7-Nov-2014: In response to the Ebola epidemic in Guinée, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the world noticed two distinctly different responses: one from the USA and France, carried out by their defense departments and the other from Cuba which demonstrated the kind of solidarity that is rarely seen nowadays, especially from the most powerful countries. The latter seek ways of maintaining their way of living, their way of looking at humanity as a hierarchical structure. The perspective of the powerful countries is not only a by-product of the way they look at their domination of the world during the last 500 years, and how they should benefit from the maintenance of that domination. An understanding of what is right and just for all of humanity can be found by looking at humanity’s history from as far back as possible. The most powerful countries and their militarized ways of responding to health issues is also related to their ways of ensuring that their view of justice, of science remains the unchallengeable one. Shouldn’t scientific research, medical research be organized to benefit all of humanity? If such a global approach to sharing knowledge were operational today, the response to the Ebola epidemic would most likely have been different. If knowledge about the best way of maintaining humanity’s health had been framed from the perspective of sharing, the response coming from Cuba might have been the rule rather than the exception. The practice of keeping knowledge for a few, by a few, for enhancing their well being, to the exclusion of others, has been accepted as if that is the only way it can be done for the benefit of all. This practice is in complete contradiction to all the utilitarian humanitarianism spread around under various names, including R2P. Put in a different way: the Ebola epidemic is not just about a health issue. It is about how the best knowledge can be mustered, and shared, for the benefit of all of humanity. Put in yet another way, how all of humanity reacts to a crisis like the Ebola epidemic hinges, crucially, on which narrative of its long history it chooses to accept. People of the Pyramids vs. People of the Spheres In his novel, KMT- In the House of Life –An Epistemic Novel (Per Ankh Cooperative Publisher, 2002. Popenguine. Senegal) the Ghanaan writer Ayi Kwei Armah has described this conflict between those he refers to as Sharers (of knowledge) and Keepers (of knowledge) in ways that are pertinent to how members of humanity could/should be looking at the current Ebola crisis. This excerpt from the above book has appeared in Corinne Kumar’s edited volume Asking We Walk: Book Four: In the time of Spring. Streelekha Publications. Bangalore. 2013
Ayi Kwei Armah goes beyond questioning by imagining griots from those times battling for a different vision and, hence, a different narrative. It is a narrative that shows an Ancient Egyptian society breathing live, seeking itself. In the process of that search, one encounters groups that left behind the pyramids and others that left the spheres as symbols of their vision and understanding of the kind of society they would have liked to see emerge.
Confronting challenges through good and bad times, they began to understand differently how to respond to good times and bad times. As recounted, this story that happened centuries ago in the Nile Valley sounds as if it is going on around us today. On how to deal with the knowledge acquired through that process, two groups emerged: “Some were for sharing; they saw sharing as the solution, the way to forestall disaster. And then there were those who did not see the need to share. They were for keeping knowledge among those who planted it” (Armah,2002:264).
And so, it is easy to see from Armah’s KMT that the battle between those who are willing to share and those who are eager to keep all the benefits of the society to themselves is not something which started 500 years ago, but thousands of years ago. And so the battle lines were drawn between those who looked at knowledge as power and, thus, something to keep for themselves and those who saw greater benefits for everyone by spreading knowledge: “If all society grows in wealth, nothing prevents us from enjoying our share of the general knowledge”. (Armah, 2002:266). The Sharers, then and now, were/are speaking the same language.
Needless to say, those who were/are opposed to sharing knowledge, food, power, –the keepers—found/find all kinds of arguments to reject the principles of sharing. There is no need here to recount all of the arguments going back and forth. Here is how the keepers were making the case for knowledge as a source of power: “Imagine if the entire valley obeyed one king, sustained by keepers of knowledge. It is not only the nobles who would gain. The people themselves would live more safely, their livelihood secure. As for us keepers of knowledge, nothing would separate us from kings. We shall have all the land we need, and slaves to work it for us all our lives.” (Armah: 2002, 270)
The geometrical figure that most faithfully represents the thinking and practice of the keepers is the pyramid while the one that is the most perfect figure for the sharers is the sphere. Asked to explain how such “a balanced system would work”, the sharers responded: “It would begin with an open house, the house of life. In that house all children would be our children, all of us. Since the entire inheritance of society would belong to every child, no gate in our house of life would be closed against the entry of any child.” (Armah, 2002:280)
The keepers and the sharers went back and forth explaining how they would implement the kind of society they envisioned. The dialogue is presented to us as taking place between the pyramid and the sphere. Here is a sample:
“Air fills the world. Knowledge is scarce.” “Sharing it creates more.” “Keeping it gives the keeper great power.” “Power unshared is unstable.” “There is sharing and sharing. At the top of the pyramid the keepers have knowledge in pure form. At the bottom the toilers enjoy the dregs. That is stability.” “The deceptive stability of inert forms. If you want stability containing life, strong enough to contain change, look away from the pyramid. See the sphere.” (Armah, 2002:284)
Further down, the dialogue continued:
“So in your pyramid, reason will not be the guide.” “All power belongs to the king. The valley being unified, the king of the Two Lands is the King of Kings.” “And after he dies?” “He shall not die.” “Now here is a new song.” “Listen well to it. We the companions who work with the warriors are not traitors. We have gone with the men of force not because we love force but because we live by results. The rule of the warriors can be beneficial to us if it brings the results we want, but cannot achieve on our own.” (Armah, 2002:285)
Much later the saga between Sharers and Keepers described by Armah was repeated. It happened between those who wanted to share the commons and those who, through enclosure, wanted to keep the commons for themselves. They would love to turn the earth into a pyramid. The earth, because of how it was built cannot become a pyramid, no matter how hard the keepers try. The earth is the house of life. And as the novel KMT ends, so will the Earth: it shall keep reproducing the House of Life.* It shall keep distilling life, sharing its treasures, make sure that all have access to them. Earth calls for unity, sharing always, all the time. From Armah’s novel, it is possible to look at how the Ebola epidemic is being confronted through the prism of the Sharers of Life vs. the Keepers of Death. For the Sharers of Life, healing and health are not about how quickly to accumulate wealth. On the other hand, in spite of its humanitarian disguises, the Keepers of Death are not interested in the sharing of access to knowledge that will enhance the health of all members of humanity without exception. Despite appearances to the contrary, members of the House of Life continue to live and spread the principles of the sharers that could also be called a language. It is much more than a language, it is a way of living life, or to quote from Armah’s definition: a way of “moving into new beginnings in hopes of creating communities walking the paths of balance, living justice.” (2002:293). In other words, the responses to the Ebola epidemic as exemplified by the most powerful nations of the Planet, on the one hand, and, on the other, by Cuba, do go beyond issues of health.
22-Oct-2014: R2P or the Responsibility to Protect was invented by the most powerful countries to demonstrate their humanitarianism, but in reality to provide themselves with yet one more weapon in its endeavor to dominate the world.
Is it not reasonable to think that R2P would have been invoked to rally world support against the spreading Ebola virus in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone? After all, even the head of the World Bank has criticized the failure of the rich Western countries to respond adequately to the epidemic. But given the gravity of this failure, this “mea culpa” ends up being a sort of cover up. Was the head of the World Bank, the IMF and like-minded institutions with a global reach willing to remember the role they played, through Structural Adjustment Programs, in further weakening all African health infrastructures, rendering them completely inadequate to a serious epidemic? Dr. Paul Farmer, a personal friend of the head of the World Bank has described these infrastructures as “medieval”.
Given that recent history and the one that preceded it, would it be an exaggeration to describe the Structural Adjustment Program a crime against humanity? However, again, given the history of the relationship between the Western countries and Africa, the former are likely to be outraged at being called perpetrators of such a crime for their failure to respond adequately to the spreading epidemic. For the Western countries, R2P is supposed to be used against perpetrators of crimes against humanity. By definition, given their own self-serving, utilitarian narratives, these most powerful nations are not prepared to look at themselves as actively involved in perpetrating such a crime.
The way the Ebola epidemic is being dealt with by the most powerful countries of the world can only be understood if one approaches it through the mindset that emerged from the history of conquest, slavery, colonization and apartheid. The Western countries enriched themselves through these historical processes that were rooted in systemic injustices.
For these injustices, no tribunal was ever set up. One of the consequences has been an ongoing impunity with regard to what occurred in Africa. Yet, the same Western countries have been quick to set up an International Criminal Court to make sure that crimes against humanity are punished. The question is: who decides on whether or not a given behavior, a given historical process, should be investigated for creating an environment conducive to a crime against humanity?
