How Trump will decolonise Africa – Imperialism takes off its clothes
By Mkhosana Mathobela Bingweni
IF TRUTH be told, the only true god in the world is not love as we have been told, but beauty.
As citizens of the planet, we love beauty to the point of worship. Even death, our ultimate demise, is much more tolerable when it approaches us covered in beauty.
For that reason, when the American election pitted Donald Trump, a true thorny bush, against Hillary Clinton whose metaphor is that of a rose in pure redness, we all prayed for and even faithfully believed in an impending Clinton electoral landslide.
In her flowery nature, Clinton, as the sweetest of all poison, has been mouthing democracy, human rights, moderation and hope for the poor in the world.
Like a true thorny weed, personifying Lucifer himself, Trump did not pretend or promise to end poverty and misery in the world but promised to end the poor under the sun.
A true capitalist hooligan, Donald Trump is.
The much unexpected electoral victory of Trump is a victory of the truth over beauty, a falling of the mask and the appearance of poison in its true and open bitterness.
Trump represents colonial Americanism without embellishments and his presidency will jolt all liberation movements in the world, especially in Africa, out of the slumber of believing the myth that colonialism, imperialism, apartheid and racism ever ended.
In the face of an openly imperial America, liberation movements will be reminded that they were formed to be liberation movements because oppression and domination are a reality.
In Trump, imperial America is out with horns, teeth and bare knuckles. In a very strong way, liberation movements in the world and especially in Africa needed a Trump to liberate them from their collective pretense that liberation was no longer necessary, that other American myths such as liberal democracy, globalised internationalism and cosmetic cosmopolitanism were the new way to go.
In Trump arrives the devil that the world knows and needs.
Clinton in Metaphor and Moment
While Trump came clean in his belief that “Africans are lazy, good at sex and theft”, Clinton as a good Christian and a good American could not say that, and we loved her for her beautiful moderation and reason. She has been such a beautifully comforting myth and a promise of a better world, but in reality she is no less a true American and a representative of Americanism.
Micah Zenko has called her “Hillary the Hawk” who beyond her practised pretences was going to be a true American “war president”. Laughing at the death of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, in true hawkish sadism, she said: “We came, we saw, he died!” She was one of the principal authors of that regime change project that has awfully gone wrong in Libya. In 2002, as the Senator for New York, Clinton voted for the military invasion of Iraq and celebrated American militarism and the strong arm. As recently as 2012, she was the Smart Aleck who counselled the need to arm vetted rebels in Syria.
These vetted rebels have killed thousands of people, including Americans, and their weapons have found their way into the hands of Boko Haram and other non-state armed elements.
From Haiti through Syria up to Libya, the footprint of Clinton’s true American militarism is visible. When Slavoj Zizek calls Clinton a “democratic cold warrior”, he captures her actuality well. She covers her military interventionist curriculum vitae with beautiful democratic credentials. Zizek is also correct that both a Trump and a Clinton presidency are worse for the world, only that Trump’s worst is better because it is so radically Right in its open rhetoric and therefore it will force the Left in Europe to be true to its leftness.
Clinton’s democratic beauty covers the blood in her hands and her relish of airstrikes and drones. Clinton is America covered in metaphor, a sword of Empire sheathed but still deadly, deadlier in camouflage, the true green mamba in green grass.
Enter the Donald
Repeatedly, Trump has been captured in the global media not as Donald Trump but as The Donald, an idea and a system, a paradigm of American politics.
In Trump, what you see and what you hear is exactly what you get. Part of his planned rule of America and the world is to change the face and content of the American legal system, to replace moderate judges with thorough going conservatives. White and racist supremacists are being called back from hibernation to take front seats in the arms of governance in America.
The groping of women, racist jokes and insulting black people are back in American public common sense. The rich will be spared brutal taxes and the poor must feel their total poverty, there is to be no insulation from hard reality. The racial profiling and random police shootings of blacks in the street will be the law and not the exception. Never mind our blinding obsession with things beautiful and lovely, The Donald is popular in true America, hence the electoral victory. Here comes America undiluted, America positioned and America openly powerful and boastful about it.
When The Donald promises to make “America great again”, he means to make America openly American, and for that reason The Donald is good news for the Global South and for all liberation movements in the world, especially in Africa where post-colonial myths about colonialism having ended were beginning to gain purchase.
The world has been talking about America and its 9/11, that great terrorist tragedy; The Donald has brought the 11/9 as a turning point in world affairs.
Is Africa Trumped?
The very existence of North America, as an idea and a reality in the world has meant that the Global South is trumped and trampled. North America, away from pretences, is a creature of discovery, conquest and the eclipse of the other in the world, from 1492 to date.
The rise of Donald Trump to be the face of America and a representative of Americanism is a victory for truth and power and a defeat for cosmetic beauty and pretentious liberal democracy. In Trump is personalised the true American Emperor without clothes, all the organs of Americanism dangled and exhibited before the world.
For the Global South, unlike Clinton, Donald Trump in true Cabralism is telling no lies and promising no easy victories. It is in the vulgarity of Trump’s racism, white supremacy, male chauvinism and total Americanism that liberation movements in Africa will wake up to their true identity as guerilla movements and as above all, liberation movements and nothing else.
When oppression takes off its clothes and stands tall as naked oppression, so should liberation put on its freedom fighting apparels.
As in Brexit in Europe, in the American Trumpit, the silent and true Americans who have no time for politics, who do not participate in opinion polls and do not even attend rallies to be displayed and seen have come out to be known.
Reasonable or unreasonable, they have shown who runs America and the world.
Instead of denying Trump, pretending he is an isolated idiot who does not represent true American values, the world and Africa has to deal with the reality of a popular Donald Trump and a personification of American racist and still colonialist domination of the world.
Trump is a wakeup call to African liberation movements. Now that domination is calling itself by its true name, not the nickname of liberalism and liberal democracy, African liberation movements must put on their true identity, and that is how Trump will help decolonise Africa. Donald Trump makes decoloniality make sense.
*Mkhosana Mathobela Bingweni writes from South Africa