Sunday, November 15, 2015

Paris got Africans vying for the Tragedies Olymics

As the story about the terror attacks in Paris unfolds, Africans joined the rest of the world in expressing solidarity with the people of France. Many changed their profile pictures on Facebook, using the app that adds the French flag to one's profile picture.

This gesture did not go down well with the Black Conscious set. They have come out in full force, frothing at the mouth over the fact that so many Black people are empathising with Paris. They are angry that CNN has covered the attacks, but ignored attacks elsewhere. They are also livid that anyone feels sorry for the country that runs the 14 member CFA Franc monetary system. Any Black person who has changed their profile picture or called on prayers for Paris is an oreo, uncle tom, hates Black people etc. This is how rancid the Pro-Black movement has become on social media.

Going through the posts, one starts to wonder if they are jealous of the attention France is getting. Would you rather it was Harare or Lagos getting bombed, brothers and sisters?

I obviously did not get that memo, so can someone tell me when exactly did the Tragedies Olympics begin and why are so many Black people feeling as if they are losing that one too? Moreover, why are they blaming other Black people for the loss?

In all that is being said and done, these are some of the facts that are being ignored. For starters, as this picture shows, the people of Paris did come out in solidarity with the people of Kenya after the terror attack at Garissa University. How many Africans can say that they saw similar gestures in their own cities?

Many Africans live in not just Paris, but other European cities that are the targets of terror. When these bombs go off, they do not discriminate- anyone within range will lose life or limb. They will be affected by the disruption in services such as public transport. I remember when there was a bomb scare at Westminster Underground in London, 2011. I helped a Muslim woman I found lying on the ground, she had resigned herself to her fate as she did not feel physically capable of getting out of there in time. With words of encouragement, I helped her on to her feet and supported her all the way on to the street. She said that were it not for me, she had given up and resigned herself to being blown up by terrorists. She was Somali and old enough to be my mother. Had a bomb, targeted at the decadent western imperialists, it would have killed both of us- a Somali Muslim woman and a Zimbabwean Rastafarian. This is why people from all walks of life are banding together against terror in the cities of Europe; people from all walks of life call Europe's cities home.

This is a snapshot taken by my phone as I held it in one hand, while I propped up the Somali lady. I will never forget that moment, as I fought the rising panic and just got on with the business of getting us to safety. The Zimbabweans who are mad at other Zimbabweans for empathising with Paris have never experienced anything like this. If they did, they would understand why we identify with the people of Paris right now.

Cheering terrorists on because France operates the CFA monetary system is a very puerile form of Black Liberation ideology. I do not agree with it, but I also feel that any one of those member states can, if they really wanted to, wean themselves off this archaic neo-colonial institution. And Zimbabweans, who have run a currency that used to be worth £2 at Independence to the ground such that only American dollars, South African Rands etc are accepted by even the Government as money, do not really have the moral platform from which to lecture other countries on whatever fiscal arrangements they have.

Crying that western media doesn't focus on African disasters as much as it does western ones is a manifestation of a grossly distorted sense of entitlement. Why aren't African media houses covering African events? And when western media does dwell on Africa, you all make noises about "negative images"....

Africans, stop making this a competition about who is having it really hard right now. You sound like you really wish those bombs would go off in Harare and Bulawayo too. Rejoicing at other people's misfortunes make you sound like the jealous sister-wife in a polygamous marriage who whoops with delight when she hears that one of the other women's teenage daughters has fallen pregnant. And stop trying to bully or shame those Black people who do empathise with Paris, that kind of trying to enforce group-think makes any claims to stand for Black freedom and unity an absurd contradiction.

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