Saturday, January 20, 2007

"Get Over It"....

It is my intention to keep this balling rolling all the time. Nonetheless, it is difficult to do that when some other pressing issues pull me away from this “house”. Despite that fact, my heart is always here. So what I do when I am not writing is to reflect off line. It is insane, but I do that.

I had planned to muse on some issues that caught my attention during my regular rounds on the Tanzanian media, but I had to skip that. The reason for my detour is that I came across a very interesting argument, that I thought to myself, why not blog on this?

I was watching CCN about three days ago. One the news items that they covered was this incident where one legislator from Virginia, Frank D. Hargrove, wanted black folks in the United States of America to get over slavery . The legislator made his remarks in opposition to a measure that would apologize on the state's behalf to the descendants of slaves.

I know most black people, especially those who have been playing the slavery and colonialism card for a long time, would not like my point of view. As painful as it is for some people, I agree with Mr. Hargrove. It is about time to let go of these tired excuses.

See, I am not condoning slavery nor am I supporting colonialism. Certainly, those institutions damaged the integrity of black people. However, those institutions are long gone. As I have said it before, Africans in particular, must define where it wants to go and how it wants to get there. Blaming each and every failure, some of which are our making, on the historical happenings is plain irresponsibility.

I was born after the independence of Tanganyika from the British. I cannot sit here and blame power outages in Tanzania on the British. I cannot sit here and blame corruption and lack of accountability on the British. I cannot sit here and blame lack of vision, creativity and hard work in Tanzania on anyone. But that is exactly what black folks, generally speaking, like to do around the globe.

What stinks the most is when an educated black brother or sister, goes on CCN and demands that the American government to apologize for slavery. What ticks me off is the fact that this brother or sister would go on television and cite the number of black men in jail. Fine, there are tons of black men that are jail. Nonetheless, the question is this: how did they get there? How did this articulate brother or sister get their education, if those chances are denied to black people? Or better yet, why wouldn’t blacks who feel that they are being denied a chance to succeed in all other institutions go to historically black colleges that are available?

The point is this: if I can “succeed” in America, despite all the immigration hurdles that I had to go through, I can’t understand why a black person in this country is running the streets and blaming that on slavery. Doing drugs is a personal choice, which has nothing to do with slavery. The last I checked, there are plenty of black millionaires in America, some of which are not even football or basketball players. How can I sit here and blame colonialism for a stupid contract that was signed by an irresponsible government official in Tanzania? It does not make sense, but black folks do that.

What stinks is that a typical black would rather idolize a rapper than an individual who is actually putting sense in their heads. For instance, the last time Bill Cosby challenged black folks to go to school, they shot back at him, claiming that he is only saying that because he is now rich. That is the point. He is rich. Would you take a lesson from a fellow failure?

It is apparent that black folks are not practical enough. Let’s say, for instance, that the American government apologizes for slavery (of course they have done that through Bill Clinton, who apologized for slavery when visiting Uganda). Would that change anything? Would that change the state of mind of some wicked white folks who are fond of racism? Would that get black men out of jail? Would that change the rate of single mothers in the black communities? I am sure it won’t. If it won’t, then we have to ask some serious and tough questions.

Of those questions, which black people have failed to ask themselves for years is this: how did we get under colonial and slavery masters? My theory is that we got under those institutions because we were naïve. Sad enough, none in the African continent is acknowledging that fact. As a result, we have not learned anything more than 300 years later. Despite nice suits and expensive cars, most of our leaders are still running on the same old Watemi mental outlook (see my previous blog on that ).

My point is this: We need to get over slavery. We need to get over colonialism. Throwing a pity party won’t change anything. We need to change our thinking mode if we really need to make progress. If in 1957 Malaysia was as poor as Tanzania, do you think they got where they are today by feeling sorry for themselves? It is 2007 and I don’t think white folks will relinquish their position anytime soon…if we want to compete; we have to learn the rules of the game. Unfortunately, we are not learning.

I know that my point of view could be politically incorrect, but let the truth be told.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Metty, there is inequality, yes you can change some things but some other things and other people you can not change them. You can not change history, you can not change prejudice, but you can criticize history and prejudice. Slavery was there and it will be there depending on how you can expand the meaning and the type of slavery. There is mental slavery, economic slavery, social, salvery, political slavery, and it goes on and on in different forms and shapes. The rich have the the tendency to benefit from others. Employers have the tendency to benefit from the employees. If the CEO with an MBA makes over 60 million dollars a year, and other employees with similar MBA make less than 200,000 dollars a year, aren`t they slaves too?? It is a complex issue brother.

luihamu said...

