I recently finished reading George Orwell classic, ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’. There is a section in the book where O’Brian, the Party officer, is supervising the torture of Winston, the dissident. While inflicting pain to his victim, the perpetrator explains to the prisoner the motives and context of what he is doing to him.
‘We control life, Winston, at all its levels. You are imagining that there is something called human nature which will be outraged by what we do and will turn against us. But we create human nature. Men are infinitely malleable. Or perhaps you have returned to your old idea that the proletarians or the slaves will arise and overthrow us. Put it out of your mind. They are helpless, like the animals. Humanity is the Party. The others are outside – irrelevant.’
Irrelevancy of calls for change in many parts of Africa appears to be the attitude Western media and the neoliberal capitalism system have decided to adopt and portray in the general public which consumes daily their vision of the world through their multiple channels of propaganda. One can oppose change, but no one can stop it permanently. It is embedded in the nature of things.
2011 was the year of the ‘Arab Spring’ as Western media labelled it. While the uprising unfolded in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere, everyone was watching, thanks to the world we live in of instant news. Situations that triggered people’s revolts in those countries could be easily identified in others, particularly on the African continent. The oppressed in Zimbabwe, Senegal, Gabon, Mauritania, Morocco, Madagascar, Mozambique, Algeria, Benin, Djibouti, Ivory Coast, Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Swaziland, South Africa, Malawi, Angola, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Western Sahara, Sudan, could see and learn from what was happening. And they did learn and apply lessons to their situation.
They as well took to the streets their grievances against their corrupt and sometime not only autocratic but also criminal dictators. Unfortunately their plight did not interest those who in the West are keen to political stability, or in other terms, continuous exploitation of masses and their resources, in places like Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia. The publication of Africa Awakening: The Emerging Revolutions tries to correct such imbalance of coverage, by giving a voice and a platform to sons and daughters of Africa who can objectively and effectively relate to those contexts in different parts of the continent where people have had enough of oppression and are gearing to end it.
Africa Awakening: The Emerging Revolutions is a new book that people around the world with genuine interest in African future being shaped by Africans themselves should have. Explo Nani-Kofi, one of the book’s contributors, talks about the publication.
• What the media has missed – the 2011 uprisings in their African context.
• Pambazuka News’s respected writers offer in-the-moment comment and analysis as well as informed reflection.
• An almanac with its eyes open – Africa’s radical review of the year
… The uprisings across Africa and in the Middle East, the book argues, are the result of common experiences of decades of declining living standards, mass unemployment, land dispossessions and impoverishment of the majority, while a few have engorged themselves with riches.
Through incisive contributions from analysts and activists across the continent, the essays in African Awakening provide an overview of the struggle for democratization which goes beyond calls merely for transparent electoral processes and constitutes a reawakening of the spirit of freedom and justice for the majority.
Contributors: Charles Abugre, Essam Al-Amin, Massan d’Almeida, Samir Amin, Patrick Bond, Horace Campbell, Lila Chouli, Sokari Ekine, Hassan El Ghayesh, Lakhdar Ghettas, Nigel C. Gibson, Adam Hanieh, Konstantina Isidoros, Peter Kenworthy, Sadri Khiari, Mahmood Mamdani, Firoze Manji, Imad Mesdoua, Fatma Naib, Explo Nani-Kofi, J. Oloka-Onyango, Richard Pithouse, Jean-Paul Pougala, Khadija Sharife, Yash Tandon, Melakou Tegegn, Kah Walla
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1 African awakenings: the courage to invent the future
2 The never-ending revolution: perspectives from the African blogosphere
3 Crisis in Côte d’Ivoire: history, interests and parallels
4 Tunisia: the fall of the West’s little dictator
5 Gabon’s lords of poverty
6 Tunisia’s revolution: self-organisation for self-emancipation
7 Aslema ya Tunis, au revoir Ben Ali
8 Tunisia and Egypt: revolutions without self-proclaimed revolutionaries
9 Egypt: free at last, an inside look
10 Chronicles of an Egyptian revolution: a protestor’s first-hand account
11 Egypt and the revolution in our minds
Nigel C. Gibson
12 Egypt: women of the revolution
13 ‘The power is within us’: a protest diary from Cameroon
14 Uganda elections: ‘an exercise in shame-faced endorsement’
15 Crisis in Côte d’Ivoire: the impact on women
16 Awakening protests in Morocco and Western Sahara
17 Peoples’ revolts in Burkina Faso
18 North African dispatches: why Algeria is different
19 Libya: behind the politics of humanitarian intervention
20 Swaziland: uprising in the slipstream of North Africa
21 The lies behind the West’s war on Libya
22 South Africa: on the murder of Andries Tatane
23 Unrest in Algeria: the window is closing fast
24 Whose dictator is Gaddafi?
25 An African reflection on Tahrir Square
26 How might things move forward in Libya?
27 The Tunisian revolution did not come out of nowhere
28 Imperial neurosis and the dangers of ‘humanitarian’ interventionism
29 International financial institutions and Egypt
30 Neoliberal threats to North Africa
31 2011: An Arab springtime?
32 Libya: the true costs of war
Appendix: Further readings from Pambazuka News
These impressive essays, highlighting unreported struggles for empowerment and democracy across Africa, challenge you to look beyond the headlines – a political primer on 21st century Africa. -Walter Turner, author, professor and presenter of the Pacifica radio programme ‘Africa Today’
A fine collection of insurgent voices and analyses from a continental rebellion. -Raj Patel, award-winning writer, activist and academic
Digging in and gathering momentum – from Algiers to Durban to Wall Street. From African activist-scholars, an indispensable guide to the dynamics and internal workings of this tidal-wave moment in Africa’s history. -Shailja Patel, poet, playwright and activist
What is striking is the analysis of the emerging revolutions and how they display the reformulating of imperialist plans towards the African and Arab peoples. -Helmi Sharawy, former director, African Arab Research Centre, Cairo
African Awakening is a book anyone concerned with Africa’s future and contribution to world revolution must read. Rarely has a book brought together so many outstanding scholars and provided such an in-depth analysis of Africa’s political reality. -Sylvia Federici, Silvia Federici, Professor Emerita, Hofstra University.
African Awakening transforms the reality of the ‘Arab Spring’ into a North African-initiated rising of the dispossessed. The excitement contained in these writings reflects the excitement and challenge of the massive movements for democracy, sovereignty, and social transformation that the world became aware of with the Tunisian Revolution, but only associated with North Africa and the Middle East. African Awakening expands the scope and is a collection that will leave you both energized and pensive. -Bill Fletcher, Jr., co-author of Solidarity Divided, co-founder of the Black Radical Congress.
A timely and readable book about current movements for change in Africa and what to expect in the coming decade. African Awakening takes a refreshingly original look at the continent that has experienced radical changes in the past few years. This book is especially recommended reading to US activists looking to engage with Africa, to connect the dots of the past with positive outlooks for the future. -Nunu Kidane, Priority Africa Network
Format Paperback ISBN-10 0-85749-021-4 ISBN-13 978-0-85749-021-6 Publication Date December 2011 List Price £17.95 Format PDF ISBN-10 0-85749-022-2 ISBN-13 978-0-85749-022-3 Publication Date December 2011 List Price £14.95
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