15 August 2011 — Joy Online (Ghana)
‘This is pure criminality and must be confronted and defeated’. Just in case you were wondering where I was going with this statement, these are the words of Prime Minister David Cameron, which also represents the official position of No.10 Downing Street on the current unrest in what we use to know as the Great Britain. You know what; I will come back to that.
Comrades, I thought since it was our collective responsibility not to maintain silence on what is happening in the north of our continent I hold this discussion with you. Indeed, the silence from the leadership of our continent on the on-going uprisings in the north of Africa, most particularly the rebellion in Libya, suggests there are no more nations in the African Union.
Today, the neo-colonialism Osagyefo mentioned takes on much more meaning to me.
As we are all witnessing the most aggressive form of neo-colonialism in the north of our continent? Overnight, the Brits and the French have become so concerned about Africa as to have to appointed themselves as the overseers of the mixed reactions in the north of our continent.
I call it mixed because the external beneficiaries of these uprisings would want us to believe that these uprisings were conducted in the same manner and that there were no dynamics in the uprisings from one country to the other. I don’t remember it that way; what I remember is that in Tunisia and Egypt there were unarmed civilians on the streets that shouted their voices so loud as to be heard.
This, in my opinion, is a great departure from what we see in Libya today. You already know my position on brother Gaddafi – too much long service does not help. However, it is for the Libyan people to decide that and not the Brits or the French.
Only last month, two dramatic but revealing events took place. The first was a large-scale demonstration across Great Britain by unionists demanding a stop to some proposed changes in the pension scheme by the coalition government of the Conservatives and the Lib-Dems. The crowd I saw on the streets of Great Britain didn’t look any different from the one I saw in Tunisia in the wake of the Tunisian uprising. In fact, I could have confused the two for each other. Now for a moment let us move the location of Great Britain to anywhere in Africa: you know the obvious that would have happened more than I do.
The second and most dramatic event was the grappling of President Nicholas Sarkozy by a man from the crowed while he seems to be on a familiarisation tour, which I believe will count towards his re-election campaign. But for the immediate and swift intervention of his security he would have been brutally manhandled. It was not mentioned why the man in the crowed did what he had to do. However, my guess is on three premises.
1. The first might be an expression of dislike for his style of leadership.
2. The second, could be due to his involvement in the north of our continent and
3. Third, probably, his perceived involvement with the Strauss Kahn issue.
Either way there is a suggestion that some of the citizenry have rejected him just as it is in the case of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Interestingly, Sarkozy is still a hero in the European Union, going about resolving the financial crisis in Europe as we speak. Again, if Sarkozy was an African president you know the obvious that would have happened to him more than I do.
Comrades, I promised to come back to the opening quote that preceded our entire conversation. I therefore wish to do that now. Very recently, by dinner time, 563 people had been arrested in the unrest that was triggered by the gruesome murder of Mr. Mark Duggan (RIP) by the London Metropolitan Police. Just like the self-immolation of Mr. Mohamed Bouazizi that sparked the unrest in Tunisia, the murder of Mark Duggan cannot be treated as the remote reason for the uprising in Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Nottingham and, most particularly, on the streets of Peckham, Hackney, Croydon and Tothingham. However, his death should be remembered as the explosion point for ordinary people that could no longer identify their role in the future of their own communities and nation because it has been taken away from them.
Comrades, I do not wish that we think of the consequences if this was an African country. What I would rather we do is to think of the advice Brother Gaddafi would have had for Prime Minister David Cameron if they were seated shoulder to shoulder. He would have probably whispered into his ears brotherly advice from Ambassador Karbral- ‘If they come for your brother in the morning they will come for you in the evening’. In fact, such advice would have certainly left us with a difficult question.
Admittedly, NATO came for one brother in the morning but who will come for the other brother in the evening? My guess is the American Army. I almost forgot, the American Army is probably tired from the invasion in Iraq. This is evident in the American privatisation of the war by employing the service of private American security companies to participate in the invasion because their hands were full. Maybe the French or even the Germans could be an option. Hmm, again, forgive my forgetfulness; they are equally tired from the Iraq invasion. Of course, the only option left now is NATO but their hands are equally full, simply because their over-‘generosity’ to the Libyan people has made them overstep the UN mandate on Libya.
I just thought of it, what about the human rights abuses that arise out of this ‘pure criminality that must be confronted and defeated’. At least, one thing comes to mind, the International Criminal Court of Justice (ICC) is watching, and Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the sword-bearer of the ICC must be encouraged to act with keen interest and with supersonic speed. However, as to whether he will not mince his words is something we can only hope for.
In conclusion, I have a proposal to make that is outside our earlier discussion. I have for a while now observed that our continent is gradually tilting away from the west. My proposition is that we move forward in search for a permanent interest rather than a permanent relationship because our newly found friends in the east might not be any different. Let Africa unite lest we perish in a world of cheats.