Western powers have been devastating Africa’s land, resources and populations for centuries. Africans must now throw off that legacy by first understanding it and then making the best use of their continent’s assets without the detrimental western intervention.
The fact that western powers have a well-drawn plan to recolonize and reoccupy Africa’s rich land, soil and subsoil by killing Africans, the original owners of the land, this time using fellow Africans to kill fellow Africans and employing bio-warfare against African people (Ebola), in order to clear African people off their land and free it for western exploitation, is not a conspiracy theory anymore. It has become an open secret. Western powers want to reach that end by all means necessary. The war in Congo has now cost eight million lives (higher than the Holocaust) since 1998 when Britain and America used Rwanda and Uganda as proxies to invade Congo, occupy land, massacre Congolese, rape Congolese women (rape is used as a weapon of war) and systematically loot Congo’s natural and mineral resources. Recently, ‘Ugandan rebels’ hacked more than 100 Congolese people to death using axes and machetes in the Beni region. The strategy is the same: kill African people, wipe them off their land and turn around and say, ‘In Africa, land is just idling’, when you have already killed the rightful owners of the land.
What is astonishing is the fact that the blood of slaughtered Congolese in this genocide had not yet dried up, yet you heard former US Under-Secretary of State for African Affairs Herman Cohen and former French President Nicholas Sarkozy asking the Democratic Republic of Congo to share its wealth (i.e. land and minerals) with Rwanda and Uganda. As a reminder, both Cohen and Sarkozy are of Jewish descent.
First of all, it was the same strategy that European settlers used in the Americas. Before going to Africa to depopulate Africa through kidnapping Africans (slavery), European settlers had already committed genocide against Native Americans and took over their land. According to J. Sakai (1983), North America was already inhabited by some 300 indigenous nations, encompassing over 10 million people. Between 1600 and 1900 the Indian population was reduced from 10 million to approximately 250,000. They were the victims of the largest genocide in the history of mankind.
Another problem European settlers were confronted with was a major labor shortage in the colonies. Since the majority of settlers owned their own farmlands, there were very few, if any, wage laborers. At the time of the War of Independence, 15 per cent of the population was made up of temporary workers who would soon move on to become small capitalist farmers, while only five per cent of people were laborers, according to J. Sakai. To solve this problem the settlers simply ‘imported’ millions of African slaves to do all the necessary work of building up the colonies. ‘Imported’ is not the right word because Africans were captured like animals and sold like goods. In Longando, this writer’s mother tongue, the slavers were called ‘Batambatamba’, meaning ‘takers of people’.
Nathan Nunn (2008), who extensively carried out research on slavery in Africa, argued that the production of slaves, which occurred through ‘divide and rule’ strategies employed by Europeans, resulting in domestic warfare, raiding and kidnapping, was not only detrimental to African society (social fragmentation) but also had negative impacts on subsequent development (the gap between Africa and the West in terms of development).
According to Nathan Nunn, for a period of nearly 500 years, from 1400 to 1900, the African continent simultaneously experienced four slave trades. The largest and most well-known is the trans-Atlantic slave trade in which, beginning in the 15th century, slaves were shipped from West Africa, West-Central Africa and Eastern Africa to the European colonies in the New World. The three other slave trades—the trans-Saharan, Red Sea, and Indian Ocean slave trades—were much older and predated the trans-Atlantic slave trade. During the trans-Saharan slave trade, slaves were taken from south of the Saharan desert to Northern Africa. In the Red Sea slave trade, slaves were taken from inland of the Red Sea and shipped to the Middle East and India. In the Indian Ocean slave trade, slaves were taken from Eastern Africa and shipped either to the Middle East and India or to plantation islands in the Indian Ocean. During the trans-Atlantic slave trade, 12 million slaves were exported from Africa to the Americas. Another six million were exported in the other three slave trades. That is what this writer calls the ‘pre-Berlin Conference scramble for Africa’s human resources’.
In the words of former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (2008), it was America that benefited most from that ‘pre-Berlin Conference scramble for Africa’s human resources’. According to Condoleezza Rice, ‘Africa has given so much to America—more than anyone. It was the stolen sons and daughters of Africa who lifted up the body of America, brick by brick, field by field, city by city’.
Slave export data collected during the trans-Atlantic slave trade show that slaves were taken in the greatest numbers from the ‘Slave Coast’ (Benin and Nigeria), West-Central Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and Angola, in other words the Kingdom of Kongo), and the ‘Gold Coast’ (Ghana).
As far as the Kongo Kingdom was concerned, Portuguese were responsible for the kidnapping of local Kongo subjects for sale to the Americas. Nathan Nunn writes that as early as 1514, the kidnapping had become rampant, threatening social order and the King’s authority, eventually leading to the collapse of the once-powerful kingdom that encompassed modern day Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Republic of Congo and parts of Gabon.
