Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stolen Legacy

Question: To what country do we owe our Civilization, Philosophy, the Arts and the Sciences? Answer: Greece

Question: Who is the wisest man the world has ever seen? Answer: Aristotle

Question: Name the world three greatest thinkers of all times? Answer: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle?

Question: Who is the world greatest mathematician of all times, the that invented the theorem of the Square of the Hypotenuse? Answer: Pythagoras.

Socrates: "(b. c. 470 BC, Athens -d 399, Athens, ancient Athenian philosopher who directed philosophical thought toward analyses of the character and conduct of human life and who is remembered for his admonition to 'know thyself.'

Socrates wrote nothing. Information about his personality and doctrine is found chiefly in the dialogues of Plato and the MEMORABILIA of Xenophon." The New Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 10, Micropaedia, 15th edition, p.929

Plato: "(b.428/427 BC, Athens, or Aegina, Greece-d. 348/347, Athens), ancient Greek philosopher, the second of the great trio of ancient Greeks - Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. He developed a wide-ranging system of philosophy that was strongly ethical, resting on, resting on a foundation of eternal Ideas or Forms that represented universals or absolutes. Platonism influenced currents of philosophy up to the 20th century." The New Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 9, Micropaedia, 15th edition, p.509

Aristotle: "Greek ARISTOTELES (b. 384 BC, Stagira, [or Stagirus, or Stageirus], Chalcidice, near Macedonia-d, 322, Chalcis, Euboea, Greece), ancient Greek philosopher, scientist and organizer of research, one of the two greatest intellectual figures produced by the Greeks (the other been Plato). He surveyed the whole field of human knowledge as it was known in the Mediterranean world in his day; and his writings long influenced Western and Muslim thought." The New Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 1, Micropaedia, 15th edition, p. 555

I have quoted from an encyclopedia, which is often defined as 'volumes containing collections of human knowledge.' You don't argue with an encyclopedia, do you?

I answer that, as Africans, we have no choice but to argue and to contest, vigorously, many of the distorted information contain in these encyclopedia and other books. We should hold no sacred any book which is based on historical falsification and racial prejudice, however hallowed, praised and expensive - as Encyclopedia Britannica certainly is.

You will be adjudged CORRECT and RIGHT if you give the above answers in an examination. But actually, none of the answers are TRUE. Based on what we know of history, they are FALSE.

The greatest crime Europe committed against the world is the intellectual theft of Africa's heritage. Empires could be stolen, whole countries snatched and named after pirates, rapists and swindlers. Palaces and monumental edifices destroyed could be rebuild. But when you steal a people's cultural patrimony, and used it to enslaved and insult them, you have committed unforgivable acts that border on the sacrilege.

That Greece invented philosophy, the Arts and the Sciences is the only basis on which the arrogance of Europe stands. It is those things credited to the Greek that made every European believed himself superior to other peoples\races. Conversely, it is the awe with which the other races view these grand ancient achievements, which made them cringe at the altar of supposed European superiority.

What course would the history of the world have taken if the European scholars[?] had not FALSELY claim for the Greeks what is certainly not theirs? Would the arrogance of Europeans not have been diminished if the truth about the contribution of Africa to human civilization have been correctly stated and interpreted? Would Africans have held themselves in such self-contempt if they have tried sooner to uncover the truth about their past? Would Africans be cringing at the altar of westernism if they know that almost every idea Europeans are using today was brazenly stolen from us? Would we be supplicating to a supposed son of an imaginary god if we knew that we gave RELIGION to the world?

Every European hold 'Greek Civilization' as an inspiration. They go around the world with volumes upon volumes celebrating Greek this, Greek that. From their original abode in Europe to the real estate they stole from other people, they shouted on top-voice about how they single-handedly invented and sustained human civilization! Sororities are created at institutions of higher learning. 'Great thinkers' waxed lyrical and sentimental about 'Greek Civilization.' In the same vein, Africans are lamenting their singular historic 'un-achievement.' Some even believe that theirs is a 'cursed-race.'

"The term Greek philosophy, to begin with is a misnomer, for there is no such philosophy in existence. The ancient Egyptians had developed a very complex religious system, called the Mysteries, which was also the first system of salvation." That was the opening statement from 'STOLEN LEGACY: Greek Philosophy is Stolen Egyptian Philosophy,' by George G.M. James.

George James began his book by informing us that the Egyptian Mystery System was the oldest in the world and was 'also a Secret Order, and membership was gained by initiation and a pledge to secrecy. The teaching was graded and delivered orally to the Neophyte; and under these circumstances of secrecy, the Egyptians developed secret systems of writing and teaching, and forbade their Initiates from writing what they had learn.' - p.1

The Egyptians have developed their systems and taught same to Initiates around the world long before the Greeks were allowed into the temples. It was only after the invasion of Alexander the Destructor (called the Great by western mythorians) when the temples and the libraries were plundered, that the Greek gained access to all the ancient books, on which Aristotle built his own school and his reputation as the wisest man that ever lived!

In the first chapter of his book, James masterfully destroyed the myth of a Greek philosophy. Pythagoras, the oldest of the so- called Greek-thinkers was a student in Egypt for several years. Back in his native Samos, he was exiled when he started to teach what he had learned. Socrates was executed for teaching 'foreign ideas.' Plato was sold into slavery. Aristotle was also exiled. What we are asked to believed by western scholars was that these ancient Greeks were persecuted in a society that is sufficiently advanced in philosophy.

On what basis do western scholars claim philosophy for Greece? Because the literature were written in Greece. As is still in existence unto today, most Orders prohibit their members from writing down what they learn. This explains why Socrates, as even the Encyclopedia Britannica admitted, did not commit anything to writing! The Babylonians and the Chaldeans, who also studied under the Egyptian Masters, also refused to publish those teachings. It is usurpers like Plato and Aristotle that brought into book forms all the secret teachings of Egyptian and claim authorship!

George James pointed out the absurdity of this stance. The Hebrew scriptures, called the Septuagint, the Gospels and the Epistles were also written in Greek, why are the Greek not claiming authorship of them? 'It is only the unwritten philosophy of the Egyptians translated into Greek that has met such an unhappy fate: a legacy stolen by the Greeks.'

This is not the only absurdities James pointed out in the book. Another instance: The number of books whose authorship is credited to Aristotle is simply impossible to be the work of one single man, even in our age when word-processing software makes writing a lot easier. We also have to keep in mind that Aristotle was purported to have been taught by Plato. Plato, as the books shows, was a philosopher. Aristotle is still regarded as the greatest scientist of antiquity. The question thus beggared is how could Plato taught Aristotle what he didn't know himself?

The truth of the matter was that Aristotle, aided by Alexander the Destroyer (some called him the Great), secured the books from the Egyptian Royal Libraries and Temples. 'In spite however of such great intellectual treasure, the death of Aristotle marked the death of philosophy among the Greeks, who did not seem to possess the natural abilities to advance these sciences.' p. 3

'The aim of this book is to establish better race relations in the world, by revealing a fundamental truth concerning the contribution of the African Continent to civilization. It must be borne in mind that the first lesson in the Humanities is to make a people aware of their contribution to civilization; and the second lesson is to teach them about other civilizations. By this dissemination of the truth about the civilization of individual peoples, a better understanding among them, and a proper appraisal of each other should follow. This notion is based upon the notion of the Great Master Mind: Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.' Consequently, the book is an attempt to show that the true authors of Greek philosophy were not the Greeks; but the people of North Africa, commonly called the Egyptians; and the praise and honor falsely given to the Greeks for centuries belong to the people of North Africa, and therefore to the African Continent. Consequently this theft of the African legacy by the Greeks led to the erroneous world opinion that the African Continent has made no contribution to civilization, and that its people are naturally backward. This is the misrepresentation that has become the basis of race prejudice, which has affected all people of color.

For centuries the world has been misled about the original source of the Arts and Sciences; for centuries Socrates, Plato and Aristotle have been falsely idolized as models of intellectual greatness; and for centuries the African continent has been called the Dark Continent, because Europe coveted the honor of transmitting to the world, the Arts and Sciences.' p.7

To leave no one in doubt about the cogency of his impressive arguments, chapter one (Greek Philosophy is Stolen Egyptian Philosophy) opens with an examination of the stories of the so- called 'Greek Philosophers. Pythagoras, after receiving his training in Egypt, went back to his native Samos and established an Order as was the custom in those days. Anaximander and Anaximenes, Parmenides, Zeno and Melissus were all native of Ionia and they taught nothing but Egyptian mysteries. Ditto, Heraclitus, Empedocles, Anaxagoras and Democritus. What we have to remember here is that Ionia was a colony of Egypt (readers are directed to Martin Bernal's, 'Black Athena,' published by Vintage, especially vol. I, ISBN 0 09 988780 0). At the apex of its glory, Egypt held sway over much of the known world. The Ionians would later become Persian subjects after the fall of Egypt, before they even became Greek citizens.

All of these Ionians did not claim for themselves the glory of philosophy or the sciences. The Persians and the Chaldeans were also introduced to the Ancient Mystery Systems, yet they did not claim authorship. It was the Athenians - Socrates, Plato and Aristotle who usurped this African legacy and thereby distorted the reality of human history. What is quite clear was that it was Athens that those who taught the mysteries were persecuted the most until Alexander's time. We know with certainty that these philosophers were roundly persecuted by the Athenian Government for teaching foreign doctrines.

