Trouble With What They Say And What We Hear
AFTER every paragraph, the chorus to this piece is: “By Any Means Possible.” “By Enemies Possible.” In Africa, both the past and the present are pestilences on the future. South Africa is one country that exemplifies this evil tripartite alliance on the lives of the people. It is as if the settler-colonisers did not allow the indigenous population any space in their past. This was done by laws, which outlawed their ownership of the land on which and to which they were born and by virtue of which they could not be deprived of their land.
But deprived they were. Those who deprived them of their land installed their own leaders in statues over the country and, stupidly, expect the indigenous population to celebrate these alien pests on their past. And because the settler-coloniser would not share when they had the knife and the yam, after the hundred years’ war of liberation when the indigenous people had recovered the yam and the knife, they too have no place for the settler-coloniser. So, because of the greed of the past we have the greed of the present.
“By Any Means Possible. By Enemies Possible.”
For various reasons, exploitation formats such as slave labour, invasion-colonisation and wholesale evacuation of other persons’ resources as well as unpaid labour became unacceptable as time went on. One of the reasons is because the format that a particular race/ethnic group, a particular sex or class was suited to enslavement, colonisation and general deprivation became unacceptable.
The hundred years’ liberation struggle in South Africa re-affirmed the humanity of everyone. In spite of these victories, biases, prejudices, ill-feelings linger on and make the present unpalatable to indigenous populations across the globe. Reminders of exploitations past are not comfortable for those who had been exploited racially, sexually and class-wise. It is even worse when the implications of the exploitation continue to inform the present economic condition of the indigenous populations. This is the crux of the matter.
“By any means possible. By enemies possible.”
As long as present political arrangements do nothing about present economic inequalities, indigenous peoples will fight the biases, the prejudices and the ill-feelings, which linger and mark them all as victims of exploitation continued. Students of the University of Cape Town asked that Cecil John Rhodes come down from his colonial mentality pedestal and get lost. Other statues across the country are being ordered off their plinth: look on my works ye mighty, and despair. As the settler-coloniser menaces the past of the South African, so the undocumented African economic migrant bedevils their present, snatching their present, taking away their knife and their yam, the present they received from the hundred years’ liberation war. These foreigners, black and white, looked cross from their countries across the borders and saw that the grass was grinner (greener?) in South Africa. And they arrive in their thousands everyday adding up to millions.
It is at this time that their political leaders say: By Enemies Possible we are going to guarantee you life more abundant and what the citizens hear is “By Enemies Possible”. All the possible enemies are the statues of the past and the undocumented refugees of the present. Remove the statues, remove the refugees.
“By any means possible. By enemies possible.”
The types of countries have had to turn around their past to guarantee themselves a better future. These are the poor countries of the tropical zone, which have had to battle the negative consequences of slavery etc. as well as the European and Asian countries involved in the world wars on the losing side. There is a possible third group being the Arab countries under the heel of Israel.
At the end of the Second World War, Germany was defeated and divided. Its Nazi period had become a thing of shame. The memorabilia of the period carted away and hidden in locked up museums. The triumphant USA, Britain and other Allies soon provided material for the re-floating of the economy of Germany. Volkswagen revived and prospered. Japan lost the war but borrowed and stole and poached everything from the West to grow its economy making it second to that of the USA. Fast-forward to China. Japan colonised China. China re-created itself and today its economy is perhaps bigger than that of the USA. With that behind them, China turns to Japan to re-write their Second World War history and acknowledge the use of Chinese women as comforters for Japanese soldiers during that war. Or else.
The State of Israel came into being as consequence of the war, established its being, grew an economy and became a nuclear power, all because of the reparation from Germany and unstinting aid from the Allies. Today, Israel defies the USA and does what it likes in the Middle East and anywhere else around the world. With this kind of economic and military success, you can afford to display your history of weakness and disadvantage. Why is this so? Alaba says the Ifa Divination reveals that:Orun ola A a gbosi gbe.
Five days after prosperity we refuse to remember adversity.