On 30thDecember 2006, the world witnessed humiliating hanging of Saddam Hussein, former Iraq’s tyrant, after being arrested bolted in a spider hole. Many thought other dictators would make a note of the sudden and unceremoniously demise and downfall of Saddam. Go figure. They didn’t because of arrogance and faint memories.
In essence, dictators are like goats. When you shout at a goat to stop damaging your garden it thinks this was long time ago. When you shout again, the goat thinks this was yesterday. But when you pick a stone and land it on it, that’s when the goat realizes it is today. This was five years down the line. Just recently in February 2011, two strong men in Egypt and Tunisia were pulled down, not to mention Laurent Gbagbo in the Ivory Coast. Again, other dictators like Col. Muamar Gadaffi who followed six months thereafter, did not take any note, save to ridicule the wave and wind of change.
When Gadaffi, a self-made-king of kings of Africa was asked his views and how domino effects in Egypt and the impact they would have on his country, he dismissively retorted saying that Libya was not Egypt. Therefore, such a thing would not happen to his regime. Little did he know it would happen just within six months!
Now that Libya’s tyrant Gadaffi has fallen from grace quickly and unceremoniously, many would think other waiting potentates would take a note. Their mindsets make them blind and thus do not to see the impending danger that always hovers over their nasty regimes. Are the seating spared of this hallucination and blindness? Nay!
Just like allied forces did to Saddam, Gadaffi was brought down after international forces struck him, especially NATO, that broke the backbone of his regime. Now that Gadaffi’s rule is history, will he and his sons face the same fate Saddam an his stupid kids faced? Will the waiting dictators make a note of what transpired in Libya really? Methinks, nay. If anything, African dictators will not miss Gadaffi, but the petrodollars he stole from his poor people and used to throw at them so as to buy their leverage.
If dictators had any memory, Africa South of Saharan dictators would make a note that what they regard as powerful regimes they man, are but houses of cards. They will crumble just easily shall the hoi polloi decided to take on them. Again, will they take a note? Nay, they won’t. Why? Because most if not all are but megalomaniac, full of myopia and hallucination to put it simple. Unfortunately, dictators think they are smart while in actual fact are but dolts. Take it from me. Many dictators still wrongly think like Gadaffi used to think, that what happened in Libya cannot happen in their countries.
What happened in Libya though leaves one question, when will people in SSA take on their dictators? This is very important. For there are many of Gadaffi like in SSA in countries like Uganda, Rwanda, DRC, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Senegal, Ethiopia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, The Gambia, Gabon, Togo and Sudan. So too, in the same Maghreb, are countries such as Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and Syria in the north. Will those dictators ruining those countries take a heed? To know how actually goof, look at how Yemeni Dictator Abdullah Saleh was badly injured and yet still wants to return in office despite all noises of Saleh go.
Just like other dictators in the Sub Saharan Africa, Saleh still thinks that, despite the writings on the wall, his regime will not crumble just like Gadaffi’s. Those in the south still goof saying what happened in Maghreb are for Arabs not Africans. In simple terms, dictators in the south, like fallen Gadaffi, are authoring their own demise and exit. Will the wave and wind of change sweep across Sahara?
Why did Gadaffi repressive regime crumble easily in the first place? Firstly, it had two cracks within. One was the fact that power was within the hands of a family and a few congliore. Secondly, NATO’s ferocious attacks. Though NATO played a decisive role in suffocating Gadaffi, looking at what happened in Egypt and Tunisia. Cracks within the regimes are the major cause of their demise so to speak.
There are some lessons from the fall of Gadaffi and other dictators. First of all, many weapons dictators pile up to defend themselves, are the best capital when citizenry decide to take on them.
Secondly, the vacuums and vaingloriousness dictators create is another nugget when it comes to topple them. For when faced with threats of being toppled, the system that depends on one person, finds itself overwhelmed with the burden of decision making at the time of emergency. The shape and scope of the system is basically determined by one person.
Thirdly, apart from being delusional, dictators are like barking dog that does not bite. They use all types of threats whilst at hearts they know how bogus and coward they are.
Fourthly, almost all dictators are cowards that hide their weakness behind immense powers they command.
