Debt Forgiveness, Disarmament, Africans And Arabs Meet The World
Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States
Perhaps it is appropriate? It is only appropriate, that Nigerians and other Africans frequently discuss our national and continental issues passionately, with singular focus and with stridency, vociferousness or fervor; our national and continental affairs are matters that touch us directly and personally, these issues therefore have immediacy.
However, Nigerians and other Africans must necessarily include the affairs of the entire world in our sphere of concern, and therefore debate and vibrant discussions in our national and continental for a! Nigerians and other African citizens must begin to demonstrate in more effective ways, our status as global thinkers and global citizens of the human race, Nigerians and other Africans have never been lacking participation in world affairs, whether it was peace-keeping in Burma or the Congo, or contributions of our blood and sweat in the First and Second World Wars.
Nigeria more particularly, has contributed extraordinarily to the liberations struggles in the Southern Africa part of our continent, specifically, in the struggles for self-determinations in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe during all of our lifetimes, and only recently, Nigerians engaged in other peace-keeping efforts in Sierra Leone and Liberia, both of which saw Nigeria expending billions of dollars and individual Nigerian soldiers, journalists and other citizens making the ultimate sacrifice in the efforts or endeavor that were selfless, to save fellow Africans.
Nigerians and other Africans must therefore watch events of the past week, with eagle-eyes, this is because, occurrences and recurrences in other parts of the world, have deep meanings and far reaching consequences for us, apart from the altruistic concerns for fellow human beings, there are also lessons for Nigerians and other Africans to be learnt, and factors to be compared and or considered, in view of the world reactions to events and occurrences in Africa, contrasted with everywhere else, I strongly believe in Africa’s self-definition, I strongly believe, the road and process leading to self-definition, would be helped-along speedily, if we realize soon enough, the resources that we possess, and we realize how we are perceived by the rest of the world and perhaps, why it is more urgent than ever before, for us, to have a better sense of ourselves, the odds against us imbued with newer opportunities to chart and change our collective course for good.
Two current events unfolded last week, that has once again, served to dramatize the plights and predicaments of Africa and Africans, first, is the vigorous "Debt Forgiveness Campaign" on behalf of Iraq, embarked upon by for Secretary of State James Baker as special envoy and at the behest of President George Bush the erstwhile and still friend of Africa?
The second event, is the unilateral disarmament as announced by Colonel Gaddafi, which saw celebration and jubilations in America and Europe, bearing in mind, that South Africa, the only other atomic/nuclear/WMD bearing Africa nation gave-up such capabilities before a black African had a chance to command and control these resources or curse! I will like to err on the side of more bread, more butter spending by any and every African government, as opposed to spending a Kobo or dime on armaments, conventional or WMD, why spend one Kobo on arms, when people have no food to eat? Who do you want to defend, the people who are dying of starvation and kwashiorkor? Good questions? But what make America able to occupy Iraq, Afghanistan etc and no questions asked? Are we to believe it is because America make the best combined harvesters and other earth plough and earth tilling equipment of the agricultural types? Are the Americans in stronger militarily because they make the best farm fertilizers in the world? Or rather, because they have weapons, weapons and more weapons, conventional weapons and atomic, nuclear and other types of WMD, including, perhaps, the mere perception, that they actually have more than they actually currently have?
I strongly believe that the only reason the Americans have not invaded North Korea, and instead engaged in appeasement, rapprochement, has been because of the American knowledge of North Korean possession of a million person strong army, including atomic/nuclear capabilities, whereas, Iraq was considered "safer’ for invasion and occupation, as the Iraqi army had been decimated for nearly twenty years, from the war with Iran…(who outside the Middle East, instigated that war between Iraq and Iran?) Iraq was further decimated and pulverized by the 10 to 15 years of bombing from the different administrations of American government, the no-fly-zone weakened the Iraq Air Force, then, sanctions with a literal blockade of Iraq during that period.
In both of the two events that I have mentioned, African nations have been through these paths, someone, should inform me and enlighten me about President Bush’s special envoy for debt forgiveness in-charge of Sierra Leone, Liberia or the Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia etc? Someone should enlighten me, regarding the progress made by Sonny Bono and others, who have met repeatedly, begging for debt forgiveness for many African and other so-called third-world countries, these efforts have been going on for more than a decade, can we measure the results? The benefits of Bono meeting with president Bush secretary of the Treasury or Bush and Blair, regarding "Debt Forgiveness’ for Africa?
Iraq has more oil than Nigeria, Iraq has about 23 million people, Iraq has less people than Nigeria’s 133 million people, Iraq has had corruption and mismanagement, and it is foreseeable, that these ills will not depart Iraq overnight, with or without the American occupation, what then is the difference between Iraq and Nigeria? Or this is protection for American taxpayers money inflowing, into Iraq for reconstruction? Or what else then, explains the "special and attenuating circumstances for Iraq, circumstances that are extenuating for Nigeria? Whatever that can be argued in favor of Iraq, can be argued in favor of Angola, South Africa, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Congo, Somalia and all those other countries in Africa that have just emerged from wars for freedoms, independence and self-determinations! Imagine if Zimbabwe received all the promised foreign aid, that would have enabled Zimbabwe pursued post independence land-redistribution for Black Africans in Zimbabwe, whose lands were grabbed by colonialists, imagine if the Lancaster House Agreement to redistribute lands in Zimbabwe had the same enthusiasm that we now notice for Iraq, Kosovo etc?
