Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Magandang gabi mula sa Perlas ng Silangan! Good evening from the Pearl of the Orient!
Pan-Africanism seems to be getting sweeter an idea recently, so I chose to delve on the subject for this article. Pan-Africanism as a pathos (group feel & aware) seeks to unify the diverse ethnicities of the continent from southernmost South Africa to the northern Arab-Berber-Hamite territories, to indicate the contours of the emerging pathos.
Whether this pathos will gel in order to effectively create synergies among Africans of so heterogenous a composition remains to be seen. As a matter of development imperative, I’d encourage such a colossal effort myself, and I hope that the Africans would truly get together to solve their deep-seated social, political and economic malaise.
As far as I see it, the pathos was there from the time of the early pharaohs through the time of Carthage, but declined rapidly during the advent of the Hellenic monarchs of the northeastern region. When Cleopatra ruled Egypt, the fragmentation and decay of that unity was completed. Africa was thereafter subordinated to empires and potentates to its north (Rome and later empires).
For two thousand years such a pathos slept and lay dormant in the antechambers of the African psyche. Western powers arrived, occupied, and declared Africa and its peoples as their chattels, and that latter imperialist act of the West seems to have doomed any effort to revive pan-Africanism via a renaissance movement.
Thereafter, before and after the colonial periods for each of Africa’s regions, each nation waged its own version of nation-building and national renaissance. Sadly, the post-colonial period saw the nation-building efforts degenerate, with many African states cascading catastrophically down ‘failed state’ syndrome.
Africa’s nations were actually creations of the West, and they fail because tribes that were like oil and water just couldn’t get their acts together in the last instance in each nation concerned. They sold their sovereignty to warlordism and Anglo-European oligarchic moneybags. The superficial states just couldn’t hold water much longer, and so we witness fragmentation and balkanization till these days.
It seems that the last salvation for the end of the chaos and fragmentation is pan-Africanism itself. Africans are trying to construct a new center—not geographical but cultural-ideational—that could cement the diverse ethnicities of a chaotically decentered continent.
Pan-Africanism will have to compete though with other revivalist movements. Pan-Arabism, as represented by Ba’ath ideology, used to be a strong contender but is now on the rapid decline. Pan-Islamism is on the rise, though it has its own competing discourses—Sunni and Shiite. There is Christian fundamentalism that the Opus Dei, Jesuits, evangelical and Baptist groups are stirring up in a frontal clash with pan-Islamism.
Such revivalist movements tend to secure a region or select African ethnicities, such as the Arab-Berber-Hamite triad for pan-Arabism. They may get some pieces of the African pie with them, but they are narrow and parochial as they divide the continent and its component ethniticies. Pan-Africanism can therefore supersede all of them, though its maturation is a tenuous endeavor.
A very rough political-cultural ocean this pathos is surely confronting. Getting together hundreds of tribal and ethnic groups, with their own inter-ethnic conflicts raging till these days, is enormously enigmatic a goal to hurdle, with so many gourdian knots to cut.
Africans have no better choice but get together. Poverty, ethnic conflicts, bio-warfare ailments (AIDS & others), balkanization, and the looting of its resources by Western moneybags is leading the continent and its peoples to a cul de sac Hades.
Europe had been re-awakening the long dormant Roman pathos, and that “grandeur that was Rome” is running through the gamut of the European psyche on both sides of the Atlantic. Bonapartism is crystallizing rapidly as the state ideology of the emerging New Rome (EU-USA), its contours now forming though straddling sand dunes. Rome is re-acquiring its old territories as we’re now witnessing.
The subordination of ancient Africa (Egypt-Nubia leading) to Rome is again being revived. Such a revivalism would get expressed as an enchainment of pan-Africa to New Rome’s agenda of conflagration versus a renascent Persia (Shiite Iran). If the conflagration will ensue, pan-Africa’s gains will collapse under the roof.
So the question that we ask now is, will pan-Africa yield to the Anglo-European oligarchs and become canon fodders for the latter’s war versus Persia? Or, will pan-Africa truly unite the vast continent’s diverse ethnic communities and galvanize a sovereign continent that can’t be dragged into the ‘clash of civilizations’ madness of Western moneybags?
[Philippines, 30 July 2010]
[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,
BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,