How the most powerful countries have responded to the Ebola epidemic is not unlike the manner in which they have responded to the evidence of climate change. The concentration of power, wealth into the hands of a tiny segment of humanity has led to the growth of an understanding of justice, truth, solidarity that is completely contrary to the maintenance of humanity.
The norm inscribed in the three pillars that constitute the foundation of the R2P automatically enjoins us to pose tough moral questions for those who have assumed the responsibility to execute that decision. President Sirleaf’s passionate letter to the world carried on BBC last Sunday, October 19, 2014, reminded the global community that ebola ‘respects no borders’. And the ‘bitterly disappointed’ Kofi Annan, another darling of neo-liberalism with impeccable credentials, was enraged to go further—‘if the crisis had hit some other region it probably would have been handled very differently’. This difference, shaped by centuries of history, teaches that one part of humanity is expendable while the other is not.
The one billion basket fund launched by the UN to reduce the rate of transmission has failed to attract donor support outside the $20 million pledge and the $100,000 donated by Columbia. But the cost of two F-22 Raptor stealth jets—going at $412 million a piece— gulping a whopping $67 billion to develop could eradicate ebola and malaria combined in one go. From 8 August to 24 September the US spent nearly one billion dollars bombing ISIS in Iraq.
Jacques Depelchin, Berkeley, California
Ibrahim Abdullah, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Dear Mr. Nxumalo, Mayor of Durban, South Africa
I have been informed that you are trying to be helpful to the poor, by way of being charitable, and sensitizing richer people to donate whatever they can to improve the conditions under which the poor live. From what is being reported, it does seem that you are not interested in listening to what the poor themselves are saying with regard to deal with their living conditions.
I do have many questions, but the one that really dominates is the following: why is it so difficult for you (and others in your administration, in the justice system, locally and nationally, in your party, locally and nationally) to look at people who are protesting on the basis of values (like solidarity, for example) that most Africans, nay, most humans, are proud to share? Is it not possible to put aside what capitalism, colonialism, apartheid, slavery, drilled into our minds, and listen with the kind of care, love, compassion someone like Francis of Assisi once did as a way of reminding us what we do have in common. One does not have to be a former catholic believer to admire someone like Pope Francis giving examples of humility, compassion, generosity, recently embracing a disfigured person. Or have you so imbibed the concept of power as power only when exercised with impunity, that you do not see how closely you are reproducing what went on during apartheid?
In his novel, KMT –In the House of Life, subtitled, an epistemic novel, Ayi Kwei Armah has provided an enlightened response. In this novel, Ayi Kwei Armah tries to understand why Ancient Egyptian Civilization fell apart. In a nutshell, it boiled down to a struggle between two antagonistic understandings of how to advance knowledge (and humanity). On one side there were the keepers (using knowledge as a way of accumulating power) and the sharers (using knowledge as a way of promoting solidarity, and the continuing emancipation of humanity).
Mr. Mayor, have you ever entertained the idea that, given your position, you could play a significant role, not only in Durban, but beyond, toward a complete and total emancipation of humanity, from the predatory practices of capitalism? What has been missing in Africa, since the years of Independence? What has been missing in South Africa, since the end of Apartheid? In all these cases can one seriously talk about transition when those who most benefitted from the predatory liquidation of Africa organized themselves to carry on with the predatory system? The predators are keepers and reproducers of the knowledge that made them powerful and super rich. The residents of Kennedy Road, Cato Cress Manor are trying to make you understand their messages about sharing in solidarity, not through charity. The latter is a healing message, the former is a transaction aimed at keeping the poor poorer and the rich richer.
There is a world of difference between solidarity and charity.
The latter calls for silence
Acceptance of poverty
As something akin to predestination
Calls for audacity
In liquidating misery
Not just in one corner of a territory
The poorest of the poor
Took to the streets because they had no other way
To be heard in their own voices
By themselves, for themselves
In today’s world dominated by violence
The voices from the poorest of the poorest
Are healing voices seeking
To heal wounds, visible and invisible
Mr. Mayor, it is easier to focus on the visible wounds, the ones everyone can see and understand, but the deepest wounds tend to be the ones that are invisible from the outside. Real healing means going as deep as possible in those hidden wounds, with the help of those who are vocal and those who have been so badly wounded that, more often than not, they would rather keep quiet.
There is one humanity, indivisible. In the end, each one of us will be asked, whatever our beliefs what did we do in order to heal that which appeared irreparably destroyed.
Jacques MF Depelchin
Hugh Le May Fellow Rhodes University (August-December 2012)
Like many people, I was surprised to hear of Edward Snowden’s decision to leave his job and move toward Hong Kong in search of a place where he could reconcile his conscience with his understanding of humanity and the US Constitution. Ever since, I have been trying to understand how he had come to a decision that, one may be certain, others contemplated, but then did not pursue for reasons that are not important, at this point, to figure out.
As days, weeks, months passed, most citizens of the US had difficulties in assessing Edward Snowden’s act: was he a hero or a traitor? In the midst of these hesitations, his father embraced him tightly. [His mother may have done the same, but more discretely, so discretely in fact, that no one but herself and Edward and his father know about it]. It was a very encouraging and courageous act even if it had to be handled, as too many things have to, in these days, with the help of a lawyer.
Is this lawyerly mediation of father-son love a sign of the times we are living in?
Solidarity, generosity, love,
Natural as humans for thousands of years
Cannot be expressed without consulting
Lawyers, expert navigators in protecting
Humans from being liquidated by other humans
So blinded by the exercise of power with impunity
They and/or their lobbyists
cannot see how such insanity
Has led to a slow, possibly
Of annihilation of values that
Once defined humanity
In these turbulent and confusing times, the striking quality of Edward Snowden’s voice may account for the silence it has tended to generate among his fellow humans. In the ideological dictionary of how to catalogue him, the specialists are at a loss, between honoring him as a hero and castigating him as traitor. Yet, his voice has come out as clear as crystal, as simple as a healing voice echoing his own conscience, a conscience fine tuned to how it was defined thousands of year ago when humans began to gain a conscience of themselves as different from animals.
As one reads Ancient Egyptian texts, especially around the concept of Mâât (justice, balance, ethics, solidarity, etc.), it is not difficult to see the connection between Snowden’s Ba (inner spirit, soul, conscience, according to the Ancient Egyptians) and that of The Man In Dispute of His Ba, a text from the 12th dynasty. (See Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature. Vol. 1: The Old and Middle Kingdom. UCLA press, 1975) It is not difficult to imagine Snowden debating with his Ba on how to decide what to do in the face of doing work that told him that it was not right.
As in that text from the 12th dynasty (1990-1785 BC), one could imagine Snowden thinking like that man:
To Whom Shall I Speak Today
The Constitution shows one way
My bosses kept messaging me: stay away
From your conscience
They would say
Insisting you are
Too young to know anyway
The right from the wrong way
Still I kept asking myself
To Whom Shall I speak today
While being encouraged to go
against the right way
To Whom Shall Speak Today
Facing solitary incarceration
Because I cannot help say
Yes to my conscience
Knowing what he did and what he was being asked to do, it is not difficult to imagine how he first tried to push his conscience away, silence it, telling himself that his job was to follow orders and not think about the bigger issues of whether it was right or wrong. But his conscience or his Ba kept coming back, sometimes in the middle of the night. He may not have thought the same as The Man from the text in Ancient Egyptian 12th dynasty, but it is also clear that it is those words that led him to look for people with whom he could share the load weighing on his conscience/Ba. The pain from the load was too much. Like any reasonable human being he looked for help, searching for someone he could speak to, without facing punishment concocted by generations of misguided, gone astray guardians of laws built on lies, violence, still unacknowledged crimes against humanity.
We do know that our brain/body still react physically/psychically in ways that were learned from thousand of years ago, whether in the face of threatening danger or in the face of dilemmas dealing with life issues. Living as human beings means that one is permanently connected to one’s conscience. That umbilical cord that connects us to primordial times has never been severed, but it will come under severe strain, now and again. In times past, land and conscience were as inseparable as any of the organs that make humans what they are. Inheritors of that crime against humanity see nothing wrong in cashing in on that original impunity by invading the soul/conscience of every single human being to own it as they owned the land they conquered.
