The nations of Africa greeted with joy their European occupants of the second half of the 20th century. But in many cases, their freedom was short-lived: after the colonizers left by the front door, they returned quietly from the rear. And this time the United States also came – the new and hungry kid from the neighborhood, working with big business and local elites to harness Africa’s rich resources.
This process underlies White Malice, my account of the CIA’s covert infiltration into the newly free nations of Africa. Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, watched with dismay the new states becoming independent in theory, with “all the outward traps of international sovereignty”, but their economic and political policies were directed from the outside. This, he lamented, is “the essence of neocolonialism”.
These 10 books answer the questions posed by Abderrahmane Sissako’s remarkable film Bamako in 2006, in which the World Bank and the IMF are judged in Mali: “Why when Africa sows does not reap she not? Why when does Africa reap not eat? The books focus mainly on the African continent but not exclusively: neocolonialism is by no means limited to Africa.
1. The quiet American through Graham Greene (1955)
In this gripping novel set in Saigon in 1952, “The Silent American” is a CIA agent, Alden Pyle, who secretly supports a third force led by a Vietnamese warlord. In Greene’s portrait, Pyle represents America’s strategy of insinuating itself between French colonialism and the Communists. He provides the explosives for a deadly attack by the warlord on innocent people. But in the Hollywood version of 1958, the ending was changed: the Communists are responsible for the bombings and Pyle is a good guy who is trapped. Greene was furious. He didn’t live to see the 2002 remake, which is largely faithful to the book.
2. Neo-colonialism: the last stage of imperialism through Kwame Nkrumah (1965)
Described as the classic statement on the postcolonial condition, it is a compelling read and is supported by a multitude of details. Nkrumah believed that neocolonialism is “the worst form of imperialism”, on the grounds that those who practice it exercise “power without responsibility and for those who suffer from it, it means exploitation without reparation”.
The US government was enraged by the book. According to a senior State Department official, it was “the straw that broke the camel’s back… She accused the United States of every conceivable sins. We have been blamed for everything in the world ”. The year following its publication, Nkrumah was toppled in a CIA-backed coup.
3. Thomas Sankara speaks: the Burkinabè revolution through Thomas sankara (1988)
Sankara, the president of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987, is currently in the news because an investigation has just been opened into his assassination. This collection of her interviews and speeches provides a window into her programs to improve people’s lives, involving land redistribution, literacy and education, a focus on women’s rights and a mass vaccination program. Revered as Che Guevara of Africa, Sankara challenged neocolonial control of France, the former colonial power, and the United States. He qualifies the debt, presented as aid, as “neocolonialism, in which the colonizers are transformed into ‘technical assistance’. We should say “technical assassins”.
After the coup that killed Sankara, Burkina Faso’s natural resources were privatized and debt repayments to the IMF resumed. Allegations of complicity have been brought against the French secret services and the CIA.
4. In search of enemies: A history of the CIA through John stockwell (1974)
This book reads like a spy novel, but it is a memoir. After 12 years as a CIA operations officer, Stockwell – the antidote to Greene’s Pyle – resigned from the agency in 1976 and wrote this Whistleblower. Assigned in 1975 to the command of the CIA task force in Angola, he was appalled by US policy: “Under the leadership of the director of the CIA, we lied to Congress and… we started joint activities with the South Africa. It shows that the escalation of the war in Angola was not led by the Soviets and Cubans, but by the United States. The war lasted 27 years.
Stockwell, the son of missionaries, attended school in the same province as Patrice Lumumba, the first legally elected ruler of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who was assassinated in 1961. “Eventually,” wrote Stockwell, “we learned that Lumumba was killed, not by our poisons, but beaten to death, apparently by men loyal to men who owned agency cryptonyms and received agency salaries.
5. Leopold’s Congo to Kabila: a popular story through Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja (2002)
The development of the Congolese democratic movement has been complex. But this “people’s story” by a prominent Congolese scholar tells his story clearly and well, showing how the suffering of the Congolese at the hands of foreigners continued long after Belgian independence. In the neocolonial state created by the United States, President Mobutu was supported for 32 years. Nzongola-Ntalaja emphasizes struggle and action: the Congolese have sought not only to establish democratic institutions at home, but to free themselves from foreign exploitation. Nzongola-Ntalaja describes his work as academic activism and is an inspiration to many, including me.
6. The Jakarta Method through Vincent Bévins (2020)
Indonesian President Sukarno, who called the West’s conditions of forced dependence neocolonialism, said in the United States in 1964: “Go to hell with your help.” In this shocking book, American journalist Bevins draws on interviews with survivors to tell the tragic story of the anti-Communist massacres that took place in Indonesia between 1965 and 1966, when the United States-backed dictator Suharto deposed Sukarno. “Between 500,000 and a million people were massacred,” reports Bevins, “and a million more were herded into concentration camps. “
7. Who paid the flute player? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War through Frances Stonor Saunders (1999)
Neocolonialism takes various forms, including the patronage of culture. This CIA study during the Cold War reveals the history of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, a Paris-based CIA front active on five continents, including Africa. Among a range of amazing activities, she has sponsored conferences, cultural centers, books and magazines, including Encounter in London. “Soon,” Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka exclaimed in disgust, “we would find that we had dined, and with relish, with the original of this serpentine incarnation, the devil himself, frolicking in our Garden of Eden.” postcolonial and gorging on the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge!
8. Devil on the cross through Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (1980)
This deeply symbolic novel is dedicated: “To all Kenyans fighting against the neocolonial phase of imperialism. It was written on toilet paper in prison, when Ngũgĩ was being held without trial. Here, the devil represents international financiers and bankers, in collaboration with the Kenyan elite. One of the devil’s followers advocates extreme versions of privatization, including the sale of bottled air. “We could even import air from abroad, imported air, which we could then sell to people at special prices! The story ends with a thrilling act of resistance by its heroine, Jacinta Wariinga. The form of the novel is itself an act of resistance: it was originally written in Gikuyu, not English, to promote national literature in one of the Kenyan languages.
9. How to write about Africa in Binyavanga Wainaina (2005)
In this brilliant and scathing essay, Wainaina mocks the prejudices that animate Western writing about Africa and serve to excuse, if not justify, neocolonial intervention. He gives sardonic advice to budding writers in the West: “Remember that any job you submit in which people look dirty and miserable will be called the ‘real Africa’, and you want that on your back. dust jacket. Don’t feel bad about it: you’re trying to help them get help from the west. Wainaina, a Kenyan gay rights activist, died much too young, in 2019.
ten. The sale through Tendai Huchu (2012)
China has been described as the last neocolonial power in Africa. In his short story, The Sale, Huchu takes China’s investment in his own country, Zimbabwe, to a threatening extreme. In its dystopian world, neocolonialism has turned into a terrifying form, where China and the United States buy out heavily indebted countries. When the deficit persists, citizens are sold and then controlled and monitored by drones. At the center of this chilling story is China’s intention to bulldoze the medieval city of Great Zimbabwe, now “owned by Ling Lee Antiquities Enterprises and Debt Recovery”.