“The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Kofi Annan
The recent twist of occurrences in Africa: in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Algeria, etc that caused rebellions and revolutions especially in the Arab spring and left some leaders toppled and one of them killed, left many jubilating and speculating as to who could be next.
But one thing still bothers me; whereas it is true that some of these leaders had despotic tendencies, would deposing them using foreign security agencies be the only and best option?
Placide Tempels in his book ‘ African Philosophy ‘ presents a gloomy picture of Africa held by Europeans at the time, “Africa is a monstrous jungle with a people just one generation after the apes, totally uncivilized, with impotent minds, incapable of wisdom fit to live safely on their own etc”.
They hoodwinked Africans to see themselves as inferior and primitive and anything European as superior to their own.
Interestingly, Africans already made fire and tools from wood and stones before colonization!
They forgot that civilization began in Egypt, in Africa! Consequently, Europeans soon swung in to purging Africa of uncouth and rudimentary tendencies. Not so long later, railways were built connecting to mineral rich areas in what would later be seen as a strategic plan to plunder African resources.
Africans who resisted European colonization were demonised but one could argue it was one unforeseen wisdom! Africans permitted their own colonization!
Unfortunately, over 50 years of independence, some Africans still believe they cannot develop without foreign aid to which are attached “un- African” policies and values that have continued to enslave the African race.
The involvement of NATO and other foreign security agencies in the Arab Spring uprisings exposes Africans to perpetual fragility. They come in and wage war, plunder resources and leave poor Africans to grapple with the ravages of strife.
Africans ought to be left to handle their own political or economic puzzles in the old African solidarity as opposed to the individualistic ways of life of Western democracies!
I hate the current accusations that Rwanda and Uganda are aiding rebels in Congo. Do you remember when President George Bush’s justified his sending of troops to Iraq arguing that it was rather hard to differentiate between terrorists and those who harbor them? If America could bomb Afghanistan about 10,833 kilometers away simply because they suspected it harbored terrorists, why would it be abominable for Uganda and Rwanda to pursue ADF, LRA or Interahamwe rebels who are hiding just a few meters in Congo and regrouping to destabilise their home countries?
Africa will thrive on managing its own affairs no matter how long it takes. We must guard against neocolonialism tendencies and start all over again and not hold onto foreign aid that in essence does less than is projected. Africans must unite and anchor on Prof. John S. Mbiti’s slogan for African corporate living: “I am because we are and since we are, therefore, I am.”
If our neighbors are in strife, we may not be safe ourselves because when the ravages of war spill over, they settle on our land.
My conviction is clear: left free of any interference, Africa can solve her own problems.
By Patrick Katagata