Hama Tuma, Ethiopian author, poet and journalist, has been active in the political and human rights struggle in Ethiopia and Africa since the sixties. His satirical essays under the general title of African Absurdities have gained support from many quarters. Some of his books (English and Amharic) have been translated to French, Italian and Hebrew.
The Other Afrik - European Union - France - Panafrica - Immigration - Satire
Africa in the European Union
Unexpected things are happening all over the world, especially amidst Africans. That the King of Swaziland got married to yet another eighteen year old is, of course, not news, but the decision by African "sans papiers" or illegal migrants in France to fly to Baghdad and get kidnapped is pricking much media interest.
According to confirmed reports from the camp of the illegal and paperless immigrants in Paris and other places, they have decided to go to Baghdad or Fallujah and get kidnapped. This comes after Hussein Hanoun, an Iraqi interpreter (most of the "sans papiers" speak better French than him) who helped the French journalist Florence Aubenas, was not only allowed to come into France after his release but was also welcomed as a hero. In other words, go to Baghdad, be a French interpreter or guide to a French national and make sure you get kidnapped to be welcomed by France when released. Will the Iraqi insurgents cooperate in this and help their fellow "Third Worlders"? It is not certain but every asylum-denied African thinks it is worth the try.
Bold decision by asylum seekers. The African dictators, not to be outsmarted by their fleeing citizens, are also planning extraordinary moves. Like applying to be members of the European Union since the so-called African Union is not working at all. Unity is strength and African countries that cannot be strong by uniting among themselves could be strong by uniting with Europeans. An African author has argued that Europeans in Africa are Africans while Africans in Europe are Europeans and on this basis millions of Africans living in Europe give their continent the right to apply to the European Union. And why not? Another Western writer has also argued that if Japanese, Israeli and French people take over African countries the places will be developed.
So why not leave the continent to them by joining their union and letting them have their way? Turkey is being considered as a worthy candidate as we all know. If Turkey is European how can we deny those "so-French and so-British" African countries the right to apply? Turkey has one of the worst human rights records in Europe and many African countries can outmatch it on this. Turkey has millions of Muslims and so do Nigeria and Sudan. Turkey tortures dissidents and has the death penalty while many African tyrants just torture and kill anybody. Turkey has a history of an Empire, of invading other lands and this is also true of many African countries and others who showed a lack in this in the past are catching up by invading their neighbors. Better than Turkey, many African countries speak English, French or Portugese. So, what is the problem?
The tyrants bitten by the "let us join the European Union" bug are not ready to hear any argument explaining that the unions are continental based.
"Egypt and Syria were once united," said one West African leader.
"Is Madagascar, which is a member of the African Union, really in Africa?" asked another.
“What about tiny Malta?” asked the leader of the vast Sudan.
"Didn’t Europe colonize Africa and didn’t it inform us all we are the subjects of Europe?" observed another leader from the South.
"So, what is wrong with our wish to belong to the union of our former colonizers?"
The European Union, which has backed tyrants from the late Eyadema to Meles Zenawi, has no intention of invoking the issue of human rights to keep the Africans out. Color is not also a solid excuse as many Africans are white and many more do not really think they are black. The tyrants had also mortgaged the countries to Europe and America and they feel they might as well join in, like the subject coming back to the master, the debtor becoming part of the creditor’s household. It is only fair.
There is of course the other serious point concerning the drab, dour and dull nature of the European Union. Frustrated and constipated souls end up being cruel and vicious and the contention that Europe has played foul with Africa and the Third World in general could be attributed to the fact that the union is dull, the leaders permanently morose. No wonder they hate the ever- laughing but poor Africans. Brussels is dull as is Strasburg. The European Union needs jovial souls, it is too white and blank, it needs color, it is composed of badly dressed old guys and needs colorfully attired happy go lucky souls.
And where else would you find leaders presiding over poor millions and enmeshed in deep and unending crisis who nevertheless project the image of the worry-less and ever-happy leader? Where else but in Africa of course! If African countries join the European Union, the old continent that was ridiculed by Sadam Hussein’s old friend, Donald Rumsfeld, would redeem itself as a vibrant and happy continent with leaders whose faces no longer look like those of tired undertakers.
There is more. Take the European Constitution. Who was in charge of the drafting? None other than Giscard d’Estaing of France, a former French president who lost his post because he was involved in a diamond scandal in Africa. The late Central African Emperor, a clone of Napoleon who was a French colonial soldier and who called himself Jean Bedel Bokassa, reportedly gave Giscard what Africans called a backshish, gubo or bribe. The embarrassed French referred to the parcel as an improper gift. No matter, but the end result was that Giscard had been involved in a scandal and had to go. That Europe chose this true son of Africa (he owes us!) to be in charge of the drafting of its Constitution indicates the tendency of Europe to involve Africa in its future and union. That the Constitution became so controversial that France and Holland rejected it is proof of the assertion that the professionals cannot be replaced by amateurs.
Giscard may have graduated from one snobbish University or another but when it comes to drafting a Constitution he is an amateur. Had the task been given to any self respecting African tyrant, a Constitution that no one would dare refuse would have seen the light of day and the troublesome French and Dutch would have thought twice before daring to cast their negative vote. It is not a question of force or repression, no. The run of the mill African tyrant knows that a Constitution is worthless if you do not include in it everything that can please any Jacques, Helmut or Geert. Promise the sky, make everyone happy and you can deliver hell later on. Too late for the yes voters, they have been had.
African countries should be included into the European Union. Some of them have totalitarian pasts like the East European countries. Many believe already that they are European. Their contribution to the old continent would also be tremendous; their wealth can now be plundered without any peep of imperialist robbery from them. They would bring color and music and joy and life to the metropoles. And since they are supposed to have turned terrorist because they are jealous of Europe and its development and civilization, this problem will disappear as they will not be jealous of their own continent. This is what is called killing many birds with one stone. Africa should join the European Union, put an end to the comatose AU once and for all and welcome the African "sans papiers" back home to Europe from Iraq.
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