Diasporian News of Thursday, 13 September 2012
Source: Desmond John Beddy
The challenges facing the social, economic and political development and advancement of Africans in the Diaspora, particularly in Germany and the practical measures needed to address the lapses must be of concern of all. There is the urgent need to revolutionize our mind set, change our priorities, focus on education, adapt quickly to our environs, we should be determine to succeed. Since the onset of the European financial crisis, I have read extensively on the subject, the more I do the less I understand and the more confuse I become. Nevertheless, I have understood one major thing about modern Europe, solidarity is the key. Countries like Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece must be saved from collapsing. A fall of any of these countries would have adverse, retrogressive impact on the others.
The story in the African communities all over Germany is the opposite, the black man and for that matter Africans believe they can only succeed after they have brought their brothers and sisters down. The question we need to ask, has that ever brought the needed results, the answer is NO. We remain the only folks on this planet that think only of today, we refuse to invest into the future.
The likes of Mobutu, Eyedema, Babaginda and many other African leaders looted their citizens of anything they could lay hands on. And even in our new democratic dispensations the focus of politicians has been on how to enrich themselves at the expensive of the tax payer. If at least one of them could have built a university or a hospital and name it after him, my mind could find some rest.
I challenge Blacks and Africans in general that should whites introduce slavery again, we shall start selling one another! That is how far we can go… A prominent German politician had this to say, “Ihr seid wach, aber unstrukturiert, verwirren und & ohne Orientierung”. Literally meaning: the African community in Germany, referring to those in Hamburg are awake, but unstructured, confused and without direction". At first I felt insulted, but today I am in better position to examine this statement critically.
Awake: We are no longer sleeping! This is impressive and encouraging; we are gradually setting foot into the media & politics, initiating education programs holding seminars’ on health. We have the likes of Anthony Rau (Ghana), Elombo Bolayela (Congo), Kenneth Gbandi (Nigeria), Sylvaina Gerlich (Ghana), Dr. Jean Bolo (Cameroon) & Emmanuel Asare (Ghana) Dr. Mohamed Khalifa (Egypt) and many others venturing into regional and local politics.
We also witness the birth of African Christian Council in Hamburg, getting better and stronger, becoming a cooperation partner to every project in the African society. For the first time the yearly African Youth Education Award project was initiated and successfully executed, a program focusing on the future of the African kids in Germany. We took giant steps to progress beyond the usual entertainment and cultural performances (drumming and dancing). We need to be proud of all these people and efforts.
And like any civic institution we can not get to the top without making mistakes. However, we need to address our short comings with all urgency. That we are confused, unstructured and without direction must not remain unattended to. We need all hands to critically examine the above quotation. Let’s be bold with the truth, call a spade a spade, learn to agree and to disagree, criticize constructively. We need to start catching up with the rest.
Solidarity: The number 1 enemy of our advancement and miserable state of affairs is our lack of solidarity. For our community to see real collective progress we need to mobilize support for one another. If we begin to patronize the services of one another we can at least attain the Turkish -/Doner status in Germany. People you dine and drink with, kept asking if your business is still existing, these are people who consciously refuse any services you render and waiting to see the day you fold up. Let us learn from the Euro Crisis, for we are the same boat. Ironically they kept reminding you that their kids are having challenges with internship -/Ausbildugsstelle. Forgetting Siemens was not established overnight. The Indians and Afghans are now controlling our Afro-shops, they supply our shops with everything from smoked fish to Guinness imported from Africa. My brother & sisters where are our senses!
We have since time immemorial attributed all our failures to racial discrimination, I have never doubted the existence of it, but I believe that should rather motivate us to excel in what ever we undertake; we have the likes of Prof. Louis Henri Seukwa (Cameroun) Dr. Aissa Halidou (Niger) Prof. Yankey (Ghana) Lawyer Imasi (Nigeria) honestly speaking we have dozens of Africans who are on top. Racial discrimination shall remain part of humanity, just as tribalism has eaten deep into Africans.