What is incredible about these 'Great Philosopher' is the total lack of any knowledge about their early lives. The world is asked to believe that these men who possessed all the super-natural abilities attributed to them had no education, no training whatsoever; philosophy, mathematics and the sciences just came to them! The only evidence adduced for this fraud was that the books were written by the Orders founded by the Athenian impostors. But as James repeatedly reminded us, the ancient Egyptians forbade their pupils from writing, and this injunction was obeyed by all but the Athenians. We have to excuse Socrates, whom James believed to be the only properly trained Initiate. Instead of divulging the secrets he had learned, he drank a poison. Both Plato and Aristotle fled. Yet they came back and claim the credits!

The crucial question of how Aristotle got all the books that bore his credit is easily answered by the simple historical fact that he went with his friend, Alexander, in the latter campaign and conquest. After Egypt was conquered and destroyed, the Royal Library and the Temples were looted by Aristotle. It was with these books that he established his own school and, aided by his pupils, Theophrastus, Andronicus of Rhodes and Eudemus, started to copy the books. These men were also credited with the authorship of several books, and it was them who formed the organization of 'The Learned study of Aristotle Writings.' 'It would certainly appear that the object of the Learned Association was to beat Aristotle's own drum and dance. It was Aristotle's idea to compile a history of philosophy, and it was Aristotle's school and its alumni that carried out the idea, we are told." (p.19)

Chapter II, 'So-Called Greek Philosophy was Alien to the Greeks And their Conditions of Life.' Here James drew for us the conditions under which the Greeks were living at this period in history. According to the western mythorians, the period of 'Greek Philosophy' was located 640-322 BC. 'The period of Greek philosophy (640-322 BC was a period of internal and external wars, and was therefore unsuitable for producing philosophers. History supports the fact that from the time of Thales to the time of Aristotle, The Greeks were victims of internal disunion, on the one hand, while on the other, they lived in constant fear of invasion from the Persians who were a common enemy to the city states.

... The obstacles against the origin and development of Greek philosophy, were not only the frequency of wars; and the constant defense against Persian aggression; but also the threat of extermination from the Athenian government, its worst enemy.' pp.21 - 26

Chapter three shows that the so-called 'Greek Philosophy' was just an offspring of the Egyptian Mystery System. All the arts, philosophy and religion, credited to the Greeks have been in existence in Egypt thousands of years before the Greeks were permitted to learn them. 'The earliest theory of salvation is the Egyptian theory. The Egyptian Mystery System has as its most important object, the deification of man, and taught that the soul of man if liberated from its bodily fetters, could enable him to become godlike and see the Gods in this life and attain the beatific vision and hold communion with the immortals.' (Ancient Mysteries, C.H. Vail. P.32)

Close attention should be paid to the foregoing paragraph. What that simply means is that a system of beliefs that Africans evolved thousands of years ago, has been distorted and use to abuse the Africans today!

When Western mythorians roll out Aristotle, Plato and Socrates, they fail to tell their audience how these guys were persecuted by their own government. These 'philosophers' were persecuted for the exactly the same reason - 'introducing strange divinities.' Socrates charge sheet reads, in part, 'Socrates commit a crime by not believing in the Gods of the city, and by introducing other new divinities. He also commit a crime by corrupting the youth.' He was further accused of 'busying himself with investigating things beneath the earth and in the sky, and who makes the worse appear the better reason, and who teaches others the same thing.' Whereas astronomy was part of the required study in the Egyptian schools, the Athenian government was persecuting its citizens for pursuing such studies. Who, now, is the father of what?

Chapter three further dealt with the Egyptian mystery systems and show its close correlation with what has been wrongly attributed to the Greeks. Even the structures of the Lodges are built to Egyptian standards.

The conquest of Alexander and the destruction of the Lodges and the libraries plus the edicts of Emperors Theodosius and Justinian suppressed the Egyptian mystery systems and the Greek philosophy schools alike, paving the way for Christianity which is nothing but a badly mis-understood Egyptian religion.

In chapter four, we learn how the Greeks were allowed into Egypt where they have been banned for several years. 'Owing to the practice of piracy, in which the Ionians, and Garians were active, the Egyptians were forced to make immigration laws restricting the immigration of the Greeks and punishing their infringement by capital punishment, i.e, the sacrifice of the victim.' - p.41. It was Egyptian king Amasis who lifted the restriction and allowed the Greeks to enter Egypt as mercenaries - they were not permitted to study until the Persian invasion. And it was not until the Alexandrian conquest that they gained access to the libraries, most especially the Royal Library at Alexandria, which was converted into a Greek city.

Plato himself attested to the fact (in his TIMAEUS) that Greek aspirant to wisdom visited Egypt for initiation, and that the Egyptian priests refer to them as children in the mysteries.

It was Herodotus who informed us that Pythagoras was allowed into Egypt only after Polycrates (king of his native Samos and a friend of Amasis) gave him a letter of introduction. Even after that, he had to undergo several trials including circumcision which was compulsory - "Apud Aegyptios nullus aut geometrica studebat, aut astonomiae secreta remabatur, nisi circumcisione suscepta," (No one among the Egyptians, either studied geometry, or investigated the secrets of Astronomy, unless circumcision had been undertaken.)" - p.44. It was to Pythagoras that the world is giving credit for a theorem that the Egyptians most certainly used in building their pyramids! It certainly requires the knowledge of trigonometry and geometry to build those imposing structures which continue to awe modern minds.

Herodotus, Diogenes, Laertuis informed us that Democritus travelled to Egypt to receive instructions from the priests. Plato was also shown to have undergone similar pilgrimage.

In Chapter five through chapter seven, George James analyzed the doctrines of the so-called Greek philosophers and convincingly show their Egyptian origin. From pre-Socratic 'Philosophers' like Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes and Pythagoras to Eleatic 'philosophers' like Xenophanes, Parmenides, Zeno and Melissus, to the Ionian school of Heraclitus, Anaxagoras and Democritus, he showed that what history has attributed to these impostors were nothing but what they copied from the Egyptians.

In these, the most important chapters, James concluded that the Greeks were guilty of plagiarism of the highest order.

Chapter eight dealt with the Memphite Theology which 'is an inscription on a stone, now kept in the British Museum. It contains the theological, cosmological and philosophical views of the Egyptians. It has already been referred to in my treatment of Plato's doctrines; but it must be repeated here to show its full importance as the basis of the entire field of Greek philosophy.' p.139. Here James show how portions of the philosophy of the Memphite Theology were assigned to the Greeks. This is a very important chapter as it throws enough light, not only on the whole argument of where the Greek got the ideas credited to them, but also about the true source of modern scientific knowledge.'

If the modern Nebular hypothesis credited to Laplace which holds that our present solar system was once a molten gaseous nebula is ever proven right, credit should go to the ancient Egyptians. Their cosmology is strikingly similar. They knew that the universe was created from fire. The Egyptian God Atum (Atom) together with his eight Created Gods that composed the Ennead or Godhead of nine, this correspond with our nine major planets. Atom, the sun God, was the Unmoved Mover, a doctrine which has been falsely attributed to Aristotle. Likewise, the injunction, 'Know Thyself,' was wrongly attributed to Socrates. As James pointed out, it was an inscription found on every Egyptian Temple. The Cardinal virtues, justice, wisdom, temperance and courage which was falsely credited to Plato owed their origin to the Egyptian Masters.

We also learn the attributes of the Egyptian God Atum which is shared by modern ATOM: The similarity of names; the Egyptian God means self-created, everything and nothing, a combination of positive and negative principles:- all-inclusiveness and emptiness. Even beginner science students will recognized these as the properties of atoms.

In the concluding chapter nine, 'Social Reformation through the New Philosophy of African Redemption,' James wrote: 'Now that it has been shown that philosophy, and the arts and sciences were bequeathed to civilization by the people of North Africa and not by the people of Greece; the pendulum of praise and honor is due to shift from the people of Greece to the people of the African continent who are the rightful heirs of such praise and honor.

This is going to mean a tremendous change in world opinion, and attitude, for all people and races who accept the new philosophy of African redemption, ie the truth that the Greeks were not the authors of Greek philosophy; but the people of North Africa; would change their opinion from one of disrespect to one of respect for the Black people throughout the world and treat them accordingly.

It is going to mean a most important change in the mentality of the Black people: a change from an inferiority complex, to the realization and consciousness of their equality with all the other great peoples of the world, who have built great civilizations. With this change in mentality of the Black and White people, great changes are also expected in their respective attitudes towards each other, and in society as a whole.' p. 153.

James sketched for us a simple New Philosophy of Redemption which consists of the following proposition: 'The Greeks were not the authors of Greek Philosophy, but the Black people of North Africa, The Egyptians.'

He exhorted us to live up to this philosophy. 'Being liberated from inferiority complex by their New Philosophy of Redemption, which is destined to destroy the chain of false tradition which has incarcerated them, the Black people must face and interpret the world according to their new vision and philosophy. Throughout the centuries up to our modern times, world conditions have been influenced by two phenomena which has affected human relations: (i) - The giving of false praise to the Greeks: a conduct which appears to be an educational policy conducted by education institutions... (ii) - The second phenomena is Missionary enterprise whereby Black people's culture has been caricatured in literature and exhibitions, in such specimens as provoke disrespect and laughter. Let us not forget that the Roman Emperors Theodosius and Justinian were responsible for the abolition of the Egyptian Mysteries that is the culture system of the Black people, and also for the establishment of Christianity for its perpetual suppression.' pp. 159-160.

The appendix presented a brief analysis and summary of the main arguments.

