Black Women are in Trouble: Here is Why, Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

Tragic days of loneliness and poverty lay ahead for females who are descendants of slaves. Tragic because most of them have been set up for elimination by their government.

That should come as no surprise to anyone because we have always needed to live with more suspicion than others that government will eventually and intentionally wrong us all.

But the suffering of black women is compounded by betrayal. Betrayal, by grandsons of the males with whom their grand- mothers shared the hull of slave ships; by grandsons of the men their grandmothers stood next to while sharecropping throughout the south; by grandsons of the men for whom their grandmothers wept when their manhood was stripped from them; by the grandsons of men their mothers wept for while they were being lynched; by grandsons of those men with whom their grand-mothers stood beside in righteous struggle. All have turned their backs on black women today.

The betrayal by those black men is both emotional and physical. But even worse it is the chorus of disrespect from those same men which penetrate deep into the psyche of black women and kills the soul.

It’s not as though even some of their experiences in the United States have been happy. Happiness has always illuded African American females in the United States; if happiness is the fulfillment of desire, then there can be no happiness for black women in the United States.

It does not help that many black women show their near-sightedness by lending so much effort to tow a line for fly by night white feminist movements or organizations. From those which have an LBGT agenda to those which use black women for neo-liberal or right wing conservative agendas, after the ‘movement’ after the ‘demonstration’, the average black women will go home to their impoverished neighborhoods while the average white women will go home to security, opportunity, and wealth.

Even for those groups which exploit their adoration for God, black women have been the forty-mule team pulling the political cart for others. The ironies are that 1) none of their support for white groups will convert to dollars and cents for them when they need it. It never has. And, 2) fewer and fewer African American women are able or willing to expend the energy to cooperate with a man to tow a family line.

Nevertheless, for their sake, the fact book must be opened.  We cannot turn our faces away from the pages which describe future political betrayals and the resultant fallout which will be their shattered lives.

My words are taken from a page in the fact book. My words describe an unhappy time; it is what the facts on the page compel me to write.

At this late date, the range of alternative paths leading black women away to a better situation in the future has become as narrow as a pin head. That makes me think trouble for most black women is inevitable. Let me lay out some facts.

 A large percentage of up to 60% of African American women will be on the verge of a catastrophic economic collapse by the year 2050. 

 They will face homelessness in their old age, poor health, a steep decline in their individual life spans, and a consequent decline in the average life span of all African American women.

There are many reasons to conclude that what is instore for millions of black women will be a greater social challenge than that of the African American male incarceration rate in the 20th and 21st centuries.

It is a problem we can clearly see as one would see a storm on the horizon. Like a growing storm, we can see the growing dysfunction of the New Deal Social Security safety net implemented by the Roosevelt administration in 1936.

The Social Security administration has announced that by 2034 it will no longer have money to meet the needs of people retiring at the age of 65 and over.

Fifty-three percent of the retirement age population depend solely on the guarantee of receiving a social security check to live on after they can no longer work. But that guarantee is in jeopardy because the vault is empty.

There will be no money for 5,942,385 Generation X and Millennial Black women 64 to 84 by the year 2034. They will need social security benefits to survive in their old age. There will be none. It is projected that the social security administration will go unfunded to the end of the 21st century. But this coming social catastrophe will not have arisen out of a vacuum.

 Intersecting lines of no Marriage and no Children

 As of 2010, 61% of African American women were not married. That is the lowest ethnic marriage rate in the nation. The downward trend in marriages between black males and females will continue. In 2050, the majority female Descendants of Slaves will be unmarried. Most will have never been married. Most of them will never marry. The same will hold true for Descendants of slave males. Generally, that will translate into further economic and emotional instability. 

It means many who live long enough to reach 65 to 70 years of age will be too weak and old to work. They will be alone because they will not have the emotional, material, and moral support of a husband.

A recent study released by the Federal Reserve Bank highlights that only 18% of black families have two earner households.[1] That fact makes it clear that most black women can’t save money. Therefore, Black women will not only be alone but they will be without money. Many black women will be on the street; they will be reduced to begging. No one will care.

As of 2012, the total fertility rate for African American females was 1.8. Compared to Asian Americans at 1.6, that is close to the lowest ethnic fertility rate in the nation of 1.3.

A very large number of black women will have no children or will have had only one child by 2034. Probably, that one child will be financially unable to render support for their mother. What it means is that there will be no extended family support network for most black women.

For over 150 years, African American women benefited from having strong extended family networks which included husbands, sisters, brothers, children, and grand-children, and cousins.

Those net-works provided an emotional and economic safety net for them in old age. But traditional family networks will no longer exist in 2050. We are at the end of both the nuclear and extended family networks. We are at the end of a time when the family will be known as a utilitarian value among black people.

Whether it should be thought of that way or not is a moral issue. I believe family does have value. But all current evidence compels me to accept the fact that many black people no longer believe that families united by husband and wife have value worth preserving.

 Intersecting Lines of Poverty and Poor Health

Intersecting with the breakdown of family structure is the rise of poverty and poor physical and mental health among black women. African American women will begin to  suffer staggering health problems  as we move deeper into the 21st century. Another page in the fact book.

Recently, the Center for Disease Control released a report which said in part that the overall health of African American women is deteriorating rapidly: “…Researchers say the issue has no single cause, but persistent poverty, inadequate healthcare and higher risk factors such as high blood-pressure, obesity and diabetes impact black women at a higher rate.”[2] But there are wealth issues, too.

Another study revealed that the median wealth for single black women is $5.00 dollars compared to 42,600.00 for white women between the ages of 36 to 49. That is correlated with decreased savings for retirement among seventy-two percent of both Generation X and Millennial African American females.

Many of them will still be burdened by college debt and cost of living expenses during their productive years, for those reasons they will not be able to save money when they are young. Their lives reduced in value to a repetitive act of trying without ever reaching security they will sink below the poverty line like ships hit by a torpedo. And there won’t be life-jackets to save them.

