Saturday, December 26, 2009

Oh, Shut Up, Mrs. Clinton!

"You tear out a man's tongue and then explain that his dumbness is his own fault - the man is tongueless! Imperialists conquer peoples; turn their lands into dungeons; prevent industrialization; shore up all the feudal and native reactionary elements; distort the whole economy by forcing concentration on particular cash crops or strategic minerals; super-exploit the colonial working population; grow sleek and fat on the wealth robbed from the colonies, and then - shame on you non-technical and non-industrial peoples for your 'backwardness!'"
—Herbert Aptheker, Laureates of imperialism, Masses and Mainstream, p.67.

"The object of neo-colonialism is to ensure that power is handed to men who are moderate and easily controlled, political stooges. Everything is done to ensure that accredited heirs of colonial interests capture power... The strategy was to place in power in Kenya those elements that would be favorably inclined to Britain, and would safeguard her economic and military interests."
—Oginga Odinga, Not Yet Uhuru, Hill and Wang. p.256

A month after her boss made his hugely disappointing (at least to Africans) trip to Ghana, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is making what is regarded as a whistle-stop trip to seven African trips. It is a trip believed designed to salve the bruised egos of leaders of countries that were miffed by President Obama's failure to see them on his visit. Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya are prime examples.

From August 3-14 Hillary Clinton breezed through seven countries in Africa doing what Western politicians do best: lying through their teeth while pasting hypocritical smiles on their faces to hide their devilish intentions towards the non-Western world. And African leaders, for their part, are doing what they do best: playing the vassal chiefs in the presence of their overlord.

Colonialism and imperialism have not paid their score when they withdraw their flags and their police forces from our territories. For centuries the capitalists have behaved in the underdeveloped world like nothing more than war criminals. Deportations, massacres, forced labor and slavery have been the main methods used by capitalism to increase its wealth, its gold or diamond reserves, and to establish its power.
—Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of The Earth, Grove Press, Inc., New York. p. 101.

Apart from Nelson Mandela, who advised President Bill Clinton to go and drink some sea water when he (Clinton) preached to the old man on how to choose his friends and Zimbabwean President Mugabe (may the ancestors continue to guide and protect him), who continues to vibrate against Western interference, no other African leader has had the courage to tell nosy interfering Western leaders some home truths.

Some of these are that:

i. International relations are not based on sentimentalities, but on strong economic and political considerations.
ii. The 500 or so years of relationship between Africa and Europe has been detrimental to Africa.
iii. Europe has never been a friend of Africa as its scholars and leaders would want us to believe.
iv. The West is in Africa for what it can get from the continent - first it was humans and later the mineral resources.
v. Africa remains the only place where Westerners still come to preach.
vi. Africa does not need any lesson on human rights from Euro-America whose wretched past would shame a nation of the most primitive savages.
vii. It's high cultural philistinism for hosts to insult their guests.

Mrs. Clinton was reported to have said in Angola: "We want to be your partner, not your patron."

God have mercy! When and where did Africans asked to be patronized? What have patriotic Africans been asking for since the dawn of history? The sheer cheek of it all!

It was the editor of the London-based New African magazine, Baffour Ankomah (a former contributor to Swans), who once wondered whether or not Western leaders eat the same food ordinary mortals eat. I guess the good editor was just too frustrated to make sense of the nonsense Western leaders keep spewing at the rest of us.

Mrs. Clinton was also reported to have told Angolans about the need for good governance and strong democratic institutions and also that it was important to be vigilant against corruption.

Look at who is talking. One wonders where the woman has been the past two years when massive greed and monumental corruption sank major US (and Western) banks and companies? Who the heck is Mrs. Clinton to give any lecture on corruption when pervasive corruption has all but wrecked her own country's economy? And who has been doing all the corrupting in Africa if not Western corporations in cahoots with their local compradors?

