What does Africa owe You?

As often, this entry started as a comment on one of my own entry, specifically addressing Mark’s comment… Then I realized it may as well become its own entry. Consider this the heady and serious counterpart that had to follow last week’s joke…

Mark,

Where do I begin…

No, I do not think poverty exists in African countries just because they need to be freed from their despots and embrace the market.

All these despots, like about every other plague that’s befallen Africa over the past few centuries can be, without a hint of exaggeration, directly traced to one western nation or another. Sure, there are lots of Africans killing and oppressing other Africans. There are bad people in Africa, like anywhere else. But the people manipulating these dictators and benefitting ultimately from the insane amount of corruption and plundering that is underway: they are most definitely not Africans.

Africa is not “dependent”: it currently provides most of the oil that’s running your SUV, my friend. Can you tell me what it gets in return? Beside funding and weapons to whatever warlord agrees to give the best protection for Oil companies, that is.

Entire African countries are currently run, without any pretense at hiding it, by US and European corporations. Countries lucky enough to be devoid of valuable resources (or whose wealth was exhausted in the previous decades) usually have to deal with impossibly stupid artificial borders that make tribal wars a given.

Believe me, it would be a while before whatever money the IMF “invests” in African countries comes any close to even-out what is simultaneously being pumped out of the continent straight into the hands of private corporate interests. And talking about these investments, I hope you do realize that we aren’t even talking about “financial help” here: the debt some of these countries have, was loaned at such rates that the mere interests sometimes overcome their GNP, making it practically impossible to pay back. That is, unless they’d do something like repossess national resources and re-negotiate actual trade agreements that do not just give it away to foreign companies… And I’ll let you count how many government have survived to tell their successful tale of taking on such enterprise (cf. South America).

So in the end, I’ll tell you why that half of the world slowly dying from its excess of fat and junk food, ought to do something for the other half:

Not just out of simple human decency, not just because of that Book they love to flaunt whenever it’s time to burn or stone a sinner but conveniently forget when it comes to the part about human life over material possessions and such other Nazarethian hippy nonsense, not just because even the most raging capitalist ought to realize that there is a problem in a system where people die daily for lack of 5 c. worth of food, while others accumulate more wealth than they could possibly spend in a lifetime…

Nope, there is one simple reason you may want to avoid letting the whole continent slowly sink into perpetual famine and epidemics: because at one point, some of them will stop killing each other long enough to get together out of desperation and kick whatever foreign interest is implanted on their soil and reclaim stuff that probably should be theirs in the first place. And that, usually, doesn’t do any good to countries whose comfortable lifestyle depends on cheap, easy, access to said resources.

Additionally, you may want to keep in mind what country in the world currently holds the biggest foreign debt of all countries. A debt so ridiculously big, that there’s little hope it will ever be paid back as it is, not to mention this country’s reliance on external resources that is simultaneously inflating. Yep, I think now would be a good time to start making a case in favour of panhandler countries who need the rest of the world to give them a push and a new start. You just don’t know who it may be, fifty years from now.

And by the way, regarding my original entry:

My point wasn’t to infer in any way that industrialized countries shouldn’t do something about this situation. I think this is clear by now.

I am just one of these people who absolutely loath any form of entertainment that dares using charity to cloak itself into something it is not. If you want to help a cause, fucking help that cause: give money… volunteer… VOTE, for fuck sake.

But bobbing your head to a pop concert, marketing your flailing pop-star career to MTV or sipping champagne while smacking lips with other botoxed city socialites at a charity dinner: this is NOT humanitarian work. It’s just the same old selfish fun, with a cheap attempt at buying a conscience.

18 comments

  1. Mostly why I didn’t watch it (sans two clips on the Internet because I knew a guy playing drums for Jars of Clay). I went to Live 8’s website trying to figure out what the fuck the whole event was supposed to be about… I didn’t get one damn piece of good information. But you’re right. In the end, it’s not humanitarian work…. Honestly, it seemed to me to be more like exploiting a very serious issue to market the music industry.

  2. what does africa owe western nations from whom it has borrowed billions? Nothing. if europe doesnt have to pay the U.S. back for WWI, africa shouldnt have to pay the rest of the world back for developing its economy. ;P

    you’re so right about the live8 concert. i admire the effort and i agree that we should spread awareness. but goodness, imagine the amount of money we couldve raised for NGOs and UN organizations like UNICEF. ;\

  3. Nope, there is one simple reason you may want to avoid letting the whole continent slowly sink into perpetual famine and epidemics: because at one point, some of them will stop killing each other long enough to get together out of desperation and kick whatever foreign interest is implanted on their soil and reclaim stuff that probably should be theirs in the first place. And that, usually, doesn’t do any good to countries whose comfortable lifestyle depends on cheap, easy, access to said resources.

