The surprising reaction to the “shithole countries” message

By now, we all know that on Tuesday January the 9 th of 2018, it was revealed that during a meeting with the senators on the DACA, the president of the USA was wondering why  we have to bring people from the “shithole countries” of Africa and Haiti. We should bring people from Norway instead. The entire world was shocked by these comments,  qualifying them of racist comments.

 

In the USA , the media and governining elite was in shock . And call these comments in general unfortunate and beneath the dignity of the office. They mostly considered these comments as reaching a new level of vulgarity given what the president has been let them used to. It is not a laughing matter anymore because some of the elite in the African Americans community are from Haitian descents, African descents.  The Haitian ambassador in the USA has ask for an explanation of the president comments from the US officials according to the Washington post article of Friday January the 12. The ambassador went on to say that “ the president was either misinformed or miseducated about people from Haiti” . Most people in the black community was not shocked because they knew he was racist anyway. Their attitude was we told you so. All we can do is beat him at the the ballot. When someone show you who he is the first time you ought to believe him.

In Africa, the elite was quick to condemn this comments. The African Union through its spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said “the African Union Commission is frankly alarmed at statements by the president of the United States of America when referring to migrants from African countries and other in such contemptuous terms. Considering the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the USA during the Atlantic slaves trade, this flies in face of all accepted behavior”.  A South African broadcaster in South Africa start his greeting by “ good morning from the greatest, the most beautiful shithole country in the world”. The serious reaction came the deputy secretary of ANC who said “ours is not a shithole country neither is Haiti or any other country”.  The president of Senegal where the Gorree island that symbolizes the Atlantic slaves trade put out statements in French  sayin that he rejects the statement by the president of the US and that Africa deserves respect and consideration “ je les rejette et les condamne fermement. L’Afrique mérite le respect et la considération de tous”. The entire world was en fire everyone reacted in their way condemning racism and bigotry. There was however a particular reactions from people living in Africa and the African diaspora of the France and other that caught my attention.

The Africans in Africa who live the political, economical and social reality of the continent and those who in the diaspora are directly impacted by these reality had a different take to the president of the United comments. First they applauded the president if USA for showing to the world that he is an adversary for those shitehole countries. At least he is not like some other who welcome you today and stub you in your back. This is a comment read on the RFI( radio France international) page à comment made by an African “voilà un adversaire de taille! Lui au moins on le qualifie d’adversauté qui ne mâche pas ses mots, qui ne cache pas ses sentiments aux yeux des africains. Il n’est pas comme ceux qui t’accueillent aujourd’hui et qui te poignardent sur ton”.

Some others turn the “shithole countries” comments to a protest against the governing elite of African countries. Many of them wonder why these African elite where quickly becoming emotionally shocked by these comments. The truth is that there is a sentiment among African in the diaspora and those in Africa that the African governing elite, and the elite of the ex colonial master work against the interest of the people of Africa. This strange relationship based on natural resources exploitation and corruption  is the main cause of misery in Africa. Needless to say that Africa is the land to a bunch of natural resources ( Colton, oil, gold, diamonds and so for) that are used by multinational companies and the people in those land do not enjoy wealth coming from their own land. The war in the  Democratic republic of Congo(DRC ) and even in the republic of Congo is an example among many others. The comment by president of the USA was used against the African governing elite by reminding them the abuse they exercise against their own people which actually help them to practice mal governance and stay by force in power  for a long time .  According to one commentary, these African elite do not honor the continent by their practices anyway, they abuse their power and they are bunch of sale out to the multinationals that exploit the African resources so this African said exactly this “ je n’en veux pas a Trump. J’en veux aux dirigeants africains. Quand on analyse bien, on trouve une part de vérité dans ce qu’il dit. Nos dirigeants ne font rien qui puisse donner l’honneur à notre continent. Ils pillent nos richesses, ils s’etermisent au pouvoir.”  Comment from the RFI page of Friday January 12.

These réactions from the African did attract my attention because beyond the emotional aspect of the president of the USA calling some countries “shithole countries, there have to be some time of strategy on the part of the African elite. To tell you the truth, there is an awakening that is going on the part of the people Africa in Africa and the diaspora. We need level our reaction beyond the emotional aspect and focus on the strategic aspect of the issues. We need to strategize in order to find ways to destroy the relationship between natural resources exploitation, corruption, bad governance, wars and misery. The people of the world have the obligation to address these issues. It does not have to be that the happiness of certain people need to be found in the misery of other.

 

1 comment

  1. Thanks for this insightful article indeed. The sad reality is that right wings (like Trump) would use facts to justify their comment (“shithole countries”) and unfortunately would be right especially if they talk of Africa as one country (our literacy rates, poverty, access to potable water & electricity, km of tarred road/inhabitants are apalling). However their ignorance clouds their judgement because when one digs deeper, the picture is different…You cannot use the DRCongo (and even then, the East of the DRCongo) to describe a whole continent when countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Mauritius, Ethiopia and South Africa are (almost all) middle income countries. Like you said, we are the make or break generation….Let’s take the baton forward!

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