Certain things happen in one’s life, whether one likes them or not. You can not stand apart from it; you need to experience the process of going through it. Let me give the example of a car. It has two types of movements-forward movement and lateral movement. The energy (petrol, gas etc. ) relates to forward movement, without which the car can not start. You have no control over it. As for the lateral movement, you as the individual driving the car, have the control over its speed-you can drive it through the royal road, narrow lane, drive at 120 kms.
per hour or just 30 kms- or not drive at all. Just lock it in the garage for days together! You are living in a changing world- very fast changing world. The modified lifestyles, due to industrial revolution, the modern materialistic civilization, the internet revolution, are mind-boggling. You need to run your race, accelerate the steps, clear the hurdles and move towards the goal. Stop in between at your own peril! Survival under tough conditions and competition are not magic.
Nor an element of chance is involved. The wise saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. ” Survival will be extremely difficult for the African people in the global village, unless tangible steps, all-comprehensive projects are drawn up and implemented with speed and imagination, by responsible leaders and people. The test of the leadership lies in involving the people actively and willingly in such projects. African people in the Global village- the summary: Africa is a big continent.
The vastness of the area, multiplicity of ethnic conflicts, the fierce tribal loyalty prevailing even today, the religious factors, the difficult past, the historical factors some of which do exercise telling effect on the African society and mind-set even today, render the solution difficult. John K. Marah, who is the Associate Professor and Coordinator in the African and African-American Studies Department at SUNY at Brockport, makes a concerned and well-studied approach to offer solution in the book African People in the Global Village and the possible direction which they need to follow.
Moreover, due to historical reasons, African people (the black race) are spread all over the Western World. They are a noticeable political force, an awakened society in Countries like USA. Marah categorically opines that it is no use brooding over the past, its failures and bitter memories. He does the examination of the present situation from an open-minded perspective. Confrontation at every stage is not going to help the cause of the African people. They have to know their place and find out the ways and means to evolve within the global village.
He calls it ‘multidisciplinary approach and well-rounded understanding’. Right from the beginning of the book, Marah is aware that he is up to a difficult task, and the subject matter of the book, “African People in the Global Village,” can not be discussed in isolation. Yet, he takes the direct plunge into the serious subject matter. The book has neither a preface nor a forward. For a highly sensitive and complicated subject like this, author’s detailed background would have been a helpful factor, but that is not given in the book. The biographical sketch is not provided.
Nevertheless, it is a determined and well-informed effort to broach the subject matter which is so vast viewed from tough, social, political, historical, economic and cultural perspectives. The problems are ever growing like the octopus expanding in many directions and only a radical solution like Pan-Africanism is the solution according to Marah. But, to define Pan-Africanism is not the easiest of the tasks. He concludes that African people have no other choice but to move forward at a rapid pace, with the qualities of head and heart-be dynamic without destruction!
Marah begins his book on a tough note. “African Sensibilities in the Global Village. ” He fails to give a clear message in this chapter– one can not expect him to do so. The subject matte is so vast, complicated and the concern of Marah to offer a desperate solution to a desperate situation can be seen. He realizes his limitations-the subject matter he is up to tackle can not be discussed in isolation—by referring to the conditions of the African people alone!
Their so-called more fortunate brothers in America also have their own problems and deep fears on many vital and fundamental issues! It would be prudent to link the problems of the black people of America with the black people of Africa, as Marah rightly argues. At the end of the chapter he specifies, `in this book we examine the position of African people in Africa and the United States with particular emphasis on some of their salient predicaments in the global system…. ‘( Marah, 1998 p. 16).
Having said this, Marah realizes about the uphill task ahead for him, for he fails to give appropriate solutions or alternatives. The discussions in the book naturally and essentially take him to outside Regions, where black race matters. In chapter 4, he discusses this aspect in detail. The black people issue is like the issue of a flowing river. It can not be discussed in parts. The river as a whole will have to be discussed to understand it. Its beginning, its course of flow and the area through which it passes, etc! Marah has a message for the black people and the leadership.
Some inspiring political and economic leadership has to take over and lead, to achieve the set goal. He makes a case for the entry of socio-spiritual leadership to play its role, because what the Global Village Africa needs is not only fine projects but fine individuals to implement the projects-that is what he means when he says about the ability of the people to survive in a new environment. New skills are required to push ahead in such circumstances. The thought process of the people requires a new orientation and change.
When the thoughts are changed, the mind is changed; when he mind is changed, the man is changed; when the man is changed, the society is changed; when the society is changed, the nation is changed; when several such nations are changed, the African continent will change for the better! Then only the African people in the Global Village will achieve plenty and prosperity. For survival, wherever may be it, certain basic skills are necessary, and African People in the Global Village, are no exception. Education gets top priority—the ability to read with understanding. Speak boldly so hat others can understand and appreciate your problems.
It is not that you expect sympathy from others; but in a democratic society, when your fundamental rights are guaranteed by the Constitution, you need not be condemned by anyone either-you need not live your life like a baked potato always. The majority of the ills of African People are due to poor response to globalization. This lethargy is frightening and it will continue to bother and trouble them in every aspect of life, unless something tangible is done as quickly as possible. African people will head for an economic and social disaster and moral doom, if they do no wake up and react speedily.
Courtney from Study Moose
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