Date: Tue, 2 May 1995 03:01:11 -0700
Sender: The African Global Experience <AGE-L@uga.cc.uga.edu>
From: Stephen Isabirye <ISABIRYE%NAUVAX.BITNET@uga.cc.uga.edu>
Subject: COMMENT: Ali Mazrui on contemporary Africa (fwd)
To: Multiple recipients of list AGE-L <AGE-L@uga.cc.uga.edu>
From: IN%"H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU" "H-NET List for African History" 1-MAY-1995 13:1
Date: Mon, 1 May 1995 16:10:05 GMT-5
Date sent: Mon, 01 May 1995
Ali Mazrui on contemporary Africa
By Joe Gbujama, 1 May 1995
The following forwarded message prompts reconsideration of Basil Davidson's *The Black Man's Burden: Africa and the Curse of the Nation-State* and his analysis based on the pathology of nationalism in Africa. Are we to see this as a fully adequate--or even a barely adequate--means of understanding the history behind contemporary Africa?
Ali Mazrui was at Georgia State University yesterday in Atlanta, giving his highly regarded opinions on African history and the world. When asked about the chaos in countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia, he shrugged his shoulders and replied "The day of reckoning has come for those nations." He argued that because Sierra Leone inherited and accepted a generic political system from the Europeans, remnant of colonialism, we were disadvantaged from the very start.
He speculated that perhaps the current turmoil in many African nations is evidence that the Western Nation-State model is on a natural decline in Africa. He indicated that other African countries like Somalia and Ethiopia, are developing their own political systems from scratch by loosely integrating traditional African and modern Western legislative, administrative and legal models. However, he did not discuss the specifics of the integrated models and how they work.
He also addressed the Nigerian sanctions issue. Randall Robinson (TransAfrica), he pointed out, did not just start negotiating on Africa's behalf yesterday and that if Africans are going to work with any group in America in solving their problems, it might as well be TransAfrica because their record (Anti-Apathied, Somalian aid, Namibian Peace, Haitian affairs etc) speaks for itself.
Nigeria's military government, he noted, has refused to acknowledge the rightfully elected leader, Awolowo (who is now in jail) and if so called Africa lovers don't speak out against it now (As they did with South Africa) they will loose credibility. It is simply a matter of consistency. "If some other group from out of nowhere had suggested sanctions" he added "I would have been skeptical as to their motives, but I believe TransAfrica has proved it's commitment to press the American government through lobbying to act on issues affecting African people."