James Jackson -Why Africa has gone to hell

James Jackson is a former political-risk analyst living in London. The following is an extract from an on-line article he published in 2010.

Why Africa has gone to hell

White Zimbabweans used to tell a joke—what is the difference between a tourist and a racist? The answer—about a week.

Few seem to joke any more. Indeed, the last time anyone laughed out there was over the memorable headline “BANANA CHARGED WITH SODOMY” (relating to the Reverend Canaan Banana and his alleged proclivities). Zimbabwe was just the latest African state to squander its potential, to swap civil society for civil strife and pile high its corpses. Then the wrecking virus moves on and a fresh spasm of violence erupts elsewhere. Congo, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, even Kenya. Take your pick, for it is the essence of Africa, the recurring A-Z of horror. And as surely as Nelson Mandela took those steps from captivity to freedom, his own country will doubtless shuffle into chaos and ruin.

Mark my words. One day it will be the turn of South Africa to revert to type, its farms that lie wasted and its towns that are battle zones, its dreams and expectations that lie rotting on the veldt.

That is the way of things. Africa rarely surprises, it simply continues to appal.

Jackson then continues and speaks of the new myths which are being created in Africa which he calls “a false narrative that rewrites history”:

The construct is as follows: white, inglorious and bad; black, noble and good; empire, bad; independence, good; the west, bad; the African, good. Forgotten in all this is that while Europeans were settling and spreading from the Cape, the psychopathic Shaka Zulu was employing his impi to crush everyone—including the Xhosa—in his path, and the Xhosa were themselves busy slaughtering Bushmen and Hottentots.

Yet it is the whites who take the rap, for it was they who won the skirmishes along the Fish and Blood Rivers and who eventually gained the prize…

What suffers is the truth, and—of course—Africa…

Whenever I hear people agitate for the freezing of Third World debt, I want to shout aloud for the freezing of those myriad overseas bank accounts held by black African leaders (President Mobutu of Zaire alone is believed to have squirreled away well over $10 billion).

Whenever apartheid is held up as a blueprint for evil, I want to mention Bokassa snacking on human remains, Amin clogging a hydro-electric dam with floating corpses, the President of Equatorial Guinea crucifying victims along the roadway from his airport.

Whenever slavery is dredged up, I want to remind everyone the Arabs were there before us, the native Ashanti and others were no slouches at the game, and it remains extant in places like the Ivory Coast.…

So Britain had an empire and Britain did slavery. Boo hoo. Deal with it. Move on. Slavery ended here over two hundred years ago… Most of us are descendents of both oppressors and oppressed; most of us get over it. Mind you, I am tempted by thoughts of compensation from Scandinavia for the wickedness of its Viking raids…

On the eve of this millennium, Nelson Mandela and friends lit candles mapping the shape of their continent and declared the twenty-first century would belong to Africa… A pity that for every one Mandela there are over a hundred Robert Mugabes…

Famine… Drought… Overpopulation… Deforestation… Conflict… Barbarism… Cruelty… Machetes… Child Soldiers… Massacres… Diamonds… Warlords…Tyranny… Corruption… Despair… Disease… Aids… Africa.

READ the whole article at TAKIMAG.COM

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