Give People What They Want
Many leaders control their people stridently enough to make it impossible for things to happen unless they have been state sanctioned. Case in point, China: For 4 whole months between late 2002 and early 2003, the Communist Party hid the fact that the SAS virus was decimating its own people. They could not bear the embarrassment and neither did they seek help from the world. Eight thousand people lost their lives before the international community got this outbreak under lock and key. Today, that would not happen. A text message, a tweet, a Facebook comment or even a simple picture taken by a cell phone would alert the international community of a disease in the most remote places in the world. This week alone, 4 new virus were discovered – viruses that bear the lethal punch of ebola and SAS. That world is smaller than these leaders think – and that was Obama’s lesson! [Our Emmanuel Musaazi speaks to matters of ICT Development in Black Society here].
Anyhow, for you, brothers and sisters, we could ask whether things are much better in your respective countries than they were before – and most of you will agree. You know what is happening in your former village – sometimes even before your relatives in the cities do. But that does not mean that people are not suffering. How many of you actually saw, heard or also knew someone that was arrested, beaten, threatened, harassed or even killed simply because they expressed a dissenting opinion challenging the Big Men? Some of you in the Diaspora are victims yourselves. And the Zimbabwean Diaspora, for instance, squarely blames Mugabe for the injustice and misery in their fatherland.
On the other hand, the same Black Diaspora has seen too many forms of injustice happening right here in North America: The economic divide between the blacks and whites is unfairly, unsustainably and obviously on display wherever you go in these United States and Canada. Too many people sleep on the streets and many of you work long and hard hours for miserable pay.
But like we have hinted, Mr. Mugabe is not the only one running away from the issues at hand. In response to Mr. Obama’s call, Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari, whose country receives billions of aid dollars from the U.S.demand that those who misuse freedom of expression be punished like criminals. Then Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Mursi basically hinted to Obama that if he [Obama] was going to continue allowing the Americans to be free, then America was going to have to suffer the consequences of this massive amount of freedom! Even Nigeria’s president Dr. Goodluck Jonathan called for reform at the UN while ignoring the crisis in Northern Nigeria – a crisis The Economist says stems from an “incompetent federal government” in Abuja! We could go on …
Much may be made of Obama’s shout-out to his fellow leaders; many a heavy-handed ruler may not appreciate Obama’s ‘impudence’ or ‘arrogance.’ After all, what can an American president know? He has never walked in the shoes of those who govern nations with less resources and a host of other disadvantages. And like Mugabe did, they miss the point that people will do what they do, they will want what they want; and they will need what they need. With the current technology and also the unconquered human spirit, if you impose curfews, you will create a people who see in the darkness past your guards and road blocks; make people line up for basic necessities, and they will become smugglers; prevent them from saying what they want, and they will speak in ways that leaders will never understand.