Monday, June 17, 2024

Allow us to choose our masters


By Haile-Gebriel Endeshaw

One bright morning we were driving out of Addis… three Ethiopian friends and a ferenj acquaintance. He was impressed by the green meadows, mountains and forests of the rural Ethiopia. We heard him appreciating time and again the weather, which was cool and sunny. “Guys, I like this weather! …wow!” …Then, hours later, he happened to see Chinese guys working on a rural road construction. “Why are there so many Chinese guys here? …Africans should not tolerate their presence in mass. … I don’t think they are trustworthy.” The ferenj was not happy to see the Chinese guys. It is common to hear the westerners asking about Chinese guys who are working in rural lands of Africa.
One of our friends who is known to speak his mind cleared his throat and said, “I think Chinese are more interested in the people of Africa than whiteys are.”
“I don’t understand. What’s that?” The foreigner asked.
“We see many Chinese people here. Probably because of the fact that their government gives better support to Africans than other western countries do. …Moreover, Chinese people are welcome here for many reasons… At least we have not heard them insulting us ‘shithole’.” Our Ethiopian friend said smiling.
“By the way, Trump refuted the allegation… He said he did not say that ‘shithole’ thing,” the ferenj said.
“Ok, let’s say he did not say it. But what Africans know is that the guy is harsh towards them. At least I can be sure of this.”
“I don’t think the president is normal. You know he is at loggerhead with North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Syria, China, Russia,” the foreigner said.
Silence reigned for a couple of minutes. Then, our Ethiopian friend came up with details of his views. Here follows what he said… Once upon a time there was a big man living in Kenya. This man is named Jomo Kenyatta. Yeah, you know him. He was the leader of Kenya. He is one of those big African leaders whom the continent is proud of. Of course, including our emperor Haile-Silassie. Kenyatta is quoted to have said: “When the missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the missionaries had the Bible. They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.”
We know that foreigners are here to rob us of our resources. We read that the continent possesses 120 billion barrels of oil reserves and 600 million hectares of uncultivated arable land which is said to be half of the world total. The westerners are not expected to see these palatable resources with folded hands. They should have it by hook or by crook. To put this into effect, they have done everything to their capacity. They divided us, killed us and did many harmful things against us, poor Africans. They are still doing these same things… First, they gave us the Bible. Now the approach has been changed. Before taking our resources, the colonialists divided us by our ethnic group and religion. Then they prefabricated histories which caused disputes and unrest among us. They used local mercenaries to kill us. While we quarreled, they came up with their guns and drugs. They gave the guns to one group and the drug to the other. This way they put us into big conflicts. We did the fighting that had been created for us, and they took the resources from beneath our feet with broad smile in their faces. Since then Africans have suffered by the legacy of colonial rules and military interventions… Thanks to them we have harvested armed conflicts, mass displacement of people, torture, civil war…
Long years ago, our forefathers were rounded up and shipped to western countries on slave trading. The defenseless Africans did not do the migration by their own. For your information, many of them committed suicide opposing the then forced slave trade. What the whiteys should understand is that Africans prefer to live in their own countries. No other place is better than one’s own home. As the saying indicates, “no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark”. The long story is that during our fighting, which was deliberately made for us, our poor kith and kin have been forced to flee their once peaceful countries. They had no choice but to travel to western nations. What do they do there? They earn their living through bondage or exploitation. Apart from the suffering, segregation and racism, they have not been that much good at their income. Michael Moor said all in his famous book, ‘Stupid White Men’ that “the average income for a black American is 61 percent less per year than the average white income. That is the same percentage difference as it was in 1880! Not a damn thing has changed in more than 120 years”. What is worse is that African immigrants have been called names. They have been called many obscene names like shithole.
The thing is that Africans are forced to travel to western countries because of the problems created directly or indirectly by the whiteys… What surprises us all is that when they are there, their name is migrants. But when the white people flow to Africa, they are named missionaries or gospel preachers. The former president of Zimbabwe said that people “of Africans in Europe are refugees” while “Europeans in Africa are tourists”. According to Mugabe, black people working in a foreign country are foreigners. But the white people working in a foreign country are expatriates.
Now back to my story… It looks that this time China is smartly replacing the westerners in Africa. Colonialists have long been given the opportunity to gobble up as much resources as they can from Africa. But as they have done the robbing wantonly and with bad approach, the sly fox has got the chance to snatch the resources from their big-fat mouth doused in blood.
Bro, mineral resources in China are insufficient to meet an ever-increasing domestic demand and to sustain dramatic growth. That country needs more crude oil production to satisfy the demand of its people. It is Africa that satisfies the need. To implement this, China knows that it should approach the continent in a better way than the westerners. The white guys put conditionalities for the debts they are providing us. They compel us to change our policies, to downsize factory workers, to devaluate our currencies. I am of the opinion such approach is outdated and not favored by Africans. What the Chinese are doing this time is completely different. At least they built us skyscrapers, hospitals, bridges, airports, roads, seaports, railways, sport arenas… The westerners are not that much smart to give us all these things. These are my views which are probably contrary to what others are saying.
We know what the Chinese guys have done to meet their objectives. For instance, between 2000 and 2017 that country pumped into Africa credits worth 143 billion USD. Of course, this has been realized in the form of wide roads, railways, ports, stadiums, factories, industrial parks and mineral developments… My argument does not emanate from affections to China. No! I know all come here for their own benefits. Of course, this may not include very few philanthropists or humanitarian organizations and foundations… We need China not only for its support or generosity… not for the incomparable cost we are being paid in exchange for our precious resources… We are close to China probably for the ‘honor’ or for the slyness or smartness it is showing while gently licking us. Yeah, what we know is that so far China has not come up with leaders that disparage poor Africans. At least we know that Chinese leaders have not called us ‘shithole’. My advice is that the westerners should not feel envy for Chinese guys who are toiling diligently round the clock to amass precious resources from the womb of Africa mama! …Whatever the case is, the whiteys should allow us to choose our masters.

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