The Old Man and the Medal*
(for this piece, I am borrowing the title of a book by the great Cameroonian writer, Ferdinand Oyono. I very highly recommend it.)
What type of mental frame are African leaders in when they go to collect their useless awards from Western leaders? A leader from the West would not be unduly impressed by an award from an African leader. Why then do our leaders still feel giddy with excitement when the Imperialists throw a medal at them? Are these leaders so bereft of historical knowledge to know that it was with such gimmicks that the imperialists bamboozled our ignorant chiefs into getting into unholy alliances with them?
Read up your history and study how the wily Europeans wrote ‘treaties’ in their own languages and confused our unlettered chiefs into signing away large swathe of their lands. How else do you think that the Perfidious Albion got hold of such large tracts of African land? No, they didn’t carry it on their back from Europe. They stole it, pure and simple. And they used the crudest tricks in their bags of tricks: bribery and corruption. For a measly mirror and bottle of gin, our Chiefs ignorantly believed in the friendship of the perfidious European. By the time our ignorant Chief finished his bottle of gin and had enough satisfaction studying his image in the mirror, the wily European has already run ahead with the ball.
The fawning media was full of the news that the Queen of Holland has invited President Kufuor to come and spend three days in the low lands and also to address the Dutch bi-camera parliament! What exactly is wrong with African leaders? For those who do not it, the present Dutch government headed by Jan Balkelende is among the most xenophobic and rabidly racist in Europe. What President Kufuor should have done was simply to invite some of the Ghanaian long resident in Holland to come and brief him on their plight in that accursed land.
Balkelende has made it his mission to whiten Holland as far and fast as possible. It was under his leadership that Holland became hellish for Non-European (read White) immigrants. It was under Balkelende’s premiership that the whole Somali community emigrated en-mass to the UK. It was under his stewardship that non-European visitors to Holland must learn the Dutch language in their own country and at their own expense before being granted visa. African immigrants who wish to marry a Dutch citizen must now go back to their own country of origin in order to tie the nuptial tie.
As I wrote recently in the London-based New African magazine, no one with a working knowledge of history ought to be surprised by the current attitude of the Dutch – they were simply following the footsteps of their wretched forebears. The Dutch were the worst slavers during the trans-Atlantic slavery. Their cruelty was so great that it drew the condemnation of even the Spaniards - no one can accuse the Spaniards of being squeamish when it comes to maltreating their own slaves. It must also be remembered that the bastards the Dutch sired on our continent (the Boers in South Africa) were the worst colonialists and also the worst racists in Africa.
I doubt very much if they teach authentic African history at Oxford where President Kufuor had his university education so, maybe we can pardon his ignorance. I also have my doubt whether the motley ass-licking, sycophantic quangoes who are busy singing his praises read much either. If they do they would have heard of the book, “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa,” by the late celebrated Caribbean scholar, Walter Rodney. In my humble opinion, that book should be a compulsory read at all our tertiary institutions.
If they know their history, our badly-educated elite who are today singing the praises of the Albinos and today feel themselves elevated by useless medals Western leaders are putting on their necks will know how much the West contributed to the sorry state Africa is in today. No, I am not excusing the Arabs, but the crimes of Europe are simply just too vast and too horrendous that there simply exist no basis for comparison with any other calamity that has befallen our dear motherland.
Dapper was a Dutch visitor to the ancient Benin kingdom. He wrote prodigious notes where he compared Benin City with the city of Amsterdam. The Europeans came and destroyed the kingdom They sacked and burned the city, looted the palace and treasury (the stolen wealth are still at the British Museum) and their historians came, met the shell of a city and start writing about their savage Africans incapable of thoughts beyond food and sex.
The Dutch came and raped so many women that many of our fine citizens still bear the names of the amoral men who fathered children they do not give a hoot about. Today our President is going to Holland where he, undoubtedly, will sing the praises of the duplicitous Dutch. He will thank them for all the ‘help’ they are rendering to us. He will wine and dine with Queen Beatrix who, has a leading member of the Bilderberg group, is among the shapers of obnoxious Western policies that are devastating our continent and mother earth.
President Kufuor did not know his history and he apparently hasn’t taken the time to read up on it. The Dutch have played a critical and, very often, leading role in the Western Man’s despoliation of the Non-White people. It was in Holland that the Catholic Council of Elders met in the year 1457 to sanction the enslavement of Africans as chattel property. Holland was also the last of the slave nations to abolish slavery.