Could it be that the difficulties of figuring out how Edward Snowden decided to do what he did stems from a station in the evolution of humanity that is showing signs of being split from its conscience. Put in another more brutal fashion: could it be that one of the consequences of the way humans are being organized economically, politically, scientifically, culturally, religiously, humanity as we have known it, is being liquidated, along with its history and being replaced by a species fashioned to respond without resistance to the rules and regulations that are being imposed in all spheres of life, all of them rooted in the impunity that sanctioned the severing of the land from people whose conscience kept repeating:
You are the guardian of the land
Earth, air, water one way
As Corbin Harney used to say
Only one way to stay
The integrity of humanity
Let no one take your land away
Because not long after they
Will take your conscience away
They turned the land into a commodity
With names like plantation, reservation,
Bantustans, colonies, commonwealth,
How far is humanity
from unrecoverable cacophony
hibernation, isolation, desolation. Liquidation?
The signal is clear: do not listen to your conscience, especially if tells you to denounce something that is damaging to other members of humanity.
Looked at from such an angle, Edward Snowden’s voice and action can be seen as healing gestures in a world increasingly being pushed to self annihilation by practices that emphasize, single mindedly, the competitive search for self-enrichment. In the face of such a disaster, should one be surprised that a person with a highly sensitive conscience could not help but follow it? When a healing voice, like Edward Snowden’s, emerges in the midst of an undeclared war against humanity, one can be certain that such a voice is the result of a massive healing energy being expressed from different segments of humanity. This voice is not an isolated cry. Could it be the water breaking preceding the birth of a renewed conscience and affirmation of fidelity to humanity?
It has been pointed out that the assassination of Amilcar Cabral marked the end of a sequence of history (Michael Neocosmos) namely the end of politics through armed struggles. In the process of thinking and re-thinking the legacy of Amilcar Cabral is it possible to say anything that has not been already said, either by himself, or by those who have written about him? Is it possible to go beyond just citing words and/or phrases that reconnect to his vision of an emancipated Africa? Is it possible to accept that, from the end of WWII, if not before, history has unfolded as imposed by the most powerful economic and political forces.
Discussing Amilcar Cabral, in a way, is no different from discussing other iconic and revolutionary figures whose lives were cut short precisely because of how they were perceived by their enemy. The long history of freeing Africa and Africans from the legacies of enslavement, colonization, apartheid, globalization seems like a never-ending task. The task could be made easier if one’s understanding of the above legacies were not too intimately tied to the Enlightenment.
In this essay, I would like to argue that one of the reasons Africa and Africans, and especially the poorest, are not better than they were in 1973 (possibly worse off), has to do, in part, with an inadequate understanding of how capitalism rooted itself in Africa, while uprooting its people, its culture, its history, and, at the same time pushing the splitting of humanity to levels that will make the task of coming back together appear impossible.
While most theorizers of capitalism and the processes linked to its expansion do mention violence, to my knowledge, none has really focused on the impact of cumulative violence on both sides. In addition, most theorizers, even if they may deny this, focus on the economic and financial impact of capital. The political and ideological impact resulting from the violence has not received the same kind of attention that the equation labor-capital has received. If capital, for the sake of its survival, shall feed on states, any of them, it will do so.
The financialization of capital and the kind of impunity it rests on must be analyzed through a theorization of how violence has been exercised while, at the same time, not being presented as violence. The towering dominance of finance capital is deeply connected with the violence present, represented and accumulated over the years in military organizations like NATO and the nuclear arsenals of countries with nuclear capability. In turn that latent violence which hangs over humanity like a Damocles sword has historical roots in processes that tend to be seen as separate. Ideologically speaking, capital and capitalism must be presented in the same light as, say the history of the US: the best, the greatest, incapable of committing crimes against humanity. The ruthlessness of capital, under any of its historical sequences, has been sanitized to the point of turning it into the “only acceptable alternative”.
The political and ideological power that has resulted from the violence inflicted during slavery and colonization deserves greater attention if the economic, political and cultural transitions are going to be understood, whether from slavery, colonial, apartheid to post-slavery, post-colonial, post-apartheid times. In a nutshell, the argument can be summarized as follows: from slavery through the current era called “globalization”, a type of power has emerged on a global scale that has not be given a name, as yet. In addition the cumulative effect of violence, physical and psychic has led to the emergence of a world in which violence will often take forms that have nothing or little to do with violence as is understood. To this kind of overwhelming power that is almost impossible to assess, one should add the power of technology. The creative side of technology is overemphasized while its destructive capacity has been growing beyond the imaginable.
For example, through advertizing (supposedly focused on creativity), consumers are led to believe that a given product (while in reality lethal for one’s health) is not only desirable, but also will enhance one’s health, and how one will feel, look, etc. Thus, while living under a socio-economic system that could be described as the most predatory in the history of humanity, humans seem to be unaware and/or unconcerned that, in the words of Aimé Césaire, “We have entered a tower of silence where we have become prey and vulture.” Indeed, one could convey the same idea by wondering whether capitalism has become the nicotine of humanity.
If it were to be analyzed in detail, this kind of power, rooted in how capitalism has imposed itself could lead one to conclude it has achieved the kind of dominance that Nazi leaders could never ever have dreamed of. Yet, it would be wrong to look at the end of WWII (i.e. how it came about, as a singular turning point. What is needed is a history of transitions (from slavery to colonization to apartheid to globalization) of capitalism, focused on where and how the concentration of economic, political, financial power was built.
One of the starting points has to be how the post-WWII has been presented by the powers that have been in control of that process: as a period that has brought greater progress, peace and security to everyone, under the twin aegis of capitalism and the United States. This narrative must be questioned in view of the crossroads in which humanity finds itself today. Asking for the narrative to be questioned does not mean that one has reached a conclusion with regard to how one should call the times under which we are living, but questioning at all times while maintaining fidelity to humanity can be the only way of maintaining fidelity to emancipatory politics.
Cabral’s famous warning about not claiming easy victory comes to mind. Yet, it could be argued that, in fact, systematically, at every transition there has been something akin to “claiming an easy victory”, or thinking that because some victories had been achieved, the rest, as Nkrumah so famously put it, will follow. In Frelimo’s publication during the struggle, an editorial was written, very critical of Nkrumah. Was Cabral thinking of Nkrumah when he issued his warning about not claiming easy victories?
As in any scientific endeavor, emancipatory processes, if they are going to be successful, can never end, if only because the temptations of one group seeking to take advantage of the rest is always going to be present. One of the difficulties, if not the principal one, is that the nature, form and appearance of the challenges will never be the same. Thus, Samora’s probing question “Who is the Enemy?” cannot ever have a prefabricated, or ready-made answer. It requires a constant battle whose shape, form, organization will never be the same. Sounds obvious, but is it? One of the reasons why there has been a tendency to claim easy victories (whether over slavery, colonization, Nazism or apartheid) comes from the imposition of historical narratives that see no connections (or very few) between these various phases when, in reality, the connections are structural, and should lead to constant re-examination.
For example, is it far fetched for an author like Claude Ribbe to look at Napoléon Bonaparte as a precursor of Hitler? Ribbe’s book focuses on how Napoleon ordered the restoration of slavery when he came to power. How that process was carried out may lead historians to other conclusions, but there is no doubt about how horrific it was (instructions coming from the highest levels were to make no prisoners, and asphyxiate them in massive numbers in the ship howls before throwing the dead bodies in the ocean). Moreover, Napoleon’s intentions were made clear: make the punishment as severe as possible so that the enslaved would think twice before engaging in overthrowing slavery. In other words, there are parts of the history of capitalism and/or nations that became powerful through its expansion that are considered sacred and untouchable. If impunity is going to be addressed seriously, then let it be done in a manner that does not flinch at investigating some of the most deeply embedded causes.
The enemy that allowed slavery to be abolished was actually working at modernizing slavery, i.e. getting rid of those shackles that were considered as obstacles on the growth of capital. The enemy that was later defeated in Indochina, Kenya, Algeria was in the process of modernizing its arsenal. This process has nothing to do with conspiracy theory; rather it has to do with the transition from colonization by European countries to US capital overtaking the latter. It has to do with the obvious: reconnecting histories that have continued to be treated as separate and unrelated to each other.
The history of the politics of emancipation as it has unfolded in Africa is one that should generate a process of rethinking à la Cabral. This would mean that emancipatory politics must understand the trajectories of colonization, apartheid, globalization, better than those who think that given that they always have won, there is no other lesson to learn from anyone, let alone from those who have been systematically slaughtered because their resistance was described as backward, barbarian, etc.
