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Africa

In Italy, March to Athens on 5 February 2012 at 08:34

March to Athens

Day 90-XVI, from Mondragone to Castelvolturno, 13 km.

Castelvolturno, February 5

 

Dear people,

 

I knew it was bad, really bad. But still I was shocked when I saw it with my own eyes.

After walking a handful of kilometres along the Domitiana, the national road to Naples, I take a tourist detour through the village of Pescopagano, pagan peach tree. It was a first class culture shock.

This is the heart of clanland. The carabinieri don’t dare to go here, only under protection of the army. It’s a zone that doesn’t bare resemblance with Italy or any other part of Europe. This is Noweto, the North West Township of Naples.

There’s a street full of potholes running between ruins, sheds and unfinished buildings. The side streets are closed with gates, they are private property. Wild dogs, wild cats and wild children roam between the trash. Almost all of the people I encounter are black.

Do excuse me, I mean ‘Afro-Americans’. Or no, that isn’t true either. ‘Afro-Europeans’ maybe. Call them whatever you want, it makes me sick how we, ‘progressive’ people of the West, try to wash away the intrinsic racism of our society with words. These people are negroes, and they work like slaves.

Some people from the extreme right accuse the immigrants of taking away the jobs from the Italians. They are right. For centuries, the peasants of Italy were selected by the henchmen of the nobles at five in the morning to work the land until late in the evening for little more than a plate of pasta. Those who didn’t get selected didn’t eat.

 

 

Then came the economic boom. Italians are generally better off. So now it’s the negroes who get selected every morning at five to pick oranges or tomatoes or whatever for ten euros a day, if they’re lucky. This way the natives, and all of us, can buy our vegetables and fruits at fifty cents a kilo. Truly, at the bottom of society, nothing ever changed here.

In between the ruins and the garbage here at Castelvolturno you can find numerous christian flavoured churches which offer spiritual comfort to the blacks. Lacking hope for a better life here on earth, there’s a big market for hope on a better life in heaven.

 

"Christ Kingdom Outreach" church

I can’t help but think how sadistic we are in the end. It isn’t enough for western companies to own the riches of Africa, it wasn’t enough for western countries to reduce the local populations to slavery. No, nowadays, the slaves come to us to work, they risk their life for it, we tacitly accept and encourage it, and in the end we even complain about their presence.

 

This evening we are appropriately housed in a centre for immigrants, run by the church. At the dinner table we mix up with about a hundred blacks. Many of them have been here long enough to speak Italian discretely well. They tell me their stories.

Ali fled from Niger about a year ago. He was with a criminal gang, and he risked being shot if he got caught. He fled leaving wife and child behind. Forty-five days it took to cross the desert into Libya. Four days he was at sea with dozens of others and nothing to eat or drink. Then they were caught by the Italian coast guard. He spent months in a closed internation camp in Sicily before he got his provisional papers. Now he’s here, hoping to find work.

The dogs of Castelvolturno

 

Lunch break

The exploitation of extracomunitarians isn’t technically slavery, it’s much better. As an employer you don’t have to worry about feeding, housing and whipping your employees. You just give them a handful euros at the end of the day, and let them handle it themselves.

I hear another story. Louis from Ghana has been here for over two and a half years. I can’t stand to see the sadness in his eyes. “It’s difficult, it’s very difficult.” He has worked for half a year as a construction worker, and a couple of months in a garage. But now there’s no work. He only wants to get out of here. It doesn’t matter where.

And Ghana?

“Ghana is even more difficult. Some days you don’t eat. Here at least you have a plate of pasta every day.”

The state, the church, the camorra, and thousands of negroes living in a limbo. I don’t get the whole picture of course, but I do know that we owe these people more than a plate of pasta and a politically correct term to describe their blackness. We owe them respect. If only because the negroes were the only ones who have had the courage to protest openly against the camorra.

 

La Françafrique

In France, March on Brussels on 1 September 2011 at 23:17

Lizant, September 1

Day 38 of the March on Brussels. From Mansle, 27 km.

Dear people,

'Here it's possible to take a shower'

The Charrente is one of the poorest regions of France. And the locals who come to talk to us here offer us a lot of goodwill. They open their doors for people who need a shower, they bring food, they encourage us to go on. After the estranged and worried looks we experienced in the south, it seems as though our march is starting to make an impact.

In the end it’s logical that it be that way. We are peaceful people marching for a human cause, and the locals here appreciate that. This also goes for the police. We haven’t had any real problems with them since Bayonne. When we arrived in Angoulême, the police said that for them it wouldn’t a problem if we camped in the centre of the town. Later, a representative from the city council came to visit us and said it was out of the question. We camped anyway, and the police refused to do something about it.

Today we arrived in another enchanting French village. The mayor of the town received us with curiosity and a kind word. I start to love these places. Many of the old houses around the tiny church and the local bar are for sale, others are abbandoned family property of people who have long ago moved to the cities. Fortunately, there are always some inhabitants who resist. They are the soul of the country, heirs of the France that was.

The walk to Lizant was pleasant, even though interrupted by the rain more than once. We are joined by a comrade from Morocco. He talks to me about the French relations with Africa. I’ve heard these stories before, but it’s good to hear them confirmed from someone who knows what he’s talking about.

Arrival in Lizant

France maintains a very intimate relation with her former colonies in Africa. This relation is so intimate that the word ‘former’ is out of place. La Françafrique, composed by most of West and Central-Africa, is still as much a French colony now as it was half a century ago.

The French can make or break governments in Africa. They still have troops all over the continent to enforce the decisions made in Paris. French companies control energy resources, water and tourism, and they make a big profit from selling arms. They buy immense pieces of land which used to be planted with rice and other basic food products by small farmers, and they have them produce luxury products like exotic fruit or cacao for the European market. It’s exactly what the Dutch did in the East Indies. The farmers of Java were starving so that the bourgeoisie in Europe could drink coffee.

Africa is the richest continent on earth, but its inhabitants depend on the import of heavily subsidised grain from Europe or the US in order to survive. It’s a most vicious way to enslave a country, taking away its possibility to feed their own citizens.

Imperialism has changed shape many times over the centuries, but it is ever present in a society based on competition instead of cooperation. Profit is the driving force of it. In this great game, the principal goal of the national governments is to create the most favourable possible climate for their own businesses to make a profit. And the greater part of Africa is still considered a French domain in this.

At the Berlin Conference on Africa in 1884, the European powers divided up Africa amongst each other, and they never left. Only lately are they challenged by another power who is playing the big game, and gaining fast. China.

In a globalised world the revolution can only be global. And food autonomy at the smallest possible scale is a primary goal. Without it, there is no way that real democracy can work.