I have always stated in my writings that it is the ignorant African who is awed or inspired by things European. I have also pointed out that our history has been largely reconstructed. George James is among those who rescued humankind from the intellectual crimes perpetrated by European ideologists masquerading as scholars. The only justice we could do to George G.M. James and other valiant warriors of our race is not only to read\study their works, but also to spread them. A wit once put it that, 'No one can humiliate you without your consent.'

This is very true for us as the most unjustly ridiculed people on earth. Throughout the face of the earth, we continue to be lampooned by those who were babies when we were grown-ups - building empires and inventing things. We continue to be derided by those who borrowed, stole and plagiarized ideas from us. All those we invited, out of good nature, into our homes are mocking today us! That is after they have stolen, plagiarised and destroyed our patrimony.

As Africans, we are humiliated and ridiculed because our history was stolen; our patrimony wrongly attributed to other people. Why do we continue to participate in our own humiliation? Is it because we are too impressed with titles and other appurtenances with which our oppressors continue to dazzle us? If Ph.D means a Doctor of Philosophy, isn't it time Africans start to ask, 'Whose philosophy?' Why are we filling our heads and minds with plagiarized doctrines that our fathers developed eons ago only to be rewarded with diplomas? Why are we selling ourselves short - our rich heritage for certificates? How many of our Ph.Ds know the Egyptian origin of most of what is credited to Greece? How many of them have read 'Stolen legacy?' How many of those purporting to teach 'African history,' have read this very important book?

If we continue to be ridiculed, it is just because we allowed ourselves to be ridiculed. Any African who studied his history will find an indescribable inner satisfaction. S\he walks tall, with confidence that s\he could hold her\his own against ANYONE in the world. No scholar, black or white or brown or yellow argues with the basic facts of history. It is only the psychedelic-intellectuals, those who reads nothing more serious than their television guides, who come to take cheap-shots on SCA.

Stolen Legacy is not a book anyone could argue with. Almost every single sentence, every single paragraph is duly attributed to verifiable sources. George James must have been fully aware of the burden he was carrying when he wrote his monumental work. His is a book that is easily read and understood even by LAYMEN, unlike the hogwash western mythorians are dishing out, suffused with brain-twisting grammatical pyrotechnics to hide their in- coherences.

I know that some among us will find ANY excuse not to read books like 'Stolen Legacy,' since it challenges them to seek further truth. Those who will not think twice before lapping anything with SHAKESPEARE on it, will find it too long - it certainly is not! This, however should not stop those who want to to go ahead and to seek further knowledge about their past.

There is no reason for anyone to believe Femi or even James, everyone should find its own way to his own cultural salvation. I ask not for believe, but the urge to STUDY. A people without a past, the saying goes, is like tree without roots.

No one, IMO, should be allowed to teach African history who has not read Stolen Legacy. No one should call himself educated who has not read Stolen Legacy. The next time anyone brandishes a Ph.D in your face, your question should be, 'Have you read Stolen Legacy?'

The Myths of Tourism

Kofi Boateng is a conscientious worker, and he took his job very seriously. As the Deputy PR-man for the Ghana Tourism Board, he believes, with religious fervor, that he had been called upon to make Ghana safe and attractive for Tourism.

I met him at his elegant, if not posh, office at the Board's headquarters in Tesano, Accra. Sweating profusely, he continually dabbed his face with a face towel "The bloody thing has just packed up again."

I took it that he meant by 'the thing', the air-conditioner. He was in a sharp 3-peice suit with a loud, if too colourful, tie and all the works.

"Taking the jacket off might help a little bit." I offered. He regarded me as though I was some ancient freak that just crawled out of hole.

"Here we have to dress properly." He scoffed; wiping his dark Ashanti face with the back of his hand. I pointed to the dripping towel, 'Thank you." He said and picked up the soiled kerchief. He squeezed it into his waste paper basket and wiped his face with it.

"Bloody fools." He said to no one in particular. He re-arranged his cluttered table, and displayed his cellular telephone conspicuously. He was letting me know that he truly belongs in the creme-de-creme of the Civil Service, as it is only the top echelon who could get a mobile phone and afford to keep it. His Compaq Laptop computer sat majestically on a low table displaying Spreadsheets statistics in figure tables and charts. The display was sharp and crisp. I let my eyes stayed on the monitor awhile. I wanted him to notice that I was admiring the appurtenances of his office.

"Bloody fools," Mr. Boateng fumed, again. "Do you know the number one problem we have in this country?" He asked, directing a penetrating gaze in my direction.

"Yes, Inflation." I answered, almost automatically. He gave me a cold stare, dried his face and stroked his Peter Tosh's goatee.

"There, you are wrong, my friend. Have another guess." He said, smiling.

"Our fast sinking cedis." I answered with a laugh.

"This is not time or place for wise-cracks, my friend." He warned me, with the appropriate countenance.

I was unrepentant, "Why don't you tell me, then?"

There and then, his secretary, a petite figure, beautiful as only African ladies could be, massively-hipped and with a heavy backyard, sauntered, actually danced into the room, breasts heaving. Her heavily mascaraed face roamed over me. Her lips parted just a little to voice 'hello,' to me. In front of her boss, she laid some dated manila files. I noticed immediately that she did not display the normal courtesy one expect in a relationship, any relationship that hasn't move into the romantic plane. He saw the damaged and gallantly attempted to change it.

"Didn't you see that I am busy, very busy? He stammered. "How many times have I told you to knock before entering this office?" He queried. She was not impressed. She merely roamed her large eyeballs above his large head, as though she was admiring the framed diplomas at the back up his chair.

"Sign them, please." She barely opened her lips.

His efforts at gallantry were a flop. He swallowed his pride, took the leaf of paper from the file and turned to me "Excuse me, Mr...."

"Don't worry about me. I can wait." I said, smiling. I did not know what else I could do to bolster his deflated ego.

It is a terrible price some executives pay to get under the skirts of their secretaries. He pretended to read while she hovered over him like a debt collector. He finished whatever he was reading and appended his signature and pushed the file back at her. She collected it with a murmur and promenaded out, just the way she came in. His humiliation was total, complete. He fidgeted first with his pen, then a pencil and then his cellular phone, and back to the pen.

"Where were we, again?" He finally asked me, his goatee aglow.

"You were going to tell me the number one problem in this country."

"Oh yeah, the number one problem with this country, take it from me is incompetence. Sheer incompetence. Nothing even comes a close second. He elucidated like a professor giving lectures to new students." I let him continue with his analysis.

"See," he cried, working himself up. "The bloody air-conditioner technician has been coming here for two weeks, trying to fix the bloody AC. All he's managed to do in those two weeks was to make a bad situation worse. Before he screwed up, pardon my choice of words; we had a working unit, though it was not cool enough. We called the bastard. And what did he do? I will tell you what the SOB did. He fooled around for two weeks and now the damn thing has stopped working completely. At the end of two weeks, the bastard discovered that he was not an expert on split unit. He is now trying to get his 'master'. You see what I mean? Sheer incompetence. Our people are so incompetent. You see plain imbeciles masquerading as specialists. They took some training, halfway through their apprenticeships; they are in a hurry to start making money. They ran away from their training to start hustling around, messing up people's properties. The only thing left for that bastard to blame was the wall. He blamed this, blamed that. Today, it is low power; tomorrow it is high voltage. He made us changed this, changed that until he practically ran out of ideas. The nerf even had the nerve to ask what I thought was wrong with the AC. Can you imagine that? I am not an AC technician. Sheer incompetence. Sorry to bog you down with our woes. Shall we get back to your own problem? What is it that we can do for you?"

"Thank you. Actually, I am working on a paper on Tourism in Ghana and wondered if you can give me some pointers." "Pointers," he looked bemused. "As you know the policy of the government is to make the Tourism sector increase its contribution to the National Economy. We are resolved to promote Tourism and make Ghana as attractive as possible. We are determined to keep Ghana as the Gateway to West Africa." Like a pro, he recited a well-rehearsed prose.

"Why would you want to do that? Why do you want to make Ghana attractive for Tourism? "I asked skeptically.

He arched his heavy brows up and gave me a laconic smile. "Why, why, you asked. Are the reasons not obvious enough?" He was getting exasperated.

"Not to me. That's why I am asking."

'The benefits of tourism are manifold! The PR man declared, his voice rising an octave. "One instance should suffice. We are talking about people bringing and spending their money in this country. Can't you see that?" He was really screaming.

"How does that translate into meaningful economic development in Ghana?" I was still skeptical. He regarded me as though I was the biggest moron this side of the ape's divide.

"Don't you think that when people bring and spend money in this country, Ghana is richer by the exact amount they bring in?"

"No." I replied. I wanted him to explain.

He toyed with a pencil, as he eyed me suspiciously. He looked at me the way one would look at a demented relative. "Since every elementary economics textbook deals with that subject, I need not go into it here. I guess you missed your economics 101 classes." He allowed himself a wide laugh.

"No, I didn't miss my economics classes." I retorted. "Perhaps you will agree that Ghana is richer by tourism only to the extent that the tourists spend money buying what Ghana produced. And perhaps you will agree that, at the moment, Ghana produces very little that tourists are dying to buy. In addition, perhaps you will also agree that most of the tourists that come in to Ghana still spend the largest chunk of their money on imported items. They travel on foreign airlines and they stay in foreign-owned hotels. You don't think that they are feeding themselves on our Banku, Kenkey or Ampesi? Of course, not. They are eating imported foods, consuming imported beverages. At the end of the day, they throw about five dollars to buy Ghanaian trinkets and beads. The drums are rolling out to sing their praises. Tourism is an over-blown myth." I cried. I was getting lyrical.

