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It's a cruel world for black people

07 Nov 2021 at 07:08hrs | Views
So the world decided to gather in Glasgow, Scotland, last week to try and save the planet from what we are told could be an imminent apocalypse caused by rising global temperatures.

Well, Bishop Lazi has always been fascinated by this cold island, which is neatly perched on the northernmost tip of the United Kingdom.

Home to 5,4 million Scots, this relatively small country is fabulously rich as its gross domestic product (GDP) stands at an eye-watering US$205 billion.

It is as staggering as it is obscene.

But not many people know that it owes its wealth to the slave trade.

Much of its immoral and embarrassing history is still indelibly written in Glasgow streets such as Oswald, Cochrane, Glassfort and Wilson that have been named after some of the country's foremost slavers.

Other streets such as Tobago, Jamaica and Virginia are an explicit reference to the colonies in which black people were used as beasts of burden to generate wealth for the Americans and Europeans.

It might also be interesting to note that the Scots were so reputed for their cruelty that they were sought-after as slave drivers for sugar and tobacco plantations.


It is really a cruel world for black people.

They have literally built the world through their blood, sweat and tears.

Even the White House - where we are told the world's most powerful man lives and works, shaping the world according to Washington's designs - was also built by slaves.

However, our own history is stained by two Scots  - Robert Moffat and David Livingstone - whose controversial legacies continue to loom large over the lives of people in this part of the world.

Moffat's famous liaisons with Mzilikazi, the founder of the Ndebele Kingdom, were well-documented and culminated in the establishment of the London Missionary Society (LMS) mission near Bulawayo in 1859.

Is it not ironic that a people with such a vile past filled with hate and prejudice against blacks could come here to preach peace?

Would it not have been best to preach these values to their own kinsmen?

Moffat's son-in-law, David Livingstone, who was also a missionary like him, was quite "industrious", he traversed much of Southern Africa, abrogating to himself the right to rename our Mosi-oa-Tunya to Victoria Falls, which he claimed to have discovered even though there were natives already living in the area.

His influence was so pervasive that even to this day, the city of Blantyre in Malawi is named after a town in Scotland where he was born.

Schools, roads and other institutions still bear his name.

But, as fate would have it, the African hinterland proved unconquerable to this Scottish voyager.

In May 1873, he was found dead by his bedside in northern Zambia.

His embalmed body was subsequently repatriated to Scotland, where it was interred.

Today, just like in Victoria Falls, his statue proudly stands in Cathedral Square in Glasgow, Scotland.

African history will always remember that these two Scottish men, Moffat and Livingstone, who were ostensibly on a mission to spread Christianity, commerce and civilisation, blazed the trail for imperial powers that colonised our world and condemned us to grinding generational poverty while hoarding incredible wealth for both Europe and America.

Dark continent

So it must have been rich for Africans to gather with other world leaders in Glasgow, a city that is eerily infamous for the dark history and desperate circumstances that blacks still find themselves, to help save the planet.

Well, those who did not follow proceedings at the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference can find an apt summation of proceedings in James 2: 2-7.

"Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in.

If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet", have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

"Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?"

Poor countries, some of which are rich in fossil fuels, are now being told to wean themselves from "dirty" sources of power, which rich countries swear to never finance again.

Zimbabwe, for example, presently sits on an impressive stash of 26 billion tonnes of coal that can last for more than 800 years.

Yet African countries need all the resources they can get to power their journey from poverty to prosperity, as the continent literally remains a "dark continent".

It is a shame that all the 1,1 billion Sub-Saharan Africans generate the same amount of power as one European country - Germany.

Nigeria, Africa's populous country, only produces 4 000MW for its 206 million people.

For perspective, this is just twice Zimbabwe's installed capacity.

It is, therefore, hardly surprising that more than half of Africans on the continent - about 600 million - live in the dark.

And this is not by accident.

While America and the UK were busy building up their power grids and polluting the atmosphere in the early 1900s, Africa was being robbed blind of its resources.

The little electricity infrastructure that was established was to aid multinational conglomerates to loot resources on an industrial scale.

Even if the continent exponentially increases its power generation, its carbon footprint would still remain relatively low.

US-Irish academic Professor Morgan Bazilian recently made a very interesting observation.

"If the region's electricity demand hypothetically tripled tomorrow, rather than doubling by 2040 as the International Energy Agency recently forecast, and of only natural gas was used to meet new demand," he noted, "annual global emissions would increase by only 0,6 percent, according to one estimate.

That's equivalent to the (US) state of Louisiana's annual emissions today."

As Malawian president Lazarus Chakwera rightly told rich countries last week, they must clean-up the mess they created.

If the continent is to shoulder the onerous burden of switching to new technologies to generate power, which will obviously come at a very steep cost, they must bankroll the transition.

As the world grapples to mitigate the effects of climate change, developed and developed countries should carry "common but differentiated responsibilities" due to the historically engineered wealth inequalities.

African countries also have agency and should be trusted to chart their own pathways out of the crisis.

Perhaps no one keenly appreciates the impact of climate change than countries such as Zimbabwe that recently have had to endure the worst drought in four decades and the worst weather-related calamity in the South Hemisphere - Cyclone Idai - in March 2019.

Some of our kinsmen who were swept away by the cyclone have never been found to this day.

It naturally follows that we are as keen to repair the environment as those who are now casting themselves as the saviours of humanity; yet it is their very actions that have brought us to this inflection point.

But just as we should never shirk our responsibility to contribute in our own way to prevent a future apocalypse, we should also not forget those who were responsible for damaging the environment.

Equally they should not stampede us into impracticable commitments that impede our development and scuttle our efforts to catch up with the rest of the world.

They should let us be!

Our history, which was shaped by the greed of these shameless countries, has a lot to do with the situation that we currently find ourselves in.

Bishop out!

Source - The Sunday Mail
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