How about the other African countries, without wars, but with devastations almost as desperate and debilitating as war crises? Where is their help and or debt forgiveness? Why is foreign aid good for Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia and now Iraq, and the same are never quite directed at Africa? What is the difference? Is this a matter of color or logic? Or are these just the self-interests of these donor countries, is America and Europe again, as always, protecting their imperial interests? Who decides what is in Africa's best interests, whether proliferation is only a beautiful thing in the hands of non-Africans, non-Arabs? Africans and Arabs are being treated as children, again! Why does the whole war disarm and produce more bread and butter?
How come France of Paris Club of unforgiving lenders, is now willing to forgive Iraqi debt, seemingly, just like that? How come Russia, who needed America grains, financial bailout and IMF and World Bank loans, helps and aids, Russia is willing to forgive Iraq debts? How about the debt Africans owe France and Russia, Japan, China etc?
On the matter of arms and arms race, should Africans be disarming themselves unilaterally? As South Africa and Libya have chosen? When is Israel announcing unilateral disarmaments and if not why not? Is it the case, that, Saddam was a mad man and brutal dictator and cannot join the atomic/nuclear/WMD elite club, ditto the South Africans and Libyans, but it is okay for say, Israel, France, America, Britain, Russia and their friends or can anyone argue, that there is no hunger and poverty or inequalities in these atomic/nuclear/WMD possessing countries, so, they can spend their surplus on these weapons, and in Africa, people are too hungry, and should not spend money on weapons? If so, why does Nigeria even need AK47s or fighter jets or armored tanks or other conventional weapons, let us feed everybody first, tar the roads, equip schools and hospitals, never buy even guns for the police, until we have enough food to eat?
Is it possible, that there are connections between armament, and securing economic, technological and strategic advantages? Is it possible, that there are connections between the acquisition or possession of military strength or superiority by the Israelis and the perpetual under-dog, hapless and helpless stone-throwing, pebbles-throwing Palestinians? Or why are war, peace and endless humiliations for Palestinians dictated by everyone else, but the Arabs? Is it possible, that the site for atomic, nuclear or WMD "research" being planned by America and Europe, is currently being so hotly contested? The hot contest, of who hosts the WMD facilities, is between France and Japan, and France is strenuously opposed by America, because of France’s anti-invasion, anti-occupation of Iraq stance
The opposition to the atomic site being located in France, is because America prefers Japan, who has for the most part, played along with the Americans, in America’s wrong-headed policies of invasion and occupation, Japan as supporter, is therefore rewarded, more than tacitly; It should be clear to all then, that, the high technology associated and derivative from such "research" on atomic, nuclear and WMD facilities, as being contemplated, by America and Europe, will generate immediate employment boon directly and indirectly, it will produce direct and indirect technological development, related to armament and unrelated to it, if it were worthless, why would these countries be hotly pursuing and contesting the privilege to host or country where it is located?
The rest of the world, except those currently in possession of atomic, nuclear, WMD etc, cannot afford these weapons, and worse, once acquired, would be misused? As was the cases in Hiroshima and Nagasaki catastrophes? Who in Africa was responsible for all of these? Who in the so-called Third-World, have been responsible for world wars?
From colonialism and neocolonialism, to invasions and occupations, worldwide, and throughout history? Who should the human race really worry about, when it concerns reckless use of weapons of mass destruction? Perhaps we should consult citizens and survivors of the twin Japan cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki! Nothing in the world has really changed, from the medieval times of acquisition and misuse of Armadas, the consequent dominations of peoples, to Berlin Conference and now, South African and Libyan unilateral disarmaments in the face of "superior "fire-power" those who will now benefit from the reduced competition for the resources in the world. .. North Korea has achieved détente by deterrence, the fear of the known, unknowns and unknowable about North Korea, makes the difference between NK and Iraq.
But to think in that manner or to have that mindset, is the equivalent of being simplistic, and a demonstration of an acute unawareness of how the world works! I would invest in weapons research and agriculture and education, medical research etc. all at once! America has homelessness, but America invests in space research, New York State has about 18 million people and about 8 million out of that live in New York City alone, and about 38,000 New York City inhabitants are homeless, living like vagrants, homeless and poor fed daily by volunteers, fed by Churches and other religious charities, these are all indications of poverty and abject lives, in the midst of what is supposed to be America’s bounty and abundance, but the Americans invest in space, in military research, in expeditions to space that cost billions of dollars every year, America engages in adventures to Afghanistan and Iraq etc, in whatever pretexts.
While the Africans are engaging in unilateral disarmaments? President Bush is excited at the prospect of Libyan unilateral disarmament, because it is in Libyan’s best interests and President Bush is all for everything that is for Libya’s interest? As it was in South Africa’s best interests to disarm when SA did? When will it be, America and Europe’s best interests to disarm? When will be Israel’s best interests to disarm or the Africans are just everybody’s fool? What is the best interests of Africa and the rest of the world, who are outside the now exclusive atomic, nuclear and WMD club? Who decides, now and in the future, the parameter or criterion measuring atomic, nuclear and WMD acquisitions?