Extracto varios fragmentos de Modern Times Revised Edition: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties, de Paul Johnson, sobre el proceso de descolonización en África y sus calamitosas consecuencias. Como ya he dado a entender otras veces, si yo hubiera sido africano la independencia política no hubiera sido una prioridad. Antes al contrario, me hubiera opuesto a ella si significaba estar al arbitrio de tiranos nativos (salidos de las urnas o de un golpe militar) y su visión colectivista del Estado.
Leed estos pasajes, son muy interesantes:
Colonialism has been presented as a conspiracy of capitalist states; decolonization as a further conspiracy when it became economically more prudent switch to "neo-colonialism". But if there was a conspiracy, why did the conspirators never meet or exchange plans and ideas? The truth is colonialism was born in intense rivalry and died in it. The colonial powers did not conspire against each other. Each colonial power hated all the rest, despised their methods, rejoiced in their misfortunes and happily aggravated them when convenient. (...) During the entire process of decolonization, 1945-75, the colonial powers never once met together to decide how they were going to do it, nor do there seem to have been even informal efforts at co-ordination. (p. 506)
One thing decolonization did not lack was paper constitutions. It is ironic that Britain, which had never had one, produced (by my calculation) more than 500 for its colonial territories in the years 1920-75, most of which lasted only a few years, some a few months, some never being applied at all; none surviving into the 1980s. The European empires began in paternalism in denial of the spirit of politics. They ended at the opposite extreme, in over-democratization and political elephantiasis. (p. 508)
The beneficiaries of decolonization were therefore the vote-manipulators. Therein lay the seed of a great deception. The professional politicians see the res publica in terms of votes, ordinary people in terms of justice. For the "real" nation, democracy matters less than the rule of law: the first is the form, the second the substance. When the ex-colonial peoples received independence, they thought they were being given justice: all they got was the right to elect politicians. Colonialism, of course, could not produce politicial equality; what it could, and at its best did, provide was equality before the law. But the process of transfer, by making the vote the yardstick of progress, left the law to take care of itself, so that in the long run the vast majority of Africans ended with nothing. (p. 510)
[D]ifferences between Pretoria's policy and those of most black African states were more theoretical than real. All African states practised racist policies. In the 1950s, and 1960s, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia expelled more than a quarter million Jews and guettoed the few thousand who remained. In the 1960s the United Republic of Tanzania expelled its Arabs or deprived them of equal rights. In the 1970s Asians were expelled from most states in the Horn and East-Central Africa and they were discriminated against everywhere; even in Kenya they were threatened with expulsion in 1982. In most cases race-discrimination was a deliberate act of government policty rather than a response to popular demand. When Uganda government expelled the Asians in 1972 the motive was to provide its members and supporters with free houses and shops, not to please ordinary black Ugandans, whose relations with the Asians had been friednly. Anti-Asian racism was usually propagated by oficial or semi-official newspapers controlled by governments. (...)
From independence onwards, most blacks African states practised anti-white discrimination as matter of government policty. In the second half of the 1970s Kenya and Ivory Coast were virtually the only exceptions. (...)
But the commonest, indeed the universal, form of racism in black Africa was inter-tribal, and it was this form of racism, for which one euphemism is social control, which led a growing number of African states, in the 1960s and still more in the 1970s, to excercise forms of social engineering not unlike apartheid. One of the merits of colonial rule in Africa (except where white supremacy policies dictated otherwise) was that it geared itself to tribal nomadic movements, both cyclical and permanent. It permitted high degree of freedom of movement. As populations rose, and pressures on food resources increased, this laissez-faire policty became more difficult to mantain. But it was a tragedy that, when independence came in the early 1960s, the successor-states chose to imitate not colonial-style liberalism but white-supremacist control. The Bandung-Leninist doctrine of the big, omnicompetent state joined in unholy matrimony with segregationism. But of course the Soviet state had always controlled all internal movement and settlement, not least its own Asian tribes. Leninist and Souht African practice fitted in comfortably together. Throughout black Africa, the documentation of social control - work permits, internal and external passports, visa requirements, residence permits, expulsion orders - proliferated rapidly with independence. And, as South African experience testified, once documents appear, the bulldozer is never far behind. (p. 526-528)
The thirty-odd civil and foreign wars the new African states fought in their first two decades produced a swelling total of refugees. (...) By the early 1980s all the newly independent states, with the exception of the Ivory Coast, Kenya and the three oil-bearing territories, Algeria, Libya and Nigeria, were poorer than under the colonial system. Some had moved out of the market economy altogether.
In these circumstances, the quite rapid material progress which had been a feature of the final phase of colonialism, 1945-60, was reversed. (...) Wars, "emergencies" and the shutting of frontiers disrupted road and rail links. Rolling-stock was not renewed. Roads deteriorated. Travel patterns tended to revert to those of the 1890s, with links chiefly between the coastal cities (though by air rather than sea) but with little long-distance movement inland. Mobility became patchy and unreliable. (...) As one account put it, "more and more of the observable life of Africa takes place within twenty miles of its three dozen international airports". With the decline in air traffic control standards and the frequent closings of internal air-space, if often became easier and cheaper to travel betwee African capitals via Europe than direct. The same was true of phone-links: for instance, it was impossible to phone Abidjan from Monrovia, four hundred miles away, except through Europe and North America. The suggestion was made that this decline actually benefited authoritarian governments by immobilizing critics, for most African governments mantained for their exclusive use military transport and communications networks on the Iron Curtain model. But the state suffered too. In 1982 the Chad ambassador in Brussels complained he had not heard from his government for more than a year. (p. 539-540)