During the last couple of years, I have realised something significant. As a writer, you are always realising things because of the process of writing, research, analysing, reflecting and writing again. The biggest help are readers. Where will we be without our beloved readers? There are two sides to every coin. One, pessimistic and realistic. End of the world, sins, doom, gloom, misery. The other is optimistic and positive. Things happen for reason. We shall overcome. Do not worry; be happy. Be.
Yes, just be.
Mmmh. You tend to consider options. To suppose and imagine how to finish the misery. I am wounded because I was stupid. Death happened because God willed. Beliefs and justification. For optimism stands apathy and taking things for granted. Ah, things shall be ok. Keep on walking.
What am I trying to say?
When I was a kid in the 1960s, the whole world was waiting for the atomic bomb to explode. Our parents spoke of Fidel Castro and Cuba and the Russians fighting Americans and we being blown off ...by we, meaning, us small people.
Soon there developed a political movement called non-alignment found and led by Yugoslavian leader, Field Marshall Josip Tito, India’s Jawaharlal Nehru, Egyptian’s Gamal Abdel Nasser and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah. Mwalimu Julius Nyerere later joined too. Non-aligned nations were allies. In unity, there is strength.
1960s, passed. No end of the world. In the 1970s, there was widespread call to arms and freedom from some ruling monster. Then there were the threats. The economic chaos and recession through raised oil prices. The rise and fall of new music. Disco – developed by blacks in America was very threatening. It had to be stopped. Big business is always wary. Politics.
The Chic band musician Neil Rodgers, whose autobiography is a masterpiece says; “ Whether it was early Elvis, the Beatles, Tom Jones, Roy Orbison, white people doing black music has always been a tried and true formula...”
What the Chic guitarist (listen to Le Freak, 1978) is trying to remind us is that whenever a white star sings black music comes global success. Change “black” to African. Imagine a Mzungu artist recording a Ndombolo hit. Tell me you will not hear fireworks.
In the 1980s AIDS and HIV was the new murderer. Pessimists cried end of the world. HIV was first called a homosexual disease. Then it became an African illness. Now- the Ebola era- you often hear the conspiracy theory. HIV and Ebola “created in the laboratory to wipe off blacks...”
The 1990s for me was a decade of mass killings and rise of religious terrorism. In 1998 East Africa was the first to taste the acid of Al Qaeda in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, respectively. Three years later, like a baobab tree, our green- blue planet stood up and listened. New York , capital of the world, on fire. 11 September 2001.
It is ironic how things only appear serious when they happen in the developed world.
Right now refugees and immigrants are causing serious havoc in Europe. The UK wants to leave the European Union. Germany is in limbo after welcoming Middle East and African refugees en masse and regretting. In January, there were alleged rapes in some German cities, i.e. Cologne. Sweden has been experiencing similar stuff.
Since 2001, fear of dying in a bomb blast has escalated. Which is the safest place to be?
I remember interviewing a London based Tanzanian Imam and lawyer in 2003 at the start of the Iraq bombing. He warned it was the most stupid the big powers did.
“It shall create suspicion and further bloodshed...”
With all that in mind, London elected a new mayor, a Muslim. Sadiq Khan.
I listened to a white Radio journalist on You Tube early this week. He warned that white people are afraid to show unity. Whereas Muslims, blacks , Asians and so on unite to vote and fight. The message behind the psychology is that white people are now scared of speaking the truth, or showing any disagreement lest they be accused of racism, bigotry or prejudice. This week a police, exercise attracted media attention because the guy playing a terrorist shouted Allah Wa Akbar.
That is what suicide bombers scream before detonating their evil.
However, the police were blamed for insensitivity. Prime Minister David Cameroon was also accused of insensitivity when he was allegedly heard saying Nigeria and Afghanistan are the most corrupt nations in the world. He was speaking to the queen and other top leaders and was unaware the microphone was on.
White people are on edge.
A hundred years ago, they ruled and terrorised everyone through imperialism and colonialism. What does all this mean now? Where are we going?
Published in Citizen Tanzania, 13 May, 2016