Wednesday, September 23, 2009.
Is there any black African, whether in the homeland or the Diaspora, who doesn’t want a Black Africa that is prosperous, secure from exploiters and invaders, and is respected by the whole world, like China or Japan is? That, I believe, is the basic aspiration driving the desire for Continental African Unity, as attempted through the OAU/AU, and now through this proposed USAfrica.
Let me give three reasons why the continental union government approach to our aspirations hasn’t worked, won’t work, and is very dangerous for Black Africans.
1. The USAfrica doesn’t have a camel’s chance in the ocean of delivering on the hopes and aspirations which its promoters are encouraging naïve black Africans to invest in. Simply put, 53 neo-colonial Arab and Black African worms stuffed into a bottle will not yield a black African lion. If you add up 53 zeros, you’ll still have zero!
2. The USAfrica will be, for black Africans, a disaster much worse than even our terrible disunity. If this USAfrica is enacted at the AU Summit in Accra in July, Black Africans would have jumped from the frying pan of disunity into the fire of unity under Arab colonialism. And all Black Africans would quickly find themselves reduced to the terrible condition of the Black Africans under Arab minority rule in Darfur, South Sudan and Mauritania.
In our naïve approach to this matter, we are behaving like nigger monkey who insisted that he and python were brothers because they both lived on the same island. Nigger monkey rushed to embrace python and quickly ended up united with python all right, but in python’s stomach.
3. Just like the OAU/AU did for the last 50 years, this USAfrica will divert us, for another century, from what we should have done in the last 50 years to achieve our hopes and aspirations as Black Africans.
But what should we have done since “independence” and why did we neglect to do it? Since Black Africans gained “independence” during the last 50 years, we have lived by the slogan “Seek ye first the political kingdom, and all else shall be added unto you.”
Unfortunately, little has been added unto us except poverty, more poverty, beggardom, social disorder, neo-colonialism under UN Imperialism, the debt burden, AIDS bombing by the USA and the World Health Organization (WHO), and Arab territorial expansion at our expense. Why? The basic reason is that we did not -- as our history demanded, and still demands we do – take as our cardinal guide the slogan:
Build ye first the kingdom of collective security, and you can, within its ramparts, achieve all your other desires!
We have failed to build our system for Black African collective security. That is what we must focus on now and build in the next 50 years if we don’t want to be exterminated by our White Power enemies, who have declared, after exploiting us for centuries, that they now want our land and resources without us.
All our historical disasters in the last 1000 years resulted from the basic fact that we were too weak to defend our land, our population, and our cultures from Arab and European invaders. Until we equip ourselves to defend ourselves, our disasters will continue and will multiply until we are exterminated, most probably within this century.
For building the Black Power to protect ourselves, a continental union government is simply irrelevant. None of the great powers of today or before has been a continental state. Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, USA, China, and India -- none occupies a whole continent. Belgium, whose GDP is said to be greater than that of all of the countries of Africa put together, is not a continent. Nor is any of the Asian Tigers. On the other hand, Australia occupies an entire continent. But where is Australia in the league table of great powers? Is it in the G-8? Antarctica likewise is a continent.
So, let us stop deluding ourselves about the necessity for a continental African union government as the means to our legitimate and historically based aspirations. Instead, let us follow Marcus Garvey the Great, and focus on what we really need to build: a black African superpower that will be a great power in the rank of China and the G-8 countries. As Garvey taught us some 80 years ago:
The Negro peoples of the world should concentrate upon the object of building up for themselves a great nation in Africa . . . a political superstate . . .a government, a nation of our own, strong enough to lend protection to the members of our race scattered all over the world, and to compel the respect of the nations and races of the earth.
A political programme, to be valid and useful, must have a correctly defined constituency and a solution to the cardinal problems of that group. Garveyism does that for Black Africans. Continentalism fails on both counts, which is one key reason why, in its 50 years reign, it has not achieved what we have aspired to as Black Africans.
Whereas Garveyism correctly focuses on our developing the Black Power we need to protect ourselves from all dangers, Continentalism says nothing at all about power, let alone about Black Power. It doesn’t even offer to create Black African unity. Its focus is on unification of the entire continent, which translates into Arab-Black African unification. But since the Arabs have, for 1500 years been white invaders, expropriators and enslavers of Black Africans, Arab-Black African unification is like a unification of nigger monkey with python.
The Arabs would naturally love, and eagerly promote such unification. But isn’t it suicidal for Black Africans to agree to it, let alone campaign eagerly for it—as continentalist Pan- Africanists have done for the last 50 years?
Part II: USAfrica- The Arab agenda:
1] We must never forget that, despite Gadhafi’s rhetoric against colonialism, he and his Arab fellows are colonialists in Africa--white settler colonialists who invaded, conquered, expropriated and have settled on 1/3 of Africa beginning in 640 AD.
2] Gadhafi’s hurry to implement his USAfrica is suspect. He has spent 40 years trying to force Libya’s unification with Sudan, to forcibly annex the Auzou strip from Chad, and sponsoring destabilization in Liberia, Uganda, Mali, Niger etc. Should we trust his intentions? We should be highly suspicious of a project by which he would diplomatically swallow in one gulp all of Black Africa where he has, hitherto, failed to militarily grab bits and pieces.
3] In Gadhafi’s speeches in 2005, where he pushed for the fledgling AU to appoint a Defense Minister, and a Trade Minister etc., as matters of priority; and called for a continental army, he also urged the AU countries to compete to host the institutions of the AU/USAfrica. This hurry is all highly suspicious.
