Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Republic of Mali

It must have been 1955.  I was less than 6 years old and one hour from death of thyphoid desease. The French military commander in the town of Sikassou was gracious to extend me and mother a lift in a small plane to the Capital Bamako: The Republic of Mali was then a French colony.  Two weeks in the cold chamber and three months later I had to be trained to learn to stand and walk.

My parents decided that a transfer to Lebanon, with much better “healthy” climate, was best for me.  I was thus confined for 6 years in a mountenous boarding school.  The school was run by the Maronite church.  My 3-year old brother joined me:  It was wiser not to play odds for another deadly desease.  Close cousins of mine (parents working in Africa) were also in the school:  Mainly for the same reason. 

A nun working in the school, who was a close relative to mother, received the injuction to protecting me from “dangerous” activities.  For 6 years, I was protected from “dangerous” activities:  I was not to join boy scouts, to join my schoolmate during summer time for two weeks vacation outside the confinement of the school, group games, or even undertaking games that were potentially dangerous like rollerskating or mounting on “echasse”.  I was a healthy boy though much samller and tinier than most boys my age.  I didn’t know the Arabic language (formal or slang) and ended up being two years older than my classmates with shorter stature.

My schoolmates felt and understood that I was a protected student not to be beaten or chastised lest dire consequences befell them; this implicit order applied to teachers and supervisors .  Yes, I was hated and despised for my unique situation.  I was saddened and outraged for my unique “favorite” condition and the shunning of classmates; it showed in occasional outbursts; angry conditions when I could not even hear what I was being told .

By the age of nine, I somehow was entitled to receive small cash allowances every month that I had no use for:  I barely ate or cared to eat; I had no “feasible dreams” in order to plan or to train any of my luxury tendencies.  I assimilated my fate that it was useless dreaming and being part of my schoolmate collective activities that were normally classified as potentially dangerous activities.  I think that satisfying my dreams by procurement was a normal reaction.  More than one students approached me to borrowing money in order to purchase rollerskating or other products.  Money had no meaning to me and I gave away whatever I had saved.

At school end of year ceremonies and activities, that I was not part of except standing as an angel with white wings, I clapped hard to the dangerous rollerskaters rolling down a harsh incline at vertiginous speed, jumping and crossing a circle on fire.  Was I clapping for my procured dreams?  I strongly doubt it.  I had no dreams by now to even consider procured dreams.  I think that I was clapping for enjoying the “moment” by default. 

I was living life by the moment: I had no plans and forgot how to plan anything.  You would think that these 6 years in boarding school must have been an eternity to me; not at all.  These 6 years could be wrapted in a single day: I don’t recall much; mostly a few instances related to physical matters.

Do you think adults can rejuvenate ancient dreams when they lost hope for dreaming in childhood?  Who would buy a pair of stupid rollersakes in an advanced age when he never learned the skills in childhood?  He must be mentally debil.  I think that I decided that, if I manage to save enough for a pair of rollerskates, I will buy a pair and then break a leg!  It is a stupid decision but it is better late than never to defying destiny.

If it was not for my aunt nun I think my folks might have incarcerated me in one of France boardingschools; I would not be the same person by simply joining collective games. 

I don’t think mankind is naturally capable of enjoying the “moment” (focusing on a thought or activity at every instant) and planning for their dreams simultaneously.   You either follow a plan or are forced to live the moment.  Schools institutions proclaim that their purpose is to prepare students for the future; implicitely, schools want to teach students to plan ahead and receive the necessary skills to fulfulling “future” plans.  There are institutions that disseminate this lie that they are encouraging individual reflections and training students acquiring individual confidence in their potentials.  Mostly, institutions are established to graduate cogs in the institutional machine system, regarless of the implicit philosophy of the system.

Student are not trained to enjoying the moment; schools implicitely believe that “enjoying the moment” is the main characteristic of children and thus, children do not need any conscious effort or training to be happy at any single moment.  I would be thrilled to hear a school claiming that its goal is teaching students to enjoying the moment: children are smart enough to feel that institutions are explicitly preparing them to plan through tightly programmed curriculum no whatever they claim otherwise.  It would still be a great breakthrough when any schooling institution becomes conscious of the necessity of teaching students of the skills of enjoying the moment.

“Development programs in Africa are planned poverty”; (Jan. 21, 2010)

This article introduces five young African authors and activists: Aminata Dramante Traore, George Ayittey, Celestin Monga, Marc Ona Essangui, and Rasna Warah.