Most black females will not inherit wealth from their baby boom parents because by 2024 the median value of assets or wealth held by African Americans is generally projected to be about $1,200.00 dollars compared to assets or wealth held by whites at over $122,366.00 dollars. There will be no major generational transfer of wealth among black people in general and black women in particular.

Saving money for the future will be problematic for other reasons as well. Monetary inflation has increased on average about 3% per year for over 100 years. That means a dollar in your hand today will be devalued by three cents within a year and every year thereafter such that within 16 years that same dollar will have lost 50% of its current purchasing value.

That means that the dollar today will buy less for you in 20 years. It means that the only way for you to keep up with the cost of living is to get at least a 3% cost of living raise in your income every year.

If people have a fixed income or no income, then it will be impossible for them to keep up with the increasing cost of living. That means food and rental cost will be too much for them to afford. It means that most black women will be forced to eat junk food and live on the streets in their old age. Will there be ghetto options?

Maybe they will live in abandoned cars renovated to provide shelter. That will be sad.

But by 2060, the masses will have no compassionate sentiment for black women because the masses will have adapted to their status as the underclass and will perceive black women as having no utilitarian value to society. They will show them no concern. 

The Number of Elderly is Rising: Who Will Support Them?

As of 2018, there are approximately 50 million people over the age of 65. That number is expected to increase to 74 million by 2034 and 81 million by 2050. The question is who will support them financially? Debates are taking place now. Those debates will steer millions of black women down a track.

Congress is debating the issue of the Dream Act or D.A.C.A. as I speak. The Trump administration wants to end the ‘chain policy’ which allows immigrants to bring family members into the nation.

The Democratic Congress wants to keep that policy and allow millions of illegal immigrants to stay in the nation.

Trump wants to build a border wall to keep illegal immigrants out of the nation.

But Democrats know that without a continued influx of both legal and illegal immigrants there will not be enough low wage people to pay taxes.

Without enough people in the active or working population to pay the necessary amount of taxes into social security, the Federal Government will face bankruptcy because it will be overburdened with the poor and its massive military expenditures as well as rising climate change costs. Just printing more money by the U.S. Treasury Department won’t remedy the problems because the amount of money issued to the aged will have very little purchasing power.

If the Republicans win, they will allow social security to collapse under the colossal weight of millions of dependent people; given that scenario, most black women will lose everything. Many will die prematurely. White Supremacists will say ‘good’.

If the progressives win they will increase state and Federal taxation on the rich and unskilled working population of immigrants. More companies will flee the nation. The result will be the spread of poverty. The government may restrict migration out of the country so that it can hold workers.

Unskilled workers will be trapped doing low wage service and non-industrial kinds of work. They will be unable to keep up with the cost of living. They will be virtual slaves.

Also, the Democratic think tanks are not factoring in the number of immigrant dependents and the burden that they will have on local, county, and state welfare systems nor the increasing cost due to global climate change damages that will occur regularly throughout the 21st century. Then it all falls apart. States and the Federal government will fight over taxation priority.  

But the Federal government will dominate the field.  Consequently, many states will fall to the level of third world poverty for its lower-class citizens.

In response to that, taxation burdens will grow from what it takes now to pay your taxes out of your annual income, about three months, to four months of your annual income.

Consequently, if Democrats prevail, Congress and State legislatures will be forced to cut social welfare programs for the poor by at least 30%. Black women will be the big losers because the costs to State and Federal governments to cover the cost of climate change damages will take priority over their social needs.

 Individualism or Collectivism?

Family is a collective endeavor. Family is a business. Family requires the highest degree of unity between males and females to achieve material and spiritual success. Historically, family members have supported one another in a variety of ways.

On the other hand, individualism is the polar-opposite of collectivism; individualism is the belief in self-interested promotion above all others.

Family unity cannot be preserved nor success achieved between men and women if, at the same time, they are committed to individualism as a way of life.

At some point in the past, both male and female descendants of slaves bought the notion and practice of individualism. The subscription to individualism has been a disaster for both. It has resulted in the destruction of family as we once knew it because family is no longer a meaningful practical way of life.

Consequently, we have been atomized; involved solely in our own spheres of interests while the turf we share and stand upon evaporates beneath our feet causing us all to free-fall.

Are there some viable choices which can be made now to avoid such a disaster?

Unless we become more collectivist in our social relations, the fact book describes an economic free-fall as being the most likely fate for millions of African American females.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Federal Reserve Bank, 2016

[2]Maternal health statistics staggering for black women, Rehema Ellis, Molly Roecker and Janelle Richards, Jan. 17, 2018and Janelle Richards / Jan.17.2018 / 7:56 AM ET and Janelle Richards / Jan.17.2018 / 7:56 AM ET Richards / Jan.17.2018 / 7:56 AM ET

 

Black People’s New Year’s Resolution: Our Cause of Action

Thousands of Descendants of Slaves are beginning the new year in colleges and Universities throughout the United States.

They will work hard to get good grades. They will study day and night because they respect the value of learning. They understand that they must prepare themselves to not only financially support themselves through the coming decades but to also represent a people up from slavery.

 They are sustained for years by their dreams of graduation and for a good life in the United States.

 But the matriculation rate of DOS has been very low. For example, in California “from 1994 to 2010, black acceptance rates dropped from 51 percent to 15 percent at the University of California at Berkeley, and from 58 percent to 14 percent at UCLA…” For those who do get admitted, there are yet more obstacles.

 Many of them will fail to graduate. They will fail for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they will fail because of personal drama, for others, they will fail because of poor health, and others will fail because of poor grades.  some of them will drop out for lack of tuition money and living expenses. But there is a mixture of good and bad news.

Yes, others will graduate. But they will graduate with a degree in one hand and with a ball and chain latched to their ankles. They will graduate with thousands of dollars in debt. They will graduate and walk into a virtual debtors’ prison. Then they will face the unknown.

They will leave college or university with no guarantee that the degree they worked so hard to achieve will secure them a career in their chosen field let alone a livable wage.

Some will return to their parents’ home and take up residence.  Others, who have no family will be both educated and homeless.

Whether living at home or being homeless those graduates will suffer the burden of interest costs which will swell their debt beyond an amount too large to be paid within a reasonable time.

Are they alone? Or part of a community? A community bound by a common history and language.  I believe that we are bonded together for life by both a shared history and language. I believe our bond is sacred. But there is a fact book we should open.

There are facts we should face. One fact is that the context of social life and more specifically the context of our lives in the United States has changed forever. A changed context of life necessitates that we can no longer engage in past habits or customs which are at best ambiguous and at worst meaningless. We cannot afford to be caught between ambiguity and meaninglessness.

We can all feel it because we are surrounded and being pressed from all sides. As individuals and as a unique ethnic community are we are left with very little room within which to maneuver. We know it and the world is looking; others know it, too. On all sides, hostile governmental policies and laws; hostile immigrant and ethnic groups who lack all respect for us press on us.

Every other ethnic group is all too willing to step on our backs, profit by our pain, to lift themselves up and leave us behind. Whether in the form of civil injustice, unjust taxation or discriminatory hiring practices or outright murder on the streets we are more too often perceived as an expendable people. A people for them to mock and scorn.

Should we change? Moral interests alone dictate to us that we should change. For over 100 years we have given and given and given our confidence and our precious little money to one organization, church, political party, demagogue, rouge street hustler, farcical teacher and clowns or gofundme scammers and yet at the end of the day all that we have been given back for our vested trust are unraveled promises revealing to us nothing but empty lies. Let’s make a new year’s resolution.

 I believe that we should resolve ourselves this new year to put our students first. We should resolve ourselves to individually select a college or university wherein there are Descendants of Slaves. We should do it without the mediation of any organization, church, Mosque, or person.

 We should contact Black Student Unions, African American Associations. We should randomly identify students who are descendants of slaves. We should then work out a way to give them what financial support we can to help them pay their tuition for as long as we can.

 Let this be our new year’s resolution. Let this be our cause of action. A cause worthy of our time, our energy, and our confidence.

Donald Trump Will Not Go To War With North Korea, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

Despite the saber rattling by both the Trump administration and North Korea as of October 30, 2017, neither the Trump administration nor North Korea will start a conventional nor nuclear war. If a nuclear or conventional war does start, it is more likely that it would be triggered either by a human or technical error or caused by someone hacking a military computer to make it appear that one or the other nation has launched a pre-emptive nuclear strike.

I predict that there will not be an intentional hot war with North Korea because neither the United States nor its allies can afford the manpower expenditure. For South Korea, the economic loss would be staggering if they were to engage in a war with North Korea let alone a global war with both China and Russia.

Some experts believe that the Trump administration is on course for war with North Korea. But even though the corporate-owned mainstream media is profiting by fanning war flames to generate public expectation and collective fear that a total war with North Korea is imminent the opposite is, in fact, the case. There will not be a hot war requiring the use of millions of Amerian youth with North Korea nor Russia or China for that matter.

The Trump administration will not go to war with North Korea for several reasons. First, there will be no war with North Korea because it borders China and Russia. Neither Russia nor China will allow the United States to have military bases on their eastern borders. North Korea serves as a buffer for both China and Russia. Both the Russian and Chinese governments know that if the North Korean government is brought down, they would face the same kind U.S. sponsored military buildup on their eastern Asian border that Russia does on its western European border particularly in Ukraine.

Secondly, there will be no hot war with North Korea because if a hot war were to start, it would inevitably cause China and Russia to support North Korea against the United States and its ally South Korea as they did during the United Nations Korean war in the 1950s. In such a case, South Korea would be the big loser. South Korea’s very successful economy and its companies like Samsung, Hyundai, Kia Motors, Daewoo would be destroyed and its population virtually destroyed. Japan, too, would be a loser. It would lose its major technological industries like Sony, Toyota, and hundreds of others. That would end Japan as a global economic power. The only economic winners in such a scenario would be U.S. multinational corporations. But the cascade of negative consequences wouldn’t stop there.

There is yet another inevitable consequence which would ensue if the Trump administration is unwise enough to start a hot war with North Korea. Such a conflict would spread to a very socio-economically unstable Europe because Russia is also part of Europe. Furthermore, it would spread to what is left of West Asia, and eventually to India. Such a global war and the nuclear fallout which would result therefrom would literally bring about the end of human civilization as we have known it. Also, there are social and demographic underpinnings in the United States and both South Korea and Japan which would make a nuclear or global conventional war with North Korea suicidal.

 The United States Does Not Have Sufficient Biotic Potential for Either Global Conventional nor Nuclear War

First, let’s look at some demographic facts.  Let me define bio-potential. Bio-potential is a measure of a group’s relation to all environmental pressures against it. In short, we should ask the question: Is bio-potential greater than, equal to, or less than all environmental pressures against it? The measure of a group’s biotic potential is the first indicator as to whether a nation can afford to go to war. When considering war, there is only one rational choice out of the three possible relations that a group can have with environmental pressures against it. The choice for war would have to be at a time when the biotic potential is greater than the environmental pressures against it.

Along with other resources, wars cost human bodies; nations must pay that cost up front. Prior to monetary costs and industrial infrastructural stability and outputs in the form of war materials, there is the necessity for a nation to have a large healthy youthful population. I have two historical examples to support my claim. All empires that have arisen and fallen over the past 6,000 years were preceded by a population boom. They each had large healthy youthful populations and stable family infrastructures before their expansion. Prior to their rise, they each enjoyed high biotic potential in relation to low environmental resistance to their growth. Let me illustrate another historical example by referencing the Vietnam war.At the height of the Vietnam war, the United States fielded about 500,000 troops in Vietnam. The United States could afford such a human resource expenditure in Vietnam because of the baby boom generation. Between 1946 and 1964 between 65 and 70 million babies were born in the United States.  Within the first 4 years of the baby boom or between 1946 and 1950, 17,637,358 babies were born. Those babies all came of age for the draft by 1968.

