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Cultural De-colonization of African Mind for Meaningful Independence and Development
- By Franklin Otorofani

Published  August 9th, 2015

“The Western world rearranged Africa to suit the whims of Europeans. This restructuring unleashed cultural violence on Africa. The violence touches Africa in ways that make us accept Western values as universal and normative…even if it leads to destruction. Why is everything European considered as universal? Why is everything African considered as negative? Why do Africans bleach their skins, and take Western names? Because there is something wrong with us. We will continue to be victimized so long as we remember the ancestors of our conquerors and colonizers more than our ancestors.”-- Dr. Molefi Asante, Professor of Africology and African Studies, Temple University, Pennsylvania, USA. (Quotes taken from “AMANDLA Global African Community Newspaper” Vol.14 Issue 6 January 15 2015 edition—reporting on a lecture delivered by the author in Ghana titled: “Stop Being Victims of Western Historical Narratives”).

Pointed questions indeed for Africans to ponder that I’m sure many thinking Africans have asked themselves in their quiet moments without ever coming close to the answers to explain it all to them. Well, that is the whole point of this piece. They will find the answers right here if they take the time to read through these paragraphs from the beginning to the end—answers that will jolt and awaken them from their slumber.

Many compliments to this great Ghanaian newspaper for making this report available to the general public. It should be in the hands of every true African son and daughter, and anyone of African ancestry in the Diaspora, as a veritable intellectual tool to help beat back the tide of African cultural colonization and virtual enslavement by the West, yet again.

Isn’t it tragic and shameful that Africans remember the ancestors of their conquerors and colonizers than their own ancestors? That is another way of saying that we remember the deeds of Europeans than those of our ancestors, which abound in African history but no one cares to teach and learn about. Our children minds are tabula rasa.

We’re quick to quote Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Karl Max, Frederick Engels, ex-cetera but not the great orator and political scientist, Zik of Africa, Nkrumah, Ahmadu Bello, Awolowo the sage, and other titans in African history and modern times. If these were Europeans that’s all we would hearing and learning about in colleges and universities and popular media dominated by the West.

Dr. Asante hit the nail right on its head. Colonialism has ended in Africa, but it is not ended and lives on in the interstices of African societies like malignant strains of a stubborn virus that would not yield to medication.

For my little part, however, it is a notorious fact that I have been writing ad-nauseam about this issue and preaching this cultural gospel at every opportunity in my own little way for more than a decade now since my sojourn abroad, having seen and witnessed firsthand from a vantage point in the US, what the West is doing to the rest of the world, that millions of American citizens themselves, are vehemently opposed to hence some of the protests and demonstrations that flare up every now and then in the US.

But it is good and refreshing to hear it from such a weighty and influential voice as professor Asante, who is considered one of the leading African scholars in the Diaspora in this field. It’s indeed humbling and a privilege to have a meeting of minds with such a first rate authority on this subject with dozens of books and academic publications to his credit on this and related subjects.

That little part of mine continues right here in this piece, which I must caution is characteristically quite involved and voluminous and may therefore task your reading and absorption capacities. It’s all well and good for what the reader stands to learn from these writings that would be found nowhere else in the popular media. Rest assured this is coming from a committed Pan-Africanist in our modern times following on the footsteps of our founding fathers who gave their all to the cause of African liberation. The least we can do is read, learn and hopefully, act.

Now, if you asked me, I would say straightaway that he should be appointed cultural consultant to both AU and UNESCO, and that is if he’s not one already, as well as to African governments. For obvious reason which I will touch on presently, not many African scholars are as committed to this subject as Dr. Asante, which is indeed quite sad.

Wouldn’t it be great, by the way, to hear it too, loud and clear, from other influential African scholars like Professor Wole Soyinka of Nigeria, for example, who is unfortunately and regrettably, another tragic Eurocentric academic perpetrating this cultural colonization of Africa? Wouldn’t that be awesome, powerful and liberating?

Think of the message that would have sent to the West. But he will not because he’s beholden to the West that made him and to which he’s therefore ultimately answerable and serviceable. I won’t sugarcoat it: it’s a betrayal of the continent in what matters most or at best clearly an error of judgement in my humble opinion. Thank goodness other equally competent scholars are stepping up to the plate and filling the void.

Hello, I’m not here to trash or critique Wole Soyinka because the facts speak for themselves. But one would recall rather painfully, with the benefit of hindsight, how Wole Soyinka had poo-pooed and summarily dismissed the late poet and leading Pan-Africanist, President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania’s post-independence African Negritude movement, claiming that the tiger does not shout its tigritude. The tiger does not shout its tigritude? Quite an interesting critique by the erudite professor of literature.