What is mythical about it?" The PR man wanted to know. "All the arguments you so lucidly posited could also be equally, and very easily, countered by more cogent expositions. However, this is neither the place nor time. I am a busy man, as you can see."

"Let me explain." I countered, shaking with righteous anger. "Myth No 1 is that tourism brings economic development. It does not. The empirical evidence simply does not exist to support the specious tourism leads to development hoopla. There is no country in the world that has been developed by tourism. It is equally fallacious to say that tourists are looking for developed places to visit. Most of them are dying to view pristine, unspoiled nature, the likes of which doesn't exist in their lands. And soon as you developed your land for tourism, the tourists simply move to other, unspoiled, undeveloped places. Just ask Turkey. Another myth is that tourists are people with money fighting in their pockets. This is not so. They are generally a bored and tired bunch, who had worked their asses off for a whole year. Sometimes they are unemployed youth slaving to save enough money to get out of the stressful and tedious lives they live in their countries. Mostly, they are pederasts and homosexuals looking for sexual misadventures. They have very little left after paying for their tickets. The real rich people, the ones with money fighting in their pockets, do not come to Ghana to play tourists. They simply buy whole Islands. I hope that I am making myself somewhat clear? Those countries that believe the fiction of tourism leads to development nonsense are living a dream. Thailand was a country that threw every caution to the winds in a desperate bid to attract tourists. It is today paying a very terrible price. Socially, it is a much-disrupted society. It is also paying a heavy price to cover the health bills for it citizens suffering from AIDS and other sex related diseases. Psychologically, many Thais children, victims of pedophile and pederasts, are maimed for life. Moreover, Thailand is lagging far behind the other Asian nations that concentrated their energies on manufacturing and producing goods for exports. All the Asian Tigers, plus the Asian miracles, decided on adding values to things, while Thailand turned itself into the world's whore. Thailand was lagging far behind the other 'Tigers' before the meltdown. What do you see nowadays in Ghana but sexual perverts from Euro-America scandalously messing up our women? Go to any beach in Ghana today, the sight that confronts you are truly sickening. You have sick grandees messing up, unashamedly, with our young girls. The only things that Tourists develop are the sexual diseases they carry around the world. Do you know what a Cuban minister said on tourism?

"No." The PR man admitted.

'Tourism is like chemotherapy. It may cure your cancer, but it could also kill you in the process. Do you know what we need in this country?"

"I am sure that you are the expert on such matters." The spin-doctor bristled with heavy sarcasm.

"What we need are strategies to add values to our well-endowed natural and agricultural resources. Take for instance, our Cocoa. For about a century now, our folks have been using their heavy muscles to cultivate this 'cash-crop' that does not give them enough cash to look after their families. The European middle-men, doing nothing more strenuous than pushing papers are making a lot more than our poor farmers toiling fourteen hours a day in tropical sun. Our rain forests have almost disappear. Many of the timbers are rotten away at Takoradi, because the 'world-market prices' have dipped, and we are too stupid to think of ways to add values to them. Do you know the number one problem of this Country?"

He regarded me disdainfully, "I am sure that you're going to tell me." He snapped, throwing every courtesy out of the window.

I met and held his gaze. "The number one problem of this Country," I declaimed, "Are those round pegs in square holes who cannot keep their nets dry. I am talking especially about those of them messing up the lives of their young secretaries." He gaped at me open-mouthedly.

I was already leaving his office, knowing fully well that my words registered the desired effects.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christopher Columbus and the Afrikan Holocaust, Slavery and the rise of European Capitalism.

A Book Review by Femi Akomolafe

Title: Christopher Columbus and the Afrikan Holocaust, Slavery and the rise of European Capitalism.

Author: Dr. John Henrik Clarke

Publisher: A & B Publisher Group, Brooklyn, New York (1994)

ISBN: 1-886433-18-6

According to Euro-centric mythorians (myth-creators masquerading as history scholars), some well-fed European adventurers sailed down the coast of West Africa in their pleasure boats and chanced upon some naked savage Black people hopping from tree to tree, and their Christian, civilized hearts sank, and they decided to help. Always the altruists, the Europeans set up camp and began the enterprise to bring the savages to God and also to civilization. Mission

accomplished, the Europeans left the natives to manage their own affairs, and within fifty years look at the mess the noble savages have made of things! The slave trade, oh, the savages were doing it all the time? And colonialism, oh, that was necessary to teach the Africans the art and science of self-government!

It is these types of make-me-happy fabrications European scholarship continue to pass on as history, and sadly it is the same kind of sophomoric nonsense African governments continue to spend their money on - passing it on to African children as history! Mungo Park, The Landers, David Livingstone, Hawkins and rest we were taught were civilized discoverers and not pirates and thugs. That the stories of these thugs continue to fill our syllabuses is a serious indictment of African intellectuals and academics and governments!

The very idea that Europeans were pioneers of civilization and that they brought civilization to Africa draws only laugh of derision and not anger from a properly educated African. Europe was the last habitat of Man to wake up from the Dark Ages! And the notion that the European scally-wags that went to destroy the old civilizations of Africa, Maya, Aztec and others brought with them anything civilized could only be the product of those who cannot or will not think. The historical truth is that the thieves and thugs that sailed from Europe to trade in African slaves left an impoverished Europe that has lost one-third of its population to famine, starvation and plagues. They left a society where bathing was considered evil and writing the work of Satan!

Dr. John Henrik Clarke should require no introduction to any educated African. For more than half a century until he joined the ancestors in 1998, the erudite African-American professor taught African-centered world history. He wrote numerous books and gave countless lectures. Dr. Clarke was among those that rescued Africa from the dustbin into which European scholars have dumped the birthplace of Man and the cradle of civilization.

In ‘Christopher Columbus and the Afrikan Holocaust,’ (an answer to the celebration of Christopher Columbus in 1994), Dr. Clarke sets out to explain to Africans (continental and disporan) why the colossal trade in African slaves happened; how it happened and, more importantly, what we, as a people, can and should do to ensure that that such monstrous calamity does not befell us again. He also gives us ideas to enable us prepare for a meaningful future. It is a short book (106 pages), but it contains gems of information that should help the African trying to understand his\her position in today’s world. It also should send each of us into thinking about what we can contribute individually to the task of Pan-African national redemption.

In the book, Dr. Clarke analyzes the role played by Cristobal Colon, aka, Christopher Columbus in this horrendous crime against the African people which led to consequences such like racism that African people still confront today in their daily lives. To Dr. Clarke, “The Columbus anniversary is a celebration of mass murder, slavery, and conquest. More: it exalts the continuing oppression of billions of people today. Columbus is something only oppressors (or fools) could celebrate.”

Another popular misconception fabricated by European scholars is that Europeans somehow miraculously sprang from nowhere and got things figured out – inventing philosophies and sciences and technologies. This is pure fabrication. The basis of European civilization lays in the ideas Europe borrowed or stole from ancient Egypt among other places. The source of Europe’s wealth lies squarely with the African Slave Trade. Walter Rodney in “How Europe underdeveloped Africa,” and Eric Williams “Capitalism and Slavery,” dealt extensively with the role slavery played in the development of Europe’s economies. And Dr. Clarke reminds us that “Slavery and the slave trade was the first international investment in capital. It was the first large-scale investment that was intercontinental. Many Europeans invested in ships and in the goods and services taken from these African countries and became independently wealthy.”

Dr. Clarke easily debunks the myths Europeans created to justified their cruel dealings with non-Europeans among which are:

1. The myth of people waiting in darkness for another people to bring them light. “In most countries where the Europeans invaded or influenced they put out the light of local civilizations and culture and destroyed civilizations, civilizations that were old before Europeans were born.”

2. The myth of a people without a legitimate God. “Europeans made no serious attempt to understand the religious culture of non-European people wherever they went in the world…”

3. The myth of the invader and conqueror as civilizer: “Generally speaking, no people ever spread any civilization anywhere or at anytime in human history through invasion and conquest. The invader and the conqueror spread his way of life at the expense of the victim. They generally destroy civilization in the name of civilization.”

And: “Actually, most of the great civilizations of Africa declined after the coming of the Europeans… In fact, no nation ever invaded another nation for any reason other than to exploit that nation for its own reasons. .. The intent of every invader, no matter what his color, is to establish his own way of life and, in nearly every case, the local culture suffers.”

To Dr. Clarke, the very idea of enslavers posing as civilizers is simply repugnant: “This indeed, was a contradiction because the acts committed against these people were uncivil.” And to those who said enslaving people was necessary to bring them closer to God, he says: “When a people assume their God approves of their criminal action against another people, they have made God ungodly.”

Not only did European succeeded in enslaving and colonizing other people, but the most disastrous aspect of such colonization is what Dr. Clarke calls the ‘colonization of information about history and the colonization of the image of God.’ “They denied the conquered people the right to see God through their own imagination or to address God in a word that came from their own language. Every effort was made to wipe from their memory how they ruled a state and how they related to their spirituality before the coming of the Europeans. Most of the people of the world were forced to forget that over half of human history was over before anyone knew that a European was in the world.”

Too often it is assumed that African history began with the slave trade and the colonization of Africa by Europeans. It is often forgotten that there were millennia of state and society formations and that there were advanced cultures and civilizations in Africa long before the Europeans came to Africa and negatively impacted on the continent.