Fifthly, all dictators live in the state of hallucination and phantasmagoria, believing they won’t fall at any circumstance, hence become myopic about their fates and plights. So too, even though their regimes are the most hated, dictators daydream that they are loved. It is even sad to find dictators like Yoweri Museveni who toppled other dictators live just like them.
Sixth, African Union has proved to be as useless as never before. For when the crisises in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia started, it was left out, thereby the Arab League taking over the role it would have played. Also it must be noted, AU was openly supporting dictators thanks to being comprised of many member countries ruled by dictators.
In sum, though Gadaffi is going down as one of the most autocratic ruler, he’ll be remembered for his support to liberation movements in good and bad light. A last killer fact is that Gadaffi despite all his extravagance, different from other African fallen dictators who left their countries in abject poverty, left billions of dollars the west froze and unfreeze for the new regime to begin with. This is the good side of the fallen tyrant.
Among the people who were moved, pained and disturbed by the tribulations and trials of former Egyptian strong man, Hosni Mubarak recently, is former Nigerian two-time president Olusegun Obassanjo. Obassanjo aired his view in Mombasa. Kenya where he was attending former presidents’ meeting, when he was asked how he views transitions happening in Egypt especially the trial of Mubarak. He had this to say, “Let them do whatever they want to do with Mubarak but putting him in a cage like chicken is not proper.” What a nugget of wisdom!
I greatly adore and respect Obassanjo for the noble and exemplary role he played for Nigeria and Africa in general. Again why didn’t Obassanjo say this when former Nigerian butcher, Sani Abacha was hurriedly and unceremoniously buried like a dog hanged for stealing meat? Simple logic is that Obassanjo did not say anything thanks to the fact that he was fighting and yearing for justice after being sentenced to death by Abacha illegally. This is the same situation those that lost their loved ones under Mubarak’s order are in.
Appearing before Cairo Court “frail” Mubarak was put in cage as he laid in bed as a drip hanged on him. His kids, too, were present though the media did not show them. The media did not show them simply because, for it, the biggest prize was Mubarak. For his supporters it was the most humiliating time in his and their lives ever. For those seeking justice it was a gratifying time ever. Essentially, what this actually was depends on the side one is in.
At his age, and for the time he spent in power, Mubarak was indeed slapped in the face. At 83, had Mubarak been a democrat or something near or even a seer like Nelson Mandela and Julius Nyerere, he’d have at least over twenty years in retirement. But nay! For Mubarak and other dictators, president is made of steel not flesh. He is made of light like Lucifer, but not dirty soil like Adam. He does not err. Whatever he says is a law in and by itself. Power is for him to love, have and hold forever. Power is among the bains of his life. Even his kids and wife are presidents in their own light. He does not retire or step down even when he messes and thinking about this is treason that guarantees supply for the noose of the hangman.
I don’t know if the word retirement resonates in the ears of strong men like Omar Bashir, Yoweri Museveni, Robert Mugabe, Denis Sassou Ngweso, Abdulaye Wade, Muamar Gadaffi, Paul Biya, Paul Kagame, Meres Zenawi, Isaias Afewerki and many more in the making in Africa. What happened to Mubarak is what is surely deserved, save that it took long time to happen. As a former president, maybe, just maybe, Obassanjo considered Mubarak as a special and sacred person thanks to being a former head of state. Had Obassanjo looked at another side of the coin, he’d realize that what happened to Mubarak is not shameful as it is wrongly perceived. What happened is the way justice works equally for all regardless of class, position, connection, clan and whatnot.
If you ask Sudanese refugees that were beaten and some killed under Mubarak’s orders, just for voicing their concerns, what Mubarak is going through is nothing but justice. If you ask Egyptians who lost their freedom for over two decades, what Mubarak is going through is but purification and promise of a justicious new Egypt. If you ask other Africans suffering from iron fists of their venal strong men, what Mubarak is going through is but a stalk warning for others in power. If you ask a poor man and woman on the street whose money was embezzled by Mubarak or the likes with their consigliore, what Mubarak is going through is nothing but something less in magnitude than what it would be shall they be given upper hand to decide his plight and fate. If you ask thinkers, what Mubarak is going through is nothing but the calamity he authored himself. For the judiciary in Egypt is reading from his scripts.
