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Sunday, 10 December 2017

"The Epilogue as Prologue"

Arguably the most depressing and heartrending spectacle of the early twenty first century is the sight of desperate Africans floundering to a watery end in the deep seas off the Mediterranean coast and of Black people being openly sold into slavery in Libya. For many of these luckless vagrants fleeing from virtual state collapse, it is no longer a long walk to freedom but a short jump to death or enslavement.
But unlike the past when Blacks were forcibly abducted on their farms and in their villages and transported in subhuman conditions to the metropolitan slave-markets of the western world, it is now the Black people themselves who willingly deliver themselves to slavery. Somebody with a grim and ghoulish sense of humour has actually described Libya as the new Black market of the Maghreb.
No!! The twenty first century was not supposed to take this dismal turn. This century was hailed and heralded as the century of Black renaissance. But the dream is turning sour and nasty. Despite advances in science and civilization the heart of darkness remains with humanity. As we have seen in the Congo of King Leopold of Belgium and the depredations of Arab slave raiders in tropical Africa of yore, there is an irredeemable savagery in the heart of those who enslave fellow human beings or sell them into slavery for the purpose of economic advantage.
Yet when all has been said, there is a limit to which a race or a people can play at perpetual victimhood or become permanent wailers at some fallen wall of aborted progress. History is not a tea party. It is a chronicle of opportunities seized and opportunities spurned. The slave trade might have damaged the African psyche. But it is not western abductors or Arab slave raiders that have turned most countries in tropical Africa to modern hellholes for their people. It is kleptocracy and political cannibalism.
Dear readers, what you are about to read was first published in 2002 when the modern slave trade manifested with Africans journeying across the harsh, hostile and inhospitable wasteland of the Sahara Desert to reach what they thought was economic freedom in the west. Despite the bone-chilling actuality, the article ended on a note of optimism wagering that the tide could be stemmed if African nations with the capacity like Nigeria could free themselves through economic devolution and appropriate political restructuring to become continental hubs. Fifteen years after, the situation has worsened dramatically. For the Black person, the omens are very dire indeed.

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