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Worse Is The Devil You Know Than The One You Don't

13 July 2012

By Reason Wafawarova

RECENTLY George W Bush was publicly dressed down by Zambia's Michael Sata in an incident seen by some as a light-hearted exchange, yet viewed as a major diplomatic mishap in some quarters.

The Zambian president frankly told the 66 year-old Texan cowboy and former US president that his charitable efforts in Zambia signified nothing more than "payback time for colonialists."
After arriving a quarter of an hour late for a scheduled meeting, Bush met an unimpressed Sata who immediately introduced deliberations in a way no ordinary American would ever expect from anyone on this planet, let alone someone from a poverty-stricken country like Zambia, more so to a former president of a country that counts itself number one to all others.

This is what Sata said: "Previously there used to be four great countries: United States of America, United Kingdom, Russia and France.And you have all drifted away; you have abandoned Africa after taking all our raw commodities, our raw materials and built your cities. I mean, as far as you are concerned, Africa doesn't exist. And when we have a former colonialist like you coming back to pay back what you took out of this country, we are grateful."

Bush might be notorious for his unsophisticated perception of global affairs, but he certainly was convinced the United States never colonised any country in Africa, apart from its countless puppet regimes as popularised by Ronald Reagan, and of course its Liberian project.

After realising that the charge of colonisation in African was misplaced the Texan gangster shot back:
"Mr President, I don't wanna be argumentative, but America was never a colonial nation. France might have been a colonial nation; Britain might have been a colonial nation, but not the United States of America."

Sata could have reminded Bush of Liberia, Haiti, American Samoa and perhaps the Philippines, but he chose to correct himself instead: "The Americans did not physically colonise us, but at the same time, the Americans still have scars of slavery. "

The UK's Telegraph took this exchange as an act of desperation in longing for the revival of colonial influence on the part of Michael Sata, adding that the Zambian President was "yearning" for increased British influence in Zambia.This was put forward as serious commentary and no doubt takers were found.

The paper reported that President Sata "said he was keen for his country's former colonial master Britain to increase its influence to counterbalance a now heavy Chinese presence against which he campaigned so fiercely in previous elections."

The paper even dared to quote President Michael Sata as having said, "Better the devil you know than one you don't," the worse devil in this case being China, assumed to be unknown in Africa despite its legendary role in arming Africans to fight colonial empires in the last half of the 20th Century.
These kind of imperial hallucinations are typical of what you get when you come across ultra-conservative Europeans still enjoying the sweet dreams of a bygone colonial past.

At the peak of colonialism Britain's Queen Victoria reigned over indisputably the most expansive empire in the history of the now defunct empire.The joy wallowing has not ceased in quarters of Britain's power corridors, and this explains why Britain is obsessed with the affairs of its former colonies like Zimbabwe. The heart cannot let go what was grabbed away from the hand three decades ago.

At the end of the 19th Century Queen Victoria added African territories like Sata's Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and so on to the territories already grabbed in the Scramble for East Asia, territories like Malaya, Borneo, Papua New Guinea, and islands in the Pacific like Fiji, the Solomon Islands and so on.

Earlier Britain had boasted among other colonists of great prizes like India and numerous colonies in the Caribbean. Expansionism was then the definition of political power, just like ideological domination is today.

These territories were of course in addition to Britain's colonial states claiming dominion status, such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, even after losing George W. Bush's United States.
Altogether Britain bragged of 13 million square miles of colonial territory, translating to about a quarter of the world's total landmass. Queen Victoria counted Africans among her 450 million subjects spread across the planet, making up 25 percent of the global population.These statics are from Professor Caroline Elkins' book "Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya."

Now confined to a local population of just over 60 million people, it appears Britain needs serious therapy to accept that the good old days are gone and never to come back again, and someone must make it clear to the former colonial power that former colonies are not exactly dying for Britain's "civilisation mission," and certainly for Zimbabwe, the less London the better for everything progressive.

It has always been "The Whiteman's Burden" to civilise lesser people across the world, and for sure it is time people like Michael Sata are seen to be crying desperately for Britain's influence before the Great Satan from China messes up the hapless Zambians and all other Africans. China is not bad for its economic rivalry to Europeans but for its intended evil on hapless African natives; so we are told.

