Saturday, 26 June 2010

Let freedom ring!

The recent meeting in Nairobi between visiting US Vice-President Joe Biden and Salva Kiir Mayardit, president of the south Sudan semi-autonomous region, is surely one of the most important political developments of the first half of 2010 in Africa. The meeting focused on the ongoing preparations in the south Sudan to organise the historic January 2011 restoration-of-independence referendum for the people. Most observers are in no doubt that the region will register a decisive “yes” vote to free itself from decades of Arab/muslim occupation and subjugation. This outcome will signal the much expected beginning of the formal unravelling of the “Berlin-states” that have wreaked havoc in Africa since 1885.

The US’s very proactive support to the referendum process is highly commendable. Biden promised Kirr that the US would provide technical assistance to guarantee a successful outcome of the exercise. Additionally, and perhaps, more crucially, Biden called on the rest of the world to robustly support the referendum planning to “ensur[e] that all necessary measures are in place for a peaceful outcome that is internationally recognized.” Washington’s is indeed an unprecedented position to take on such a pivotal subject in Africa and its impact will have far reaching ramifications across the continent. African scholars, human rights, peace, freedom and other activists strenuously involved in the construction of post-“Berlin-states” in Africa couldn’t have had their work cut out more readily. They should now be booking their flights to south Sudan to monitor and be participants in history in the making… The south Sudan referendum will set the precedent that will chart the trajectory of the restoration of independence for all occupied and oppressed peoples in Africa subsequently.

The devastation wrought on the African humanity by the “Berlin-states” can never be exaggerated. These are states of conquest that European conqueror countries (Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Spain) imposed on Africa and currently maintained by a shard of disreputable African regimes to exploit and despoil the continent’s human and material resources. Everyone knows that these states cannot serve African interests. The African “overseeing” of the contraptions (beginning, pointedly, in the Sudan in January 1956), which should have been totally dismantled on the eve of the presumed “departure” of their creators back to Europe in the 1950s/60s, couldn’t be more illustrative of the destructiveness of these states’ ontological mission. The overseers pushed the states into even deeper depths of genocidal and kakistocratic notoriety in the past 54 years as the grim examples of particularly Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Sudan itself depressingly underscore. 15 million Africans have been murdered by African-led regimes in these states and elsewhere in Africa since the Igbo genocide of 1966-1970.

In 1990, I published The Biafra War, Nigeria and the Aftermath, one of my early books on the Igbo genocide. Such was my optimism of the possibilities of Africans to dismantle the “Berlin-states” in the future, despite the apparent bleakness of the times, that I noted the following in the concluding pages of the study. The unfolding, breathtaking events in the south Sudan are so reassuring that I am only too willing to share these thoughts of 20 years ago once again:

“Either in peace or war, the existence of the European post-colonial state is inimical to the interests of African peoples. It is a state that cannot provide the fundamental needs of Africans … The African humanity is presently gripped in a grave crisis for survival. It is now time that it abandoned the contrived post-colonial state in order to survive … African nations, [namely] Igbo, Wolof, Yoruba, Asante, Baganda, Bakongo, Bambara, etc., etc … remain the basis for the regeneration of Africa’s development … [and] the sites of the continent’s intellectual and other cultural creativity … What is being stressed here is that African peoples, themselves, must decide on the … issue of sovereignty … even if the outcome were to lead to 1000 states … For the future survival of the African humanity, let no more Africans have to die for the defence of, or for upholding the territorial frontier of any post-colonial state. No precious life should be wasted for its preservation.”