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Empire is never non-profit. It is an economic predator. To this end, citadels of profit will always

annihilate college of prophets. Mammon is a very jealous god. It can never be worshipped alongside

any other. It demands the bodies and blood of its opponent as the only sacrifice that appeases it.

 

 

 

Witnessing in Perilous Times

The Lynching of Robert Mugabe: Critique of Empire, History and Memory! (Part 3)

By Emmanuel Franklyne Ogbunwezeh

 

Part 3

The whole world has been bombarded with false and manufactured facts about Mugabe being the problem with Zimbabwe. Today Mugabe has been portrayed as a megalomanic tyrant in the mould of a Hitler. This may all have many elements of truth to them. Mugabe may not be a saint. He may be crude, and he may have committed crimes against his own people. If Mugabe is on the dock for his crimes, we would then support his having his day before the tribunes of justice. But what we can never lend our names to is the manipulation of information and opinion, in order to nail a notorious bad guy, who is fortunately innocent of the charges being labelled against him.

A thief who stole my car on Tuesday cannot be in justice be brought to trial for killing my wife who died of cancer on Friday because of my chain smoking, simply because I have not forgiven him of that theft and have been seeking an opportunity to give him a bad name in order to hang him, to appease my burning sense of revenge and vendetta. Whenever such false syllogisms are licensed, we all should then bid farewell to justice. When justice is crushed, peace will continue to elude us.

Ours is not an apologia for Mugabe. Mugabe has led Zimbabwe for donkey years, perhaps, without anything to show for it. He deserves the greatest rebuke for his failures. But that does not empower the advocacy for invasion being peddled by the British government and media. Ours is an apologia for truth, justice, and decency. It is a stand against sanctimonious hypocrisy engineered by principalities and powers of amoral politics and corporate greed. Mugabe and others fought for the independence of Zimbabwe against those same forces of western greed that are today demanding for his head on a plate.

In perilous times such as this, bearing witness against the onslaught of empire is the equivalent of placing one’s head on the chopping block and inviting the executioner to take the bestial pleasure of severing you from your member. It is akin to giving up one’s reputation for crucifixion in between a crowd of buccaneers and a mass of fence-sitters. In this interface, there is no hope of salvation. Crucifixion in between two such camps is like Dante’s Inferno. All you really need to do is to abandon hope once you enter there. Your salvation expired before you did. None of both crowds can save you. The buccaneers are agents and privies of the powers that desire to do you in.

The crowds are the chameleons on the periphery of indecision. They are competent opportunists ever ready to sail wherever the wind blows. Crowds since time began have connoted those who left their brains at home to dance to the whims and capricious contrivances of the few, who could manipulate and brainwash them at will. The crowds could scream ‘Hossanna filio David’—(Hossanna to the son of David)!!!—on a Sunday morning, and on the evening of a Friday called ‘Good’; five days later, be re-engineered to scream ‘crucifigium eum’—crucify him!!! Reposing your salvation on such a camp is foolery.

Machiavelli recognized this when he contemplated the difficulty of instituting change in a society. For Machiavelli, anyone who embarks on instituting change would immediately have enemies in those who profit from the status quo. The status quo feeds their obscene privileges. And their lives are tied to these estates of obscenity. To give it up is to give up their lives. Like Shylock of old in his allocutus, told the learned Judge ‘Portia’ as judgement fell on his corrosive desire for vengeance: “you take away my life, when you take away the means by which I live”. And that they can never abide. To this end, they are natural opponents of change. Any allowance or assumption of the obverse stance is an invitation to self-destruction or suicide.

Machiavelli equally saw the masses one is fighting for as the most unhelpful of all factors. They care no less whether the revolution succeeds or not. They have been at the receiving end. And they have seen conquerors and messiahs come and go with promises and hopes of a better life raised and dashed repeatedly as to become congenital pessimists. So these camps are no help to a guy who desires to bear witness to his convictions.

But should these insurmountable factors deter our resolve in speaking our convictions? No is the answer. The only requirement for evil to triumph is for good men to keep silent in timidity. This conspiracy of silence has forever empowered impunity. It has spawned atrocities and has legitimized horrors and abominations. Our lives will be a monumental disgrace to whoever gave us the privilege of life, if we are to keep silent and allow the armada of injustice ride roughshod on the heads of the weak because it can. Besides, Wole Soyinka is forever right. The man dies in him who keeps silent in the face of tyranny!

Empire rules

Modern empire is a transnational incarnation of predatory capitalism and neo-liberal feudalism preached in modern times by the Chicago school of economics. It is an exclusive club of power. It remains a faceless and amorphous cabal of power peddlers, influence traders, war mongers, and economic hit-men, hiding under layers and layers of institutions, conceptual schemes, political lobbies, corporations, and schools. It is a secret society of the rich and powerful, who rule our world today. It cuts across countries and is like the Cosa Nostra in its hyper-amoral stance to issues and life. It is an arrogant, wicked, and heartless construct, which rules the world through fear, tricks, and brute force. These three pedestals of control align effectively with the three vehicles it deploys to that end.