My point is that the United States could have put up to and over 4,000,000 troops in Vietnam with no strain on its male human resources at home.  The United States’ industrial and economic power at that time was at its peak. The biotic potential for the United State to engage in global conventional warfare was in surplus more so than at any other time in its history. It will never enjoy such a human resource surplus again. 

A surplus of human resources in the United States does not now exist. Two major reasons for the loss of human surplus in the United States have been the use of birth control contraceptives since 1959 and abortion since 1972. Abortion alone has accounted for a loss of approximately 50,000,000 U.S. would be citizens between 1973 and 2017.  Half of those Boomer echo babies would have been male. The Baby Boom echo was silenced by law.

The Baby Boom generation, the largest and most nurtured youthful and healthy generation in U.S. history, has passed its prime years as has the United States. We should contrast the cohort of baby boomers born between 1946-1950 with those babies born between 1997 and 2000. Between 1946-1950 there were 17, 637, 358 babies born. Assuming half were male, there were about 8, 818, 679 males of age for the draft.  In contrast, there were approximately 15, 840, 678 babies born in the United States between 1997 and 2000. If we assume that half of those babies were male then there are about 7, 920, 339 of those babies who are now of age for military service in the event of a global war. That represents a difference of about 898,340 draft available males. 

Numerically, birth rate data today are misleading because that data suggests a moderately high biotic potential in relation to environmental resistance. However, environmental resistance to biotic potential in the U.S. is actually greater today. The numbers belie an important fact. Health conditions must be analyzed to demonstrate a qualitative difference between the Baby Boom generation and both the Millennial and Generation X generations. Both the millennial and generation X generations are plagued with both poor mental and physical health.

The Pentagon reported that millions of them are physically and mentally unfit for duty. On June 29, 2014, the U.S. Army Recruiting Command’s commanding general at the Pentagon reported that: “7 in 10 Youths Would Fail to Qualify for Military Service … rapidly,” That is 70% percent of youth today that are unfit for military service. The United States is a nation which in 2016 experienced approximately 50,000 opioid overdose deaths many of whom are of those babies born between 1997 and 2000. There are millions of youth addicts in the United States ranging from alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and opioids. They cannot be rehabilitated; “once an addict always an addict”. Given the Pentagon report, that would reduce the number of available youthful males from 7, 920, 339 available men to about 2, 376, 101. That number would no doubt be less because history proves that the upper classes will always find ways to prevent their sons from going to war.

The indisputable fact is that the United States does not have the human resource capacity to wage a global nuclear or conventional war with North Korea let alone with both Russia and China. But there are other demographic reasons for that as well.

Fertility rates are also an indicator of a nation’s biotic potential to wage global war. Neither the United States nor any of its allies have a fertility rate at what the U.S. Census Bureau defines as the population replacement level of 2.1 babies per woman between the age of 15 and 45. The United States’ fertility rate as of 2016 was 1.8, South Korea’s fertility rate is 1.2, Japan’s fertility rate is 1.4 and North Korea’s fertility rate is estimated to have been .4% in 2009.  None of those nations have the biotic potential for a conventional or nuclear war with North Korea, China, and Russia. Both South Korea and Japan would be destroyed as  nations were a war to start.Given their low fertility rates there would be no possibility for those two nations to kick-start their economies again without a mass influx of immigrants who wouldn’t speak the Korean and Japanese languages and loans. That would cause mass cultural fragmentation in their respective nations and national debt. The United States would lose at least 2,000,000 men and women; that would be about the total manpower called up to serve in the armed forces in the event of global war. And in such a scenario, California and Hawaii would be lost to nuclear attacks costing the lives of millions of American citizens on the west coast of the United States.  

That would be too significant a loss of human resources for the United States and would result in a staggering monetary cost compounded by a national debt already at 20 trillion dollars. It would seal the end of the United States as a global power and a coherent nation. The United States would then have to withdraw its military bases from abroad to curtail civil chaos at home. For that reason, a decision by the Trump administration to move for a hot war with North Korea would be totally irrational. The only rational option for the Trump administration is political negotiation and peace. 

Russian leadership knows that another global war would lead to their destruction as a nation. Russia learned that lesson twice during World War I and II. For that reason, Russia will not start a war with the United States nor any other nation. It lost over 27 million people in World War II and it has yet to recover its greatly diminished biotic potential. Its fertility rate is now about 1.6 along with China which is riding on the downward tail end of a youthful population. Furthermore with a growing elderly population in China and the need to house and feed many more elderly citizens a war would be senseless. Therefore, China will not start a war with any nation either. But both Russia and China can finish a war with their nuclear arsenals despite the fact that it would spell their doom.

Not one of the nations I have mentioned can afford a war except for North Korea. Would engaging in a war with the United States and its allies be a rational decision for North Korea? Relatively speaking, yes, it would be a rational decision for them. Why? Because North Korea has nothing to lose and they know that a war would reshuffle the global power playing deck.

North Korea has had very little socio-economic pleasure for its people in over 100 years dating back to the Japanese invasion of their homeland in 1910 until 1945. Remember also that North Korea was bombed by the United States literally into the dirt 64 years ago during the Korean War. That is one reason North Korea will not negotiate with the Trump administration because they have nothing to lose. They know that they have the power to end it all. That makes North Korea more powerful than any other side in the present contest because the only long and short-term losers will be the United States and its allies because they have more to lose. And, if Russia and China engage in a global war on the side of North Korea, they would be losers as well because they too have more to lose.

 The Power Elite Want Wealth, Power, and Pleasure

One last indicator that supports my thesis that the Trump administration will not attack North Korea unless there is an accident is that the power elite enjoy pleasure. Currently, the United States and France are re-instituting direct physical colonial rule over west African nations. The U.S. and France or more accurately the global financial institutions which control both the U.S. and France are competing with China in Africa. Their interests in Africa is long term and for that reason gives their hand away regarding the contest with North Korea. War for global financial institutions is an anathema. 