For those who don’t know about it, the negritude movement’s main objective was to celebrate African cultural heritage particularly in African literature of which poetry was a powerful tool to implement and actualize it. That is what Soyinka was opposed to and ridiculed in a show of totally unnecessary intellectual rivalry. Perhaps he preferred it done quietly and secretly to avoid ruffling some feathers in the West, if at all he subscribed the objective. If Africa does not blow her own trumpet, who will blow it for her? Europe, Asia or the Americas? This is veiled sabotage.

With due respect, how could anyone that’s at heart truly desirous of promoting African culture at all object to its open celebration in literature and other media, denouncing it as being tantamount to the tiger shouting its tigritude? I personally find such objection rather bizarre, curious and untenable, particularly in the light of the notorious fact that that is all the West has been doing all along—shouting out loud, and advertising itself and its cultural values in every medium of communication, and at the UN and other international forums, in addition to its massive propaganda. And when that fails, it quickly resorts to military aggression to impose them by force of arms.

Have you heard any criticisms from Wole Soyinka about Western military aggression and imposition of its decadent moral values on other nations around the world? Nope! This is why, without in anyway shape or form, diminishing the literary accomplishments of Wole Soyinka, I continue to revere late Professor Chinua Achebe over and above the Nobel Laureates in Africa. His work was authentically African in definitive refutation of Western cultural caricatures of Africa, which was extremely liberating and infectious too.

But before you run away with the wrong impression and jump to conclusion, however, I’m not saying that Wole Soyinka does not deserve a Nobel Prize for Literature for whatever it is worth, but to underline the point that Eurocentric considerations doubtlessly went into the decision to give him the award as others. But I would not consider him Africa’s cultural ambassador in the same light as late Chinua Achebe whose literary works are suffused with African wisdom and cultural traditions.

That the Nobel Prize for Literature was denied Chinua Achebe, the widely acknowledged cerebral Pan-Africanist of the first order, who set the tone and led the way in the de-colonization of African literature with his Afro-centric script in “Things Fall Apart”, speaks volumes and therefore does not require my further interpretation and explanation here. It is instructive to note, however, that the seminal ground breaking novel was repeatedly rejected by Western Publishers time and again before it was eventually accepted and published.

But for Achebe’s doggedness, steadfastness and perseverance, that masterpiece of a novel would not have seen the light of day, and Africa would have been much poorer for it. How many African writers, scientists and inventors suffered similar fate in the hands of Western publishers? Your guess is as good as mine, so go ahead and make an educated guess. I see them in their hundreds, if not thousands, especially during the colonial and post-colonial eras.

Why would they reject such a pace-setting, first rate literary work of that caliber? Again, your guess is as good as mine, and I will leave that for you to chew on. The point, however, is that the West cannot decide for us our heroes and heroines. We get to make and reserve the right to that decision for ourselves. Period. The very idea that it is some Royal Swedish Academy somewhere in Stockholm that gets to tell us what is good for African literature, and who best expresses it, is repugnant to me as an African, and I don’t care who the recipient is or what he/she stands for. Stockholm cannot and will not speak for Africa. It speaks for the West and its satellite states and cultural and economic appendages.

The same academy that awarded candidate Barack Obama a Nobel Peace Prize during his presidential campaign for doing virtually nothing even before he was elected, other than merely opposing the Iraqi war, as they told the world, out of millions of other Americans who did the same, including leading Congress men and women, is not worth the piece of paper the award is inscribed on. If merely being against a particular war is the requirement for a Nobel Peace Prize, at least half of the world would qualify as Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

The bottom line is that Africa does not need Europeans to honor her sons and daughters and vice versa, because such honors are little more than political and cultural statements and judgements pronounced by the West on the continent. But who appoints the West judge over Africa and the rest of the world for that matter?

Tyranny in Africa? Too bad, but it’s none of the West’s business, because there is plenty of tyranny in the West too. Corruption in Africa? Too bad, but it’s none of its business, because there is plenty of corruption in the West too—massive corruption for that matter in Western governments, dwarfing anything in Africa. Did you know, for example, the massive corruption and waste discovered in the US Iraqi and Afghan wars? Ever heard of VP Dick Cheney’s Halliburton’s subsidiary getting no-bids inflated contracts for billions of dollars?

Or, for that matter, the massive corruption in Social Security administration, Medicare and Medicaid in the US? Or the tens of billions of dollars going down the drain in the Defense department and the Pentagon? Hundreds of billions of dollars every year in corruption and waste pipes combined! That’s tax payers’ monies being cornered by smarts players in the system. Civil rights abuses? Hahaha! Too bad, but you better not tell us the West is free of it. Ever heard of Abu-Ghraid Prisons and Guantamo Bay Prisons in Iraq and Cuba respectively? Ever head of kill and go cops in the US? If you haven’t you must have been living in a cave.

