Dr. Patrick Dele Cole served during the first term of former President Olusegun Obasanjo as Special Adviser on International Relations. In this piece, Cole speaks on the ill of African immigration to Europe.
War costs money and, at the end, someone has to pay. In the 17th, 18th, 19th centuries, the vanquished usually paid in cash or by loss of territories. Germany had been asked to pay unitive damages after the First World War which it did for a while and, as recently as a few weeks ago, Greece called on Germany to pay war reparations to it for Germany’s Second World War activities to enable it settle its debts. Germany was supposed to have paid reparations for two World Wars but the experience of the aftermath of the First World War may have deterred the losers from seeking full reparations. After the World Wars, the Marshall Plan was executed. It was aimed at bringing Europe back from the heavy pounding and massive destruction of nearly all of both sides to the war. Hamburg Stuttgart, Berlin, Frankfurt were more or less flattened (not many people bothered about women and children when the allies pulverited Germany and Japan). Whatever else the Marshall plan was, it was also an admission by the US that it will be responsible for returning Europe to its feet and on the way to prosperity.
In Iraq, there was no such commitment. The first invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent expulsion of Iraq from Kwait were paid for by Kuwait.
The US attack on Iraq (the second time), the cost of that war has not been calculated and no one will have the temerity to ask Iraq to pay, not after the activities of the allies. But who will pay?
When the allies destroy a country’s infrastructure, its civil institutions, all that is achieved is a ready made ground for extremist propaganda and easy recruitment. This is the reason for the success of the ISIS.
Libyan territory has been tilled for the seeds of extremist radical Islamic propaganda and will pay for the irresponsibility of the West.
The next war
I have a rather whimsical view of these immigrants wanting to go to Europe. That is how it should be. Throughout history, the twentieth century is the most settled and sedentary century and there is something wrong in that statement. Man has always moved when necessity pushed him. It was necessity that pushed people to move to the Valleys of Tigrits and Euphrates and thus began the road blocks of modern civilization. Social scientists like Arthur Young, David Ricardo, Karl Max Darwin, Charles Maithus, Noan Chomaky, and nearly all those who study power and how it is used to move and conquer people, or the accumulation of wealth and the social pressure caused thereby inequality, can never be surprised that “immigrants” are moving into Europe. Some even believe that plagues, wars, etc are essential curbs to population explosion. Others believe that the next war would be about access to potable water.
Several centuries ago, Europeans arrived in Africa uninvited. No visa, no passport. They said they came to trade, that there was a new world wide doctrine of free trade. The Africans replied that they knew of no such doctrine and did not want to trade with them. From that time, Europe began a new drive that they had a manifest destiny to “civilize”Africa.
The Europeans carried the free trade doctrine to India, China, and Japan. When China and Japan saw the deleterious effects of the so-called free trade, they baulked. The Europeans established houses, “consultates”, a legal system that exempted their goods, mostly heroin, and themselves, from obeying local laws. Heroin devastated China and Japan. Today, Syrians, Armonians, etc, are refugees and feel it is right to go to Europe. The Italians made a right travesty of Somalia, Eritrea, etc, leading these countries to their failed states status. The Europeans conquered Africa, colonized it.
As for Africans, I do not have any apology if they went to Europe. Europeans came to Africa uninvited. They went to the US. The Red Indians who presumably owned the land were cajoled, bribed, killed and conquered. Today, they remain the poorest group in the richest country.
Attitude to migrants
The British Penal Colony, having failed in Virginia, the British had to find a new one in Australia. On whose invitation? The attitude of the Australians to immigrants must be the most morally reprehensible:
First kill as many of the aboriginal inhabitants as possible. Then develop the country to the exclusion of the aborigins exept when they want to make a film of crocodile Dundee and Evoyne Goola-gang. When Indians or Polynesians or Melanedians want to go to Australia, they are put in detention centers. Why bother? Just gas them as Hitler did!
No nation has travelled more than the Irish in the world. And understandably so. The Americas are full of the surplus of Europe, French, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Irish, Danes, etc. Their language, their colour, their food, in less than 300 years, the white people of Europe had done what even one billion Chinese have been unable to do, turn the Americans into an out post of Europe. Whatever the Pope thought he was doing in 1492 when, through a Papal Bill, he divided the new world between Spain and Portugal, he was wrong and owes the world an apology. If Europe had not gone to Australia, North and South America, where do you suppose there would be a war of xenophobia today?
Just imagine a programme where all Australians, New Zealanders, white South Africans, white North and South Africans were to be returned to Europe!!! Those in Europe who preach against immigration and the return of immigrants to their home countries should be warned.
