Pulse Media


Colonialism then, colonialism now

In reality, Bemba was arrested for challenging and threatening French authority. For over 40 years, the French government involved itself in the CAR's political affairs; the French army has helped install dictator after dictator in that country since CAR's independence from France in 1960 (Hari, 2007). CAR has strong ties with its former coloniser, France and for many years it was reported that France had a 1 200-strong garrison based in CAR. It is that same garrison that engineered changes of government over the years or that supported the government of the day to quell dissent, given that the governments of the day kow-towed to France's agenda.

The French government never forgave Bemba for questioning and challenging their authority in the CAR. This is why Bemba is the only war-thug being sent to jail for sending his goons to kill innocent civilians in a foreign country. Bemba did exactly what the French army has been doing to the CAR since that country's independence. Uganda and Rwanda did the same thing in the DRC, when they invaded that country in 1998, triggering a civil war that killed more than 3 million people.

Democracy Now! 26/06/2008
(see also liste de partage on left for video)

For example, the statement condemning or questioning the Zimbabweans elections emerged from Swaziland, a South African nation that is one of the last absolute monarchies on this small planet. Some might well question why isn’t Swaziland’s human rights situation being interrogated and investigated? A scant year ago in Nigeria, the continent’s giant, you had shambolic elections, had hundreds killed yet that barely registered a blip on the international media. At least not in the North Atlantic. Many talk, perhaps understandably, about the fact the President Mugabe has served as President since 1980, but what about Omar Bongo of Gabon, a close ally of the U.S, an oil-rich country in West Africa, which of course, he has served as president since 1967? 13 years before Mugabe came into power. I mean, I could go on in this vain, but I think the fact that thousands were killed in Zimbabwe in the 1980’s and yet, he received a virtual knighthood from Queen Elizabeth and received an honorary degree from Massachusetts, and yet, today in 2008, he is a subject of international scorn after of course he expropriates some white farmers, really speaks of profound racism in terms of how this issue has been covered in the North Atlantic media.

More than that, if the situation in Zimbabwe is so terrible, and I agree it is, why is it that the Bush administration continues to send undocumented Zimbabwe workers back to Zimbabwe? There’s been talk about a so- called genocide unfolding in Zimbabwe, yet, you see the Gordon Brown administration in London not giving asylum to Zimbabwe workers who are exiled now in London. We talk about the Mugabe regime, but just the other day it was revealed that Anglo American, the major transnational corporation with close South African ties and headquarters in London, is about to make a $400 million investment in Zimbabwe. Barclay’s bank is in Zimbabwe. Rio Tinto-Zinc, the major mineral conglomerate is in Zimbabwe.
It is of course right to criticise Robert Mugabe and to call for an end to his regime. No doubt many people are also happy about the arrest of Jean-Pierre Bemba as well. It is, however, important for the role of the (ex-) colonial powers and the imperialist powers of today to be brought into the public discussion, especially in an age of so-called 'humanitarian' intervention. It is utterly wrong that countries such as France, Britain should be able to pass for (albeit sometimes weak) sympathetic ex-colonisers (or the benevolant world cop) who simply want to defend democracy to Africa. Not only for moral reasons, but especially in light of imperialist intervention in Afghanistan and Irak, possible intervention in Iran (perhaps through the Israeli proxy) and calls for intervention in Africa (as if they didn't already intervene in their 'ex'-colonies!).