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Reject MDG – Embrace African Inspired Global Revolution!

Reject MDG – Embrace African Inspired Global Revolution!

Our President Ernest Bai Koroma recently earned a Millennium Development Goal (MDG) laurel for Sierra Leone for giving high visibility to the HIV/AIDS ‘war’ by his chairing our National Aids Secretariat body.   By living to his legal mandate  of ‘commander-in-chief’ against the war that was being waged by HIV/AIDS on his people, President Yuwerri Musuveni,  a decade earlier,  helped to dramatically reduce the HIV/AIDS prevalence in Uganda.  HIV is a living thing.  Though HIV/AIDS appears innocuous, its probable effect on Sierra Leoneans – especially as it could savage the youth, and  decimate the best and brightest of  our invaluable professional class – could be a hundred times worse than the barbarity of the Foday Sankoh-led ‘rebel war’ between 1991 and 2002.  Now that President Koroma has received global kudos for this positive posture against one of the deadliest of our national enemies, maybe, his confidence would soar to flex muscles against other MDG ‘enemies’.

At the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in September 2000, the international community agreed to eight “Millennium Development Goals” (MDG). They are: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (if the local papers are credible, poverty and hunger is worsening in Sierra Leone today with the spike in the price of our staple food, rice);  achieve universal primary education (what the STANDARD TIMES last week described as ‘sardine-izing’ our students in crowded underequipped classrooms could be worse than granting no education to our majority children and youth; for it could bloat the expectation of our youth without giving them the productive capacity to satiate their desires); promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health (President Koroma will soon win another prize on these fronts);   ensure environmental sustainability (in Sierra Leone, we still think and act as if ‘environmental sustainability’ is something meant for people on Mars); develop a global partnership for development (in Sierra Leone, this ‘partnership’ has meant largely more dependency on Europe and America, now it appears as if we are ‘prostituting’ ourselves to China). For each of these goals, there  are targets and indicators, which define these goals and specify  progress toward their realization.  The targets are to be reached by 2015.  The target for extreme poverty, for example, is to half the number of those in extreme poverty.  Is this achievable?

Not likely.  Not with the present Rules of the Global Game – Rules dictated by Bretton-Woods institutions like the World Bank, IMF, etc.  Not with the present widening chasm between the richest countries  and the poorest countries of the world which has been lampooned by this year’s annual UN Human Development Report.  Not with about two hundred people having more wealth in their possession that all the countries of Africa put together. And, the internet technology is widening this divide.

The Internet is contributing to an ever-widening gap between rich and poor which has now reached “grotesque” proportions, according to a new report by the United Nations. The report condemns the polarization between those who are able to take advantage of the benefits of economic globalization and technological advances like the Internet, and those forced to suffer its effects.

On a recent mobilization drive in the Kennedy Street area of Freetown for the youth group I am ‘The Guru’ for, Youth Arise!, I told the youth that those school-going children who do not have regular access to the internet are engaged in a ‘ba nya fakie’ type of education.  The world today is One Village.  Whatever you learn in Freetown and Kabala has to be globally competitive with what is being learned in Nagasaki, New York, Paris, or Brasilia….Alas, an eight year old primary school child in Los Angeles or Tokyo who has access to the Internet in his school and ‘uses the Internet as his pillow’ at home would have more information on a topic, say, ‘The Human Ear’, than a university student in FBC in Freetown studying the same topic. I am inveterate user of the Internet.  Information which I can scrawl up from the internet in ONE HOUR is what I would take THREE YEARS to collate  about two decades ago – without the internet.  Pat Western-originated or supported concepts like ‘MDG’…  just like the IMF-inspired ‘elixirs’ of the 1980s  (‘Structural Adjustment Programme –SAP’) are a slight loosening of the slave chains on Africans, not breaking up of the these slave chains.  Look, African intellectuals must shake themselves out of their Mental Slavery and be in the vanguard of rewriting the Global Rules that govern our world.

Africans have to unbridle their imagination to read nearly all the current Rules of the Global Game like  this excerpt of the Virginia Slave Code of 1705, in the land known today as the United States of America.

