From the archives: This was the first of two letters I wrote to the then Dutch Deputy Minister Kosto in 1992
I am writing this letter in reaction to your recent pronouncements on 'illegal immigrants' in your country. But for the office you are holding, I would have dismissed your speeches as the myopic ranting of a schizophrenic ignoramus.
In this hate-filled period, when the embers of racism, fascism and intolerance are cracking all over Europe, one would expect people in political office to be doubly careful about their public statements. Alas! popularity-contest for cheap electoral vote is rated well above racial sensitivity. Black people feelings are to be sacrificed to appease unrefined fascists.
It is no less disheartening when such asinine outbursts are made by a member of a party which call itself socialist, an ideology which professes the universality of man. And it is the mother of all ironies that a man who holds such uppish opinion is a Minister of Justice in a, supposedly, civilized, tolerant, Christian country. What principle, may I ask, motivated your wishing all immigrants to leave Holland?
Now that misguided youths, taking their cue from politicians like you, are beginning to bash the heads of black people in Rotterdam, and black footballers are tormented with racial slurs, I guess that you are happy at the impact your statements are having! Your expectations are, undoubtedly, being fulfilled.
I am a Nigerian who reside in Holland. Contrary to what you, or others in your mold, might think, I do not enjoy living here. Every day I drew breath in this country, I am reminded of my violations as a human being. I am daily confronted with the crude arrogance of racists tormentors. I constantly have to struggle to remain sane, in a society in which people of my hue are deemed sub-humans, and are treated as such.
I deduced from your pronouncements and forbidden demeanor that it has not yet entered your ministerial consciousness as to why people will abandon their family to come and live in Holland. It is quiet simple.
The choice facing the would-be-immigrant is Hobbesian: Stay in your country and die of starvation, or emigrate to Holland - Europe, and raise your chances of survival. To the immigrant, the choice is reduced to obeying your country's formidable array of anti- immigration laws and starved to death, or obey the natural law which enjoins every human being to strive for personal survival. Quiet naturally, a lot choose to survive. There are precedents.
When Europe faced a similar situation Africa is experiencing today, Europeans didn't wait to die. They emigrated in their millions to go and 'discover' the Americas, South Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand. These European 'pioneers of civilization' didn't allow the laws, customs, and traditions of the native people to stand in their way. The natives were extensively massacred. Today, these countries are overwhelmingly European in outlook.
About five million Europeans who migrated to South Africa in search of greener pasture are today lording over the native black population. Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd, the man who launched the heinous policy of apartheid was born in the city of Amsterdam! African immigrants in this country do not aspire to such 'lofty' goals. We do not aspire to colonize, enslave or kill anyone. Our aspirations do not go beyond the right to clean toilets, pick tomatoes and flowers for slave-wages. We are neither stupid nor intellectually- handicapped, we are simply aware of the fact that we never going to be allowed, to do any work, that even remotely begin to challenge our intelligence.
Of the five million Europeans in South Africa, over 750,00 are of Dutch extract. And to this number, over 160,000 still retain their Dutch citizenship. About 35,000 of them are serving members of the South African Defence Forces. They are part and parcel of the military machine that wreaked havoc on the countries of Southern Africa.
Europeans in South Africa have the choicest real estate in the country. They owned the mines and the farms. They live in big mansions. They drive the best cars. Why do you think the white people in our countries are entitled to all the good things of life, while you will not grant us even the most elementary of rights in your own country? Are you prepared to bring back to Holland the over 700,000 Dutch people in South Africa, plus the several thousands living opulent lives in other African countries?
About 200,000 immigrants are said to be living in Holland. They slave upward of sixteen hours daily doing the hardest and the oddest jobs. They live in the squalid ghettoes of Bijlmer where they are exploited by Shylock landlords, or in Zolder kamer when they can find one in the city. They have no health insurance. They have no entitlement. They contributed to the social-security benefits, but are denied access to their contributions. They have no access to any credit facility, without which life in this country, is hard to live. They are exploited by callous employers who take advantage of their illegal status to pay them starvation wages. They are exploited by absentee landlords who make them pay triple for their rat-holes, than what is paid in central Amsterdam. They live the lives of prisoners in a supposedly civilized and tolerant society. They are in constant fear of 'foreign police,' 'BVD' agents' and the dreaded Marechaussee. I cannot but be galled whenever I see someone like you, babbling about how much immigrants are taking from Holland. It is people of your ilk who are contributing to the misleading general assumption that the Dutch government is taking care of immigrants. As anyone who knows how hard it is to collect 'social-security' cheque will tell you, it is simply impossible for any illegal immigrant to be on the dole. Yet, foul-mouthed racists are proclaiming loudly how Africans are here to enjoy Dutch 'liberal' social policies.
