“In the past we made history and now history is being made of us.” – Jean Paul-Satre.
Europe likes to tout its rationalism, and Europeans like to trumpet this as the main thing that separates them from the rest of us.
European scholars never tired of telling the rest of us that we are emotional babies (often crying ones), whilst they are sturdy, rational and scientific men\women, whose actions are dictated by pure logic.
Some Africans, Leopold Senghor among them, bought into this and parroted it in their writings.
But very few things I see in Europe make sense to me; many actually seem quite irrational when we consider them closely.
Let us take Europe’s relationship with Africa as an example.
Africa has plenty of mineral resources whilst Europe has technology in abundance; both parties need each other to engage in mutually beneficial trade.
It would be marriage made in heaven were Europeans be prepared to marry their technologies with Africa’s large raw materials. Both people would benefit immensely.
Methinks that the only rational thing to do was for Europe, whose industries requires Africa’s raw materials, to look for ways and devise the means by which it can successfully partner Africa, keep things going smoothly so that both economies can keep running and both people gainfully employed and happy.
Alas, those that touted their rationality did nothing of the sort.
They, in fact, did exactly the opposite.
Rather than seek mutually-beneficial cooperation, Europeans devised short-term measures that will guaranteed them all the profits, leaving the Africans only the miseries.
Rather than strategic long-term policies that will be mutually beneficial, European invested in short-term policies that could not stand the test of time.
Rather than offer Africa concrete economic development, European politicians decided on lecturing and hectoring and, when that failed, war and violence.
Of course, the cheating game can last this and no longer.
It took time, but the Africans finally wised up.
One by one, they turn their backs on Europe and start to look East.
In many African countries that the West looked to as traditional playgrounds, the Chinese have made quick job of supplanting them.
Today we see Europeans scrambling to understand what went wrong. We see their scholars and their media offering some very silly arguments on why they lost out in Africa.
It is racism, stupid!
Who in this age want to be treated like an inferior? Who in this time still does know that the European game is finally over? Who in this time does not know that Europe no longer enjoy a monopoly on technology? Who doesn’t know that Africa today has alternatives?
Africans have woken up and they have listen to the powerful prophecies of Frantz Fanon which enjoined them to leave behind a Europe, where they never tired of talking about the rights of man, but continue to kill man wherever they can find him? Who wants anything to do with a people who continue to think of only committing avalanche of murders?
Sino-Africa relations have its own problems, but few Africans lament the shift away from Europe. Few of them will miss Europe with all its negative baggage.
The reasons are not difficult to understand.
More than any other people, Europeans ought to show a lot more sensitivity towards Africans – a people they have so badly wronged.
Alas, rather for present-day Europeans to show any remorse or sense of contrition, they want to continue with the wayward ways of their parents.
And, not only that, they expect us to continue to applaud them for it!
They continue with the same imperial arrogance, and continue to think that the world still revolves around Europe.
Rather than engage the Africans like equals that deserve respect, they continue to holler, to hector, to give sanctimonious lectures and to threaten sanctions and, if that fails, inflict wholesale violence a la Libya.
Few Africans are ready to accept this nonsense in this age. Many of them have lived or visited Europe and they can only shake their heads in amazement as the European Emperor continues to dance naked.
One by one African countries decided to tell Europe to shove it.
It is interesting that no serious research has been done to see whether or not there is a direct link between the crises Europe face, and the loss of their Jewel Crown which is Africa.
Could the European economic crises been averted or moderated if Europe’s had pursued a more informed and more rational policies towards Africa?
We would never know but it cannot be doubted that Europe lost big time as Africans took their business to Asia.
In the 1980s, I told the Dutch that they will live to rue their racist policies towards Africa. My caution was occasioned by several instances of open racism I witnessed as I went around with African business people who came to transact business in the Netherlands.
These men and women, people of substance back home, came to the Netherlands with their own money, to buy Dutch goods. Right from the Schiphol airport, haughty officials treat them like scums.
Nigerian car dealers, who came to the country and bought over two hundred (yes, 200) cars are treated no better. Very ordinary Dutch police constables will put on air and start to harass these people who have enough money to pay the whole Dutch police for years.
Today, the Dutch second-hand car business (sales plus ancillary services like shipping) has collapsed.
Few Africans today come to transact any business in the Netherlands – it is Asia, all the way.
As the sun sets on Europe, Africa is rising. Africa has become the in-thing.
Few years ago, the Economist magazine carried the stupid headline about an Africa the Hopeless Continent.
A decade later, the mindlessly racist editors of the Economist were forced to swallow their silliness and ran a story about an Africa that is rising.
Yes, there is no denying the fact: Africa is rising.
In 1994, I wrote a piece in the Dutch newspaper, de Volkskrant, in which I told the Dutch that they can continue to peddle their useless statistics about Africa, and that we Africans remain optimistic and shall continue to face the morrow with optimism.
I also told them that were I a European, I’d be more worried about my future than an African. Africa, I told them has nowhere to go but up. I told them that as soon as we manage to settle our political challenges, we shall have the time to tackle our economic challenges.
We have the mineral resources and we have the young, energetic and very enterprising people who are hungry and eager for progress.
Happily, for Africa, my predictions are coming through.
Today, whilst Europe is sinking literally and metaphorically, Africa is booming.
Whilst European economies wallowed in the quagmire; some economies in Africa register two figures growth.
Whilst Europeans today worried stiff about their pensions, plundered by their banksters, Africans look to the morrow that beckons with its brightness.
The BBC recently aired a documentary on Portuguese immigrants to Mozambique.
Sadly, not many other western media carried it.
According to the BBC, Portuguese are now flocking to their former colony, Mozambique in large numbers. They are in search of the proverbial greener pasture. Angola has also lent a helping hand to rescue some Portuguese businesses.
