Questions for Europe

When I hear of Europe, I get confused as to who is refer­enced. I know who America is: one federation of states forming a union. Europe sounds, and is, very dif­ferent. Countries that call themselves European used to be monarchies. Indeed, many of them remain mon­archies, yet pander to constitutional governance.

Having plundered the human resources of the African continent through the most obnoxious crime ever committed against humanity in the form of slavery, European coun­tries had the effrontery to spread the map of our continent and carve out countries and share them among themselves.

Calling those countries their colonies, they set out to plunder the natural resources even after the direct slave trade was abolished. Our fore­bears were shipped to the Americas, where European settlers had large plantations that needed human labour. The majority of the human cargoes were, however, discharged in US ports.

Many of the slave ships were com­missioned by the Crown, aided by the Church, to transport the slaves. The Crown and the Church took commis­sions on each Negro, as the black Afri­cans were called, and safely delivered them to their destinations.

Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Holland, and Portugal were the main European nations that had colonies. That Portugal, the poor­est country in Europe, also managed to have colonies, beats the mind. The Dutch and the Danes made incursions and retreated, and Germany lost its territories after its defeat in the Sec­ond World War.

My first question is: when the Euro­pean sailors arrived at our shores, did they see us as humans or as commod­ities to be traded? How did we react to their arrival? When the epoch of conquests rocked Europe, how did the ‘victims’ react to their conquerors? When the Vikings from Scandinavia raided other countries, how did the ‘victims’ react? Europe must answer these questions.

I ask the above questions so as to understand what my forebears would have felt when they were hounded and either stolen or sold into slavery. When the Dutch East India Company, the progenitor of the obnoxious apart­heid system in South Africa, arrived on the Western Cape in 1652, how did they treat the locals?

The Europeans have presented the Zulu King, Chaka, as a bloodhound who terrorised his own people by set­ting them against one another. Cha­ka’s crime was that he took up arms against the invading Boers and wanted them out of his land.

I have stated many times that nothing about the British excites me, but I give them credit for not fight­ing their colonies, who agitated for independence. The Brits had enriched themselves and knew they were done for if they expended that wealth on fighting their colonies and getting impoverished in the process.

But this does not absolve Britain from the atrocious mayhem it un­leashed in Kenya, killing, maiming, and raping as a sport. I am yet to understand what gives the Caucasians their sense of superiority over every­one else.

If these Europeans saw us as savag­es, that would be their own thinking. But have they forgotten how their forebears lived in medieval times? Have they forgotten they lived in caves, hardly bathed for ages, and had hair left like the mane of a grown lion? They evolved into who they are today, but would not allow others their right to evolve.

The French took up arms against many of their colonies that had the nerve to demand independence. Algeria is a classic example of French brutality.

Ahmed Ben Bella led that country to independence, but French influence was pervasive, regardless.

Many patriots rose up to fight France to gain independence. I recall Modibo Keita in Mali, Maurice Yameogo in Burkina Faso, which was then called Upper Volta, Francois Tombalbaye in Chad, and Sekou Toure in Guinea. I have not forgotten Leopold Senghor in Senegal, Mouktar Ould Dada of Mauri­tania, and David Dacko of the Central African Republic. I cannot mention all the rest in this narrative.

But the French made a fast move. They assimilated all heads of gov­ernment of their former colonies as members of the French Parliament, thus keeping a draconian economic stranglehold on those countries. Burki­na Faso could not import fish directly from neighbouring Senegal. It must import the fish through Paris. None of their colonies could make direct phone calls among them­selves unless they were routed through Paris.

Now that these countries are severing such a relationship, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, is frantically trying to salvage what the current wind is blowing away. In a recent visit to the DR Congo, Macron thought Mr. Tchisekedi should listen only to him. He was stunned when the Congolese leader put him in his place by telling him to listen to what he was saying, which was in response to what a journalist had stated.

Belgium ensured Rwanda and Burundi knew no peace. The genocide of 1994 in Rwanda shook Brussels to its foundation, but human life was the cost. Belgium asked the Hutu why they allowed the Tutsi, who constituted only 15% of the population, to run the country while they held 85%. What did they expect? Thankfully, Rwanda has dusted itself off the ashes and is on the mend.

They aided the American CIA to murder Patrice Lumumba, the Congo­lese Prime Minister, on suspicion that he was a Communist. His body was chopped up and dipped in acid.

America installed Mobutu Sese Sek­ou in power. He became a dictator, yet a stooge of the West for 32 years. He so plundered the wealth of his country that he was richer than the country. DR Congo has the capacity to give the whole of the African continent hydro power nonstop for fifty years. But the West cannot tolerate a non-dependent Africa.

While the West preaches against child labour, it finances and arms bandits who use child labour to mine cobalt and other precious minerals for tech industries in Silicon Valley. Indeed, the DR Congo is the richest country in Africa in terms of natural resources, but the West will not let that country be. In truth, the more unrest there is in our Great Lakes region, the more it suits the West economically.

Why can’t Europe and America leave Africa alone? Is it because Africa has the largest natural resources in the world? Or does Africa have dumb leaders who are stooges of Western in­terests? These two are easily the most palpable reasons. When Muammar Gaddafi wanted to finance Africa’s own telephone industry, the West got him murdered. When he wanted to finance an African drive for its own currency backed by gold under the banner of the Africa Union, some African leaders betrayed him, and the West murdered him.

All of a sudden, there is a Fran­co-Africa summit. There is the Chi­na-Africa summit and other summits where individual Western countries meet Africa as one whole entity. Mean­while, DR Congo as a country is almost as big as all of Europe put together. These countries think Africa is a baby that must be guided by Senior Brother.

Why does Europe treat us like this? We must have an Africa that has the courage to boycott such summits unless they are organised on a con­tinent-to-continent basis. It must be from Europe to Africa, from Asia to Africa, from North America to Africa, etc. What is the use of the British Commonwealth when there is no wealth common to its members?

The reality is that these Western leaders have a penchant for lecturing African leaders, never the other way around. They do not want Africa to talk to them. Africa must always listen and take instructions. Meanwhile, our leaders are so old and brain-fagged that by the time their buttocks touch their seats at these lecture sessions, they are already asleep.

Another question: why has Europe ceded leadership to America? Europe seems to fear the US so much that it has allowed American military bases all over their continent. Is this an admission that American interests supercede European interests?

Kamala Harris, the US Vice Pres­ident, was in Ghana this week after Macron had come and left. Rishi Sunak may be next to visit in an effort to counter what they perceive as Si­no-Russian inroads to the continent. The scramble for Africa has resurrect­ed in earnest. My heart bleeds for a continent that is rich in natural and human resources yet is so bereft of a leadership that is expected to work for the good of all its people. This is sad.

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By Dr. Akofa K. Segbefia

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