Clearly, the Arab countries, awash with oil money and with unlimited back-up from the rest of the oil-rich Arab League, will outbid the poor Black countries, leading to Arab domination of the USAfrica; just as the UN is dominated by the gang of imperialist countries where its key institutions are located—the USA with the World Bank and IMF in Washington and the UN Headquarters in New York, and Europe with UNESCO in Paris, the Maritime agencies in London, and other key agencies in Geneva.
If the Gadhafi formula for locating its key institutions is allowed, this USAfrica will become an instrument of Arab colonialism in Africa; and will entrench Arab power over Black Africa.
4] Defense is the last thing a sensible sovereign country surrenders. Note that after 50 years of their merger process, the EU states have yet to do that and appoint a defense minister. Yet, Gadhafi wants the AU to start with that! Highly suspicious.
5] The dangers of Arab racism, colonialism and expansionism are evident in Mauritania and Sudan, and should be studied and heeded.
For basic information on that, please go to http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/articles/chinweizu/usafrica-arab-colonialism-part-1-arab-quest-for-leben-2.html
6] Gadhafi’s arguments about the potential economic benefits of USAfrica are invalid. Continental size is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for becoming an economic power. If it was, Britain, Japan, Germany, France, let alone Switzerland and most of the European countries, would be economic midgets, and the Asian Tigers too. On the other hand, Antarctica and Australia, as continents, would be economic giants. Gadhafi must believe that he is addressing an audience of economic blockheads! 7] Here is Gadhafi’s Lebensraum [Living space] statement at the Arab League meeting in Jordan in 2001:
“The third of the Arab community living outside Africa should move in with the two-thirds on the continent and join the African Union ‘which is the only space we have," Col. Mouammar Gadhafi of Libya, at the Arab League, 2001.
It should be taken seriously as a clue to his intentions and what he and his Arabs will set about doing to Black Africa once they have us in their USAfrica trap.
Where will Gadhafi settle his new 100million Arabs from outside Africa? How will he get land to give them? Here is an example of Arab land grab intentions. Back in 1962, as he flagged off his troops to the war front against the Black Africans in South Sudan, the Arab Sudanese General Hassan Beshir Nasr declared:
“We don’t want these black slaves . . . what we want is their land.” That is what the wars in South Sudan and Darfur have been about: seizing land from Black Africans. Darfur is an ongoing example of how Arabs seized 1/3 of our continent, and of how Gadhafi will grab the land to settle his 100million Arabs from outside Africa.
8] There is a vital need to think through the Black African interest, and negotiate in detail to secure its requirements, before agreeing, if at all, to this USAfrica proposal. After it is signed, the Arabs will, predictably, treat as treason any second thoughts and objections to details from black Africans.
Black Africans must never again repeat the folly of their leaders in 1973, when the OAU lined up behind the Arabs on the oil embargo, in hopes of getting concessions on oil, without any pre-agreed quid pro quo, and got nothing after the Arabs had exploited African support.
9] Because we are convinced that this USAfrica is a cover for Arab colonialism and Arab expansionism in Black Africa, we urge every Black African president in the AU to vote against it at Accra in July.
At the very least, they should vote to postpone any decision on it for five years so that a vigorous debate can be carried out by the people, so they can knowledgeably and democratically mandate their presidents on what to do about it. We could take a lesson from the EU process where key stages of the unification have been preceded by plebiscites in each member country.
10] If this USAfrica is agreed on this July at Accra, Gadhafi and all Arabs will be laughing at the dumb blacks whom they have easily duped yet again. Don’t forget their view of blacks, as stated over the centuries, most famously by Ibn Khaldun, Ibn Sena and Osama Bin Laden, as in the following quotes:
Ibn Khaldun, the greatest Arab historian (1332-1406), sees the blacks as “characterized by levity and excitability and great emotionalism” and [says] that “they are everywhere described as stupid” . . . He adds that blacks are “humans who are closer to dumb animals than to rational beings.” . . .
al-Dimashqi had the following to say: “The Equator is inhabited by communities of blacks who may be numbered among the savage beasts. Their complexion and hair are burnt and they are physically and morally abnormal. Their brains almost boil from the sun’s heat.”
Ibn al-Faqih al-Hamadhani follows the same line of reasoning. To him . . . the zanj [Black Africans]. . .are “overdone until they are burned so that the child comes out between black, murky, malodorous, stinking, and crinkly-haired, with uneven limbs, deficient minds, and depraved passions” . . .
Even such luminaries as Ibn Sina [Avicenna] (980-1037), the most famous and influential of the philosopher-scientists of Islam, considered blacks to be “people who are by their very nature, slaves.”
“All African women are prostitutes, and the whole race of African men are abeed [slave] stock. Your people are like rats plaguing the earth” –Osama Bin Laden to the Sudanese-American novelist, Kola Boof in Morocco in 1996.
When next you meet an Arab, you should ask what is the Arabic word for a black person; then ask what is the Arabic word for slave; you’ll discover that the words are the same “abeed”. Which is why, when an Arab looks at a black African, what he sees is a slave. Now, that is how their language teaches these Arab ‘brothers’ we are eager to unite with to think of us—as slaves!
And as one traveller in the Sudan observed in 1930: “In the eyes of the Arab rulers of Sudan, the black slaves were simply animals given by Allah to make the life of the Arab comfortable.”
First published in on July 10, 2007 by Frontline Africa.
Chinweizu is a Black Power Pan-Africanist and an institutionally unaffiliated Afrocentric scholar from Nigeria.
His books include "The West and the Rest of Us (1975); Decolonising the African Mind (1987); Voices from Twentieth-Century Africa (1988); Invocations and Admonitions (1986); Energy Crisis and Other Poems (1978); Anatomy of Female Power (1990). He is also a co-author of "Towards the Decolonization of African Literature (1980)".