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Repairing Africa

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The African continent is in pain, hurting from diseased relationships within African societies and bloated parasites in the globalist society. Painkillers like international aid, human rights campaigns, foreign investment, small and medium-sized innovations and military invasions, seem only to prolong the hurting, not heal the continental ulcers. The repair of Africa calls for urgent, fundamental, radical measures that go beyond projects and treaties and drones and debt forgiveness. {{more}}For our dark continent to heal, we must consider, or rather construct, the post colonial African reparations programme. Such an effort was, in fact, laid out to repair post war Europe 70 years ago.

The idea of promoting an African based reparations plan, or to use the emotive term, “Afrocentric” reparations plan, is to critique and expand the present focus on reparations for transatlantic slavery and native genocide. Some of Africa’s historians and political economists like Joseph Inikori, Samir Amin and others who contributed to UNESCO’s General History of Africa, place the continent at the centre of development of modern civilization during the 15th to the 19th century. In a 1978 article, Inikori wrote this: “….the phenomenal expansion of world trade between 1451 and 1870 depended largely on the employment of African slaves in the exploitation of American resources….the slave trade was a critical factor in the development of West European and North American economies in the period of this study.” at the end of his presentation, Inikori concludes:“…the Atlantic economies that developed between 1451 and 1870, did so at the expense of African economies.”

The Caricom reparations project led by Drs Hilary Beckles and Ralph Gonsalves, addresses its claims to European countries and agencies which were active in colonial slavery. It is now collaborating with North American civil and academic advocates of reparations for the North American enslaved cohorts. There is no similar collaboration with African states in this initiative and the arguments for reparations have not taken up the African case with any seriousness. The Transatlantic Triangle that shaped slavery must also constitute the reparations movement, or it is infected with a severe and crippling weakness in its design, its capabilities, its governance and its transforming power.

WHOLISTIC AFRICA

The late Guyanese historian Walter Rodney, in his 1973 book ‘How Europe underdeveloped Africa,’ first drew my attention to the kind of hurt that transatlantic slavery caused to continental Africa. Clearly, 40 years after Rodney’s exposition, a Caribbean movement of reparations for slavery, must privilege the enslavement of Africans at the core of the claims for redress and reconstruction. Bearing in mind also that African states have reached out in solidarity to the Caribbean States and African people in the diaspora, how we can neglect so obvious a responsibility! The South African government, on behalf of the African Union, had a programme to pull together Africans in our hemisphere into a network of contact and mutual support across the Atlantic. Several consultations took place, and our Prime Minister, Dr Gonsalves, had a prominent place among Africa, Caribbean and North America delegates, delivering the feature address at the Jamaica gathering. More than that, the African Union, Africa’s unified institution, has named CARICOM as one of its geographical divisions, giving us observer participation at its meetings. Dr Gonsalves represented and spoke for CARICOM at an AU summit. Clearly, there is a tendency, at some levels of African polity, to see and generate a transatlantic African community – a wholistic Africa. And some African scholars of the slave trade, slavery and post slavery, have calculated that Africa was the worst hit of the three continents in the transatlantic slave era. Samir Amin refers to Africa during that period as “the periphery of the periphery,” and in the same vein, Joseph Inikori notes: “The benefits of the Atlantic system to Latin America and the West Indies generally were minimal…. But, the clear losers in the growth of the Atlantic system, and woefully so, were the African economies.” In a negative sense Africa played the major role in the growth of Western economies through the Atlantic enterprise. The fundamental repair of West African economies and societies must be part of the design and programme of an Atlantic Reparations Movement. That understanding of the parasitic operation of the Atlantic system lays one basis – the external globalist basis – for the repair of Africa.

It took a whole hemisphere of relationships to make each of the 12 million enslaved transatlantic Africans into a productive force in the Atlantic system. Let the hemisphere rise to repair the hurt.

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