OPINION : SMART EUROPEAN, DAFT AFRICANS–OWEI LAKEMFA
By Owei Lakemfa
SMART Europeans. After building their wealth from resources taken from the colonies, including gold, diamond, rubber, cocoa, cotton and human beings, they decreed that the only way to prosperity is through ‘market forces’. They taught gullible Africans that only the perfect market delivers, while state intervention stagnates.
They are never in short supply of maladjusted African academics who spent precious time writing ‘Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, PRSPs, for European cartels and gambling clubs like the International Monetary Fund, IMF. They also had a large reservoir of retards on the continent who injected a debilitating virus called the Structural Adjustment Programme, SAP, into the people.
They shout from the rooftops that the world is a ‘Willing Sellers, Willing Buyers’ one and anybody who opposes this must be a communist or communist agent. However, when faced with rising energy costs following their ill-advised proxy conflict, called the Russo-Ukrainian War, they changed the music.
Since the prices negatively affect them, they decided to abandon their religion of market forces and choose state intervention. Rather than allow ‘Willing Sellers, Willing Buyers’, they decided to force sellers to sell gas to them at prices they, not the market, will dictate. Under the umbrella European Union, EU, they decided to impose a price cap on gas imports and transactions.
The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, who is leading the charge, says European countries must be prevented from outbidding each other so as to force prices down the throat of the sellers. Trust the Europeans, they will not admit that they are trying to force prices down to artificially low levels; so they have euphemisms for their anti-market plan; one is that it is a “price corridor”, another is “circuit breaker”. Whatever the nomenclature, the fact is that 27 European countries are united in trying to break the backbone of the mythical ‘Market Forces’ in the gas supply chain.
Do you think African leaders and elite would learn from this? No. Many of them are too dense to comprehend basic issues. Many are power drunk and cannot in such stupor, think straight. As for many African economists and academics, they work towards the answer set for them by Western institutions, hoping to be given grants, international job placements, visa or residence permit.
This is why the African political class cannot decipher the simple game of neo-colonialists who built a world after their own image. A world in which they sit at the top of the pyramid while Africans are at the bottom as the hewers of wood, fetchers of water and suppliers of raw materials. Let’s take sports.
When Africa was repressed by the Apartheid regime, sowing death and destruction in South Africa and across its borders, they decided to take action against this monster created and nurtured by some European countries like Britain and their North American cousins in the United States.
Then, New Zealand decided to send its rugby team to tour the Apartheid enclave as a way of breaking its isolation. Africa decided not to have anything to do with that country. It demanded that New Zealand be barred from the 1976 Montreal Olympics Games. Rather than take this serious, Africans were lectured by some European leaders and the International Olympics Committee, IOC, about how sports and politics do not mix.
Twenty-seven African countries boycotted the games. This led to world champions like Filbert Bayi of Tanzania and John Akii-Bua of Uganda being absent. This, and the loss of $1 million in seat refunds and event cancellations, led to further condemnation of African countries.
Today, 46 years later, the European countries who condemned Africa for allegedly mixing sports and politics, are doing the same thing for less edifying reasons: to get back at Russia. To them, it does not matter whether a particular Russian sportsman or woman supports or condemns the war. For the EU, every Russian is guilty. So they expel Russians from sports events. The Executive Board of the IOC which had condemned Africa for allegedly mixing sports and politics, directed “International Sports Federations and sports event organisers not (to) invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions”.
The Russian and Belorussian football teams were banned from qualifying for the 2022 Qatar World Cup and the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The basic lesson Europe teaches Africa is: ‘Do what I say, not what I do.’ It is assumed that the Nobel Prize is a neutral one. No. Rather, it is enmeshed in politics. This year, the main issue in the world is the Russo-Ukrainian War; the Nobel Committee could not ignore that. In wanting to be seen as neutral, it split the Peace Prize cake between two human rights organisations from Russia and Ukraine: Memorial and Centre for Civil Liberties and then added a jailed human rights advocate, Ales Bialiatski from Russia’s main ally, Belarus, as the icing.
Many in Africa believe that the Nobel Prize Committee is apolitical, but its meandering on the Peace Prize indicates that it is not. In fact, some of its past winners were clearly unworthy of the Peace Prize. If, as the Award Committee claims: “Alfred Nobel said that the prize should be given to those who worked for disarmament,” how could it have awarded it in 2012 to the EU when it is a major player in the arms race?”
This year’s Literature prize went to French writer, Annie Ernaux. Annie who? You are likely to ask. How come the prize goes to people like Annie Ernaux or last year’s winner, Abdulrazak Gurnah of Tanzania, while a prodigious and captivating writer like Ngugi wa Thiong’o is bypassed? The answer is simple: Ngugi is too politically conscious and independent to be handled. The clever Europeans also created in our minds what to believe or disbelieve. For instance, Adolf Hitler is presented as the devil who wanted to colonise the world. But they will not tell us that not just Hitler, but his brother European leaders and monarchs were also colonialists who in fact fought over colonies.
Hitler’s genocide against six million Jews is unimaginable, but so also is the genocide against African, Asian and Latin American peoples by various European countries. For instance, while Hitler’s atrocities are drummed into our ears, we are not taught about King Leopold II of Belgian who massacred 15 million Africans in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Yet, unlike Leopold, Hitler did not loot Africa nor severe limbs. So, how come he is the Devil and Leopold and his fellow colonial raiders are not?
The Europeans will continue to be smart; it is left for Africans to be reflective if they are to break the chains of underdevelopment.