The public spat between Madonna and the Government of Malawi concerning her charity Raising Malawi, allegations of financial mismanagement of funds by the President’s sister and that the singer has not stated the truth bring into play the question of the relationship between Africa and the outside world.
Starting at the beginning, the African Continent was raped by western imperialist powers who patted themselves self-righteously on the back as they chortled happily that they gave Africa the wheel, civilizing “savages” with the Bible and the bullet, while at the same time they drew lines on maps. It was the “This is ours, that is yours” approach to diplomacy, an approach in which winner takes all, even if it means strafing defenseless people with machine guns before syphoning off resources.
The decolonization process and what came after it changed little because there remained a one-way channel for Africa’s resources – outwards, a process controlled by corrupted officials inside Africa working for their western masters. Let us remember if there are corrupted officials, there are corruptors and there is corruption imposed from outside. So long as the process worked, suiting those in power and those benefitting from the resources, little was going to change, and it did not.
After a few years, and increasingly so today, there appeared a sickening novelty on the international stage, namely the do-gooder in Africa, using Africa to foster an image, playing the jump-on-the-bandwagon game, patting an African boy on the head and saying “Hey everyone, aren’t I great?” Such individuals are usually visible on Africa Day (May 25th) when they wheel out the newest projects introduced with verbose nonsense, meaningless agendas fostered to support self-promotion schemes and certainly not African interests.
There are a few exceptions (Bill Gates, Bono, Bob Geldof, George Clooney…) and Madonna is one of these. Far from being a self-seeking bimbo, behind the pop star image is an intelligent woman who cares and who has put her money into development projects inside Malawi, projects which rank alongside other great work done by her compatriots Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network, Leadership Academy and many others and President Bill Clinton’s foundation.
That the President of Malawi, Joyce Banda, should have become involved in what was a private difference of opinion after Madonna and her entourage were treated like other passengers at the airport (let us be honest, with total disrespect and unacceptable methods of passenger control) is a telling sign that there is an issue at stake.
And the issue is far wider that Madonna and the rehabilitation of schools in Malawi (even if she had “only” refurbished classrooms, then surely that is something to appreciate?). The issue is that until Africa stands up for itself and stops playing the “poor man please help me” game, until Africa starts using the funds available properly, until Africa engages with visionaries like Madonna and others and shows them a bit of respect for what they are doing, then Africa will forever be held in the clutch of the do-gooders who come out every May 25th.
Africa’s behavior during the recent rape of Libya by NATO and its terrorists was a disgraceful display of cowardice, servility and sickening subservience as the one man who was standing up for Africa and defending that it should have its own institutions, creating African solutions for African problems – Muammar al-Gaddafi, was ignored by the rest of Africa and its leaders who were happy to receive his funds. They were happy to use the African satellite system which he co-financed and mentored, giving Africans telemedicine and e-learning programmes but cringed like yellow-bellied sniveling lackeys when the USA and its FUKUS friends (France, UK, US) destroyed the Libyan water supply with bombs “to break their backs” and then bombed the pipe factory so that it could not be prepared.
The rest of Africa turned its back as the Qathafi grandchildren were burnt alive in their home by a NATO bomb which considered them legitimate military command and control targets and as Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama refused to even issue an apology.
And in too many parts of Africa, governance, despite the wording at African Union meetings, is appalling. The identity of the State is all too often merged with the caprices and whims of a power group, billionaires rule over populations living in poverty – and the billions belong to the people, not the thieves that lord it getting red carpet treatment from the nauseating cynical puppet masters who pull their strings.
From time to time an African will stand up and say something worthwhile, such as the recent criticism leveled at the Hague International Criminal Court at the taking of office of President Kenyatta in Nairobi, Kenya when the organism was rightly accused of being anti-African, a pseudo-legal kangaroo court which caters for the interests of the FUKUS Axis and its NATO poodle states and which is the worst insult to, and travesty of, justice that the world has known. Why is war criminal Bush not incarcerated in its cells, along with countless others who have been involved in war crimes, deploying military hardware against civilian structures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere?
But the truth of the matter is that passengers will continue to be treated like cattle at the airports, they will be insulted, frisked, taken into a private office and asked if they have something for the official, workers will be harassed by corrupt police officials who hand out on-the-spot fines for nothing, they will be incarcerated on trumped-up charges because a local “partner” basically wanted to steal the business.
The ball rolls both ways. If the current African leadership was unwilling or too scared to help the one man who stood up for the continent, then it is hoped that the next generation of Africans will understand that until Africans themselves stand up, with pride, hold their governors accountable for the distribution of resources which belong to all Africans, not just a few, until Africans find African solutions for African problems, until Africans thank the outside world for its help, but no thanks, things will continue as they are.
Billionaires will continue to support themselves and the pot-bellied pigs which surround them, European nations and the USA will continue to act as if everything was legitimate, playing a two-faced study in hypocrisy. As Robert F. Kennedy said, “Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.”