The perversion of anti-western sentiment stares us in the face every day. It affects almost every aspect of our lives – influences our opinions and our politics. Yes, there was a colonial past but imperialism dominated global politics for a thousand years. There is not a single country that has not been touched by it. Even the UK – the arch imperialist- was itself dominated by imperialistic powers. Rome, Denmark, France and Germany.
It’s religion language culture have been infused by Christianity, Latin, Asian Food. It’s aristocracy is European. There is little left of the Anglo in England. Europe riven by imperialism too over the millennia. Roman, Viking, Norman, Moors – from Africa by the way – Napoleonic French, Holy Roman, Ottoman, Tsarist Russia, Austro Hungarian Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. The people of Europe are a genetic hotchpotch extending to Mongolia from the Mongol Empire of one thousand years ago. The author’s genes are Russian Semitic and European. While most countries have moved on from their Imperial Past – such as Vietnam, Brazil, Canada and Mauritius forging their specific identity while retaining some imperial legacies others continue to languish in a colonial history – which lasted less than a century.
Even some countries like Botswana, that enjoy a wealth, without historical precedent, indulge in anti-western sentiment that verges on hysteria, tainting rationality and the ability to move forward. While enjoying the fruits of a very westernized diamond market, languishing in malls, readily adopting western consumerism in all its facets, practicing its life styles, culture and sports, enthusiastically applying its education and technology – the negativity rather than positivity of an imperial past dominates the national psyche. There are even those that opine that precolonial life was better. Better, how so? Life expectancy was 32, infant mortality 3 in 10 births, females producing families of over ten from age 14, no education or travel, poor health and nutrition and the list goes on.
The result of this misaligned self-absorption is being stuck in time warp looking backwards and not forwards. Asian tigers, like most others, were also subjects to imperialistic rule in twentieth century yet their roar can be heard around the globe. The anti-western sentiment from Africa must stop, it must forge its own unique identity and not enslave itself to either west or east. Let our fifty seventh anniversary next weekend not celebrate the death of imperialism but the birth of a nation. Happy Birthday Botswana.