Friday, October 21, 2011

We Live In a Post-Ghaddafi World Now.

Muammar Ghaddafi, Revolutionary, Brother Leader, Despot is no more. I am disappointed at the manner of his demise simply because I don't believe in rapid execution/murder, and I think he had a few questions to answer in a court of the people. The official position is that he died of wounds sustained during battle. Mh.

I was no fan of his, and no amount of "but Libyans have the highest GDP/capita, levels of education, standard of living, etc" argument will convince me that his rule was justified. Benevolent despotism is simply about building a gilded cage: you might "enjoy" certain "perks" but you are still a slave, and a prisoner. Anyways, that's what revolutions are for: to decapitate a polity so that it can hopefully grow a new head that is keeping with the values of the time. A form of social pruning, if you will.

Ghaddafi's death marks the beginning of the end of the independence movement era in Africa. As one of the chief Pan-Africanists, I think he has shown us how hypocritical and compromized many revolutionary leaders of the era turned out to be. They spoke the language of freedom and brotherhood, they practiced control, corruption and murder. They made promises with breath that smells of the blood of their own people. They leave their children and grandchildren names to be ashamed of in public. I can't imagine what they were thinking but I have heard that power corrupts and in the end Big Men are just men. Nothing more, nothing less. So can we get over our African penchant for Bigmanism already?

Let's see what Libya is going to do now that the man who built a nation in his own image is dead. I don't hold out much hope, it looks like the institutions of governance have to be reconfigured and that always results in opportunistic political conflict. But I wish them every luck and success. In the meantime, Mahmood Mamdani's piece for Al Jazeera says all there is to say about the other problem that Libya is suffering from: intervention.

Lord Palmeston said it best, and I paraphrase: in international relations there are no friends, yo. Yeah: the other playaz will play you, given a chance. There are those who are cheering Africa's "emergence" on the world stage*, but I am not one of them. Put simply, every time "the world" takes a deep interest in Africa, we seem to get royally shafted six ways from Sunday. The secret to China's success on the continent is their model: no BS, just barter. Seems to work. Now that Libya is firmly intervened with, and they have oil, they might want to look over at Afghanistan and Iraq which seem to have developed a severe neo-colonial infection. Their occupiers just can't seem to leave... (all that free oil behind...)

*ati emergence? We never went anywhere to begin with. Is this one of those silly things, like the way colonial explorers had a habit of "discovering" geographical features that the locals had always known were there? Mxiii. Let's call this what it is: the rest of the world now thinks we're cool enough to hang out with. Structural racism is taking a hit.

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful piece here. I am relieved that Ghaddafi's rulership is no more. I'm a lot worried for Lybia's (and Africa's) "Post Ghadaffi" existence. I concur with Lord Palmeston. Neo-colonialism will take centrestage in Africa for as long as Africa's slumber lasts.


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