The Sunday Mail
In colonial times, Europe fed itself with half-truths and blatant lies about the African continent, which it used to justify its conquests. Today, the lies persist, as Western countries constantly create dire fictionalised accounts to justify meddling in the internal affairs of weaker nations.
The Africa of the colonialist was a dark continent in dire need of white salvation. The pacesetters were the missionaries, and later the brutal colonial conquests. Back home, citizens were fed with accounts that presented Africa in the most sordid manner. Africans were depicted as half-developed humans; almost childlike beings, who are prone to cannibalism, if left to their own caprices.
Nothing much has changed. The West still sees us as lesser beings, but now coats its racism under a veneer of human rights and donor aid jargon.
There is a temptation to laugh off the recent case of the United States accusing Zimbabwe of allowing forced labour in the Marange diamond fields. It is a strong temptation, because even the donor junkies that the US embassy usually feeds to spin such lies are shocked at the absurdity of the lie.
However, this is no laughing matter. This is a serious case that points to an inherent colonial psychosis still afflicting Empire.
In a statement last Tuesday, the US embassy in Harare said: “US Customs and Border Protection issued a Withhold Release Order for artisanal rough cut diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange diamonds fields on October 1 2019 due to evidence of forced labour, US law prohibits importation of goods made with forced labour.”
Now, what kind of claptrap is this? Pure phantasmagorical stuff coming from coterie of people motivated by nothing but malice and an attempt to present Zimbabwe as some kind of a pariah state. Even some non-governmental organisations that have always pandered to the whims of Big Brother, were equally astounded by the allegations that seem to resemble a script from Alice in Wonderland.
The Centre for Natural Resources Governance (CNRG), fronted by the ever excitable Farai Maguwu, said his organisation has not encountered any incidences of forced labour for the past seven years.
In his own words, Maguwu said: “We have been working in Marange since 2012 and we have not come across cases of forced labour in Marange, be it concerning full time employees, casual contract workers or artisanal miners.”
And on Wednesday, Zimbabwe’s permanent secretary for information, Nick Mangwana, refuted the allegations of forced labour saying it was unfortunate that the US authorities had been “misinformed or misled to believe that Zimbabwe is mining diamonds through forced labour.”
Mangwana said the government has a strong revulsion towards any form of slavery or servitude. To even suggest that Zimbabwe has some form of corporate forced labour is either mischievous or simply ignorant.
Anyone who has followed US foreign policy in the post-colonial period, or even before that era, is surely not surprised by America’s propensity to create all manner of fiction or alibis to justify its intrusiveness.
Remember Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and how the Americans and NATO gleefully celebrated his demise purely on fuzzy grounds. Gaddafi represented everything Empire detested and the quest for total economic liberation.
It was Gaddafi’s Libya that offered all of Africa its first revolution in modern times, connecting the entire continent by telephone, television, radio broadcasting and several other technological applications such as telemedicine and distance teaching.
Very few Africans know this, but it all began in 1992, when 45 African nations established RASCOM (Regional African Satellite Communication Organisation) so that Africa would have its own satellite and slash communication costs in the continent. This was during the time when phone calls to and from Europe were the most expensive in the world because of the annual US$500 million fee pocketed by Europe for the use of its satellites like Intelsat for phone conversations, including those within the same country.
Here is the deal. An African satellite at the time cost a once-off payment of US$400 million and thereafter, the continent would no longer need to pay an annual lease fee of a US$500 million.
Ordinarily, no bank would not finance such a project. But, the challenge remained; it was unimaginable to Empire that former slaves would seek to free themselves from their master’s exploitation by requesting his help.
Expectedly, no help came from the World Bank, the IMF, the US or Europe. It was Gaddafi, who put an end to such puppetry begging and put forward US$300 million opening the floodgates for the African Development Bank to contribute US$50 million with the Western Development Bank putting an additional US$27 million. This is essentially how Africa got its first communications satellite on 26 December 2007. Do not believe all the nursery versions peddled by Western media as Gaddafi’s crimes. The satellite connection was one of his major crimes and he had to be plucked out.
America has a long history of fictionalising reality. Maybe, it has something to do with the pervading effect of Hollywood. Consider the history surrounding the run-ups to the Mexican War, World War 1, World War 11, Vietnam War, the Iraq War and even its involvement in Venezuela. It is all massaged with misrepresentations.
The Iraq war showed us all what normally happens when exaggerations and lies are weaponised to justify ideological push for war. In 2002 and 2003, there was an inexorable series of overblown public statements and bogus intelligence reports to justify Iraq invasion.
The US President Bush made the case for the attack on Iraq saying Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destructions and this turned out to be false. Now, a similar cycle of deception is repeating itself with President Donald Trump towards Iran, China and Zimbabwe.
First, it was sanctions and now its brazen lies about Zimbabwe using forced labour in the Marange diamonds field. What next should we expect from the creative hub of mighty America?