13 junio, 2014
“Any colony tends to become one vast farmyard, one vast concentration camp where the only law is that of the knife.” Frantz Fanon on “The wretched of the earth.” (1961)
When we think about poverty the image of Africa immediately pops up in our minds, and there are good reasons for it. What is interesting about it, is that the Africa that represents poverty, hunger, and war to us, is the same Africa that gave birth to two of the most advanced empires of their time -the Egyptian and the Carthaginese-; the same whose natural resources are the largest in the world; the same with a privileged geographical position and the same that has such a huge population to pull the continent forward. Therefore, if it has the raw material to be a great continent, why it is nowadays the poorest one?
There are many reasons why Africa has become the so-called “third world”: the climate does not help, the lack of water, and the conflictive nature of their population are some of them. But at the bottom of the list, there is another big reason that has being stopping Africa from reaching all its potential, a reason that has been present since the 18th century, and a reason that, in one way or another is still happening nowadays: the western countries colonialism.
Ever since the 18th century, western powers have invest time in resources on exploding the African continent by all means. Despite there are different kinds of colonialism, all of them have something in common: they are a form of oppression for the colonized land’s natives. Metropolis come, take out the natural resources, implant new boundaries and political systems, forcing them to convert to a different religion and erasing every piece of tradition that the natives could have.
After two centuries of conflicts in the African region, western countries have developed, and evolved, and now we wonder, why hasn’t Africa do the same. But then, do we want Africa to do the same? Nowadays that oppression is hidden under a paternalistic attitude, accompanied with cooperation for development programs, and multiple economical aids. And there is the name of the game: economic colonialism. This is a very controversial issue; while West wants to help Africa to develop, founding school programs and trying to fight against human rights violations, they yet want to increase their military influence and are still benefiting from the cheap labor force, maintaining that way colonialism alive.
And then there is China, who has recently joined the race for the economic exploitation of Africa, but promoting a different approach focused on the exploitation of the natural resources without caring about the political regime, in a similar way of the old British empire.
All in all, it is well known that despite being in the 21st century, developed powers have not cease to explode Africa. What we, as citizens of the “first world” need to think now is: Are we willing to sacrifice part of our economic welfare in order to actually help African countries to develop, or should we keep the things in the current state, knowing than sooner or later Africans will rise up against their exploitation? Are we fine with getting bigger and bigger at the expense of Africa? Just keep in mind Karl Marx’s words: ”Shame is a revolutionary sentiment”.