The problem with Africa

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One of the Presidential Residences of the late Omar Bongo

The problem with Africa is not its dictators who own limousines when their citizens need to carry a sack of money to buy a loaf of bread, if it is even there. The PROBLEM with Africa is not with the West, with its double-edged sword of grants; money to buy food and weapons while they buy blood diamonds from our rich mines. Some say the poor ones are the problem, maybe we should just get rid of them, lift them out of poverty or kill them off by starving them; but they are too many in Africa. In addition, it may be a problem when it comes time to plough the farms that grow our endless feasts of cake and burnt flesh. The real problem is not with the ten percent who own eighty percent of Africa, they did what anyone would or could in their situation.

Who is the problem? If you are reading this, then you are the problem. You and I my friend ARE THE PROBLEM. There you go dousing yourselves with wine and homegrown beer, driving your second hand car or you modest Toyota to the next weekend party or music festival; such are the cares of the petit bourgeoisie. The oppressors are smart; they have you so consumed in wanting to be like them, wanting to wear the latest clothes from the exhibitions or their cast off clothes, joking with your friends about the last time you got wasted. Wasted! Yes you are wasted! So wasted by consumerism and functional alcoholism…tequila sunrise anyone?

Our brothers and sisters die for want of a meal, we die for want of the common sense not to drink and drive; the petit bourgeoisie have many problems my friends. What problems you ask? Taxes, rent and wages for the poor folk that we employ in our homes to clean our clothes, cook our meals, take out our trash and raise our brats. We have many problems, we the petit bourgeoisie, so forgive us if we don’t take to the streets when the oppressors steal our money or raise taxes (same difference many might say). We’ll leave that to the masses, they have the time, they have nothing to loose, for they own nothing. We don’t own everything, but we have bills to pay, land to buy, jobs to go to the next morning. The masses can fight for themselves.

The funny thing is my friend, that the masses will fight us at some point, for we are closer to them than the oppressors. The problem is that we are not protected by anything owned by the oppressors; the police serve the monarchs, the army has its allegiances, the devil has his slaves and religion serves its followers only.

We are blessed with opportunity as well as some semblance of integrity, somewhere deep inside, swirling in the pool of tequila and vodka that numbs our souls. Don’t shut your eyes, don’t stand back and watch Africa go to the dogs my friends, because if it does, we will too. We must look, we must speak out, we must act; small acts like paying your workers fair wages, or signing petitions, or writing blogs, or just saying “No!” to the problems of Africa. If we are part of the problem, then lets start with ourselves and open our eyes, as we down our last shot of tequila.


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