1. Power, violence and impunity
At the root of the long process of conquering Africa, one finds violence exercised with impunity. The end result, as can be seen today, is a practice of power that, implicitly and/or explicitly states that “power is only power if it is exercised with impunity”. In order to understand this, one has to look at the cumulative violence that has been unleashed for centuries, most of which went unrecorded in the annals or archives of the conquering forces.
It is not enough to note, as most observers do today, that there are two international justice systems, one at the service of the most powerful nations, corporations and one at the service of the weakest. For the latter, an arsenal of humanitarian, charitable organizations have been put in place since the days of the abolitionist movement in England, in particular, but not only.
Humanitarianism has a history longer than the birth of the United Nations and most charitable organizations. Humanitarianism can be looked at the manner in which the most powerful show their power to the weakest. Justice that is practiced out of charity is not justice. When adjectives begin to be added to justice, such as “social justice”, then one should be alerted to the fact that justice means different things to different groups of people.
For power to be exercised with impunity, the violence behind it must not be interpreted as questionable, or unjust. The most powerful nations and corporations are not interested in examining the reverberations/repercussions of how they exercise their power. It has reached levels of unaccountability that are usually associated with dictatorial rule.
For example, when it is decided in a given place that a group of people must be liquidated because one person has been identified as a threat to the well being of those controlling economic, political and financial power. Such a process makes a mockery of justice and reframes the parameters of international relations in a way that becomes impossible to challenge because impunity has become part and parcel of the definition of power as exercised by the most powerful.
2. Education, history
If one looks at the interest in history during the liberation struggles and the immediate aftermath, it is not difficult to notice that history was an important topic. Education was equally important. The reasons were obvious: if people were going to be mobilized to fight colonial rule, then it was important for them to understand its roots and how it worked, both physically and mentally.
The correlation between knowing the past, the present and the future was crucial in the success of the armed struggles for liberation. If one takes the example of Frelimo and the teaching of who the enemy is, during the armed struggle, it is not difficult to see how crucial education and history were as mobilizing weapons. When the colonized (or the enslaved) stand up and affirm themselves as not colonized, as free, they state that they count in a way that goes counter to how they had been treated by the enslavers and/or colonizers. However, that affirmation does require constant updating if the pitfall of National consciousness (or claiming easy victories) is going to be avoided.
Is it not interesting that preoccupation with history and/or education tends to occur at moments of crisis or in times when there is a sense that things cannot go on as they are? Although still in power, Frelimo has adopted the dominant manners and practices of its former enemy by relegating history, education and health to the bottom of the priorities. The presupposition (from the US to Mozambique, to DRC, to Brazil) is that these disciplines are sought by the less intellectually gifted. According to those in power (corporations and/or state) this is as it should be because the best brains are headed for science, Business and Law Schools.
Post Apartheid South Africa devotes 20% of its budget to education, and yet education continues to suffer from the apparent determination that it is not crucial for a society driven by a bottom line that has stated, for centuries now, that Africa and Africans should not get the best education possible for every single person. The bottom line continues to be dictated by the notion that those who have risen to the top have done so thanks to their own merit. The idea that maintaining fidelity to humanity is crucial not just for the tiny few at the top, but for every single one, is simply anathema to those who have most benefitted from the process of dispossession and dehumanization that has taken place under capitalism.
3. Capitalism: toward eradicating humanity and its history?
Over and above the typical features of capital related to the relationship between labor and capital, what takes place at the same time is a process of dispossession that goes far beyond what has been understood. How lethal capitalism has been in its process of destroying humanity has not been fully understood. The discussions about whether primitive accumulation or dispossession best capture how capitalism as an economic system operates can only lead to claiming easy victories, because capitalism has impacted humans in ways that go far beyond the realm of economics.
It is not sufficient to provide a critique of capitalism by just focusing on its economic features. Sometimes it may take the voice of poets to see better through capitalism. I will refer here to just two of them: Aimé Césaire and Ayi Kwei Armah. For the first I can only send readers to his Discourse on Colonialism. In it he articulates the interconnections between capitalism, Nazism and colonialism in a way that does not follow the usual script. He points out how the reconstruction of Europe went hand in hand with a continuation of Nazism (in the colonies). After all, it is not Hitler who proclaimed the following: “We do not aspire to equality, but to domination. The foreign race country must become again a land of serfs, daily farm or industrial workers. The issue is not to do away with inequalities among people, but to amplify them and turn it into a law”. Ernest Renan, the western humanist, the idealist philosopher is the author of this quote, written immediately following the end of WWII.
In a few more paragraphs, Césaire illustrates, with quotes, the ideological kinship between French thinkers and Hitler and his acolytes; between the barbarism that colonization leads to do, and where Nazism led. For Césaire, both colonialism and Nazism are the by-products of a sick civilization that, in his word “irresistibly, from consequence to consequence, from renunciation to renunciation, calls for its Hitler, I mean its punishment”.
From the perspective of Africa and its enslavement, Ayi Kwei Armah has written about the reality brought about by the white destroyers and the way to heal from the carnage. He has done it not only in his writings, but also in his practices as a writer, a thinker, as a sharer of his vision and understanding of the way away from the destroyers’ way. In chapter 7 of Two Thousand Seasons, readers will find reflections that are pertinent to not claiming easy victories, as in the following lines where he describes what a liberator is: “For he is no liberator whose skill lies in calling loudly to the bound, the trapped, the impotent enslaved, to rise upon their destroyers. The liberator is he who from a necessary silence, from a necessary secrecy strikes the destroyer. That, not loudness, is the necessary beginning.” (p. 314) Further down, he warns of more difficulties: “Dangers will be in the newness of this discovery, dangers like the headiness of too quick, abundant faith from those too long sold to despair; the pull of old habits from destruction’s empire; the sour possibility of people helping each other turning in times of difficulty into people using each other to create a selfish ease…(p.315)
4. Cabral and Guiné-Bissau
As observers and scholars look today at the African continent, the general impression that emerges is certainly not the one that prevailed around 1973, just before the assassination of Cabral. Even the assassination of Cabral could not dampen the feeling that victory against Portuguese colonial rule was within reach. By April 1974, thanks to the pressure brought by the armed struggles in the colonies, the Portuguese army seized power and put an end to the dictatorship. With the independence of Mozambique the (September 1975) the focus shifted from ending Portuguese colonial rule to facing and defeating Ian Smith and its allies in South Africa. With the defeat of the Americans in Vietnam in 1975, it appeared as if anything was possible, including the end of the apartheid regime. There came Soweto 1976, but soon after that (September 1977) came the assassination of Steve Bantu Biko. And it was around this time (April 1976) that the US (under Henry Kissinger), decided that the timing of the end of apartheid had to take place according to what would be decided in Washington, London, and not by Africans pursuing their search for complete and total emancipation from centuries of domination.
For the purposes of this essay and the current times, there is one question that is impossible to avoid: from the days of Nkrumah’s rise to power and the process of decolonization, what is it that, systematically, has not been dealt with as it should have been? Despite the volumes written on, around African unity, how come everything but unity prevails? What is it that prevented thinkers like Cheikh Anta Diop, Nkrumah, Cabral, Fanon, Nyerere, Mondlane, Ruben Um Nyobe, from joining their efforts? What is it that has led African political leaders to treat Cheikh Anta Diop’s individual work with the same disdain that, collectively speaking, Haiti’s overthrow of slavery has been treated? These questions will have to be answered sooner or later.
I mentioned earlier the fact that in the process of enslaving and colonizing the continent, the process of destruction did much more than what has been acknowledged, even by leaders like Cabral. It is one thing to call for African unity, it is another to articulate it in a way that any one on the continent would immediately understand the historical, cultural, linguistic, philosophical roots of that unity; provided such articulations were rooted in an understanding and conviction that, in fact, the unity that politicians talk about has in fact been in existence through the culture, the languages, the values that can be traced back to Egyptian civilization. Although Cabral himself pointed out that the history of Africa has deeper roots than alleged by the theoretical approach framed by the history of class struggle, there is no evidence that he or his close collaborators, like Mario de Andrade, for example, took the work of Cheikh Anta Diop seriously.
Today, what is the state of liberation (emancipatory politics) in countries that fought armed struggles? More broadly speaking what is the state of the continent compared to what it looked like it might become in 1973? Can one say that the leadership in charge today has carried on, with fidelity to humanity (as envisioned by Fanon in his conclusion to The Wretched of the Earth) from where Amilcar Cabral and others left?
