Monday, October 15, 2007

What does President Reagan's death mean to Nigerians, Africans and Arabs?

What does President Reagan's death mean to Nigerians, Africans and Arabs?

The death of anyone is a matter of regret, all deaths occur too soon, all death are a premature end to a good thing, life, ending too soon, as the deceased are missed by those who loved them, so, understandably, family and friends of the late President Reagan, are saddened by his passing, he was a parent, a husband, and president of a country, God for some reasons, allow the sun to shine to on good and evil persons, as the rain falls to water the crops of good and bad farmers. And inexplicably, only the good die young!

I have some modicum of reluctance writing about the dead president, because, Africans do not speak ill of the dead, and also because the late president already paid the full price, perhaps, living to the ripe old age of ninety-three, but it is equally important, in this particular time of self-congratulations by Reagan's friends, followers and associates, regarding his heroics and fabled policy successes, that we set the record straight, in view of the vestiges and vicissitudes of the Reagan era and its policies, this is so, because Reagan's operated warped and negative policies toward Nigeria And Africa, and against peoples of African descents.

But let the record reflect, the true position of the facts of President Reagan's governance, as the record will show, that Reagan's warped and negative policies directed towards Nigeria and Africa, and peoples of African descent, our hopes and aspirations suffered tremendously under Reagan, Reagan gave "constructive engagement" as sole solution to Apartheid in South Africa, he and his associates presided over policies that supplied the milk and honey and lubricants to Apartheid minority regime in South Africa, and was not good for Nigeria or Africa, and people of African descent he was bad for African Americans too.

Reagan as president of the United States persisted in talking the nonsense that was constructive engagement, it was an idiotic policy that tolerated injustice, oppression and discrimination that was practiced by the minority regime in Apartheid South Africa, and as it is often said, where you stand on issues, depends on where you are sitting, my assessment of Reagan, is based on the impact he had on me or my people, and I am unforgiving, Reagan pursued conservative policies, that were very oppressive to the majority, he adamantly opposed wage increase, for the average working masses, he summarily dismissed American Air Traffic Controllers, bursting unionized labor movements, he described beleaguered underclass of America in derisive and derogatory terms, including, calling African American unemployed women, on Public Assistance, Welfare Queens.

President Reagan, therefore, represents a whirlwind of bad news for the underclass, the underprivileged; and these are mostly Africans and peoples of African descent. Writing about Reagan is mostly a waste of print ink, except that there is some utility in setting the historical record straight, particularly now that those who loved his policies are engaging in giddily gloating over his perceived successes. Even though some of are vividly reminded of the harshness of his vitriolic and scorching policies, it is to a good extent, a true waste of ink to write about him here!

Reagan was a scourge on Nigeria, Africa and peoples of African descent, most people will also remember him as an apostle of supply-side and voodoo economist, with irresponsible budgetary and budget implementation methods which had adverse consequences on the working poor; It was the case that Reagan's policies, put corporate profits, over and above average citizens' rights and well-being, tax-breaks were operated to favor the rich, always at the expense of the working poor and underclass. I remember Reagan and his aftermath, as an embodiment of the negative, win-at-all-costs, delay-the-hostage-release from Iraq and Willie Horton campaign commercial and the flagrant mouthing of the Welfare Queens nonsense, and other racial stereotype, spurned by the Reagan Republican Conservatives, who were keen on winning the American presidency, no matter, whose ox is gored.

As someone who lives in America, as someone is a Nigerian, an African, and someone who has sundry familiarities with oppression, injustice, racism, discrimination and all forms of oppression, would I wish for another Reagan as president of the United States? Of Course not! Reagan and his supporters were major policy disaster for the majority of the people of America, we must therefore say never again. Reagan reminds me of a hawkish warmonger president, the opposite of president jimmy Carter, Jimmy Carter as president of the United States, worked hard for peace between Arabs and Jews, between Palestine and Israelis, and this culminated in the Camp David Peace Accord, but Reagan threw all that, out of the window, and there have been spirals of violence since, from Lebanon to Palestine to Israel etc. He is famous for telling Russia to tear down the wall that divided east and west Germany, it then was, but, he omitted to demand that the Botha regime equally or similarly tear down the wall of apartheid in South Africa, on the contrary, Reagan's policy of "constructive engagement, sought to minimize the South African struggle for liberation from apartheid and the brutal minority regime, if it was up to Reagan and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Reagan's ideological soul mate and close friend) President Mandela would still be in prison in the notorious Robben Island and would have remained there till death.

