lundi 25 juin 2012

The ambiguities of African nationalism*

 
In what sense is there in nationalist multiethnic African states? The leading edges of the anticolonial struggle in colonial Were nationalists or internationalists? Pan-Africanism is there a version of nationalism?
       Can we, in a multiethnic state in Africa, being a nationalist in the modern sense of the word, liberal, that is to say patriot, citizen when a nation is not yet properly built and that a national state embodying the well common and popular sovereignty is not built?
       Can we, conversely, be still nationalistic citizen when the nation is built and that a democratic and republican State embodying the sovereignty of the people and the general interest is based?
       This questioning is necessary and essential contradictions caused raised by political actions and the exercise of power of African nationalists.

The unifier became a divisor of the people.

       Many African political leaders pride themselves on being nationalists and grant international legitimacy to leaders of the cause of African peoples by claiming Pan-Africanists.
       But their nationalism and Pan-Africanism raise questions justified insofar as, in many cases, their practice of power conflicts with the titles they are assigned.
       With little regard for the common good and public interest, the nationalist yesterday turns out to be, soon conquered the power, a bitter ethno-nationalist who took the government for the exclusive benefit of his family and his ethnic group.
       The unifier is a divisor of the people who practice the social cleavage pits ethnic groups against each other.
       Throwing down the freedom that was the leitmotif of his anticolonial struggle, he becomes a tyrant who oppresses ruthlessly corrupt the people of his state and subjected to internal ethnic colonization.
       Under the clothing of uncompromising nationalist unfolds a dictator who does not shrink from the usurpation of power, mass murder and genocide.
       The Pan-Africanist who advocated federalism and international unity of African peoples becomes a xenophobic politician who advocates ethnic preference in his state.
       The internationalist socialist or liberal becomes a nationalist ethnic boundaries, a proponent of ethnic cleansing that stigmatizes the nationals of other African countries, which does not hesitate to close the borders of the state against African immigration, which means foreign to the mob at the least social protest, launching punitive expeditions against them and expel them en masse.

Socialism and liberalism are only masks.

       Socialism or liberalism are only masks under which the universalist ideology and values ​​are removed in favor of a form of government staff where the concentration of power in the hands of a political oligarchy dominant ethnic rivals with a frantic busyness characterized by conflicts of interest.
       This transformation of the African nationalist ethno-nationalist is it accidental or is it a necessary consequence of nationalism? In fact, far from being accidental, the conversion of the nationalist and pan-Africanist in corrupt and xenophobic tyrant appointed in the multiethnic state is the logical consequence of nationalism.
       In multiethnic African states, nationalism is necessarily changes in ethno-nationalism and xenophobia because, in the absence of a civic nation built on the repeal and surpassing the multitude of ethnic nationalities, nationalism refers to a false patriotism.

Nationalism
changes necessarily  in ethno-nationalism.

       Its content is not the common good nor the people but organically united ethnic identity. It actually refers to the priority given to ethnic particularities and customary loyalties on patriotism and loyalty to a state that would serve the public interest and would embody the sovereignty of the people united.
       When a truly independent national state Republican and Democratic does not yet exist, as is the case in most African multi-ethnic states, the nationalist leader is necessarily an ethno-nationalist who won power in favor of an ethnic group, a family, tribe or clan at the expense of all other ethnic components of the territorial state.
       Aware of this possible drift of nationalism in ethnicism, leaders of the anticolonial struggle fronts during colonization had adopted the liberal and revolutionary nationalism that comes from 1789 and were not, for a vast majority of nationalists but internationalists.
       Their struggle against colonialism stood under the sign of national unification citizen of African people in various states of self and of federalism under the sign of these multi-ethnic states in which the civic nation building project was the Cardinal.

How to build a nation when he crystallizes ethnic identities?

      
Pan-Africanism of the fathers of African independence was not the international version of ethnic nationalism but the version of supranational patriotism of nation states.
       One can be patriotic without being pan-Africanist in the sense that one has, as such, terminated ethnic nationalism and loyalty to customs prior to joining and being loyal to a democratic state that embodies the common good and the sovereignty of a nation of citizens.
       If Pan-Africanism presupposes patriotism, which is itself based on a State-National Democratic and Republican, then we are justified in doubting the Pan African nationalist elites proclaimed today.
       Their pan-Africanism is no content for their nationalism is indeed an ethno-nationalism which grows on the absence of a civic nation and a truly democratic state and national Republican.
       How, indeed, be the architect of a cosmopolitan African state founded on the values ​​of universality when one hypostasis, and crystallizes absolutises ethnic identities?
       How to be the builder of an international African citizen when you are the architect of the ethnic border closures? It is not uninteresting in this register to draw attention aroused by the discomfort in the French public, as part of a nation state, the conversion of a segment of the right Republican pro-European nationalist theses to the FN.

The Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) allegedly indulged in nationalist ethnic cleansing.

       It is instructive to turn our gaze on the emerging debate in the Republican right after the last French presidential elections on the issue of a renewal of its values ​​out of concern that emerged within the party, a needed updating, which would allow the French right to recover its universalist values ​​and essence Republican and patriotic.
       It is essential to remember that, in contrast, in Côte d'Ivoire, the Ivorian Popular Front claimed openly his nationalism during the 2010 presidential election, was engaging in ethnic cleansing, symptomatically received support from NF xenophobic French and refused at the end of the post-election crisis, to this day in 2012, to question his identity and xenophobic program.
In a state ethnically and culturally diverse nation without citizens, the content of nationalism is necessarily composed of the customary values ​​and loyalties of a particular ethnicity.
       The nationalist defends inevitably sectoral and specific ethnic interests at the expense of a civic nation formed by the integration of ethnic diversity in a Republican state.
       In an ethnically and culturally homogeneous state, by cons, nationalism is based on a content consisting of the entire people of the territorial state. The nationalist struggles to safeguard and guarantee the prerogatives and interests of ethnic people in its entirety.
       In a multiethnic state, by cons, nationalism gets stuck necessarily in ethnicism and particularities community when the various peoples that make up the population of the state are not yet organically united and when a civic nation is not yet constructed.
       When the civic nation is built in a multiethnic state, nationalism lapses. It gives way to the patriotism of State. Thus nationalism is highly suspect in multi-ethnic states without African nation. It always means a regression to the pre-political stage folds, identity conflicts and antagonisms that divide and rend all polyethnic communities.
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• Article of Alexis Dieth published by Afrik.com on 25 June 2012.
• Dieth Alexis earned a Doctorate of Philosophy at the University of Poitiers in France. He served as professor in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in Beirut, Lebanon and in Bordeaux, France.

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