Land grabbing in various countries is taking place as if cued by some sort of virtual replay of the Berlin Conference (more than a century later) aimed at dividing up the Continent according to the new configuration imposed by capitalism. If it is not land grabbing, laundering of the money made through drug trafficking is ensuring that capitalism does take root by any means necessary. The dispossessing or dehumanization of humanity has received a new lease of life on the continent thanks to a renewed process of aggression against the most precious treasure held by all human beings: conscience.
For emphasis, let it be said that the focus on African history and not on history has led to a failure to understand humanity and its history as a whole. By creating area studies for the sake of producing expert knowledge on areas like Africa, the US and its allies (mostly former colonizing countries) created a way of looking at African history that prepared the ground for the repeated stumbling that prevented a complete and total eradication of the consequences of enslavement and colonization. When looking at the history of Africa and Africans by only concentrating on the continent, one ends up distorting that history. In turn that distortion leads to a distortion of the history of humanity especially if, in the process, the humanity of Africans is systematically denied.
From within the emancipatory tradition, there are more voices of conscience than the ones referred to in this text. At the same time, what is not sufficiently appreciated is the degree to which capitalism has come to dominate humanity’s conception of itself, and its reliance on its conscience to keep coming back to its senses. Whether it was from Fanon, Ruben Um Nyobe, Biko, Sankara, Lumumba, Nehanda or Kimpa Vita, these voices expressed what humanity has in common: conscience. While it may have been eroded to the point of giving the impression that it has disappeared, I would suspect that it never will, but if it is going to succeed in reversing the current process, then there has to be a conviction that conscience is humanity’s most powerful weapon in resisting its ongoing liquidation.
If Césaire’s questioning of whether Nazism had ended (Discourse on colonialism) had been pursued systematically, one of the possible results could have led to an understanding of capitalism as a system that modernized Nazism so that it would automatically generate mechanisms (ways of thinking) aimed at getting rid of those members of humanity that are considered worthless: the poor, the Africans, the old people, the indigenous people, street children, the handicapped, the terminally ill, etc. In other words, what can be seen today (through so-called globalization, but not only) is a modernized form of Nazism in which there is no Hitler to point at as a scapegoat, but capitalism seeks the same lebensraum that Hitler was aiming at. The difference is that capitalism has been slowly transforming humanity into its opposite by occupying all of the spaces that were once considered sacred if fidelity to humanity was going to be maintained.
J. Depelchin (Hugh Le May Fellow at Rhodes University, July-December 2012—Visiting professor history department, Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana, Bahia Brazil)
Being a late happy birthday
At fifty plus eight on April 24, 2012. A “lifer”, Mumia Abu Jamal continues resisting a system determined to liquidate him, his humanity, his story, our history. If we (all who admire him) were to resist like him, the world would be pulsating in synchrony with humanity, not for its liquidation.
Too many years
Face to face
Staring death made visible inescapable
So far a conscience stronger
Has kept death away
A shining diamond conscience
An opaque, fraudulent, corrupt
Justice system that has accommodated
To injustice, to the tune dictated by wealth
Accumulated through land grabbing, slavery
A justice system craving for killing
One innocent person following his conscience
Standing up for
Hundreds of thousands craving for living life
Craving for living life as an art
Not martial, life as a pulse, a wave
Fidelity to humanity
Resisting for so many years of
Assaults aimed at getting rid
Of him for years that feel
Like an eternity
How could he be only 58?
Mumia larger than life
Older and younger
Could be a multiple of 58
Been around it seems headed
Seems to have faced death forever
Still defeating injustices with
A conscience his only weapon
Living as an art
Mumia has given
Life, time, living, timing
Unfathomable dimensions way beyond
The shackles of an unjust system born out
Of a predatory will to liquidate
Humanity and its history
Living life as an art
To keep being born free
Could it be that he is free and we
Outside his prison walls, have been jailed?
How has he done this?
Mumia the trickster, more feared now
Because those who vowed to fry the nigger
Are still making vows that keep failing
Yes, Mumia teaching freedom from death row
Free inside in a way those outside
Are still trying to figure out
How to be
Is this fiction?
Some might have concluded
Mumia is such a rare gem he might be from another world
The jailers have been defeated
An unknown quantum physicist has suggested that
Mumia in living life as an art
To defeat injustices
A particle unknown
The ultimate particle that cannot be split
Cannot be smashed in the most powerful
Cyclotrons [linear accelerators] known to science
Another unknown person
Has suggested that the body of Mumia
Is the ultimate cyclotron
producing the rarest of particle
The Mumion (or Mumon)
the Mumion sits in all members of humanity
it keeps calling for fidelity
fidelity to MÂÂT
Thank you Mumia for your art
Thank you for being who you keep growing to be
Thank you for building another world
Thank you for your generosity
Thank you for your humility and simplicity
Thank you for showing us that we could do better with our own conscience
Do take care, jd
Depuis l’époque où les Africains, concentrés contre leur gré à Saint Domingue (Haïti), se sont révoltés pour mettre fin à l’esclavage (1791-1804), sans l’approbation des abolitionnistes, ces derniers et les alliés de ceux qui avaient perdu cette bataille-là s’organisèrent pour que l’émancipation de l’humanité soit faite selon leur volonté. Au vu de ce parcours, il n’est pas exagéré de conclure qu’il s’est toujours agi d’une volonté mortifère, vengeresse, prédatrice, plus intéressée dans la liquidation de l’humanité qu’à son émancipation, et donc, aussi à la liquidation de l’histoire de ces luttes pour l’émancipation.
Dans un contexte où règne une soumission mal déguisée à la prédation comme mode de vivre, il sera difficile, sinon impossible, d’avoir la curiosité de savoir ce qui alimente une volonté d’accumulation de puissance, sous toutes ses formes. Comment décrire la rencontre entre l’Europe et l’Afrique ? Elle a lieu dans la foulée de la découverte des Amériques et du début du génocide Américain (David E. Stannard, The American Holocaust). C’est à partir de là que s’est mis en route, un processus d’accumulation de puissance (militaire et financière) qui ne s’est plus jamais arrêté, et qui érigera en un principe, aujourd’hui de plus en plus évident, la réduction de la justice à l’imposition de la loi du plus fort.
Il vaut la peine de rappeler, pour mémoire, quelques étapes de ce parcours : von Trotha en Afrique du Sud Ouest (aujourd’hui Namibie) organisateur de la liquidation des Herrero et des Nama ; Léopold II et ses agents dans l’Etat Indépendant du Congo (Caoutchouc rouge) ; l’Arménie, Nankin, Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Gulag, Guantanamo, guerres ouvertes, guerres de basse intensité, guerres secrètes, dictatures coloniales et néocoloniales, crises économiques, financières toujours résolues au bénéfice des plus puissants, des plus riches, pour qui l’impunité va toujours de soi (mis à part les rares cas des boucs émissaires, pour donner l’impression de justice). Dans le subconscient de ces derniers, la mémoire d’un tel parcours pourrait se résumer par ces mots : « Nous sommes au-dessus de l’impunité, au pire seront nos crimes contre l’humanité, plus élevés seront nos gains. » En cas de doute, il suffit d’observer contre qui et pour qui fonctionne, par exemple la Cour Pénale Internationale (CPI), les institutions financières internationales (Banque Mondiale, Fonds Monétaire International). Il est vrai que, de temps à autre, surgissent des sursauts de conscience qui méritent d’être signalés comme, par exemple, Our Major Slave-Trading Family, In the “Deep North” http://www.racismreview.com/blog/2008/04/21/our-largest-slave-trading-family-in-the-deep-north/ Il y en a d’autres, souvent invisibles, mais, il est permis de se demander, compte tenu des verrouillages en place à tous les niveaux, si ces sursauts sont à la hauteur d’un crime contre l’humanité qui ne s’est jamais arrêté et qui semble déterminé à se perpétuer.
La révolution des Africains à Haïti, pour l’émancipation de l’humanité est allée plus loin que la Révolution Française de 1789. Ce sont les Africains qui ont aidé les Français de la Convention à abolir l’esclavage (1792-94). Cette brève inversion de l’histoire vue et contée par la France de Napoléon et ses successeurs ne sera jamais pardonnée aux Africains de Haïti. Une fois Napoléon au pouvoir, en France, les bénéficiaires de l’esclavage organisèrent leur revanche, en imposant au nouvel état indépendant de Haïti le paiement de compensations. Dans les mémoires des Haïtiens, cette compensation n’aurait jamais dû être payée. Pourquoi les Haïtiens se retrouvent tant esseulés malgré les liens avec l’Afrique, malgré une révolution qui fait honneur à l’histoire d’une humanité cherchant constamment à s’émanciper ?