Malawi is a tiny and dirt-poor country in Southern Africa. In this country of six million people with a GNP of about US$200 are over one million refugees. Holland with a population of about sixteen million people with a GNP of over US$10,000 said it is asphyxiating under the influx of 200,000 immigrants!
I don't know which is more distressing to your ministerial mind, the presence of the immigrants or the fact that most of them are blacks. This is a question, I believe, you alone could answer.
I offer no apologies for living in Holland. Thousands of Dutch people are living colonial lives in my country. Most of them command salaries and emoluments big enough to feed a medium-sized army. Their needs are catered for by a legion of domestic servants. No one is accusing them of 'swarming' Nigeria.
Thousands of Dutch people are migrating yearly to look for better opportunities in other countries, they are simply obeying the natural law of survival. The only difference is that while these Dutch and European emigrants are termed 'discoverer,' 'explorers,' 'missionaries,' 'consultants' and 'aid-workers,' African immigrants are refer to only in zoological and scatological terms. We are called 'parasites,' economic-migrants,' 'illegals,' 'asylum-seekers.' Even the sign at the foreign police office in Amsterdam refer to us as 'aliens,' as though we do not belong in this world.
I felt neither joy nor gratitude for living in Holland. As I mentioned above, I am constantly reminded of our enslavement, colonization and neo-colonization - manifested in the policies of the IMF and the sadly-misnamed 'World-Bank.'
Any student of history ought to know that it was slavery that arrested the economic development of the continent of Africa. Before then, the notion of a Euro-centric world was simply laughable. It was the subsequent colonization of our continent that put the final nail in our economic self-determination. It was the barbarous policy of colonization that retarded our development, when the economies of Africa was tied to the apron-string of the exploitative Western capitalist system. It was colonialism that guaranteed that Africa will forever continue to wallow in poverty, while her wealth are carted away by Western Multi-national corporations to feed the industries of Euro-America. The neo-colonial 'Structural-Adjustment Policies' foisted on Africa is ensuring that our economies receded further into the doldrums. These odious policies were designed by Western institutions. The African immigrant 'swarming' your country are victims of your neo-colonial policies.
'You reap what you sow,' enjoins the Bible. Over the centuries, Europeans go around the world sowing discord, hatred, violence, devastation, death and destruction. Africa was carved up at a conference in Berlin. When European empire-builders were stealing whole countries, the rightful owners of those lands didn't enjoy it one bit. Now the children of the dispossessed are coming to Europe, Europeans are making obstreperous noises. They didn't like it. That is understandable. The bad shoe is on the European foot, and it's pinching hard, exactly the way it pinched the Africans who had their lands brazenly stolen. Europeans are just going to get use to it, the way they forced our fathers to get used to their piracy, subjugation and oppression.
The time of the boomerang has arrived. As Paul Satre said, Europe, in the past made history, now it is being made on it.
Mr. Minister, no other race have contributed as much as Africans, in blood and sweat, to the building of the economies of Europe. Not even the white race can challenge this. Twenty-five million Africans - a very low estimate, were enslaved to build up the Industrial Revolution in Europe. Millions of Africans perished in the Trans-Atlantic shipments of human cargoes. To this day, this iniquity remain largely unremitted. No apology has ever been rendered for this mind-boggling villainous act. No reparation has ever been paid. It was as though it never happened. The Dutch, like their European brethren generally suffer collective amnesia whenever this crime is mentioned.
"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).
Those Dutch with no sense of history, now shouting about illegal immigrants, should remember that their fore-fathers were among the most brutal of the slave-raiders. "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).
When our labor was required to build the industries of Holland, no passport was required of us. No visa was given. The Dutch didn't call us illegal immigrants, or aliens, to be hounded by fascist thugs in police uniforms. When they needed our manpower in their plantations, they didn't refer to us as 'economic-refugees.' When Africans were needed as canon-fodder in the war against nazism, we were not accused of 'invasion'. Now that we are here to partake in the fruit of our labor, we became the focus of racist demonology.
