I know some Africans will willingly declare that capitalism means cannibalism; it is a "man- eats - man" cruel system and Bush can be designated as the number one cannibal. I am not trying to expound on this, no. I am actually focusing on the German cannibal who ate a man who volunteered to be eaten. He couldn't disappoint the man, could he? The victim, if we can call him so, not only volunteered to be eaten but took part in the hors d'oeuvre part of the gory feast which consisted in frying the man's own cut genitals.
The ghosts of Idi Amin and Emperor Bokassa must be laughing in the nether world. Both dictators were accused, without any proof whatsoever, of eating their opponents. They were labeled cannibals and ogres while those friends of theirs, who took the accusation at face value, did not hesitate in praising both Idi Amin and Jean Bedel Bokaasa as gentle and considerate souls (with no rancor whatsoever) for "you eat what you like" and their cannibalism was a sure sign of love. To which the critics did reply that the meals were not voluntarily there even though the "Aminites" and "Bokassites" scoffed at this by arguing: "are cows and sheep volunteering to be eaten?" The German cannibal is said to be an improvement on the African dictators as all thing German is supposed to be superior to all things black in that he did ask the victim if he really wanted to be eaten and the forty- one years old man (an adult by all definitions) came to the table as a meal of his own free will. The German courts, that give fast and expedite deportation sentences to refugees, are having some difficulty in deciding what to do since the cannibal's victim was not coerced in the first place and the law is not up to such a situation. Moreover, the cannibal was reportedly disappointed because the volunteer from Berlin was not lean but fat, that is to say "not the right kind of meat". Cannibals too worry about cholesterol.
The fact that the proud cannibal is German has made all African refugees in Germany (including those in the terrible holding camp at Brandenburg ) sigh with relief. Imagine what would happen if an African ate a German even if the German had volunteered to be thus consumed? All hell would have broken loose. All Africans would have been accused and denounced as savages. The news would have been picked up all over the world. Many in the West would have screamed "stop the food aid to the famine victims in Africa —let them eat one another" and said this on the steps of their churches with their priests nodding solemnly in agreement. (Remember how the Vatican blessed the troops of Mussolini dispatched to conquer Ethiopia and how nuns contributed their rings to the war effort). We could have, of course, argued that many things evil were learnt by us from the colonizers and the whites themselves but who would have believed us? The Belgian colonialists cut the hands and genitals of the Congolese and later screamed foul when the colonized did the same to them. Scalping was not a Native American custom but copied from the
White frontiersmen. In our times, people who eat people have been caught in the USA , Japan and Russia . In Africa , the dictators slaughter us and sometimes sell our corpses (back to our kin) and, in one country, a cruel dictator used to fill the blood bank of military hospitals by blood drained from prisoners awaiting execution but we have no confirmed report that they have liked us enough to make us their meal. The accusations against Amin and Bokassa were not backed by evidence while there is enough proof to assert that our dictators do not love us enough to dine on us. But, who knows, things can change in the near future.
In Africa , the politics relished by our un-elected rulers involves eating and eating aplenty. You are in office to eat, literally and figuratively, without any restrictions. The typical African dictator, big like Amin and Kabila senior or thin and hungry looking like Kagame and Isaias Afeworki, likes one other thing as good as eating and that is killing us. Our rulers enjoy seeing us dead and they let no opportunity pass if it affords them the chance to slaughter us and to gloat. But, eating has not yet involved actually dining on our flesh, raw or grilled. The alarming news is that many of our leaders have reportedly shown a lot of interest in the case of the German cannibal. None of them would of course give the hour of the day to this business of looking for a volunteer victim. The whole idea of volunteerism annoys them. There is somewhere in there the chance of choice, a possibility for the mass, the victims, to have a say. This is unacceptable for our dictators. The whole country is theirs to do with as they please. A number of experts on Africa have concluded that the bloody rebellion led by the late Fode Sankoh in Sierra Leone collapsed because the old man was democratically involving the victims in the choice of their degree of amputation (the hand or the arm, take your choice please-- type of thing). No one took Sankoh too seriously though he mutilated hundreds and killed many thousands—he just was not firm. And this is a situation in which no self- respecting dictator in power will find himself in, no.
The bizarre cannibal in Germany threatens to upset our world—we may find ourselves being eaten whether we like it or not. The fellow got notoriety and front- page coverage in many countries—this is what our beggar presidents will kill or eat for. There is thus the real and frightening possibility that our dictators may finally decide to eat us for real and to flaunt the fact to the world as yet another act of love and bonding with the people who love and admire them. And all of us who had been saying that our rulers are cannibals would now be vindicated and none will accuse us of exaggerating things. Of course, our cannibals will not be democratic at all like the considerate German who only asked for volunteers and even shared with his victim part of the meal (of course the victim contributed the food). We will be rounded up, branded like cattle and then eaten. Masochists as we are, we may even get some consolation from the fact that we may be of some use at last by filling the big stomachs of our rulers. The eternally naive among us may even hope that with us as food to fill their stomachs the presidents may stop from eating the whole country as they are used to do.
But I will bet with you any amount of useless Naira, Nakfa, Birr or Shillings that there will be no sign of a democratic cannibal in our beloved Africa .