AMERICAN LESSONS TO CROSS
There are many rivers for the Biden-Harris team to cross, writes Okello Oculi
The irate invasion and ransacking of the American ‘’Capitol Building’’ (or federal parliament) was a globally televised political scandal which was relentlessly nurtured by the country’s top politician, President Donald Trump.
He had combined open threats not to follow convention by leaving the seat of power if he lost the November 2020 presidential election with the assertion that he could lose the election only if the opposition Democratic Party rigged the election.
In a speech before what has been characterised as ‘’domestic terrorism’’, President Trump had, like Shakespeare’s Henry V, urged his electoral army to ‘’breach’’ the walls of Capitol as legislators endorsed votes won by Joe Biden, the ‘’President Elect’’.
In the run to November 6th sitting on Congress, former cabinet officials of Defence and Intelligence had published a warning against Donald Trump either raising a military coup, or declaring war against a foreign country – possibly Iran – to mobilise the over 70 million voters who had supported him to defend their slogan of ‘’Four More Years’’.
Observers of American relations with Africa since 1960 must find this as the case of the dog bred on human flesh turning around to eat the owners. President Eisenhower ordered the assassination of Congo’s first Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba barely six months after independence. WEST AFRICA magazine quoted a former British diplomat admitting shared efforts with the American Ambassador in efforts to either assassinate or overthrow Kwame Nkrumah. Nigeria’s Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa; Uganda’s Milton Obote; Burkina Faso’s charismatic Thomas Sankara fell.
Brilliant strategists who had led successful liberation movements, notably: Amilcar Cabral in Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, and Samora Machel of Mozambique were terminated before they would shape Africa’s development. A Senator told a BBC correspondent that the desecration of ‘’important organs of government’’ only took place in ‘’Banana Republics’’ as if the political climate pollution does not flow back into the consciousness of American citizens.
Candidate and President Donald Trump showed evidence of ingesting such political poison from the country’s history. He was strongly influenced by Harry Anslinger, the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics who invented the practice of associating narcotic drugs with specific ethnic groups. He accused Mexicans of infecting America with ‘Marihuana’’; and the Chinese, with Heroine.
Donald Trump built his election campaign on blaming Mexicans for crime and drugs. He failed to blame the drug barons in New York and major urban centres who controlled the lucrative trade. He did not attack the multinational corporations who were manufacturing their merchandise in China and importing them to American consumers. Labour in China was well educated, highly disciplined, and paid low wages since their education, health care and housing was provided by a socialist state. As a billionaire himself, he could not talk the language of critics of capitalists.
His blame game tapped into a ‘’pool of frustrations’’ which could be channelled into the anti- African American racism by the Ku Klux Klan, and resentment of economic backwardness compared to states in the North. This bitterness was expressed by several members of the mob. There was a vigorous bitterness and rage in their rejection of Trump’s electoral defeat.
American propagandists have claimed being a flagship of ‘’democracy’’ despite official denial of voting rights to Black communities. It is paradoxical that as Capitol was being invaded by Trump’s predominantly white supporters, campaigners in the State of Georgia were celebrating historic achievements in electing into the country’s Senate an African-American pastor and a young son of Jewish immigrants. As Ms Cartwright put it, their success had broken a barrier of political backwardness in the Southern States as a result of officials removing names of African-American voters for the electoral roll.
Successive American governments supported regimes in Apartheid South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, and Peru where communities of African descent are discriminated against in economic, social and political sectors. Not surprisingly, Cuba which has been exemplary in freeing Afro-Cubans from poverty and exclusion has suffered from a long tradition of hostility and subversion by American governments.
The United States has been familiar with political mines planted by British colonial officials in Africa and Asia by which one sector of a country is denied development and encouraged to demand for secession after independence. In Sudan for example, the Muslim North received Western education – including hosting Khartoum University – while the Southern communities were denied education. In Nigeria, this formula was reversed. Both led to bitter civil wars. The United States, Sudan and Nigeria are suffering from this British colonial political land-mines.
There are many rivers for the Biden/Harris team to cross. Jimmy Cliff, a Jamaican voice, sung that lyric.