Metty when you talk about slavery and you dont sopport your fellow black brothers it really pains.Metty i know you have an idea but let me ask you a question if you really wanted to change Africa or educate Africnas i think you should be here in Africa.Kuna msemo unasema aliyeshiba hamkumbuki mwenye njaa.i have been reading your blog every time you buplish anew article,kweliMetty you want to change Africa but how?you are million away from Africa.

On the issue of Education its a bit too funny,you see when you talk about education getting all the blaks and Africans in class is a big problem.Hivi chanzo cha elimu nini?Neno Elimu ilitoka wapi?Metty you are now using technology but look at Africa,how many children know what a computer is?You see Africans we should have our own EDUCATION,what is the idea of teaching me about the explorers in my own home land.Specialization is another issue,how can a child be taught seven subjects a day?does it make any sence?specialization helps in building a child mind and also helpd to identify a specific field.

Tatizo tunatabia yakusema Mungu akipenda,kila kitu Mungu,ohh sijafaulu kwasababu sijaokoka nini hii?Metty wakati wa mitihani utawaona wanafunzi wanavyo kesha katika nyumba za ibada ,imani potofu hii,tufungewe macho na kuona.Hakuna kitu kibaya kama kutekwa kiimani.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anonymous
I am not disagreeing to the fact that inequalities and all negative vices against black people are there. Nonetheless, my central theme wasn't to discredit those realities, but rather to call on responsibility on the Africans' part. Do what we can. That's all.

The truth is-- as you hinted -- that this is a man-eat-man world. We have not even figured out why we got under the slavery and colonial masters and yet we are crying for apologies. This is my point - white folks can apologize, but would that change our situation? Most likely not. So why don't we come up with a game plan instead of resorting to cry babies?

As I said, white folks will not reliquish power and their position anytime soon...it is our responsibility to play the game. And play to win.

In case you haven't noticed, the Chinese and Indians are playing...but we are still resorting to issues that will NEVER change our situation.

We have to change our thinking and face the realities around us.

@Luihamu,
This is my personal position: what we are starts with our thinking. Change starts individually. So the best I can do is to challenge our thinking. Hopefully, through that, I can bring about a change.

If you take Tanzania for instance, I believe that our main problem is not lack of resources, but lack of proper thinking. Despite my desire for change, I don't know how I can reach and touch every Tanzanian.

So I am just doing the little I know how - and that is blogging.

Anonymous said...

Colonization and slavery are living evils, but what can you say? If you can make a good case and take whoever is responsible to justice, why not? Those are moral issues and ethical issues. Some people never give up in seeking for legal justice, the question is was it illegal at that time or just inhuman? Laws were not developed well enough, or were not in favor of the opressed and humiliated. At this point in time, perhaps, laws have advanced to allow the humiliated, regardless of social class, or race, or sex to be compensated for pain and suffering. It can be a very long and expensive legal fight because both sides of the case have their strong case and arguments to defend thier positions.

Human rights organizations and legal systems have a responsibility to ensure people have the opportunity to bring wrongdoers to justice. As a human being, you have the right to complain if you feel someone is treating you as a slave
or treated you as slave. For those countries which do not complain about imperialism, World Bank, Fair trade,Globalization, it is thier own fault.
One time in capitalistic world, it was proposed that Chemical plants shoud be built in less developed countries because majority of people over there have a shorter life span and are in very poor circumstances. Also on the website of a prominent university, it was also mentioned that, Africa is a strategic battle ground! What logic is being used here? The fact that many people are dying to to epidemics or poverty does not give some one the right to endanger the lives of those people, whether in Asia or Africa, all people have the same dignity and need to be treated with respect. The inequality between nations and between individuals is the big problem today than all the problems of slavery, colonization, etc. The inequality in opportunities is what makes people think about slavery and colonization. So when you want to change the thought process of those people, you need to be very sensitive of their emotions and line of thoughts. You can advice, but you have no capacity to influence thought processes of other people. There are cultural and historical factors that can not be ignored, alternatively,you can use pain to be your motivator and succeed. There are many black CEO`s and millionaires in corporate America than ever, Africans too are doing very well, one prisoner rose above limitations, Nelson Mandela. Oprah, a black female Billionaire, Obama, half white half black, but they call him just black, not even half white. All Africans countries do not have a white president or minister, if they screw up it is thier own problem.
Although there has never been an African America president,the wealthiest black people are in America, no question. This concludes that, no matter what America is the land of opportunities for everybody, and perhaps it is the only place where you can meet people from every corner of the world living peacefully in thier mortgaged houses or rented apartments.

