa interests me also in its paradoxes; so rich yet so poor. Take DRC for example. It is a mineral rich country yet so poor in terms of human development, infrastructure, is insecure and has leadership challenges or Kenya for example where the ruling class are thieves and the ruled are idiots, following the thieving class blindly without question.
The second question then is what must Africans do to change their situation? My first answer is education. And no, I am not saying we are not educated, that isn’t it. Our education has failed to produce engaged citizens, thinkers and revolutionaries. It has failed to produce a people that demand accountability of their leaders. It is an Africa where the wife of a 90 year old president can proudly say the country will, if it comes to that point, be led by her dead husband. It is a shame.
The second solution, is that Africa must become less religious and more skeptical. The idea that whenever calamity strikes, everyone from the president to the poor fellow in the village hopes some god will do something must change. We must begin to question what is it in our system of doing things makes us so vulnerable. We must ask why our leaders, our research and development institutions are not coming up with solutions to some of these problems. Drought should not mean we start starving. Why are we not investing enough in foodstuff. We have a storm and floods everywhere in our cities. Why have not improved the drainage systems and so on.
On the economic front, Africa must demand fair trade agreements with her bilateral partners. Trade between African countries must go up and finally, value addition. Africa must manufacture. It must industrialize. It cannot produce cocoa and import chocolate from whatever or produce coffee beans and import processed coffee at double or three times the cost. That must change. This is the Africa I want.
Lastly, I dream of an Africa where Africans will emigrate not because of conflict but because they can afford to live elsewhere. They will not be looking for work or security but maybe for bad weather, you know like cold climes or tornadoes and such.
A man can dream.

Leadership for the Africa we want

I found this interesting. You can have it play in the background while you cook your breakfast. It saddens that most of the suggestions offered here are not acted upon. A time should come and it better be soon when Africans will demand accountability from their leaders. And I hope that while that is happening, we shall demand visa free travel among African nations, and much more cross border trade that it currently is.