Beggars Come to Washington

By Ntumfoyn Boh Herbert (Yindo Toh)

We have seen this movie before. African leaders, cap in hand, singing for breakfast in strange, foreign lands.

The cast has not changed. It is the same crop today as in years… even decades past, for the Biyas, Musevenis, Obiang Nguemas. The cast is dominated by vampire, blood-sucking tyrants. These same fraudster actors were gathered twice before at least, or more accurately, subpoenaed their pitiful selves to so-called summits in China, in France and I forget where else.

Once gathered, the peoples of Africa have heard their hosts sing the same old, broken records of how they love and want Africa to succeed. I mind that they are doing the same thing but expecting different results. Cabbage in, cabbage out.

President Joe Biden’s guests this week in Washington are, for the most part, the same irredeemable “monsters of state”. For way too long, they have been mistaken for the babysitters of Africa, instead of being repudiated as the butchers of their own peoples.

That’s why the U.S.-African Leaders’ Summit the Biden Administration is staging this week in Washington, DC, is soooo “deja vu et entendu”. Despite the benefit of seeing how woefully Paris and Beijing failed, the Washington DC summit – if we must call it so – has shown an amazing lack of imagination. For me, it begs ridicule.

For starters, organizers should have known that there is little President Joe Biden can do with or say at this DC summit that would be different from what the tyrant of North Korea would have said or done. It’s politics, stupid! France, one of the last remaining Western perpetrators of colonization and crimes against humanity in Africa, has played every of these broken records many times over. Even China, “s’il vous plait”, is in on the game; performing at it doubly good. China has offered more in investment pledges and while this is a game of smoke and mirrors, China can beat its chest for doing more on the ground than the USA, UK, France and the rest of Europe combined.

Of course, America is right in warning against cheap Chinese loans. Nothing is more expensive than cheap loans. Chinese loans are ruinous. Yes, I know. So, which loan isn’t?

True, too. Chinese products are wanting in quality. However, between having nothing and having Chinese products wanting in quality, what would America choose?

I’m no apologist for Beijing. God knows I’d like to see a Democratic and less confrontational China. While I await my wish to become a horse, I cannot help but notice that the Chinese have provided a mule in the form of concrete, brick and mortar stuff to Africa.

It may have come fully bugged and fitted with cameras agogo, but the Chinese built from scratch and “donated” a state of the art African Union headquarters. No one stopped England or France or America from meeting that need. Beijing can showcase the light rail it has built for Ethiopia. Just may be America or England or France can build similar or better light rail for Nigeria or Côte d’Ivoire. China has built ports and roads littering East Africa, from the Port of Djibouti to Mombasa… while the French, to take only that one Western nation, has bribed, killed, swindled the investment rule book to seized ports and rail infrastructure from the Ports of Douala through the Port of Cotonou to Abidjan. On this eve of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, China can showcase football stadia it has built across Africa and other no less gorgeous stuff like a certain Palais des Congres in Yaounde, Cameroun…

Ask to see what the French have done besides “parler tres bon francais”. The incredible contribution of American charities and public sector outfits like the Peace Corps Volunteers, stand in sharp contrast to the lack of brick and mortar projects by America across the continent. Ask the British what they have done for Africa lately or in the distant past and watch as they chew on their pencils for answers that will never come. It is what it is.

As the world champions at colonization, the United Kingdom will, forever, bd remembered for a long list of massacres they perpetrated and raw trade deals they have never stopped making. The French should not feel offended. I’m not leaving them out of the rollcall of shame. Paris obviously holds the record for being blind to genocides… from the Rwanda Genocide to the Southern Cameroons not forgetting the Genocide of the Bassa and Bamileke peoples.

This week’s summit in Washington should embarrass every American who truly cares about Africa… the youthful continent, misrepresented bya cast of Walking Dead who have pissed off every African except when they piss on themselves on camera on live TV. When a summit leads America into regurgitating the exact same promises to Africa as China has made many times over, it should sadden everyone of us. When Washington finds itself having to mask the real goal of a summit – counter the influence of China and Russia in Africa – in loud-sounding nonsense, we should be afraid. If America cannot say it as it is, who can? The peoples of Africa are safe. They know and have long proclaimed: “this world no balance”.

Washington should know better, of course. Yet this week’s summit proves the Biden Administration needs a blunt reminder that Africans are not hungry for billions of American dollars or aid from the West or East, North or South. Africans know all too well where such money ends up… in Swiss retirement bank accounts for a majority of the “monsters of state” Washington is hosting this week.

From the beginning of time and until the world that is to come, Africans hunger for freedoms. Freedom from slavery, from colonialism, from neocolonialism, from apartheid, and from the tyranny of dictatorship. Africans thirst for the same liberties and democracy Americans enjoy and too often take for granted. Africans want their human rights, dignity and sovereignty upheld. Africans want all imperialists – be they Chinese, French, English or American – to stop ganging up with “monsters of state” to loot their resources, abuse their lands, and violate their sovereign rights. What Ukrainians want and are dying for is the same things Somalilanders and the people of Southern Cameroons want. It is that simple.

America’s pact to preserve life, defend liberties and freedoms, foster democracy and rule of law across the globe is subverted by summits “a la chinoise”. America allies itself with many of the Dead Men Walking it is hosting this week in Washington at the expense of alienating itself with the peoples of Africa. Aligning U.S. foreign policy with France’s Macron as we saw last week at the White House is excellent for NATO and Ukraine; but it digs a deeper grave for those Macron has used the same policies to bury alive through the prolongation of France’s colonial rule of huge chunks of supposedly sovereign Africa. When the Biden Administration embraces Somaliland at one summit (to promote democracy) but fences it out of the next using the misguided “One Somalia” policy, it blesses and prolongs “black on black” colonization. When America cannot reaffirm its YES vote at the United Nations in favor of the independence of Somaliland and Southern Cameroons, it should not be surprised why disenchanted freedom fighters and leaders of liberation struggles look East.

Washington knows better. It knows how liberation struggles end because America was once a liberation struggle until it triumphed over England. It took time, but eventually Eritrea won its struggle against Ethiopia. South Sudan is a recognized country today… never mind the pissing on camera incident. We know that Ukraine matters, but so, too, must Somaliland and Southern Cameroons matter. By struggling so hard to avoid confronting these problems, Washington is repeating the same old error it committed when it would not decry Apartheid South Africa.

Biden knows this but let me say them out loud. Wrong is wrong. Evil will collapse no matter how many billions Washington, Beijing and Paris combine to invest in it. Truth will rise. Freedom will triumph. It is written in the hearts and souls of Men. It is in the very nature of all human beings. It is God’s very will for our lives. So, let’s forget implementing American foreign policy using tactics built and tested in China and France. We are better than that and Biden knows it.