I have seen, in my younger life, almost all the things I had expected not to see in my entire life. The brutal killings of people, rape, abject poverty, and misappropriation of public resources but we have always blamed it on oil but it is not. Oil will never curse. Oil blesses but love for the oil money and abuse of oil is catastrophic.
As a natural gift, oil is and has been the greatest blessing to most countries, but its curse has also been experienced in most of the developing countries with oil. It comes from the tussles between the powerful of the land who are dollar-dipsomaniacs. Let us see how the dollar can ruin the future of a prosperous nation and growing nations like South Sudan.
As a South Sudanese, I’m a voiceless citizen and I have the last say about almost everything that concerns me. I begin my journey now with the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country most would call the living hell in Africa. This country has gold, tin, and tungsten that is used in cell phones, jewelry, and computers but it still remains, with all these gifts, as one of the poorest, ungovernable and struggling countries in the world.
Just take it this way, tungsten, a rare metal element used for making phones and computers is extracted in Congo (Africa is really poorly rich with poorly rich leaders) This mineral is taken to the United States of America and put into great use there.
When the work is done, China, one of the countries silently benefiting from the failure of Africans to provide African solutions to Africa’s problems takes the responsibility of assembling the exploits of tungsten taken from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This means that America eats the dinner, China grabs the leftovers and the Democratic Republic of Congo scrambles over the crumbs. The drama here is indescribable. Worse is the way DRC uses the 2 percent from tungsten. Leave other minerals. We know who is getting rich from these natural gifts.
Apart from buying military arsenals, the corrupt country’s leaders stole the money and stashed it in foreign banks in France and they began to pant for foreign aid. And imagine, the country’s raw materials and untapped deposits are estimated to be $24 trillion if my mathematics is still friendly.
With only 22 million people, this money alone can pave roads, erect even sky-scrappers, and even build the African continent but fear the black man. We don’t have problems as Africans. We buy them with our oil money. And if there is any, it is the Western world as our only problem, and Africa, without African solutions to African problems will never stand as an independent continent even for centuries.
The Western world is only shedding crocodile tears.
They donate food and medical equipment, and Good Samaritans are what we call them. This is a big lie. Our refugees, what are they doing now? They are not working and always waiting for food ratio to get through the month and our children when taken abroad to study, they don’t come back home to build Africa, they remain there as African Americans.
These people are not helping us because, in reality, we don’t need any help from anybody. We can solve our own problems, but this community is trying to maintain conditions that will make us Africans depend on them forever.
Who does not know the racial segregation in America and its lasting impacts? Marcus Cavey tried to enlighten Africans about their identity, but he wasn’t enough for that role. He was smashed. Came another man I love, Malcolm X. He played his cards, but he was removed from the game by a bullet and then another man, a Baptist Minister, Martin Luther King, this man was Charismatic, but he was assassinated too.
This racism has been there for years, and it is still there up to date. And before I forget, the Black Lives Matter movement. This movement came into existence after the killing of a black man by a white police officer who pressed his knees on a black man for nearly nine minutes until the man was breathless.
The killing was brutal and inhuman, and it sparked worldwide criticism and demonstration which brought into being the Black Lives Matter movement. The name of this organization alone will tell you a lot about how blacks are still mentally enslaved.
We are all humans, and no one is greater than the other but this ancient belief that we are not important or let me call it inferiority complex is the reason why we are still being discriminated against by the Western world. It is ironic that the blacks didn’t know that they were equal to whites until a black man was killed like an animal. We have Asians and Chinese in the United States, but they are not discriminated.
Maybe it is because we don’t value ourselves as African and it is true for you to earn the respect of others, you must first value yourself which is the only thing Africans will never do. Look at Libya and the humanitarian crisis in this country, just seven or 8 years ago, it was not heaven, but it was an example of it. Libya was making a record in the world for its steady progress. The late Gaddafi was using the blessing of the oil to bless its people, but the West came in and grabbed him by his balls. He was named a dictator and threatened.
When he realized that his own people were plotting even to kill, he hid himself in a cave with hopes that he would survive but he was not so lucky, he was caught and when he was in the hands of these people, his testicles were dragged against shattered glasses. He died like a chicken. His last words were touching “What did I do to deserve this terrible death” And he was gone. It is true Gaddafi did not know why he was killed up to his grave. He was an African son with an African dream, but that dream was shattered. The future of Libya or even Africa loosely hangs in the balance.
Upon his death, Obama, also African and US president of that time celebrated because it was during his administration. It was an achievement. A major success in his life but he could have saved this nobleman but Obama had AMERICAN blood in his veins. He should have imagined the future of Libyans without Gaddafi before his action with the NATO allies.
The curse of oil outweighs its blessings but there are countries with oil but that are doing well in everything and one of them is Qatar, don’t let me speak of Saudi Arabia because this country has its flaws or even many. The people of Qatar are stronger than the government itself and they were financially stable even before oil was discovered in their country.
This gave them a chance to make good use of their oil to improve the lives of their people but in countries where people are not strong, the government takes advantage and abuses the oil money and this produces a curse as the only result. This is how Michael Ross put it:
“Since 1980, the developing world has become wealthier, more democratic, and more peaceful. Yet this is only true for countries without oil. The oil states—scattered across the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Asia—are no wealthier, or more democratic or peaceful, than they were three decades ago . . . Today, the oil states are 50 percent more likely to be ruled by autocrats and more than twice as likely to have civil wars as the non-oil states. They are also more secretive, more financially volatile, and provide women with fewer economic and political opportunities”.
Let us not go far, look at South Sudan and think about the words of Michael Ross. It is a sad truth and this is why abuse of oil is dangerous for a country, with roughly 15 million people and 10 years of independence, the only progress made is corruption and the killing of innocent civilians.
If you walk down the street, you will find a young man with a walking stick old enough in his early twenties. If you cross the road, another man, roughly 67 with a protruding stomach is waiting for his car to be washed by an emaciated child whose parents have been slaughtered during the war.
I will not run faster here. I am tired but what do you think when you come across these daily events? No doubt, this is oil curse. And this will is far from changing the current leadership.
For those who think that the leadership is not doing enough, that is true but the biggest problem is oil money not oil as a natural gift. This curse will go down for generations because every leader that will come will have an unquenchable thirst for oil money and by this time maybe 20 years from now, we would have been poorer than we are today. Thanks for reading Finding Hope and for being part of a community working towards a positive transformation of South Sudan.