by Gloria Dulan-Wilson
The following is in response to a letter from a brother who will be addressing an organization trying to resolve the dispute over who gets to be president after a controversial election held in November 2010, in the Ivory Coast, also known as Cote d'Ivoire.
He asked if we had any recommendations or messages for the dignitaries who are expected to gather in DC on Monday, January 10. I actually did a contrast between the Ivory Coast of today, and the Ivory Coast under the late president Felix Houphuet Boigny, who was considered the longest serving president in the history of Africa. In fact, under him, the Ivory Coast prospered. Now we see them descending into the same kind of divisiveness that many of our other African countries are suffering from. Both Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Quattara, the two disputed candidates, seem to have the good of the country at heart. So I will not be commenting on either of these two brothers. What follows are my comments on our Homeland vis a vis Cote d'Ivoire's dilemma.
I would appreciate your feedback as well.
Happy New Year to you and yours.
Thanks for keeping me in to loop in terms of what my ancestors' descendants are doing. There have been many things said about former president Houphuet-Boigny - good and bad; but you have to admit he kept the country "stable".
Somehow, amidst all this controversy about voting and who gets to lead, Ggagbo or Quattara; and whether or not Cote d'Ivoire is a "democracy" or just a benign dictatorship, there should not be the animosity that appears to be coming through.
The message of disagreeing without being disagreeable must be spread on both sides. When we decimate and denigrate each other we only help the enemy who wants to see us wiped out anyway. They frankly don't really care who does it or how; so if we do it to ourselves, we make it that much easier for them.
That said, my highest concern is that all our brothers and sisters get the fact that if they don't resolve this pretty quickly, they had all better start learning an new language: CHINESE -- if they have not already done so. For as surely as they continue to harangue over this, instead of a way of sharing power and appointing representatives to handle different regional concerns, the CHINESE will insidiously come in and just take everything right out from under their noses, under the guise of "trying to help"; and leave them with even less to argue about.
So, how do you like them apples? that's an old saying for those who ended up with more worms and rotten apples after arguing over who got what was in the basket. (couldn't help it - I'm just full of cliches and wise sayings this year -- expect more of same for 2011 - LOL!!!).
With the exception of a dynamic Black President in the US, Barack Obama, we arrive at the 2011th year as Black people - nationally, culturally, racially, socially, emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually -- no better off than when they threw us on those ships, and dragged us kicking and screaming to the Caribbean, South America, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the US as chattel where we were forced to work for no more than crumbs. At the same time that they were stealing us from Africa, they were likewise stealing African land and forcing Africans there to do their bidding; all the while they reaped the benefits of our servitude.
Surely, by now, we're sick of this. Surely by now we want better for ourselves. Surely by now we've learned to embrace each other, help each other, love each, mutually support each other so that we can all live better - otherwise, what's the point?
If we haven't, guess what, no one is really waiting for us to get it together. There is a certain amount of consternation that goes against a people (us) who don't love or respect themselves enough in this day and age to begin building something beautiful, permanent, viable, prosperous for all involved. It's one of the reasons why in America those pioneer stories are still so popular; those stories about great explorers who established great cities, etc. for the generations to come. We need to be the subject of those stories from the most positive standpoint -- we need not continue to be the "restless natives who are coming to menace the pioneers; or the savages who need civilizing."
Frankly, I'm tired of the argument, but I love my brothers and sisters, at home in the US, all over Africa, Cote d'Ivoire in particular, and throughout the world wherever we are -- but now is the time to really develop our own ECLECTICALLY BLACK CRITERIA. A credo! We've got to get it together -- so that we are as valuable to each other, as whites have made themselves to one another. So that not one drop of Black blood is spilled for trivial matters. So that we begin to honor our own ingenuity and creativity.
If there is any message to be given to Cote d'Ivoire it's this, you were once considered the richest country in Africa - you can dissipate it or you can get it together and share, bringing each and every man, woman and child along - educationally, spiritually, mentally, economically and in health.
Moreover, AFRICA IS THE RICHEST CONTINENT ON THE PLANET!!!! WHAT THE SAM HILL ARE WE DOING STILL HAVING THESE STUPID ARGUMENTS????? WE ARE IN THE 21ST CENTURY. Get it together - we got the internet, cell phones -- come on brothers and sisters, Europe is on its ass wallowing in poverty, trying to recover from their greed and mismanagement of funds so they can come back and oppress you some more and take even more of your riches; and you're still bickering over b.s.
The problem with divide and conquer is that is still works long after the original perpetrators who launched it have left. There is an old African proverb (no, I don't know which tribe) that says, "By the time the fool has learned the game, the players have dispersed." And we keep getting tricked over and over and over again by the same ploys and lies.
By the way, in looking at the photos of the candidates, other than the people in the street scenes in cote d'Ivoire, not one of those guys had on any form of traditional African or national clothing. Are we still trying to be ersatz europeans? Maybe that's why the acrimony is still going on. Senghor and Sekou Toure stood for Afrocentricity and Negritude; Houphouet-Boigny stood for financial prosperity and accomodation --
Now is the time for a paradigm shift and put those great philosophies together with that of another great man, who, if he had had his way, none of this would be an issue in Africa today: BROTHER MARCUS GARVEY. "Africa for the Africans, at home and abroad. Up you mighty race, you can accomplish what you will." It's high time Africans studied what this brother, and Carter G. Woodson, founder of Black History, were trying to teach us all, and inculcate it in their philosophies and modus operandii. It was true then, even truer now. And since they were Black men, applicable to the would be presidents of Cote D'Ivoire as well as the people they purport to lead. Wouldn't hurt them to read a litle Franz Fanon as well - you know - Wretched of the Earth, Black Skins, White Masks??? And certainly Frederick Douglass' "My Freedom and My Bondage" just to give them an African American perspective on how much we are being hoodwinked into self sabotage.