"I and I pick the cabbage I and I plant the corn Didn't my people before me Slave for this country? And now you look me with a scorn ... Build your penitentiary We build your school You brainwash our education To make us the fools Hate your reward for our love Telling us about your God above ... (Bob Marley). Ghanaians, like other black people in this country, are being derided, scorned, mocked and rejected by your society. Yet, it'd be interesting to calculate how much of Ghanaian gold were looted by your progenitors, to build the infrastructure the Dutch are so proud of today. Just because you Dutch forget that heinous chapter of your history does not mean that we too are going to forget. Our brutal exploitation by Europeans still remain vivid in our memories. We are no longer going to give you the pleasure of treating us like objects, to be used and discarded at will.
As 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.
Mr. Minister, the Dutch are regarded as good keepers of records, you should tell us how many Ghanaians and other Africans were shipped by Dutch slave-traders, like 'sardines in a tin', as slaves to be brutally exploited in your 'New World.' You should inform us how many African lives were wasted on the way to your plantations. Tell us, Mr. Minister, how much of Ghanaian gold was looted to build the industries of Holland. Inform us how many Africans labored in Dutch plantations. You should tell us how much they are owed in salaries plus the accumulated interests over the years. Are you prepared to pay us? We are talking about millions of human beings forcibly enslaved for centuries. You should try and be informed about this aspect of your history before you go on the television to denounce anyone.
When the Dutch joked that Bijlmer is the capital of Surinam, I found nothing amusing. Surinam was a creation of Holland - pure and simple. It is fool-hardy to believe that the people of Surinam will continue to wallow in poverty, in the jungle you consigned them, and watch you enjoy the fruit of their hard labor. With its bauxite deposit all but exhausted, your country deemed Surinam ready for 'independence.' Meanwhile Aruba and Curacao are still not ready. Those countries still have resource- petroleum- desired by Dutch Multi- nations. Should the oil stop flowing tomorrow, you and I know that the Dutch colonial administrators will discover how badly those countries needed independence. This is no longer the 16th century! We are not as ignorant as our fore-fathers were, when they allowed Europeans to sweet-tongued and enslaved them.
It never cease to amaze me how you Europeans could think that by exchanging a piece of cloth you call flag, all the crimes you committed in the colonies are remitted.
"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).
It is quite simple Mr. Minister. If you want the Surinamers to get out of your country, send them back to their original homes in Africa, after paying them back their deserved reparation for their labor earned in toiling in your plantations. Records should exist to show from where your fore-parents stole them. When you say that Surinam is now independent and should fend for itself, I ask, independent from what? And with what should it fend for itself. Those guys were independent before you stole them from their ancestral land, and transported them across the oceans into another continent. The notion of an 'illegal-Surinam' in Holland is an oxymoron. Surinam was a baby of the Dutch, and you guys are morally responsible until the end of time. Surinam is the beast sired by your colonial Frankenstein!
Were it not ultra-vulgar, the spectacle of Dutch youth raising the Hitler salute would be amusing indeed. These miscreants, taking their hue from self-seeking politicians, who cannot even think straight, forget that thousands of Africans paid the supreme sacrifice in the liberation of their country from nazi oppression. African soldiers were used as canon fodder in the war against nazism, although Africa was, as usual, not given any credit. In their frenzied orgy of Negrophobia and racial hatred, these cretins forget how shrill the cries of their fathers were to be delivered from the oppression of the man they are now saluting.
While the Dutch fondly remember how Canadian, British and American soldiers fought to liberate their country, their racist minds will not allow them to credit the blackman with their liberation. No mention is made, in the history books, of Africans who perished in the European wars grandiosely termed 'World Wars'. No credit is given to the black soldiers who gave their lives fighting for a ruthless 'mother country.' Africa was never mentioned as having played any part in the elimination of nazism from Europe. Yet, our contribution was large, even decisive in some cases, like in the liberation of Belgium.
"France was the colonial power that secured the greatest number of soldiers from Africa. In 1912, conscription of African soldiers into the French army was pursued on a large scale. During the 1914-18 war, 200,000 soldiers were recruited in French West Africa, through the use of methods reminiscent of slave hunting. These 'French' soldiers served against German in Togo and Cameroon, as well as in Europe itself. On the European battlefields, an estimated 20,000 'French' Africans lost their lives, and many more returned mutilated, for they were used as cannon fodder in the European capitalist war.