L’arrivée d’Aristide au pouvoir a coïncidé avec une réactivation de la mémoire de fidélité à l’émancipation de l’humanité, les héritiers lointains des propriétaires d’esclaves et des plantations réagirent comme les puissants, les riches ont toujours réagi, quand ils sont pris en défaut de respect et de justice vis-à-vis de l’humanité. En 2004, Aristide et le peuple Haïtien célèbrent le bicentenaire d’une révolution qui devrait faire honneur à toute l’humanité. De tous les chefs d’états Africains invités, seul Thabo Mbeki, président de l’Afrique du Sud, sera présent ; alors qu’en 1989, au bicentenaire de la Révolution Française organisée par Mitterrand, pratiquement tous les Chefs d’États Africains étaient présents (http://www.ina.fr/economie-et-societe/vie-sociale/video/I05298140/francois-mitterrand-et-ses-invites-aux-ceremonies-du-bicentenaire.fr.html).
L’isolement, les insultes, la diabolisation des Haïtiens dans la lutte pour l’émancipation de l’humanité peut s’expliquer de diverses manières. Cependant, toutes convergent vers la réalisation d’un objectif cher aux accumulateurs de la puissance : d’une part se présenter comme les seuls représentants valables de l’humanité et d’autre part, faire disparaître l’humanité et/ou la réduire à son expression marchande : l’humanitarisme. Car au nom de celui-ci les liquidateurs réels de l’humanité cherchent à se présenter comme les sauveurs virtuels de l’espèce humaine, du principe de vie, de la nature, grâce à un monopole complet et total de toutes les voies d’émancipation.
Ainsi, pour se faire valoir, les dirigeants Africains continuent de tourner le dos à leur propre histoire tout en encensant celle de l’Occident. La Révolution Haïtienne disait non à la marchandisation de l’humanité. Plus de deux siècles plus tard, avec l’aide de dirigeants Africains, la marchandisation de l’humanité a tellement progressé qu’en lieu et place de parler de l’humanité, il est préférable de parler d’humanitarisme, un acte charitable qui cache difficilement la contradiction. D’une part venir en aide aux humains, d’autre part en finir avec l’humanité considérée comme dispensable puisqu’inutile dans un monde où ce ne sont plus les humains qui valorisent l’humanité, mais les valeurs boursières qui décident des interventions dites humanitaires.
Cet acte charitable doté de son sigle anglais R2P, fait d’une pierre 2 coups. Right to Protect est le droit d’intervention militaire que se sont autorisés les plus grandes puissances militaires de la Planète pour protéger leurs intérêts sous la couverture de protéger les violations des Droits de l’Homme. Dans la réalité, ces interventions dites humanitaires permettent la vente des armes, le maintien des industries de production des armes (aujourd’hui connues génériquement comme « sécurité », un concept émotionnellement manipulable de l’instinct individuel de conservation, mais qui fonctionne à merveille pour liquider collectivement l’humanité). Ces interventions militaires permettent, en même temps, la liquidation des membres de l’humanité considérés comme superflus. En plus, ces guerres sont essentielles pour entretenir, dans les esprits, l’idée que la vie n’est possible qu’en se soumettant au droit, à la justice des plus forts. Par contre, Haïti et les révoltés contre l’esclavage (plus tard la colonisation, la mondialisation) ont montré que le maintien de l’humanité est contraire à l’imposition de pratiques du droit, de la justice du plus fort. Cependant dans le cadre politique et idéologique imposé depuis la fin de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, les plus puissantes forces de la Planète se comportent comme si elles n’ont de compte à rendre à personne. Dans un tel contexte, il est toujours possible de se débarrasser de gens comme Jean Bertrand Aristide, président élu d’un pays souverain, dans un monde où la seule souveraineté reconnue est celle des marchés.
Comme ce fut le cas pour Toussaint l’Ouverture, Aristide fut envoyé en exil, en Afrique du Sud. Entre autres raisons : Aristide ravivait la trame d’une histoire enracinée dans les consciences révoltées depuis Kimpa Vita (brûlée vive le 2 juillet 1706 dans le royaume Kongo pour avoir dénoncé le roi et ses alliés, des missionnaires Capucins italiens, comme collaborationnistes des esclavagistes), Makandal, Boukman, Toussaint l’Ouverture, Dessalines, etc.. Au nom de ces consciences, entre autres, Aristide exigeait le remboursement de cette compensation (exigée par l’Etat Français en 1825) en précisant qu’il ne s’agissait nullement de réparations. Aristide n’était pas seul, il exprimait une volonté bi centenaire, une recherche de justice et de vérité s’organisant autour de, et par, Fanmi Lavalass, les héritiers lointains des consciences révoltées de Saint Domingue.
L’histoire de Haïti est à l’image de l’Afrique aujourd’hui : cherchant à se remettre debout, à se reconstituer, à se reconstruire, elle trébuche, hésite et parfois recule face aux menaces des chiens de garde qui cherchent à liquider l’humanité et la remplacé par un ersatz répondant au nom d’humanitaire. Dans la foulée de cette liquidation de l’humanité, ces fossoyeurs cherchent aussi à liquider l’histoire de l’humanité. On ne le répétera jamais assez : l’éradication de l’esclavage à Haïti n’intéresse pas seulement les Haïtiens et/ou les Africains. Comprendre ce qui s’est passé à Haïti en 1804 suivi de 200 ans d’impulsion vengeresse clamée par tous les moyens, y compris Hiroshima et Nagasaki qui restent un signal très fort de volonté liquidatrice de l’humanité.
Certains diront qu’il n’y a aucun rapport entre la violence de l’esclavage atlantique et celle qui fut manifestée à Hiroshima et Nagasaki. Dans l’un comme dans l’autre, l’objectif était l’humanité. Les responsables de la décision de larguer les bombes atomiques pourraient alléguer qu’ils ne s’en rendaient sans doute pas compte, mais la violence comme moyen de contrôler, de soumettre l’humanité à un système fondé sur le viol systématique de l’humanité est ce qui conduit de l’esclavage, de sa prétendue abolition à un esclavage encore plus violent, modernisé et expliqué par des arguties exculpatrices des bénéficiaires. L’arsenal des puissants inclus des avocats de tous bords, allant des philosophes aux juristes, des financiers aux aumôniers, des banquiers aux industrialistes, des linguistes aux anthropologues, des courtisans aux propagandistes, des militaires aux militaristes, des journalistes aux historiens.
Si Haïti, son histoire, son peuple et sa volonté de mener à bien la révolution de 1791-1804, ne faisaient pas peur à la plus grande puissance militaire de la planète, comment expliquer que, suite au tremblement de terre de janvier 2011 qui a dévasté Port-Au-Prince et tué des centaines de milliers de personnes, cette même puissance militaire aie recouru aux automatismes devenus typiques depuis Hiroshima et Nagasaki. À force de se considérer comme la seule capable de faire la distinction entre les ennemis et les bienfaiteurs de l’humanité, la plus grande puissance militaire de la planète ne peut se fier qu’aux expéditions humanitaires, militairement musclées pour s’assurer de la continuité de son contrôle par la violence sur l’humanité. Forcément, une humanité vivante, vibrante de toutes ses forces ne pourra dès lors être perçue que comme menaçante face à un pouvoir assis sur la volonté de monopoliser et dicter à toute l’humanité comment vivre la vie, la liberté, la paix.
Aristide n’est pas un chien
Combien de fois faudra-t-il rappeler aux chiens de garde d’un système qui ne cesse de torturer et de liquider l’humanité, que les pauvres de Haïti (et d’ailleurs) ne sont pas des chiens. Aristide n’est pas un chien. Ces chiens de garde auraient sans doute aimé qu’Aristide disparaisse comme il arrive aux chiens écrasés, sans que les journaux en parlent, sans sépulture, comme il est arrivé à des héros comme Patrice Emery Lumumba, Osende Afana, Ruben Um Nyobe, et tant d’autres dont les restent jonchent le fond de l’Océan Atlantique.
Maintenant qu’Aristide est de retour à Haïti, la propagande qui avait été utilisée pour le liquider est en train de se remettre en route. Les accusations sont les mêmes : corruption, trafic de drogues, etc. Des accusations qui ne sont pas différentes de celles qui sont lancées contre, par exemple, le chef d’Hezbollah, Sayyid Nasrallah. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDLXPpooA18).
