From the lands of the voiceless came a look at the first world in the form of an ethics and history class that even had an epitaph. “Multilateralism is lying on its deathbed. It has been assailed today as it has been in the past by other powerful states,” Kenya’s ambassador to Ukraine said Monday – just hours before the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. the ONU, Martin Kimmaniat the Security Council meeting.
The Kenyan diplomat first condemned the Russian intervention in one of those meetings of the highest international organization that usually end with a famous “deeply concerned” (deeply concerned). And then Kimani jumped at the opportunity to deliver an inspiring speech that has gone viral about the vision that exists in Africa of the gossip of the great powers.
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President, this situation echoes our history. Kenya and almost all African countries were born at the end of an empire. Our borders are not drawn by us, rather, they were drawn in the distant colonial metropolises of London, Paris, and Lisbon without regard for the ancient nations they divided. Today, divided on the borders of each African country, there are people who share deep ties of history, culture and language,” the diplomat recalled, referring to the Russian recognition of the rebel republics of Donetsk and Lugansk that kicked off the offensive against the rest of Ukraine, but which seemed to speak for an entire continent united by scars.
The West has spent decades bragging about having brought trains and schools everywhere, but in that other world whose voice is barely heard, they also remember the world wars and the distribution of their lands as spoils of the victors. “In our independence, if we had chosen states based on homogeneity ethnic, racial or religious, we would still be fighting bloody wars decades later. Instead, we accepted that we would settle for the borders we inherited. But we continue to pursue continental political, economic, and legal integration rather than form nations that look back on history with dangerous nostalgia. We chose to follow the rules of the African Union and the UN not because our borders satisfied us, but because we wanted something greater built on peace,” the ambassador continued.
The diplomat tried exemplify the Ukrainian case with the very complicated problem that was the European division of Africa. The colonizing powers built walls on rivers where members of the same tribe lived on each bank and that overnight found themselves with a border that made them members of different countries. “We believe that all states formed from empires that have collapsed or retreated have many peoples who yearn for integration with the peoples of neighboring states. This is normal and understandable, after all, who does not want to join their brothers and make a common purpose with them?” Kimani recalled.
“However, Kenya rejects that this desire can be persecuted by force. We must complete our recovery from the embers of dead empires in a way that does not plunge us back into new forms of domination and oppression. We reject irredentism and expansionism on any basis, including racial, ethnic, religious, or cultural factors. We reject it again today,” concluded the Kenyan diplomat.
Dozens of “Ukraines” in each country
The words of the Kenyan ambassador are of course a glimpse of the west and its games of interest that legislated the lives of millions of people by granting them invented passports. The problem is that many African governments have inherited the problem internally and have not wanted to change anything. It is true that the African nations have not set out to conquer neighboring countries, but it is also true that they have had to reconquer their own territories after their independence or, at least, force them to remain united.
After the game board in which the USA and the USSR turned Africa during the Cold War, the independence of all the colonies was falling. In most cases, the new leaders belonged to elites formed in the USSR itself, the US or Europe that found themselves with the tribal problem. And what did they do? In general prohibit tribalism in order to keep legacy drive which the Kenyan diplomat was talking about. In other worse cases, enter into civil wars to subdue the losing group by force.
Countries like Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania… saw how their first democratic presidents, now considered national heroes, prohibited the use of tribal languages, rites or certain cultural manifestations in pursuit of achieving territorial unity. The curious thing is that in some cases the colonial structure against which they had fought was used and strengthened so that the territory would not split. The risk was that the multiple differences would flourish and countries returned to the pre-1885 Berlin Conference map, in which the division of Africa among the European countries took place, where there were a myriad of small kingdoms and huge areas without an obvious domain. The “Westernized” ruling elites opposed it.
From then on, the fight that Kimani talks about has been mixed in many cases with serious internal tribal conflicts. There is no foreign Ukraine to attack, but there is an internal Darfur, Biafra, Tigray… what to submit
It was repeated after independence, and is still repeated on occasions today, the fact that the Government simply falls into the hands of the majority tribe, which has generated serious problems in countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Nigeria , Central African Republic…
That latent conflict that continues, and that continues to stress African nations, as is happening now in Ethiopia, is behind the absolute ‘no’ of the Kenyan ambassador, and of a good part of the African countries, to territorial partitions based on cultural, ethnic or religious issues. The possibility that the fuse of tribal nationalism is lit and that these states are recognized internationally is a clear threat throughout the continent. Potential Donetsk and Lugansk are all over Africa.