An occasional series on The Struggle, by J L Samboma
Learning is a lifelong process and your initiative to use the opportunity of the national days of African countries to study their history falls within that remit.
Learning those histories, cultures and struggles for liberation from colonialism, neocolonialism and imperialism not only goes to counter lack of knowledge about those sisters and brothers, but it insulates against the lies, half-truths, misinformation and outright propaganda put out by The Man to confuse us as they try to recolonise Africa all over again.
Such study is all the more relevant when we realise that even people who purport to come from some countries do not know the histories of struggles in their own countries. For example, I came across someone recently who claimed to be a Zimbabwean but who did not know that Robert Mugabe led a liberation struggle which freed Africans from illegal white minority rule in the former Rhodesia.
And this person, not surprisingly, is one of the empty vessels most vocal in supporting imperialist aggression against Africa, in the form of the attacks on Libya under the propaganda that it is to "protect innocent civilians." If we are not armed with the lessons of our histories, such fakes, liars, fifth columnists and charlatans will act like the fox among our chickens and tear us and our resolve asunder.
The ancient philosopher Plato said, "The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Take public affairs for history and you get my point.
A reading of the history of Ghana, for instance, tells us that the Osagyefo (Redeemer) Kwame Nkrumah, the foremost Pan-Africanist and African nationalist, said that Africa north and Black had to unite in order to marshall our resources for development and force the world to respect Africa and Africans.
Nkrumah did not say unite people of black skin and black blood; he said unite the most revolutionary and progressive elements for the total liberation and unification of Africa under socialism. An understanding of this makes one immune to the propaganda put out by the West that Libya is not African, that we have more in common with the imperialist interests of those invading Libya than we do with the Libyans.
An understanding of our history enables us to draw parallels between past destabilisation of Africa (think Lumumba, Nkrumah) and present attempts (Libya). History also tells us that we were enslaved by Arabs in antiquity; but it also tells us that there is no possiblity of driving the Arabs from Africa into the ocean.
In a word, learning our history is the antidote to imperialist propaganda and it arms us with the sword of truth which we can use to strike down those among us who would, for their own selfish and parochial interests, want to confuse us, soften us for eventual re-takeover by imperialism. History is a weapon.