Monday, August 3, 2009

We got the bible, now they got our land: The African land grab continues

On my way to rural Yoruba land in 2001, I stood as the only black person in the line designated for foreigners. Everyone else was a white male, and the line had about 300 people. My jaw dropped because when I told people in the US, even Nigerians, where I was going, they looked at me as if I just smoked crack. Some declared that no one visited Nigeria and asked me why the hell did I want to go.

Though they were not satisfied with my answer, and frankly I didn't care, I challenged them on the first part of their declaration about people not travelling to the most populous African nation. People did come to Nigeria, and I found out while there, the people that came were mostly foreigners with plots (and in cahoots with some Nigerians) to pilfer the natural resources of an already neglected country. Sounds familiar my Caribbean and South American people.

The blood that runs thick in Nigeria is oil. It oozes through the Delta Region that has been in turmoil since multinational companies like Shell, Chevron, British Petroleum, and Mobile swooped in and took control of the oil reserves after the Nigerian oil boom that ended in the late 60s, early 70s.

Now of course there are people still scratching their heads in bewilderment when they find out that there are contemporary cities and 21st century things like the Internet in Africa, let alone there is any interest for people to buy land they thought was sterile.

What many don't know is the thriving plantation system in Africa that continues as a result of colonialism in the 17th century. The neo-colonialism is covered up by bullshit missionaries and fake fair trade claims.

As people lather themselves with the new emolient of shea butter or eat Godiva chocolates they don't know that these products are harvested in an inequitable trade agreement with Western powers.

When I was in Africa, I had a great contact working in a pan-African organization called NEPAD or the New Partnership for Africa's Development. This institution was designed to promote better trade between Africa and major trading partners in US, Europe, and some Asian countries. She told me that most of the goals were not accomplished because of the political BS, the sexism, the intra-black conflict, and the tribalism.

From what I was told, greedy people in key places would let their grandmothers pick up the shit in villages and towns with no sewage systems, for a couple of bucks to prevent development so foreign investors in collaboration with local leeches could profit on the misery and disempowerment of Africans. As result, countries are giving up prime property that leads to natives building cities they will never occupy. Hmm, kind of like, gentrification.

It is also very interesting that the world was blasting Mugabe of Zimbabwe, but many did not know that Zimbabwe supplies most of Africa with produce. How coincidental is that? It is not. Now am I agreeing with Mugabe. I never care for anyone who engages in abuses of power, but I cannot demonize him any further than leaders of the West who justify invasions and bombs, or look the other way at Sudanese atrocities to maintain certain advantages.

You know there is a saying in Africa that Dead Prez often says, "First, we had the land and they had the bible, now we have the bible and they have the land." That is so very true.

thanks Ayankha for the lead

PS. Just a fact, over half of ALL products made in the WORLD have something from AFRICA in it.

0 ish talking intellectuals holla at a sista: