Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tanzanian Unspoken Double-Standard

There are happenings in life that just can't stop driving one's mind crazy. As hard as one tries to evade thinking about them, the mind seems to have a "mind" of its own. For it keeps lingering on such issues for what seems like forever. I must be excused, for the Darwin's Nightmare documentary is one such issue that has caused my to never stop racing. The problem is that my mind is not wandering about the documentary itself, but the reaction from some of my fellow countrymen.

Through other events, I have come to conclude that we seriously need critical thinking abilities in Tanzania, if we have to make any meaningful and faster economic and social progress. I am convinced of that because at the current rate, it does not appear like we are going to make it, given the general level of mental and intellectual capabilities that we have demonstrated. I know there brilliant individuals out there, but just remember that I am being general here.

The most troubling thing, in my opinion, that the whole Nightmare's saga has brought about is the unspoken double standard or hypocrisy from the African or poor countries, Tanzania included. Let's get some facts straight, before someone shoots me for being mzushi. This is the real deal, specifically for Tanzania: our budgets is 40% dependent on donor countries, and when talk about donor countries, we are primarily talking about Western countries, of which we pretend to hate so much! I understand that there are dirty games that the Western world play, but let's be honest, they "own" us.

So isn't it hypocrisy to be all up and arms against Mr. Sauper for being a Westerner who told us the truth, while as a tax-payer in France, his government has just dished a whole lot of dough to finance the Tanzanian budget in 2006? Isn’t it hypocrisy when we sing songs of condemning the Western media for mud slinging us, while we call for them to come and invest in local corporations, such as Tanzania Railway Corporation, that we have failed to run? Do we think that they will come to run these corporations merely because they are of Caucasian race or because they are able to think and execute?

Isn’t it hypocrisy to call the white folks all kinds of names, while we still think that we Negroes in Tanzania can’t collect Tanesco’s debts but Westerners can? Isn’t it hypocrisy for us to be against the Western thinking, while we have repeatedly failed to produce enough food in our country, only to be rescued through food aids from the same white “adversaries”? Isn’t it hypocrisy to think negatively about the white folks while more than 50% of our Ministers got educated by the same people? Isn’t it hypocrisy to talk about them while we still dress on suits made by them?

See, I am not advocating for the Western countries, but I am calling for our people to be objective and realistic. I am calling for my folks to stop exercising double standards. We should stop pretend hating the Westerners on a political front, while we love and depend on their money. The Western world advanced and got where they are because they are applied their minds. We should listen and learn a thing or two instead of pretending that we know it all. After all, in a grand scheme of the world, what does a farmer in Mwanza really know? See, these are the folks who need knowledge, but they have allowed themselves to be shortsighted.

We should put up or shut up. Pride without anything to show up for it is stupidity.


Anonymous said...

After seeing Darwin's nightmare, i was searching the internet to see if the Tanzanian government had reacted to this. I was happy to read your opinion on 'double standards'. I'm a citizen of one of these western countries myself, but i lived in Africa for some years (doing research at a university) and i am married to an african woman. The hypocrisy you talk about, is something that keeps on bothering me in my visits to Africa. Don't get me wrong, the last thing i need is a "thank you" for the pathetic western support Africa gets, since i agree that we as western countries really owe a lot more to them (i for instance would happily pay more tax if i would know it would be invested wisely in Africa instead of in protecting our own agriculture), however i as a 28 year old european individual think i am personally not be to blamed for the situation and don't owe the african population anything more than their wealthy fellow countrymembers owe them.
Therefore i always had great dificulty dealing with another African in western clothes with an education from a 'white' institute living a european lifestyle, lecturing me how i as a european am to blame for the economical mess in their country, his reasoning often being based on plane racial hatred instead of decent argumentation (however when you watch a movie like Darwin's nightmare there are enough strong arguments to be found to blame the western world). I just cannot understand how someone can decide to completely copy the people he hates that much (and then sometimes still be talking about the African Renaissance). For instance often you will find out that he believes he is a devoted christian himself. Since i am not religious myself, i see Christianity as another european export product that became a plague in Africa. First of all i think the christian church has been used to surpress the people and secondly i think religion and culture are things that have to match (therefore christianity in africa seems like using the roadmap of England to find your way in France). If he despises me and the world i come from so much, why would he decide to copy one of the most personal things, your bond with the greater being?
Since i never heard or read anything from someone else dealing with this hypocrisy, i was happily surprised to see you mentioning it.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anonymous 12:49PM,
I'm an African who is as passionate about the continent as the next guy, but I think there must come a time when Africans start dealing with their own internal issues.

Yes, Europeans are partly to blame for the Darwin's Nightmare, but where does the second part - the Tanzanians' own responsibility - kicks in?

I think it is ridiculous to blame anybody, while the so-called leaders drive expensive cars and obtain medical care abroad at the expense of the masses.

I will shoot the Europeans when they deserve to be shot, but I will certainly do the same to my fellow Africans when such is called for. Hypocritical politics was acceptable in the early days of independence. I don't the same arguments hold water in 2006.