Guest blog by Frederick Douglass
Crimes are being committed in your names!
Human beings – innocent women and children – are being killed by bombs and drones and guns purchased by your taxes. Is this the way to live?
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine it was you. How would you feel? Your governments visit excruciating pain on other human beings across the world.
From Iraq to Afghanistan, from Pakistan to Libya, from the Middle East to Latin America, from Africa to the Far East, they have perished and are perishing as I write this note and as you read it.
Their only crime is that they are weak, most of them are people of colour, and their countries have resources which your politicians and business people do not want to pay a fair price for. Is this the way to live?
Foul has become fair and vice versa.
The world will not be made a better place by guns and bombs that maim and kill from above the skies and far away military facilities. This will only breed hatred and suspicion and more hatred. Like a poisoned chalice, this will destroy the world – you and us together.
The world will be made a better place by humane policies and acts of solidarity that recognise the humanity of others. What is good for you is good for us too.
The children of Africa deserve three meals a day like your children. They deserve a just world in which they can exercise their own destiny without interference from your governments.
The children of Africa are human beings. They too possess the intelligence to know what is good for them and what is not.
They do not need condescending lectures from the West, lectures that remind them of wounds of yesteryear and which provoke new wounds.
Africa needs development, not bombs, not one more bomb.
Africa needs solidarity in its struggles for democracy, good governance and economic development efforts. No one is born imbued with the special gift to know what is best for another. None but Africans can resolve their problems.
It is time for you to demand a stop to all this rampant theft of other people’s resources by your governments who act in your names. It is time to demand an end to this inhumanity.
Demand a new and transformed United Nations!
Demand an end to militarism!
Demand an end to an unfair and unequal global economic order!
By: Mulaifa T. Sigubu
For years Africa has been a continent vastly exploited by Europeans. European countries participated in what was called the scramble for Africa which was basically a process of invasion, occupation, colonisation and annexation of African territory. With Africa being such a rich continent, why are millions of people still today?
In the meantime, the world is still mourning the death of former Apple Inc CEO, Steve Jobs. Jobs is hailed as being one of the leading men who literally transformed technology.
Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook were flooded with messages from millions of his supporters. Some even went to the extent of changing their profile picture and uploading Jobs pictures.
As sentimental as this might be, people seem not to care about the millions of people dying in Africa. They operate as if the knew jobs personally. As many as 750,000 people could die as Somalia’s drought worsens in the coming months, the UN has warned, declaring a famine in a new area. According to the UN, Some 12 million people across the region are in desperate need of food aid.
In total, 4 million people are in crisis in Somalia, with 750,000 people at risk of death in the coming months in the absence of adequate response,” the UN’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) says.
How is it possible that the world could stand still at one person’s demise? And yet continue as if nothing is wrong at the downfall of millions? Is it just me or this world is seriously messed up?
Dr. Mzimkhulu Nyeka, a South African born Psychologist based in the United Stated said “It is inexplicable that one death can cause the world to come to a standstill and a million deaths are regarded as a mere formality, or is it? On the day Steve Jobs died, there was this sudden empathy, pain and sorrow expressed all over the world.
Nothing against that, but on that very day thousands of poor children died of malnutrition, in wars, child abuse and domestic violence. I mean in villages that are enclaves of poverty, people behaved like they had lost a loved one. Many were driven by a desire to demonstrate that they too are computer savvy!
That’s what our world has come to! A few decades back we had no computers and the pulse of the planet never stopped beating! Now we behave like the men who seduce us into being slaves of technology are our gods! What has happened here?
We have fallen victims to the cult of personality. We hero-worship imagery, not substance. We look up to Hollywood for heroes! South Afrikans are proud to be known as followers of American culture! We look up to America for everything. We know what goes on in America and we could care less about the starving and dying children in the slums set aside for black people.
Could this be some form of self-hatred as a consequence of years of abuse, put downs and brutality visited upon us by the men who used to rule this land? Why is the life of an Afrikan so undervalued even by Afrikans? Who is crying for the millions of Afrikan children who never reach the age of five? Why is it that 175 children out of every 1 000 die before they reach the age of five in what is mysteriously called “Sub-Saharan Afrika” as if there are two Afrikas? Who is crying for the children of Afrika? If the tears that have been shed for Steve Jobs have dried up, maybe it’s time to create real jobs for ordinary people. Maybe it’s time to cry for the children of the continent despised even by its inhabitants…”
Based on Dr. Nyeka theory, could it be that Africans have turned a blind eye on what is happening in their own back yard? As humans, we simply cannot continue to ignore the plight of Africa. The wars, genocide, disease, and poverty barely skim the surface of its problems.
