Friday, 7 December 2007

Brown/Bush: Mounting Amos, and Condy trots!

Brown/Bush: Mounting Amos, and Condy trots!

As you read this column, drums will start beating in Lisboa (Lisbon), Portugal, marking the first ever convocation of Europeans and Africans, after a long and troubled seven-year hiatus. To some, these will be drums, tom-toms of joy. To others, these will be bells that toll the end to come. It all depends on where you stand, or who you stand with. Lisboa might be very far for Africa’s tardy and cracked barefoot, very far for Africa’s meandering path, but Lisboa will influence Africa’s futures in a very significant way. I am there, spirited from home by the great iron bird that walks straight, to a tuneful, airy hum.

As I ride this enchanted aluminium broomstick, ride this wonder of the white-man which, unlike God’s birds, flies without flapping its wings, so too flies and unfurls my mind, uninhibited, welcomed and melding with the vast blue that bear no milestones. As if to affirm the greatness of the earth, I soon discover no matter how high, you still need to peer down below, past the fleeting clouds, to reach the craggy earth for milestones. You look far down, vulnerable and overawed, hazily hoping for a helpful landmark to locate yourself in this great vastness, unremittingly azure. None comes. In desperation, you hope that beneath the melancholic hum and drone of the iron bird’s great and throbbing heartbeat, a croaky voice might just break out, deployed from the sealed cockpit to help the passengers with some bearings. Nothing comes to break the eerie purr of this great iron bird.

My whirring mind surmises what the captain might be up to. Maybe he is busily thinking of unpaid bills back home. Or some sumptuous girlfriend left behind, all the time quite oblivious of my little unshared anxieties about time and place. Or something more inane and stupid, this unfeeling pilot who pays no regard to I, the captive wonderer and navigator reversing and paying a good turn to Vasco da Gama’s voyages.

The West’s great black legion

To quieten my turbulent insides, I choose to reflect on this small cosmos called Zimbabwe: its land, its people, its leadership, its friends, its enemies, its victories, its defeats, its warts and all. I have nine long hours between home and Lisboa, nine hours of contemplation. From that airy vantage, I boisterously feel like some little god, able and placed to see the past, the present, the future as one short, thrifty continuum. After all, I am above, am I not?

Above the vast condition of mortal man and woman, too above to be impeded by this knoll, that hill, this mountain, that forest, this human throng, that cacophonous yell. I see, hear everything, whole and complete. I, the vain omniscient who can’t know where I am! Surprisingly, I soon discover that vastness gives no joy. Far from being invited to greater, celestial muses, my godly mind gravitates towards the mundane, even puny, towards the little failings of humankind. I think a lot about Condoleeza Rice; think a lot about Jendayi Fraser. Think quite a lot about Baronness Amos. Yes, think a great deal about McGee: white America’s new black man in Harare. I think also about Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian writer who gave us "The Man Died". I think about Bishop Sentamu, Bishop Tutu.

I think too about Kofi Annan; think about Collin Powell: that great African general which rapacious America deployed to quell and subdue small Arab peoples, before discarding him like a spent, flappy condom. Olonga too: that Kenyan who could not be a Zimbabwean, whose ambition was to be larger than the cricket butt and ball which brought him fame, all for the sake of embittered white Rhodesia. I think about Chiwoniso; I think about John Makumbe: a whole African Phd, now commanded and deployed by sisi Jenni Williams and her motley women from WOZA, to harm Zimbabwe and African interests. I think also about the so-called "Zimbabwe Vigil" and the planned marches of Lisboa, all to prove that Mugabe did mortally wrong to give the black Zimbabwean his due! I self-censoriously wonder why I, the god, still chooses to be man. Surely the conduct of mere mortals can never baffle gods, lest gods become mere men and women?

Bush’s mounts, Brown’s trots

As I reflect on this vast pantheon of black surfaces, I recall the wires reported that Condy this week was headed for Africa, an emissary of George W.Bush, America’s war-mongering President. The same wires — today’s sentinels and foremost mongers of global village rumours — also reported Brown — Britain’s utterly un-telegenic, unconvincing Prime Minister - has despatched Baronness Amos to Lisboa, to represent him. He himself won’t come, for fear of a handshake with Mugabe’s "coarse" hand! I reflect more. Both Bush and Brown are white Anglo-Saxons. That is a foolish point to make, especially when made by a god! How else can they be, they being Anglo-Saxons?

