Tag Archives: African Imperialism

Rise of a Two-Way Imperialism?

What Goes Around comes Around

KRS-One rapped “what goes around comes around i figga. Now you got white boys calling themselves Niggas“. He was refering to the (New York) uptown priveledged white kids who identify with hip hop. Now there is a new breed of “white boys” who find themselves on the wrong side of orthodoxy; and these ones are not as excited (nor willing) to be “niggahs” (who would in their right senses?!). The whip of fate is now in possession of their former victims and guess who is about to take a lashing.

Angola State of Mind

Like the stinging voice of the “house nigga“, I am begining to wonder if there is truth in the inexhaustible excuse by Africans (esp Nigeria) when they blame their countries’ lack of progress on premature independence from colonial masters. They say the reason they are steeped in corruption is because they have not been well nurtured (in other words trained like pets) enough to hold a running country on their own. Of course, this view is promoted by the colonial masters… but what do you expect. I am begining to believe it is true because the powerful position Angola is in today.

Many African countries were in colonial rule for a shorter duration than Angola, which lasted for 400 years. Liberia which got its independence after a mere 25 years of American colonization is one state that has not lived up to expectations of a nation. Nigeria got its independence after about 200 years of british colonization. Angolan’s might have been a complacent bunch because even after a long over-due colonization, their independence was more of a convenient move than driven by nationalists. It happened as a side-effect of a coup in Portugal, their colonial masters, which made Portugal incapable of dealing with the colony.

Today, Angola is doing well. Its got about as much oil reserve as Nigeria, which makes it the second (if not first) producer in Africa. May be Angola has been trained well, may be their oil reserve is tremendously helping their luck… bottom line is that Angola (the colonial slave) is now the master to Portugal (the former colonial master). Say what?! Yes the slave is now the master.

The Former Master

It is no secret that Portugal is one of the countries the European Union is not so proud of. In times of European crisis, the once glorified master looks south (but up) to its former slave who is making it big with the product that makes the US turn in to a monster, Black Gold aka Oil.

Now Portugese are moving to Angola at a rapid rate to serve the new found master. In fact, visa-acquisition processes are being reformed to ease movement between the two countries but the agreement favours Protugese coming to Angola; Angola is helping them out. It reminds me of refugees being helped with a loose-process of travel documents by facilitating and easing movement.

Currently Angola is “saving” Portugal by purchasing Portugal’s public properties as Portugal gets privatized. Angola is basically owning them, gradually. To Angola, the Portugese government is an investment while the Portugese citizens are accessible labour; the labour may not be cheap but it is not expensive for an rich country like Angola.

Forecast

I have no crystal ball and I have not been paid to be an expert on the TV, so I will refrain from predictions and speculations. But its harmless and un-misleading to wonder. I wonder if the Angola-Portugal relation is the start of a new Imperialism, one unanticipated. Some colony-minded smart-arse is probably going to call it “reverse imperialism”, because the direction was assumed to default with the non-Europeans at the downstream. Another interesting international relationshipe is that of China and Europe. A BBC-World journalist said it best “Will Europe be saved by the country it humiliated?”.

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Imperialism: The Alternative to Shame

The Situation

The hot issue in Nigeria today is the government’s decision to import fuel from Niger Republic. It has summoned reactions. Many of the reactions are a repitition of each other. Listening to the radio this morning, there were basically two voices in the dialectic: the one wailing “shame!” and the other pushing for Nigerian Imperialism.

Shame Shame Shame

To the disappointment of Nigerians, it seems that prophecy of Nigeria being the Giant of Africa may never be fulfilled. It becomes more unclear whether it is a prophecy to be fulfilled or glorious past that is yet to be let go. It might be that it was a time anomaly in people’s minds where popular narratives skip from the “memories” of the past to aspirations of the future without being actualized in the present. Don’t get me started on the look-at-South-Africa Nigerian debate.

The radio show this morning. Majority of the callers echoed “Shame on Nigeria”. This is partly due to the high esteem they hold their country, partly the condescending sentiments they have for the “Backward” Niger and partly their sympathy for the unyielding “Giant of Africa”. One listener of the show sent an sms that said only “Shame! Shame! Shame!”.

Yes people may be frustrated about the issue, but can they go beyond their ego and romantic perception of their country? Ego has lost its progressive force. Such ego frowns at solutions because solutions might take part of its lime light. Shame has a powerful impact and hence its resonance with people, but this kind of shame is played out. Let go of ego and move further or do something else entirely.

Imperialism

The alternative argument in the show was that Nigeria can use this opportunity to extend her imperialist tentacles. The idea of Nigeria as imperialist stems from the doctrine of “Giant of Africa”. Nigeria has been playing big brother to many african (especially west africa) countries; helping out in military might, funds and (I hear) in stopping coups. From military expeditions in Liberia (early 1990s) to the 2011 education funds to three countries.

The radio-show’s advocate of imperialism sees the pattern and believes this is an oppotunity to get a tighter grip on Niger. His plan is that by importing fuel from Niger, Nigeria becomes a stakeholder in Niger’s economy and can gradually hold a stronger influence. His inspiration is (of course) the USA; how USA imports from its neighbors even though it has its reserves so that it can control economies of the neighbors.  His citation of the USA situation was attacked by subsequent callers to the point that mentioning it here is like re-opening a grave.

Interesting Questions

Amidst the dichotomy of Shame VS Imperialism, a commentator on the show asked for answers that would shed light on the situation. Who owns (or is a shareholder in) the Niger refineries that will supply the Nigeria? If it is owned by the government, then we may look in to the usually ignored places for corruption. If, on the other hand, it is a private company then we may ask if there are Nigerians among the owners.

We can investigate whether the importation is truely a better alternative to the existing system; as it affects the nation’s economy. Let us expand the discussions to go beyond weeping at shame and pointing at the country. The country is ashamed enough, Oya lets move on and do something productive. Imperialism, at least, is something.


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