Currently, under the U.S. African Command, the United States has hundreds of military bases throughout Africa. Military strikes are being carried out daily throughout Africa. Their targets are organizations which are challenging national debt slavery and corrupt neo-colonial plantation structures set up by Western European nations. This has occurred in the wake of African independence movements beginning after World War II.

Donald Trump in a recent speech bragged that his friends were getting rich in Africa and thanked West African leaders for making that possible. The major corporate powers do not want war with North Korea for that reason. It would weaken and possibly end their efforts to control resources in Africa, make money, enjoy their power, and perpetuate debt slavery in Africa.

A Tried and Failed Military Strategy

One last point. The military strategy which failed in Vietnam is to hire mercenaries, command the militaries of other governments with U.S. officers and by financially rewarding corrupt African leaders. The point is to allow foreign mercenaries to absorb the biotic, social, and cultural meltdowns. After all, most African nations have tremendous bio-potential for war in the form of the highest fertility rates in the world. However, it is a sign of American weakness not of strength. The flaw in that kind of reasoning is simple and proven historically. Most of the indigenous people hate the United States. Their ranks are filled with spies for the opposition and every move made by U.S. troops will be signaled in advance to opposition forces.The Roman Empire applied the same tactics when its biotic potential to wage war and man fortifications throughout its empire was depleted. Hadrian built a wall; it didn’t work. The Caesars hired mercenaries; it didn’t work. Near the end of the Western Rome Empire, one of their trained mercenaries, the Visigoth Alaric, sacked Rome in 410 A.D. With one hit, it was over. After that, the western Roman Empire was plucked like a fat chicken.

The United States, France, England, and Israel are all too willing to supply African governments with the military arms and equipment they need to keep them in chaos. And if African mercenaries or government troops fight to further the purpose of western multinational corporate and financial institutions the western European nations will reward them. But Africa is a big continent capable of swallowing up whole empires.

“Make America Great Again”

The Western Euro-American Empires are past their fighting prime and their currencies are crumbling fast. Like an old prize-fighter wearied and tattered but in a state of mental denial regarding his biotic potential to fight another round and imagining a time when everything worked for him; when he got it right more times than not. He yet enters the ring one more time ‘to be great again’ thinking in terms like Donald Trump’s slogan “Let’s Make America Great AGAIN.”

Implicit in that slogan, though, is the unadulterated truth. The truth is that he cannot fight another round let alone another fight; the U.S. empire is over. The sad fact is that everybody knows it but most U.S. citizens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police Brutality: The Metaphysics of Violence, Kifon Emile, M.A.

“. . . the face presents itself, and demands justice.”

Emmanuel Levinas: Totality and Infinity, 294.

Human existence oscillates between rights and privilege brought to equilibrium through the auspices of the law. It is a right because it is natural; derived from the basic principle that animates life. It is a privilege because it is transcendental; resulting from that which man cannot completely [be]hold, apprehend nor grasp.

The right to exist emanates from its privilege which is transcendental. Because all humans benefit from the latter, it becomes a right by virtue of our indebtedness to the same transcendence which bestowed it upon us. In this light, the encounter with the other is usually either an encounter with one’s own other self or another transcendental manifestation of self [humanity] which commands reverence. Respect, therefore, is not a choice that humans offer another, it is a due that is paid to that transcendence seen in each person which reminds us of our own human[ity]ess. Or as the ethical philosopher, Emmanuel Levinas puts it: “The face opens the primordial discourse whose first word is an obligation.” (Totality and Infinity 201) Another expression for this obligation is the obligation to respect others because the face [other]  is a natural epiphany of relation “ . . . the face speaks to me and thereby invites me to a relation . . .” (ibid. 198).

The equality of all humans is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1945, in these terms: “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” A better formulation appeared 126 years prior in the form of the declaration of independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These edits underpin the supreme value of life which must not be transgressed in any way. In fact, the values of life, liberty, and happiness must be promoted, defended by all means possible. And for this reason, the institution of government [republic] is created to promote the well-being of everyone, as the aforementioned declaration specifies: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

A government, therefore, is instituted primarily for one reason: protect and promote the rights of the individual. In order to accomplish such task, it creates the police, a civil force unit, the protect citizens who are either in harm’s way or in danger from people of the underworld. As a living expression of the law, it reconciles natural rights and transcendental privileges.

Nonetheless, those entrusted with the duty to serve and protect have been the cause of pain for a fair number of persons: about 632 civilian deaths in 2014, 845 deaths in 2015, 183 in 2016. These deaths have often been an issue of concern for most citizens who question the use of force in the defense or elimination of life. While courts have often adjudicated in favor of police officers almost all the time, the public had remained skeptical in most cases and the gap of mistrust has progressively widened between the two.

At the heart of police, violence is the negation of existence, the refusal to acknowledge this basic principle of equality, transcendence, and respect. It is violence borne out of the desire to deny the other’s right to live, to be free, to be happy; the basic right to have a face and consequently be doomed to perpetual silence. It is denial because it confiscates rights [sef-defense?] to oneself while the others’ rights become a privilege resulting from the tolerance of the former. Here, humanity has been betrayed: “we belong to humanity, but humanity doesn’t belong to us.” This is not a structural violence per se, it is a metaphysical violence, arrogance, and brutality where absolute rights become discretionary for those who have stripped them from having a face, a say, a life. Such victims are humans only to the extent to which their human/state counterparts permit, or they’d have to purchase their way up to humanity through a perpetual surrender of will and free-will, which in most cases does not guarantee safety and the obligation of respect.  The conjugation of this brutality is always packaged in a subtle form historically known to mask its outright spitefulness.

The Criminalization of Tolerance

The criminalization of the concept of tolerance seems to originate from the definition both from dictionaries as well as from popular usage. The Cambridge dictionary defines it as a “:…willingness to accept behavior and beliefs that are different from your own even if you disagree or disapprove of them.” Even though this statement surmises reasonably the idea of tolerance, it insinuates some incoherence which should be outlined.