Well too bad, but it’s none of the business of the West, if that happens in Africa and elsewhere, because as the world has since learned, the West too, abuses the civil rights of its citizens as well, and nobody, except perhaps the Chinese and Russians, has the guts to call it out. How about millions of able bodied black young black men languishing in American jail houses many on trumped up charges with their lives permanently destroyed? How’s that for civil rights? How’s that for justice? How about those being cut down by the police in extra-judicial executions?

Don’t get me started please because there are no worse human rights abuses than the summary extra-judicial execution of citizens for minor crimes or for no crimes at all by the police. That is the very definition of a police state associated with dictatorships, for crying out loud. If that is not oppression and tyranny, I don’t know what is, and please, please tell me what is so that I may learn more and be better educated on the subject.

Western stooges and water boys planted in third world nations to destabilize and make wars with their governments that the West does not like and wants to overthrow and replace with its puppets, which it callously and flippantly refers to as “regime change”; creating crisis and civil wars, and generally subverting their nations and peoples, automatically qualify as Nobel Laureates! The world should open its eyes to this.

READ MORE: China parliament head warns of western-style democracy for Hong Kong

And we're supposed to jump out of skins and drool over these political awards? Give me a break! The Nobel Prize for whatever has been turned into a political instrument of the West designed to reward Western political agents and stooges in developing countries, not worth a dime a dozen for the rest of the world. With that said, the time for preachments and platitudes is over and now is the time for some practical actions to rid the continent of this corrosive mindset and return it to its pristine cultural roots—to its fundamentals and imperatives, because words alone uttered in our living rooms while watching Western movies from our couches on television sets will get us nowhere in this existential battle.

Yes indeed, erudite professor. I’m with you on this one 110% and there are millions of Africans out there who are aware of this but couldn’t be bothered. There is something fundamentally wrong with us as a people and a race, and it is deep and long lasting—no question about it as the facts speak for themselves.

The black man has virtually no racial identity today other than his own rejected black skin which, he himself has associated with evil, failure, inferiority, and charitable object of pity, not just in continental Africa, but everywhere else outside of the continent. It’s the product of brainwashing and the use of foreign languages that associate black color with evil. Just look at the English language: it drips with demonization of blackness expressed in words and phrases full of racial slurs directed at blackness or darkness for effects.

But, if I must address you respectfully and directly, your mentally colonized colleagues in African Ivory towers must bear a large chunk of the blame, because they’re the ones perpetuating this inferiority complex in African youths who happen to pass through their hands in colleges and universities, and passed on to the general populace in Africa. This is not what our founding fathers fought and died for.

Drs. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Kwame Nkrumah, and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, for example, though educated in the West, threw out their barren, meaningless, colonial slavish English and other Western names only for their successors to pick them up again from the cultural dumpsites and invested them with superior airs over and above their rich native African names, full of meanings, symbolisms and historicity, for crying out loud. The same way American elites were aping their European counterparts in both pre-and post-revolutionary periods. It’s a common disease that afflicts a conquered and colonized people, which only a different path to development and governance can overcome as happened in the United States.

America, or the United States to be more precise, deliberately chose to part ways with Europe its conquerors and colonizers, and designed for itself a different governmental and economic systems in order to be original and authentic. And even the English language, which could not be immediately replaced as there was none to replace it, was not spared either. It modified and changed it almost beyond recognition today! Why because as the saying goes, a dog does not go back to its vomit. And that is precisely what Africans are doing to themselves lapping up the cultural effluents of the West like deranged men, which is shameful and regrettable.

Sheepishly and indiscriminately copying others in every detail and all things will not make you equal to them, and besides it’s an admission of inferiority. And we are all victims of this complex that we are busy bequeathing to our children attributes of strange foreign cultures that have no place in our cultural traditions and evolution and in fact detrimental to them. Aren’t we?

How many Africans can speak their own mother tongues fluently? How many Africans know their own ethnic history? And how many are comfortable in their own God given skins and native attires? How many savor their own healthy, natural, nutrients-filled ethnic foods in place of the artificially processed, de-natured carcinogenic Western designer meals? How many remember their folklores growing up? How many are proud of their cultural heritage? Probably not a whole lot out there.I can tell you that because I see it everyday with black folks going so far as even denying their blackness and attempting fruitlessly of course to be more white than whites.

That my first name is Franklin rather than Okorodudu, which is rhythmic and graces the tongue just as well, if not better, and I’m addressing this message to Africans in English rather than in Hausa, Swahili, Yoruba, Edo, Igbo or Urhobo language, evidences the cultural abnormality and disconnect prevalent on the continent. Which other continent does this to itself in the world? In other places foreign languages are second languages even in formerly colonized parts. This is a living tragedy.