The arrogance of empire is a congenital disease native to every such construct. Empire can afford to preach to other smaller constructs in her ambience to tow lines that she would never lift a finger towards. She moralizes, even though her leprous debaucheries indict her homiletics. This is exactly what the United States and Britain are doing in Zimbabwe at the moment. They wanted to sack Mugabe for election fraud, when George, who is guilty of the same crime, has not been sacked from his post. When empire comes to equity, she cares no hoot about the cleanliness of her hands. She accuses even though her hands are not clean. American foreign policy in the 20th century bears all the impresses of elevated hypocrisy and suffocating double standard. Ask Oliver North, or pay a visit to Nicaragua to see for yourself. The devastation of Iraq and the hanging of Sadaam are testaments to empire’s arrogance.

The wickedness of empires could be seen in the heartlessness with which it grabs resources to feed its greed at the expense of every other variable. Modern ecological crises are thanks to the yawning avarice of empire for resources to drive its economies and those of its satellites. This heartless greed saw Africa despoiled of the crème of her youth in the slave trade, to drive the industrial revolution in Europe and America. It equally recommended that mounds and mountains of chopped and amputated human limbs be harvested in Congo in punishment for daring King Leopold’s greed for Congolese rubber, timber, and other resources. The same metaphysic prescribed the bombing of Iraq to smithereens in propitiation of the greed for cheap oil. It is the same operational ontology that stands aloof to wreck lives and poison the environment in the Niger Delta.

Imperial heartlessness could be seen in its fluid propensity to wage wars and destroy every opposition, cultures, and pedestals of value, meaning and significance, and sources of social legitimacy obtainable in the areas it chooses to conquer or destroy. Pizzaro’s sacking and destruction of the Inca civilization in Mesoamerica; the colonial destruction of African values, language, and desecration of the temples of African gods, or the exiling of African kings that are sources of authority and social legitimacy; the American obliteration of the Amerindians are all testaments to this. Professor Amy Chua did a book on how the export of free market democracy today is really creating spirals of unease across the world and setting the world on fire.

Empire is never non-profit. It is an economic predator. To this end, citadels of profit will always annihilate college of prophets. Mammon is a very jealous god. It can never be worshipped alongside any other. It demands the bodies and blood of its opponent as the only sacrifice that appeases it. Pursuant to this, empires in subservience to profit entertain no qualms in decimating cultures, sacking lands and sanctioning genocide and annihilation of peoples, murdering its own citizens, and crushing every opposition raised against it. Ancient Rome plundered Carthage and sacked nations up to the furthest extremes of the British Isle. Communist China of Mao’s vision, on its way to empire, had to crush over 20 million of its citizens in a bloody cultural revolution that is as repulsive as it was monstrous. Soviet Russia enroute to its communistic empire trampled upon millions of its citizens. Need we talk about the British Empire or the new American empire? That has been the chequered history of empires!

Empires in whatever forms its manifest itself are proud bullies and monstrous oppressors, whose interests are superlatively sacrosanct, even if populations are to be decimated in the process. You can ask Alexander the Great and Napoleon Bonaparte about the reasons for their aggressions and conquests. You can equally ask Adolf Hitler what his ‘Lebensraum’ project; a raw, naked territorial aggression policy was intended to achieve. To this end, no empire has ever won a prize for benevolence. Charity is not the vocation of empires. This inheres in the metaphysic of empire; namely, empire is a construct of galloping greed. It is a bloody enterprise.

Empires come and go. But isolated micro-universes of greed will always converge to build new empires of avarice, which subsists. Once its vehicle in a particular epoch dies, it shuffles off to inhabit new spaces of legitimacy, wearing new robes. Imperialism as we knew it may be no more, but empire is alive and well. Empire and imperialism are like icebergs. They are three-quarters submerged. What is immediately accessible to the eye is only one-third of its dimensions. The fundamental aspiration of empire is to find the price at which the majority should be bought and sold for the profit of the few.

The emerging empire according to Hardt and Negri’s is fundamentally different from the imperialism of European dominance and capitalist expansion of previous eras. It is a universal order that accepts no boundaries or limits, and which today draws on elements of U.S constitutionalism, with its tradition of hybrid identities and expanding frontier.[i] A perfect example of that universal order and its recalcitrance to accept boundaries could be well seen in the engines driving globalization today.[ii]

Every empire which desires to survive must be a chameleon. That underlies why it is a fatal mistake today to view empire purely as a territorial construct. The empire of today transcends territorial jurisdictions.  Hardt and Negri are forever right!  Empire remains a universal order that accepts no boundaries. Empire could wear the robes of an ideology and its purveyors. The desire for survival explains why the empire of today must be an extra-territorial and trans-national monolithic aristocracy of capital, which seeks to preserve the reign of neo-liberal capitalism all over the world.

