Mend instead of help

One of the great myths about Africans is that they are condemned to starve to death. It was not like that before the conquest and the colonization, and it is not like that now, even with the growth of its population. The lie has been created by the dominating superpowers, substituted these days by the great multinationals: “They do not know how to govern themselves, they are unstable, they always wage tribal wars and they need our help.” It is a variation from the illustrated despotism of “everything for them, but without them” although, in reality, they have never thought about the natives except for in ways of taking advantage of their raw materials and of cheap labor. They label it “natural and human resources.”
History and everyday reality demonstrate that the imperialist views are false. The most serious anthropologic and historic studies confirm that the majority of the African populations have known how to be self-sufficient and how to create great mpires. What should not be done is to generalize and to support the argument in certain desertified geographic areas to where many were pushed by the results of war. Like everywhere else, hunger strikes have caused enormous damage. But wars of conquest have caused and still cause massive emmigration with images that the media feed us. Even the tuaregs, the masters of the desert, who have lived during centuries in a hostile nature that they controlled until their free spaces were divided into seven or eight artificial states with borders that had never existed before.
The African Continent is one of the richest. It always kept its population until that insanity of mega-cities, artificially created by Europeans, turned into a mirage for millions of beings that no longer controlled their land and found themselves uprooted in strange ghettos.
Let us talk about impoverished populations and we will be able to prove right the prediction that labels Africa “the Continent of hope.”
Its mineral riches, its variety of trees and vegetation, of fertile lands and of pupulations with the capacity of organizing themselves is complemented in millions of hectares with rivers, lakes and resources that are impossible to compare.
But given that it has always had a very small population in relation with the vast lands thay had not needed to practice agriculture because nature was prodigious to satisfy their needs with crops, animals, low-profile fishing and the exploitation of mines.
It is time to mend accordingly instead of hiding reality with aid for development. What is received in the form of justice is not thanked in the form of charity.

José Carlos Gª Fajardo
Translated by Carlos Miguélez

This article was published in the Center of Collaborations for Solidarity (CCS) on 02/07/2005