The West is only one of four geographical/cultural regions in the world and by no means the biggest in size, population and resources. But it casts disproportionately, its suffocating shadows like the wings of an albatross over all other regions of the world. Why should Western educational standards automatically be global standards? Why should Western beauty standards automatically be global standards? Why should Western financial standards automatically be global standards? Why should Western moral or, if you like, immoral standards automatically be global standards? Why should Western human rights standards automatically be global standards? Or for that matter why should Western cultural diseases be everybody else’s cultural diseases? In short, why should Western values be automatically be global values?

The answer is there is absolutely no reasons at all because every region or culture is entitled to its own developmental and cultural pathways without undue interference and meddlesomeness from others. This is enshrined in the UN Charter, and must therefore be respected as is as an inviolable global compact of nations in international law. And the only reason that is not happening and the West routinely violates these extant UN provisions unchecked without sanctions, is due to the power and influence of colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism perpetrated by the West on defenseless regions of the world with culture at the root of it all.

Now, let me be absolutely clear about this before I proceed any further lest some ulterior or racial motives be ascribed to my intellectual exertions here: By no means is this to be construed as a personal but a public, national and even continental matter of utmost continental importance. Suffice it to state, however, that I currently live in the West and by definition, a Westerner of sorts. Therefore I have no interest whatsoever in running down the West save to point out certain of its conduct that are in my humble opinion inimical and injurious to others, in particular, my ancestral and cherished African continent—the cradle of civilization.

Much of this may be ancient history, which the continent ought to have put behind her and move on like others with similar experiences, but the exploitation of Africa by the West continues unabated both culturally and economically, although in ways that may be less direct and intrusive than in colonial and slavery eras, but nonetheless equally corrosive and devastating on the continent.

Now somebody has to say these things and expose these Western machinations in the continent and that somebody happens to be me at this point in time—an African to the core of my being— while others, poor victims of eurocentrism themselves are soaking up Western propaganda and toxic cultural excrements like dry sponges on contaminated blood and other body fluids flowing from across the Atlantic to African shores like the toxic nuclear waste ship dump in Koko port in Delta state, Nigeria, which was sent packing after some patriotic Nigerians alerted the Nigerian government of its arrival.

The human and material plunder of the African continent and indeed of others as indicated and evidenced in the insidious transatlantic slave trade that crudely and savagely herded and shipped out, like cattle, millions of carefully selected Africans with superior physical and mental qualities to so-called “New World” to perish in the white man’s plantations, and subsequent mindless raid and expropriation of her natural resources to Europe over the course of several centuries, is well documented in the history books and need not detain us here. It goes without saying that the existential damages inflicted on the Mother Continent are indelible and, if at all, will take as many centuries to heal.

However, while the rather epileptic healing process earlier ambitiously initiated and charted by Pan-Africanists of the Zikist, Nkrumanist, Nyererean, Kenyattan, Awoist era, has, for the most part, taken the form of physical development via the routes of economic, social and infrastructural development, the African mind itself—that all-important component—has remained virtually untouched and therefore ossified in a seemingly permanently colonized state regardless of educational economic and social statuses of Africans. In fact, that mindset is baked into their educational and socialization processes—what I would, for want of better expression, refer to as neo-colonial cultural programming.

Former Tanzania President Julius Nyerere’s negritude movement, referenced earlier in this piece, was perhaps the first collective attempt at intellectual decolonization of the African mind. African writers, notably Chinua Achebe’s groundbreaking Things Fall Apart also referenced earlier in this piece intellectualized the refutation of Western cultural caricature of African culture and civilization.

The intellectual pursuit of African writers and intelligentsia in general must therefore revolve deeply around the reclamation and restoration of authentic African cultural identity in all its manifestations in order to reverse the grave damage done to it by Western imperialist machinations.

Let’s face it: the vast majority of so-called African intellectuals, political and economic elites are little more than pathetic mouthpieces of their Western counterparts totally devoid of originality, authenticity and quality of African-ness. The colonized state of African intelligentsia and elites in general has denied African civilization of any measure of growth and advancement whatsoever, leaving African civilization seemingly permanently stuck in the past not the present with little to no chance of advancing into the future.

African cultural genres such as religion, language, arts and crafts, music and dance, fashion, culinary arts, folklores, festivals, social systems, numerology, literature, architecture, medicine and healing arts, ex-cetera, ex-cetera, have at best, suffered neglect and abandonment and at worst, total annihilation in preference for their Western alternative implants rather than their development and promotion on the world stage.

