Of peaceful and Conflictual States… Students Conversation
Hope you are doing great, Francis? Yes, I am, and you? Of course am doing great. Just reading my books and sometimes, looking forward to Friday night. Tromsø comes alive every Friday. Sometimes tough, I get caught up with fears. Fear? Oh!, you mean you have not gotten over your coldphobia? Wait till winter. Who is talking about cold here? I just told you am doing great, cold or no cold. Something worse than cold has left me puzzled. Well, just be at peace with yourself. Talking about peace, have you wondered why our continent Africa, is riddled with so much conflict while Europe, particularly Scandinavian states and more precisely Norway is peaceful in spite of the challenges from Breivik lately? Well, I have been thinking about that. Who is breivik by the way? You mean you don’t know that man? He is the heartless man that took the lives of some future leaders of Norway. But of course, Norway has emerged stronger; never allowing the madness of one man in his quest for “Europe for Europeans” shatter their well cherished values and tradition – Peace and democracy. I think he is a disciple of Samuel Huntington? That name sounds familiar. He is the historical scholar whose “clash of civilization” has found solace and confirmed in many disastrous events this century. You mean he is also a dooms day prophet? I never said that. In any case, let’s not lose track of our discussion.
But of course, Norway has emerged stronger; never allowing the madness of one man in his quest for “Europe for Europeans” shatter their well cherished values and tradition – Peace and democracy
Sometimes, I feel like bringing all African leaders together, smack their buttocks for failing in their duties to Africans. For how long are we going to go through this conflict? While the likes of Ghadaffi has succeeded in rubbishing the Northern axis with his sit-tight rule which culminated in the avoidable conflict, the West Africa axis is boiling internally but has not yet attracted international attention apart from Cote D’Ivoire recently which already is a closed case. The case of East and Central Africa is more tragic; droughts, famine, leaders and rebels competing for space; all in one region. Are we not tired of this vicious circle of conflict? Can’t we move to virtuous circle of peace and development?
You sound angry. Angry is an understatement. I am boiling but helpless. Well, it’s quite unfortunate. We have become synonymous with everything bad – backward, destructive, decaying and retrogressive. I hate to agree with scholars that labeled Africa a dark continent but what is happening in Africa has persistently confirmed that assertion. Imagine my lecturer, Vambheim during a speech on Ghandi’s Peace Day saying that it seems that the whole world has given up on sub Saharan Africa? I was almost in tears. I don’t really blame him for such statement. He is coming from an environment that knows no conflict since World War II. And come to think of it, he is right. I feel you brother. Indeed, what is happening in our continent deserves some attention. We need to look inward for solutions.
The case of East and Central Africa is more tragic; droughts, famine, leaders and rebels competing for space; all in one region. Are we not tired of this vicious circle of conflict? Can’t we move to virtuous circle of peace and development?
Look at the situation in Libya, Egypt, Somalia, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea and Nigeria. Every time you listen to BBC, it’s either sporadic shooting in the North of Africa, boko haram bombing in the West, droughts and famine in the East and Central while the rebels are also holding sway? Our leaders have really failed us. Now, you get my point. Our leaders are only interested in their own self-aggrandizement than providing qualitative leadership that surely would translate to more sustainable development and peace. Also, power intoxicates them so much that the idea of relinquishing power is never contemplated, rather the constitution is modified continuously to keep them there or even pass mantle of leadership to their sons and cronies. It doesn’t really matter to them how long or deep our continent is plunged into conflicts and civil strife. They have successfully criminalized states and use the lean resources available for their own selfish ends. You are really angry. Yes, I am but am even getting confused in addition.
Ghadaffi for example I was told lately started well(?); that he adopted a well-informed welfaristic policies to improve the lots of his people. Who said so? Gilbert, a second year Peace student whose thesis is based on the legal interpretation of Superpowers involvement in Libya crisis. Even if Gilbert is right, must Ghadaffi die in office? What has happened to the concept of continuity in government and governance? Ghadaffi feels he is the only one that can keep European incursion in Libya at bay. Now that same Europeans have aided the rebels to send him packing. What I am practically scared of now is the second economic scrabble that might go on in Libya when the new government settles down to work. Two main Europeans countries, among others, intervened to save the casualization of Libyans but whether they accept or not, they have economic interest at the back of their mind. You can’t expect the likes of France and Italy to invest so much in that war and hands up; peace at last. Lie! Agreement has to be signed and oil largesse shared. Cased closed and Libya live happily thereafter. Are you a prophet? No, well yes, but not like Huntington. The next months will prove me right or wrong.
You can’t expect the likes of France and Italy to invest so much in that war and hands up; peace at last. Lie! Agreement has to be signed and oil largesse shared. Cased closed and Libya live happily thereafter.
Even in the sub Saharan Africa, particularly in Nigeria, those brigands are threatening from the North. Who are the brigands again? The boko haram boys of course. Agreed that so many things are wrong with the Nigerian state but has there been anywhere in the world sustainable peace has been planted by violence approach? Agreed that they have genuine reasons to be frustrated with the government which am sure every sane Nigeria is, is that enough reasons to start setting off bombs in strategic places in the country, threatening our nascent democracy? My fear is that the military should not come back in the name of “putting things right” and subject Nigerians to another round of endless transition programme.
God, where have we gone wrong? My dear, remove God from the affairs of men. That’s blasphemy. I will say it again and again. Please, remove God from the affairs of men. God has endowed our continent with rich human and natural resources to be used for the welfare of His people to His honour and glory. Why didn’t He endow us with good leaders if he wants those resources to be put to good use instead of being used as a source of discord, divisions and ultimately conflict and wars? I just told you God endowed us with good human resources. I guess the problem is that the bad has triumphed over the good for too long. Better still, our leaders know what is good but since personal interest overrides national interest in their thinking, we have mostly taking the path to hell. That is why I told you I want to smack them if I have the opportunity but I may never have it.
In any case, I will never accept this present situation as our final phase. I want us to get things right in our continent. I want us to adopt the best possible and practical measures to institutionalize democracy, peace and development in all states in Africa. It would only take round pegs in round holes to get things right. Yes, I agree with you. Development and peace does not exist in a vacuum. You have to create the condition for both to triumph. Imagine Norway? What happened to Norway? The country is good model for peace and development. You want African states to be copy-cats? No,no,no! Just learn and apply how they have been able to sustain their democracy and peace for decades. They “rest” we can live for them. What are the ‘rest’? Don’t ask me. Have you not been in Tromsø? Has it not been everyman for himself and God for us all? Oh, now I know where you are driving at. Well, I quite agree with you. We can actually hold onto our communal life while we sharpen our democratic framework and search for peace.
The present crops of leaders are dragging the continent further into a pit of conflict, poverty and insecurity; living us at the mercy of IMF and World Bank’s aids which is worse than AIDS epidemic.
Someday, I am sure the right leaders will emerge to take Africa to greater heights. And that would come soon. The present crops of leaders are dragging the continent further into a pit of conflict, poverty and insecurity; living us at the mercy of IMF and World Bank’s aids which is worse than AIDS epidemic. That reminds me; have you taking time to study the statistics of human right abuses in Africa? Not really, except as related to conflict escalations. Both are two sides of a coin. Yes, but human right abuses as arising from conflict is just one side of the story. Now …
Chris Ekene Mbah