Yesterday, 6th July, Malawi celebrated the 58th anniversary of the independence from the British Empire. One of his actual young political leader, Isaiah Sunganimoyo, recalled the event as a “Shameful Celebration” because it has been 58 years that the country is poor, under oppression, where citizens are considered slaves, ruled by corrupted leaders, without any form of freedom. Isaiah is the President of The New Liberation Party, a political libertarian movement that is preparing the Presidential election campaign of the next year, and we – as western people – totally agree with this astonishing consideration.
However, in the schools of the whole world (the First World tbh) the process of decolonization that occurred in the second part of the XIX century is celebrated as a fundamental milestone of the progress of the human being condition: is it really so? Definitely not.
The conference of Bandung. In the April of 1955, in Bandung (Indonesia) the political delegates of 29 African and Asiatic countries that were fighting for independence produced a document in which they stated the egalitarianism between all nations, the support for the independency and the categorical refuse of creating military alliances with superpowers (USA and URSS) that were responsible, to their eyes, to a period of prolonged poverty and slavery conditions for their people. This ideology let them to build a third block that was alternative to American capitalism and Russian communism: the Third World was born.
Too many differences. The most important leaders were the Egyptian Nasser, the Indian Nehru and the Yugoslavian Tito who promoted a sort of active neutralism between the two superpowers. However, with the increasing of numbers of countries (in 1973 there were 75 states) the heterogeneity of the individual histories emphasized. There were countries linked to western horizon (Iran, Thailandia, Philippines and Saudi Arabia) and others to the eastern one (Cuba and Vietnam): this inherent characteristic was at the origin of the failure of the Third World ideology.
Underdevelopment. All countries, being different from religion, culture and tradition, were all linked to a same common denominator: the economical underdevelopment. No industrial infrastructures, very low productivity in agricolture, an increasing diminution of participation of these countries to commercial exchange (from 1948 to 1970 a reduction from 33% to 18% of the participation of ex colonies in the global market occurred) and a dramatic disproportion from available resources and a population that was continuously growing. In the 60s the Third World per capita GDP was about ten times of the western countries; illiteracy peaked at the 90% in some African countries; civil infrastructures were missing and the mortality was at the level of European Medieval Age.
The causes. The IIWW had two main winners: USA and URSS. Altogether, one born from a rebellion towards the United Kingdom and the other in fight with imperialism and internal czarism, had the final goal to destroy the old global dominion order. Furthermore, the US have already promoted the Atlantic Charter in 1941 in which it was established that all nations could decide their own form of government. This renewal of the Wilsonian self-determination concept was accepted by United Nation Organization: the European countries, jaded and worn by the war, adhere without any divergence to this new ethical and political ideology because the costs for maintaining the colonies overcame the benefits, definitely.
The colonial legacy. European contact had allowed African and Asian countries to improve modernization. Also, local leaders had the possibilities of studying in European schools, universities and military academics learning (and absorbing) western habits, culture and language. However, the political institution did not work: when white people went home, the parliament democracy gave away to left or right military dictatorships. The reasons are manifold: a different starting tradition, the fact the in Africa Europe shown – in many cases – the worst face of the liberal point of view, the inherent limits of the local leaders coming from corrupted elites, the difficulty of creating well-being in a very poor environment. Disasters were committed in India where a terrible war between muslims and Hindus caused the constitution of two new states (Pakistan and Bangladesh) at the cost of thousands of deaths, troubles in the Indochina with Korea’s and Vietnam’s wars, the problems with terrorism in Kenya, the apartheid in South Africa, the drama in Congo, the Biafra emergency in Nigeria. All these events are witness of the impossibility of imposing well-established European political models in countries traditionally ruled by tribes and castes of different religion and cultures.
What’s next? Now, Africa is still requiring aids – creating again a new dependency from the First World – and the message coming from Malawi is straightforward: the sole way for complete Africa recovery is teaching freedom, competition and private property that needs to be created from the bottom, not imposed by Law. You can promote the work of Isaiah and its political party through the dedicated crowd-funding.