Africa – Europe: an ambiguous adventure

The philosopher Confucius said: “If the crowd hates someone, examine before judging”… Thus, contrary to what some might think, anti-European sentiment is not new, in general, and anti-French, in particular, on the African continent.

To think that this feeling dates back only a few years amounts to being part of willful ignorance or denial of the traumas born of nearly five hundred years of slavery of Africans, followed by more than one hundred years of colonization of the latter.

Africa began its liberation only sixty years ago.

Stigmas in memory

Slavery and colonization are two of the main chapters of history that still inhabit the African collective memory. For other peoples, in Canada for example, there is the deportation of the Acadians from 1755 to 1763, the hanging of the French-Canadian patriots on February 15, 1839, the native boarding schools of John A. McDonald, or in Europe, the Shoa from 1941 to 1945.

Without taking into account the number of Africans who died during the crossing of the “middle passage” – some historians estimate it at more than thirty million -, as well as the number of women, children and men forcibly torn to their African land.

While hundreds of peoples had already occupied it for millennia, by trickery, the Bible, gunpowder and cannon, several European countries had taken control of almost all of Africa. A colonization of the continent which is part of a period from 1850 to 1960.

This period is anchored in African memory as being in particular that of the falsification of its history, the disappearance of its traditions, the agony of its languages, the demonization of its beliefs, the loss of its cultural identity and the subsequent consequences: psychological, intellectual, political, social, cultural, economic aberrations, etc.

A toxic relationship

On the timeline of our existence, these events are not so far away. They regularly interfere in the new relations that Africans have with Europeans.

The stigmatization of France today, particularly in Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, or Guinea is an illustration of this. Because the essential exercise of historical truth and reconciliation is still pending, alliances and misalliances between Africa and Europe still have a bright future ahead of them.

If, today, the French in particular and the Europeans in general do not take into consideration the traumas inherited in particular from slavery and colonization in their interactions with the African peoples; if consciously or unconsciously they persist in a “dominant-dominated” relationship, we should not be surprised at the Pavlovian effect that will result and the tensions that this will generate.

Colonialism was based to a large extent on a dominant/dominated relationship. This is also the case with the unbridled neoliberalism that is currently suffocating Africa.

However, as for privileging today new relations Africa-China or Africa-Russia, I allow myself to be skeptical.

An Ethiopian proverb says: “Rather than an unknown angel, better is a known demon. »

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