Afrobeat Culture Federator


Wednesday 22 April 2020 by Mabinuori Idowu (aka ID)

Globalization and the actual world model economy are again put to question with this COVID-19 pandemic. In a world economy where everything is ‘made in China’ including “global maladies”, isn’t it time to impose a general world standard on the question of outsourcing of industries? This way, we can put an end to cheap labour syndrome where industries install only where labour is cheap?

The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, underlined the importance of international solidarity in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic considered a “dangerous enemy” to all humanity after the United States announced that it was cutting funding to the UN health agency, pending a review of how the agency responded to the initial outbreak in China that first surfaced at the very end of December 2019.

As often underlined on this page; and better highlighted in the song ‘Beast of no Nation’ (BONN) by Fela Kuti, it is not just the World Health Organization (WHO) that needs a review of how the agency functions. All world’s organizations such as the United Nations (particularly UN principle bodies the Security Council and the General Assembly), World Trade Organization (WTO), World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank Group(WBG), International Monetary Fund (IMF), all need review.

In the song BONN; Fela sees’ the UN as an unhealthy organisation that suffers major inadequacy in its organisational principles. According to him, it is absurd to organise the UN principle bodies (the Security Council and the General Assembly) in such an undemocratic manner where one member vote could veto the decision of majority members of the assembly. Is this democracy or Deem-all-crazy? Fela demands.

Fela further asks, what is united about the United Nations? Thatcher went to war with Argentina over Falkland yet both countries are members of the same world body. Reagan and Libya went to war despite their respective countries being members of the UN. Israel versus Lebanon, Iran versus Iraq, and East-West versus West–East block (cold war). According to Fela with all these in-fighting, the UN looks more of a disunited than United Nations.

He demands how such a body can work to promote and encourage respect for human rights? Talking about human rights, Fela said that this is another kind of animal talk. How can people talk about ‘individual’ rights? According to him, no one has the right to deprive the other of what belongs to the individual. He emphasised that only an animal would try to take away another person’s legitimate rights.

People who heard Fela, say things like these reminded him that it was because of such views that he was jailed. In his defence, Fela said it was not him to call members of the UN animals - it was Pik Bortha. According to Fela at the peak of the anti-apartheid struggle, the former South African President in reaction to the persistent riots against the racist regime, came out with the statement saying his regime will come-out more brutal if the riots did not stop: “this uprising will bring out the beasts in us” Bortha was quoted to have said.

Fela’s argument in the song Beast of No Nations, is that President Reagan of the United States advocated “constructive engagement with the apartheid regime”, it was also the same approach among majority of other member nations of the UN particularly the British government of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher - an indication that they share the same friendship and animal characteristics like Bortha. In conclusion, Fela said if this is so the UN can only be an assembly of Beasts of no nation.

Most of the institutions mentioned above are headed by Africans or citizens from the so-called Third World countries to give the impression of democratic institutions. In all these confusion, it is necessary to ask where African nations are in this economic geopolitics. Because when we say that the African continent as a whole, are not in any scenario of tomorrow be it military, economic, or scientific, here again we can see a good example of geopolitics at play.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the world’s dependence on China for critical supplies as a risk with a concreteness that no amount of abstract discussions could capture. Hence the need for a global approach to solve the corona crisis! Africa can play a great role in rectifying all the inequalities evident in all these world bodies. To give a balance, Africa like China today needs to impose militarily, economically, and scientifically if we want to be heard.

We have enough natural resources in Africa, which could be used to float a Pan-African Bank and force all these institutions to level the economic playing field. We can refuse to sell our natural resources in their crude forms, and insist on selling them only to countries ready to exchange the technological know-how for refining the crude resources.

Finally in passing; it is important here to salute ‘The One World: Together At Home Special to Celebrate COVID-19 Workers’ initiative by the artist Lady Gaga. This initiative; highlights the importance of a global approach necessary to solving the problem like every other problem facing humanity.

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