What exactly is wrong with us in Africa; why are we so generous!
The question of immigration is another thing that starkly betrays Europe’s irrationality.
The most shocking thing to this writer when he came to sojourn in Europe in the 1980s was the pervasive racism and the open, naked hostility towards non-Europeans.
Nothing prepared for me it.
Coming from a place where people with pink skin are worshiped almost like gods, it was quite a shock to live among those that think of you as beneath their dogs.
It’d have made some sense to me if the open hostility had a rational cause. Perhaps we have wronged Europeans in some ways. Perhaps our ancestors did something terrible for which the children have to pay the terrible price.
I searched for answers; I failed to find any.
My readings told me that if anything, it was we Africans that have justifiable and quite legitimate reasons to hate Europeans.
History is replete with gigantic and quite horrendous injuries Europeans wreaked on us.
But here we are, happy-go-lucky that we are; prepare to forgive and forget and to let bygones be bygones.
We yearned only for acceptance.
Alas, this was even too much for them to grant us.
While their scholars and media continue to insult and pour scorn on us, their politicians did their utmost to paint us as the ultimate ogre.
We are in Europe, they lied, to steal jobs and, of course, their beautiful women.
We are said to be the cause of everything that ail their societies. We represent clear and present danger that must be eliminated.
The European hoi polio, well prepared by the ideological institutions of his land to be gullible, swallowed the politicians’ lie whole, and start to act accordingly. The lower class, who catch the same hell as we were catching, choose race over class solidarity – they became the storm-troopers used to bash our heads!
Pure racist fascists, called Right-Wing partisans, gained ground across Europe and today, they represent quite a sizable percentage of several European parliaments.
What dangers exactly do immigrants present to Europe?
This is the question Europeans are not prepared to honestly consider and answer.
The question was posed by Africans to a group of Dutch politicians at a recent gathering in The Hague.
Dutch elections are slated for early September and the African immigrants demanded some answers.
There were lots of long faces, but no answer.
The Africans genuinely wanted to know what exactly the politicians meant when they talk about the problems of immigration. They wondered how people, Europeans included, could ever think that human beings are problems.
When probed about the nonsense parroted about Africans coming to take away jobs and live on welfare, there was also no one prepared to offer any answer.
Many Africans that seeks sojourn in the Netherlands are highly educated, often highly skilled middle-class. The majority are from Somalia, Burundi, Congo and now, Libya (total approved figure for 2011 is 3,075).
They became refugees for one reason or the other – some not unconnected with activities of western governments and multi-national companies.
Rather than receive a humane welcome, the already traumatized refugee is arrested at the Schiphol airport and locked away until his application for asylum is considered. It is a process that could take upward of five years. His life is shattered and his talents wasted.
But the same politicians that could not give answer when prompted, would next day go out to tell gullible people that immigration is a problem, and very energetically propose ways to solve a problem of their own creation, and one that exist only in their imagination.
The solution is, invariably, to strip the poor immigrant of the little dignity and humanity he has left.
The fact (according to figures from the EU’s EUROSTAT office) is that, contrary to popular myth about Dutch tolerance, fewer non-Europeans live in the Netherlands than in other European country save Finland.
Only about 4% of the people living in the Netherlands are foreigners, and the majority of these are citizens of another EU member state.
And hidden from many Dutch is the fact that the Netherlands, for the past years, has being a net exporter of people: more Dutch people left their country and move elsewhere than foreigners moved to the Netherlands.
According to a study (“Exit, voice and loyalty in the Netherlands”) by sociologist, Hendrik P van Dalen and Senior Researcher, Kène Henkens:
“For the fifth year in a row, emigration from the Netherlands exceeded immigration last year, reaching 123,000 emigrants, which amounts to 7.5 emigrants per 1000 inhabitants. Dutch media has repeatedly reported this phenomenon because it caught demographic forecasters by surprise. The last emigration wave occurred fifty years ago, and at present the Netherlands is the only Western European country experiencing net emigration, although similar trends are visible in the UK (Salt and Rees, 2006) and to lesser extent in Germany.” why-are-dutch-leaving-netherlands
This however has not daunted the energetic Dutch from devising more and more ways to strip the non-European of all his cultural identity\humanity in the name of an elusive and ill-defined integration.
Under new immigration laws that take effect from October this year, family reunion will be further restricted. Non Europeans can no longer marry if they have resided in the country for at least one year – they must go and marry in their countries. Immigrants can no longer bring their child to the country if he’s older than 18 years. The three years waiting list for permanent residence permit has been extended to 5 years. Residence permit can now be withdrawn on the flimsiest of reasons. See: www.ind.nl
In discussions with my Dutch friends about this fixation with immigrants, they seem as lost as I am. They all tell me that their politicians do not represent them, which rather rubbished the claim that the country is a democratic one.
My Dutch friends are as clueless as yours sincerely about what could be done to stop self-serving politicians from further poisoning the relationship between ethnic groups, and further confusing an already confused people.
They would rather want their politicians to talk about the issues that concerns them and will affect their future: the Euro Crises, the plundered Pension funds, collapsing infrastructures and the worsening health services.
My Dutch friends yearn also for a healthy relationship among the progressive people of the world, devoid of crass racism and stupid politicking.
Do unto others as you want to them to do to you is an injunction recommended by almost all the world’s religion.
Europeans want to be treated humanely and fairly when outside of Europe, why do they (and their politicians) find it difficult to respect the humanity of those that sojourn among them?
Why do they expect to be treated humanely when they come to our land, when they continue to treat immigrants like beasts of burden?
Why do they expect to reap beans when all that they sow is tare?