October 1705 – 4th Anne. CHAP. KLIX. 3.447. An act concerning Servants and Slaves

IV. And also be it enacted, by the authority aforesiad, and it is hereby enacted, That all servants imported and brought into this country, by sea or land, who were not christians in their native country, (except Turks and Moors in amity with her majesty, and others that can make due proof of their being free in England, or any other christian country, before they were shipped, in order to transporation hither) shall be accounted and be slaves, and as such be here bought and sold notwithstanding a conversion to Christianity afterwards…

‘XXXIV. And if any slave resist his master, or owner, or other person, by his or her order, correcting such slave, and shall happen to be killed in such correction, it shall not be accounted felony; but the master, owner, and every such other person so giving correction, shall be free and acquit of all punishment and accusation for the same, as if such accident had never happened(Webversion:http://www.law.du.edu/russell/lh/alh/docs/virginiaslaverystatutes.html..’

Of course, today, there is no slave trade being overtly practiced.  Today, whites cannot openly own, not to talk of murder,  blacks who are their properties – with impunity. But, the Global System has made Africans more sub humans, perpetuating the enslavement of Africans of yesteryears.  What I have sought to do over the past thirty years is to fuse the images of the past with the present.  As people of my ilk are greeted with derision, as those of us engaged in the valiant attempt to raise awareness to challenge the global status quo are taking too long to stir positive action, the situation is dramatically worsening for Africans.

Of course, Africans generally, especially the leadership, are entrapped in that mindset that made possible the Protracted Holocaust of the Atlantic Slave Trade for about four centuries – village-minded leaders who see the village forty miles away from theirs as implacable enemies that can be raided and sold into slavery without any compunction.

Here we are in Africa with ‘microscopic economies’ (with GDP per capita that average $400)  and we are sitting in the same United Nations forums with ‘economic giants’ like the United States and the European Union…(with their GDP per capita of $34,000 and $27,000). And we see nothing wrong with this.  For the African leadership this illusion of having a say in how the world is being governed has to be maintained as long as some ‘African president’ is being feted like an equal by the UN Secretary General, or, condescended to in the White House or No 10 Downing Street.   The reality of the tightening slave chains appear to be lost on African leaders…- especially in the realm of education, which determines today, and will do so far the next century, what nations would be masters and what nations will be ‘slaves’.

Governments in sub-Saharan Africa spend only 2.4% of the world’s public education resources on 15% of the global school-age population. In contrast, North America and Western Europe account for more than one-half of the global total of public education spending. Yet, less than 10% of the world’s children and young people live in these countries.  Put that in volume and you would be staggered into resolute action if you are not a chronic Mind Slave.

UNESCO data states that the world invested the equivalent of PPP$ 2.46 trillion in education in 2004. This figure represents 4.4% of global GDP in PPP$.  Pause at that figure – 2.46 trillion dollars.  Some 50% of it being expended for education for children and youth in Sweden, Norway, U.S., U.K, etc. .. 10% of the world’s children in the richest countries spend over one trillion dollars in education!! Here in Sierra Leone, as I left the SLBC late night show of D.J. Base during the launching of ‘Rekindling of Islamic Golden Age’ programme of Youth Arise! two months ago, I was told by Sheikh Bankapoma Kargbo that his school in the Eastend of Freetown where he teaches receives a subsidy of Le2,000 per child per term from the education ministry in Freetown (that is $0.50 cents!!) – juxtapose that figure with the average of Le2,400 spent on a child in Sweden:  50 cents versus 2,400 dollars!

When I read the local newspapers, and reflect on postings of Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora in cyberspace, I almost swoon in indignation at the intensity of the parochial and suicidal dialogue reeking with incendiary tones of ‘Mende versus Temne…..APC verus SLPP….North versus South/East’.   Given the magnitude of the problem that all of Africa is enmeshed in because of globalization, the racists thinking of some Caucasians tend to have credence if Africans cannot see that coming together, burying all tribal, regional, even ‘national’ hatchets is the only hope for survival for the African race in Africa.   There is where the ‘fantasy’ of U.S.-based Sierra Leoneans like Dr. Yaya Fanusie rings with resounding logic: only a United States of Africa will confront the global challenges of today.  Individually, all the nations of Africa are too weak, too  poor, too backward to even stand up against the ‘poorer’ European nations like Greece, Macedonia, Spain…. Kwame Nkrumah was prescient: We have no other option but coming together as one formidable politically and economically united African nation.

Are you listening? Can you feel the ‘God speaking’ in my apparently inconsequential voice…?

Oswald Hanciles, Freetown

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