Ancestors and Politics

From Ayi Kwei Armah (in New African, April 2006):

Dr. Armah is wearing blue traditional garb.Dr. Armah is wearing blue traditional garb.

“Ancestors have no voices; ancestors have no money that can be
used to buy votes. So if ancestors say the thing to do with land
is to give only as much as each person needs to live and work
on, no more, so that no one is landless in this society, and no
one is workless, there is no way a realistic politician in the age of
globalisation can understand such ancestral calk. Real politicians
do not live in the graveyard, and they do not communicate with
anyone dead.”

What if the dead ancestors want to tell us that the thing to
do, if we find petroleum under our soil, is not to sell any of it at
all but to keep it here, to find out what those so eager to take it
off our hands do with it, and to do it here if that is the intelligent thing
to do. The dead ancestors may say that if we export what we have that
is valuable enough for strangers to come here demanding it, the most
energetic of our youth will follow what we have exported, since it is the
stuff from which jobs and money and wealth and comfort are made.

If we export resources, the ancestors say, it is because we have
decided we do not want jobs and industries for our children here. The
message of African ancescors is that if we knew who we are, and what
our continent was worth, we would not be selling anything but what
we make with our brains and bands and machines, at prices fixed by
ourselves.  Politicians living in the here and now routinely retort that
given the power equations of today, our states are too little to survive
if they refuse to sell what the powerful strangers want, at the prices
the powerful strangers dictate.  But to this too there are ancestral
answers.  When you are too small, alone, to resist large dangers, look
around you.
You may find that your smallness is an illusion born of
stupid habit.”

Africa has been carved up in more ways than one can imagine.  The Scramble for Africa of the 1880’s was nothing compared to the surgical precision of those seeking petroleum.  The US has identified 75 “provinces in which oil might be obtained.  Extensive mapping has already been done.  Is this not part of the reason why Barack Obama is president?  Is it not part of the reason why the US is only now embarking on establishing a military command in Africa?

There is a present and future plan for the exploitation of oil resources in Africa.  And, the US government has the charts to prove it.


  1. There is a present and future plan for the exploitation of oil resources in Africa.

    There is a present and future plan for the exploitation of ALL resources in Africa. Rapidly reproducing Africans the only thing between now and the full implementation of that plan.

  2. The vultures circle….,

    The world’s least-developed regions will double in population between now and 2050, from 828 million to 1.66 billion, predicts the non-profit Population Reference Bureau, based in Washington DC, in data published last week. These 49 countries, 33 of which are in Africa, have the lowest incomes, highest economic vulnerability and poorest human-development indicators according to United Nations definitions.

    The bureau’s projections show that, over the same time period, the population of the world’s more developed countries will creep up 7%, from 1.23 billion to 1.32 billion — fuelled mainly by immigration from less-developed regions. In the United States, however, more than half of the expected growth will be due to births there; it has one of the highest fertility rates in the developed world.

  3. This may or may not be a parallel, but I have worked with a youth program in the small island of Molokai Hawaii (I know — tough gig!). Molokai has the distinction of being the only Hawaiin island left with a majority Native American population. In all the other islands, the combined influx of whites from the American “mainland” and the Japanese has changed all of that.

    Also unlike the other Hawaiin islands, Molokai rejects the tourism industry and pays a very stiff economic price for it. This is THE philosophical, cultural, and economic battle going on the island. On the surface it is economic suicide (Molokai is the poorest Hawaiin island), but after I spent some time there, listened to folks, and took in the culture, I completely understood why some would pay such a stiff short-term economic price. The majority on the island would rather remain poorer now, and develop the land for self-sustaining purposes where long-tern economic independence is still an option. If the alternative is to destroy its culture and “turn into a mini Honolulu”, then many folks from Molokai want no part of it (many also do, but less so). The fate of tourism ultimately opens the country up to the same types of exploitation seen in the carribean islands. The details are a bit different because of American labor laws that don’t apply in the Carribean, but the general deal is the same.

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