2018-05-14 16:27:09 UTC
When will we take in THESE refugees?
"[T]he indignity and helplessness of blacks in America won’t end until we
have a first-world African nation to lift up our people." It ain't gonna
There Are No Successful Black Nations
BY CHIGOZIE OBIOMA
AUGUST 9, 2016, 5:37 PM
Questions of injustice in the United States have been duly raised and
protested. And, once again, the black cultural elites in America have seized
various platforms to air their grievances and are mostly — and rightly —
talking about racism, discrimination, racial profiling, and hate, among
other issues. But one issue that has hardly been talked about is the core
reason why black people have remained synonymous with the denigrating
experience of racism. It is, I dare say, because of the worldwide indignity
of the black race.
Racism is not limited to the Unites States. There is no nonblack nation,
even among the most liberal ones, where the black man is dignified. History
dealt us an unforgiving blow in the incursion of foreigners into black
lands. The Arabs enslaved tribes and nations and then colonized and
evangelized them. Then came the Europeans, who, persuaded the Africans were
of an inferior race, divided up the continent over lunch in Berlin in 1884.
They carted off a large population of its people — sometimes leaving entire
villages almost empty — and brought those who remained on the continent
under their rule. So complete was the transformation that no black nation
retained its ancestral nationhood, national language, or national identity.
And today we often hear of how China or India or some other nation is
“taking over” Africa economically. There is almost no nation whose majority
is of a different race that has not spat on the face of the black person, at
one time or the other.
Be assured, the indignity will continue. Black elites and activists across
the world have adopted a culture of verbal tyranny in which they shut down
any effort to reason or criticize us or black-majority nations by labeling
such attempts as “racism” or “hate speech.” Thus, one can be certain that
any suggestions that our race may indeed need to do something to remedy our
situation will not be aired — not by the terrified people of other races.
And anyone within our race who makes such a suggestion will be deemed weak
and pandering or a sellout, as U.S. President Barack Obama has been
repeatedly called. Thus, no one will talk about the painful fact that most
African and Caribbean nations have either failed or are about to
collapse.Thus, no one will talk about the painful fact that most African and
Caribbean nations have either failed or are about to collapse.
Early African-American intellectuals and cultural elites saw that the future
of their race could not be advanced by endless protests or marches of
“equality” or “justice.” It could only be done through the restoration of
the trampled dignity of the black man. Great men like Marcus Garvey, W. E.
B. Du Bois, and Malcolm X all knew that a people is only respected when it
has a nation worthy of respect. A man who lives in a shack cannot expect to
be treated with respect at a palace. They knew that for us to reclaim power
we must first reclaim dignity and that this comes through the construction
of a solid black state with a demonstrable level of development and
prosperity — and which can stand as a powerful advocate for the global
Today, no such state exists.
Nigeria, the most populous black nation on Earth, is on the brink of
collapse. The machineries that make a nation exist, let alone succeed, have
all eroded. One might argue that the nation’s creation by self-seeking white
imperialists engendered its failure from the beginning, as I did in my
recent novel. But this is only a part of the cause. A culture of
incompetence, endemic corruption, dignified ineptitude, and, chief among
all, destructive selfishness and greed has played a major role in its
unravelling. The same, sadly, can be said for most other African nations.
States like Zimbabwe, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea are farcical
democracies ruled by men who exclusively cater to their interests and those
of their clipped circles.
Thus, it is no surprise that in the absence of any healthy black nation — in
the midst of chaos, senseless wars, corrupted religiosity, violence, and
economic collapse — African and Caribbean people leave home en masse. They
beg on the streets of Greece, prostitute in the red-light zones of the
Netherlands, and make up 40 percent of the migrants flocking to Europe. As
they turn up in these countries, helpless, unwanted, starved, or maimed,
they are treated like dogs. Last month in Italy, a newly married Nigerian
man was murdered simply for being unwanted. Everywhere from Ukraine to
India, nearly every day, black indignity, black helplessness, stares us in
the face. And all we do, we who hold the platform can do, is scream
“racism!” and court the sympathy of others.
The Yoruba say, “Eniyan bi aparo ni omo araye n’fe,” meaning the world loves
a person who is like a partridge. The partridge is a poor bird that,
enfeebled by its creation, has little ability to hunt, gather, protect, or
feed itself. The Yoruba believe that the world loves these birds because
they provide the space for people to show both sincere and insincere
sympathy while holding firm to their position as the superior and
maintaining the place of the partridge as the weak. Which is to say that if
the partridge relies on the sympathy of others, it will not elevate its
position. If we, black people everywhere, cannot gather the resources within
our powers to exert real changes and restore our dignity, we will continue
to be seen as weakIf we, black people everywhere, cannot gather the
resources within our powers to exert real changes and restore our dignity,
we will continue to be seen as weak. Our protestations and grievances will
be met with sympathy, which does nothing to inspire respect.
Black elites should allow for self-criticism and soul-searching and for the
restoration of the Pan-Africanist movement with an eye toward building
sustainable black nations. We must come to realize that to a great extent
the fate of the black man in America is inextricably linked to that of his
brother in Africa. Although largely unacknowledged in American political
discourse, Jim Crow ended in part because of the African Independent
movements. Jaja Nwachukwu, a 1960s-era Nigerian foreign minister and avowed
Pan-Africanist who was close friends with American Presidents Dwight
Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson, once recalled how American officials were
embarrassed when African ministers attended official events in New York’s
U.N. headquarters and were treated with honor as representatives of
sovereign countries. They were ashamed, for instance, when American blacks
could not use the same bathroom as the Africans, just as black. The American
blacks were further empowered when African nations started becoming
independent, black-governed nation-states, beginning with Ghana in 1957 and
followed shortly afterward by other African nations.
As long as we continue to ignore Africa’s continuous wallowing in senseless
poverty and destructive failures, as long as the Congolese or the Haitian
remains the poster child for poverty and lack, we will remain undignified.
As long as we continue to ignore our own self-assessment and soul-searching,
we will remain the undignified race. Sadig Rasheed, one of the leading
African politicians of the 1980s, once told Polish journalist Ryszard
Kapuscinski: “I worry about whether African societies will be able to assume
a self-critical stance, and much depends on this.” I add: Our dignity — and
even survival — will depend on this.