Dr. Clarke divides African history into three categories (he admitted that it was an arbitrary, but a necessary, utility) which he calls the First, Second and Third Golden Age. “The first two reached their climax and were in decline before Europe as a functioning entity in human society was born.” He quotes Dr Leaky as saying: “The critics of Africa forget that men of science today, with few exceptions, are satisfied that Africa was the birthplace of man himself, and that for many hundreds of centuries thereafter, Africa was in the forefront of all human progress.” African history stretched from the birth of Man (First Golden Age) to the civilizations of Egypt, Kush (Second) up to the empires of Ghana, Mali, Songhai and the Kingdoms of Zimbabwe, Asante, Bornu, Benin, Oyo and a host of others (Third). These are solid African achievements before any European came.

It is usually forgotten that those empires and kingdoms were built by Africans and that they were in no way inferior to what existed in any other part of the world in terms of social, political and military organizations. The Songhai Empire, for example, was in fact larger than all of Europe, with a university at Sankore. Dr. Clarke refers to Alexander Chamberlain who said that the greatest of the Songhaian emperors, Askia, was: “the equal of the average European monarch of the time and superior to many.” Incidentally Askia came to power one year after Columbus landed in America – an event that was to have everlasting devastating consequences for Africa!

The death of Askia in 1528 brought the decline of the last of the Africa’s great empires. Songhai was sacked and the whole place was devastated by the invading armies. West Africa thus entered a sad period of decline from which it never recovered. As happened whenever an empire falls, there were a lot of internal strives. This happened in West Africa and brother turned against brother. When the Europeans pirates arrived and saw these ruins, they concluded that nothing of value ever existed. The fall of Songhai coincided with two important events in history and these have direct bearing on the Trans-Atlantic slavery. The first was Columbus landing in America and the second was the re-awakening of Europe from the Dark Ages that befell the continent after the fall of Rome. Europe was rising when Africa was declining and had the big African empires not fallen, Europe certainly would not have had much to conquer and enslave Africa with.

Dr. Clarke also considers the deliberate misconception that the African slave trade was the only system of slavery known in history. He gives examples of slavery in ancient Egypt, Kush, Greek, Roman and Jewish civilizations. Even in the USA, whites were first used as slaves before the slave traders decided on Africa! He then proceeds to give the qualitative differences between these earlier slave systems and the horrendous chattel system introduced by the Europeans in their enslavement of Africa.

According to Dr. Clark, the mistake our ancestors made, and which African leaders continue to make unto this day is that: “Non Europeans people, especially Africans and the Indigenous Americans in the Caribbean Islands referred to as “Indians” initially attributed to the Europeans a humanity and spirituality that they did not have, and still do not have in their relationship with most of non-European people of the world. This brings us to a conclusion that might be difficult for a lot of people to accept. Maybe the world outside of Europe didn’t need the Europeans in the first place. Maybe in this fakery about spreading civilization he destroyed more civilizations than he ever built and did the world more harm than good.”

There have been interactions among the world cultures since the dawn of history with each culture respecting the other. Africans have sailed to the Americas in pre-Colombian times and there are also evidences of the Chinese calling at African ports in ancient times. It is also a historical fact that Portuguese and other Europeans traded with Africans – buying gold and ivory before Columbus sailed to Americas, launched his genocide against the “Indians” and launched the process that was to result in the cruelest barbarity against a people, and the dehumanization of Africans that continue unto today. Why did he do it?

“The historical facts: in December 1492, Columbus was totally lost, wandering around the Caribbean islands thinking he was in Asia, when he was discovered by the Arawak Americans who lived in these islands.” Instead of thanking his rescuer, Columbus wrote to his king asking that his helpers should be subjugated. “… these people are very simple as regards the use of arms.. for with fifty men they can all be subjugated and made to do what is required of them!” “In his quest for gold, Columbus had the hands cut off of any Arawak who did not bring in his or her quota of gold. In a short 40 years, the entire race of people in Haiti, a half a million Native Americans, were wiped off the face of the earth by Columbus and the Spaniards that followed him.” And we are told to worship Columbus as a bringer of civilization!

Chapter 7, “Sorrow in a New Land” is the most difficult chapter of the book, not in terms of its erudition and clarity but because Dr. Clarke raises a lot of troubling questions: If, according to his own journals, Columbus had some sailing experiences along the coast of West Africa. How then did he end up in the West when he set out for the East? Why was he adamant that he was in India when he clearly wasn’t, and why did he threaten his crew with death and mutilation if they ever divulge his duplicity? Who financed Columbus expedition and why did his voyage co-incide with the expulsion of the Jews from Spain? Analyzing all these questions posed in this chapter is not something that could be tackled within the scope of a book review. It makes interesting reading, though.

In the last chapters of the book Dr. Clarke made some suggestions as to what we as African people should have done to recover from the disaster of slavery. Like most of the great Pan-African scholars, he believes in the essentiality and the imperativeness of UNITY. He laments that while the Caribbean had produced the greatest of Pan-African thinkers, they did not federate all of the Islands, a move which should have made the Panamanian, Grenadian and the Haitian invasions impossible. Dr. Clarke admonishes those among us who believe that our salvation lies in waiting for outside helpers: “When you have to call your former master back to do basic things for you, you are not free; you have re-enslaved or re-colonized yourself. We spend too much time celebrating. We have made white hotels rich by having our conferences there. All of the conferences that Black people have each year would allow us to build ten major hotels at once. We could raise our own food; it would be much better if we could stop eating out of the can all the time… The concept of nation responsibility. This is what has been taking away from us during these five hundred years. This is the supreme tragedy on our mind in the world Christopher Columbus did not discover, programming our mind to convince us that we could not even make a safety pin… There are Africans educated in Africa with Africa money who are scattered all over the world; they want to be anything but Africans. I maintain that there is no solution for African people, except for some form of Pan African Nationalism, no matter how you cut it. How do we become a whole people again? I think we should begin by finding a mirror and liking what we see. We have to realize it is not the effort of any one of us that will lead to freedom, but the collective work of all of us who are sincere.”

“In the 21st century there will be a billion African people on the face of the earth. Where is our economy going to come from? If we built a shoe factory and made shoes for that many people our shoe factories would be running all night and all day!”

“Our enslavement and the rape of the services of our countries helped to lay the basis of present-day capitalism. Again the Europeans have squandered their wealth on stupid wars and conflicts that could have been avoided. They have already proven that they have one mission in mind, irrespective of religion, politics or cultural affiliation and that mission is to dominate the world and all of its resources by any means necessary. Our mission should not be to conquer Europe, but to contain Europe within its borders and let it be known that anything Europe wants from other parts of the world can be had through honorable trade.

“If we understand our mission, I think we will become aware of the fact that we are in a position to give the world a new humanity that will bring into being a new world of safety and respect for all people. The Nile River civilizations of Africa gave the world its first humanity, its first belief systems, its first social though and its first philosophy. With the restoration of self-confidence we need to say to ourselves, “If we did it once, we can do it again.”

In chapter eleven, Dr. Clarke poses a question which he says was also the purpose of the book: “Why haven’t we as a People, without asking foundations to do it, why haven’t we set up a suitable memorial for the Africans who died in the Middle Passage? Why haven’t we done it ourselves? Why haven’t we done it in the past, why can’t we do it now, although belatedly? Why can’t we also have a slave museum either adjacent to it or separate from it to preserve, so that our children will remember, the chains and the neck irons and the foot irons and the leg irons? This is what we came through and we are obligated never to let this happen again. First, we are obligated never to let it happen again to us. That is our first obligation and the world’s obligation, after we take care of the first, is to join others of good will, if you can find them, to make sure that it never happens to anybody else in the world.”

This is a most profound question and I scratched my head in vain to find a suitable answer! The Kingdom of the Netherlands was occupied by the Nazis from 1940-1945 during which about 20,000 Dutch people were killed; May the 5th is set aside to commemorate the Liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi occupation. Again, the Premier of the state of Israel recently toured Europe where, among other offices, he performed the commissioning of a new Museum dedicated to victims of the Nazi Holocaust. Six million Jews perished in the Nazi atrocities. The Jews built Museums and other memorials to remind themselves of what they went through and also to draw strength and inspiration so that such calamity never befalls them again. What do we have in Africa except the absurdity of naming streets, rivers and monuments after our enslavers and colonizers! Ours must certainly be the only race that glorifies its oppression.

Dr. Clarke asks: “Why haven’t we memorialized our dead? It was almost like the crime of not burying them!”

“The one thing, in conclusion, that I’m asking you not to do is to forgive and forget. Your mission is to remember and to teach your children so that they can remember it. Because it happened to us, we have a special responsibility to ourselves to build a kind of humanity and partnership with all African people of the world that could serve as a role model for all of the people of the world.”

Original Sufferhead

The late irrepressible Nigerian musician, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, is easily Africa’s most political singer and song writer. In the 1980s, Fela released one of his blockbusters from which this article borrowed its title. Fela sang:

United Nation dem com get name for us

Dem go call us under-developed nation

We must be under-developed to dey stay ten ten in one room

First and second day dem go call us third world

We must be third world to dey sleep inside dustbin

Dem go call us Non-Aligned nation

We must dey craze for head to dey sleep under bridge

Ordinary thing for man to enjoy for town nko o?

E no dey

Water, light, food, e no dey

Problem, wahala e yen dey

Dem turn us to sufferhead o, original sufferhead

You don’t understand pidgin? Ask your friend for a translation.

Fela sang his protest song close to thirty years ago, but the situation hasn’t changed much in Africa. It’s as though our beloved continent has been frozen in some time warp with the rest of the world merrily passing us by.