Firstly, it is based on the assumption that people have jurisdiction to agree or disagree with the behavior and beliefs of others even when the latter is not their children, spouse, student or a relation of necessary dependence. The idea of agreeing and disagreeing with others is part of social etiquette and not a duty that some people have to exercise on others.

Secondly, even when the possibility of evaluating or agreeing with the behaviors and beliefs of others, it is always based on the individual’s perspective instead of what is objective or what the law prescribes. In this sense, tolerance becomes another form of abuse of common sense and disregard of the law. For example, if the law requires citizens of every race and ethnic group to sit in a bus, then your acceptance of the way another person sits is not a sign of tolerance since the law already permitted it. A further permission [agreeing] from another person only shows respite for the law which commands everyone. Lastly, society is so diverse and complex that our desire to agree or disagree with their beliefs and behavior is only vain and vile.

Therefore, “tolerance is not the permission that we give to others to exercise their rightful freedom. It is the acceptance that the exercise of the rightful freedom of others is not a privilege of our permission.” (UWC 197). By refusing to claim any jurisdiction of judgment and by admitting the complexity of society which is beyond our sway of wishes, we begin to reach an understanding of tolerance.

The use of violence, often without the exhaustion of all means of communication demonstrate no sign of tolerance: victims are deprived of speaking, having a voice, being different, acting and thinking different. And when thinking/acting differently goes on safely, it becomes not a victory for the rule of law but for the cop for glorifies himself for being nothing more than what he ought to be. Or are we missing the point?

The Suspension of Protocol

Respect is not an option of life, it is the nature of life, in its social sense. Evolutionarily, it is the survival of the fittest. In the social setting, norms, taboos, and laws necessarily guide human actions, so too is the police force. These norms become incorporated into the daily lives of humans thereby becoming a form of etiquette or protocol.

The interaction of police and civilians is a normal interaction as are all others with the exception that one party is a representative of the State, at least formally. But for some reason, they assume the right to suspend protocol during interactions when they find it convenient. In numerous circumstances when the use of force is questionable, any individual would agree that there had always been possibilities of dialogue. But regrettably, within seconds of interactions, some officers judge it fit to pull the trigger knowing that a citizen’s life would be endangered. Argument: self-defense. The use of force for self-defense is mainly justified against necessary, proportional aggression. Running from a cop, pulling an ID or talking disrespectfully to a cop does not necessarily threaten his life.

In numerous circumstances when the use of force is questionable, any individual would agree that there had always been possibilities of dialogue. But regrettably, within seconds of interactions, some officers judge it fit to pull the trigger knowing that a citizen’s life would be endangered. Argument: self-defense. The use of force for self-defense is mainly justified against necessary, proportional aggression. Running from a cop, pulling an ID or talking disrespectfully to a cop does not necessarily threaten his life.

Suspension of protocol or the refusal to communicate indirectly means putting another’s life on suspension till the cop decide his fate. That transitory life, always in suspension through such interactions reflects neglect of the other’s existence. For, no person’s existence should be suspended or threatened by a wall of protocol for the simple reason that every person has a right to exist, differently, weirdly, strangely, angrily. But let it exist. The role of the police of to follow protocol and help others follow, but in no circumstance, risk their lives for not doing exactly so.

The Instrumentalization of Legality

From the old legal model: guilty until found innocent, society went onto innocent until proven guilty in modern societies. The process of law requires that only those found guilty shall be sanctioned through restitutive and punitive measures. As for the latter, the death penalty is reserved mainly for offenses which have caused evident and permanent harm to individuals on a great scale.

Nonetheless, people still die and suffer casualties of various sorts without being charged with any offense simply because of a [subjective] perception construed not necessarily through the instant interaction but through years and decades of criminal construction of prototypes of danger.

But the greatest danger is when the law is instrumentalized to serve only itself and its board members. The use of violence becomes legal at all times while the possibility to defend – declare your innocence becomes a privilege, which some will never have. This abuse of the law, under the pretext of strengthening the – rule of – law, kills the law as well as its citizens who are the very first beneficiary. From a liberal perspective, the laws are made to protect the people while from a Republican perspective, it is made to protect the State. Semantic jargon once more. Res publica, currently transcribed as the republic mainly refers to the stronghold of the public, the people.

And when social uproar questions such use of force, through the force indictment of a given cop, almost all the time the cop is found not guilty. Throughout the United States, these courts have remained consistent in its defense of cops who kills its citizens. This is a real danger to the citizenry.

Brutalization of Civility

Civility has not always been civil. Or, civility is not always civilized. Brutality evidently emerges to strip it from every significant progress, making it digress into primitive brutality cosmetically termed the legitimate use of force or what we may rightfully call the brutalization of civility.

Civilizations are often built on what is not civilized: war, enslavement, and exploitation. These uncivilized models have been incorporated into modern State as legitimate violence. But the line between legitimate and illegitimate is always difficult to establish. For most people, once the State is involved, it becomes acceptable. Gordon was a runaway slave in 1983 from Mississippi made famous by the scares on his back which he received as punishment from his masters.

The heinous nature of slavery could be seen in one picture and this was legitimate violence to the slave owners. Even though the image of his scares was used to make a propaganda against the slavery, it is easily forgotten that current police brutality inscribes into this same logic of violence where lives are lost. Yet, no propaganda is made to end such violence. On the contrary, those who advocate for respect and limited use of deadly force are being attacked and despised.

Gordon was publicly beaten to send a message to all the slaves on how they should be obedient. So too, police brutality, using some as scapegoats, is a form of sending a signal to the public to be law abiding.

But the enforcement of civility through utter brutality and use of ultimate force only destroys the very foundation of peace and a civilized society. And the main reason why such destruction delays peace is because of the victims are for the most part the subordinate ones and are already despised by the society they helped to build over the centuries.

If human life/existence is worth it, then it is worth it even when it is weird, silent, angry, non-compliant, different. Let it be life unless there are evident and convincing facts that life is in imminent danger. However, this seems to be far from reach, as of now, because the business of insecurity is really profitable.

