By Owei Lakemfa
ANGER erupted across many parts of Africa this week against the racist Prime Minister of Great Britain, Boris Johnson, whose eight-year call for the re-colonisation of the continent trended in the social media. I am not sure Boris was prepared for the onslaught against him as the events that led to the attacks, took place in the United States where his fellow White supremacist, Donald Trump presides over the hapless American populace.
The titanic Black Lives Matter, BLM, protests which exploded across the world following the May 25 murder of African-American, George Floyd, made a major landfall in the United Kingdom. The British protesters also decided to remove the statues of all those who profited from slavery and colonialism on the basis that: “Statues are exercises of public adoration.”
The targets included the statue of Francis Drake, an infamous pirate, knighted on April 4,1581 by Queen Elizabeth. In a classic case of a thief stealing from a thief, Drake, near Lima, Peru, hijacked a Spanish ship laden with stolen Peruvian gold worth about £7million. Another statue was that of the founder of the Boys Scout Movement, Lieutenant General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, a rabid racist who actually established the organisation from his use of boys to spy on the anti-colonial South African Blacks who were then exterminated. A counter far-right protest was organised to attack the BLM movement. This group argued that the statues were necessary historical monuments. Boris backed this position.
Let me explain that the basis of his racism is embedded in his identity crisis: he tries to be more English than the English in a desperate attempt to bury in the sands of history, his ancestry as the grandson of a Turk, Ali Kemal Bey, who was from Kalfat, about 110 kilometres north of Ankara. Boris has tried to reinvent himself as a full blooded Englishman proud of the British history of pillage, slavery and colonialism. If he can, Boris would drain himself of his Turkish blood and replace it with English blood. That journey of self-reinvention started with his father, Stanley Kemal, who adopted the name of their maternal grandmother, Margaret Johnson. So, Boris is like a fanatical proselyte trying very hard to display his new religion.
Secondly, Boris is widely known as a manufacturer of falsehood, what his elder brother, Donald Trump calls alternative facts. This is unacceptable in journalism where facts are sacred even if their interpretation differ. As a journalist, including when reporting from the European Union headquarters, Boris could not be held down to the truth. So when back home, he wrote a story on the archaeological discovery of King Edward II’s palace and invented a quote which he falsely attributed to the historian Colin Lucas, he was fired. Boris then turned fully into politics, an arena where his talents of fictive realism blossomed so well, that he is today, Prime Minister of Great Britain.
The Boris’ February 2, 2002 article in the Spectator which has generated quite some anger, is titled: “Africa is a mess, but we can’t blame colonialism.” It is crafted in the Borisian style of a little truth clothed in large swaddling clothes of exaggeration and falsehood. He argues that Africa’s woes cannot be blamed on “Britain, or colonialism, or the White man…The continent may be a blot, but it is not a blot upon our conscience.” True? A country that for centuries raped Africa, stole its wealth, transported millions of its able youths across the oceans as slaves, destroyed its economy, colonised it, and until now has its knee on the neck of Africans, is blameless?
Boris laments that Africa is nominally free from colonialism, so he weeps: “The problem is not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge anymore.” Boris claimed that Africans did not know what to do with their fertile lands: “So the British planted coffee and cotton and tobacco, and they were broadly right.” This is patently false. It was the Ethiopians that first planted and cultivated coffee in the ninth century. Secondly, the British were not the originators of tobacco. The American Indians on October 15, 1492 gave Christopher Columbus dried tobacco leaves which his sailors introduced into Europe. The American-Indians used tobacco for medical purposes, including as pain killer and for dressing wounds. Before the introduction of tobacco, Europeans smoked cannabis. The third Boris lie to be punctured is cotton production. It was first produced in Egypt, the Sudan and Mesopotamia from where it was introduced to the Arabs. It was Arab traders in the first century who introduced cotton to Spain and Italy from where it spread to the rest of Europe.
Boris wrote that: “In 1956 Ghana had a bigger GDP than Malaysia, and Egypt and South Korea were economically on a par. Can you really blame colonialism for the subsequent divergence in performance?” Yes! The fact is that it was White America using its Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, that overthrew progressive Ghanaian President, Kwame Nkrumah on February 24, 1966 and pushed the country into recession and backwardness. Boris then quoted a fictional British official as saying: “I just don’t get it. Why are they (Africans) so brutal to each other?” This is authorial intrusion. Boris is referring to Africans as savages.
It is little minds like Boris who believed that Africans are monkeys who live in trees. Such brutal illiterates do not know that Africa built sophisticated structures like the pyramids thousands of years before any skyscraper was built in Europe. They are too uninformed to know that Greek civilisation which gave birth to modern Western civilisation and thought, was built upon African civilisation. That Plato schooled in Egypt for 13 years and Aristotle for 20 years. How can ill-educated people like Boris be taken serious that Africa had no knowledge before the arrival of the Europeans when in fact, in the 13th Century, we established the first modern university in the world, the Sankore University, Timbuktu?
Only a sick, delusional mind would reach Boris’ conclusion that “the best fate for Africa” is eternal colonisation. Boris is like the serial rapist who relishes in his crimes because he believes that all women are bitches and it is his divine right to rape them. Just as the rapist would blame his victims for being naturally endowed and dressing provocatively, so does Boris blame Africa for its natural endowment.
Again like the serial rapist keeps mementoes of his victims to give him the kick, so does Boris argue that statues of notorious British slave traders and colonialists be retained in public places because they “teach us about our past with all its faults”. Tragic is a country with Boris Johnson as leader.