Reagan also met Jonas Savimbi in the White House, even though Savimbi was a reactionary and warmonger, who created countless deaths in internecine war with Augustinho Neto of the MPLA; Nigerians, Africans and Arabs etc, have nothing to gloat giddily about Reagan's life, policies and accomplishments. He told Mr. Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall that divided Western Germany from Eastern Germany as they were then known. But Reagan and America, at the same time, helped to sustain, support, lubricate, oiled and entrench wall of oppression in all of Southern Africa, while reinforcing racial stereo types and discriminations against our people in America, that is my memory of Reagan and his cronies... and war mongering policies, of shooting first, asking questions later in Mr. Maurice Bishop's Grenada and Mr. Muamar Gadafi's Tripoli/Libya President Reagan was bad for Africans and African-Americans

It must be pointed out, that, not all Americans are celebrating Reagan's life. And further, oppressed peoples of the world, who suffered the brunt of Reagan's policies, have no reason to celebrate, just because some Americans/Europeans celebrate his life, Reagan benefited those who are joyous and jubilant, there is no reason for this Nigerian to celebrate Reagan's Life.

I come from the most marginalized, oppressed and disregarded part of the earth, which suffered disproportionately from the negative impact of what Mr. Reagan said and did. ... Regardless of what revisionists are now saying, accurate history and the record reflect that some of us have viewed with disdain, and without nostalgia, Reagan policies and their impacts on our people! It is true, as some have argued, that Reagan was not elected to serve a Nigerian or African purpose, Nigerian national or African continental interests, but in pursuing his policies, Reagan visited my people with degradations and oppressions. African people and people of African descent suffered immensely from the adverse and negative consequences of his lopsided and unfair policy thrusts.

Nigerians are global/universal citizens, we must concern ourselves with world events/happenings, it is most appropriate, that Nigerians, Africans and people of African descent let their voices be heard, in this praise-fest and love-fest and revisionism for Reagan. We Nigerians/Africans must be assessing the impact of a war monger conservative, as the late Reagan's policies effect and after-effect, on Nigeria and Africa and people of African descent as whole? Some have asked, what business Africans have discussing Reagan's death. I strongly believe that we must discuss his policy's impact on our country and Continent. Through history, especially during Reagan, America managed to be strange bed fellows with all your dictators, tyrants and brutes, in the name of whatever constitutes American national interests!

It is amazing how some Nigerians have possessed the prerogative or right, to have had his obscured worldview, lopsided parochial. (More appropriately, he lacked a worldview.) How then can anyone argue, as some have, that Nigerians, Africans and Arabs, are not entitled to have an un-obscured worldview from the prism of our essences, our Nigerian-ness, African-ness and our Arab-ness to assess Reagan's warped and twisted policies as they affected us, while he was president, and pursued such ruthless policies? We must be allowed to view these things and past events, from our natives eyes - and the effects these policies had on our peoples directly. Or shall we see these things through American and European eyes or prisms? Our worldview must be allowed to flutter and see the light of day; we bore the brunt of these policies!

Even in America, there many Americans who are not fond of Reagan and the effects that his atrocious, vicious and ruthless policies had on people in America and elsewhere in the world. Domestically, he opposed increases in minimum wage for the working poor; he created bloated military budgets that in turn created decades of deficit debt burden for American taxpayers. He put corporate interests and profits over regulations that curbed pollution; he was a union buster and anti working class masses. He single-handedly dismissed American air traffic controllers, because they went on industrial action or strike.

The New York Times Editorial for Monday June 7, 2004 stated the following, "Looking back now, we can trace some of the flaws of the current Washington mindset - the tax-cut-driven deficits, the slogan-driven foreign policy" "Mr. Reagan's decision to send marines to Lebanon was disastrous; however, his invasion of Grenada was pure melodrama. His most reckless episode involved the scheme to supply weapons to Iran as ransom for Americans who were being held hostage in Lebanon, and use the proceeds to illegally finance contra insurgents in Nicaragua."