Of course there are a few exceptions here and there evidencing a renaissance of sorts of African culture and civilization, but the damage is so deep and pervasive that the stirrings of renaissance are like the flickers of dying embers of hitherto vibrant, colorful and Klelodoscopic African cultural wild fires in previous generations and eras.

The ironic and most painful aspect of it all is that this cultural suicide is being carried out by Africans themselves, who have been brainwashed and programmed by colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism, to reject and hold inferior that which is indigenous and African, and to hold dear and superior that which is European and Western. Thus any product, idea or system, stamped with the label “Made in the West” is automatically invested with superior quality, even for things the West had copied from Africa and other lands like China, for example. And there are gazillions of things copied by the West from other lands. This is the end result of marketing, advertisement propaganda, education and direct imposition.

Not many people in the world are aware of the historical fact that the gunpowder, which the West later obtained and turned into a weapon of gunboat diplomacy to colonize Africa and the rest of the world, was invented in China. Not many people are aware that the art and science of ceramics originated from China, including, I dare add, the “compass” instrument too, used for navigation.

Not many people are aware that contrary to Western claims it is, at the very least, debatable that democracy originated from Greece. Not many people are aware of the historical fact that the so-called Western medicine and even the scientific methods themselves, did not originate from the West but definitively from Africa. So also is mathematics and astronomy.

Surgery, for instance, was being performed in ancient Egypt well before the West even knew of it. Military arts and science and the art of warfare itself was well developed in all of ancient empires outside of the West. Not many people are aware that the science and art of mummification was invented in Africa, specifically Egypt.

And till tomorrow the mathematical and scientific genius in that manifested itself in the construction of the Egyptian Pyramids still baffle the West. Not many people are aware that law was not invented in the West but in Mesopotamia during the reign of Hummurambi by no means a Westerner. So don’t tell me the world begins and ends in the West.

Even capitalism, which is essentially an advanced form of private ownership of the means if production, generally associated with the West, is no more European or Western than it is African Asian, or Arabic in origins and development. Historical evidence proves conclusively that Africa was, at the very least, at par with her peers in human and material development, and her post-colonial arrested growth and development can be laid at the doorsteps of colonialism and imperialism, which today has taken the invisible but no less hideous form of neo-colonialism.

Not many people are aware that pre-colonial African arts are superior to their Western counterparts and many were in fact, stolen and kept in Western museums as national treasuries. Could you imagine that? Stolen artistic assets from other lands turned in Western national treasures in their museums just like stolen funds from Africa and elsewhere stashed away in their bank vaults and loaned back to them through IMF and World Bank with crushing interests.

Not many people are aware of the existence of robust and thriving pre-colonial textile industries in Africa with authentic African technologies in different parts of Africa, including Northern, Eastern and Western Nigeria and Ghana.

I could go on and on but there are gazillions of examples to cite. But for the slave trade and colonialism all these could have been further developed, perfected and expanded into various product lines and lines of businesses for both local and export markets employing millions of Africans with attendant higher standards of living and self-pride for the generality of the citizenry with multiplier effects for African economies.

Corruption and inept leadership yes, but that does not explain Africa’s state of perpetual underdevelopment. Corruption, by and large, pertains to the public sector, not the private sector. What I’m talking about here pertains to the private sector, which could still thrive in spite of corruption in the public sector. This has been proven in both Russia and China where corruption in the public sector is legendary but has not prevented their economic and military development to become global superpowers. Am I condoning corruption? Not at all. Read the line again.

What is happening is the refusal or inability of the private sector to take advantage of the cultural richness of Africa to develop goods and services as their counterparts have done in other continents. Africa nations must recognize and come to terms with the fact that culture is the basis of all development. It creates the pathways to be followed.

There is no reason why several industries employing millions of Africans cannot be developed from African local brews, culinary and healing arts, for example. Same for African fashion, music and dance, arts and crafts, agriculture, literature and folklores as it has been done with home movies lately. The roaring successes of the home movie industry should galvanize the development of other cultural assets on commercial scale.

Eurocentrism is the number one enemy in Africa—a psychological disease that must be recognized as such. It’s the slave syndrome in which the slave adopts the tongue, mannerisms and even the gods of his master as his own long after he’s freed. It is the killer of jobs and economic development in Africa. This explains why English, French, and Portuguese, not Hausa, Yoruba, Fufulbe, or even the widely spoken Swahili, are the official languages of African nations even in the colonial AU sitting in Adis-Ababa, Ethiopia.

As Dr. Asante puts it, “serious conversation of who we are and what we’ve lost should happen” because the “A victim cannot benefit from its victimization”. He, therefore, “challenged the presence of Islam and Christianity on the continent and questioned why Africans do not see these religions as disruptive forces in African historical narrative.”