    So as long as we keep pumping “aid” money into Africa so that Africans don’t ever get desperate enough to do something about their oppression, we’ll be able to continue our symbiotic relationships with the murderous dictators of their countries and get their natural resources on the cheap? That sounds logically correct to me, but I don’t think it’s morally right. I have the same problem with Saudi Arabia, where we prop up the terrorists and despots who oppress those people, all in the name of cheap oil. I don’t think it’s morally right to support the oppression of people so you can get their country’s natural resources cheaply. The money that we donate and pretend is helping them is merely being used to keep them complacent. It may help them stay alive, but it also keeps them enslaved. No one has the balls or the moral fortitude to help free them, so we perpetuate their oppression and once in a while we feel bad, and send some food over.

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  5. Good post but read this.
    Because of having those ruling dictators, the african has a bad feel:
    “There is no need to fight” cause even his brothers, the others victims
    of the system don’t want to commit in changing the unfair rules.
    Do you know that in Libreville the Mayor is racketting the businessmen
    holding the groceries because they are from senegal, mali and others?
    The businessmen themselves prefer to negotiate instead of claiming to
    the court.!!!

  6. I agree that real charity is not about a tax write-off, but vote instead? Voting shows faith in the general way that things are being done; not voting shows that you think we need a completely new way of doing things.

  7. IT IS TRAGIC TO EVEN THINK WEALTHY CAN BENEFIT FROM POOR AFRICAN NATIONS, THIS IS HOW THEY MANUPULATE AFRICAN LEADERS ENCOURAGE THEM TO MAKE WRONG DECISIONS BY EMPOSING FINACIAL BURDENS ON THEIR COUNTRIES. NEXT TIME EU SHOULD REVISE BETTER IDEAS OF ELAVATING AFRICA OUT OF DEBT.

  8. African leaders have remained essentially the same as even before the arrival of Europeans. I will list some of the traits that I have seen manifest in African leaders repeatedly in the past and also the reason why I think it remains the same today.

    African Leaders :
    1. Rule their nations the same way as tribal chiefs who obtained their positions through dominion and cunning.
    2. See their subjects as their personal tribal possessions eg. Mubage said “So Blair, keep your England and let me keep my Zimbabwe” to the applause of his African colleagues.
    3. See their countries resources as belonging to themselves alone as a tribal chief
    4. Are extremely covetous to possess everything which benefits themselves alone, and if it is outside of their sphere of influence and ownership to obtain it by whatever means
    5. Very desirous to be seen as benefactors to their subjects and to receive this praise
    6. Love the recognition of their subjects even if the compliments are complete self-delusion
    7. Have no understanding or sympathy or empathy for the suffering of the people they rule
    8. Are masters of manipulation in obtaining personal gain through guilt from anybody foolish enough to feel indebted to them.
    9. Will appear to pursue a noble cause in order to fulfill their lust for dominion. eg Robert Mugabe was installed into power in Zimbabwe by the liberals in Britain who he fooled into believing he wanted liberation for Zimbabwe when he actually wanted Zimbabwe for himself. The moment he came into power he slaughtered thousands of Matabele opposition. Today the false myth is still perpetuated in Western liberal circles that Mugabe was once a righteous man in an attempt to remove the egg from their faces for foolishly installing him into power.
    10. Understand that to keep all the possessions they covet they need to create a system which will protect their situation from any other African who is as covetous as they are and so the military and police are employed as personal bodyguards.
    11. Will sell anything belonging to their nation for personal gain and recognition.
    12. Live in a stupor of self-adulation and self-congratulation
    13. Do not see the problems that their nation have as their problem to solve, as their own vision does not extend further than their own needs.
    14. Will not stand as an individual to decry the violent crimes of a colleague who is also in African rulership as it might damage his support when he needs to do the same thing in the future.
    15. Accepts no responsibility and denies all responsibility for faults in his administration and lays the blame on somebody else.