Importantly, if we make bone out of it, absolute power corrupts absolutely. When one looks at how Africa is languishing in begging and poverty unnecessarily, the same person finds no mercy for people like Mubarak. How can one forgive and defend the same creatures that have for long pushed Africa into the purgatory? Africa is rich in natural resources though poor in human resources. Again, African rulers are always ruining it. When one looks at African’s grim picture, can nary even shed cordial tears for any dictator on the cross. If Mubarak put his people in the cage like chickens, what is wrong with putting him in the same cage? Why better than thou when justice is delivered? Though grieving, even defending Mubarak is the right of the likes of Obassanjo and any other who want to defend him, so
too, it is the right for Egyptians to deliver justice the way they deem fit. Importantly, human rights must be protected. This is what matters most. Mubarak is a mortal human being that wrongly perceived himself as a saint due to commanding unchecked powers and jiggy life.
True, African potentates have very short or no memory. Who thought they’d easily forget what happened to their colleagues namely Samuel Doe, Jean- Bedel Bokassa ,Mobutu Seseseko, Charles Taylor and Laurent Gbagbo to mention but a few? A goat always has no memory. When you shout at it to stop destroying the crops in farm, it thinks this happened a long while ago. When you shout again, it thinks this happened yesterday. When you throw a stone at it, it realizes this is happening now! Again, the stone does not leave the goat well. When a human, especially one vested with power behaves like a goat, what happened to Mubarak is predictable and inevitable so to speak.
How many are going to go Mubarak’s way especially in South Saharan Africa? Many, many more! It is just the matter of time even if it takes a decade or so. Looking at what is happening to Mubarak, is it really shame or fame for Africa?
“The poor will always be with us…” Matthew 26:11
There are one group of people that Americans hate more than foreign terrorists. The poor within their own borders. They would rather send millions of dollars, as well as their armed forces, to assist and relieve the sufferings of the poor and disenfranchised in distant lands, than to help the poor on their own soil. Americans are not alone in this. The poor, wherever they are, incite the hatred and disdain of their fellow citizens, particularly their government. They are usually blamed and scapegoated for everything from economic downturns to epidemics of disease. They have always been the fodder for wars, cuts in government spending and dubious medical experiments. They are not only exploited for their manual labour, their bodies are also marketed as sex slaves and organ farms for the perverted rich, and their neighbourhoods tourist destinations for the curious advantaged.
The real source of this hatred though lies in the fact that for the elite, the poor are a constant warning that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark”… fish rots from the head down. They are the beacon which illuminates the darkness of whatever ”noble lie” social harmony is built upon. They are the kindle that a spark for revolution will ignite to burn away the illusion of political stability. There is also an intense societal fear and loathing for those who advocate for these hated poor and direct the beacon to expose the architects and beneficiaries of these sacred falsehoods.
“When I give food to the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why the President can easily bailed out the banks and capitalists, but has done nothing to help the poor, they call me an “uncle tom”.
I have always been a fan of Travis Smiley. I have recently developed a great amount of respect and admiration for Cornel West. I may not always agree with their positions, but there is no doubt that they are principled and honest (Black) men who have a sincere love for Black people, and are committed to the cause of the poor, the exploited and the disenfranchised. Regardless of this… actually because of this… I knew they would become pariahs within the African-American community, particularly with the Negro intellectuals and celebrities, when they announced that they were going on a 2 week, 16 city tour to bring attention to the plight of the poor and President Obama’s lack of any policy, initiative or plan to address their situation… especially the African-American poor, who have been hit the hardest by the housing crisis, unemployment and recession (here).
“If you want that good feeling that comes from doing things for other people, then you have to pay for it in abuse and misunderstanding…” Zora Neale Hurston
I have hence read all sorts of articles questioning their motives, demonizing and vilifying them, as well as calling them all sorts of names, because they took a stance for the poor by demanding that Barack Obama, the President of the United States, the most powerful (Black) man in the world, do something substantial for them, instead of offering empty rhetoric, the noble lie that “a rising tide lifts all boats”. These are the same poor black people who blindly and emotionally supported his bid to the White House, believing that he was their promised messiah, the embodiment of the change they could believe in. (I always mused that if your boat has holes and is filling with water, wouldn’t a rising tide make it sink faster).
