Africa and similes are now back in big business. Our friends in America’s punditry are all rushing to Africa for explanations of their current predicament.
It does not happen here.
It happens only in Africa.
It happens only in the banana Republics of the Third World.
He is like an African dictator.
He is like an African despot.
He is like an African this.
He is like an African that.
He is anything but us, this beast, this monstrosity, this aberration.
And the similes pour from the pundits on American TV. And the metaphors rain on radio, in newspaper opinion pages. Only Africa can help explain the phenomenon of an ignorant racial-supremacist fascist in the White House in 2017.
Even the liberal punditry in Europe is not left out of this scramble to mobilize Africa as the explanation for this cancer in the heart of their history, culture, and civilization.
Dazed by the buffoonery of the leader of their Free World in Washington, every pundit in Germany, Spain, Italy, France and Britain suddenly is wringing hands, gnashing teeth, and claiming that this level of fascism is found only in Africa.
Suddenly, the owners of Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco need Mobutu Sese Seko, Omar Bongo, Gnassingbe Eyadema, Arap Moi to help them understand this “aberration” to their culture. And the similes and the metaphors are pouring in from Europe. Trump is like an African this. Trump is like an African that. Trump…is African?
No, no, no, my friends in Western punditry. Africa is not the owner of this corpse. Donald Trump is your father’s corpse. Donald Trump is your mother’s corpse. You have to own it. We are not even interested in co-ownership.
You see, nothing happens in your present that your history, culture, and civilization cannot account for. There is no aberration in your present that is a stranger to your history and culture, to be understood and explained away as the making of other people’s history and culture.
You have grown too accustomed to claiming singular credit for Modernity, Civilization, the Enlightenment, and attributing the other side of these things to peoples outside of your culture. But some of us know that slavery, genocide against native Americans, colonialism, Apartheid, the Holocaust, racism, etc, are the other side of the coin of modernity.
They are co-producers of your Western present. You just do not want to acknowledge it. This explains why every pundit on American cable television imagines he or she needs a mental leap to Africa to understand a racial-supremacist fascist in the White House in 2017.
When I want to explain all the tragedies of the Nigerian present, I look within. I look within Nigeria’s errors of the rendering. I look at Nigeria’s long history of needless and avoidable self-inflicted injuries.
I do not need to travel to America to help me understand why Nigerian Senators and Reps have budgeted new cars for themselves in 2017. Nigeria’s National Assembly is a gathering of Orangutans. I do not attribute responsibility to America. I own my history, my present, and my tragedies. Own yours.
For instance, your racist in the White House appoints another racist White male to oversee his Justice Department. The racist white male in the justice department says there will be no federal charges when white police men shoot black men in the back in broad daylight. Instead, he is interested in voter suppression in black areas and enforcing the most stringent prison terms for minor drug offences against people of colour. And you need to take your similes to Africa to help you understand all of these things?
So what do you imagine that the Civil Rights Movement was against? Against fascists, despots, dictators and tin-gods in Africa?
From CNN to NBC to ABC to everywhere, I see pundits and talk show hosts shell-shocked as they contemplate an American landscape in which institutions are being violated, free speech is being suppressed, journalists are being arrested for asking questions, the media is fake news, and racism is riding the horse of fascism.
The pundits look stunned, dumbfounded. Then they find their voice and scream that it reminds them of Africa.
Helloo! No sir, it reminds me of McCarthy and McCarthyism in your own immediate history and culture. You really do not need the Africa reference to help you understand your problem.
We have lots of problems in Africa that are actually traceable to you.
You have been saying that we should stop blaming colonialism, imperialism, and neocolonialism for our woes. Ok, when you gather around Anderson Cooper tonight for the screaming festival he moderates and calls debates on his show, remember not to blame Africa for the possible tape recording of James Comey by the Frankenstein on your laps.
You have all the explanations in you!