As usual, the narcissist, entitled, white supremacist mindset needs the affairs of the state to evolve around the majestic “I”.
“L’État, c’est moi” (“The State is me”), decreed King Louis XIV, who gave his royal seal of approval to the Black Code, the handbook codifying the French slave trade and trafficking into law. Two Louis Kings later, the French Revolution overthrew French feudalism but not the comprador power of the bourgeoisie and their colonial entrepreneurism.
President Emmanuel Macron of France is a throwback to such an old regime fantasy. But the coup in Niger is not about Macron — it is about his irrelevance even though his ego will prevent him from letting go.
The coup d’état in Niger is about the youth in Niger: the children the world saw protesting and being shot at by French soldiers in front of the French embassy; the sons and daughters of the miners fired without compensation after France sucked two uranium mines dry; miners who are sickening today after exposure to hills of radioactive waste carried by the winds.
The French have moved on to a third mine leaving lethal pollution and devastation behind them.
This is about a concept of African independence enshrined [at the Conference of 1955 to African independence] in Bandung, visualized and actualized by President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana whose injunction it was that national independence would be nothing without economic independence. And by the way, was there any official outcry to reinstate Nkrumah when he was overthrown — in contrast to the calls for former President Bazoum to be returned to his U.S. and French supported seat of power?
This is about a new young Africa saying NO to military bases just as a new youth in Atlanta is saying NO to all cop cities.
This is about what Amilcar Cabral called “the cancer of betrayal” — the betrayal of the Black elites fronting for their white supremacist masters — be they the Andre Dickens and the Clarence Thomases at home or the Alassane Ouattaras and the Macky Salls in Africa.
This is about a Pan Africanism careful to distinguish between two types of coups d’état — those armed and ideologized by the imperialist powers and those carried out on behalf of the people even if it means arming them.
This is about the understanding that the terrorist threat in the Sahel may be encouraged, even enhanced by the U.S. when it suits the American strategy of destabilization in a region where the control of untold mineral wealth is the priority, and therefore there is a need to justify their heavy military presence. In fact, there is an interesting interpretation of the coup in Niger that has just emerged: President Bazoum, loyal as ever to American diktats, was on the point of releasing a group of terrorists who had killed Nigerien soldiers. That is when the Presidential guard intervened.
This is about the memory of how the politics of uranium shook the former Belgian Congo and led to the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. This is a tribute to Patrice Lumumba’s Oct. 2, 1960, speech explaining that the Katanga secession had been plotted by the Americans with Belgian help to prevent the Congo’s uranium from falling into Soviet hands. Lumumba was assassinated a few months later. Today, with Ukraine as a volatile backdrop, a new cold war rears its head in another uranium rich African nation.
This is about the comment by Susan Williams in “White Malice” that still holds true: “It was also considered necessary to prevent newly independent African countries from obtaining an atomic reactor. The need appears to have been rooted in a fear that a Black government might use such a reactor to support an atomic weapons programme. This worry was inflamed by the racist assumption that people with Black skin were incapable, in any case, of managing an atomic reactor safely.” (p. 512)
This is about the hope that a new federation of African states headed by Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Algeria will rekindle an uncompromising Pan Africanism. And this is about the need for people of African descent everywhere to speak up.
Because on both sides of the Atlantic we know the state is us: the companies and banks that built it preyed on the blood and sweat of our enslaved ancestors and will continue to enslave us and our children unless stopped.
(c) Julia Wright. August 5 2023. All Rights Reserved.
Kwame Nkrumah was the first president of Ghana after its independence from Britain. Patrice Lumumba was the first prime minister of Congo after its 1960 independence from Belgium. Macky Sall is the current president of Senegal. Alassane Ouattara is the current president of Cote d’Ivoire.
“White Malice: The CIA and the Covert Recolonization of Africa,” by Susan Williams, Hatchett, New York, 2021.