Monday, October 13, 2008

The ugly American is gone: Reactions to Jerome Corsi's deportation

KEATING ECONOMICS - John McCain & The Making of a Financial Crisis

Last week, the high smear campaign characterising American presidential elections reached a climax when Republican hate-monger Dr. Jerome Corsi was deported from Kenya. Of all the reactions that I read regarding this event, three particularly stood out:

Sir, it’s now safe to crawl out from under your desk

Dear my brother, Mr Otieno Kajwang’.

This is total malfeasance.

You have hidden your tracks with mischievous care, but you can’t buffoon me: all detention-without-trial orders are signed by the minister for national security, all deportation orders are signed by you, the immigration minister.

I know because I am the proud owner of one of those.

It is your fault that what’s-his-name, the American mudslinger, was flung out of this place. A former Tanzanian colleague once told me to get over the fact that Ndugu Benjamin Mkapa, no doubt aided and abetted by Ndugu Jakaya Kikwete, ordered: Wakenya waondolewe! Why would I want to get over such a fun thing?

Therefore just like there are guys who run in elections on the basis of detention credentials, I have deportation credentials. On the basis of that I find your actions violated the rights of name-his-name and were the legal equivalent of the rather embarrassing premature release of, eh, seed.

First, you deliberately misunderstood the guy’s intentions, you bad, bad man. In your interpretation, name-his-name was illegally working and engaging in commerce for which he required a work permit. Surely, mapambano, he was not launching his book to make money. He was doing it to malign the Rt Hon. Prime Minister Raila Odinga, your padrone, and Barrack Obama, the US president-in-waiting. Therefore your argument, communicated anonymously to the newspapers, that the man violated the terms of his visitor’s pass, collapses like a bolus of ugali, smashed against the roof of the mouth by a workman’s tongue.

This deportation now makes you look like a strongman and a dictator, yet we all know you are a sensitive, metrosexual wimp who loves to sing and couldn’t bear to watch the announcement of the Cabinet on TV but followed the proceedings from under the bed.

I know you probably don’t like the courts much.

But I can’t help feeling that your most suitable course would have been to find a friendly judge — if you couldn’t find one, surely you could borrow one from PNU, your coalition partner – and argue before him that name-his-name’s miserable book was a danger to public health, safety, security and comfort, intended to create general disaffection and bring to disrepute the good government of the Republic, or at least the lucid parts of it.

And assuming, of course, that the government has any reputation.

You would have asked for an injunction against the launch and sale of his little book. A friendly judge would oblige — and give you a reasonable hearing date such as June 16, 2036. With orders stopping the launch in your hand, you would then get some daft assistant minister to call a press conference to announce the government was renewing its vigour in the fight against child pornography.

A friendly NGO, such as the Law Society of Kenya which does not have a single independent bone left in its body, would hold a demonstration in the neighbourhood of name-his-name’s hotel, with fat lawyers sweating in the sun, bottoms wagging, beer bellies bulging, beating pans and shouting their backing of the government’s valiant efforts to protect our children from foreign predators.

Write down somewhere that I objected to this deportation because it was an act of prior censorship, which is very bad and which we all good journalists oppose very much.

You had the guy followed, picked up, taken to Nyayo House (surely not the dungeons?) then driven to the airports and booted out. Big deal.

First, you should have scattered the contents of his bags on the tarmac, the way the Special Branch did with Gibson Kamau Kuria’s things when he was running away from Moi. Name-his-name would then have to pack back his things under the watchful glare of many policemen. This is a particularly unnerving and humiliating experience, which, since I have the shifty eyes of a cocaine pusher, I suffer many times whenever I travel.

Your goons would ensure that name-his-name’s toothbrush and spare underwear was checked in and he was allowed no hand luggage. His baggage would be checked in to Reykjavik, through Auckland. Then you would put him in the first available direct flight to Guangzhou, connecting directly to Tokyo and on to Washington.

On arrival he would be debriefed in a smoke-filled right wing bunker by John McCain and Sarah Palin, as to why he was in DC cooling his heels, looking dishevelled, his hair uncombed, teeth unbrushed and in old underwear rather than being out there destroying reputations. Has he been drinking? Name-his-name would have no choice but to explain that he was deported from Kenya today and left Japan tomorrow.

Mr McCain, who does not like brain twisters, would also have no choice but to conclude that name-his-name has lost it and is therefore a security threat to his campaign. He would order Mrs Palin to bring out her moose gun and waste him. Problem solved, world peace at last.

By the way Mr minister, I think you can come out from under your desk now. The ugly American is gone, to quote one of Philip Ochieng’s more (in)famous headlines in the Kenya Times.


This is not one of the best times to come calling on us
By Kwamchetsi Makokha

American Jerome Corsi, the author of The Obama Nation, who was deported from Kenya this week, has every right to travel around the planet. He has several rights - under the Universal Declaration of Human rights - to go anywhere, meet anyone and say anything. Except in Kenya!

His deportation, not unlike that of fellow American Dick Morris who had come to Kenya to help the Orange Democratic Movement with their campaign - on the ground that he was attempting to make a living without seeking a work permit - is legal and kosher. But everyone knows that this is more excuse than reason.

The work permit, a piece of paper issued at a steep fee by the Department of Immigration, is designed to protect Kenyan jobs and ensure that immigrants do not do them. Only people who bring a skill that is not readily available in these parts get the privilege of receiving it. Numerous individuals have happened upon these climes to enjoy the sun and its accompaniments, only to get hooked and decide to stay on as matatu touts, village carpenters and spouses.

Looking at the weather-beaten Harvard alumni (where is Barack Obama, Maina Kiai and suchlike?), he did not look like the type that might want to become a jua kali artisan. The real reason Dr Corsi was put on a one-way ticket to the Unites States is probably that Nairobi felt that allowing him to launch his book - a smear campaign against US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama - was the potential for embarrassment such an event presents. Mr Obama traces his roots to this country. Kenya has given him scant attention and ought to be ashamed that it places such great expectations on him. Should the Illinois senator become president of the United States, conversations could be strained if the country was seen to have allowed someone to smear him, hound his extended family to give them a cheque just to prove how useless he is. Dr Corsi was within his rights to visit Kenya, but he was impolitic, rude and condescending to attempt to launch a book that attempts to use the country to discredit Mr Obama.

The author is perhaps welcome to Kenya again to promote his book after the November 4 election in the United States. He can also visit the Maasai Mara, sight-see at Kibera and have a beer at the Kenya National Theatre's Wasanii Restaurant. But he must carry with him some sensitivity to local opinion.


Action on ‘Obama Nation’ writer justified

For 500 years, black people responded with a booming “thank you, sir” when bodily assaulted or racially abused by a European. Africans have turned the other cheek for so long that many whites still take them for granted. That is why a white American can pour profuse sleaze on Barack Obama and yet expect red-carpet welcome when he struts into the country in which Mr Obama’s father was born to market that very poison against the black race.

Yet Mr Obama is as American as the ethnic Italian author of The Obama Nation.

Blacks were in Boston long before those who wallow in the spaghetto of American cities. And blacks have contributed more labour than any group to creating the most advanced technological culture in human history. Their work even in science and engineering is not to be found in the textbooks because in those books -- written by white people -- even the black inventor of the traffic lighting system is described only as a Westerner.

It is, of course, proper to do so because it was Western science and technology that created this man as an inventor. The need to identify him as black arises only because of white racism’s own teaching that black people are congenitally unable to think abstractly and to govern themselves. Yet blackness has nothing to do with the political imbroglio in which modern Africa is drowning. As Basil Davidson, Martin Dugard, Robert July, Roland Oliver, John Reader and other scholars testify, black Africans once ruled themselves most effectively. These are among the extremely few Western historians who have painstakingly pieced together the amazing stories of Axum, Bornu, Buganda, Cush, Egypt, Ghana, Kanem, Kilwa, Kongo, Libya, Songhai, Zimbabwe, Zulu and other inimitable African kingdoms of yore.

The tragedy is that the general Westerner is not interested in such information.

America’s mental taste-buds have been trained -- like Pavlov’s dogs -- to salivate for anything African only if it is bizarre, exotic, tragic or “sub-human”. That is why, ever since the young Obama won the Democratic nomination, America’s newspaper ferrets have gone to all lengths to dig out all the low-down with which to smear Mr Obama’s father and satiate their readers’ intense appetite for offal labelled: “Made in Africa”.

Yet, in a sense, they are right.

Because such “colourful” characters as Amin, Bokassa, Mobutu and Nguame are some of Africa’s chief headline makers, the great white fear is that Mr Obama will turn out like one of these. But the fact is that blackness is not what defines our world’s tin-gods. Haiti’s Duvalier was only a pallid reflection of Caetano, Ceausescu, Franco, Hitler, Mussolini, Peron, Salazar, Stalin and Vorster. The coup-makers and drug barons who tyrannise Latin Americans are all Caucasian. In what, then, does white superiority consist when these scions of Nero and Caligula behave even more monstrously than the “brown” Musharraf, the “yellow” Suharto and the “black” Mugabe?

No, gnawing material want is what all those countries have in common.

Their masses have grown increasingly disappointed about the promises the nationalists once made to them. Yet their leaders -- products of Euro-colonial tyranny in the classroom and the workplace -- have not the foggiest idea how to deal with dissent. They know only the lash, the gun and President Moi’s “Guantanamo” in the Nyayo House basement, actions which can only deepen the dissent and escalate the violence. In short, Africa’s present inability to ensure social stability has everything to do with Euro-America’s own centuries of complete destruction of our continent’s economic, and political, intellectual, moral and spiritual cohesion -- independence, self-sufficiency and racial self-confidence.

Thus it is impossible for Africa’s elite -- deliberately created by education in mercantile Europe’s narrowest interests -- to rule effectively. It is a class question, not a racial one. It is why an Obama from Kenya may prove tragic if he enters the Oval office. But I say “an Obama from Kenya”, not Barack Obama from Illinois. For, culturally, the latter is not a Third Worlder, not a product of colonial tutelage. Whether he proves weak or strong, the culture which created him will overwhelmingly constrain him to rule only as “Americanly” as any predecessor in that office.

Yet the fact remains that he is black.

That is why -- given the way whites have treated blacks in that country -- blacks and other hitherto oppressed minorities the world over have invested such hope in Mr Obama’s victory. If you must insult black people, do not try to do it in the black people’s own homestead. What Kenya has done to Mr Corsi shows that Africans can no longer tolerate such provocation and arrogance.

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