Naturally, France also made the maximum use of African troops in the last World War. Indeed, Africans saved France after the initial losses when France and most of French Africa fell under the Germans and the fascist (Vichy) French. In French Equatorial Africa, it was a black man, Felix Eboue, who proved loyal to the forces led by General de Gaulle, and who mobilized manpower against the French and German fascists. Africa provided the base and much of the manpower for launching counter-attack which helped General de Gaulle and the 'Free French' to return to power." (Walter Rodney, op.cit. p. 206).
Africa contribution to the European wars was not limited to manpower alone. Without their African colonies, the colonial powers would have had no prayer against the Germans. War levies were imposed on Africans to finance the war campaigns. African mineral resources were exploited to the full to keep the war industries in Europe going. It was African Chrome, Columbite, Iron ore and Copper that build the war materiele that enable Europe to free itself. Little remembered today is the fact that the Belgian government-in-exile was entirely financed by the loot from Congo. It was also from the Congo, that the Americans mined the Uranium, with which they build the Atomic Bomb which they dropped on Japanese cities which, effectively, ended the war. All these were aside from the huge financial contribution the exploitation of African mineral wealth made to the treasuries of France, Belgium and England. I hope that you will remember that your own government-in- exile was hosted by imperial Britain.
You will do well to remember that it was statements such as yours by German Ministers who, unable to solve their economic problems, blamed everything on foreigners, that directly led to the conflagration of the WWII. Mixing primitive jingoism with crass racism and boorish xenophobic, they found a scapegoat in the person of the Jews. The result of what started as 'foreigner-bashing' was the nightmlare of the holocaust, which is still haunting the memories of every man of conscience. Those who have ears, let them hear!
Mr. Minister, we are not as naive as you might imagine. We may not have access to your mass-media, but we clearly remember how much Africans have contributed to the Dutch and European industrial and financial infrastructure. If we are 'swarming' your country as you said, we are just following our money - no pun intended.
"In the same way we may say that the imperialist states would make a great mistake and commit an unspeakable injustice if they contended themselves with withdrawing from our soil the military cohorts, and the administrative and managerial services whose function was to discover the wealth of the country, to extract it and send it off to the mother countries. We are not blinded by the moral reparation of national independence; nor are we fed by it. THE WEALTH OF THE IMPERIAL COUNTRIES ARE OUR WEALTH TOO. On the universal plane this affirmation, you may be sure, should on no account be taken to signify that we feel ourselves affected by the creations of Western arts and techniques. For in every concrete way Europe has stuffed herself inordinately with the gold and raw materials of the colonial countries; Latin America, China, and Africa. From all these continents, under whose eyes Europe today raises up her tower of opulence, there has flowed out for centuries toward that same Europe diamonds and oil, silk and cotton, wood and exotic products. EUROPE IS LITERALLY THE CREATION OF THE THIRD WORLD. THE WEALTH WHICH SMOTHERS HER IS THAT WHICH WAS STOLEN FROM THE UNDERDEVELOPED PEOPLES. THE PORTS OF HOLLAND, THE DOCKS OF BORDEAUX AND LIVERPOOL WERE SPECIALIZED IN THE NEGRO SLAVE TRADE, AND OWE THEIR RENOWN TO MILLIONS OF DEPORTED SLAVES. SO WHEN WE HEAR THE HEAD OF A EUROPEAN STATE DECLARED WITH HIS HAND ON HIS HEART THAT HE MUST COME TO THE AID OF THE POOR UNDERDEVELOPED PEOPLES, WE DO NOT TREMBLE WITH GRATITUDE. QUITE THE CONTRARY; WE SAY TO OURSELVES: 'IT'S A JUST REPARATION WHICH WILL BE PAID TO US.'" ( Frantz Fanon, op. cit. p.102) - all caps for emphasis.
"The well-being and the progress of Europe have been built up with the sweat and the dead bodies of Negroes, Arabs, Indians, and the yellow races. We have decided not to overlook this any longer. "(ibid, p.96).
It doesn't require a degree in economics to know that the wealth and the opulence of your country and indeed of Europe was derived from the exploitation of Africa resources. Europeans are living fat on Africa's poverty.
Royal Dutch Shell, the giant oil company is a net contributor to the Dutch economy. Thousands of Dutch people are gainfully employed in its refineries. For your information, SHELL is the biggest exploiter of my country's premier resources - petroleum. I cannot help but contrast the opulence in their installations in this country to the wretchedness of their oil fields in the Delta part of Nigeria. The uncaring, inhuman activities of SHELL in Nigeria once prompted a Nigerian Minister to ask the pungent question: 'Is Shell a noun or a verb?' Shell, like most Dutch Multi-nationals, are literally SHELLing the poor countries. If your government will encourage Dutch MNCs to discover some sense of social responsibilities, and spend part of their huge profits to develop the areas they are exploiting, the need for people from those areas to migrate to your country would be greatly diminished.
