Bittersweet lessons from the West: Part One

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ONE of the major, but highly misleading achievements of the West since the mid-1970s is the way it has managed to persuade many of us that it stands for human rights.
The leading culprits spearheading this worldwide campaign to convince anyone who cares to listen that the US and Europe have always been bastions of human rights are the so-called global media such as the BBC, CNN, Sky News etc.
All these create the impression that the West is the champion of freedom, democracy, human rights and good governance; they go out of their way to persuade all and sundry that the societies from which they hail are the models to follow.
Those countries which do not kowtow to the West are often vilified and demonised as failures!
This misguided charade has gone on for long until recently when the refugee crisis triggered by NATO-sponsored wars in North Africa and the Middle-East reached Europe.
While the drama surrounding the refugee crisis is still unfolding, Britain has had to eat humble pie and acknowledge that it committed unspeakable atrocities during the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya!
As far as Africa is concerned there are many lessons to be garnered here.
Some of these are:
First: The US and European establishments are not as intelligent, wise and as fore-sighted as many of us give them credit for.
In fact their regime change agenda first in Iraq and Afghanistan, and recently in Syria has turned out to be hugely foolish and self-defeating.
The Iraq that they set out to conquer has now given birth to the Islamic State that is now generating sleepless nights for the Americans, often using American weapons and skills against US interests in the Middle-East.
Similarly the Western agenda to get rid of the Syrian President, Bashir al-Assad, has turned out to be short-sighted and outstandingly foolish because the civil war still rages in Syria and has displaced millions of people.
It is these displaced people flocking to Europe, seeking refuge and security.
And it turns out that Europe, is not ready and willing to welcome them and accommodate them.
More significant, European populations are, for the first time, coming to terms with the dire consequences of European foreign policy of regime change in Africa and the Middle-East.
The bittersweet lesson here is: NATO wars have consequences and Europe now has to pay far more than it bargained for, when it directly destroyed Libya in 2011 and sponsored another war against Syria!
As far as Africa is concerned, it is important to realise how fallible and short-sighted Europe and the US have turned out to be.
Following them blindly as some of us tend to do in the belief that they are infallible is foolish.
It is like the proverbial fly which follows the corpse into the grave.
Second: The so-called refugee or migrant crisis in Europe has more to do with European fears about racial contamination, fears about the likely impact of foreign cultures and traditions, fear about destabilisation of national identities etc than they are about the actual numbers involved.
It is such fears that have exposed the hypocrisy of Europeans and Americans to a degree that was unthinkable one or two years ago.
Take for instance, the sermon about human rights that the West has been preaching all over Africa.
The moment a few thousands unarmed refugees from North Africa and the Middle-East pitch up at European shores, Europe goes hysterical and starts erecting costly razor-wire borders to keep them out, plunging into a ‘rhetorical civil war’ over which country should accommodate which refugees and who should pay for their stay etc.
The European Union is in sixes and sevens and seriously divided over the refugee issue!
During all such bitter disagreements and constant bickering, no one remembers that these refugees are entitled to human rights.
It is really shameful, the yawning gap between the rhetoric on human rights that the West preaches about, and the shabby reality of not welcoming those in dire straits and in genuine need of shelter and food.
The bittersweet lesson for Africa here is brief and brutal: We should judge nations and people by what they do, and not simply by what they say and claim to be.
Europeans have turned out to be loud-mouthed talkers on human rights, but poor performers and shameless racists when it comes to specific challenges thrown up by endless wars that they have generated in Africa and the Middle-East.
Third: One key point which all of us should never lose sight of is that human rights are not some ‘goodies’ periodically donated to Africa by the West as the BBC and CNN would like us to believe!
Human rights are not like some sleek-looking commercial products which one can pick up from shelves of a supermarket.
Human rights have always been struggled for; they have always been part of something that individuals and communities have had to earn after much sweat and loss of many lives.
One can cite the many civil rights struggles waged by blacks in the US before they could be considered as an integral part of the human family and therefore entitled to vote like other races!
One can also cite the many struggles waged by Africans, some political, some military, in order to dislodge a whole array of dictatorial white regimes which exploited African countries on behalf of Europe during the colonial era.
This harsh reality about human rights is often glossed over by the West as it goes about preaching the gospel of human rights, sometimes to the very people whose rights it has always abused and continues to abuse and often to the descendants of those it has always exploited.
One of the aims of such human rights campaigns, sham as they are, is to market the West as the best to our children and grandchildren.
Such a superficial self-marketing approach by the West is meant to steal the hearts and minds of our youths so that they become blindly loyal to the West and more disloyal to their own destiny.
The other aim is a straightforward one; it is to hide a hideous past during which Europe and the US committed unspeakable atrocities against the black race!
Enslavement of blacks remains one of the most heinous crimes ever committed on this planet Earth.
As the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, will discover when he visits Jamaica soon, this crime will not simply not go away.

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