What would a Syrian, a Somalian or European do in his country? When the West was bombing Libya, praising a non-existent democratic spring, what did they expect to happen? The trek across the Sahara is more dangerous than the sea journey across the Mediterrannean. And when you have finished that trek, what do you see in Africa? Nigeria, Ghana, Chad, Niger, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire-countries exploited, admittedly with local cooperation.
Europe is no paradise
Are these stable governments for the immigrants to live in?
I remember one of our more specific melodies about being in love in one world. The immigrants across the Mediterranean are bringing that one world nearer. To some, the above is just art, it has no solution. I believe the problem, to be serious enough, is to engage the African Union and the European Union (EU); careful records should be made of all those who arrive at the European ports, their agents hunted down and jailed. ECOWAS countries should have their representatives, as in Libya, at the ports gathering vital information. Every African embassy in Europe should be engaged in tracking down these disgraceful people whose images on national television merely emphasis the thesis of the black people coming to take over their jobs in Europe.
Those who are returned should be given vocational training so that they could find jobs at home. Europe is not the paradise in these people’s dream and many of them end up disillusioned and radicalised. The bill for this should be paid largely by the US, France and the UK for removing two of the best safely values: Ghadaffi and Mubbarak. It would cost a lot but means have to be found to prevent that money ending in the pockets of politicians and generals.
The regional organizations of ECOWAS, EAC, SADAC and Magreb Union should be energized for the work. The African countries these people come from are not intrinsically poor. Their poverty is partly due to corruption freely engaged in by the West China, and the shadow governments they encourage in Africa. A commission should be set up to bring back those misguided and unfortunate people. Some in the Western press and government will fall into the sympathy cauldron of lesbian, homosexual and others who would claim that they ran to Europe to escape persecution, or female circumcision, now popularized as female genital mutilation (by the way, why is male circumcision not described as “male genital mutilation?). If this is a standard the West wishes to approve for refugee status, that commission should be able to sort this out and asylum could be given to these categories of people in Europe and the United States.
The above is merely a first step. When we next meet for trade talks, then a simple question to ask is, why is it that most cocoa profit does not stay in Ghana, Nigeria, and Cote d’ Ivoire, etc? If these countries owned Nestle, Hershley, Cadbury, etc, then perhaps there would be less economic migrants to Europe. Just compare the wealth of Hershley, Cadbury and Nestle with the people who produce cocoa in Africa. The answer to this cannot be good corporate responsibility.
Finally, France, Great Britain and the United States brought this debacle on themselves, the immigrants and Europe. They removed Ghadaffi and unleashed tribal tensions which have no where to go but to implode within it or to explode into some irrational radicalized notion of Islam, draped in black, with the obiqutous AK 47. It sounded fine that they were removing a dictator. How many have died since? It sounded alright to bring the price of oil down. There were Western nations buying Libyan oil as low as US$10 a barrel to fill up strategic reserves. They paid US $10 but paid that amount in guns.
Dying to reach Europe
One last question: Apart from Iran and Turkey, Egypt, Iran, which Islamic state is making arms? Where are all these arms which fortify ISIS coming from? The AU should hold a conference on the disgrace of Africans dying in an attempt to reach Europe, to an uncertain future in an uncertain adventure.
AU should demand reparation for Libya. It should take action in Eritrea, Somalia, etc. The money from reparation should be used in a program to help the would-be refugees to develop at home and avoid this horrible immigration.
There are three United Nations Protocols on Human Trafficking and Treatment of Refugees. There is little problem with the first one, except the provision that a refugee must seek asylum at the first port of call. Many countries deliberately flout the second protocol – treatment of refugees.
But people are exposed to danger in crossing the Sahara. Bedouin or Surwa Arabs or Puel’s tribes are the middlemen: the starting price for the journey is US$5,000 – then the price goes up to US$10,000 and possibly the sale of human body parts – Kidney, liver, cornea, then the would-be refugee is left to die. Women start the journey to Libya from Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, Ghana, etc with US$5,000. One set of traffickers then hand over these people to another set of traffickers who demand double. If the would-be refugee is a woman, she is sold into slavery or used as a prostitute until the debt is discharged.
Then, on to a boat, another set of traffickers take over the helpless woman to prostitute for the same journey, which takes 6-10 years of stop and go. In 1999 – 2010, the Obasanjo administration repatriated 13,000 women from Italy. This was done quietly to avoid shame to the families.
Protocols should be awakened, institutions built – robust campaign in the home countries must be carried out.
Most work has to be done in the home countries. None of these “refugees”spend less than US$7,000: What would a person who is able to raise such money in Africa want to go and do in Europe? He or she may end up as traffic warden, car wash attendant, house boy or house maid. We must produce progammes where if you can raise such an amount here, you are better off investing it in Africa. Human traffckers trade routes must be traced and stopped at source. The routes should be policed.