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China and Africa hurrah

By Vision Reporter

Added 11th November 2006 03:00 AM

THE China-Africa Conference, in its unique way, has to be arguably the greatest coming together of the modern world! Especially if the sheer numbers represented by the leaders who communed in China’s Beijing are taken into consideration.

THE China-Africa Conference, in its unique way, has to be arguably the greatest coming together of the modern world! Especially if the sheer numbers represented by the leaders who communed in China’s Beijing are taken into consideration.

JOHN NAGENDA

UGANDA’S No1 COLUMNIST..INFORMED, CONTROVERSIAL AND PROVOCATIVE

THE China-Africa Conference, in its unique way, has to be arguably the greatest coming together of the modern world! Especially if the sheer numbers represented by the leaders who communed in China’s Beijing are taken into consideration.

The host nation weighed in at 1.4 billion. Africa together, perhaps half that; but growing rapidly. Out of the nations of the continent, 48 were present and correct, around 40 of them Heads of State.

The Great Hall of China accommodated 10,000 worthies to whom the joint resolution was read at the end. And yet all this happened smooth as clockwork, with hardly a noticeable glitch. It is easy to say, as some will, that that is how the Chinese go about their business, be it at work or play.

But even if that is the case (and why not?), what about our dear Africans? On the whole we tread with a lighter step, enjoying the very act of treading as pleasurable (and why not?) This is not to introduce cheap cliche, but to show that in any meaningful coming together, both sides will rub off each other, to their mutual benefit. And, to prove the point, in this case the show, in its various manifestations, did not flag or stumble.

The reason was not far to find. All who came or were found here, were willingly and happily part and parcel of this historic moment. They were the moment. The seriousness of history and future meeting at this point of destiny, fused them into a mighty machine. The eye wetted.

The billions to drive the machine’s engines were dramatic indeed. The clear gain for all sides (not forgetting the world at large) which would result, was the promise and the reward. People would eat better, educate themselves better, build better shelters, better methods of transporting goods, be more dignified; in short enjoy better existences.

That was momentous enough. But to your columnist, almost above all this, was the sunlit Beijing jubilation at the coming together of the African guests and their hosts. It was not less than what I first read long ago in the Book to the Corinthians, chapter 13, that “…the greatest of these is love”. What a colossal theme! This is what should most frighten those “Great Masters of the Universe” who were not there, with their interminable posturing, bullying and non-stop lecturing.

It might, as it does, take a few years more, but that method of “Empire” has begun to die before our very eyes, and Beijing will be written on its heart! Next time I will look at some of the future hazards ahead, many constructed by those who fear their new loss; but some arising from our own deficiencies.

In either case they are winnable. As the song of the modern Spiritual goes: “Oh happy day!”
***

“Stuff happens!” as either Secretary Rumsfeld or Veep Cheney, said in their uncaring fashion. We can match them when need arises. Brothers and sisters, stuff has been happening at double or triple tempo down there in America, the nearer the mid-term elections approached.

Last weekend at the Beijing summit your columnist voiced loudly that Rumsfeld was on the slide and couldn’t be saved. I was told I was day-dreaming. Now stuff has happened all over that old warrior’s face.

What a tough and deserved ending! Cheney cannot be sleeping too well either, for “at his back he must now hear, Time’s wing’ed chariot drawing near…” In his case the excuse will be his troublesome heart. But these two grizzlies are the one who have propped up Bush from time immemorial.

In the words of the reading manual, “How now brown cow?” This column has fulminated against this fearsome troika for one and a half presidential terms, praying for the day when decent US citizens would rise and bite.

It is here, and how ironic that Ohio, which decided the vote for Bush in the presidential elections, should now bite a key chunk. And that it should all happen around the time of Beijing! Will the US Democratic Party make best use of this wonderful new opportunity to change America’s role and profile at home and abroad?

It is not enough that they cannot be worse than Bush & Co. Whatever happens, your excited columnist is like a kid in a sweet shop.
***
The “Great Crocodile” has finally been called in to where the mighty fire never ceases. (Sincere apologies to crocodiles worldwide, ancient and modern!) P W Botha, the king of South African apartheid, has gone to his reward.

Here is a man whose daily staple was to dehumanise non-whites completely; who, frankly, considered Blacks, especially, to be hardly human. I can see his fleshy face as he heaped unimaginable abuse on these people who had never harmed him, and in whose original country he was living.

He never once apologised, as even when some of his dreadful colleagues did so when times changed. I am sorry indeed that Madiba Mandela, the absolute opposite to this fiend, found it in his warm heart to say a single good thing about Botha.

Sorry too that current President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, dignified the funeral by attending it. No wonder very many South Africans, not all of them Black, were utterly dumbfounded, although they could dimly decipher the reasons why.

But evil must never be countenanced. When Stalin (or was it Hitler?) cashed in his chips, a British newspaper announced: “Satan comes for his manservant.” Same here!

China and Africa hurrah

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