At some stage of my life I had a fantastic History teacher. He was a poet and a sharp political analyst. Unfortunately, he was my teacher for a very short period. Even so I believe the impact of a short period with a good teacher is far greater than years of mediocre school.
Something I got from him that I shall never forget is the importance of explaining historical events through reasons. History, as he presented, was a sort of crime intrigue and we, as students, had the fascinating job of unveiling the reasons explaining each fact, a sort of historical “cherchez la femme”. He also insisted that several reasons were always at steak, some more evident than others. For instance, discovering Brazil was a geographical mistake. The decision of colonizing (fact) was taken due to several reasons, being the economical and religious the main ones. The religious was the up-front reason, the evident one. The economical aspect was the unspeakable reason. People were seduced to the colonial saga by the idea of “teaching religion and civilization to the savage.”
History should be very different today, don’t you think? Still, I wonder if it’s that different. We have the case of Libya. I am not a fan of Muammar Gaddafi. I have an image of a show off-man, an authoritarian politician. Despite that, I also have some information of his generosity and his enthusiasm towards the construction of a strong, united Africa. And, over the last years, those ideas finally started to be regarded as desirable and possible.
Either pro or against the intervention in Libya, you probably accept as evident reason for that the petroleum resources of that country. And so do I. Yet, I had forgotten my History lessons until recently. Now it is clear to me that there are other reasons for what is happening in Libya today, and they are not entirely evident.
The thought of a united continent, especially economically united, must be remarkably worrying to some Western countries. Those worries have nuances I don’t even dare to touch right now. Let’s just say that Africa united from Cape to Cairo is something unpredictable, escaping any political forecasts. Besides, the actual trend is not unite but divide: divide to better control.
So if Africa is going to be strong and united one day, it has to be the Western way. And South Africa, the country regarded as capable of leading the unification and development process in Africa, is now opening the doors to the patterned development of other continents by, for instance, selling 4 major stores, representing nearly 50% of the retail business in Southern Africa, to Walmart. People who have been relying on quality, betting on the African way, cannot be indifferent to the current business trend in this region. And what we truly suspect is that one foot in South Africa means two feet in this continent. Yes, we shall have Walmart stores in Mozambique pretty soon…