For more than 300 years, the African continent has suffered an extended term of what Europe would call the Great Depression. We have been shut down by a somewhat stronger force which is either us or anybody other than us.
Conflicts, have been the underlying factor of Africa’s demise, however, we have been knee-jerk quick to point fingers on the white man. While it is true that, he played a great role in whatever happened to the African heritage, it always comes down to us and the heart at the core of our actions. The white, I hate to say, only made us more conscious of the kind of motives we had, he shone the light on the apparent ‘communal spirit’ we had initially.
I would take very quickly the ousting of Gaddafi by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Now this case, when a lot of Africans hear it today, get really excited and start to thank whatever gods made them for the killing of a man as ruthless as that. But when the smart ones among them look at Libya today, and the Libya Gaddafi made, we see today’s Libya as a failed state. A state rotten to the bone! Libya was getting somewhere until the uninvited guests from the US interfered.
The Rwandan genocide, is undoubtedly not a laughing matter. But a conflict between two groups of people, who have similar names (Hutus and Tutsis) is something that beats my imaginative consciousness. The Hutus who history refers to as ‘dark and short’ and ‘less educated’ had to rise up and fight their counter tribesmen because they had the power to. If there’s ever a conflict in Africa, it has to be because someone believes they wield a greater power and have to exercise it. They suddenly had to show the others that they were now in charge and in an almost mysterious way, they realised they didn’t need the other group anymore. They have been living with this same group of people years before the colonial master arrived and yet when the masters left, they no longer wanted to live with them. And yes, the colonial master, is also to blame.
There has to always be a western power to blame in these things. The Belgians came into the town, used a method of colonisation called divide and conquer, which basically serves as the root of the inherent division of the two peoples. When they finished exploiting them however (which I don’t think they ever actually completed), they gave the opportunity for the people to choose which group would exert political power. The Hutu people, won hands down since they’re in the majority, bringing the Tutsis, the Belgian’s favourites, to the hated side of the coin. War broke out; in fact, it was a genocide.
Now, interestingly there was something happening around 1967 in the country now known as Nigeria. Nigeria and oil had a harmonizing tune in the late 90’s because oil was found in the southern part of Nigeria; Biafra which was somewhat poorer than her northern counterpart at the time. After the discovery of oil amidst severe corruption on the part of highly dominated northern government, Biafra wanted to be a country on its own. Once again, there has been a taste of power by one party. Wealth in essence was the power that was tasted and was the reason for the war between these parties at the time. Now, as afore mentioned, the white man always has to have a role to play; the French were supplying arms to the Biafra peoples which prolonged the war more than was supposed to. And why were the French doing this? They wanted to take part in the oil partitioning!
Now after all these occurrences, we look at Africa today and we see a nation of great poverty! Even the poverty is unevenly distributed, which then begs the question: “Who currently has power in African states?” The white men are no longer physically here, but we keep blaming them for all that’s going on. While it might be true that they actually have great influence on the things we did as in the French connection, they don’t directly influence our actions today. We’ve spent too much time lamenting that we’ve lost sight of our own actions that took us to state of deprivation.
Even if the white man gave you the machete to kill your brother, he didn’t hold your hand to kill him. We are responsible for where we are today; enough of shifting blames!
Written by Eric Korku Gbekor and Rejoice Hormeku