Saturday, 5 January 2013

2013 – time for reflections

In a seemingly paradoxical vein, 2013 begins on an optimistic note for Africa. Even though more states in Africa failed in 2012 than the previous year and yet more will fail or indeed collapse in this new year
it is to the next dual indices of crucial data on the continent that the immense possibilities of African restorative and reconstructionary quests are typecast – Africa remains, since 1981, a net-capital exporter to the Western World
( and African émigrés in Europe, the Americas, Asia and elsewhere presently constitute the primary exporters of capital to Africa itself (Ibid.). In a sentence: The African humanity currently generates, overwhelmingly, the capital resource that at once sustains its very existence and is intriguingly exported to the Western World. It is precisely the same humanity that those who benefit immeasurably from this conundrum (over several decades and are guaranteed to benefit indefinitely from it, except this is stopped by Africans) have consistently portrayed, quite perversely, as a “charity case”. Surely, this historic big lie of characterisation can no longer be sustained. Africa is endowed with the human resource and capital resource (in all its calibration and manifestation) to build advanced civilisations provided Africans abandon the prevailing “Berlin-states” of dysfunction that they have been forced into by the West’s creators

Just in case there are any constituent nations in Africa who still wish to be “boxed in” in these states, they are very welcome to their preferred choice but should be honourable and democratically disposed not to obstruct those who will embark on this inalienable right to flight of freedom. 2012 is a reminder, if we indeed needed one, that the blueprint for African transformation will neither be scripted nor actuated in a London, Paris, Brussels, Washington or New York, or even in a Beijing or Delhi as some fanciful commentaries have appeared to contend. The answer remains firmly lodged in Africa. So, the dynamic of Africa state failure, cited earlier, is nothing else but symptomatic of that defining truism of contemporary Africa: for the fundamental interests of African peoples, the post-(European)conquest state is not fit for purpose

2013 will particularly be a year of intense reflections across Africa on the continent’s genocidal regimes. This year marks the 47th anniversary of the beginning of the Igbo genocide, during which the Nigeria state slaughtered 3.1 million Igbo children, women and men – a quarter of the total Igbo population at the time – between 29 May 1966-12 January1970. This is the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa. Africans elsewhere remained largely silent on the gruesome events in Nigeria but did not foresee the grave consequences of such indifference as subsequent genocides in Rwanda, Darfur, Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan (all three in the Sudan) and Zaïre/Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in other wars in every geographical region of Africa during the period have demonstrated catastrophically.  Just as the Nigerian operatives of mass murder appeared to have got away without censure from the rest of Africa, other genocidal and brutal African regimes soon followed in Nigeria’s footpath, murdering those additional 12 million people in their countries considered “undesirables” or “opponents”. These 12 million murdered in the latter bloodbaths would probably have been saved if Africans had intervened robustly to stop the initial genocide against the Igbo people.
Chinua Achebe’s memoirs on the Igbo genocide, There was a Country, is the most important book published in 2012 on and for Africa. It is a priceless gift to a much-beleaguered people, a compulsory reference to our understanding of Africa of the last 47 years – this turbulent age of pestilence. Just a few months before his 28th birthday, in 1958, Achebe writes Things Fall Apart, the classic restorative narrative of African affirmation which subverts the European conqueror’s frantic efforts to construct a historiography of African-memory erasure in the wake of a devastating conquest. Fifty-four years later, just a couple of months before his 82nd birthday, in 2012, the literary interventionist genius publishes There was a Country, an indefatigable reminder to an oft-complacent world of the Igbo genocide and the incredible survival of Igbo people. 

Forty-seven years and 15 million murders on, Africans finally realise that there cannot be any meaningful advancement without abandoning the post-conquest state, essentially a genocide-state. This state is the bane of African existence and progress. Africans on the ground are working tirelessly to build extensively decentralised new states that ensure full democratic aspiration, participation and representation for constituent nations and the individual. It is in the longer-term interest of the rest of the world, especially in the West, to support African transformations initiated by its peoples rather than the “helmspersons”/“helmsconstituent nations” ostensibly entrenched in the hierarchical architecture that maps the typical continent’s genocide-state.

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