“Neither of the two religions is African. We embrace them because we don’t know who were are,” which is precisely what I had been saying all the time in my writings. If the West is now abandoning its own Christianity, which it had imposed on the continent through colonial rule, why should Africans be more Catholic than the Pope? There is no reason why warring and destabilizing foreign religions should be given a pride of place in Africa when their founders are abandoning them in their homelands particularly Christianity. African religions need to be re-organized into coherent, programmatic and teachable belief systems.

READ MORE: Christianity Declines In Europe, Increases in Africa and ...

It makes no sense at all that we do not know where we’re coming from and where we’re going as a people, but wanders about aimlessly and groping in the dark looking for some direction. The authentic African identity must be restored and quickly too, otherwise we’re going nowhere and will continue to be disrespected and ignored everywhere.

This is why Africa could not, for example, create an industry capable of employing literally hundreds of thousands of her citizens out of her natural nourishing local beverages that abound in the continent, and must therefore commit billions of dollars of scarce foreign exchange earnings and reserves importing them. And this why immoral ideas and practices invade our shores and adopted without question because in truth Africans are still bound in mental and intellectual slavery that will only take committed Pan-Africanists to address and overcome.

This is why there are more Africans on Facebook and Twitter than Europeans because they’re content with consuming the cultural products of others than producing their own. If Facebook, Twitter or other social medium was invented by an African, Africans would not have touched it even with a long pole but would have sabotaged and strangle it to death with their own hands due to envy and/or ethnic rivalries. Or at best viewed it as somewhat inferior and not worth their time, which is symptomatic of a people laboring under inferior complex.

In contrast, the Chinese and Russians have their own social networks comparable to their Western counterparts developed by them because Asians have self-respect and extremely proud of their cultural values and heritage. Not only that, they’re now exporting their cultural products to the West in reverse order as indicated in Oriental traditional medicines, including but not limited to acupuncture, which has been incorporated into Western medicine, martial and culinary arts, spiritualism, including all forms of meditation notably Yoga, and even languages being studied in Western schools not as specialized college studies but in high school curricula.

Western malls are filled with products originating from Asia, in fact, they depend on them for business. Commercially and culturally the West is being gradually colonized by the East just at the time when Islam is taking over and displacing Christianity in Europe, as you read this, and only Africa is left behind carrying the can for the West, which is fast in retreat

READ MORE: Gates of Vienna: Europe’s Takeover by Islam, Part 1

A few decades ago the reverse was the case but no more as Asia, headed by the Chinese dragon, woke up from its slumber to reclaim its cultural heritage and civilization. West hugging and diminishing Japan, had led the way a few decades earlier to challenge the West and became the second largest economy in the world. Today, Asia has more wealth, bigger and more powerful than dying Europe. It is all in the spirit of a people—yes their culture. Which part of this Africa does not understand? Well it does and that’s why it is heading China. But that is removing a bad ring from one finger and putting it in another. Africa should remain true to herself by reclaiming her past and go from there.

Why Asia has reversed the cultural traffic it is still largely a one-way cross Atlantic cultural traffic with Africa. This is why Nigerian leader, Buhari would go to Washington DC, cap in hand begging for arms.This is why a certain Barack Obama and a John Kerry, both Western liberals could come to Africa and lecture their betters on gay rights but shut their loud, leaky mouths in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and elsewhere in the Arab world where gays and lesbians are beheaded and decapitated live.

You will notice how Western liberals both in continental Europe and North America shy away from criticizing radical Islam that has no tolerance whatsoever but death sentence for homosexuals but quick to trash Christianity, which at the very least, accommodates them as human beings in society even if it rightly condemns the practice as grossly immoral and sinful. Liberals know their place and who to pick fight with. Therefore you will not find Obama going to Saudi Arabia preaching about gay rights. He knows too well how he will be treated.

Why is that? It’s because Islam has a fighting army aggressively defending, protecting, promoting and pushing its values. Compromised watered down Christianity, on the other hand has nothing to offer but platitudes, which it is not even allowed to preach anymore in the West let alone enforce. When was the last time you heard the Pope condemning homosexuality and abortion publicly? If you happen to live in the West, when was the last time you heard a church leader openly condemning sin and unrighteousness in the West? If you did, it must be some decades ago before the EU came into being and liberals came into power in the West. They have invested sin with legality and civil rights.

Now more sin as sin and unrighteousness have been clothed in the beautiful gown of “civil right” and so abortion is a civil right and same-sex marriage is a civil right, all of a sudden. Therefore no church leader in the West would be heard sermonizing against these evils in the West publicly. And pretty soon, they will not be allowed to condemn them in their church sermons either, as liberal governments police churches and plant “minders” to monitor sermons and report them to the authorities for necessary action if they cross the lines. Freedom of religion is dead in the West.

