“…each of the persons…believed they were acting appropriately, but, taken together, their acts produced misfortune on a continental scale” – Yanis Varoufakis, Adults in the Room (2017), p.2
After reading Udadisi critical article amidst my measured reading of “Adults in the Room” by Yanis Varoufakis, I feel obliged to contribute towards psychological preparation of a possible image destruction war against our country-Tanzania- from the hegemonic forces.
Trade is War- Prof. Yash Tandon warns us. Seemingly, our President- Dr. John Magufuli- understands this reality more than most of us. He has, unashamedly, confronted the propagators of unfair deals of our national resources in the country. The recent reference being the Acacia Mining PLC saga.
I’ve noticed the international media houses reactions to these developments/actions by the President. Already some of them that have covered the issue are so far biased, one-sided, and unfair to Tanzania and to the President in particular. See for example, the Financial Times article, some negative reactions to the mining law amendments (which has given more power to the country towards controlling its resources) and then this , which has recently been published by (UNFORTUNATELY) the Guardian (UK) – a daily that “hypocritically” portrays itself as an internationalist and development friendly paper.
In chapter 7 of the Adults in the Room, Yanis narrates different encounters with the so called “left” but who change faster than a chameleon in the face of the establishment – in his case the EU and in particular the Germans. In the introductory chapters, Yanis smartly provided the context through which we can understand how these hegemonic forces (aka the Establishment – or networks of power) enhances their power through the control of information. He also explains how individuals are trapped in their own devices even if they know the truth.
I have a feeling that some of those authors as well as media houses know the truth, however they are trapped. Trapped in their own devices- of the “Western Civilization” of which anything originated or hacked by it and that which helps to perpetuate its hegemonic forces – such as unfair trade deals- is pushed forward as ideal. If one challenges it, he becomes a candidate of being portrayed as backward, undemocratic, and unfamiliar with business concepts. Due to their complex web as well as supporting compradors – they are often successful in diminishing the challenge. Such is accompanied by threats- both economic and at times security. This is exactly what happened to Yanis- as he presented a strong challenge to the establishment- the EU- in support of the weak Greece – he faced enormous threats including his own security and image as a tested academic.
Now, as we move on to negotiations with Barrick Gold regarding the Acacia Mining issue- our country’s negotiation team of representatives need to possess the following:
- National interest – dignity, economic interests, etc
- Business eye more than political view
- Transparency- keep the citizens on board and updated
- Collectivity- respect and weigh opinions and arguments from different stakeholders in the country to strengthen its position as a national team and not merely a political group
Our media houses need to be carrying out research and provide balanced critical narrations and analyses of the ongoing process. This will help to counter any international media that is meant to undermine our team.
Finally, we citizens need to be supportive to our country’s efforts- not in the sense of “Ndio Mzee” but through provision of critical feedback/reaction with an aim to win and develop our country.
Our pledge to the President is to ensure that citizens are updated and their opinions are considered by the team.