As Adam Hochschild wrote in his book titled King Leopold’s Ghost, published in 2000, by 1491, Portuguese explorers and missionaries visiting the kingdom of Kongo ruled by the ‘ManiKongo’ or Kings, led the way for the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In 1526, King Nzinga Mbemba Affonso, who had acceded to the throne as a ManiKongo in 1506 and ruled as Affonso I after converting to Chrsitianity, wrote a letter to his counterpart Joao III, the King of Portugal in 1526, complaining that ‘there are many slave traders in all corners of the country. They bring ruin to the country. Every day people are enslaved and kidnapped, even nobles, even members of the king’s own family.’ It is estimated that between 1400 and 1900, more than eight million slaves were exported from the Kingdom of Kongo to the Americas.
Slaves from the Kingdom of Kongo reportedly toiled under slave labour in South Carolina, New Orleans and Georgia. Mike Byfield (2013) writes that in 1739, about 20 slaves from the Kingdom of Kongo took up arms in South Carolina, chanting ‘liberty’ as they slaughtered 20 or so whites on half a dozen plantations.
As Antonio J. García (2006) wrote, the birth of Jazz Music, an important feature of the American culture, is associated with ‘Congo Square’ (located in what is now Armstrong Park) in New Orleans, where, before the Civil War, slaves were allowed to congregate on Sundays to drum and dance according to their African traditions.
In addition, The Wanderer was the last documented ship to have brought a cargo of almost 600 slaves from Angola（Kingdom of Kongo）to the United States on 28 November 1858, even after the US outlawed the slave trade in 1807. The Wanderer reached Jekyll Island, Georgia on 28 November 1858 and delivered only 409 slaves alive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wanderer_slave_ship).
Furthermore, as Hochschild wrote, after converting the Kingdom of Kongo to Christianity, some Western missionaries were known to have engaged in the slave trade themselves. For instance, the case of Ota Benga, a Mbuti, that is, a Pygmy from Congo, speaks for itself. Ota Benga was brought to the United States by Samuel Phillips Verner, a ‘missionary’ turned self-styled entrepreneur/explorer. In September 1906, Ota Benga was displayed in the monkey house in New York’s Bronx Zoo. An orangutan shared his space. A poem published in the New York Times declared that ‘Ota Benga had been brought from his native land of darkness, to the country of the free, in the interest of science and of broad humanity’.
After more than a century of colonization, you still hear some western scholars, western policymakers and western leaders declaring that ‘Africa is not ready for international cooperation and foreign investment’, including in the agricultural sector. As concrete proof, former French President Nicholas Sarkozy said in 2007 in Dakar, Senegal that ‘the tragedy of Africa is that the African has never really entered into history’. This is a new ploy by those who yet again are targeting Africa’s rich land, soil and subsoil to solve their problems following the global financial crisis caused by the corruption of their own financial system and their fear to death of China’s rise.
As a reminder, in the 19th century, no European country could count itself as a power without having a colony in Africa. Poverty, hunger, diseases, religious wars, oppression by their kings and especially tales of rich mineral deposits, grain and rubber attracted Europeans to Africa, so much so that, it is right to say that Africa at that time was richer than Europe but was subsequently under-developed by Europe’s incursion, as Dr Walter Rodney (1972) put it. Land was the main target because without land, there is no country and you cannot talk about African people.
Let us admit that the new western powers’ tactic of divide and rule is still working very well in Africa. Catholic and Protestant churches still represent the mechanism through which Africans were mentally colonized and divided and ruled because members of the same clan or tribe had to adhere either to the Catholic Church or the Protestant Church and became antagonistic toward each other while the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church were not two separate entities at all because they are all Europeans and share the same agenda in Africa: the occupation of vast land areas in Africa. Remember what Jomo Kenyatta famously said of these churches: ‘When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.’
This land must be taken back or the least we can do is to have churches pay land taxes like anybody else. King Leopold II of Belgium, the conqueror of the Kongo Kingdom, granted vast land areas to these churches free of charge under the pretext of opening the Kongo Kingdom to ‘Christian civilization’, which consisted of cutting off Congolese people’s hands if they did not collect enough ivory or harvest enough wild rubber. Up to today, these churches still occupy vast land areas in Africa.