Although America is always quick to profess to the world their noble lie that it’s the “land of free speech”, there has always been consequences to bear when one exercises that right and criticizes the government, especially the President. The blacklash against Smiley and West by the African-American community reminds me of the reaction to the Dixie Chicks by their fellow Texans, as well as political conservatives, when they criticized George W. Bush, during a concert in England, 9 days before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003: “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.” The backlash was intense and fierce. They were ostracized, lost fans, had concerts cancelled, received hate mail and death threats. I highly recommend their documentary of that period: “Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing“. In the same manner, President Obama’s supporters would rather “Smiley and West: Shut Up and Coon”.
I have also read a few well balanced articles, not necessarily supporting Smiley and West, but supporting the cause of their Poverty Tour, as well as questioning the failure of President Obama to get up, stand up and fight for the human rights of the poor of his nation. I for one cannot speak to what is truly in their heart, but history has shown time and again that when the elites and their self-serving minions are fighting with all their might to kill (discredit) the messenger(s), the foundation of the message is built upon truth… and those in power will do whatever it takes, will stop at nothing, to perpetuate the sanctity of their noble lie.
“The pursuit of truth attracts critics”
Op-ed submission by Project 21
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter went where few black leaders have gone. And I think I can count those other who did on one hand. Nutter dared speak truth to action on the critical state of black youth in this country. In an address confronting increasing youth violence, Nutter plainly declared: “Take those God-darn hoodies down, especially in the summer. Pull your pants up and buy a belt ‘cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt.” (read here)
Bravo Mayor Nutter — I applaud you. It reminds me of Bill Cosby, who scolded black leaders back in 2004, crying out: “Let me tell you something. Your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day. It’s cursing and calling each other “nigger” as they’re walking up and down the street. They think “they hip.” Can’t read, can’t write — 50 percent of them.”
While he got a few conciliatory fist pumps, Cosby’s message back then failed to get serious traction. Black conservatives such as Clarence Thomas and Shelby Steele also warned the road to progress cannot be paved with affirmative action and social welfare initiatives, but were vilified and dismissed by the urban and mainstream media.
That may change. Mayor Nutter is responsible for the well-being of a city and for protecting the safety and livelihoods of its citizens. But while violent “flash mobs” may be on the rise and in vogue, black youth have engaged in self-destructive behavior for decades. They have been a virulent destructive force in their communities — embracing drugs and crime, leaving a lineage of illegitimacy and thumbing their noses at educational opportunities.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, more than 30 black youth were recently arrested for randomly attacking people exiting the state fair. It didn’t take long for onlookers to notice this particular flash mob mostly targeted whites. According to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report, what started as fighting amongst black youth turned into a “rage on whites outside the gates.” Rather than bemoaning an increased police presence at future events, Milwaukee chapter NAACP president James Hall, Jr. chastised the mob, saying, “There is no excuse for this type of conduct.”
Mayor Nutter similarly received support from the NAACP for his tough love for his city’s youth. J. Whayatt Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia’s NAACP chapter, said it “took courage” for Nutter to tell the truth, and saying, “These are majority African-American youths and they need to be called on it.” It’s about time the NAACP returned to the side of truth and justice!
Until recently, this problem was confined to urban communities. Now that it’s spreading, people are taking notice. The mobsters obviously think the ghetto is now too small for their devious diversions. They’ve acquired a taste for the finer sections of town.
In this bleak economy, cities cannot afford to have residents afraid to leave their homes. It’s an awakening that’s long overdue. The tough love of curfews and community action are a good start. And, while Mayor Nutter’s comments on the state of the culture is exactly what needed to be said, it was his candid spiritual estimation of the situation that gets to the root cause of the problem of the decline of morality in the black community.
“The Immaculate Conception of our Lord Jesus Christ took place a long time ago, and it didn’t happen here in Philadelphia,” Nutter noted. “So every one of these kids has two parents who were around and participating at the time. They need to be around now.”
An out-of-wedlock birthrate at more than 72 percent in America is the gaping wound. Herein lies the crux of the rising violence and the disturbing trend in black youths.Until we address the role and return of family in our community, we can count on riots to continue and worsen.
Lisa Fritsch is a member of the national advisory council for the Project 21 black leadership network and a writer and radio talk show host in Austin, Texas.