It is pathetic the ways and manners Africa rulers (yes, they rule us, but they don’t seem to be leading us anywhere) continue to treat us. Why do our rulers continue to treat our nations like conquered territories and our treasuries like some war booties? This, to me, is the father and mother of all the questions facing us in Africa. And I believe that until we find a satisfactory answer to this pertinent question, we shall continue to grope in vain for that elusive answer to our developmental challenges.

Thirty something years ago, African rules, in their collective wisdom imposed the Structural Adjustment Programmes on their people. At the instigation of the Breton Wood institutions of the sadly misnamed World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (more correctly International Ministry of Finance), severe economic policies were imposed with the promise of better times to come. SAP metamorphosed into ESAP and this, in turn, metamorphosed into the insulting HIPC.

It has been thirty years of punishing economic nightmares for the African masses. And as for the rulers? Well, they don’t really believe in practicing what they preach: the cars in the presidential cavalcade are getting bigger and the motorcades are getting longer; the presidential palaces are getting bigger and more opulent – even with borrowed money. African leaders keep asking the poor masses to tighten their belts whilst their bellies are getting ever and ever larger. And there is ever stories of corruption all over the place.

Let us consider the case of our dear motherland, Ghana. Our government spin-doctors are forever telling us how well-managed and vibrant our economy is. But their whole pack of lies was punctured by the crunching energy crisis that blew up in their faces! Is anyone still in denial that we are in darkness?

We ought to ask ourselves how we come to end up in this sorry state. Few weeks ago, the country was agog and we all went gay celebrating our 50th anniversary of nationhood. Those who dare to suggest that we have absolutely nothing to celebrate we scoffed off as killjoys. We dismissed them even when they posited cogent reasons such that a nation that cannot provide sufficient food, water and shelter for its citizens has no business organizing extravagant parties whatever the occasions, most especially when it is being done with borrowed or begged for money.

Many a critic also pointed out that a nation like ours that depend on donor support for close to three-quarters of her budget simply should not be seen to be so wasteful, more so when those who give us the money do not go around wasting theirs.

Okay, okay, we have had our bash with all the pomp and the pageantry that we could muster. Our rulers (that word again!) have all made the appropriate noises (they call it speeches) after they have wined and dined themselves silly. And look at where we are today!

Like the drunk who borrowed money for the last binge, I say that it’s time that we put our heads into our hands and try some sober reflection. Do we like what we see?

How did we as people come to develop such voracious appetite and capacity for enjoyment, but do not appear to care enough even to be apathetic in the provision of life’s basic amenities? Listening to our rulers, one would be under the wrong impression that we are either asking for the moon or a place on the space station!

No, no sir! We are not asking for more than to be treated as human beings. We want to be able to open taps and get potable water. We want to be able to make ordinary phone calls whenever we want without depending on the whims of service providers. We want uninterrupted electricity. We want jobs that would enable us work and provide for our family – put food on the table, send our children to school, etc, etc. We want good roads. We want hospitals that do not look and smell like slaughter houses.

The most troubling part of this Energy Crisis (a crisis it definitely is) is that there are people who are actually being paid good money to ensure that we have enough energy to power our household equipments and to service the few disarticulate industries in the country. We have a Minister for the Energy sector who continues to draw his salary and emoluments. He continues to answer to ‘Honourable Minister’ and enjoy all the appurtenances of his high position. He continues to enjoy all these benefits in good conscience and yet he cannot perform the task of his office. Honour, why hath thou forsaken us!

In many countries that I know of, the Minister would have done the only honourable thing which is to resign, failure of which he would have been fired eons ago, instead of being allowed to continue to dull our intelligences with his soporific sophistries. In many countries where the parliament is not slumbering, but is awaken to its responsibilities as a tier of the government, the president would have been mercilessly grilled as to why he allowed this crisis to happen on his watch. In other countries, the press would have been responsible enough to perform its constitutional role of being the Fourth Realm. Yet, our press continues to behave as though these things are the normal state of affairs things. Only very few of our plethoras of media houses have deemed it fit to holler and scream at the people who got us into this fine mess.

The president and many of his ministers have junketed around the world ostensibly to seek investors. Perhaps a forensic audit should be done on how much these trips have cost us. And methinks that the President should come out and explain to us why he decided not to put his house in order before going out to woo investors. He should also very honestly tell us how many investors have packed their bag and baggage and left in frustration at our apparent inability to get the basics right.

It doesn’t require Nobel caliber intelligence to realize that you cannot run an economy, any modern economy, without sufficient electrical power. It’s like trying to run your vehicle on empty tank; impossible. No, it’d not do to keep blaming past governments or the vagaries of nature. By getting us into this prolong energy crisis, the government has failed us and miserably too. Let’s forget the nonsensical spins and all the silly excuses; we simply do not have electricity and no one is owning up to this monumental failure!

Do those who charge themselves with ruling us understand the damage they are doing to our nation’s image? Of course they will not tell it to our faces, but I can imagine the westerners laughing at us; and they’d be right. What picture do we present to them, except that of a Happy-go-lucky child interested only in having a good time? Just two months ago we invited them to come and part with us, today we’re experiencing crunching energy crisis.

This government came into power by promising to right the wrongs of the previous government. In opposition, our current rulers raved and raged against what they perceived to be the shortcomings of the previous administration. They claimed to have all the answers to all the problems facing us. We gave them two terms, and for them to start blaming anyone or anything for their shortcomings constitute a blatant breach of trust, and it’s totally unacceptable to me!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Give the slum a try

Alhaji Abdullahi Walatakiki has a presence. Tall, urbane, elegant and dressed in an English upper-class suit, he cut the image of a top banker or a diplomat at the highest echelon of his profession. Alhaji is the Assistant Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Finance. I ran into him at a newspaper’s office recently where he was busy defending his government’s policies. At the end I managed to swindle a few minutes of Alhaji’s expensive time.

“Could it be true that the government wanted to borrow US$5 million to study poverty?” I wanted to know.

Alhaji cleared his throat the way only the upper class knew how. “The whole thing has been blown out of all proportions. There’s nothing wrong in borrowing, per se. Every businessperson knows that. Every government in the world has had to borrow money to finance one project or the other. There’s nothing wrong in government borrowing.”

“But is studying poverty a viable project for which to take a loan. Is that not akin to a business taking up a loan to study why it is making a loss?”

The Minister gave me a condescending look. “What’s wrong in that? What’s wrong with a failing business hiring a business consultant to come and help it fix its problems?”

“With borrowed money?” I asked skeptically.

The Minister was obviously in a combative mood. Giving me a withering look, the one you gave an errant servant, he mused, “I guess you missed your Economics 101.”

“No sir, I didn’t miss my classes. It is just that I fail to see the logic in your argument. Why does an already highly-indebted, poverty-ridden and a virtually bankrupt third world country need a loan to find out why it is poor?”

“The reasons should be self-evident except to those for whom thinking is an encumbrance.” The Minister countered with sniggering contempt. “Do you know the number one problem we have in this country?”

“That’s not my department, sir.”

“I will tell you our biggest problem in this country. Our problem is that there are too many experts. We have too many lazybones masquerading as experts. The biggest wahala in Ghana is the profusion of armchair critics. Take it from me that is our biggest problem. Look at yourself for instance, all criticism and none of them constructive.”

“I am sorry you felt that way about me, sir. But we still haven’t answered the question of why we need a loan to study why we are poor. Couldn’t part of our problems be the lack of articulation of policy-intents by those in power?”

“You’re right to an extent. This government has always been responsive. The idea was jettisoned right when it was discovered that the people are against it.”

“I think the people were simply stupefied by the sheer effrontery of the idea. They have seen all the Poverty Alleviation programs lining only the pockets of our moneybags. They see that the only people that would benefit from the loan would be our deep pockets who will shuttle from one conference to another in their multimillion cedis Pajeros. In the name of fighting poverty, our cash-oozers will wine and dine at restaurants where food prices look like telephone numbers…”

The Minister cut in, “You certainly have fancy-phrases. ‘Moneybags,’ ‘deep pockets,’ ‘cash-oozers.’ You see what I mean by armchair critics? You see only the Pajeros and food bills, but what about the anguish our delegates to those conferences have to go through?”

“Anguish, sir. What anguish?”

“Conferences don’t come cheap. That’s what we have to understand in this country. We should also jettison the idea that we could get something for nothing. Every good thing cost money. Part of our problems also is that we are too much in a hurry to get to the Promised Land. How do you solve a problem without understudying the underpinning theoretical basis? You see we live in a scientific era, information superhighway, globalisation, computers, mobile phones and things. We cannot continue to tackle our problems in traditional and old superstitious ways.”

“Hmm. Don’t you think that part of our problem could also be that there is this yawning inequitable distribution of resources?”

“It is incredible that you could still be pantomiming discredited socialist ideas in this age and time. The idea that we could improve the lots of the poor by impoverishing the rich has been discredited.”

“I am not talking EQUAL distribution of wealth. I am simply talking about EQUITABLE distribution of the little resources we have. We cannot continue to maintain the fiction that our poverty stemmed from lack of resources. It did not. We have the resources; the problems come from the way we are allocating it. Don’t you think that we could do with a little bit of egalitarianism?”

“There we go again with armchair criticism. In your case, the criticism are wide and far off the mark. What specifically is your gripe?”

“I could give specifics like granting our legislators cars and housing loans. It should not be the business of our government to grant loans. A legislator that wants to buy a car or a house should go to his bank. It should strictly be the business of himself and his bank manager. We are a poor country and those that purport to serve us should not impose upon us financial burdens that do not exist even in the richest of the developed countries.