Anonymous said...

Kwa hiyo mzee usishangae watu kundika kwenye blog kuhusu Africa huku wakiwa wananga`ng`ania kubaki huko America. Huko ni kuzuri na Africa pia ni kuzuri. America, as country has more stability thereffore people fear the instability in Africa and hide in America, courageous people go back and live in the community with the community.
Tatizo lingine kubwa sana ni kwamba mtu mwafrika akishakaa nchi za ulaya au Amerika akirudi Afrika anakuwa kama outcast vile, maana ana act kama mtu wa Ulaya badala ya kuuhusudu Uafrika wake. hizi kasumba ni mojawapo ya madhara ya ukoloni na utumwa wa kiakili.
Kufafanua zaidi, angalia mavazi wanayovaa viongozi wa Kiafrika wanapokuwa Ulaya, Except Nigerians,
wengi hupenda suti za kifahari kutoka Italy na hupenda shopping zao maduka makubwa makubwa yenye mitindo ya kileo au kimagharibi! Angalia majina yetu wengine tunaitwa Ukiwaona Ditopile, wengine
Steve Cohen. Angalia superbowl game jumapili ya kwanza ya February tazama amjina ya watu weusi hayana kabisa asili ya Uafrika, yupo mmoja anaitwa Asante sikumbuki kama anachezea Chicago, New orleans, Indianapolis au New England. Kwa hiyo bwana Luihamu usilalamike sana, Afrika bomba sana, na Ulaya bomba pia. Wengine hawataki kuja kwa sababu Afrika kunawabagua wakati wao ni Waafrika, hawaoni sababu ya kutesekea Afrika na kuwaona wala rushwa wakipleka watoto wao Ulaya huku chuo kikuu watu wanagoma kla mwaka kwa kukosa ada au hela ya chakula, hizo instabilities ndio zinawafanya watu waone tatizo kubwa sana kurudi huko. Au watu wana degree zao lakini hawaheshimiki, mtu kaosma nje tu anapewa kazi mara moja hata kama sio efficient. We have got a long way to go, but we`ll get there through faith and Hope.

Patrick GK said...

Metty,

My take on this matter is not very much unlike your own but I would venture a bit further to add that generally speaking, we black people know what we are supposed to do to emancipate ourselves from the quagmire we are in, but for some strange reason we are reluctant to do so.

Mhhh! could it be we are afraid of hard work? Or could it be we want the easy way out, which I suspect is what got us where we are in the first place.

Our chiefs of old were being conned into signing stuff they didn't understand as long as they got a bottle of liquor or a mirror, or whatever other material stuff of the day, today our leaders(as learned as they are, I might add) willingly sign off on deals they know are bogus as long as they are guaranteed a piece of the pie. Someone once said, "the thing about history is that no one ever learns from it". No wonder we repeat it!

On the part of the descendants of african slaves in the americas, I think they ought to also change their thinking and grab the opportunities that are available to them. Please don't tell me there are no opportunities, there are plenty, only if one cares to look or to ask if looking is too hard.

If African born blacks can come to the US or Canada, work hard, get an education and better their lives, why can't they? We all know the difference between resident and non-resident tuition fees, and then you have your rent, and daily upkeep to think of with little or no subsidy, na bado nyumbani unategemewa, need I say more?

I think once we change our thinking, then our priorities will also change, instead of going for some $250 Timberlands which we don't really need, we'll invest in books. There was an article that circulated in the internet awhile back purporting to be from a white person insulting blacks. In that article there was this line "if you want to hide something from a black person put it in a book". How I wish that weren't true!

We can come up with excuses as to why we are still wallowing in abject poverty and backwardness till the cows come home but at the end of the day that won't change a thing. Someone once quipped "talk is cheap", and in this case they were right on the money(no pun intended).

While we are busy blaming the west for our own irresponsible decisions, the east, (which was in the same boat with us only about half a century ago) is swiftly pulling itself up by its bootstraps as it were, and getting poised to take over the world.

Patrick GK said...