What recently transpired in the UK, unearthed a hidden malady of racism and hypocrisy. We used to believe that the UK is an ideal society that promotes and protects human rights, prosperity and equality. We goofed. UK we used to superficially know is different from the real and true one. Had this happened in Africa, it would be highly touted as revolution and thirsity for human rights. Riots resulting from police shooting, poverty, racism, unemployment, even corruption are mainly experienced in third world countries, which Britain is not.
Indeed, what transpired in Britain recently, especially in the capital city, London, speaks volume. Unrest first flared on Saturday after a peaceful protest in Tottenham over the fatal shooting of a civilian by police.
The Brits and other so-called civilized and developed countries used to cheat us that everything is spiffy. Who knew that racism and inequality are still rife in the UK? Unfairly enough, UK is among countries whose journalists go to third world countries and take nasty photos to show the world how the third world, especially Africa, are still living in pre-adamic era, little knowing that they are living in the same manner and time. If anything, what happened in UK, just like what happened in the US during Katrina mayhem, has opened the eyes of many people in the third world countries.
Tottehnham, the black spot of poverty, was the core and trigger of this entire imbroglio. All this, despite the police shooting dead a civilian, resulted from pent-up anger against the government that has always ignored inequality among the citizens. Areas occupied by poor people, understandably, are not taken care of. There is no policing in their areas compared to affluent ones. This is why rioters [went on a rampage.]
Poverty and unemployment are swelling as the authorities slash social benefits under the pretext of having no money. People do not subscribe to this. They query, how can government say it does not have enough money, whereby the monarch just recently extravagated millions on nuptial party of the grandson of the queen? What if this money would have been chanelled to the needy in lieu of making meriments?
Questions are many more than answers. How the authorites are able to feed the whole nation of queen’s clan they take care of at the tune of millions by just bilking money out of treasurer? Is Britain cascading into third worldeness it created? Currently the economy of Britain is on the standstill. Unemployment is rife, not to mention social and cultural rot resulting from decay of the whole system governing Britain.
When unrest broke out in London, before spreading to other regions, police termed it as just mere criminality. Looking at the core of this unrest, one finds that it’s nothing but inequality and uneven distribution of wealth. If what police termed as criminality, indeed the criminal is more a state than the citizenry. Police and politicians pleased themselves for the while before things got out of control. They thought the riots would be contained in the poor areas. When the riots broke up in Camden where the rich live, police found themselves with nothing to do.
If you mention Islington, Hackney, Croydon, Clapham Junction, Peckham, Lewisham, Stratford and Ealing, you mean poor communities by European standards.
Though Britain is regarded as the mother of democracy, looking at how things are unfolding, the citizenry is now tired of monarch and the way it exploits them, not to mention a do-nothing government that has always turned a blind eye on racism. The monarch is stinking to the core. It is getting older and older by days so as to force the citizenry to start the beginning of the end of it.
Those who are aware of the difference between who haves and who have nots noticed that London has been under fire for long save that the fire that was burning it was anger but not real fire. Now that the anger of the poor has exploded, should we expect to see the more flames? Politicians on behalf of the monarch need to put their acts together. True, what is going on can be contained. But again, the craks on the monarch are now visible and tangible.
Looking at much force employed by the government, African dictators are laughing the all way home. For this gives them a pretext of butchering their people who will think taking to the street to demand they be kicked out. In Uganda Yoweri Museveni, as well as Paul Kagame in Rwanda, they are laughing heartedly.
The difference between police and the way they sometimes act in Africa and Britain, is the fact that not all police are motivated to take on rioters-cum-looters as we all evidenced in London. This was evidenced when people looted whatever they put hand on as police witnessed. Nick Davidson said: “We’ve had enough of police just standing there while people are looting and ruining the whole area. Everybody here pays taxes and has had enough of it. We’re sickened by police doing absolutely doing nothing.”
Importantly, it must be noted. When demonstrators in Egypt used social media to bring down their long time strong man, the west was laughing and chestbeating that this is the tool that will emancipate third world. Unfortunately for them they were not aware that the same can be used against them. Riots in Britain is said to have succeeded due to the use of social network as it was in Egypt. Again, being sacred lamb, Britain is no longer saying that social media is the tool of emancipation. Instead politicians and police were calling the new wave of protest thuggary and criminality. If it were in Africa, it would be referred to as revolution. What double standard under the sun!
Is UK cascading into third worldness it created? Time will surely tell.