Du côté des accusateurs, la motivation continue d’être la même : maintenir en place le système qui avait fait de Saint Domingue la perle économique des colonies françaises, en recourant à l’esclavage. Et il y a des voix qui s’élèvent, de Haïti, pour sermonner les héritiers de celles et de ceux qui avaient mis fin à l’esclavage, avec l’argument suivant : « Regardez Haïti aujourd’hui, le pays le plus pauvre de l’hémisphère Occidental. » Cette pauvreté fait partie de la guerre organisée par les puissants, les riches, pour forcer tout membre de l’humanité qui rejette la modernisation de l’esclavage, à mendier pour survivre.
Un Haïtien de renom qui s’était joint à la propagande de diaboliser Aristide avait une fois déclaré que ce dernier n’était pas Mandela. Il lui fut répondu, à l’époque, certainement : il n’y a qu’un Mandela tout comme il n’y a qu’un Aristide, comme il n’y a eu qu’un Malcolm X, un Martin Luther King, une Kimpa Vita, une Harriet Tubman, etc.. La liste des gens qui ont singulièrement contribué à l’émancipation de l’humanité est infiniment longue, trop souvent inconnue, méconnue par ceux-là qui devraient être fidèles à ces figures.
Avec la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, un système personnifié par le mal s’est effondré sans rien perdre de ses structures financières, mémorielles et mentales . Tout comme avec l’abolition de l’esclavage, les bénéficiaires du nazisme ne furent pas touchés. Comme Alain Resnais le montre très bien dans son film (La Nuit et le Brouillard), les grands groupes industriels comme Krupp ont continué de prospérer. La leçon de la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale a été tellement bien apprise que les responsables de la poursuite de la liquidation de l’humanité et de son histoire se sont proclamés comme les seuls défenseurs de l’humanité en inventant l’humanitaire et le R2P (Right to Protect). Dans cette logique, l’impunité des Etats-Unis a été érigée en un principe non négociable par le gouvernement des États-Unis. (Voir le site : http://www.iccnow.org/?mod=bia&lang=fr, accédé le 10/04/2012.)
Le film de Resnais a été tourné en 1955, en pleine guerre d’Algérie, avec l’espoir explicite du réalisateur qu’un film sur les camps amènerait les français à faire le lien entre ce qui s’était passé dans l’Allemagne Nazie et ce qui se passait en Algérie, et, donc, réagir. Nous sommes en 2012. Combien de personnes savent que le titre du film de Resnais, sans le savoir, reproduit le titre d’un décret du 7 décembre de 1941 (Nacht un Nebel Erlass) Décret « Nuit et Brouillard ». En lisant la teneur de ce décret, il est difficile de ne pas penser au contexte qui a conduit les Etats-Unis non seulement à se mettre hors d’atteinte de la Cour Pénale Internationale, mais aussi à mettre en place un système de contrôle policier à la hauteur de ses ambitions de puissance globale. (http://www.vho.org/aaargh/fran/nuremberg/tmiI/tmiI7.html, accédé e 10/04/2012.
À la lumière du message qu’Alain Resnais cherchait à faire passer, il est permis de se demander, comme le faisaient Aimé Césaire dans son Discours sur le Colonialisme et Frantz Fanon dans Les Damnés de la terre, s’il n’y jamais eu une réelle prise de conscience de la dimension des crimes contre l’humanité, pendant, avant et après la 2ème Guerre Mondiale. À la lumière des comportements actuels de la plus grande puissance mondiale et de ses alliés, des questions continueront d’être posées, mais l’urgence de réponses à la hauteur des crimes contre l’humanité interpellent tous les membres de l’humanité, avec de plus en plus d’urgence.
L’humanité ne vaut que inclusive, non discriminatoire. L’humanité n’a pas à être réinventée sous forme de missions humanitaires ponctuelles visant des personnes qui sont ensuite emmenées à un tribunal pénal international qui semble surtout fonctionner comme un tribunal du droit du plus fort pour se débarrasser de ceux qui défient une telle situation. Pour qu’une justice fidèle à l’humanité puisse vraiment fonctionner il faudrait en finir avec les pratiques qui font du droit du plus fort un instrument d’une justice militarisée au service de la plus forte puissance militaire jamais inventée. Il faut en finir avec une justice du droit du plus fort qui se manifeste par le biais de medias complètement sous le contrôle des plus forts dans la hiérarchie de la mondialisation.
Aristide n’est que l’écho des Africains, des Haïtiens, des damnés de la terre qui veulent se guérir de la blessure dont souffre l’humanité, une blessure qui a mutilé les consciences, les volontés de fidélité à la justice et à la vérité. Il est aussi l’écho d’autres peuples dans d’autres régions du monde cherchant à se faire entendre au-delà de l’enfer des guerres punitives menées contre une humanité qui ne cherche qu’à vivre et non survivre en se soumettant aux missions de charité des puissants. Au plus la voix d’Aristide dérange leur conscience, au plus les puissants devraient lui prêter attention et ne pas l’accuser de crimes inventés.
À suivre. 19 avril 2012
ABOUT BARBAROUS ACTS WHICH OUTRAGE THE CONSCIENCE OF CONGOLESE
COULD SOUTH AFRICA BECOME THE ISRAEL OF AFRICA?
There are times when something outrageous happens, such as the illegal arrest of 150-200 Congolese in Yeoville (Johannesburg january 21-22), that persons of conscience are not sure that they got the information correctly. In the land that invented apartheid, could it be that something more pernicious than apartheid is being born? This is being written with many questions in mind, but also fully conscious that, given the whole history of Africa, over the past 500 years, knowing what happened during that history requires something that challenges one’s conscience to rise to the level of the outrages that have been inflicted collectively, systematically, with greater and greater impunity to humanity on the continent of its birth. Enough is enough says this conscience.
In fidelity to humanity
Keeping it free from insanity
Rooted in solidarity
Never forgetting the fragility
Of conscience, Memory,
Herstory, history, humanity
Shall rise eternity
As its horizon
And for that reason, always remember the preamble and article 1 of te Universal Declaration of Human Rights passed by the UN General Assembly in 1948 :
From the preamble :
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
From Article 1:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
1. This is being addressed to all those who are concerned about the present state of humanity anywhere, but especially on the African Continent. It is also addressed with greater urgency to those who can do something toward healing the bodies and spirits of those who have been violated (and continue to be violated) in their bodies, their spirits. This continuing suffering directly and indirectly linked to the legacies that have dehumanized the African Continent must cease.
2. This is being addressed to those whose functions at any level, financial, economic, educational, juridical, cultural religious, political, medical, social, directly and/or indirectly impact the lives of those who continue to be dehumanized simply because they refuse to submit to dehumanization as practiced under the various misleading banners of “humanitarian interventionism” in their charitable and/or militarized forms.
3. This is being addressed especially to those who have wielded, for centuries, political power with impunity because the returns were too high to let go. This kind of political power has reproduced itself in various guises. This kind of power has been so overwhelming that morality, ethics disappeared and became just words. During these centuries, Africa saw slavery come and go. It was abolished, in a manner. It was followed by the partition of Africa into colonies. The physical and mental borders created by colonialism came to an end, in a manner, with independence. Now globalization has followed the continuation of colonization and apartheid on a planetary scale.
4. Did Africa as a whole ever built a collective memorial to those bodies and spirits that, against the odds, maintained the conscience of humanity? How come that when consciences, anywhere in Africa and beyond, follow what is called for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by revolting against injustice, political and financial highway robbery, in short, how come such revolt of consciences get punished as if following the conscience of humanity has become a crime, especially when it happens in Africa?
5. Is this a sign that there is now humanity of the rich and humanity of the poor? The latter being put in place through humanitarian wars, through courts which are meant to bring peace in those places that are now being colonized by the new form of expanding the murderous legacies of slavery, colonial rule, apartheid?
6. Could all of this be happening precisely because those transitions from slavery, colonialism, apartheid were never dealt with properly, i.e. in the spirit of Mâât, in the spirit of always aiming for justice and truth. Could it be that on the continent where Mâât was invented, there are now forces being harnessed to liquidate all those who are trying to follow what their conscience tell them to do?
7. Could it be that the forces that managed to get away with impunity through those transitions that were not attended in the spirit of Mâât, have decided that they shall always achieve impunity regardless of the crimes they continue to commit in the name of things that mean one thing for the rich and another thing for the poor?