When a pope abandons his moral duty to condemn sin and turn wayward people to God and instead take to organizing conferences on “global warming” and condemning “capitalism”, you don’t need to be told that Christianity is in its last days in the West. In truth, it has been so cowed, intimidated and browbeaten into virtual submission that it is looking frantically not to offend Western liberals, who are busy demolishing it, piece by piece, but for conservative Christians, who are fighting back tooth and nail to preserve whatever is left of it.

When so-called global warming, which by the way, has been seriously disputed by hordes of credible well-heeled scientists who have no political agenda to push, suddenly becomes the preoccupation of a Catholic pontiff in lock-steps with Western liberals who see it as their new religion and road to power, it is game over for Christianity.

Forget about the West. It is far gone and all that is left of it today are shadows of its former power and might. The West has no exclusive claim to superiority over others, in fact quite the contrary. To put it as bluntly as I can without malice, there were civilizations superior to Western civilization before the middle ages when Europe was still in the Dark Age as testified by Marcopolo’s own diaries in his adventures in the Orient.

The inevitable question then is how was it possible for a people with inferior civilization in the past to colonize others with superior civilization in the past and pretty much destroyed their entire civilizations by claiming and asserting racial superiority they never had in the past to begin with? Let’s face it both colonialism and slavery were based on the bogus theory of the alleged superiority of Western civilization. Let’s not whitewash it. White supremacist theories of the Aryan types under Hitler’s Germany were at the root and legitimization forces and power behind slavery and colonial rule, and they still exist today throughout the West in one form or another.

The answer is simple: gunboat diplomacy. Whoever carries the gun or the bigger gun carries the day, anytime any day, anywhere. A gun wielding individual whether inferior or not will most likely have his way in a duel with superior individual with bare hand. Simple. It’s not rocket science. This is why NATO exists and we are all witnesses to the damage NATO has done in other lands to subdue nations and their peoples.

As such any nation, continent or peoples that have any desires for self-preservation physically and culturally must not neglect its military, even, for the sake of emphasis, its citizens are starving, for death will come to them anyways, from a predatory foreign power (s) if it exhibits weakness militarily. This is because in the international arena, the rule of the jungle applies not withstanding pretentions to the contrary.

Thus but for its military might the Russian Federation, for example, would have been destroyed by NATO just as Libya and Iraq were destroyed by it, rather than just imposing fruitless sanctions. The difference between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq that was driven out of Kuwait and Russia lies in their vastly unequal military power. Therefore, Iraq gets to be driven out of Kuwait, humiliated and punished but Russia gets to keep Crimea and negotiated with by Western powers as equal partners for similar acts of military aggression against their neighbors.

Similarly, but for its nuclear arsenal, North Korea would have been overrun by NATO and annexed to South Korea or at best turned into Western puppet nation carrying water as water boy of the West like South Korea and Japan.

And the same goes for Iran, which even without a functional nuclear arsenal, has, in timely recognition of this truism, amassed enough military firepower in conventional weaponry over the last several decades to deter military aggression from the West because even the West meticulously calculates the cost of military interventions before pouncing and preying.

Keep in mind, I’m not saying these regimes are good or bad, with regards to their human rights records because that is not what this is about. It’s about respect for national sovereignties and independence and not an exercise in ideological or human rights based judgement. As a matter of fact I have no interest whatsoever in engaging in that argument knowing full well that the West uses it as pretext for interference in the domestic affairs of other nations while it practices it at home.

Iran, the ancient land of the powerful Persian empire of antiquity with a long history and memory, has not forgotten in a hurry how the West had hurriedly sided with the brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein in the Iran/Iraq war, which it turned around to dethrone and murdered with his sons, just as it did to Col. Muammar Qaddafi, the erstwhile Libyan strongman. It has not forgotten either how the same West had sided with its own former brutal dictator, the Shah to tyrannize the people who rose up and threw out the Western puppet on exile in France.

It would therefore not be taken advantage of militarily anymore by the West. The massive military/industrial complex the Iranians are building, including its nuclear arsenal the West has now timidly given up on under Obama, testifies to the potency and deterrent effect of credible military power. As with any bully, the West understands the language of power.

If African nations were militarily strong in colonial times or had allied themselves to a strong military power elsewhere, there would have been neither slavery nor colonialism in Africa. The West would have minded its own business at home. And Africa would not have suffered the syndrome of arrested growth and development prevalent in the continent today.

Her culture and civilization would not have been damaged this badly, and her sons and daughters would not be suffering this terrible mental disease of inferiority complex. There would not have been African-Americans in the United States and blacks in the Diaspora as second class citizens in every continent. If the West determines that the costs of direct or indirect military aggression would be too great, it will back down, pull back and seek “diplomatic” solution instead.