The cunning western powers have come up with new contemporary mechanisms to continue to control the land in Africa, including the International Monetary Fund, World Bank structural adjustment programs, the United States African Command (Africom)—we call it Africoma because it puts Africa into a coma—civil societies and NGOs both local and international all financed from outside, aid agencies telling African countries ‘to ensure a better environment for business, gay rights, GMO food, no third presidential term …” and so on. Now we know. Because African leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Thomas Sankara, Laurent Kabila, Colonel Gaddafi and many others refused to blindly follow western liberal policies at the expense of their people, they were overthrown and assassinated by western powers using African hands.
The good news is that Africans have understood their game. They reject neo-colonialism, a new kind of master-slave, superior-inferior relation with the West. Africa refuses to be anybody’s backyard, be it France or America.
African people want change but whenever they push for that change, western powers quickly intervene to save their ‘straw men’ in Africa. For a long time, France and the United States knew that Blaise Compaore in Burkina Faso was dealing with Al Qaida as Dr Gary Busch revealed, but they said nothing. Now that the people have ousted him, France and the United States are doing everything they can to replace him with members of his own presidential guards. They similarly retrieved the situations in Tunisia and Egypt after the ‘North African Arab Spring’.
How come some African leaders, such as Museveni and Kagame, have been omitted from ‘America’s list’ of African leaders who are allowed to stand for a third term against the will of their people, but some are not? For instance, the importance of the strategic alliance between the USA and Rwanda gives Paul Kagame the power to do everything he wants, including to stand for a third term, a power that even Israel, America’s closest ally, does not possess, as Albert Kisonga, former Congolese ambassador to Belgium, put it. In Rwanda, Human Rights Watch has just documented the disappearance of nearly 100,000 people, probably slaughtered by the regime, without this triggering any reaction whatsoever from the United States or other western countries. What does this silence, which surprised even many observers on the other side of the Atlantic (including Human Rights Watch, who published a report that was highly documented but not provoking any reaction) mean? How come the slaughter of nearly 100,000 people in Rwanda recently does not even trigger any western reaction? To date, hundreds of human corpses are still floating on the river Akanyaru bordering Rwanda and Burundi into Lake Rweru. In Burundi, some of the bodies are retrieved and exposed to the view of representatives of countries within the international community. No reactions whatsoever.
Western powers are currently executing their well-drawn plan to recolonize and reoccupy Africa’s rich land, soil and subsoil by killing Africans, the original owners of the land, through bio-warfare against African people, in order to clear African people off the land and free it for western exploitation.
In fact, US bio-warfare laboratories in West Africa are the origins of the Ebola Epidemic, as American law professor Francis A. Boyle confirmed in an interview with tvxs.gr.
‘What we are dealing with here is a biological warfare work that was conducted at the bio-warfare laboratories set up by the USA on the west coast of Africa. And if you look at a map produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) you can see where these laboratories are located. And they are across the heart of the Ebola epidemic, at the west coast of Africa. So, I think these laboratories, one or more of them, are the origins of the Ebola epidemic. They did the same in Nicaragua and Cuba,’ Professor Francis A. Boyle revealed.
In fact, Motherboard.com also revealed last year that the US is building a high-tech bubonic plague lab in Kazakhstan, near China (http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/why-the-us-is-building-a-high-tech-plag...).
Professor Francis A. Boyle said: ‘I have absolute proof from a Pentagon document that the Centers for Disease Control were doing bio-warfare work for the Pentagon in Sierra Leone, the heart of the outbreak, as early as 1988. And indeed it was probably before then because they would have had to construct the lab and that would have taken some time. So we know that Fort Detrick and the Centers for Disease Control are over there, Tulane University, which is a well-known bio-warfare center here in USA—I would say notorious for it—is there. They all have been over there.
‘In addition, the US government made sure that Liberia, a former colony of the USA, never became a party to the Biological Weapons Convention, so they were able to do bio-warfare work over there—going back to 1980s—the USA government, in order to circumvent the Biological Weapons Convention. Likewise, Guinea, the third state affected here—and there is an increase now—didn’t even sign the Biological Weapons Convention. So, it seems to me that the different agencies of the US government have been always there to try to circumvent the Biological Weapons Convention and engage in bio-warfare work. Indeed, we had one of these two lab bio-warriors admit in the New York Times that they were not over there for the purpose of either screening or treating people. That’s not what these labs are about. These labs are there in my opinion to do bio-warfare work for different agencies of the US government. Indeed, many of them were set up by USAID. And everyone knows that USAID is penetrated all up and down by the CIA and the CIA has been involved in bio-warfare work as well.
‘The US military just invaded Liberia. They send in the 101st Airborne Division to Liberia. That’s an elite division of combat and they have no training to provide medical treatment to anyone. They are there to establish a military base in Liberia. And the British are doing the same in Sierra Leone. The French are already in Mali and Senegal. So, they’re not sending military people there to treat these people. No, I’m sorry,’ Professor Francis A. Boyle concluded. There you are.
