Africans must engage in self-definition and self-assertion, there are no alternatives! As we define and assert ourselves, we must also always respond to mischaracterizations.
Mr. Abidde, I am moved by your article of the above title and or subject matter and I feel compelled to write some comments in response to and as an addition to yours.
I have pondered over and over these same issues that you have raised in your excellent essay. I agree with your analyses for the most part, I however have some different perspectives on some specifics.
Africans have been the recipients of an unfair amount of meddling, interferences and outright interruptions by external forces of evil. There are of course, in Africa, people who are human beings, like every other human being on earth, who are not in possession of plentiful virtue, but instead warped attributes or vices.
It has become exceedingly easy, sexy and even entertaining to be extremely critical of the African continent and its travails.
Africa’s litany of critics are conversely unwilling to critically examine the role and impact of external factors, and external players that have created, that sustains and even exacerbates the crises and sufferings in Africa. Adversities and perversities have sources and causes remote and immediate, internal and external
We must wonder about what would have happened to Africa without the twin evils of slavery and colonialism. We must wonder what would have happened to African development without the planned obsolescence of departing colonial powers.
Departing colonial powers were only interested in maintaining former colonies as supply chains and vassals for the “mother” country. Former colonial powers were splendidly disinterested in the independence (political and economic) of former colonies.
England in particular, maintained and has sustained itself, as it kept former colonies tied to its apron strings. Most former colonies remain satellite countries of former colonial powers, for all intents and purposes. Most, if not all former colonies have remained as suppliers of raw materials such as rubber, cocoa, cotton and crude oil to former colonial powers.
Most former colonies remain the sphere of influence of former colonial powers. France is quickly able to dabble in purely internal affairs of Haiti and Ivory Coast. While England, is able to wield a lot of influence in Abuja and Accra.
During the Cold War, America and Western Europe usurped local authorities in Africa as did the former Soviet Union or USSR which led the former Eastern bloc on the communist flank. The competition between American/Western Europe capitalism model and Soviet Union/Eastern Europe’s communism disparately, represented extreme sides of the spectrum. Africa was as a consequence, a pawn in the deadly chess game between East and West ideological competitions.
Africa social, political and economic policies were balkanize along these lines of external competitions, competitions which had no relevance or direct benefits for Africa.
Africans were caught in the middle, nonetheless.
History is therefore our best witness to the truism that Africa has never been left alone to do well or do badly on its own. Instability in Africa has been foisted and fostered externally, for the unquenchable appetites of those who are quick to point to our failings and inadequacies.
Mr. or Ms. Oghre made a poignant point in comments in response Mr. Abidde’s article, comments which are now reproduced in quotes below;
“The issue is how can we ameliorate?
If Africans want to stop negative depiction of us then we should be prepared to mobilize and rebut any false reporting of the continent. Africans have this passive and subservient posture when dealing with anything western that they feel it must either be right or cannot be any other way”
“The fact is they continue to enjoy the denigrating luxury of carting us with the same brush because it is easier to tarnish our reputation collectively that way. They do deadly business with many African nations daily and colonized and demarcated the place, so they know it better than Africans”.
“They use arms manufactured by the Whiteman to kill each other, and they stash Africa’s wealth belonging to the people in the west.”
“How many times have you heard an African diplomat in the west or an African government official or the Government of African countries rebut or protest untrue publications about the place? Was there ever a conference where the OAU discussed ways of stopping western negative depiction of the entire continent?”
“Being the only race to use a nuclear weapon on humans to colonization to slavery to .. to racism to unfair trading standards to mass murder but they enjoy better media publicity than us. It is up to Africans to reverse that trend by speaking up every single time something negative or untrue is reported, with time the trend will slow down. We need to instill some kind of political correctness when report about African nations by reporting an issue in one country as African.”