Jesus Christ said "He that is without Sin, Cast the first Stone " if you are practicing & preaching tribalism, who are you to question racial discrimination.
Lack of creativity is another challenge facing our community; we are having so many wonderful ideas dying, it is difficult it is to invent. If one comes out with Alafia or Black History Month, we need to throw our weight behind them. If you have similar ideas join the existing institutions or bodies to expand what they have. The attitude of organizing parallel events and arguing that Hamburg is big enough and that every African can do what he wants is a fallacy.
Thinking only of today! Let’s analyze our present actions carefully and be mindful of the consequence and implications on the community tomorrow. Unfortunately we are refusing to put measures in place that shall take care of us in the near future. Research has it that Africans remain poor because we care only of today; Europeans are what they because they invest into the future.
I still belief that for us to make any meaning impact in this civilize and advance society we need to enter into mainstream politics. Gradually we are seeing the Hamburg Integration Council as the gateway to community politics. Sylvaina Gerlich, Kenneth Gbandi, Dr. Jean Bollo, Dr. Mohamed Khalifa and Emmanuel Asare, in their efforts to get to the top, shall commit errors. For us not to make the mistake of importing African politics of divide and rule, we need to help them by criticizing them objectively. They are setting the pace for the future generation.
The first major unforced error was between 25th – 27th May 2012, when Sylvaina & Kenneth organized African Day for the African community simultaneously there was a third African Day which took place in Hamburg –Harburg. This must never happen again. They need to come together, involve the other community leaders and the result shall be wonderful.
Another disturbing issue is the divisions! All of a sudden my good friends are all busily building clans around themselves, the question is what for? Everybody wants to be seen to be in charge, thus resulting in the countless number of events we are organizing around. Please it is not the quantity that matters but the quality of what we do.
The quality of leaders we badly need is those who shall help unite our poor community. I am afraid this attitude of you are either for me or against me is not what we want at this level of our development in Germany. How can you represent a group of people, at the same time quarreling with them. You have every right to disagree but not waging war! We want leaders to unite us not to strengthen the division. The Hamburg Integration Council should be a Blessing not a Curse.
The major political parties should not use the political immaturity of our brothers and sisters to manipulate them; one might argue we do not have the numbers to be of any importance, I am sorry that is wrong! Study the demographical development of Germany carefully.
The African Christian Council, under the leadership of Pastor Ossai Okeke and Apostle Bonah Sriboe are on the right path. There is however the need for our churches to step up their social responsibilities. For instance there are existing Institutions running extra classes, they can pay for these kids to attend the classes. By so doing they are helping create jobs. Nord-Kirche Weltweit, is supporting financially to motivate the African kid to take education seriously, whilst the very churches these children attend look unconcern. This is not acceptable.
It is my uttermost wish that my Muslim brothers can imitate their Christian brothers, by forming a formidable union. It shall then be very easy for the German Institutions to reach them, so shall we? They must also be seen taking up more social responsibilities.
Besides encouraging Africans to enter into politics, the community needs vibrant media houses that shall be neutral, critical & objective to the needs of the community.
By far this is one of the most challenging aspects of our advancement as Diaspora’s. We do not see how Germans can help develop a platform that could be critical to their relationship with minorities, whilst we see a community that is not prepared to have a medium that could attempt to serve as check and balance on them.
Embassies & Consulates:
The relationship between most embassies and consulate and their people is not anything one can write home of. The problem can largely be attributed to lack of communication and weak national unions that could bridge the two. We therefore challenge the embassies to constantly educate -/inform their people and frequently interract with them.
The Afrika Tag -/African Day need to be transformed, the embassies would have to meet their citizens and more especially involve the youth in such programs.
Let us start the re-structuring process today, let us re-define our wants, and let us define what we want to be in 20 years. I entreat all Diasporas to take stuck of their minds set, re define their priorities, put education high on the agenda, develop interest in politics, live a stress free life and most importantly have solidarity to one another. Rome was not built in a day, but there should be a desire to build Rome. God Bless Germany! God Bless Africa.
Desmond John Beddy