We are fully confident that African people have woken up and have stood up and nobody will wipe them out of their land because they are the original owners of the land. All these western plans described above will backfire. The events in Burkina Faso show that African people are not passive anymore. In Burkina Faso, African people are resisting against French and American hegemony, which put Blaise Compaore in power after assassinating Thomas Sankara, who considered Compaore as a ‘friend and brother’ and mentored him. Patrice Lumumba did the same with Mobutu who later betrayed him.
Africa does not necessarily need western billionaires to come here and recycle their ill-gotten billions, including by looting the wealth of Africa through proxy wars such as the ones that Congo, Mali, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Libya and others have been subjected to, only to have the same looters come back to Africa as ‘investors’ (some investors come as Indian investors, but with American money. That is what I call a double whammy investment).
Africans have the land. Vast arable lands! What Africa needs are true friends who come to share their ideas and experience with Africa, not necessarily money—as the late Chinese President Deng Xiaoping wisely once said to President Mugabe—as well as technological know-how, so that African governments can transform their resources on the spot and create jobs and markets for their people locally, regionally, at the continental level and internationally (we ask: how many factories has Compaore left behind in Burkina? Zero.). Africa must cease to be forever the provider of raw materials to other people. Africans must never sell their land (no to land grabbing by big agro-business multinational companies that displace African smallholder farmers). The least Africans can do is to lease land on a win-win basis, learn from those the land has been leased to and re-take control of the land to redevelop it, transform it, and create jobs and markets for the benefit of African people. That means that anybody who really wants to support Africa getting out of the woodwork must exchange ideas with Africans on how to produce food sustainably: to produce, transform, package and sell on a win-win basis because foreign companies, whether they are agricultural or mining companies, whether they are Chinese, Indian, Russian, Brazilian or western, need to make profits. We are very proud of Chinese companies that are now transferring their operations to Africa, creating jobs there for both Chinese and Africans and transferring new technologies and know-how at the same time. That is what we call achieving ‘co-prosperity’.
Cooperation for agricultural development (or in other sectors) must be carried out sustainably, starting with rural development. Africans can learn very fast (including good management skills). They only have to overcome existing mentalities instilled by the colonial legacy, including a puppet leadership!
Land is the first asset African people have; technology is the stimulus for value addition and wealth accumulation. Africans no longer want a system or policies that create a big gap or a big divide in assets between Africa and the rest of the world and that create master-servant and superior-inferior relationships with Africans. Africans are the rightful owners of the land, everybody else is a guest, as Professor Li Anshan, a famous expert in African studies at the School of International Studies and director of the Centre for African Studies at Peking University, China, often puts it.
We also must not forget that other people can learn from Africa too, because Africa boasts a rich historical, cultural and technological heritage. Many things have been learned by the west from Africa, including irrigation systems, dam building, medicine, architecture, metallurgy philosophy, theology, spirituality (up to now, Africa remains the spiritual cradle of humanity), especially from African’s most ancient civilizations, including Ancient Egypt. But due to divide and rule infiltration, the West developed that knowledge acquired from and used it against Africans.
Byfield, M. (2013) ‘Why only the U.S. fought a war over slavery: Between hatred of the North and fear of black vengeance, the South resorted to arms’, The Chrstians.com, A Journal of Contemporary Christian History, 5 June, http://thechristians.com/?q=node/287, accessed 3 November 2014
Dimopoulou, A. (2014) ‘US Bio-warfare Laboratories In West Africa Are The Origins Of The Ebola Epidemic’, Information Clearing House, 28 October, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40012.htm, accessed 3 November 2014
García, A.J., (2006) ‘Jazz Education in New Orleans, Post-Katrina’, Jazz Education Journal, Vol. 39, No. 3
Hochschild, A. (2000) King Leopold’s Ghost, London, Papermac/Macmillan Publishers Ltd.
Nunn, N. (2008) ‘The Long-term effects of Africa’s slave trades’, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, no.1, p.141.
Rodney, W. (1972) How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, London, Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications
Sakai, J. (1983) Settlers: The mythology of the white proletariat, London: Morningstar Press
US Department of State (2006) ‘Transcripmat of Condoleeza Rice's address to the AGOA Forum,’ agoa.info, 8 June, http://agoa.info/news/article/3816-transcript-of-condoleezza-rice-address-to-the-agoa-forum.html, accessed 3 November 2014
* THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR/S AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM
* BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS
* Please do not take Pambazuka for granted! Become a Friend of Pambazuka and make a donation NOW to help keep Pambazuka FREE and INDEPENDENT!