Johan Anthoniszoon "Jan" van Riebeeck was the man that made South Africa safe for Dutch colonialists. He was a Dutch from the town of Culemborg. Another Dutch whom we should not forget in haste is Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd. Verwoerd was the primary architect of apartheid and was its greatest theoretician. He was a native Dutch before he migrated to South Africa to help in establishing the racial system that so thoroughly blighted the face of that beautiful country. And let it not be forgotten that the Dutch Reformed Church played a pivotal role in sustaining the odious apartheid system until the last dying years. It says so much about the Dutch that their colonial possession in African was the most virulently racist and was also the last to decolonized.
Let’s examine some of the things we can glean from the atrocious past of the Dutch history:
"The Dutch share in the slave-trade was large: in fact, in the seventeenth century, it was the largest. The Dutch West India Company had various settlements on the African coast, and millions of slaves were ferried from there, especially during the time of Dutch occupation of Brazil. In the twelve years (1637-48) they transported no less than 23,163 slaves from Elmina and Loanda, for an amount of 6, 714, 423 guilders and 60 cents, (the Dutch were very precise!) They bought slaves from the Congo for 40 to 50 guilders and sold them in Brazil for 200 to 800 guilders. Certainly a worthwhile business." (J.W. Schulte Nordholt, 'The People that Walk in Darkness'. Ballantine Books, New York. p.10).
Below is how the above-quoted author described the scene from a slave-trade:
“I stopped the carriage at the water-side, to behold a group of human beings, who had strongly attracted my attention... They were a drove of newly imported Negroes, men and women, with a few children, who were just landed from on board a Guinea ship that lay at anchor in the roads, to be sold for slaves. The whole party was such a set of scarcely animated automatons, such a resurrection of skin and bones, as forcibly reminded me of the last trumpet. These objects appeared at that moment to be risen from the grave, or escaped from Surgeons' Hall; and I confess I can give no better description of them, than by comparing them to a walking skeletons covered with a piece of tanned leather.” (J.W. Schulte Nordholt, op. cit. p.8).
That the Dutch were the most brutal of the slave-raiders is attested by the fact
that: "The Dutch had established themselves in Berbice in 1624. During the years 1624 to 1763 they were the cruelest of slave masters. The Dutch slave code was much harsher than the Spanish code (the savagery of the Dutch code is shown by one provision of calculated cruelty: the burning alive of mutinous slaves over a slow fire). The Dutch had no institution comparable to the Spanish audiencia, a tribunal which included four judges. The ruthlessness of the Dutch created the situation that came to a climax in the Berbice slave rebellion." ( 'Marcus Garvey and the vision of Africa,' edited by John Henrik Clarke. Vintage Books, New York. p.19).
And Walter Rodney informed us, "Central and South America gold and silver - mined by Africans - played a crucial role in meeting the need of coin in the expanding capitalist money economy of Western Europe, while African gold was also significant in that respect. AFRICAN GOLD helped the Portuguese to finance further navigation around the Cape of Good Hope and also into Asia ever since the 15th century. AFRICAN GOLD was also the main source for the mintage of Dutch gold coin in the 17th century; HELPING AMSTERDAM TO BECOME THE FINANCIAL CAPITAL OF EUROPE IN THAT PERIOD." (Walter Rodney, ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa.’ Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications, London 1972. p.94) - caps are for emphasis.
A few months before the capitalists’ world spectacularly collapsed on them, I read the new book by the ex-Chief Economist of the World Bank, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, “Globalization and its Discontents,” in which he roundly vilified the IMF whose policies he termed ‘bad economics.’ Professor Stiglitz was a believer until he had his epiphany along the way and became the IMF and the World Bank worst critic. I doubt very much if President Kuffuor ever read Professor’s Stiglitz book. I have my doubt if African leaders (save ex South African president Thabo Mbeki) read much
Fifty years of our so-called independence, our leaders still shamelessly junket around the world with begging bowl when there is so much we can do to help ourselves and protect our sovereign dignity. Let me give one specific example: Ghana and her neighbor, Cote D’Ivoire together produce more than half of the world’s cocoa. Nothing on earth, save tunnel vision, stops the leaders of the two countries from forming a Cocoa cartel to set the prices of cocoa just like OPEC is doing. Ghana can easily earn more from her cocoa produce than all the ‘aid’ our leaders are shamelessly soliciting all over the world.
Someone close to president Kuffuor should advice him to get and read Herbert Aptheker’s classic, ‘Laureates of Imperialism.’
PS: According to reports in the Dutch media, the HIGHLIGHT of President Kufuor’s visit was his coming late to a state occasion to lay a wreath in Amsterdam. According to Amsterdam AT5 Television station, our beloved President kept his hosts, including the Dutch Prime Minister and the Mayor of Amsterdam, waiting for good one hour. The Dutch tired of waiting for the African leader in the cold truncated the ceremony to a three minutes affair!