…the whole world seems to behave like an African home expecting a guest. There is an insincere two faced nature to our world today and the grime has been building.
We all understand the chaos that ensued in an African home before visitors came calling. We are all familiar with the thorough cleaning that starts the day before, how nooks and crannies that will not even be seen, suddenly need to be more than clean, how the distasteful items you are used to seeing are concealed and hidden. The whole home gets an overhaul. Then out comes the visitor’s china that was stashed in that wall-unit opened only under strict supervision by a mature, sober adult. The china saved only for this occasion while the plastic plates, spoons, bowls and metal cups are washed, dried and stored in a cool, dry place away from direct and indirect sunshine. Your mother is fussy, everything is not perfect, you are not perfect “Change that shirt, wapi ile kitamba ya wageni?Mbona hii kitu iko hapa(pointing at you)Sitaki mtu kwa sitting room”.
We forget that no matter how hard we scrub and buff there are still closets bursting with hidden dirty clothes and a top shelf with the regularly used utensils. The daily grime will never fully disappear and if the visitor should stay for more than three days hints of your real day to day routine begin to show.
Unfortunately, the whole world seems to behave like an African home expecting a guest. There is an insincere two faced nature to our world today and the grime has been building.
Did you know, the Olympics is a 17 day event? And Brazil tried to clean house long before the circus, and the visitors came to town. It went all out! Not only did it try to clean more than a decade’s worth of filth, but it also decided they need to construct a new home. The visitors were only going to see a perfect Brazil, nothing less, but at what cost?
…add that 60% of the members of Brazil’s congress are currently under investigations for corruption, land grabbing, racketeering, murder among other charges.
Brazil has more problems than it could clean or hide. First, its economy is facing major problems, heading for the worst recession since the 1930s, with an almost 6% shrink in the economy this year alone. Adding to the collapsing economy is the worsening political climate with the President, Dilma Rousseff, facing an impeachment trial for manipulating figures to show that the economy was better than it was. Onto this add that 60% of the members of Brazil’s congress are currently under investigations for corruption, land grabbing, racketeering, murder among other charges.
Crime in Brazil has soared to 15% in the last four months with incidents of murder victim’s bodies washing up on the beach where the volleyball event was to be held, and a drug lord escaping from a hospital recommended to tourists due to the police budget being slashed by a third.
And then there was the pollution of their water ways with the rota-viruses, an outbreak of the Zika virus and other numerous problems that made headlines alongside riots and protests in the run up to the opening celebrations. If this all feels familiar it’s because the same things happened in the run up to the 2014 World Cup (with the exception of the Zika Virus).
Brazil, did what every African home does, it hid the less presentable parts as best as it could, in 2014 some favelas were torn down and the residents forcibly relocated away from areas around the stadia where the games would be held. In 2016, a wall was built in-front of the favelas, only sections revealing a new school was left open so that visitors could see the good, advancements since 2014 which include the Olympic village and a new transport systems.
Speaking of walls, let’s move briefly to another facade riddled country far North of Brazil. In November this year the United States of America will hold their Presidential elections, probably the most tense election they will ever have as on the Republican ticket is Real Estate Mogul Donald Trump and opposing him on the Democrat ticket is Hillary Clinton.
Away from the elections, there are the racially fueled tensions leading to mass shootings and civilian retaliations against police officers. With gun control laws continually being shut down by the National Riffles Association incidents such as Baton Rouge will likely continue.
Mr. Trump has on several occasions made statements against women, persons practicing the Muslim faith, Mexicans and shown little to no knowledge of military competence (with regards to the Nuclear triad, NATO or NORAD) or the USA’s role in policing the world. Yet, he has gathered considerable support from Republicans (members/voters not party representatives) to have a real shot at being elected the next President.
Mrs. Clinton on the other hand has found herself on the wrong end of information scandals including the Benghazi leaks, Clinton foundation funds fiasco and recently leaked e-mails between Democrat delegates regarding the nomination of her candidature over that of democrat voter base favorite Bernie Sanders. It’s shaping up to be an election to keep the other party out of the oval office rather than policy matters.
Away from the elections, there are the racially fueled tensions leading to mass shootings and civilian retaliations against police officers. With gun control laws continually being shut down by the National Riffles Association incidents such as Baton Rouge will likely continue. If you don’t know about Baton Rouge, google it. Long and short, three law enforcement officers were shot dead by a former Marine barely two weeks after the murder of Alton Sterling by police in the same town during a routine traffic stop.
Only days before this, 11 officers were shot in Dallas during a Black Lives Matter demonstration. In all this chaos where anyone can be the victim of gun related violence, the atmosphere of ‘Land of the free…’ begins to fall apart slightly. Yet the United States of America continues to be sold as the home of stable democracy, freedom and justice around the world. With slogans such as ‘Make America great again’ and ‘America is already great’, it should take time to convince any analytical mind that the United States is fundamentally united even at the ideology level.
It’s shaping up to be an election to keep the other party out of the oval office rather than policy matters.
Another ideology under threat is that of a united Europe. In the wake of the British exit (or Brexit), the EU has dropped from world discussions as it is hoped the fall out will be contained. Putting aside the mass regret from the British public, focus on the contentious issues that contributed to the Brexit debate and you will see the cracks along the European borderlines. The refugee crisis is at the top of the list as some nations do not want to shoulder the financial or social burden of hosting the refugees fleeing unrest in Syria. Then there are member contributions towards the EU coffers and collective rules that apply to EU member financial and industrial regulations across the board added onto immigrant workers and the war on terror. Not all EU members are pleased with these rules or the increasing power the governing body has over policy changes.
Exits from the EU are not entirely out of the question in the very near future unless drastic changes are made to how the EU operates. Norway, Greece, Portugal, Italy and Denmark are considering breaking away. What would this mean for the world’s economic stability? No one can say yet.
In Africa we have the forgotten civil wars of Central Africa and Burundi, the unsettling unrest in South Sudan, the growing presence of terror groups in Libya, Somalia, Tunisia and until recently Tanzania, the xenophobia of South Africa and various ethnic tensions in Kenya and Nigeria not forgetting the yet to stabilize military style government of Egypt.
The refugee crisis is at the top of the list as some nations do not want to shoulder the financial or social burden of hosting the refugees fleeing unrest in Syria…Not all EU members are pleased with these rules or the increasing power the governing body has over policy changes.
Despite all this, we market our corners of the world as stable and prospering. We try to clean house when the cameras come, we clear the streets of traffic and deploy extra security, we relocate the street children and the homeless and we paint buildings that otherwise symbolize our aging and decrepit social fiber to show what we should be and not what we are.
In 2014, after the World Cup had wrapped up and the trophy was secured in a German safe Brazil was left as it was before, albeit with new stadia they wouldn’t use ever. Crime riddled, poverty stricken, high unemployment and still yearning to impeach her President. After the Rio Olympics I suspect they will not be any better having acquired a new beach-side wall and a brief rise in profits from kidnapping, thuggery and prostitution.
But unlike a visitor in an African home, we can see the stench hidden from us. The challenge will be getting up to do something before we’ve hid too much from each other to ever fix. At that point we’ll have two worlds; the one for the camera and the one in the ditch.