There is no easy solution for any of the problems raging in Africa, or the rest of the world. But I believe that many of us living in the relative comfort of our first-class, industrialized society are simply ignorant to much of the world. People need to be made aware of what is going on, and until they are nothing is going to be done and no aid is going to Africa. This it is the duty of mankind.
In a nutshell, the earlier part cautions that due to the subjectivity of the contextual framework popularised by the mainstream media in telling the Libyan story, its lessons could well elude Africa. My submission is that the truth demands that the narrative of ‘Gaddafi the dictator’ be informed by common events as the one of ‘Gaddafi the hero.’ Any omission or exaggeration thereof violates the truth and denies Africa an opportunity to learn.
I anticipated that pockets of reactionary school of thought would soon regurgitate the Libyan dictator/autocrat narrative in opposition to a large part of the first part, but I could not labour it any further. Maybe the key theme was meant for those with a keen sense of African institutional memory; those who do not locate history in a vacuum.
It should be borne in mind that in the same way that Africa produced a Nelson Mandela, the continent also gave birth to a Muammar Gaddafi. And these names belong to great men of their time who were groomed within the revolutionary morality of African liberation; and perhaps pushed to opposite extremes in their journey.
While Gaddafi will be remembered for his determination on the idea of a ‘United States of Africa’, he was not the first and probably not the last African leader to pursue that ideal. Centuries before his Gaddafi’s time, King Shaka ka Senzangakhona also envisioned one black nation under the rule of the Zulu tribe. His strategy and tactics was to also create one mighty army under his command. Some have submitted that this ideal was the spark which ignited the Mfecane wars in the 19th century.
Both these African soldiers are not with us today, but the vision of a united African state is unlikely to die in centuries to come. Therefore we should learn that a future conception of a united African state should never again be founded on the pursuit of military supremacy, but on one informed by the intellectual depth of a strong African identity.
It would not be far-fetched to suggest that the success of Western countries in extending their military power beyond their borders is underpinned by a strong national identity, and without this solid national identity such a mission could have easily been undermined, as has been the case in Libya.
But future African leaders should – like Gaddafi – never allow themselves to be paralysed by the fear of success and accordingly refrain from taking strategic risks in the interest of the people. No future African leader should ever live in fear of his own people, for if that moment arrives it would be time to revisit the covenant between the leadership and the people.
Perhaps like Gaddafi, future African leaders should constantly seek solutions to better the lives of the people and pursue these with the necessary vigor, bearing in mind that these must not be ideas that remain in anyone’s head; hidden from the masses. “Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures.” – (Cabral A; 1965)
ANC youth league president Julius Malema writes in the Sunday times: “[African] liberation movements have also tended to leave the masses behind [partially or totally] in confronting the challenges and the crises of the untransformed [continent].” Perhaps this rings true on the downfall of Gaddafi.
(here endeth the last lesson)
If you are in search of a high quality of living Melbourne is the place to be, well at least according to the latest Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Survey.
The survey assessed 140 cities worldwide according to the “challenges that might be presented to an individual’s lifestyle.”
The cities that were at the top of the list are perceived to be in the “very top tier of livability, where few problems are encountered … presenting few, if any, challenges to residents’ lifestyles.”
I was rather disappointed that no African cities made it into the top ten. And at the bottom of the list were seven African cities, Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), Douala (Cameroon), Tripoli (Libya), Algiers (Algeria), Lagos (Nigeria), Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) and Harare (Zimbabwe).
I’ve lived in five African cities throughout my life, but only spanning three countries. There is no disputing that there are problems in terms of infrastructure and service delivery.
But in the same vein I have also been to Europe, the United State and Asia and nothing compares to living in an African city.
There’s a certain buzz in African cities, the people, the crowded streets and taxi’s that whiz by you without a care, much to your irritation in the moment.
The flea markets, where you can find anything from a brand new watch to morning slippers.
Fresh produce in abundance at a fraction of what it will cost you in the store. Mind you it’s not mass produced, and before “organic” became a selling point for marketers that is what we were raised on.
The list could literally go on and on…
I do wish every household on our continent had access to electricity, water, and decent sanitation. That we had access to effective transportation systems, decreased crime rates, political stability and less pollution.
That perhaps is not the reality of the African state, and it may not be ideal. But I wouldn’t trade my reality, because as far as I’m concerned our cities are still environments fit to live in and we can only work towards making them better.