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Libyan Writer Ghoma
الكاتب الليبي غومة

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Friday, 3 July, 2009

A "United Government" Is a Fantasy-fest!

By: Ghoma

        The "king of kings" is feasting these days on gathering the rest of African coup-de-etaters, dictators, and civil-war instigators into a powwow of fantastical-feat. The 'First Dictator' on the continent, actually in the world -was known to feel the blues about the hollowness of his title: a small tin-pot petro-dictator of a meaningless desert state- thought of transmogrifying himself into Napoleon of the Dark Continent. Though the new-Napoleon has nothing with the old one, they've something in common: egomania! With little brains and no army, Qaddafi's only tricks are his peacock strutting to charm the continent into persuasion. And thus came to pass! in one of his bouts of mood swings, he hit upon one of those seductive yet pernicious hallucinations. The dream tapped into the universe of fantastical put-ons of getting out of his seemingly intractable dilemma: how to enlarge the size of his domain. Out of madness comes sometimes a piece of wisdom: the apparent ingenious, yet spurious, notion as that of the universal application of other nations experiences: If African states wish to keep their sovereignties, if not survival, they have to coalesce into bigger and bigger geopolitical spaces with one government, one currency and of course an army to protect them. And so the Bubba-king went to work on building the imaginative empire of his fantasy. More by necessity than chance, after years of trying to do the sane with Arab states, Qaddafi' s found in the African empty space the site to experiment with the new architecture. Unbeknown to him, or just ignored the site where he wanted to stretch his tentacles, Africa, to his bad luck, was long contaminated with all kinds of toxins, to need decades if not centuries to clear it and be ready for any new ideas. Africa today is a sick continent, mired in its unique millennia-old l problems. If any single one could suggest a way out for Africa, certainly Qaddafi is not that person.

        To start with, the gist of Qaddafi's quest was never a sincere and altruistic brew to solve African problems. If proof need be, then, it's enough to look on what he has achieved in his own country. In forty years of absolute power, he was unable to make a dent in a small country with a lot of Petro-dollars to boot. How could credentials qualify a person of his caliber to handle problems which drove even the gutsiest adventurers, treasure-hunters, and colonizers of yesteryears into giving up their pursuits? Africa with myriad of primitive or newly imported religions on top of superstitious cultures, corrupted politicians on top of tribal set-ups, poverty and diseases on top of ignorance and apathy, etc. etc. is still way far from any modernization attempt. It's even worse worst than the Middle East. Yet Qaddafi's chronic and utter failure of rousing the dormant fellow Arab multitude had not dissuaded him from trying again on an even worse audience. Does Qaddafi cherish failures or just is he that dumb to even realize he's failed? And what about Africa: What its 'leaders' expects from Qaddafi?

        Africa, the continent that Conrad has labeled the "Heart of Darkness" is still a blackhole in the contemporary world. Its famines, diseases, civil wars, and mass exterminations are beyond description. If its 53 states have any attributes, the only ones heard of are being ex-colonies of this or that power. In more than half-a-century of independence, no African country, with the exception of the Union of South Africa, was able to legitimize and stabilize its state. African states were a legacy of colonialism and still have all the marks of the colonial state: a mistrust and disconnect between the state and its citizens. There're very little differences between today's rulers and yesterdays' colonial governors: Both came without the consent of their citizens.

        The question: Can a continent of African proportion defy the laws of Nature and history and be expected to make a leap beyond the length of its legs? A continent, still mired in poverty and illiteracy, cannot be expected to be ripe for grandiose projects of mega-scale proportions, and r for a future yet to see. A continent ruled by the force of guns and where thugs are the only constituency to worry about ain't in the mood for appreciating the tragedy these same thugs are hiding up in their sleeves. A continent, where citizens, in the full meaning of the term, are nowhere to be seen or found, with the exception of the Republic of South Africa cannot afford building castles in the air. What Africa needs are what commonly known as citizens, and these are yet not of the actual residents of the whole continent. The critters roaming Africa are still light years away from Plato's Republic residents, creatures still stuck in the stage where the pursuit of physical survival takes their entire life's attention and span.

        The perceived world gets enlarged in proportion to one's education. Uneducated and unaware citizens cannot be reckoned to partake of the world outside of their immediate surroundings. Today, a person living in one of the desperate corners of Africa has no grasp of life outside of his/her immediate confines. He/she cannot imagine what life their counterparts conduct nor can they perceive what circumstances another living in the opposite side's must be going through. African capitals are still connected to each other through the metropolises of Paris, London, etc. The hinterlands are not linked to each others, rather to the ports where their products cannot be shipped to, again, the metropolises. Since none of the African states produces what the rest lacks, no significant economic ties exist among them. Thus, bringing such a heterogenous aggregate together ain't going to solve anything nor even scare a stray dog. Africa, before it embarks on such an advanced state craft needs to learn the rudimentary rules of governance: love of one's country, respect of the law, respect of fellow citizens, and the performing of one's duty. Only after Africa had gone through this stage it can start thinking on how to improve on its geopolitical lot.

        A bigger union is also a bigger universe. That's anathema to tradition-bound humans. A hodgepodge of humans don't make a corps of citizens. Epictetus, and after him Thomas Jefferson said: "Only the educated are free" and African, in general, has very few educated, and thus most of its residents are still in a stage closer to Nature, not free, than the rest of humans on the other continents. How, then, to ask uneducated and unfree citizens to accept and okay geopolitical and otherwise aggregations when the world for them ends at their villages' edges? How could an 'African Union' come into being without its citizens' participating nor even being aware of what the weavers of its fate are about to do?

        These guys, gathering in Sirt, Libya, are not doing themselves nor their peoples back home any favors. They've to know, as far as Qaddafi's ego can go, they're merely cogs, tools to be used to further his dreams of being a great statesman with good reputation. African leaders -in the absences of better team- are undermining their own credibilities, in front of the world, by falling into the machination of a notorious dictator. In going along and approving Qaddafi's designs, the leaders of the African states are putting their stamps of approval on some of the craziest lullabies, that have no grounds in reality and chance of being implemented. Seconding and succumbing to pure delusional dictator's screed.

        While it's always good to dream, Africa must dream its own realistic dreams, of how to get out of its many cul-de-sacs. Unions are historical events. As such they never spring out of nowhere overnight nor without reached much life wrenching efforts and preparations. Anyone who reads the debates that preceded and during any of the few unions that had come to fruition, such as the American, Germain, Italian, etc. would find how cultured, foresighted, and aware their undertakers were but also how uniquely were aware of moments and opportunities that allowed them to set the edifices their long dreams on solid foundations.


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