1 July 2016

Africa: Problems, Troubles... and Even More of the Same!

column

Decades ago, while living in Latin America, an astrologer warned me that every ten- twelve years, we experience a critical cycle of changes. They are part of the earth and solar system revolution. Nonstop. The astrologer alleged that the "cycle of changes" is manifested through intense problems, troubles and more problems. In other words, we are kicked out of our usual comfort zone. But why?

I was reminded of a newborn baby and a mother who endures nine months of agony.

"If you study the rhythm of life on this planet," says American writer, Suzy Kassem (in her book 'Rise Up and Salute the Sun'), "you will find that everything that moves is in perfect symphony with everything else--by grand divine design. The earth has the ability to heal and regenerate itself, just as our oceans have the ability to replenish themselves by turning over their debris with the waves to wash them ashore.

This perfect orchestration of the cycle of life is one of the Creator's greatest and most beautiful miracles. The earth will continue to exist with or without us."

A very long quote, indeed...

Last week, we saw Britain going through historic mechanisms of the referendum. Eventually 51.9 per cent voted out (over 17 million), while 48.1 per cent wanted to remain in the European Union. Very tight duel. Things were instantly dramatic. Brexit was successful but that is not what was expected. Prime Minister David Cameron, who had wanted to stay in the EU, resigned. His right hand man, Chancellor George Osborne is set to give up his post too. Now they are speaking of a new Conservatives leadership. This change of scene continues shaking roofs, trees and chests.

The Conservatives (also called Tories) have unleashed a "can of worms."

Scotland (voted Stay) and Ireland (Stay) who together with Wales (Leave) form the United Kingdom (UK) want to stay in EU. This is stirring up the political geography. The Labour party has also been destabilised. Its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a traditional socialist, has been in trouble. By Wednesday, calls for him "to step down" were loud and clear. Some Labour supporters blamed him for not fighting strongly for the Stay vote.

Most members of his opposition (shadow) Cabinet resigned. It is like CUF, Chadema and CCM facing "a similar type" of leadership crisis.

Deep down, we immigrants feel that the Tories have sent this country back to the racist days. On Wednesday, BBC revealed at least 27 per cent increase in racist attacks against foreigners. Another item by Vox alleged a rise of 57 per cent hate crimes across the whole country.

Some of the assaults were not just directed to blacks but foreigners from East Europe.

Interviewed by BBC, Polish ambassador, Mr Witold Sobkow, thanked Londoners who sent flowers (of sympathy) to the Polish Centre in the city. Truth is London has more tolerance than interior towns and villages... Most Londoners voted to stay in the European Union.

Last week this column mentioned the assassination of Labour MP, Ms Jo Cox. Her killing by an alleged fascist-linked individual, was symbolic of this growing tide of events.

By leaving the European Union (a move Ms Cox was opposed to), Britain is beginning to feel different. Soon after the Referendum news last Thursday, one white English lady said to me: "They have now set the motion. This is pre-Nazi Germany in early 1930s; prepare for the worst!"

American presidential candidate, Mr Donald Trump, was one of the first to congratulate the Brexit "victory". What does that say?

Compare that to what President Obama had warned about Brexit, months ago. Mr Obama insisted Britain is stronger in the EU.

No wonder...

Within hours of the Brexit turmoil, the pound and financial markets dived. The falling of the pound has not been seen since the mid 1980s. Serious. Across the world (including Tanzania), folks tend to see the US dollar as the almighty currency. But honestly? The pound as always been stronger. Stronger than the euro too. To see it rolling down by 3.2 per cent is no monkey business.

Some would like to think--this is only temporary.

But the die has been cast.

How do we in East Africa fit into the ongoing circus?

We have an enduring history with the so-called British Empire. We were colonised by the British. We had English culture and values set upon us. We still use English. We have embraced it to the point of diluting our own Kiswahili language with English phrases and idioms. I have never been fond of Swanglish. Swanglish has created a generation of very bad English and Swahili users in Tanzania... Ah, yes; we have a history. Our governments trade and we interact on the Internet.

Yes. Everything is in a circle and connected. Global. Markets fall, so do our finances. Watch out and keep checking the news.

Mr Macha is a writer and musician based in London. 

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