Sunday 31st March 2013
Last week a beast was in the news – for all the trivial reasons. It was in Israel and got a little hitch, after swallowing a liquid it was not used to. It failed to move. If it’d been a beast, people would have chuckled over it and that’d have been it.
Well, that wasn’t it because The Beast is actually a car. And it isn’t just any car. It is the world’s number one car and it carries the world’s most powerful man. President Obama’s presidential state car is called The Beast. And the way it is indestructible, it really is a beast.
When The Beast goes to transport its VIP overseas, it takes its own plane, accompanied by escorts. These include a second limousine and a gigantic SUV that’s a rolling communication office directly linked to a military satellite.
It has armour plating that’s thicker than the walls of some of our ‘skyscrapers’ (our sky must be low!), like Kigali City Tower. Its door would need a few of our strongest men to move it, if they were to close the door for Barack. Its bus-sized tyres can run for a good many hours even when devoid of tyre-pressure. A nuclear bomb has only a thin chance of threatening it and a chemical attack, none in a million.
The Beast is a moving arsenal. It has fire fighting equipment, oxygen tanks and a cache of the president’s blood type. It’s equipped with tear gas canisters, shotguns, grenade launchers and all the communication high tech USA has ever assembled. Once you are inside, you are in a fortified world of your own. You can assail but cannot be assailed.
Thinking of which assault, it’s a pity that The Beast has come late in the day, when ‘Terminator’ Arnold Schwarzenegger is advanced in age. With it, he’d have put paid to all the enemies of USA that have for long rendered the life of innocent Americans a nightmare.
All along the trail of history, Russians, Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Arabs, suicide bombers and more who’ve put American lives in danger, ‘Terminator’ would have ridden their worlds and left nothing but groaning bodies in his wake, sparing only harmless innocents. He’d have been a world super power!
It’s no wonder then that when The Beast fails to move, it’s news in Western media headlines. To us in the third world it doesn’t make sense, a car is a car, but then we have always known that in the West, they know something that we don’t. While here in a car we see nothing but a car, there in a car they see their authority, their superiority, their unassailability, their omnipotence and their omnipresence. They see their “fortified world”.
And that should explain how the same things and actions appear diametrically opposed to what we take them to be. There, in their fortified world, Terminator, The Beast, is a force for good but nobody from here, our third world, can be the same.
We may have The Beast, we may have Terminator, but only as a force for evil. So, there Terminator defends his community. Here if Terminator defends his community and protects minors by giving them arms, it’s because his interest is in raping, killing and child-recruitment.
What they call The Beast to us is a mere car and therefore something trivial. A vehicle is only important as a means to achieving an essential good, no more. For instance, all in the world should unite to find the means to rescue the people of the DR Congo. Whatever the means, what matters will be the people rescued.
What matters to us is that we all first understand the fundamental problem. And we know that the problem is the dysfunctional government that allows a proliferation of rebel groups, which are a menace to its people. The state lacks a presence on its entire territory and this vacuum creates rebels that are a menace.
We think that for the Congolese to be rescued, all its problems should be tackled together, after a thorough examination of its roots. For instance, without excluding any prior problems, tackling the problem should start from the moment DRC last enjoyed a semblance of peace, which is late Mobutu’s reign. Before France offloaded the génocidaires of Rwanda (who subsequently settled for the name FDLR) onto its territory, DRC hadn’t been in this freefall.
Here we think the FDLR problem should be tackled first, followed by other rebels and then the DRC government can be helped to function and manage its affairs.
However, “there” a car is a big deal and news about it grabs headlines. A vehicle is more important than all else and takes all the attention. So, a plane transporting the Terminator of “here” to store him in The Hague grabs the headlines and the histrionics thereof supposedly will bring peace to DRC. But, we know that, as the “fortified world” watches and parties, our neighbours to the west continue to hemorrhage.
Gods of Africa, how your people grieve that they should be trivialised by the “fortified world”!