By Max A. Joseph Jr.
It dawned on me that on matters pertaining to Africa and Haiti, the western media conveniently ignores that history is sequential and it cannot be told through selective recollections of events or epochs.
Is it possible to narrate the history of the western civilization by mentioning Rome, the Crusades, the Dark Ages, the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution, while omitting Athens or even the near-east civilizations? The answer is an absolute no because such omissions would wipe out important factors and historical events that many consider to be the foundation of western civilization. Similarly, the poverty, corruption and dysfunction plaguing Haiti and most of Africa, which the international community utilizes to justify its paternalism, cannot be explained without addressing the colonization era 1512 -1980.
It should be noted that Haiti and Africa, in spite of geography, remain irreversibly connected through racial, linguistic, cultural and other shared characteristics that are the direct result of their colonial experience. On issues of corruption and poverty, Haiti being the world’s first Black republic, established in 1804, and the Sub-Saharan nation-states that emerged from the de-colonization period (1957-1980) are nearly indistinguishable. The connection is such that Haiti is the only country outside of the African continent that enjoys full associate-membership status in the 54-member African Union.
Evidently the non-sequential narration of historical events pertaining to Africans from the 16th century onward, meant to debase and dominate, has negatively affected the entire black race.
It is all the more disingenuous that respect for “human rights” is being utilized by the West as a barometer for human development in Africa and Haiti, when those same rights were systematically ignored during the colonial era. Advertised as a panacea to poverty, “human rights” has developed into a sacrosanct doctrine, making its compulsory dissemination the West’s primary global foreign policy objective, regardless of cultural incompatibility or aversion to it in the targeted countries.
Revisionism has always been an integral part of history. It allows historians and scholars to revisit historical events or periods that may have been distorted, not properly documented or controversial. In this era of mass communication however, it is often used as a conduit to confuse or expunge events whose relevancy would invalidate the western world’s messianic crusade against “non-sanctioned activities” in Africa and Haiti.
All over Africa, the Chinese are building roads, railroads, bridges, seaports, dams and other structures that facilitate the economic growth, which more and more Africans are currently enjoying and the rest of the world is rushing to take advantage of. To put it in perspective, not one institution of higher learning was ever created on the continent throughout the colonization period. And, few roads, schools and industries were built.
In all probability, the Europeans believed that Africans, whom they deemed closer to apes than humans, did not have a need for them. As expected, de-colonization, a pet project of the late FDR (1882-1945), who saw European colonialism as incompatible with US strategic interests, ended up causing more problems than it solved. Needing guidance, the newly-minted African countries were quickly boxed into a new system (the IMF-World Bank duality), which many political pundits regarded as diabolical as colonialism.
Today, however, the western media would have people believing that China is stealing Africa’s resources while the West is only interested in building partnerships with the continent.
The western world’s greatest strength resides in its ability to package its devilish policies in a manner that confounds even the intended victims. The suggestion of building partnerships with Africa is indisputably hypocritical but hardly a shot in the dark. These are the same supremacists who managed to convince the slaves to be grateful of their situation because God created them for that purpose. This absurdity apparently did not fly with the Haitian slaves who instead embraced Vodou, an animist religion which holds that God does not interfere in human affairs. The Haitian slaves’ common sense and unbending desire to self-govern prevailed; and the notion of European superiority and invincibility forever discredited.
Even the accomplishments of others are not immune to western paternalism. U.S. President Thomas Jefferson, who purchased the Louisiana territory from France, which could no longer hold on to the land after their epic defeat at St. Domingue in November 1803, has been credited by many historians as the facilitator of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1803).
In essence, the Haitian slaves were brainless beings incapable of understanding the concept of self-determination, freedom, and equality, which should be the exclusive domain of enlightened white men, like Jefferson. Not to be outdone, other historians have advanced the theory that poor and unstable Haiti had it coming because of its violent and premature break-up with France, which left it bereft of western expertise…in other words, supervision.
These are examples of a narcissistic civilization that thrives on subjugating peoples it considers unsuitable for self-rule. It has taken the western world centuries of internecine warfare and boatloads of missteps to reach the point where it can label itself “civilized.” Africa and its Diaspora can also be proud of their contribution to human development by categorically rejecting western paternalism, which is inherently hostile to non-western aspirations, self-serving and hegemonic.