Neither the Union Jack nor the Stars and Stripes, bears the colour black. Ain’t no black on the Union Jack, some Carribean scholar (Baronnes Amos’ compatriot) once wrote. Is that not so? Yes, both are white, indeed as ashen as the deadly systems they run — or more aptly — they mind. The two women, on the other hand, are black, blacker than two nights put together. It does not matter where you inspect: kinky black hair, nubile, black pendulous breasts, black rotund formations that transfix male gaze — all these and much more, are all black, black like the remnant burnt-out stump from last season’s chitemene or mavivi.

When Tendai becomes Jendayi

Jendayi Fraser. Another surface: pitchy black, kinky haired, very flat nose that confidently spread across the face like a squatting African bullfrog. Just beginning of this week, she was on the wires announcing another raft of useless sanctions against Zimbabwe, black African Zimbabwe. The measures purport to add more black Africans to America’s list of banned persons; purports to deport children of Zimbabwean officials studying in America; promise worse sanctions, "unless political violence" stops! Such "dire" measures dropping from fleshy black pendulous lips of mother Africa’s abducted, still enslaved daughter. Good gracious God! Except through books and political rumours, this misbegotten daughter of Africa has not been here at all, knows nothing about Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe she knows is a construct of angry white America identifying with embittered Albion. Zimbabwe is very peaceful, and McGee will vouch that. The remotest it got by way of political violence came from MDC, America and Britain’s MDC! And foe her, the recompense is to add more Zanu (PF) people on the sanctions list, citing March 11 disturbances which again the MDC caused. Imperialism has no shame, I tell you!

Three black women and one man

Faced with an indelibly disastrous diplomatic defeat over Portugal, Brown has turned to Bush for some modicum of mitigation. Both have agreed to deploy three black women and one man (McGee) against a black President who is a hero of the African liberation struggle and contemporary African self-assertion. It is a cynical decision, but one quite revealing in terms of the menial place and role of blacks in the white world. And all four relish it. First Jendayi. She spoke of the additional measures with such gusto and lusto, that no one was left in any doubt that she relished wielding the dagger for the white assassin. "Jendayi" was this lady’s vain attempt at spelling "Tendayi", a Shona name which means "Be Thankful". She mis-spelt it to something narrowly vulgar, something bordering the monstrous. Prophetically, "Jendayi", the resultant linguistic mangle, is not something you readily yell in the presence of elders, still less in the presence of your in-laws, without inviting deep shame and revilement.

You have to be slow and deliberate to make sure you do not transpose an "e" for an "a", to end up with something decidedly vulgar and unmentionable in polite society. This is the ironic consequence of Miss Fraser’s maiden attempt at being African. A clear tragedy of good intentions. Miss Fraser’s original mistake will forever cause unending blushes on black surfaces. Most probably she does not know this, and may even be determined to keep this near-vulgar identity.

In Shona we say: "When Fate gives you a weeping wound, Fate wants you to die from flies". For her, this has turned out to be a very unhappy preordination. In dabbling in Zimbabwe’s shifty politics, she is probably seeking an escape from Somalia, her unmitigated disaster soon after leaving South Africa. She will soon find out that Zimbabwe is a worse slough which will drown her and her shameful career.

Condy’s African trot

With a despairing backdrop of Iraq, Condoleeza Rice has been sent to Africa in the hope of finalising plans for AFRICOM, a new African military command base for imperial America. It is a base which most Africans reject, but which America wants to set up willy-nilly. The Middle East has become too much of a hazardous unknown for rapacious America’s energy needs. America seeks to up Africa’s contribution to her energy needs, which stand at about 26 percent. Nervous America also sees Africa as a dangerous nexus for Al Qaeda resistance, what with the gory images to come from Somalia in the days of Clinton. It is a spectre America sees re-enacted in the present see-saw in that same country, clearly showing America and its askaris are far from pacifying or winning that great horn of Africa whose sharp end seem pointed at America’s interests. But at another level, mounted Condy trots for Bush to checkmate Lisboa. Remember US is Europe’s ally and competitor at the same time.

McGee’s striped insides.

As for McGee, well, he has made matters much easier for us. He made it quite clear in a recent interview that his black colour should not be misread by black Zimbabwe. It is only a colour which belie the red stripes and white stars which bind and lead him respectively. He is white America’s black agent, he confessed. We welcome his sincerity which we shall constantly play up to make sure no Zimbabwean thinks McGee comes from Zvimba! Interestingly, McGee told the weekly which interviewed him that America was not deporting children of officials studying in the US. His sister in servitude, Jendayi, has since contradicted that, again bringing out the timeless dilemma of those whose role is not to make voices, but to make echoes.

