Seven Cameroonians athletes; five boxers, a swimmer and a footballer who participated in the 2012 London Olympic Games may have disappeared from the Olympic village looking for greener pastures. In reaction to this headline, Nwanatifu Nwaco, a social critic and researcher on African politics and migration wrote in his article from Sweden “MY NATION PRIDE HAS BEEN MORTALLY HURT”
The false promise of Europe as an El-dorado mentally enslaves Africans and perpetuates the desire to migrate. Over control sends out the message that there is something there that is worth keeping out others. After centuries of exploiting Human and natural resources without making the lives of the exploited better, Europe now sees these abandoned Africans as threats to its economic survival and the cultural values of Europe. Africa is rising but are Africans rising along with it?
Until Europe as the core begins to allow its African periphery to determine the political and economic destiny of their human and economic resources, the talk of reducing migration into the EU fortress is an excellent fable!! Watching the London 2012 Olympic Games one notices that there are many more African diaspora athletes defending foreign flags than homeland athletes.
The French sports ministry like an industry is draining Africa of sports people, or how does one explain how a two-time Olympic long jump gold medalist from Cameroon suddenly becomes a French citizen on the eve of the games? How can one explain the issue of seeing Cameroonians run the track and play handball in French flags? Multiculturalism only applies to the few Africans who make up more than half of the French national football team while thousands of regular day Africans languish and survive on the edges and margins of Euro society, caught between legalization and integration speed-breaks to their potentials and abilities, bleeding for what others are begged to have.
If those seven athletes wearing the national colors and representing the Cameroon nation can create a media buzz of ‘disappearing’ in London during the 2012 Olympic games, despite their modest pay package, what do we expect their fellow, repressed and deprived citizens do then? Sooner or later they will turn up in foreign flags or become yet protected persons for committing this “treason”. Even the process of them getting selected to represent their country is plagued with clientelism and patronage; it would not be surprising to hear that they are relatives of officials at the sports ministry or may have paid sums of money to be selected and ‘trafficked’ via this event. Now they are being depicted in the media as ‘potential economic migrants or asylum seekers’, which just goes along to feed the stereotypical “Help Save Africa” campaign and appetite for labeling and tagging Africa as a continent of misery and risk projections.
Dear EU, before your absorb and quickly drain to waste these runaway talents ask yourself why they ran away in the first place. Cease from enticing and deluding our nation builders to defect, you have thrust upon us and continue to legitimize those we now refer to as secretaries of your foreign ministries in the persons of gerontocratic presidents’ for-life at the helm of artificial states, who in effect are accomplices to the full measure of deprivation visited on their citizens and to the ravishing of their economies.
While FrontEX is busy shielding the heartland from invasions of the peripheral scum, let us reflect on the fate of these seven Cameroonian athletes just as other Africans before and after them, who have thrown away their careers in favour of washing plates and doing many other things that they and their hosts would not otherwise do.
By Nwanatifu Nwaco