    These are the character traits that have not changed since the days of slavery which occurred before the worst kind of Europeans arrived into Africa. From the outset, relations between Europe and Africa were economic. Portuguese merchants traded with Africans from trading posts they set up along the coast. They exchanged items like brass and copper bracelets for such products as pepper, cloth, beads and slaves – all part of an existing internal African trade. Domestic slavery was common in Africa and well before European slave buyers arrived, there was trading in humans. Black slaves were captured or bought by Arabs and exported across the Saharan desert to the Mediterranean and Near East. Europeans of equally wicked moral character merely found that African chiefs were willing to sell anything for their personal benefit including their own tribe members. That is why Africa was the source of the worlds slaves, since it was unheard of in any other society, where a patriarchal figure does not vehemently protect those in his care, but sells them for his own benefit. Even today African parents have very large families for entirely self-beneficent reasons, as they see them as a resource to take care of them in their old age, which I believe is where the entire African leadership model has its source.

    In Tim Jeal’s authoritive and very well researched book on David Livingstone he reports that missionaries in Africa were only tolerated as “gun-menders” and that David Livingstone warned other missionaries not help weak tribes in African gain the ascendancy over tribes that plundered them, to sell their members into slavery, as they would then become slave traders themselves. In fact African leaders would sell members of their own tribe into slavery if they could not capture members of neighboring tribes. Also weaker African tribes would follow the slave caravans of the Arab and Portuguese traders and when they discarded the sick and weak captives along their journey to the coast, these tribes would collect, care for and help these poor people to recover and once healthy, then sell them to the next slave caravan. That is why it was so easy for a few slave traders to collect so many human slaves on a continent where they were hugely outnumbered.

    David Livingstone tried to explain to an African chief that he was as guilty of slavery as the Portuguese and Arab slave-traders were, for selling his people to them but the African chief denied any responsibility and said that the slave-traders were the only ones to blame because he would not have sold people into slavery if they had not offered him goods for them. This is the logic that so baffles the mind, that the moral persuader gives up trying !

    The solution to this problem:
    African has to accept responsibility for its faults head-on like anybody with a problem has to admit in any program or self-help situation before any solution will every be achievable or even become evident. “A slap in the face from a friend is better than kisses from an enemy”

    The African leader could not remain in power were it not for the exact same characteristics of the people of Africa who as individuals have the same flaws and aid and abet their leaders and refuse to censure their decadence as it reflects their own, but only oppose the leader when his leadership is a personal problem to their own benefit. Although sometimes the support baffles all logic: a Zimbabwean lady I heard on TV, say, that she was going to vote for Robert Mugabe again, as he had got them into this problem and that he must get them out of it now !

    Main problems to face:
    Covetousness, pride, selfishness, self-adulation, connivance, moral cowardice, self-seeking to name the most obvious. These are the characteristics that make Africans so vulnerable to the worst of the predatory characteristics of those who would exploit Africa for themselves outside of Africa.

    I apologise to those great Africans who are the exception to this corruption and suffer to rise up against the African present African culture which drags any exception en masse to conform.

    An example of the exception would be Archbishop Pius Ncube of Zimbabwe who stated that although the 53-state African Union last month condemned human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, so far African leaders have shied away from imposing sanctions, saying that would only hurt Zimbabwe’s poor. ”All they do is back each other up and drink tea,” the archbishop told one interviewer.

  9. Now that there is a problem, let us do something. Suppose the money owed by Africa is 300 billion dollars, can we not go on a huge marketing exercise to encourage 1 billion people around the world to each sacrifice (underline sacrifice) 300 dollars so that we wipe out the debt by say 2015. We have seen that Governments cannot do it so I appeal to those who have a heart to think along those lines. I will be starting the campaign here in South Africa as soon as I work out the logistics of this mammoth task.

    God bless.

  10. Africa owes 300 billion dollars, but the question is whether these should be honored or not, as the loan was made to African leaders with no authority to sign for such loans. A leader cannot sign away state property as they are stewards of that property and not owners, even if they declare themselves to be owners. These loans were made by these “leaders” to prop up their personal regime, with state property used as collateral, which belongs to the people of that nation. The leader is only there to ensure fair use of state property for everyone of that nation to share. So in my opinion, that would typify an illegal contract because one can’t sign for something you don’t own. Therefore if the loan sharks want their money back, then they should collect it from the people who signed the deal with them as individuals. No nations property can be regarded as personal collateral. This is the African slave trade all over again, now in the economic sphere, with the chief selling off what does not belong to him, to unscrupulous and greedy regimes who are in a race to rape that nation of its wealth.

