For over a decade – actually it seems more like forever – the world has declined into a sort of chaotic state as primarily man-made conflict, natural disasters, drought, famine, starvation… continue to impact certain countries, which have people running away from all these crises. The visible result is thousands landing and/or washing up on Mediterranean seashores, with the fortunate ones trekking westward, crashing international borders. All of them seeking refuge and safe havens, to borrow that usual cliché, “start a new life.”
The response to this ongoing human tsunami impacting western countries is rampant nationalism and extreme right anti-immigration politics, as certain nations afflicted with “refugee fatigue” slam their doors, evoking the old sentiment, “Each man for himself.”
So much for the so-called “international family of nations…”
The migrant situation is transparent, increasingly urgent and palpable.
After recently watching an HBO documentary on the plight of African and Middle Eastern migrants who had managed to cross (and are still crossing) the Mediterranean and landing on Italian shores.
When juxtaposed, the difference in the treatment meted out to the Africans fronting the big Sea and those sub-Saharans was telling; the colour matters. That notwithstanding, in the face of the demonstrated ethnic-racial hatred, the visible sympathy, empathy and humanitarianism of welcoming people is evident.
And as I’m watching that documentary—unfortunately the name escapes me—and trying to fathom that African exodus, I’m thinking of Africa’s 54 countries and wondering why that continent, notwithstanding its natural potential, and that has given (or better stated from which so much has been extracted/pillaged for hundreds of years, and continuing in this the 21st century) remains one of the primary sources of refugees landing on international shores and crashing international borders.
The reasons, not the least of which are recurring natural phenomena, have become a moot point. It’s the man-made others, including political and economic crises, that are the other source of the continent’s perennial instability.
Here’s an extract garnered from on-line material. The headline states: About Wars and Post-War Conflicts
There are currently fifteen African countries involved in war, or are experiencing post-war conflict and tension. In West Africa, the countries include Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo. In East Africa, the countries include Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda. In Central Africa, the countries include Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda. In North Africa, the country is Algeria and in South Africa, the countries include Angola and Zimbabwe.
Some of the countries mentioned have recently managed to negotiate an end to their conflict. For example Eritrea-Ethiopia; Sudan-South Sudan. Zimbabwe just ended an extended period of uncertainty when long-time President Robert Mugabe was forced from office in a bloodless coup, and neighbouring South African President Jacob Zuma was forced from office as a result of an African political leader’s affliction: corruption; over a year after his political kick-of-the-can would’ve ended Democratic Republic of the Congo President Joseph Kabila refuses to step aside (with the usual result: social instability and casualties as people take to the streets demanding he step aside… And Canada recently deployed “peace-keepers” to Mali in an effort to (help) bring some stability to that country, which is apparently in the throes of so-called terrorists like Isis…
Mali and other desert countries have become havens for “terrorists.” This in turn has given the U.S. and its allies reason to engage in a construction boom of military bases in Africa. It currently has “50 in Africa’s 54 countries,” especially on the Horn of Africa, Djibouti.
But my cynicism reigns…
Africa is still trying to overcome its centuries of colonialism in all its dubious forms. Now in the 21st century it’s in the throes of military colonialism in the guise of combating creeping terrorism and African leaders are easily wooed with the right gifts… from the U.S. and other western nations such as France, whose colonial presence in Africa has never ended.
Again, Africa continues to grow all sorts of resources imaginable for western economies’ consumption. Africa’s children… will just have to wait to grasp, control and enjoy their racial birthright and legacy.
To continue, here’s why for multiple generations—since that other crossing of the big Sea, the Mediterranean, by Europeans who landed on African shores—the dream of natural and rightful African legacy remains unrealized.
Another article The Base of the Wars state:
Referring to various African countries [It’s] the rich natural resources each of these poor countries hold of timber, oil or diamonds, compounded in many cases by the foreign extractive industries presence, their opaque, unreported payments to the governments and the governments’ opaque, unreported use of the money to create and fund wars.
The wars serve the purpose of creating a distraction, as the countries and their fleeing, displaced citizens are robbed of their countries’ natural resources, easily converted to cash, for the personal use and fortunes of ruling parties. Tribal conflict is deliberately antagonized, so it can be blamed for the conflict…
“A necessary first step in the prevention of future atrocities, human rights abuses and mass waves of human displacement in Africa… it is imperative for multinational extractive industries to make public the net taxes, fees, royalties and other payments they make to the governments of the countries in which they have operations…”
And various international organizations shedding light on the historical reasons why Africa [is…] are listed online:
“Publish What You Pay” campaign, a coalition of 170 non-governmental and civil society organizations…; Transparency International;
Partnership Africa Canada: Business-Human Rights.org; Black Market Gun Running in Africa;
The Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers;
The African Center for Peace and Education…
If you’re troubled by what you see on Africa, and what’s coming out of Africa, and across the Mediterranean, some of who are crashing Canadian borders, simply do some research. Understand why Africa and the Diaspora have been relegated to the bottom of the human social ladder.
In this context, discern is a powerful word.