Mr. Minister, I am old enough to remember that when my country was enjoying an oil- boom, thousands of Dutch people came to partake in the good times. I personally know a few of them who were housed in five-star hotels, all expenses paid, for upward of five years. Nigerians were welcome guests in this country in those happy times. Now that our fortunes have nose-dived, we are treated like scum.
You can argue that your government is giving 'aids'. My reply would be that I am not at all excited by your so-called aid. I am not thrilled by the pyrotechnics of your charities. Your 'Een Voor Afrika' was a useless junket. If only your country and the rest of Europe would be paying fair prices for the products you are literally looting from Africa, no one will require your 'aid,' and we will be happy to stay in our country. Each time I go into supermarket in this country, the prices of coffee are falling. The same goes for the other products coming from Africa, they are always 'goedkoop.' There is, of course, no correspondence decrease in the prices of the goods that Holland and Europe is shipping to Africa, or in the usurious interest rates Western banks are charging on the debt Africa is said to be owing.
It has been said that the production of these products, which Africans are forced to produce for Western markets, is largely responsible for the general impoverishment in Africa. These so-called 'cash-crops' do not produce money for the producers. The commodities markets are controlled by Western dealers. They are traded in Amsterdam, London, Chicago, New York and Paris. The prices are determined by Western speculators. The peasant cocoa farmer, who worked the farm from dawn to dusk under intense sun, gets only 8% return. The African government receives about 17% in taxes and duties. The rest, a massive 75%, is appropriated by Western dealers. The same goes for other agricultural commodities, like coffee, whose production the poor African farmers are wasting their labor producing for Euro-America markets.
If your 'aid-projects' help in salving your conscience and makes you sleep better, they do not help Africa one bit. We left our countries because of chronic unemployment, what do we have in return? The Dutch government, through its aid-agencies, is sending over- compensated aid-workers to impart some obscure knowledge. More of these 'miracle- workers' are trampling around today than even at the height of colonial rule. You are condemning Africans for coming to live in your country, Mr. Minister, we are running away from our countries simply because the policies of your government, and its Euro-American partners, are making it impossible for us to live meaningful lives in our countries. Take the case of Angola.
We have Stockwell's book, In Search of Enemies,' to tell us the real causes of the war in Angola, where a beaten guerrilla leader was turned into a CIA agent of destabilisation to decimate Angola. For over a century, Angolans suffered bestial Portuguese colonial oppression, the Americans were contented to watch and cheer from the sidelines. No sooner have the Angolans liberated themselves that the Yankees discovered how badly Angolans needed 'democracy' and 'human-rights,' and foisted on them a very expensive war from which that unfortunate country is still reeling. Most galling, the Americans did this in collaboration with their accursed cousins in South Africa. Imagine the irony of joining forces with the perpetrators of the evil system of apartheid to impose democracy on another country. For years to come, the major chunk of Angola's income will go into paying the military debt, incurred to prosecute the Yankee-inspired 'civil war.'
Mr. Minister, these are points you should consider before making silly pronouncements about people swarming our country. Your country belong in the Western Alliance which to a large extent is responsible for the current woes in Africa.
Western aid-agencies are now making a song-and-dance about helping Angolan famine victims. Where, I ask, were these bleeding hearts when their governments were sponsoring the murderous wars raging in Africa? Opinion polls in the West were in support of these naked aggressions. As long as jobs are guaranteed and profits assured, what does the average Westerner care about an African life? No one in the West lost any sleep while their governments went around the world destroying human lives. As long as the wars are fought to keep the world safe for capitalism, and the profits repatriated to create jobs at home, that is okay and acceptable to the generality of the Western public.
What happened in Angola was a mirror of what transpired in the Horn of Africa, where Ethiopia was encouraged to lock horn with Somalia over foreign ideologies. The rulers of those countries were prodded into a war of death and destruction, from which their citizens would continue to suffer for the foreseeable future. We see the results of these devastations on television. The legacy of the West's policies are dying children and starving Somalis. The West response, as usual, was to organize charities. If you guys will just pause to examine the consequences of your wretched interventions, you will not need to send 'aids,' and we will be happy to live peaceful lives in our countries.