            “Africa is not poor; Africa is being impoverished” wrote Aminata Dramante Traore.  Born in 1947, Aminata was minister of culture of the Republic of Mali (1997-2000); she is a pan African militant, author, and entrepreneur; she owns the restaurant-gallery Le San-Toro and the hotel Le Djenne in the Capital Bamako.  In 2008, Aminata published “Humiliated Africa” denouncing France policies that support dictatorial regimes to maintain its multinational exploitation of the continent: colonial powers still sustain the same contemptuous and contemptible discourse of the same colonial mentality.

In 1999, Aminata published “The vice (L’etau)”; she details the intellectual swindle and institutional mechanism of the Western powers (such as the neo-liberalism that structures the International Monetary Fund) that produce disastrous effects.  Under the cover of “liberty”, neo-liberalism is annihilating Africa competitiveness to the benefit of developed State funded subsidies of agricultural industries. Aminata is militating for the cancellation of fraudulent international debts and for Africa to set up selective protectionist programs that the developed nations applied for centuries.

In “The rape of the imaginary” Aminata denounces cultural oppression of the North to the South: Africa has just got to dig into its intellectual and social vision in order to draw and design proper sustainable economic development. Practically, Aminata works with local associations, peasants, and artisans.

            “Africa is poor: Africa is not free” stated the Ghana born professor of economics George Ayittey: He teaches at Washington University.  Ayittey published in 2005 “Africa in chains: project for development” that promote the ideas of improving infrastructures and the renegotiation of external debts.  George is more concerned with contradictory political actions performed by international aids since development cannot be “imposed from the outside”.

George focuses on absence of ethical conducts and lack of sense for general interests among the African politicians: many State governments are vampires.  In Africa, the richest individuals are politicians or ex-politicians.  The politicians are like “hippopotamuses (lazy, slow, and wicked) that ruined post colonial Africa”.

(As usual, authors keep hopes on newer generations “the cheetah” but this hope we have heard it many times in every generation). Ayittey created the “Foundation for free Africa” with headquarters in Washington and uses his connections among universities and the international institutions to defend his propositions.

            “Africa suffers of 4 fundamental deficits: confidence, knowledge, leadership, and communication” stated Celestin Monga.  Born in 1960 in Cameroon, he was imprisoned for 6 months by President Paul Biya for sending an open letter in 1991; Monga was released due to mass demonstrations and mobilizations.  Monga settled in the USA in 1992 and works at the World Bank in order “to design concrete projects” such as establishing a private university in Cameroon. 

Celestin said: “Educational systems in Africa are prolonging the colonial system of producing functionaries who are semi-literate.”  Monga published “Anthropology of Anger (1995)”; “Money of others (1997)”; “Getting out of monetary trap (1999)”, and “Nihilism and negritude (2009)”.

In “Arts of living in Africa” Celestin Monga interrogates the philosophy that the “multiparty administrations in Africa are incapable of generation new ideas since oppositions joined the governments; African civilization lost terrain in the last century; only infusion of renewed energy cam make a difference and Africans have got to revolt against skeptical thoughts; idealistic critics among the oppositions have to give way to pragmatic transformations.”

            “There are no lack of potentials and resources in Africa. The real evil in Gabon is bad governance, bad distribution of budgets generated from forest, mines, and oil exploitations” said Marc Ona Essangui.  Born in 1962, Essangui graduated in “genetic psychology” in 1991 because he had no access to university of law for disabled students since he is paraplegic from polio at the age of 6.

Essangui presides the association Brainforest and contributed in the creation “Publish” in 2002. Publish denounces secret contracts done by governments and multinationals (for example, the mine in Belinga and the controvertial victory of President Ali Bongo in 2009; Publish was suspended, its members imprisoned, and facilities ransacked. Essangui managed to get an exit visa to receive the Goldman Prize in San Francisco for his ecological engagements.

            “Development programs in Africa are planned poverty” claims Rasna Warah.  Born in 1962 in Kenya, Rasna is an Indian descendents from the early waves in the last century. There are currently over 70,000 of India origins who are gathered in communities after suffering reprisals after the Independence of Kenya; the arrival of Chinese entrepreneurs is exacerbating the social tensions.  Warah is a photographer and contributes to the Kenyan Daily Nation and the BBC; she said “It is exhausting to be Asiatic in Kenya”

Rasna published “Triple Heritage: A journey to self discovery (1998)”.  She denounced government inactions during the food crisis in 2008.  Warah participated in the UN-Habitat report “Status of cities in the world (2006-07)”.  Working at the UN encouraged Rasna conviction to interrogate the foundations of development in Africa.  Rasna gathered 15 authors in East Africa who witnessed the cases of “Missionaries, mercenaries, and misfits: An Anthology (2008)”; this book pleads for re-enforcing local institutions and the dangerous trends of “depoliticizing poverty


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

January 2021
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