10 Nov 2000
If you are growing up in Sub Saharan Africa, you get sick and tired of being reminded over and over that your country is on the verge of collapse due to the burden of external debt. They sing this song so often that the veracity of this claim seems unquestionable. They expect you to believe it the way you believe the bible story. It is a bogus lie. This is a diversionary ploy to distract us from focusing on the real issue. I mean the indebtedness of the Western nations and the Arabs to Black Africa. Let me explain.
- It is a historical truth that the Arabs enslaved us for more than one thousand years and remnants of the practice exist till this very day notably in Sudan and Mauritania.
- It is equally true that the West enslaved us for three centuries and colonised us for another century.
- It is a fact that at independence Western secret services ensured that only their puppets ruled black Africa. Nationalists were either physically eliminated like Lumumba of Congo, Eduardo Mondlane of Mozambique and Felix Moumie of Cameroon or subverted by coups, reactionary wars and other vicious tactics.
- It is true that most of the ‘paper debts’ Africans owe the West lack legitimacy. How could the late Mobutu placed in power by the French, Belgian and American secret services convince us that the so-called ‘paper indebtedness’ of Congo Kinshasa to these nations is genuine?
- It is a fact and the West knows that most of the money purportedly loaned to Africa evaporated from the continent and found its way back into western private bank accounts. Can they truly match the money borrowed by African ‘leaders’ to projects executed on the continent? If not, why continue to lend if there is no other motive?
- It is a fact that black Africa is one of the richest places on earth in natural resources. Why borrow money when you are rich?
We have heard of huge sums of money placed aside to compensate Jews for slave labour during World War 2. We know of reparation claims from the ‘comfort women’ in South East Asia and those of Japanese Americans who were quarantined during the forties. It is time to table African reparation claims. We will like the Arabs to tell us how much they think they owe us for more than one thousand years slavery. We will equally like the Western nations to honestly estimate their indebtedness to us for 300 years of slavery, one hundred years of colonialism and nearly half a century of neo-colonialism. Let them be frank to tell us how much has been stolen by their estate managers who pass around for African leaders during this period. The money is right there in Western bank accounts and is no secret to Western governments. If the Arabs and the Western governments are God fearing enough to tell us the plain truth, then the myth of African indebtedness would have been shattered. We need just a small portion of what they owe us to repay their ‘paper debts’ and still have enough money to turn Sub Saharan Africa into an economic paradise. That is if they also agree to take away their estate managers and allow us with legitimate governments. If this request is granted, I bet you that The issue of African indebtedness will become just another fairy tale.
Copyright ã Nov. 2000 by Njei Moses Timah
Njei Moses Timah [e-mail]