We can get so bogged down in b.s., and forget we have the truth right here, under our noses. We have our own geniuses, philosophers. It's okay to try to do stuff the way eurocentrics do; but we still really have to have a philosophy that is suitable for, and works for us as Children of Africa. There's nothing wrong with a great many of what the Euro/Americans have developed. They have made progress very easily (using our labor, of course). But they have this heinous tendenct to deny the humanity of people of other cultures and color; and then to want to confiscate whatever it is they have developed, without sharing any of the benefits.
That's what the Japanese found out; as did people of many other cultures (American Indians). But once the Japanese figured it out, they created a major paradigm shift throughout their country; adapted it in the schools, business, industry, philosophy and they knocked the US, and the rest of the Eurocentric world on their asses with their new technological development, and their protocol of "Quality Control" - you've heard of Toyota, Canon, JVC, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Honda, etc, haven't you?
The Japanese took a major line of departure from the euro/Americo/centric standards and left them all standing in the dust still trying today to catch up with their technological and philosophical developments. There is nothing like quality control, self determination, unity, loyalty, and positive self esteem. But they took it a major step further - they made sure that every man, woman, child, regardless of their economic or educational standing knew everything there was to know about the paradigm shift - through education and training. (Yes, I know it was because of W. Edwards Demming that this happened, but the US rejected his methodology; the Japanese embraced it). They completely stopped the old, ineffective, inefficient ways, and adopted a new way of getting things done -- and blew past all the statistics and standards to the point that the rest of the world had to catch with, and recalibrate their measures.
We gotta get some of that! - for Cote d'Ivoire, African Americans, Africa, South America, Cuba, where ever we are in large numbers. For in truth, there is no place in this whole wide world where Black people are doing well, and are in positive control. Show me one! We are still subjected to eurocentric standards. And when one Black man makes a break through, he is immediately surrounded and separated from the rest of us so that the information that he has is not available directly to us, but is filtered through that of the mainstream's "not necessarily the news media distortions."
Last Parable (I promise): Two mules were yoked together. They had just completed a hard day's work. There was a big pile of hay on either side of the very hungry mules. Mule 1 tried to reach is pile, and in doing so, dragged Mule 2 in its direction. Mule 2 jerked back, so Mule 1did not get any thing to eat. Then Mule 2 tried to eat from the pile near him, and dragged Mule 1 over to his side. Mule 1 jerked back. Then they both tried to eat from their respective piles at the same time, causing a strain on the yoke, but not enough for either of them to reach the coveted hay. So they stood there pulling against each other, angry, hungry, frustrated. Suddenly, an idea came to them (yes both at the same time - it can happen!!): So Mule 1 and Mule 2 walked TOGETHER over to the first pile and both ate the hay TOGETHER. When they had finished that, they walked TOGETHER over to the other pile, and ate the other hay TOGETHER. Then they smiled at each other, sat down, rested TOGETHER.
We have so many things that we need to be doing in Africa in general; Cote d'Ivoire in particular, that we don't have time to be pulling each other apart over this situation. We have to learn to share power; divide labor, and benefit from the wisdom and nuances others have been able to use to move forward. Listen, they worked it out in Kenya; we can do it in Cote d'Ivoire. We have to break the chains of divide and conquer once and for all.
Also remember, to those who have reaped some measure of economic viability in Africa, you still have to help your brothers and sisters. You may have made it, but it means very little if the rest of Africa is still struggling under the thumbs of residual colonization. Nothing trickles down on you but pee - so don't think that some money from someone with some wealth is going to trickle down to the rest of your brothers and sisters. It only works if you set up a plan to make it work. So lets focus on the training and educational programs we need to make it possible to get control over our (Africa's) own mineral and human wealth and capital, and stop letting interlopers come in and take it out from under our very noses, giving us pittances in return.
Cut the border wars, and begin consolidating some of those ties; I should say re-consolidating those ties -- until the arrival of the europeans most of the borders we have now did not exist. United WE stand, divided we reap chaos.
Active sharing with each other, is the way to build an ongoing foundation for multi generational wealth throughout your country - throughout Africa. Sure you may look good riding around in that Citroen Maserati or Mercedes Benz, but when it breaks down, and the only one who knows how to fix it is from France or Germany, you've done nothing to help your own at the end. Where is our African Car? Were is the answer to the new cars they are producing in India to make it possible for people to afford it no matter what their income? Where are our computer and internet geniuses? Who are our next generation educators that can tie all our destinies together and make something magical happen - the reunification of the Children of Africa in a way that completely changes the dynamics of the world for the better?
Ray - I truly wish you much success in this upcoming event. And I hope you share this message with our brothers and sisters from Home, from a sister who resides in the African American Diaspora of Brooklyn, NY, USA!!!
Stay blessed &