If black lives matter, then why are African leaders with a different take on Covid-19 being taunted?
The criticism of Tanzania’s and Madagascar’s presidents, John Magufuli and Andry Rajoelina, for challenging the Covid ‘consensus’ shows that, for some, Black Lives Matter counts only if black voices are saying the ‘right’ things.
YouTube has ‘Black Lives Matter’ as its Twitter bio. Pretty worthy, eh? But that didn’t stop the internet platform removing a video made by a Canadian activist who calls herself ‘Amazing Polly’ that featured claims made about Covid-19 and its treatment by the leaders of Tanzania and Madagascar. It has subsequently restored it, but the fact it took it down in the first place, alongside the sneering, hostile reaction from others to what the African leaders said, speaks volumes about the double standards currently on display.
Magufuli’s great crime was that he decided to test the testers. He instructed his country's security services to send to Covid-19 testing labs samples taken from a pawpaw, a goat, some engine oil and a type of bird called a kware, among other non-human sources, but to assign them human names and ages. The pawpaw sample was given the name ‘Elizabeth Ane, 26 years, female.’ And guess what? The sample came back positive for Covid-19. As did those from the kware and the goat.
The testing kits had been imported from abroad. Clearly, as Magufuli – a PhD in chemistry – stated, something wasn’t quite right. “When you notice something like this, you must know there’s a dirty game played in those tests,” he said.
"We took samples from a papaya fruit, we named it Elizabeth Ane, 26 yrs old, female--the results from the papaya fruit came back positive, it has coronavirus."https://t.co/RBtxw3Wh5e— Phil Greaves (@PhilGreaves01) June 22, 2020
He advised his people, in relation to his government’s Covid-19 strategy, “Let us put God first. We must not be afraid of each other” – in stark contrast to the ‘Social distancing is here to stay’ Project Fear approach adopted elsewhere.
Magufuli also assured his people he would be sending a plane to collect a herbal cure for Covid-19 that was being promoted by Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina.
In her video, Amazing Polly not only includes extracts of speeches by the leaders of Magufuli and Rajoelina, but also focuses on the criticism they received from the global health establishment.
The subtext: How dare these uppity Africans challenge what we say! How dare they promote their own traditional medicines (instead of Big Pharma’s) or claim coronavirus tests are returning false positives!
“Caution must be taken about misinformation, especially on social media, about the effectiveness of certain remedies,” declared the World Health Organization (WHO). But should we really be so quick to dismiss Magufuli and Rajoelina, and what they have to say? The point is not whether we agree or disagree with the Tanzanian and Madagascan approaches, but rather that, at the very least, there should be some proper, grown-up debate.
At the time of writing, Madagascar has reported 15 deaths due to Covid-19, while Magufuli declared Tanzania coronavirus-free in early June, after a total of 21 deaths. Now, you might want to challenge those figures, which is your prerogative, but you can’t automatically presume they are not accurate.
“I’m certain many Tanzanians believe that the corona disease has been eliminated by God,” Magufuli said. Now there is nothing more likely to trigger a virtue-signaling ‘anti-racist’ Western global public health ‘consensus’ follower than a black African leader defying the ‘party line’ on Covid and citing the Lord. Just look at Western press coverage of Magufuli’s stance: '”Africa’s ‘bulldozer’ runs into Covid and claims God is on his side” was the headline of one very hostile piece on Bloomberg.com.
Another journalist declared that Magufuli was “a strong contender for the most asinine coronavirus global leader.”
Tanzania President John Magufuli—a PhD in chemistry—has encouraged citizens to go to church because coronavirus cannot survive in the body of Christ. Strong contender for world’s most asinine coronavirus crisis leader. pic.twitter.com/QlmzekJ6eO— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) May 12, 2020
The oft-repeated claim in reports on Tanzania is that there’s been a cover-up. Right on cue, the US Embassy to Tanzania weighed in on May 13, claiming the risk of contracting Covid-19 in Dar es-Salaam was “extremely high.” The intimation was that the Tanzanian leader couldn’t possibly be telling the truth about Covid. But wasn’t that assumption, just a tiny bit, er, racist?
Another African leader who challenged the ‘consensus’ on Covid-19 was Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza. Burundi, which didn’t impose a lockdown, actually expelled the WHO’s team from the country in May, accusing it of “unacceptable interference.” On June 8, Nkurunziza died suddenly, aged 55. Yet again, this didn’t get too much coverage, save for some articles in the West claiming he had died of coronavirus, even though the official cause was given as a heart attack. African leaders can be lauded, but only if they toe the politically correct line set by self-proclaimed ‘anti-racist’ men in suits in the West, it seems.
And this colonial mindset permeates even the ‘anti-imperialist’ movement. A friend of mine told me he went on a demonstration against the NATO’s attack on Libya in 2011. Some Libyans present had banners of their country’s president, Muammar Gaddafi. They were told to take them down by the non-Libyan organisers. That’s right: Africans weren’t allowed to display banners of their country’s leader at a march opposing the bombing of their country.
Rajoelina hit the nail on the head when he said the only reason the rest of the world has refused to treat what he believes is his country’s cure for the coronavirus with the urgency and respect it deserves is that the remedy comes from Africa.
Isn’t it ironic that, at a time when Western establishment figures are trying to show us every day how wonderfully ‘anti-racist’ they are, black voices outside the US and Britain are being ignored, even laughed at?
Only last week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his disapproval that Britain gave 10 times as much aid to Tanzania as “we do to the six countries of the Western Balkans, who are acutely vulnerable to Russian meddling.” How interesting that aid money sent to Tanzania gets questioned only now, after the country didn’t follow the script on Covid-19.
One wonders how many of the celebrities, politicians and pundits publicly expressing support for Black Lives Matters today have actually read the work of inspirational black African leaders such as Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah and Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere, or, in fact, have even heard of them? I imagine the answer would be very few, if any.
The arrogant dismissal of voices from Africa that dare to defy Western-elite orthodoxy, and the failure to even consider the possibility that African leaders have got it right and their Western counterparts might have got it wrong, is in itself a form of neo-colonialism. And, lest we forget, Nkrumah described that as “the worst form ofimperialism.”
If Black Lives Matter, then ‘politically incorrect’ black opinions ought to be listened to with respect, and not with a smug, superior facial expression before being loftily dismissed in the way a teacher might deal with a naughty child. But in this dumbed-down era in which many unthinkingly follow the dominant globalist narrative, it’s simpler for some to ‘take a knee’ and post a photo of themselves on social media doing so than it is to take a moment to see the bigger picture.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.