“In Holland, for instance, I know legislators that take the trains from Amsterdam to The Hague to go and represent their people. Holland can afford o buy cars for her lawmakers, but she would not. Why should an MP representing a poor constituency tools around town in a big jeep? What’s he trying to portray? We can take the case of our ministers. Why should they get free cars, free phones and free houses from the government? Those from whom we are running to borrow the money do not give their ministers free cars, free telephones and free housing.

“I say it is only in Africa that the poverty of the poor is not reflected in the opulent lifestyles of those that govern them. We are going to take loan to study poverty while our president travels around in a cavalcade of expensive cars. Do we think that those from whom we’re borrowing are unaware that our president goes around in a multi-billion cedis motorcade? And we pretend not to understand why they are reluctant to ease our debt burden. They are no fools.

“If those that govern us want to know why we are poor, let them come to our rat-infested, roaches-plagued, mosquito-overwhelmed ghost towns (ghost towns are ghettos within ghettos) their policies have consigned us. If they are serious about tackling poverty, let all our legislators come and spend a week at Alajo. Let our president spend a few days at Sahara. Let our ministers and lawmakers stop pontificating and experience the wretched lives they have foisted upon us. Let our sick leaders stop rushing to London and Paris for treatment; let them go to the blood-plastered slaughterhouses they call hospital. Let them withdraw their children from their expensive International schools and send them to the rickety building they call schools. Let our rulers abandon their jeeps for one week only and experience the joys of traveling in our trotros. Let our leaders spend a few days among us and experience our lives of ‘suffering & smiling’ (apologies to Fela Anikulapo-Kuti).

“Let those that are ruling us give the slum a try. That is all the education they needed to understand poverty.”

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Juju Economics

Like almost all opportunists Professor Koji Jubanga is a prostitute. In his case, an intellectual prostitute. In the early 1960s, Koji Jubanga, then a young scholar, was a fire-breathing Marxist sporting the appropriate Karl Marx beard. Communist books and literature were cheap and sometimes free. The pubescent Marxist crammed his head full with communist patois. He worked himself into a frenzy to produce a thesis mouthfully-named: ‘The Imperatives of Marxism-Leninism in International Social, Economic, Political and Spiritual Transformations: The Nativity of its African Perspectives In Geo-Strategic Cum Political Terms - Focus, Scope and Dimensions.’

Those who read the few circulated copies dismissed it as the most unscholarly of work. Its shoddiness alone put many fine souls away. But he was undaunted. He managed to penetrate the web of security at the Soviet embassy, got an audience with the Ambassador and presented his paper.

Few days later, he received a call. The Politburo had smiled on his thesis with approval. He was given a scholarship to study in the Soviet Union.

Half way through his studies, he was invited to a meeting by the KGB. He flunked his lie-detector test so badly that the KGB quickly arranged to have him degreed and sent back to Africa.

Nkrumahism was in vogue when he returned. Koji Jubanga wasted no time in declaring his allegiance to the new order. He labored for three weeks to produced another thesis bombastically-titled: ‘Osagyefoism: The Historical Connectivity of Black Consciousness through the Ages: From Kam (Egypt) to 20th Century Ghana. Its Theoretical and Practical Ramifications, Universality and Pre-Determinism.’

He was amply rewarded for his efforts.

As a survivalist, he managed a stint with the Busia regime. He equally charmed is way into Acheampong’s Unity Government - producing academic thesis suffused with hard-to-read scholarly jargons to support Acheampong’s brain-dead ideas.

During the Revolution of 1979, he tried to worm his way into the new regime. The new leaders were not too impressed - if only because the young military officers couldn’t make a head or tail out of his dense thesis. The security check they ran on him sealed his fate.

For several years our learned scholar was in limbo. When the government changed gear and embraced the IMF, Koji Jubanga saw his chance and plunged head-on to pluck it. He labored day and night for three months to produce another grandiloquently-titled thesis: ‘Market-Economy - The Natural Order of Economic Determinism, Personal Self-Sufficiency, National Self-Determination, Cooperative Multilateralism, Inter-Global Dependency and the end of Bolshevik Socialism.’ He took it to a top Desktop Graphic Designer at Osu where it was impressively polished up.

The IMF and their trumpeting quangoes needed a true believer to sell their ideas. Koji Jubanga was willing, for a fee, to become the Apostle of the new order. He presented his paper which wowed the big-wigs of the IMF. They made him a consultant - salaries and perks to be paid in dollars. Professor Jubanga, like most new converts, became a zealot.

I ran into him at the Commonwealth Hall at Legon. He had delivered an impassioned, lukewarmly-received address at another of those endless World Bank Conferences on poverty in Africa. He was looking remarkable good. Sharp three- piece suit on a satin smooth skin, a designer glasses on a full face. He tools around town in a new Mercedes S-series and packs a mobile phone - the very latest model.

“Nice speech.” I lied after cornering him.

“Thank you, my friend. I am glad that some of us are beginning to see the light.”

“Light?” I wondered.

“Yes, some of us are turning around to jettison our ancient mind-sets, however difficult, and recognizing the universality of the simple concepts I tried to elucidate. You see, the problem is that some of us are so wired to old ideas that we refuse to see reason even when it is thrown in our faces. Things simply cannot continue the way they were. We have to join the rest of humanity in embracing the forces of the market. It is then, and only then that we can truly join the rest of humanity. There is no hope for us if we want to get out of our ignorant-engendered poverty. The rest of humanity are marching triumphantly with the trend, so should we. No one is going to wait for us, no one! Historically, no country has got out of its economic mess and mass-poverty without obeying the principles of market forces. You see, if you look round you, the rest of the world are registering impressive economic growth. It is only Africa that is lagging behind. You see, things simply cannot continue the way it was. You see.”

"I see.” I said, not sure of what I saw.

Professor Jubanga cleared his throat and bellowed: “There are still a lot of our folks who believe that it is the business of government to continue to pour money into useless white-elephants. They believe that because the government was subsiding things four decades ago is enough reason to continue the wastage. You see."

“Are we not mixing facts up with fictions here, professor?”

Professor Jubanga showed his displeasure by baring his teeth at me, “What do you mean? Who’s mixing facts with fictions?” He demanded, showing me an angry snarl.

“I don’t mean to be insulting, professor, but you seem to be lurching from point to point without actually tying them together. For a feeble-minded person like me, it all sounds so empty, even if grandiloquently so. Shall we begin with this market force thing, what exactly are we talking about?”

Convinced that I was not trying to put him down or prove to be his intellectual equal, the professor showed a benevolent smile at my humility.

“Yeah, I agree that it is rather difficult to render a simple definition. We are talking about an economy whereby the state [represented by the government] has relinquished the commanding heights to private entrepreneurs. In contrast to our system whereby the government is playing the magician - conjuring up things, a market economy is controlled solely by the forces of the market. The beauty of it is that it is the only economics that does not need to be taught to anyone. It is so natural that every human being understands it. The main argument in its favor is that every country that embraced the principles of market forces is registering economic growth while those who refused to obey its laws are locked in their doldrums. Do you understand?”

“Hmm...” I said simply. I wanted the professor to continue with his passionate analysis.

Professorial baritone boomed, “You see. We have to work very hard (I can see that) to sell the ideas to our rather skeptical compatriots. Our people have to see reason. We have to join the rest of mankind in their triumphant march into prosperity...”

“You seem to be doing just fine.”

He misunderstood my sarcasm. I meant that he was looking after himself - the Oriental silk shirt, the Gucci shoes and the gold Omega. Not too bad for someone working hard to sell ideas.

“Thank you. Where was I?”

“You were telling me how you want our people to march into prosperity. But are the arguments for the so-called market forces not specious? Actually sir, I think that the arguments you just offered are outright lies.”

The professor’s mouth flew open and he’d problem closing it. It was as though I’d slapped him.

“What,” he cried in a non-professorial tone.

“I thought we’re on the same side!” The way he looked, I hope that he doesn’t rupture a blood-vein.

“It depends on what side we are talking about. When people argue that countries and regions have been developed by market forces, they either do not know what they are talking about or they are simply telling lies. If, as you pointed out, it means the government getting out of the commanding heights of the economy, I’ll say that it is only in Africa that people believe in the fiction that it is governmental interference that’s impeding our economic growth. No nation has been developed by market forces, none shall ever be. Let’s make that Femi’s first principle of economic development. The fact of the matter is that every government is interfering in the national economy, one way or the other. No government has abandoned its economy to some mirage call market forces. We can use Europe, Asia and the U.S. as our case studies. Was the United States of America, today the greatest champion of the free-market hoopla, developed by market forces? Does the U. S. practice free trade? Was it not a U.S. president who said that the business of government is business? Was it not an American business leader who proclaimed that ‘What is good for General Motors is good for America?’ When I look at the United States, I find it difficult to see the demarcation line between business and government. Was it not American ministers that leads trade delegations and drive hard-bargains for U.S. businesses? Are the American fruit companies in Latin America not aided by the military and diplomatic muscles of the U.S. government? Are the roads of the American oil companies in the Middle East not paved by American diplomats and marines? Are a great many of the products American businesses selling around the world not developed by Pentagon scientists? Do American businesses not need their government approval to trade overseas? Have they not all been co-opted into the ideology of the U.S.? Do we see them breaking with their governments in its crusades around the world? Do American farmers not enjoying huge subsidies from Uncle Sam? The defense industries are so closely tied to the U.S. government that they are virtual arm of the Pentagon. I recall a U.S. president lamenting the pervasive influence of what he called the Military-Industrial Complex on the American government. And if we are to believe this market-forces preachments, are we not right to ask why the U.S. government is always intervening to shore up the dollar and using its currency in its trade wars with Japan and China and the rest of the non-white world?

