Monday, January 31, 2011

Mickey Mouse Independent Nations

When we in Africa condemn imperialism (aka neocolonialism), its apologists and their local trumpeters will hit town with the refrain: "But you have been independent for 50 or so years now; how could you continue to blame the colonial masters for your current woes?"

This argument is as disingenuous as it is wrong: it suggests that there was a time when the colonialists packed their bags and baggage and left Africa alone.

It also denies the simple fact that colonialism was essentially an enterprise undertaken solely for economic gains. We are being asked to believe that the colonialists simply abandoned all their economic investments/interests in their former colonies and went back home. We know that this is simply not true; when push came to shove and the colonised people demanded their freedom, all the colonialists without exception showed their fangs: the Portuguese in Angola and Mozambique; the French in Algeria and Guinea; the Brits in Kenya.

Although the British were more clever and more devious, but as Oginga Odinga informed us, in each and every one of their colonial possessions, the colonial masters handed power over to heirs trusted to maintain the colonial structures in all but name.

In Côte d'Ivoire, Félix Houphouët Boigny was more a Frenchman than an African and he made no pretense that he was not there to satisfy the interests of France. In Nigeria, the British concocted common-sense-defying population figures that ensured that their favoured Northern candidates will maintain political power for a very long time.

Sadly, colonial contract historians would want us to believe that it was all rosy-rosy.

According to Eurocentric "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 this type of make-me-happy interpretation of history that is still being forced down our throats by the ideological institutions the Europeans have created to celebrate themselves. But it just happens not to be true.


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Wise saying:

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