Saturday, 17 May 2008

When Great Minds go for Betrayal

When Great Minds go for Betrayal

By Reason Wafawarova May 16, 2008

There is a question that many of the people who, either have hopelessly surrendered themselves to the might of neo-liberal imperialism as an invincible force or have been hopelessly romanticised by the glitter of imperial wealth keep asking the likes of this writer time and again.

This writer got his e-mail inbox inundated with the same question after an article titled “Work for and defend Zimbabwe” published by The Herald on the 31st of July 2007. The question is phrased in different ways but always to the effect that it is hypocritical to criticise imperialism or any of the western policies while one is either studying or living in a western country. Its either, “Why are you enjoying imperialism if you do not like it?” or “Don’t you think its hypocritical to be criticising imperialism from the comfort of western cities?”

There are no doubts; many if not all of the people who ask this question actually do believe that it is a sensible and legitimate question. The sense and legitimacy is derived from an expectation to see a Western trained intellectual who thinks west, acts west and who does no more than wallow in terminology fetishized by the West just as they wallow in Western whiskey and champagne in obscene and treacherous looking lounges.

They expect an intellectual who comes back to Africa with nothing more than degrees and a shiny package of adjectives and superlatives reflecting the glitter and glory of the Western universities that produced them. In short they are contented with an African intellectual, who after years of study and research in the West does no more than imitate Western life even to the extent of taking pride in the idiotic fact that their children cannot speak their vernacular language as they would be trying to make them English, French or whichever imperial empire they subscribe to.

This writer certainly thinks such thinking is worse than vain and would like to make it clear that the experiential and academic knowledge he has acquired in the West so far and that be to be acquired later will be used to benefit the African context in general and the Zimbabwean context in particular. That context is the context of struggle, a struggle that stretches back to the days of slavery, up to colonial days and all the way to the current struggle against neo-liberal imperialism. That context is no context to wallow in velvety plastic luxury while availing oneself as a tool for the furtherance of the subjugation of one’s own people; an attitude that says Africa is a place good enough only for aid.

It must be stated categorically that there is no salvation for our suffering people in developing countries unless we, people from the less developed countries turn our backs to the models that charlatans of all types bred by the legacy of the imperial empire have tried to sell us since the collapse of colonial empires, a long fifty eight years for Africa. There is no salvation outside this rejection just like what President Robert Mugabe told a Ghanaian audience in July 2007. There has not been any development from all the models so far imposed on the African continent; the most failing being the Structural Adjustment Programmes, often referred to as SAPs.
The only meaningful development for Africa in general and for Zimbabwe as a particular state cannot be separated from a rupture of the kind we saw in Zimbabwe in 2000, the people driven land redistribution programme. It was not the first rupture of its kind.

The Iranians first nationalised their oil in 1945, then there was Julius Nyerere’s Ujamaha project, Kenneth Kaunda’s humanism, Nasser’s nationalisation of the Suez Canal and Gaddaffi’s OPEC dream where the Oil and Petroleum Exporting Countries sought to have full control of their product.

What is interesting is that every time there has been such a rupture there is always a wave of Western intellectual giants who just emerge as if from deep slumber. They awaken to the threatening and dizzying rise of billions of people in rags and they always stand aghast at the threat of this hunger-driven multitude weighing on their privileges- they relentlessly work on counter strategies; all designed to perpetuate the world order that nurtures racial supremacy while it preaches against it.

Rather than looking at the plight of the multitude in rags, they anxiously search for their usual supernatural silencing tricks, which habitually come in form of development packages meant to divert attention as well as to pacify the threatening masses. A reading of reports and minutes by the so-called “pro-democracy groups” in western countries as well as the publications of innumerable forums and seminars on the so-called “Zimbabwe crisis” is ample illustration of how the West will go to any length to tame anything they perceive as a threat to their imperial hegemony.

Surely we cannot ridicule or ignore the patient efforts of honest intellectuals, hailing from both the industrialised and the less industrialised countries; who, because they have ears to hear and eyes to see, are discovering the terrible consequences of the devastation imposed on developing countries by the so called specialists in the development of the “Third World”.

This writer wants to be part of this team of honest intellectuals and is making every effort to do so day by day. The dream is to have a growing mass of such honest intellectuals founding a revolution for the silent majority of this planet. The fear is that the neo-liberal team of the not so honest intellectuals continues to use the massive resources from imperial coffers to showcase the wave of their magic wand- a bait meant to spring us back to a world of slavery dressed up in today’s capitalist fashion.

That fear is becoming more than a threat if one looks at the fact that the educated petty bourgeoisie of Africa – more so that of Zimbabwe, is not prepared to give up its privileges. This is either because of the sweetness of the western way of life, the employee mentality created by the western way of training in former colonies or plain intellectual laziness.

The lot in this petty bourgeoisie club tend to forget that all genuine political struggle requires rigorous, theoretical debate, and they refuse to rise to the intellectual effort of conceiving new concepts equal to the murderous struggle that lies ahead of every African country.

They are contented with being passive and pathetic consumers of western intellectual input; that to the extent of labelling some of us, the intrepid few that chose not to live on borrowed reasoning- ungrateful hypocrites who fail to appreciate the greatness of the western way of life.

Surely there is nothing hypocritical about pointing out that the ways of your host are not in the best interest of the entirety of humanity, even if that host was a Western country. Rather there is everything treacherous about a Joseph who goes into Egypt and totally forgets that he has a whole Israelite tribe to rescue from biting poverty just because he happens to be promoted by the Pharaoh to be a high ranking official in the Egyptian way of governance.

That is precisely what some of our intellectuals are doing; fighting to be at the helm of the international system by pretending to be as white as wool because that way they make it ahead of fellow blacks and access the bonuses that come with such posturing. These are bonuses of indignity, shame and treachery.