At the expiration of territorial empires, extra-territorial ones arose to take their place. Interests evolved to the point where, empire must coagulate into a trans-national, non-territorial alliance of aristocracies, corporate interests, re-invented monarchies, nation-states’ leadership, lobbies, and the elite of various societies. This alliance made it possible to create a legal framework for interaction across states. This is what led to globalization. Little wonder that globalization shorn of its pretences benefits the rich with much of the affluence and influence, and bequeaths the poor a lot of the negative consequences. This is because, globalization in many instances have been forced to wear the apparels designed by a conglomeration of totalitarian capitalists, and profiteers transcending national boundaries, who bend the knee in supreme subservience at the same altars of profit. And to that end, they deploy jointly and severally the apparatuses of various nation states and international conventions, protocols, and institutions in furtherance of their interests, and elimination of all threats to their domination of the global order. To this end today, democracy as traditionally defined in Lincolnesque is virtually non existent, or grossly eroded of all meanings and implications.

This explains why elections today across many so called democracies remain Machiavellian smokescreens deployed to perpetuate the pretence that the people have a stake in their governments, while in actual fact the elites, the lobbies, and the corporations, and not the masses govern. This accounts for why what we have today is an aristocracy of capital ruling over our most inmost affairs. Ask Monsanto, ITT or Halliburton! Ask the greedy big guys at Wall Street, or the guys at Lockheed Martins and other defence contractors: they will tell you, if they are honest, who actually rules the world. Ask the chairmen of the various boards of the major oil companies, they know who is actually responsible for the war in Iraq as well as the impasse in the Niger Delta.

They are the same people!

These guys ‘own the vast majority of resources, manipulate stocks, control prices, and avoid taxes. They also maintain monopolies over energy, medicine, armaments and manufacturing by suppressing new technologies. And they wield undue influence over the news media and world governments with their control of multinational corporations as well as private organization.[iii] In trying to find out actually who rules America, Wallace and Wallechinsky in their work, The People’s Almanac, stated that ‘there are many forces at work in the US society, but the most powerful by far are the interlocking directorates of the major banks, corporations, and insurance companies, with the backing of the leaders of the military: in the words of former president Dwight Eisenhower, ‘the military-industrial complex.[iv] This conglomerate is what is ruling the world today. And in Zimbabwe, this conglomerate has shown us its eugenic face.

This emerging one like all empires of history is built on the same tripod of slave labour, stolen resources,and stolen legacies. From the unpaid slave labour of ancient Rome to the chattel slavery of the feudal peasantry; from the indentured slavery of the American cotton fields to the minimum wages of the average African American today, it is the same slave labour. China is utilizing its internal demography for slave labour and modern empire on the heels of globalization, is crowding and outsourcing to China for the same slave labour.

Africa remains the continent of choice for stolen resources and stolen legacies since time immemorial. In the 20th century the Middle Eastern and Arabian oil fields joined it with its oil. The scramble for Coltan; the driver of modern interconnectivity is still financing wars and conflicts in the Congo as blood diamonds are doing all over Africa. Oil is contributing its own share of death and devastation in the Niger Delta, as the Chinese marches into Africa to re-enact what Europe and America have done for the last 800 years: resource exploitation! To steal resources! From the collective amnesia at the plight of the African Americans, to the non apologises and non-reparation for over  eight centuries of crime committed against the African people, to the neo-colonial insults in Zimbabwe today, it is all the same stolen legacy!

Notes

[i] Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri: Empire, Cambridge Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 2000.

[ii] See: Ogbunwezeh, E.F.,  Africa as a Stranger in the House of globalization, http://lass.calumet.purdue.edu/cca/jgcg/2006/sp06/jgcg-sp06-ogbunwezeh.htm

[iii] Jim Marrs; Rule by Secrecy, New York, Harper Collins, 2000, p.11).

[iv] cited in Marrs, ibid, p.13

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The Lynching of Robert Mugabe  (part 1)  Empires and Lynching (part 2)  

Witnessing in Perilous Times (part 3)  Instruments of Imperial Domination  (part 4)

Slogan of Imperial Atrocity (part 5)

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 27 July 2008 

 

 

 

Home  Transitional Writings on Africa  The African World   Black Labor

Related files: Zimbabwe and the Question of Imperialism: A Discussion  (Amy Goodman)  Black Africa's duty to help Zimbabwe defeat sanctions (Chinweizu) The Real Trouble with Zimbabwe (Ogbunwezeh)

Zimbabwe's Lonely Fight for Justice / Colin Powell on Mugabe  / Trans-Africa on Mugabe  /  Sanctions on Zimbabwe    Land Expropriations Reporting Zimbabwe   / Attempt to Defame Grace Mugabe

In The House of Stone   Invasion of Zimbabwe and Western Hypocrisy