By Dan Amor,
It is not as though the rising tide of violent revolution erupting across North Africa is surprising to keen observers of Africa’s political history. The uprising which has swept across Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, Egypt, and now ravaging Libya, is long overdue in Africa.It is just a rehearsal of the long-awaited tsunami which will cleanse this much abused continent of the Big Men who have made the black man a laughing stock on the face of the earth. Yet, in the uncanny dialectics of the African condition, one fact has inevitably been ingrained in the consciousness of the people: African dictators are living at the expense of the people. In the face of grinding poverty African dictators still parade their fat cheeks, fat bellies, fat bank accounts and highly expensive limousines and palatial mansions in almost all the capital cities of the world. There is rampant poverty among the populace and the fact that more than 80 per cent of Africans are slum dwellers, It was the great Indian sage and revolutionary, Mahatma Ghandi who declared several years ago that the worst form of violence that a people can experience is rampant poverty. And nowhere else but in Africa is this statement so realistic and all embracing.
In no other time than now has man’s private life been so violently abused by the power of the state; and in no other continent of the world has this wanton denigration of corrosive state power been carried out in its unspoken barbarity than Africa. It is indeed the only continent in which it takes a fortune teller for its leaders to realize that something is really lacking in their own culture. They have failed to appreciate the fact that there are latent potentials in the continent – that even the backward, stagnant and inefficient average African could well compete in the field of human values, with the efficient, practical and progressive European. In their idiotic, shameless and sadistic mentality, African leaders think that the people seem predestined to last, unmoving throughout the cataclysms of the surrounding world in the face of national usurpers and foreign conquerors.
With the physical exit of the white man, African leaders ostensibly formed a new generation rebellious at its inheritance of a cynical and hypocritical legacy. Today, Africa has produced more treacherous dictators than any other race in human history that could even make the Age of Antiquity and the tyranny of the Renaissance green with envy. Yet, how do we appreciate the nebulous fancy of the average African dictator? How do we extrapolate his consummate excesses? How do we vitiate the nuances of his personal pride and ambition? And finally, how do we impugn the Johnsonian epigram about the innocuousness of “money looting” and the mentality of the African dictator? It takes only serious thinking for one to decode that much of the savagery connected with the African tragedy can be explained in the violence inherent in Western manners. African leaders are therefore helpless tools of that logic of history which leaves a minority determined to assert itself against the majority with no choice of methods than using terror as not merely an attendant phenomenon, but a vital function of insurrection.
More than five decades after gaining political independence from European exploiters of their resources, Africa easily the most naturally endowed region on the face of the earth, has been turned into a theatre of war, no thanks to the lackeys who took over the mantle of leadership from the colonialists. It has been a monumental tragedy that Africa is yet to find its bearing more than fifty years into self rule. Before 1960, only a few countries, mostly in North Africa, had conquered their own right to national existence and participation in international life. In more than five decades after political independence, African masses are still condemned by history to a life of guinea-pig existence. The people are constantly yearning for that day when they will escape completely from internal slavery. Whereas western leaders understand power as an instrument of change, African leaders see power as an agent of force and an avenue to acquire ill-gotten wealth.
Indeed, the argument in certain quarters that the cause of persistent underdevelopment and widespread agony in Africa can be located in the absence or low supply of natural resources seems rather weak and common-placed. This is more so when viewed against the disturbing magnitude of the leadership crisis in Africa. The continent has had the misfortune of being misruled by intemperate dictators who are worse than common thieves, and who have succeeded in carting away the continent’s heavily endowed wealth abroad. For instance, before the dethronement of late Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, he presided over a poverty stricken nation that became the contemporary symbol of human neglect and misery. Pictures of very hungry and famine-ridden Ethiopians reminded the world of the great and devastating Depression of the 1930’s. Yet, while this catalogue of deprivation was being enacted, Haile Selassie himself was busy stock-piling millions of United States Dollars in overseas banks.