8. Is it not possible for South Africans in any position of political, cultural, legal, religious, social, educational, moral and/or ethical authority to remember that, years ago, under apartheid, there were Congolese and people all over the world who risked their lives, whose conscience revolted against the injustices and untruth, so that humanity could be healed. Is it not possible for these South Africans to rise in solidarity, not just for the Congolese, but also for all Africans who are now being bludgeoned to physical and psychic death so that globalization may triumph and, just like it happened under slavery, colonialism and apartheid, get away with impunity, once again?
9. Raising questions must lead one to stop, think and invent new possibilities, see other ways of achieving the maintenance of one humanity, through peace, justice, truth. Is it not time to stop the insanity that began with Atlantic and Oriental slavery; an insanity that has led, non-stop, to the creation of weapons that are obliterating, little by little, humanity in an instant; an insanity which through repeated impunity for crimes against humanity has continued unabated. Is it not time to encourage those who are outraged by injustice, barbarous acts against their own country to rise up to their conscience as they learned from the lessons of Patrice Emery Lumumba and the African heroines and heroes who gave their lives so that humanity can be healed forever, on the continent of its birth. Only thus shall civilization leads one away from the growing barbarism being witnessed today.
Il avait dit, il avait écrit, il avait pensé que l’histoire de l’Afrique ne serait plus écrite à partir des capitales d’où partaient les ordres d’en finir avec l’Afrique.
Un peu plus de 50 ans après, les pulsions qui animaient Lumumba et tant d’autres sont restées vives et animent les Congolaises et les Congolais comme si, au cours de cette longue initiation le message émancipateur n’avait cessé de croître dans les consciences. Les pulsions émancipatrices font partie de l’humanité et ne peuvent être liquidées. Jamais.
Les pulsions émancipatrices sont aujourd’hui plus vivaces qu’elles ne l’étaient il y a 50 ans, car se sont accumulées les armes qui faisaient défaut : compréhension de ce que fut l’histoire colonisatrice, aujourd’hui opérant avec la même férocité à partir des mêmes édifices, des mêmes mentalités : réduire l’humanité à la soumission totale et complète aux ordres, aux désirs des plus puissants.
Cette énergie émancipatrice n’est pas seulement venue de Lumumba, il fut, comme Kimbangu, comme Kimpa Vita, comme Ganga Zumbi, comme Makandal, Boukman, Um Nyobe et tant d’autres des relais de pulsions venant des profondeurs de l’humanité pour que celle-ci retrouve les pratiques de fidélité à la justice et à la vérité (MAAT) venant de l’Égypte Ancienne (KMT). L’existence de ces pulsions animatrices des consciences existe tout comme existe la pesanteur. Comme la pesanteur, ces pulsions émancipatrices de l’humanité ne peuvent pas disparaître. En écoutant bien, on peut bien sûr entendre le Big Bang, mais aussi une autre mélopée traversant les courants d’énergie qui parcourent l’univers.
A chacune et à chacun son interprétation de cette mélopée en commémoration du 4 janvier 1959 et du 17 janvier 1961 :
Encore une fois assassinée, la RDCongo
Tout simplement pour motif de maintien de pulsions
Interdites, pulsions libératrices, non vengeresses
Fidèles à la justice, à la vérité
Il y a plus de 50 ans
Pulsions, vibrations, ondes
4 janvier 1959 et avec plus d’intensité
en mémoire du 17 janvier 1961
dans les mémoires
excédées par les déboires
Pulsions de consciences révoltées
Refusant toute soumission
à manipulations, fraudes
pulsions toujours plus fortes
depuis le 17 janvier 1961
toujours plus fidèles
Intensément à l’exemple de Lumumba
Des révoltées de la longue histoire
De la rencontre avec les sépulcres blanchis
Blanchisseurs de l’humanité
Piégés aujourd’hui dans leurs mailles
Ne sachant plus la différence
Entre civiliser, coloniser
Pour mieux liquider
En unisson ils chantent des requiem
Pour que disparaissent les peuples africains
En unisson, les civilisateurs
Colonisateurs, fossoyeurs de l’humanité
Veulent liquider, dissoudre le peuple Congolais
Comme après le 17 janvier 1961
Ils ont dissous le corps de Patrice Lumumba
Un corps aux idées et à l’esprit indissoluble
Aujourd’hui vibrant l’insoumission à la dictature
Par tous les sens des congolaises et des congolais
60, 65, 70 millions fois 5, fois une conscience
à la puissance infinie, une force
Qu’aucune armée au monde aujourd’hui, demain
Après-demain, ne peut vaincre
Le dictateur, ses employés et ses employeurs peuvent
Tuer physiquement comment ils ont tué le 4 janvier 1959
Le 17 janvier 1961
Jamais ils ne pourront tuer les pulsions
Emancipatrices continuant de sortir de l’esprit
De Lumumba, libérateur des énergies insubmersibles
Le dictateur, ses employés et ses employeurs
A se voir comme ils ne veulent pas se voir :
Vous aimez recourir à la peur, à la terreur,
Mais les Congolaises, les Congolais, ont appris
A ne plus avoir peur de la peur de la terreur
Un jour, ou une nuit, dictateur
Rejeté par la vérité de l’heure
vous prendrez peur
Un jour, ou une nuit, la peur s’emparera du dictateur de ses employés
Et de ses employeurs pour ne plus jamais les lâcher
Car leur heure a sonné
Oui votre heure ne peut plus attendre
La machine à broyer les Africains comme
S’ils n’étaient pas des êtres humains démontre
Des signes d’essoufflement. L’élection programmée
28 novembre 2011 Proclamée victoire n’a pas convaincu
Certains des employés et employeurs traditionnels.
Avant la peur, le doute s’installe
Avant la peur, la colère retenue, la rage contenue
Bientôt il y aura la chasse aux sorcières pour détecter
La faille, pourquoi, comment, etc.
Un dictateur d’où s’échappe la certitude de tout
Est un dictateur fini. Un dictateur qui n’a plus la
Confiance de tous ses employeurs et de tous ses employés
Voit avec mécontentement l’arrivée des signes
Annonciateurs de sa fin.
Cette fin est en train d’advenir grâce à la fidélité
A la pensée, à l’esprit, au désir d’émancipation
Laissés par les lutteurs sans peur pour une Afrique
Libre des dictateurs, leurs employeurs et leurs employés
La nature et les lois de la physique, de la nature
Signalent la fin du dictateur, ses employeurs et ses employés
Sous condition de maintien du désir insatiable
De faire revivre les pulsions de la conscience révoltée
Des martyrs du 17 janvier 1961.
Le temps de la justice et de la vérité,
apprise depuis les temps immémoriaux
toujours présente au travers des héroïnes
connues et inconnues,
des héros partageurs de tout
hélas toujours niée, laminée, triturée, torturée
par les vendeurs du genre humain
toujours présente car justice et vérité
c’est le genre humain toujours vivant
refusant la soumission à toutes les logiques
reproductrices de guerres
sans fin nourrices
de la faim et de la fin de l’humanité
Depuis 50 ans, 51 ans, les Congolaises et les Congolais
Rechargés par les pulsions émancipatrices
des martyrs du 4 janvier 1959
des héros du 17 janvier 1961
sont devenus des monuments indestructibles
pour qu’advienne en RDC et sur tout
le continent Africain
la justice et la vérité
Consciemment, inconsciemment, subconsciemment, mais toujours désireux de liberté, le peuple Congolais continue de naître dans, et de connaître le présent et le futur pour lequel tant d’autres dans le passé s’étaient sacrifiés. Un jour ou une nuit, la conjugaison de ces énergies absorbera tous les obstacles rencontrés sur son chemin. La certitude du changement est observable dans le fait que les obstacles sont en train de devenir énergie libératrice. Il y a plus de 50 ans, Lumumba a été liquidé par des gens qui auraient dû le défendre. Pendant 50 ans, le peuple Congolais a appris les leçons laissées par Lumumba et les autres. L’apprentissage a été invisible comme tant de phénomènes naturels, mais les résultats sont visibles, même sil es ennemis continuent de penser comme s’ils étaient encore le 29 juin 1960.
Le peuple Congolais n’a pas besoin de chars d’assaut
Encore moins d’armes nucléaires ou de missiles
Le peuple Congolais en train de se libérer des séquelles
De la colonisation et de la néo-colonisation
est en train de devenir
Une énergie qu’aucune force au monde ne pourra arrêter
Ou dévier de sa volonté de vivre libre dans la justice et la liberté
3 janvier 2012