That’s when the world would begin to hear platitudes and sermons about “diplomatic solutions” and “peaceful resolution of the conflict” or something to that effect all because it has run out of military options. The world must understand this basic Western mindset and prepare itself to meet it frontally all times particularly African nations that had suffered some of its crudest and cruelest manifestations. The West speaks and understands only the language of power. Putin understands this. Iran understands this. North Korea understands this. And hell yes, China understand this too. And Africa had better understand this too.

This is why Nigeria’s defense plan announced last Friday by President Muhammadu Buhari for the “development of a modest military industrial complex for Nigeria," is both timely and strategic to complement her economic power in the continent. I had in the past severally called for this and I do so now for the umpteenth time for a more robust action.

As I have argued in the past time and again, Africa needs a credible military power on the continent to defend, protect and project her interests on the continent and abroad, otherwise it will remain a poaching and testing ground for Western predator nations testing new weapon systems as was, in fact, the case with Libya in recent memory.

But why set only a “modest” plan for Nigeria? Nigeria should take a page from Iran, an oil producing nation under crippling Western sanctions that has regardless transformed itself into a regional military powerhouse before our eyes in a short order. Nigeria has no such restrictions and should therefore go full blast in developing an advanced military/industrial complex. Nigerian founding fathers clearly saw the need for this back in 1964 when they established the Defense Industries Corporation (DICON) in Kaduna, which only produces small arms and munitions, when it has virtually no competition in Nigeria and much of Africa.

Think about that for moment while we’re at it what the Nigerian defense industry would have become by now if it had been given the attention it deserves by successive governments, including private sector participation. It would have been in the same or close to the same league as the American and Russian military/industrial complexes, or at least, the Indian and Iranian counterparts.

The Nigerian government should quit setting modest goals and go big and ambitious on this and other major national development projects. There can be no room for half-measures and timid goals in Africa’s developmental efforts. Been there done that in the land of modesty in the past, and it got us nowhere near our dreams. Let us for once go big and bold this time around.

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With that said, the neo-colonial programming of Africans is effected through a variety of means not just the military, including but not limited to history books and/or materials written by Western academics, propaganda literature and even direct radio broadcasts to mention, but a few. However, the development of the World-Wide-Web (WWW), has introduced totally new dimensions to it that do not respect national/continental boundaries if not properly policed.

Recognizing the capacity of the West for mischief making in the deployment of the internet as a major weapon of cultural warfare and espionage in its arsenal, several nations have made haste to develop robust internet surveillance policies and powerful, almost impenetrable firewalls. Russia, China, North Korea, India Iran, and a dozen other nations have adopted these measures in their communication policies in order to safeguard their digital territorial integrity in like manner as their physical territorial borders.

This, therefore, should be the next frontier in the war against cultural colonization, which for want of better expression, should take the nomenclature of the “African Cultural Decolonization Program,” (ACDP), which should be multi-pronged.

As pacifist Japan found out rather belatedly in its brawl with China, economic power alone that is not matched with military muscle is a recipe for national humiliation and disaster hence it has moved to dump its pacifist constitution and now revving up domestic military capabilities rather than relying on the US which is only barking and not biting China for obvious reasons: China is armed to the teeth in addition to being an economic powerhouse. Plus is a big debtor nation to China. So it treads cautiously when it comes to dealing with China over Japan and Taiwan.

Huge lesson indeed for Africa.

And lastly but not the least, it is my considered opinion that African governments ought to seriously consider making African historical studies a compulsory subject in their secondary school curricula, because as Dr. Asante rightly observed, “African people lack access to ancient sources of knowledge and wisdom.”

This is in recognition of the fact that a people who are generally ignorant of their own history and cultural heritage are nothing more than a bunch of aimless floaters in the sea of humanity that would find anchor on any passing objects near them, including debris whether they’re harmless or harmful. This is what is happening today on the continent.

With that said, Asante’s remarks begs the question as to why and by whom African people are being denied access to ancient knowledge and wisdom. If I have to wager a bet, African educational system is to blame including African elites and intelligentsia as hinted earlier, who have demonstrated no interests whatsoever in the revival of African cultural heritage perhaps due to the influences of foreign religions and practices on the continent. Elsewhere I had pointed to the damage done to African cultures and traditions by foreign religions which are not by any stretch any better than indigenous ones save perhaps for their codification.

If Africans know their history and culture, they will be less vulnerable, and become more resistant to unhealthy external cultural influences. They will hold on tight and take pride in their rich and glorious cultural heritage for themselves, their offspring as well as for future generations.

Franklin Otorofani is a Nigerian-trained attorney and public affairs analyst based in the United States.
Contact: mudiagaone@yahoo.com



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