During the colonial era the British Empire mobilised its imperial thugs around the ethos of civilising the barbarians out there in the dark world. Imperialism to Britain was never a matter of exploitation and subjugation of other people as those thankless nationalists who opposed colonial rule always rhapsodised about. Rather, colonialism was all about a moral obligation to redeem backward people from religious ignorance, paganism, poverty, stupidity, superstition, and primitive animalism.

As for Africa, it was openly declared in the day that Britain's ordained role was to bring to light the Dark Continent, philanthropically transforming subhuman the natives into progressive modern world denizens, just like the same natives need democratisation today so they do not end up with dictators who kill their own people. Those who hold the view that Britain was stealing African resources as Sata asserted to Bush must be strongly reminded that had it not been for Britain's philanthropy and goodwill, the hapless natives of Africa could never have reached a point on the evolutionary scale to develop enough to make responsible decisions on their own.

In fact, whatever dictatorship or authoritarian rule that may be found in Africa today must stand as testimony that it was irresponsible behaviour on the part of fanatical nationalists to cut short colonial rule before the African was fully developed by the superior race. And we must realise that Zimbabwe's land reclamation from colonially settled commercial farmers was equally premature and a pure act of ignorance since the black farmer has not yet reached that stage in the evolutionary scale where he can be trusted with such complex matters like commercial farming.

Ian Smith even argued that he needed a thousand years of tough paternalistic love to develop indigenous Zimbabweans into progressive people.

When Britain plays shepherd to a political party like the MDC-T, the thinking is to invest decades if not centuries of mentoring the hapless African natives into true civilisation, nowadays fashioned as democratisation.

Those in the leadership of the MDC-T have a perfect understanding of this very complex logic.
The sanctimony of Britain about the primitive African has never changed and that is why it makes sense to claim that African leaders like Michael Sata are desperate for British influence and dominance, dying to see white presence, and even visiting Europe to beg for more and more influence from the caring Great Britain.

The rise of mediocre leadership in Africa does not make the situation any better. It is an indisputable fact that Joyce Banda of Malawi is more than desperate for British domination in Malawi.She has even publicly prayed to God that Western donors may forgive Malawi of whatever sins her predecessor might have committed; so Malawi can continue surviving on aid money from the West, particularly from Britain. In a few weeks Banda impressively turned Malawi from a God fearing nation to a donor fearing nation, with the new leader playing evangelist in warning would be offenders of the dangers of sinning against Western powers.

Puppet politicians like Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Raila Odinga of Kenya, Blaisse Campaore of Burkina Faso, Alassane Quattara of the Ivory Coast, and Botswana's Ian Khama do not make the vacuous argument about the importance of reviving the colonial legacy any weaker. They are the "progressive politicians" in whose hands Obama says the future of Africa lies. The politics of the MDC in Zimbabwe have to a good extent popularised a doctrine that says Zimbabweans are the white man's burden.

In fact Morgan Tsvangirai's political career has indeed been the white man's burden, from its financing to policy direction; if at all the regime change machinations are to be elevated to matters of policy.

Nato enjoyed what was otherwise disgusting support from sections of the Zimbabwean population when it was killing about 50 000 Libyans in its efforts to topple and murder Gaddafi.

The auxiliaries of imperial domination coming in the name of Western funded civic organisation have also played a huge part in creating the portrait of a depended Africa, a hapless native African population so desperately waiting for salvation from the superior races coming from Europe.

The best-selling fundraising pitch card must always carry images of mucous infested starving African children. The former colonial powers have successfully created this dangerous message that says poverty alleviation is an act of charity.

Africa needs to know that poverty alleviation is a matter of fundamental rights for its people, not an act of benevolence to be expected from rich and powerful countries. No doubt George and Laura Bush are in full belief that their acts of charity in Zambia amount to poverty alleviation, and there is no questioning that this belief is mutually shared with the beneficiaries.

China's involvement with former European colonies in Africa has not started now. As earlier stated, countries like Zimbabwe were heavily supported by China to fight down British colonialism.

This is the devil we are told we do not know, and should shun as we rather stick to the Western devil we know. This writer says worse is the Devil you know than a friend who once came in the hour of need.

Africa we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!!

Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in Sydney, Australia.

 

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