Commercialization of Insecurity

The story of all societies is always that of ‘us’ against ‘them’, a ‘fabricated right’ against an ‘unconfirmed wrong’, the ‘abiding and understanding us’ against the ‘lawless and ignorant’ they etc. In this pattern, natural fault lines occur which, even the unity of the State find it hard to bridge: ethnic fault lines, color, income, accent, language, and religion etc. Safety is sought by staying within one’s natural boundaries or succumb to other’s arbitrary schemes of elimination.

Between each group lies suspicion which creates insecurity, often exploited by public actors as a marketing tool to buy power, influence, sell more arms and make more laws in favor of a given interest group.

State officials function with the same mindsets and work hard sometimes to enforce these boundaries. The encounter with others is always based on suspicion, thereby breaking the principle of people being innocent before being found guilty. Such suspicions increase when the other is different: color, accent, weird actions. These alone are enough for an officer to pull the trigger, claim self-defense and be backed by his judges. In fact, the only threat that he faced was the fact that he was out of his comfort zone, meeting someone who is not like him, doesn’t talk and act like him, or his kind. For that reason, he is suspicious and a threat to life.

This state of affairs is profitable for society as well as its board members who enjoy status quo privileges, dread dialogue, and unity. The demagogy on unity is usually a façade to make a good name while putting in no effort to make change happen.

It is understandable to teach humans how to love and respect animals, plants, and other gadgets. But if humans have to be taught over thousands of years on how to respect fellow humans or for hundreds of years in a civilized society, then it appears someone is being played.

The Rule of Violence: or The Economy of Violence

Police brutality in America has always been addressed in many ways. To some, citizens must learn how to obey cops literally while to others, cops must limit the use of force and there must be some changes in laws. All these options are reasonable but they do not address the main issue of the crises: a despise for human life, of the other’s existence.

The glorification of the use of violence in the American society goes as far back as the origin of the nation. Our historical origin is known to sanctify violence used against other races. It would be naïve to believe that such a history is over. Police brutality is only part of the relics of a shameful past which refuse to completely shed and shred its old skin – racism.

And until this history of shame is addressed, seeing the other as a necessary life and not a transitory lingering figure whose existence depends on his ability to be perfect by the law, then we would have to argue for many more decades, if not centuries.

 

CAMEROON: AN ANATOMY OF DISGRACE, by Kifon Emile, M.A.

“Revolution is always verbose.”

Leon Trotsky

The Stockholm Syndrome – where the victim is led to sympathize with his captor, is a reality that appears to be more common than imagined. A syndrome, clinically, is a pathos where presumably the gavel of a political analyst should be irrelevant. But the current tensions in Cameroon unveil not just a social and political unrest, but also a psychological and psychiatric malaise at a national scale, where the appropriate diagnostic operator becomes a clinical practitioner vested to restore the once peaceful society into normality and sanity whose soul has been destroyed through lack of knowledge, love for suffering, passion for disorder, tolerance of mediocrity, and confusion.

In September 2016, the English-speaking part of Cameroon which constitutes about 20% of the total population expressed dissatisfaction with the way the central administration [Yaoundé] had been conducting changes in the region, from educational system, execution of the law to investment in infrastructure. This was expressed through protests and strike – like what should be expected in a young democracy where the listening faculty of leaders is either nonexistent or incapacitated.

Historically, the origin of this discontentment is as old as the days of independence in1960, when the British colonial territory was made a trustee territory of the United Nations. In 1961, during a plebiscite on 11th February 1961 on whether to join Nigeria or Cameroon, the English Cameroon opted to join the Republic of Cameroon, as a federal State, with its prime Minister John Njuh Foncha, in opposition to Nigerian which they deemed were demeaning, aggressive and violent. Northern Cameroon become part of Nigeria on 1st June, 1961 while southern Cameroon joined French Cameroon on October 1st of the same year.

 In 1991, the constitution was modified into a unified State. It stripped the English part from any control of its resources, government, and administration. It is believed that highly centralized governments in Africa are patterned on the French model to obey religiously  their European metropole – France. In line with this, the discovery of the Bakassi peninsula oil rich zone in early 80s – which caused years of tension between Cameroon and Nigeria, had been another reason why the Cameroon government, admittedly guided by France, pushed to a unitary State in order to keep firm control of the oil rich region: as they have always done with African resources in colonies where they have any influence.

 Culturally, the English-speaking region practices the common-law contrary to the region which practices French civil law. In a centralized administration marked by flagrant discrimination and nepotism, judges are appointed from the French zone who have little or no knowledge of the common law.  Their execution of the law contradicts the legal practice of the region and consequently puts lawyers in disarray. Educationally, Southern Cameroon cherishes its English heritage: its authors and academic approaches are contrary to the French Cameroon whose francocentric model had been fast declining over the years. And economically, the region suffers from complete neglect given it has no industrial infrastructure, one public university, Buea in 1992, recently Bamenda in 2012, and limited access to opportunities which are all concentrated in the capital, Yaoundé.

Besides the fact that Cameroon is a perfect example of a mismanaged country ranking 146/176, on a score of 26/100 according to Transparency International. It is fueled by tribalism, dictatorship, and systemic unequal distribution of resources in general. The level of such injustice varies from one region to another and of course, interpreted from different perspectives, is all caused by one problem – incompetent governance. In the case of Southern Cameroon, which is already marginalized and poorly constructed as all other parts of the nation, it equally suffers from cultural, legal, and educational castration from the Cameroon government. That is why the strike, generally misunderstood by Cameroonians of the East who are equally poor and discriminated against, has failed to gain any sympathy from those of that region.

 A strike must not be rational in nature but its control should be. The more rational a strike is, the less passionate the strike; not because it is devoid of passion but because rationality is predisposed to compromise and thus outweighs the passionate demand for absolute parity.

