Correcting colonial wrongs?
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
The result of Mr Berlusconi's visit to Libya seems to have shocked the world; more so, it seems, due to the announcement of massive investment opportunities than for the historical significance of the high profile get-together. From the look of things, the whole world approves of the agreement between the two countries.
What we might not unanimously approve of, however, is whether the wrongs of colonialism can be accounted for in a monetary sense.
Five billion American dollars is indeed quite a lot of money. It is especially meaningful for a developing country like Libya, desperately struggling to escape the manacles of decades of bad feeling between it and the influential West.
We could be guilty of the same injustice Italy and the rest of imperialist Europe was accused of if we fail to acknowledge the significance of the step taken by Mr Berlusconi and his Italian government. If anything, the landmark offer suggests acceptance of wrong doing by the people of Italy. If only the rest of imperialist Europe can borrow a leaf from them!
However, the best way to compensate the continent would be to treat it with fairness in every sense of the word; respect and humility. Acknowledgment, it must also be noted here, ought to go with assumption of responsibility; genuine acceptance of responsibility for the decades of wrong inflicted on the people of Africa.
The colonial masters are bound by an obligation to go a step further in accepting the fact that Africa and Africans contributed immensely to the development of the Europe they are doing everything to prevent our youngsters from entering today.