Metty,

My take on this matter is not very much unlike your own but I would venture a bit further to add that generally speaking, we black people know what we are supposed to do to emancipate ourselves from the quagmire we are in, but for some strange reason we are reluctant to do so.

Mhhh! could it be we are afraid of hard work? Or could it be we want the easy way out, which I suspect is what got us where we are in the first place.

Our chiefs of old were being conned into signing stuff they didn't understand as long as they got a bottle of liquor or a mirror, or whatever other material stuff of the day, today our leaders(as learned as they are, I might add) willingly sign off on deals they know are bogus as long as they are guaranteed a piece of the pie. Someone once said, "the thing about history is that no one ever learns from it". No wonder we repeat it!

On the part of the descendants of african slaves in the americas, I think they ought to also change their thinking and grab the opportunities that are available to them. Please don't tell me there are no opportunities, there are plenty, only if one cares to look or to ask if looking is too hard.

If African born blacks can come to the US or Canada, work hard, get an education and better their lives, why can't they? We all know the difference between resident and non-resident tuition fees, and then you have your rent, and daily upkeep to think of with little or no subsidy, na bado nyumbani unategemewa, need I say more?

I think once we change our thinking, then our priorities will also change, instead of going for some $250 Timberlands which we don't really need, we'll invest in books. There was an article that circulated in the internet awhile back purporting to be from a white person insulting blacks. In that article there was this line "if you want to hide something from a black person put it in a book". How I wish that weren't true!

We can come up with excuses as to why we are still wallowing in abject poverty and backwardness till the cows come home but at the end of the day that won't change a thing. Someone once quipped "talk is cheap", and in this case they were right on the money(no pun intended).

While we are busy blaming the west for our own irresponsible decisions, the east, (which was in the same boat with us only about half a century ago) is swiftly pulling itself up by its bootstraps as it were, and getting poised to take over the world.

Patrick GK said...

Metty,

My take on this matter is not very much unlike your own but I would venture a bit further to add that generally speaking, we black people know what we are supposed to do to emancipate ourselves from the quagmire we are in, but for some strange reason we are reluctant to do so.

Mhhh! could it be we are afraid of hard work? Or could it be we want the easy way out, which I suspect is what got us where we are in the first place.

Our chiefs of old were being conned into signing stuff they didn't understand as long as they got a bottle of liquor or a mirror, or whatever other material stuff of the day, today our leaders(as learned as they are, I might add) willingly sign off on deals they know are bogus as long as they are guaranteed a piece of the pie. Someone once said, "the thing about history is that no one ever learns from it". No wonder we repeat it!

On the part of the descendants of african slaves in the americas, I think they ought to also change their thinking and grab the opportunities that are available to them. Please don't tell me there are no opportunities, there are plenty, only if one cares to look or to ask if looking is too hard.

If African born blacks can come to the US or Canada, work hard, get an education and better their lives, why can't they? We all know the difference between resident and non-resident tuition fees, and then you have your rent, and daily upkeep to think of with little or no subsidy, na bado nyumbani unategemewa, need I say more?

I think once we change our thinking, then our priorities will also change, instead of going for some $250 Timberlands which we don't really need, we'll invest in books. There was an article that circulated in the internet awhile back purporting to be from a white person insulting blacks. In that article there was this line "if you want to hide something from a black person put it in a book". How I wish that weren't true!

We can come up with excuses as to why we are still wallowing in abject poverty and backwardness till the cows come home but at the end of the day that won't change a thing. Someone once quipped "talk is cheap", and in this case they were right on the money(no pun intended).

While we are busy blaming the west for our own irresponsible decisions, the east, (which was in the same boat with us only about half a century ago) is swiftly pulling itself up by its bootstraps as it were, and getting poised to take over the world.

aulelia said...

I really like the look of this blog.

Tanzania = our beautiful country has to step her game up. Look at Kenya, true our neighbour is riddled with corruption but at least she is making money. I think TZ has her problems but ideology on how to deal with social issues must be changed. Also, I don't think it is fair to say that members of the African diaspora should be at home to be helping; you can't please everybody but if you can at least try and help your fellow Africans by writing, music and blogging, that has to be a good thing. We shouldn't fall into stereotypes of what young africans should or shouldn't do.

aulelia said...

Colonialism is part of the past but her effects are felt today. In a way, us Tanzanians are lucky that we haven't had problems like our East African neighbours like Burundi and Rwanda. They have been ravaged by the genocide of which colonialism was a pivotal factor. But definitely, we must move past it and try and forge better nations.

