Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Letter from Africa to Mr. Donald Trump By Abimbola Lagunju

Dear Mr. President-Elect Trump,
Congratulations on your election as the 45th president of the United States.

I am one of the very few people who, here in Africa supported you during your campaign for the White House. I walked my talk and placed bets on your victory. I could not vote, but I supported you because I strongly believe that there is a need for a new world order, which the current Western Establishment is not capable of delivering. I supported you despite the extreme virulence of your rhetoric. I admired your frankness and your gut-speak even if I did not agree with some of your utterances during the campaign. I argued on your behalf that you would not play political correctness when human security is at stake, which is the situation today. I put my bets on you because I believe that you have this uncanny ability to think out of the box and to find solutions. Somehow, I am convinced that you would not allow yourself to be confined by the rigid, narrow and manipulative worldview of the current political establishment.

I argued that the current world order needs a rethink and a new approach to problem-shooting and solving, and that you are the person that can do this.  I am fed up with daily stories of many women and children dying in different wars. I am fed up with stories of woes of migrants and displaced peoples. I am fed up with extremism of any sort. I do not want to hear or read of religious, political and economic predation. I am fed up with violence of any sort - racial, gender-based, religious, and other forms of differences-based violence. I am fed up with promises broken as soon as they are made by Western Governments to Africans. I despise back-patting in the day and back-stabbing of Africans in the night by the Western Establishment. I am aghast at the Establishment’s attitude of disregard and disrespect to Africans despite their flag of political correctness.

Many of my friends tell me that you represent exactly what I abhor. They tell me that you are a racist, a bigot and a possible economic predator. They tell me that you are an intolerant person. A dangerous person, who has come to reset the “Normal” button. They say you represent the “New Normal” that is not founded on any morals, historical considerations or any philosophical compass. They say, you are just “it”, a deconstruct of many things – a being that self-defines by negation. You have been stereotyped.

Ask any black person about stereotyping….! Mr. President, I support you because we both share the burden of stereotyping, albeit in different ways. We are both victims of the same western political and media establishment. Our bond lies in our common adversity.

Mr. President-Elect, you have not said much about Africa in your different tweets and discourse. There have been many bad rumors about your thoughts and many ugly words have been put into your mouth by those who want Africans to dislike you.

While we are still awaiting your thoughts and actions on Africa, permit me to advise you on how not to relate with us and to share some of our expectorations from your administration:

My age, upbringing and the traditional dictates of my environment demand that, with your age, I see and relate with you as an elder and my desire is that you act as one, at least as regards Africa and Africans.  

Firstly, do not under any circumstances adopt the attitude of a teacher in front of some unruly pupils. Africans have seen the worst in human history and have come out strong despite all the odds. We have survived it all. There is nothing to learn from you or the West again. We have learnt and we are in the process of unlearning all the wrong lessons we were taught since our first contact with destabilizing western establishment.

Secondly, do not try to civilize us. We are civilized in a manner different from yours. .  Do not use the same yardstick to measure us and yourselves in terms of civilization. We have a different worldview on this issue.  I advise that you look at civilization in the number of casualties of war and not through the warped self-serving optics and metrics of Western and United Nations development agencies.  Africans in the vilest proxy wars have never killed as many as Americans and Europeans have done. We measure civilization by the ability to maintain harmony among ourselves and not in the number of nuclear weapons or many other destruction paraphernalia. Certainly, we will borrow some ideas from you to improve the quality of our lives. We will buy your products and services. We will read in your schools. But this doesn’t mean we want to be like you. We are a proud people irrespective of the challenges of our history.

Thirdly, do not try to bully us. No one will listen to you. We have had bullies like Sarkozy, Blair and Chirac in the past.  They are now covered with the dust of history, while we are still there, waxing strong. We do not even remember who was the tallest or the shortest among them.

Fourthly, do not try to manipulate us. We are smarter at such games than you. Ask Bill Clinton. We could read him like a book.

Finally, forget about Development Aid. Many from the West come to Africa and make bogus promises of Aid, which they never fulfill. We don’t ask, they offer, then, they renege on their words after having raised our hopes. We do not need Aid, administered by a large contingent of expatriates, for whose welfare and into whose pockets a large part of the aid money ends. You cannot develop us. Forget Development Aid. No one can ever develop the other.

However, we have issues for which we need your leadership to solve here in Africa.

We have issues of economic predation by western companies strongly backed by the Western Establishment. These companies steal from us and destroy our environment. They destabilize us. We know what they are doing, but have been bullied into quiet submission by the home governments of these companies. We expect you will mediate as an elder. We expect you to call these economic parasites to order.

We have issues of interference in our political life. You will understand, from the controversies surrounding your emergence that your political system is fraught with many problems even after more than two hundred years of its existence. Yours is a house divided. Do not further divide ours by taking sides or ordering regime change. Understand the context, read the history of origins of misunderstandings and never rush to judgment. Consult African elders on issues pertaining to Africa. They know better than your best educated and most experienced diplomat.

I understand where you stand as regards immigration. It pains me to hear of African youths perishing in the Sahara deserts in their bid to reach Europe and ultimately United States for some. I believe that it will not be part of your policy to waste lives. An elder does not do that. Many statistics have proven that remittances from Africans in Diaspora largely surpass Organized Development Assistance. Contrary to what your immediate circle wants you to think, our youths have strong arms and are ready to work, to earn to develop their communities. Let them come in and work. They will return someday back to Africa. There is no African that nurses the dream to die in a foreign land.

And if you are adamant that no one can come into your country, then open your borders to products from Africa. Stop the restrictions on our goods. Tell your friends to lift their restrictions too. And pay the right price. You would be surprised at the results.

Finally Mr. Trump, here in Africa, an elder gives as much respect as he is given. Respect us.


Unknown said...

I didn't support Trump during the campaign like you.But I totally agree with your interesting advice to the elected - President for USA.

Ruth Ataguba said...

I think you are right on point, sir. Having the right attitude and approach to Africa will definitely create a pardigm shift that benefits us,Europe and the Americans.Right now it's just a situation of cunny man die....