"Mr. Reagan showed little appetite for power, even less for the messy detail of politics. He joked about his work habits. "It's true, hard work never killed anybody," he said in 1987. "But I figure, why take the chance?" His detachment from the day-to-day business of government was seductive for a nation that had tired of watching Mr. Carter micromanage the White House." And a Nigerian who goes by the web-thread handle of PopGee stated the following and forthrightly so, "In the flood of tributes to the man, everyone in the American media has now conveniently forgotten that the historic 1986 Anti-Apartheid sanctions bill that American college kids pressured Congress to pass was vetoed by President Reagan. It took a Congressional over-ride for the bill to become law.

That law, which mandated the divestment of American corporations from any apartheid-linked investment was what forced De Klerk to read the hand-writing on the wall and enter into serious talks with Mandela - culminating in the latter's freedom from jail. American university students, unlike their counterparts who get their heads broken and killed when they protest in Nigeria, secured Mandela's freedom from jail. Over Ronald Reagan's objections. Ditto for then Congressman Dick Cheney who also voted against the sanctions bill.

The death of any man diminishes us all - but we must not overlook the impact of Reagan's Presidency beyond America's shores. But in the end, what matters most is what those who elected him to lead them think of his tenure. And the man seems to have made Americans feel good about themselves. Wish we could say the same for the knuckle-heads now running Nigeria" How can Nigerians, Africans, people of African descent and Arabs forget these things, that PopGee succinctly reminds us?

I could not have written the same comments about Jimmy Carter who was also an American president in my lifetime. I am certain that Jimmy Carter would receive an honest and sincere tribute from the world, myself included, because Mr. Carter tried his best for peace and cooperation in the world, whereas, the same cannot be said of Reagan, who deserves all the descriptions as I have above stated. Historical facts indicate clearly the role played by America with Reagan at the helms, concerning Southern Africa liberation.. ... US/UK support for apartheid and brutal white minority regimes in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, were unparalleled.

Reagan was anti liberation movements in Zimbabwe led by Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe/Abel Muzerowa etc In South Africa, there was "specific apartheid" declared and run by Botha, in Zimbabwe, white minority government was run by Ian Smith, minority regimes were also in Angola, and Namibia, these minority regimes actively cooperated with each other, they had joint patrols, they shared same philosophy, shared intelligence and materials. The Israelis, the Iraqis, were used at one time and other to bolster these regimes, courtesy of US/UK. The United Nations voted for Namibia's independence and scheduled it for 1978 the US vetoed countless UN resolutions to that effect and called liberation movements in all of Southern Africa terrorists. The forms of governments that were practiced in all of Southern Africa, were nothing but Apartheid, even though some people tend to reserve or limit the use of the term apartheid to South Africa. The US/UK policies were the same for the region. They helped to sustain these evil regimes through UN vetoes, through pronouncements and through military and covert supports, in complete disregard to the freedoms of the majority populations, complete disregard to the UK/US preaching of democracy while supporting dictators. Mobutu Sese Seko of Congo Zaire was an American client, and Jonas Savinmbi of Angola. Even Saddam Hussein was an American client sponsored to fight Iran etc.

It must be pointed out, if it was up to Reagan/Bush/Thatcher, Mandela and the ANC leadership should have been left to rot in Robben Island, but thanks to Trans-Africa and its founder, Randall Robinson, and all African Americans who supported the movement for sanctions against apartheid, despite Reagan's countless efforts and subterfuges to undermine the liberation of Southern Africa, the US Congress finally bowed to public pressure from African Americans and well meaning whites, who supported the efforts to liberate Southern Africa.

And thanks to Nigeria's purposeful leadership and foreign policy of Murtala Mohammed/Obasanjo/Josesph Naven Garba and Bolaji Akinyemi ... as they collectively pursued policies that made Africa a centerpiece of Nigeria's foreign policy. The West probably still hates Nigeria's guts for standing up for Africa at the time. And as it is often said, where we stand on issues, depends on where we are sitting. Reagan was a scourge on Nigeria, Africa and peoples of African descent. Perhaps we can remember him and all the twisted policies toward our people and say, NEVER AGAIN!

No comments: