Libya, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, and Somalia, these are African countries’ cases where in recent years, if the black continent could’ve been able to veto some of the UN resolutions, things would’ve turned differently.
The following text, which in a way points particularly on the weight of Africa in international politics, was extracted from the recently published book ‘African Awakening – The Emerging Revolutions.’ Jean Paul Pougala is the author of the article [The lies behind the West’s war on Libya] from which the extract is.
What lessons for Africa
After 500 years of a profoundly unequal relationship with the West, it is clear that we do not have the same criteria about what is good and bad. We have deeply divergent interests. How can one not deplore the ‘yes’ votes from three sub-Saharan countries (Nigeria, South Africa and Gabon) for resolution 1973, which inaugurated the latest form of colonisation, baptised ‘the protection of peoples’? The resolution legitimises the racist theories that have informed Europeans since the 18th century, according to which North Africa has nothing to do with sub-Saharan Africa, and is more evolved, cultivated and civilised than the rest of Africa.
It is as if Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Algeria were not part of Africa. Even the UN seems to ignore the role of the African Union in the Affairs of member states. The aim is to isolate sub-Saharan African countries to better control them. Indeed, Algeria ($16 billion) and Libya ($10 billion) together contribute 62 per cent of the $42 billion which constitute the capital of the African Monetary Fund (AMF). The biggest and most populous country in sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria, and then South Africa are far behind with only $3 billion each.
It is disconcerting to say the least that for the first time in the history of the United Nations, war has been declared against a people without having explored the slightest possibility of a peaceful solution to the crisis. Does Africa really belong any more to this organisation? Nigeria and South Africa are prepared to vote yes to everything the West asks because they naively believe the vague promises of a permanent seat at the Security Council with similar veto rights. They both forget that France has no power to offer anything.
Reform of the United Nations is not on the agenda. The only way to make appoint is to use the Chinese method – all 50 African nations should quit the United Nations and only return if their long-standing demand is finally met: a seat for the entire African federation or nothing. This non-violent method is the only weapon of justice available to the poor and weak that we [Africans] are. We should simply quit the United Nations because this organisation, by its very structure and hierarchy, is at the service of the most powerful.
We should leave the United Nations to register our rejection of a world view based on the annihilation of those who are weaker. They are free to continue as before, but at least we will not be party to it and say we agree when we were never asked for our opinion. And even when we expressed our point of view, like we did on Saturday 19 March in Nouakchott, when we opposed the military action, our opinion was simply ignored and the bombs started falling on the African people.
Today’s events are reminiscent of what has happened with China in the past. Today, the Ouattara government, the rebel government in Libya, is recognised in the same way that at the end of the Second World War China the so-called international community chose Taiwan to be the sole representative of the Chinese people instead of Mao’s China. It took 26 years, until 25 October 1971, for the UN to pass resolution 2758, which all Africans should read to put an end to human folly. China was admitted to the UN on its term – it refused to be a member if it did not have a veto right. When the demand was met and the resolution tabled, it still took a year for the Chinese foreign minister to respond in writing to the UN secretary general, in a letter which did not say yes or thank you, but spelt out the guarantees that China required so that its dignity would be respected.
What does Africa hope to achieve from the United Nations unless it plays hard ball? We saw how in Ivory Coast a UN bureaucrat considers himself to be above the constitution of the country. We entered this organisation by agreeing to be slaves; to believe that we will be invited to dine at the same table and eat from plates we ourselves washed is not just credulous, it is stupid.
When the AU endorsed Ouattara’s victory and glossed over contrary reports from its own electoral observers simply to please our former masters, how can we expect to be respected? When South African president Zuma declares that Ouattara has not won the elections and then says the exact opposite during a trip to Paris, one is entitled to question the credibility of these leaders who claim to represent and speak on behalf of a billion Africans.
Africa’s strength and real freedom will only come if it can take properly thought-out actions and assume the consequences. Dignity and respect come with a price tag. Are we prepared to pay it? Otherwise, our place is in the kitchen and in the toilets in order to make others comfortable.
Africa Awakening [The Emerging Revolutions] – extract from Jean-Paul Bougalla ‘s article [The lies behind the West’s war on Libya]