“Coming to Europe, we have to ask the pertinent question: could anyone who studies the history of the Industrial Revolution in Europe affirm that Europe was developed by market forces? Let the truth be told, it was slavery and colonialism that built European prosperity. It was the gold, the diamond, the spices and the human beings that Europe looted from around the world that formed the basis of the opulence that Europeans are flaunting today. Market forces played no part since the tradings and the raidings were tightly controlled by plutocrats who enjoyed Royal blessings. Are Europeans preaching ‘Free-Trade’ and market-forces practicing it? If so, why don’t they allow processed (if only partially) African goods into their ‘free markets?’ What about the huge subsidies they give to their farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy? Why are they keeping mountains of butter and rivers of wine, at great costs, to shore up prices? Why are European governments not allowing their currencies to find its true levels? Why are they forever prodding it up and fretting whenever it is going down?

Asia offers the best argument against the proponents of market forces and free- trade. If the histories of European and American economic developments is too old for some of us, the Asians miracles happened in our life-time. None of the Asian Tigers practiced free-trade, none of them followed the principles of market forces. They all closed their markets to all but the most essential imports, built up their industrial and commercial infrastructures, put in place tight trade policies and emerged as global competitors. Of course, they do not say that you cannot export goods to them, but they put in place such bureaucratic obstacles that it is not worth anyone’s time to try and break through. Study all of them - Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and the newly emerging economies of Malaysia and China, what we find are tightly controlled economies. The Asians are no fools.

“What do we have in Africa? We take every preachment from Euro-Americans as akin to praxis. We are so gullible that we dance to their every tune. We do not observe; we only listen. We are the only people in the world who allow unrestricted imports to cripple our local industries. We are the only one who allows our currencies to fall without concern. We are the only people on earth who, uncritically, swallow everything we are told.

Few years ago, we were told that democracy is the only way forward. We organized elections and put western political models in place. Our economies nose-dived. Those who are dictating to us went back to their laboratories and divined that free-market is our only salvation. We took to SAP the way dogs took to bones. For over a decade we have taken every prescription they proffered.

The professorial gave me a withering look, glance at his watch. His professorial irritation was unmasked. “The problem with all your analyses is that you proffer no single solution. With communism gone, what is the alternative? What alternatives are you offering?”

“I offer none because I have none. I have no solution to Africa’s problem and I’ll not believe anyone who says that he has one. But we can learn from the others. We have swallowed the bitter pills of SAP for far too long and it is time to start asking questions. In the name of free trade, we have thrown open our ports to every junk from all over the world. We are the only people doing so. Our public services have been ravaged and thousands of public officers laid off. Our currencies are battered to the point of inutility. Our educational and health services have all but collapsed. What has gone wrong? That is the question we have to ask ourselves. We have to do a lot of soul-searching. And in this self-analysis we should listen to no voice but ours. After all, who feels it knows it.

“The one factor I see in every country that has developed economically is that the people have great faith and confidence in themselves. The European in their heyday believed that they have a mission in the world. The same with the Americans - they are fervent nationalists. ‘I am proud to be an American; Most of us are. Our patriotism is fierce, if often quiet.’ - Robert J. Samuelson, Newsweek, March 11, 1996, p.2. Whatever their ideological orientation and political persuasion, Americans believe in the ‘American Dream,’ and they want nothing but to make their country the pre-eminent country in the world. We find the same among the Asians. The Japanese, the Chinese are nationalists to the point of xenophobic. The Koreans believe that they too can do. The slogan put up by the giant Samsung conglomerate on their headquarters sums it up. It simply says, ‘Koreans can do.’

“In Africa, we have lost faith in our ourselves and we have no confidence in our abilities. The Asians suffered the same colonial domination\exploitation like us, but they did not lose their essentially Asian character. The Indonesian wants to be nothing but an Indonesian, ditto the Korean, Malay, Chinese. In Africa we are trying to run away from ourselves as fast as possible.”

“I have never listened to so much utter bunkum in my life. You have no answers to our problems, and about the only thing you do is pour scorn on those who have. You can’t be serious when you opined that the economic problems will be solved if Africans become xenophobes. Africa’s mass poverty will be eliminated by an ideology of nationalism, ah! So you truly believe that nationalism alone leads to economic prosperity, ah, ah, ah.” The professor laughs disdainfully.

I elected to ignore his pun, “I think that we are getting the wrong answers because we asked the wrong questions. To begin with, Africa is not poor, Africans are. There is a big difference between the two. Our continent, the second largest in the world, is the most resource-rich. The question we have to ask is why Africans, sitting on vast riches, are the most impoverished people on earth. That is the mother of all questions. Corrupt governments, lack of western-styled governments, tribalism and dictatorship are not enough reasons. They are too simplistic for the simple reason that African politicians are not more corrupt than their Belgian, Italian, American or Japanese counterparts. Africans are also not more clannish than say the Belgians or the Canadians. We are also not less democratic than the Koreans or the Taiwanese or the Chinese. For instance, China is not more democratic than, say, Ghana; its politicians are not less corrupt that their Ghanaian counterparts; and it has its own tribal problems. Why is it developing more rapidly than Ghana? When we consider all these, we have to come up with new questions and answers to our problems...”

“So you think that our problem is lack of sufficient analyses? You couldn’t have been more wrong, my friend. As Martin Luther King jr. put it, we have even become paralyzed by our analysis. What more is there to analyze?”

“We have become paralyzed by analyzing the wrong things. Why can’t we ask ourselves why we are sentencing our best brains into economic exiles and then turn around to import expensive ‘experts’ from Euro-America whom we pay in dollars? Why are we not asking how the Israelis manage to get our diamonds, add some values to it and export it to Japan and become the only country in the world having a trade surplus with the land of the rising sun? Why are we not asking of those who say that we should turn our currencies into Monopoly currency why they keep shoring up theirs? Why do we believe those who tell us to let market forces take care of our economy when we see the same people parenting theirs like newly-born babies? Why are we not asking those who said we should cut subsidies to our industries and our farmers why they keep subsidizing theirs? Why are those who say that we should allow our banks to fail keep propping-up their failing S\Ls and other financial institutions? Why are the apostles of free-trade and market-forces rescuing industries such as Chrysler? If ‘Free-trade’ and market forces are the only vehicle to economic prosperity, how did South Korea, China, Taiwan and Singapore managed to develop without it?

“The sad truth, the only one I can see is that we are poor not because we are not practicing free-trade or not obeying the principles of market forces. We are poor only because we have abandoned all hope to help ourselves. With child-like helplessness we have put our faith into the hands of foreigners. Our confidence is so battered that we think that we need to be continually led. Africans are poor because foreigners are mis-managing our affairs. No country has been developed by foreigners, however benevolent, and none shall ever be. We can make that Femi’s second principle...”

The professor cut me short, “What we see here are lots and lots of criticism, none of them constructive. We have embarked on a new course, why are you impatient to see the germinating results?”

“Unless you’re into some esoteric particle physics experiment, three decade is long enough time to see some result of your experiment? When are we going to start to see the benefits you painted for us? When are we going to enjoy the paradise you pictured for us? We have fulfilled our part of the bargain, when are you going to deliver on yours? When are the promised investment going to start coming. If you are honest, sir, won’t you agree that the whole thing boils down to some Juju economics?”

“Juju Economics.” The professor wondered.

“Former President Bush lambasted Reaganomics as ‘Voodoo Economics,’ I’ll call ours Juju Economics because it was premised on the same false assumptions. We have decimated our middle class, SAPped our poor class with the hope that the rich will invest more to trickle down. This hasn’t happened. Our professionals are cleaning toilets in Euro-America; some of our poor masses are selling Korean dog-chains on the highways, others drinking and smoking away their lives, the rest are roaming our streets with lynching intentions. Instead of putting their tax breaks into productive investment, the rich people simply build more houses for themselves, buy more Pajeros, acquire more mobile phones and go on overseas holidays with their girl-friends. The foreign investors, those who, we were told, will deliver us to the gates of heaven are not investing in any productive projects in our country. They are only excavating our minerals and shipping them raw to their countries. The Arabs and the Asians are only building night clubs and gambling halls, turning more and more of our women into whores. The Euro-Americans are building fast- food joints and Soft-drink (they say) Bottling companies, turning us into western junks consuming junkies.

“I have a big ax to grind with our intellectuals. They’ve failed us!” I cried, vibrating with passion.

“Look,” I shouted, trembling with emotion, “What do they do except re-hash what Euro-American scholars are saying. Are they giving us original thoughts? I don’t want to get personal, but intellectual prostitutes like yourself are our biggest problems. The job of intellectuals is to help generate original ideas to suit the peculiarities of their societies. What are African intellectuals doing? They either run away to Euro-America and rail against the inadequacies at home or stay at home and become prostitutes. If by tomorrow the IMF and the World Bank should divine that SAP has, after all, being an unmitigated disaster, I bet that you’ll find yourself singing the new chorus with the same calenture.”

“That’s not fair,” the professor said dejectedly.

I responded sharply, “What is not fair is your painting your personal comfort in patriotic halo and confusing your own happiness with our national well-being.”

Wise saying:

" Never use both feet to test the depth of the sea." - African proverb