By Professor Mohamed Brahimi
Three years ago, I was asked if I were interested to teach a class about African Politics. I accepted at once despite the amount of preparation that this new course would entail. This impulsive acceptance was fueled primarily by a keen desire to go on ,what would seem to some, as a paranoid rant about post-colonial Africa. I was also personally vested in setting the record straight about a continent that is grossly misrepresented. The mere mention of Africa immediately imbues the mind of the average American with jostling images of a starving black African child being weighed down by a fat protruding belly and a face covered with inexorable flies. The child is obviously too weak to swat at these flies very much the same way his government is too stupid to get its affairs in order. The media is very much an accomplice in hawking the image of an Africa where a coup d’état is a weekly occurrence. This Banana Republic-esque portrayal of a continent as atavistic and primitive is what justifies the false narrative of interventionism in the mind of the average westerner and stealthily validates the need for white savior
If you think that Africa has successfully transitioned to a post-colonial era, then you have not been paying close attention. I won’t bore you with Cardoso and Gunder’s Dependency Theories but make no mistake about it, Africa is still very much “the hunting grounds” of Western power and greed. These powers are still waging their war of attrition and erosion on their “former” colonies. They have even legitimized plundering by enlisting the help of several quasi colonial agencies namely the IMF and the WB. It’s one thing to rob a continent of its wealth but to peddle this perpetual heist of resources as altruistic is just above and beyond criminal. Ugly pillaging is often preceded by a campaign of misinformation where Africa is depicted as a failing dysfunctional continent in dire need for saving. China has just swooped into Sudan, the bread basket of Africa, and it is swiftly selling them the delusion of savior. Morocco just bought a French fast train system in a gross display of misappropriation of resources and just plain bad governance. The list goes on and on but the examples are abundant and pretty uniform. The west’s affluence is built upon the suffering of Africans is built upon the IMF’s structural adjustments programs and the propping up of puppet rulers gatekeeping the West’s economic interest in exchange for power longevity
France’s flimsy democracy is finally getting exposed. Gaddafi’s death ushered in an era of financial dearth and deficiency to France. Libya resources dried up and Macron tried to make up for that shortage by raising taxes. The French citizens, however, were not having any of that citing that any increase would further stress the rising cost of living. I just hope that French people would wake up one day and realize that it is African people’s misery that is making life easier for them. I hope they and their ilk understand that all of these Africans risking their lives across the Mediterranean are just coming to claim what is rightfully theirs. I hope they start asking the uncomfortable questions about their government infatuation with Gaddafi and deep despise for Patrice Lumumba. Those raising banners disparaging immigrants need to understand that they are barking up the wrong tree. They better wake up to the reality that the starving African poster child is actually the one subsidizing their comfortable to affluent life style and sustaining their fragile democracy
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