These wars, incorrectly termed 'civil-wars,' were anything but that. They were externally fomented by Western agents of destruction and destabilisation. As Bob Marley put it, 'When you gonna get some food, your brother got to be your enemy.' They are part of the classical 'divide-and-conquer' game all over. Ancient animosities are dusted off from the archives and promoted to ensure that the Somalis will not want to live in peace with the Ethiopians; to ensure that the tribal groups in Angola are forever at odds with each other. Meanwhile, while the Africans are engaged in murdering each other, the Westerners are gladly making neat profits. They are busy supplying weapons to both sides, and milking the mineral resources which the combatants are too pre-occupied to exploit.
We have Americans officials on record boasting in an August 1989 issue of TIME magazine as saying that these wars were not to ensure that one side triumph over the other, but just to turn brothers against brothers, so that people will continue to live wretched lives: "The objective of the war is not to make UNITA win a war, but to devastate Angola and make the people lead wretched lives." (TIME, August 10, 1987. p.33)
When the victims of your oppression and aggressions and greediness came to your shore, you started shouting, 'Oh, what a tribulations!'
When Western leaders and commentators in their truimphalistic euphoria opined that the cold war was bloodless, I guess they do not reckon with the millions of African lives wasted in its pursuit. Perhaps they still do not rate Africans as humans. Just as Africa was not given any credit for the victory over nazism, they are not mentioned as having played any role in the victory over communism. Whereas the cold war remained cold in Europe and the United States, it was hot, bloody hot in Africa, as millions of Ethiopians, Mozambicans, Somalis, Angolans, whose lives were devastated, can testify.
Somali hasn't got any arms industry. There are is no tangible arm industry in either Angola or Ethiopia. The arms that toddlers are cradling in Somalia today are Western arms supplied to fight communism in Ethiopia. It was Western military strategists and arms merchants, in connivance with Western governments, that turned Somalia into the hell it's today. It was the West which considered the Horn of Africa a strategic place to play out its cold-war, and poured enough arms there to ensure that the people have enough to annihilate each other many times over. These were called military aid which these countries must pay back with usurious interests.
Mr. Minister, since your country was an enthusiastic member of the Western Alliance that pursued these depraved policies, it must share part of the blame. You are getting your share of the blame by the numbers of immigrants fleeing to your shores.
Mr. Minister, I took the long route in order to let you know some facts which, I believe, you should consider next time you are invited to speak about immigrants on the television. We are not here for the love of it. We will gladly stay in our country if your government and its partners will stop pursuing policies that make it impossible to live a decent life in our country. We love our own countries dearly, as much as you do yours. We will be very happy to stay if your government and its partners will stop messing up our affairs.
As long as you and your government assume that donating food surplus is the answer to the general impoverishment in Africa, you are asking the wrong questions. As long as you believe that you are helping people by going on television to make appeal for food donation, you are being clever by half. You're mis-focusing attention from the true causes of famine and destitution. Charities are not the answer to the problems of Africa. The Western bankers taking money from poor Africans do not do so on the television screen. The policies of the World Bank and the IMF which have wrought so much devastations in Africa are drafted and implemented without fanfare. They are conceived insmoke-filledd rooms by champagne drinking bureaucrats. Until your do-gooders recognize the connection between the opulence of the West and the poverty of Africa, so long shall they continue with their charity appeals. Until Western banks can be persuaded to cut or cancel their usurious interest rates, so long shall people continue to die of famine in Africa. As long as the prices of African primary products continue to fall, so long shall we have Ethiopia and Somalia and Sudan. As long as the rich people of the West continue to rob the poor people of Africa, so long shall the sickening images of starving children continue to haunt them. As long as the people in the West refuse to realize that more money is flowing from poor Africa to rich Europe and America, than the other way round, and persuade their government to do something about it, so long shall the ghost of Africans continue to torment their dreams.
Mr. Minister, your government can pass as many anti-immigration laws as it likes. It may deport as many 'aliens' as it can catch. That, however, will not stop your country from being 'swamped' by desperate immigrants from poor countries. Until your government and its Euro-American partners recognized and begin to address, seriously, the fundamental problems besetting the poor countries of Africa - problems, I should repeat, largely created by the West's neo-colonial policies, no amount of anti-immigration legislation will keep the immigrants away. The immigrants are not going to allow you to define their borders. They are not going to be bond by your government blatantly racist anti-immigration laws.
To paraphrase John Kennedy: 'Those who make living in the Third World impossible, make migration to the First World inevitable.'
I do not wish you evil.