Now we keep asking. What has happened since the days of Dr Martin Luther King? What has happened since the days of negritude and African Personality? What has happened to the vision of Marcus Garvey, Kwameh Nkurumah, Julius Nyerere, the pre-independence Nelson Mandela, Samora Machel and that of Patrice Lumumba?

We cannot find an answer as to why the search for ideas that are genuinely of an African origin, produced by the brains of the “great” African intellectuals is all but in vain. All we can see is borrowed reasoning-our vocabulary and ideas are all imports from elsewhere and somehow we find it reasonable to ask why we continue to be a continent of beggars.

This writer believes that there is no such thing as neutral writing and it is now both necessary and urgent that out trained personnel and those who work with the pen realise this glaring reality. By imagining or pretending to be neutral in such times as the stormy times we are living in these days, all we do is give our adversaries a monopoly over thought, imagination and creativity.

This writer also wishes to put a message across to Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), as well as to the country’s petty bourgeoisie, its media fraternity and the community of its intellectuals. This message is to say, before it is too late- and indeed it is already late- we all need to come home to ourselves, not necessarily by flying home if one is in the Diaspora; but to our society and to the misery we have inherited, a misery which has only gotten worse in the last eight years but was never as glorious as the Western Press would want all of us to believe.

They say Zimbabwe was the Jewel of Africa and a land of milk and honey but are we as naïve as to buy that kind of distortion of history? Are we as naïve as to help tell the world that farm workers on white owned commercial farms were a shining jewel of Africa-that they made people of Zimbabwe live in luxury?

We must understand that the battle for an ideology that serves the needs of the disinherited and suffering masses is not and cannot be in vain.

That is it may, we must also understand that such an ideology can only gain credibility on an international level by us being genuinely creative, honest and dedicated, otherwise it rots in the dustbin of rhetoric.

We all need to portray an honest and faithful image of our people and our country, an image conducive to carrying out fundamental change in political and social conditions and to wrenching our beloved country from foreign domination and exploitation. Failure to adhere to this basic rule of patriotism is nothing but betrayal, never mind the justification behind it.

We cannot continue widening the chasm between the affluent people of our society and those whose only aspiration is to eat their full and quench their thirst, just to survive and preserve the dignity of passing through the face of this earth. How long are we going to enrich ourselves by profiteering from the sweat of the poor? The rich man’s cattle cannot continue to fatten on the crops of the poor man in a country we all inherited from our ancestry.

Lastly, this writer will talk about the concept of aid, something those in the opposition keep claiming to be the only ones with the key to. Indeed the MDC has the keys to the house that stores international aid laced with dirty strings and that key is their servile posturing as willing poodles for the imperialist cause.

Like many developing countries across the globe Zimbabwe can be inundated with foreign aid, theoretically meant to work in favour of development but at the end the result has always been the same in many places, especially in Africa-but one can always search in vain for anything that can be called development, that is, development particularly linked to the aid.

Those in power, either because of misleading advice from the so-called specialists on Third World development, naïveté, class selfishness or pressure from political benchmarks imposed by the donor countries; often cannot and will not take control of the influx from abroad and place demands on it that are in keeping with the interests of the people.

At each evaluation phase this aid is of token significance, if at all it is of significance to such indicators as infant mortality rate, illiteracy rate, life expectancy, doctor-patient ratio, school-attendance rate and the Gross Domestic Product.

It is often of significance in its creation of a petty bourgeoisie middle class ready to pacify and descend on the poor masses should any of them threaten their newly acquired privileges. That is exactly what the aid is calculated to achieve in the first place and we can only be fooling ourselves if we believe this theory of all blame squarely lying with corrupt African governments. In any case, aren’t the proceeds of the alleged corruption invested in the donor countries themselves, making it all a very convenient cycle in terms of flow of currency?

The only aid we should be encouraging is aid that helps us to overcome the need for aid and often that aid does not come in dollars. It comes from good willed and fair partnerships in trade and governance processes.

The science of today’s multinationals does not condone or cherish such partnerships. They thrive on a monopoly of knowledge and would rather perpetuate the crisis of childhood diseases and water born diseases than share the knowledge that combats such challenges. They prefer to expand their knowledge into the cosmetics industry by setting up plastic surgeries meant to satisfy the whims of some overfed people whose charm and life are threatened by the excess of calories in their meals. Their communities need technology and science to deal with diseases emanating from excess food while our children are born in malnutrition-related sickness, and all we can do is look and admire.

This writer thinks its time our great minds and our people stand in unison and declare our resolve for a better world. After all they say a slave who does not organise his own rebellion deserves no pity for his lot.

He alone is responsible for his misfortune, especially if he harbours illusions in the dubious assurance of a master’s promise for freedom. This is the kind of promise we seem to be getting from those talking about something called a new Zimbabwe. Freedom can only be won through struggle and the conflict between the opposition MDC and the Zimbabwean government, if not the people cannot pass for a struggle. It is merely a counterrevolutionary conflict benefiting the real enemy against whom the real struggle is to be fought.

In this context the solution for the crisis we Zimbabweans have created for ourselves since the MDC allowed themselves to be imperialist tools in 2000 can only be solved by us Zimbabweans and no one else. We need to re-orient our political, intellectual and technical focus towards the struggle that empowers the generality of the Zimbabwean population.

Such re-orientation is the only way that can free us from the mentality that says one has to be servile to imperialism for them to reside or study in a Western country.

We do need to appreciate and tolerate the western way of life in terms of co-existence and sharing values but that has nothing to do with condoning the stealing of our countries’ resources.

Case rested.

Homeland or death. Together we shall overcome.

Reason Wafawarova is Metro’s Political Columnist he is based in Sydney, Australia and can be contacted on

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