The lesson Andrew Young would not leave

Far from damning Mugabe, these three white black beings stand damned by their predecessors, most notably people like Andrew Young. In his small painful way, Andrew showed what a black man lucky enough to gaze at the white pinnacle could do with that new and briefly found fame and power. It would be fulsome to credit him with significant contribution to our struggle for Independence. But it would be mean not to state that he never contradicted it. The lot whose names I give above, are a happy antithesis of Africa’s search for fullness.

I will come back to that point. For now Baronness Amos, the good lady from Jamaica. In case she had any illusions, now she now knows why she hit fame by being Britain’s first ever black minister at a time of a vicious stand-off between UK and Zimbabwe. It all revolved around her pigmentation. Brown hoped to foist her on Europe as EU’s envoy to Africa (read Zimbabwe!). Europe rejected her.

She has since been dusted from the lair of hoary lords, to be pitted against waspish Mugabe whom Albion dares not confront. We are back to the black woman’s burden for the empire, indeed back to Susi and Chuma burdened with the decaying body of D. Livingstone. And of course if she chooses to misbehave in Lisboa, she will soon discover that the continent does not hesitate to impale a daughter who marries the enemy. Zimbabwe is not the country to pull back punches merely because the cornered but marauding baboon clasps its face in shame and helplessness. After all, so much is at stake.

The shame of artists

I also read from the wires that Wole Soyinka has joined with a cabal of writers, among them Haclav Havel who worked with America to destroy the socialist system in the old Czechoslovakia before dividing it, to urge EU to put Zimbabwe on the spot. This is not the first time a Nigerian has betrayed Zimbabwe’s cause, indeed not the first time Soyinka has struck a blow against Zimbabwe for the British. History is loud and clear on official Nigeria’s stance on Zimbabwe’s standoff with Britain. It is also clear on popular Nigeria’s deep solidarity with Zimbabwe in her struggles. Suffice it to say, indeed the man we assumed was Africa’s seer, has again died. As has indeed our own Chiwoniso Maraire who seems keener to hear ancient Nordic voices, in place of that of her own dear departed father who gave us the militant protest song "Takaramba", "We Said No!" in English. Why would Chiwoniso whose dated debut song still wails on our airwaves pretend she is muzzled? Because she needs a dry Nordic bone between her jaws? It is most unfortunate. Today she joins the likes of Conte in betraying her people’s cause. This is what pieces of silver do to weak souls.

Dressing up a lost cause

Which takes me to my main point. Zimbabwe’s struggle against imperialism has entered a critical penultimate stage. Imperial West is fumbling for cause and legitimacy, as Zimbabwe’s case sinks deeper and firmer in the minds of Africa and the progressive world. There is an attempt to dress up the West’s cause, the same way there was a similar effort in 1979 when the Internal Settlement was launched. The whole gallery of blacks I listed above is part of the dress-up, but one destined to fail and negatively play harbinger to a real resolution of this conflict. Both Bush and Brown have assembled a legion of blacks in the hope of confusing Africa. Hence the present flurry of black-led initiatives meant to undercut genuine African initiatives and solutions. It is important that Zimbabwe and Africa stand steadfast as we run the last lap.

Cahora Bassa!

Equally, Lisboa is significant. Portugal is the oldest imperial country, never to be equated with amateurish England which only begins to feature much later in relations with Africa. In the case of Zimbabwe, Portugal’s relations with us trace back to the early 17th Century, while the British only feature at the turn of the 19th Century. Portugal has a longer interaction with Africa than any other power in Europe and the West. Just a few weeks ago, she showed the way by letting go of Cahora Bassa, her last imperial link with Mozambique. On that beautiful day when Mozambique completed her sovereignty, we all leapt in joy and sang Cahora Bassa! The Job is Done! This is what Britain cannot do readily do regarding our Land. Clearly, it is not fortuitous that Lisboa is the turning point in the resolution of the stand-off between Zimbabwe and Britain. After Lisbon, Britain will beat a lonely sanctions path, innocuously supported by America and a few Nordic countries. The rest of Europe will none of it, which is how the sanctions will crumble. But none in Zimbabwe should ever impute purity to the motives of Europe. Europe remains an imperial bloc whose wish is to ring-fence Africa from "marauding" China. It is Europe’s fear of prowling China, not her conscience, which has seen the resumption of continental dialogue and the accommodation of Zimbabwe. The motive remains as ignoble as ever, and care must be taken to ensure Africa is not indentured to this torment. Already, this is coming through in the three documents proposed as outcomes for the great indaba. Far from being hostile to Britain, the three documents suggest a greater encirclement of the continent for a better British kill, using a slightly different argument and pretext. But this will not succeed if Africa stands firm. And united. Only then will Africa escape the fate of a mounted continent, galloping to self-ruin. Caveat Emptor. Icho!


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