Tanzania will always remain stunted compared to say Kenya because we don't let our ideologies change. Remember the 'Sanifu' newspaper? Its satire was biting and original yet it was shut down. I don't know if it circulates underground but our problem is we don't want people to think for themselves.

Really like this blog!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, I agree with your assertion up to a point. First, all black people would do well to watch the oscar worthy "The pursuit of Happynes". In fact this movie should be in every black home in America and Africa.

At the same time, there is great injustices and unfairness in the world, done both by blacks and whites. What is great about America is that eveyone has at least a shot, not a fair shot, but a shot. Justice and law operate to a great extent, fairly. So it comes down to one's own efforts.

Africa is a different story. People work hard in Africa, but unfairly our system does not encourage rewards for hard work. Take bongo for Example, Machinga's hussle a great deal, self determined, entreprenurial, creative, but there is no system to reward them their hard work or talent.

In the meantime, bongo politicians have all the access and perks, while doing nothing. The system encourages people to "piga debe" to join CCM, which is the de facto government, get a post, and there you have arrived to the wealhty zone.

So, its not that simple really, as you put it. One works hard if there is reward and incentive.

In both cases, US and Africa, given the opportunity, its still a question of determination and knowhow.

The other point however is, not everyone in US or Africa has the desire to be rich or wealthy (a very bourgeois concept). Some people are just happy with 9-5, and they have the right to that.

But focusing in Bongo as we are all qualified to ponder our country future.

I think best thing would be to blogg about how best to put a system that rewards hard work and talent, then all else would follow.

Asei

dmkarani said...

Metty,

Discussions about colonization and possible reparations thereof will not go away, and I believe that it is a good thing that these matters are discussed as long as it takes until we attain proper closure. However, we must (and will) take charge of our destiny.

I agree with you that more often than not, we are busy explaining why things are not working or might not work, rather than how things should work.

Mid last year, I had the privilege to enter into conversations with a high ranking government officer at mutual friend's party. The impression I got was that we are too eager or too quick to talk about lack of resources rather than talking about possible ways of acquiring and deploying resources. We are more likely to talk about budget constraints than ways to overcome budget limitations. We are abiding by policies and programs that we have set up over long periods of time without allowing ourselves any room for creativity and constant, dynamic change.

We are still enjoying the luxury of making policies (leaders) and leave the implementation to others. If I am a minister, I say that implementation is not my job, policies and programs are there, I have explained them, my job is done!.

And all of the above can conveniently be used as excuses, as reasons why things are not done or seen to be done.

Very few of our leaders have specific, measurable objectives that they are championing, courses that they stand for and can be identified with. If you ask, they will quickly quip: Where is the money?, or is it in the budget?, or it is not in the policies, we are guided by government policies, or , simply, mambo ya implementation hayo bwana.

Yes, we are working according to government policies and programs, but who said that creativity, over and above the policies is prohibited? One would think that the policies and programs are there as templates, as general references.

The good news, I believe, is that the reasons we look at things from impossibility angle are historical. Slowly, as new generation comes along, the attitudes are changing. The changes will be small and gradual, what Alfred Chandler Jr, the American Historian called “cumulative small improvements”. Although he referred to the aircraft industry, the jumbo jet of 1970s is not that of 2007.

It is important that we observe and discuss these things from a disinterested position, beause it is very easy to be mistaken as "blaming" those holding government positions today. Unbiased objective observers will notice that the general populace is increasingly becoming interested in national affairs and these discussions are reflective of that, sio kulaumiana.

Anonymous said...

This picture was snapped during the sherehe za mapinduzi (Uwanja wa Amani). Well and that is your answer.....see link below


http://mwanakijiji.podomatic.com/entry/et/2007-01-14T23_13_04-08_00

Apeche

Jaduong Metty said...

@Everyone,
I greatly appreciate your input and comments. Generally, I think we all can agree that the central issue that is facing many African countries, and Tanzania in particular, is the fact that we have not really come to terms with our own failures.

If you read dmkarani's observation. I have had a chance to chat with a few government officials. And quite honestly, the thinking level of these folks is depressing.

The quite often talk about how "hatuwezi kuwafikia wazungu" blah blah...without actually providing a concrete reasoning for such a position.

I am convinced that the only way out for Africans is to start blaming ourselves. The Western has carried out their own game plan and it is about time we draw our own path...