Starting with the lawyers who couldn’t take it anymore, October 2016, the teachers whose discontent had accelerated over the decades followed and combined with that of the public. The boycott of schools and administrative as well as business activities was operationalized as part of a common strategy. The solidarity of the citizens of this region met with lawyers and teachers in defense of common sense and commonwealth. They were challenged with unbridled violence or repression from the government. Indeed, the state’s main tool of dialogue so characteristic of a declining dictatorship and a threatened civil service workforce was the use of state police power.

Government controls all aspects of the media. Television. Radio. Newspapers. Censorship prohibits any media that criticizes the government. People are not allowed to protest and any that do are terrorized by secret police. People that oppose the government are arrested and sent to labor camps or killed.

RESPONSE OF THE POLITICAL PHYLUM

The first reaction of the government was to send military personnel whose training should be put to question with regards to the way they treated their fellow citizens. In about 7 months, 6 people have been killed and not less than 800 detained without even reasonable suspicion being cited to justify their detention. And to add insult to injury, none of them were granted due process of law.

A few days into the strike, the military and BIR ‘Battalion d’Intervention Rapide or Rapid Intervention Squad’ were sent to the region. The first military known for its brutality and the latter known for its cruelty though both had one thing in common, ruthlessness. Their actions were characterized by complete suspension of constitutional rights. The BIR is known to have a more robust training. It stands as a paramilitary team and operates under direct control from of the presidency. In fact, it was created in 2001 as a special Unit to protect the president after a failed coup d’Etat on 7th April 1984.

Using the military as a first response mechanism only confirms what the revered political scientist, Mathias Eric Owana had described. He described the state as a military regime disguised in civilian clothing. Intimidation, negligence and cruelty against its own citizens are its primary characteristics. The rational and decision making element of the state and the police and gendarmeries have assumed indistinguishable roles. And over time what always happens is that the decision-making element of the state becomes a decaying institutional relic and the scares which crisscross the body of our nation. Now the rule of law officiates its own requiem. 

Political structures are known to dialectically oscillate between opposing class struggle. More precisely, Cameroon’s rulers constitute a phylum, i.e., a category above class whose are privileged, corrupt, cruel, deaf, blind, and un-empathetic and who stand firm on all institutional bodies to even better cripple the nation.

The phylum, constituted by its pontiff, Paul Biya and his stooges like Issa Tchiroma, communications minister, and Jacques Fame Ndongo, education minister, participate in creating the upper political class and the lower class. They are an inaccessible and unavailable in their opaque halls; an ironic contradiction to the nation that they are presumed to serve but only flush the air with meaningless pantomime.

Joseph Wirba, a parliamentarian from southern Cameroon, has expressed his concern to Jacques Fame Ndongo on the sibject.  His best response was: “What are you guys going to do?”  Issa Tchiroma, a former opposition leader turned apologist for the president after recapturing the post of communication minister said: “There is no place for federation or independence.” While Paul Atanga Nji, minister for special duties at the presidency had declared: “There is no systemic discrimination against Anglophones”.

Even though the president had been silent, governing through silence as he has always done in the past three decades, he had offered a pathetic 2 million dollars to private and confessional schools in the regions. Little hugs never work after many years of domestic violence. He shut down the internet on January-April 2017; he imprisoned lawyers like  Barista Fon, Dr. Nkongho Felix Falla Agbor (esq) and Dr. Fontem Neba, while many others fled for their lives. Then he failed a whole generation of youth when he mandated students to sit for the GCE test knowing that they had not attended classes during that school year.  All constitute the actions of a trap setter not a leader and benefactor of the people. And with his newly discovered vocabulary of terrorism, he has not failed to charge his own citizens of such crime while neglecting Boko Haram in the North.

A NATIONAL MALAISE: POLITICS OF DISGACE

In a country where poverty is at a 48% level (Human Development Index, 2011). Where a pregnant woman dies laboring in front of a hospital with no assistance. Where a reckless train collapses and kills 55 citizens, 300 injured in 2016 and no one is held accountable. Furthermore, where the president rules ad vitam and at present for 35 years. Where journalists are harassed and killed.  One would expect that if a given group goes on strike in order to request a better management of public affairs, that would sound like the most laudable act of courage to be praised. No, not in Cameroon.

In fact, Cameroonian citizens who accomodate French colonial policies are shocked, surprised and wonder “why do others complain?” As if they were about to say: “Look, this is a beautiful country, fair, loving, just with good leaders who care for your good. Why on earth would you revolt against them?”

Historically, this type of ignorance is not new. When the people of France revolted against king Louise XVI for unbearable living conditions, the queen, Marie Antionette, also known as Madame Deficit, was shocked why the people had to complain to her for bread: “They should eat cake” she answered. A response that led to her beheading in Oct. 16th, 1793. The only difference with France is that the French all knew that they were oppressed and daily mistreated. That is of course except for their queen perhaps for good reasons because she lived in great conditions. But the Cameroonian public suffers in general, yet they claim the same ignorance as that of the aforementioned queen.

With the current surprise of most Cameroonians, it is sad that one must explain why the living conditions are not favorable, why the opportunities are limited and why it is important to preserve the diversity of a country which takes pride in saying it is the miniature of Africa. It is a surprise that ministers as well as citizens all ask the same question: “why are the Anglophones complaining? But we all suffer, right?” Or the misconstrued idea that the main issue is that of language, or again pointing at the prime minister as an Anglophone to be a sign that English speaking citizens are treated well.  Another way of claiming as with the election of Barak Obama that his election proves racism has ended.

No doubt, the Stockholm syndrome seems to take effect here more inherently than one would imagine. After being accustomed to disgrace, dictatorship, perpetual rule, corruption, and nepotism, it has almost become normalized. The call for change or improvement becomes the real threat while those who have destroyed the country gain sympathy, love, compassion and protection from the people they’ve crushed over the years.

Progress within a social context with such a pervasive mindset is not only difficult but also highly unlikely. Maybe Cameroonians have not suffered enough to know that it is time to rise and challenge the status quo against all odds.