When the countries of Europe undertook to develop the New World, they were interested primarily in the exploitation of America's natural resources. Labor was, obviously, necessary, and the cheaper the better... Because of their color, Negroes could be easily apprehended. Negroes could be purchased outright and a master's labor supply would not be in a state of constant fluctuation. Negroes, from a pagan land and without exposure to the ethical ideals of Christianity, could be handled with more rigid methods of discipline and could be morally and spiritually degraded for the sake of the stability of the plantation. In the long run, Negro slaves were actually cheaper. In a period when economic considerations were so vital, this was especially important. Negro slavery, then, became a fixed institution, a solution to one of the most difficult problem that arose in the New World. With the supply of Negroes apparently inexhaustible, there would be no more worries about labor. European countries could look back with gratitude to the first of their nationals who explored the coasts of Africa, and brought back gold to Europe. It was the key to the solution of one of America's most pressing problems.
—John Hope Franklin, as quoted in Black Power, pp. 40-41)

A Yoruba proverb says: Iri ti a ba ri oja, la nno. It means that goods are priced the way they are displayed.

Western leaders continue to talk down to Africa because African leaders continue to behave like obedient children that would listen to duplicitous lectures from Western leaders. And five centuries of playing the vassal does not seem to have dampened the enthusiasm of these quislings. Shame on them!

Who is Mevrouw Clinton to come and give me a lecture on human rights? She lives in a country that has done nothing but to kill human beings all across the world since the beginning of its miserable history. She lives in a country where vile racism is still very much alive and where black people continue to be treated with impunity. Senator Clinton was part of the infamous gang of US Senators that drafted the infamous bill that placed sanctions on Zimbabwe -- current vice president Biden is another one of the senators.

These racists were there when Ian Smith and his brigands were massacring Africans; they didn't sanction him. They were probably asleep when the apartheid killing machines were mowing down innocent Africans who were just protesting against the violations of their inalienable rights to be humans. It should be mentioned that American corporations and banks were in deep cahoots with the stiff-necked Afrikaners. These fine senators, most probably in the pay of US corporations, still look on unconcerned as American MNCs continue their rapacious rape of the earth's resources. They were sponsoring the proxy wars that devastated Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Somalia etc. They were there, cheering in the case of Madam Clinton, when American forces marched illegally to occupy Iraq and killed (who is counting?) Iraqis.

I say who the heck is Mevrouw Clinton to come and pontificate to Angolans about human rights and democracy? Where was America when Angolans were groaning under a very bestial colonial rule? Why didn't American officials moralize to the Portuguese about the need to stop treating Africans like the beast of burden? Why didn't the USA help Angola and the other African colonies to regain the independence from colonial rule? The truth of the matter is that not a single colonial state in Africa enjoyed even a token support from Uncle Sam.

The obscene noises President Obama (oh, he's black!), Mrs. Clinton, and other American officials make today about human rights sound very hollow, hypocritical, and sardonic indeed. And let the truth the told, the U.S. has supported and continues to support the most despicable tyrants in the world. Do I need to name Mr. Diem, Somoza, Pinochet, Mobutu, Batista, Stroessner, Marcos, etc.?

Which brings us back to the Yoruba proverb. President Obama was in Cairo, Egypt recently. We didn't see him talk down to Egyptians. If anything, he talks to them like equals will talk to one another. He didn't give them any lecture about good governance and elections even though Hosni Mubarak has being in power for about thirty years. We do not see US officials hectoring European leaders the way they do to African leaders. The U.S. and Europe occasionally have their differences, but we do not see US officials threatening them or using offensive languages against them.

There is another thing Western people just tend to forget: Cultured guests do not insult their hosts. And those errand boys in Africa who continue to sit down and listen to stupid sermons from Euro-American officials will do well to remember that no elf-respecting host will tolerate insults from those sojourning in his house. Frau Clinton will not dare go to Malaysia and tell the people there how to lead their lives; she simply knows that she will get more than she bargained for.


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