NYU Black Renaissance Noire Spring 2015 - Page 112

This would have been an enterprise of regeneration worthy of the most generous innovators. As our recent history tells us, the African elite that stepped in to share European colonial power at the time of Independence proved incapable of such an enterprise. In case this sounds like a blanket condemnation of a whole generation of politicians, it’s only reasonable to point out here that the European administrators then in charge of the transition from colonial to neocolonial rule — the American and European sponsors of the Berlin process of dismemberment — went to deadly lengths to ensure that only those African individuals and groups so completely integrated into the status quo that they could not think of designing, much less of operating, an alternative system, would survive and gain access to even the small share of power on offer. 110 Thus, for instance, Lumumba was eliminated outright — assassinated — on orders converging from Brussels, Washington, Paris and London. Among the reasons advanced by his killers to justify his murder, the most explicit was that he seemed implacably committed to using African resources to improve African wellbeing. Let’s remember that the uranium America used for the ultimate guarantee of its power, the nuclear bomb, was extracted from the Congo. From the viewpoint of American and European politicians, the idea of leaving African resources under African control was unthinkable. A cia official remembers an American deputy secretary of state describing Lumumba as a person obsessed with the welfare of his people, “…gripped by this fervor that I can only characterize as messianic. He was just not a rational being.” (Larry Devlin, Chief of Station, Congo, Public Affairs, Cambridge, MA. Page 50). The world of European and American interests is one in which a commitment to African interests can seem irrational, while Africans capable of selling human beings are regarded as rational, and those comfortable with the pillage of the continent’s natural resources are called moderate, that is to say, reasonable. In that universe, Lumumba’s case was just the extreme end. He was an African so firmly committed to his people’s wellbeing that he had to be murdered if European and American interests were to be secured. Other African leaders could be treated differently, but the aim was the same: preservation of the Berlin consensus in Africa. Nkrumah, for instance, was isolated from his base long enough to get him to accept a continuation of the Berlin apparatus, disguised through the integration of African personnel, as the one reasonable path into the future