    This has to be regarded as another form of the slave trade and abolished ! Individuals must be accountable for accepting loans and not nations. If loans are then made to leaders of nations then the person making the loan has to accept the consequences of stupidly loaning money to a person who has no intention or means to pay the loan back.

    If we collect 300 billion dollars and pay back the loans, then the loan sharks happily remain unaccountable as do the African “leaders” who will repeat the exercise all over again in future.

    We need an African constitution written by African people which every African leader in every African nation has subscribe. Constitutions are written to define the role and authority of government and to prevent them from abusing their positions. The constitution has to make sure that leaders thus responsibly serve their nations and not own, it like a tribal chief thinks he has a right to do.

  11. Is this some sort of joke?
    Africa is being controlled by Western corporations?
    You really are one pretentious, pseduo “enlightened” ignoramus.
    I didn’t read your blog intentionally seeking a target for flaming but you are simply regurgitating the same feculant bullshit that every other “we have a resonsibility to help Africa out” picketer spouts.
    I for one was not born in the 1700 – 1800’s. I was not a vile colonist seeking to “rape” Africa of all it’s glittering bounty.
    Neither were you.
    I’m assuming you have no connections to Africa.
    Are you so desperate for general acceptance that you trumpet this social conscience? How is donating 10 or 15 dollars to unicef or the IMF going to help anything; that’s probably not enough to even cover administrative overheads for fucks sake.
    If you want to help Africa stop plying them with “aid”. If Africans deserve Africa they will dethrone the despots which you vehemently deny exist and form a stable government and slowly build a functioning society wherein babies aren’t killed, children aren’t raped and limbs aren’t hacked off with machetes on a daily basis.
    Instead of abhorring your own society you should stop taking it for granted and realize that you live in a relatively fine part of the world that isn’t ruled by a tribal leader who views you as a posession.
    The West is not an evil entity vying to homogenise the world in it’s own image.
    The fact that you try and support this ridiculous conspiracy theory with logic baffles me.

    Oh yeah and Kay Mbayise good luck trying to convince every single fucking person in the world to part with 300 dollars. I work my ass off to earn my money and I’m not going to relinquish it to a country full of people who willingly do nothing.

  12. Great. Just what this page needed: more blatantly racist moron spouting random hate-speech with little substance and obviously no attempt to even read before replying.

    Mr. Akiba: your comment (and this shall be the last on this blog, thank you) deserve little attention and even less answer. But I will however point out that a guy who ended up here by googling “africa is fucked up” (as you did) is hardly the best person to provide level-headed comment on the situation. Whatever your deep-seated issues are, I’m pretty sure they don’t have much to do with Africa (just a hint).

  13. Dave,

    I’ve re-read my previous correspondence and realize it was irrational and my criticism of you unwarranted.
    For the record I’m not racist. I was mugged recently by a gang of sudanese youths who had recently migrated to my country of residence. The media portrays Africa and the countries therein as savage no mans lands. I’m just trying to sort everything out, trying to understand why you would come to another country and violently assault someone.
    I apologize for my outburst of irrational frustration and hope you can accept my apology.

    My deepest regrets,
    Akiba

    1. Akiba

      Your excuses seem sincere and are gladly accepted as far as I’m concerned. I am sorry to hear about your bad experience and I know this must be a very frustrating thing to go through and live with.
      As I am sure you realise though, it really has little connection to the matters discussed above. As for why recently immigrated people might gang up and mug people, I’ll venture it’s the same reason as what could drive any other group of people of any ethnicity in any country to use violence: absolutely anything. Theirs might have been the will to make money, misplaced anger or just them being very poor excuses for a human being… But I’m pretty sure there are other people out there, with no connection whatsoever to Africa, people perhaps born and raised in your hometown, who could have done the very exact same thing for any number of reasons, had they been there instead of that gang of sudanese youth.

      I know it might be more comfortable to find something more tangible, more consistent, to blame for your experience, but I am afraid there isn’t much beyond just that: wrong people, wrong place and some very fucked-up times we live in. The fate of Africa is neither an excuse nor a reason for their behaviour and I doubt it’ll help you deal with this issue…

      Anyway, good luck to you and I hope you eventually find some peace over this.

  14. Dave,

    Thanks for the kinds words.
    You’re right. Crime is often random and transcends gender, ethnicity etc.
    I’m just going to deal with it one day at a time instead of over thinking it. It just happens and it’s something I’m going to have to live with.

    Good luck to you too.

    Kind Regards,
    Akiba

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