So there they were again, G7 leaders at their annual summit, held this year in a place called Taormina, Italy.
The gathering included the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, representing the political leaders of the seven major economies of the world.
They discussed the important matters of the summit, such as their nation’s individual economies (as well as the global economy in general), the urgency of global warming… climate change, terrorism, etc.
Once all the important matters of the world were discussed, the leaders used the latter day or two of the summit to talk about
Africa, not in the sense of (colonial powers) reflecting on the colonial years, but continuous flow of African and other migrants risking their lives, ostensibly to seek a better life on the other side of the Mediterranean.
The G7 leaders weren’t concerned about welcoming more migrants, but stemming the tide. To that end they met with an African delegation that was invited to the summit. It included the African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, as well as leaders of Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria’s acting President, and others.
Leaders of the G7 were primarily concerned with discussing issues like migration with the African delegation, who were more interested in African development.
For his part, the Italian leader, according to reports, “…  wanted to have the related topics of Europe’s migration crisis and African development at the top of the agenda of the annual summit.”
Understandably. Italy continues to bare the brunt of the survivors of the Mediterranean crossings…
Which is why Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni implored his G7 partners to provide substantial help to crucial African countries in terms of investments and development policies “as a way to stem the endless flows of migrants and refugees fleeing poverty, destitution, and war.”
It’s not known how the other G7 members responded to that suggestion. Probably they’ll give it some consideration.
In the meantime, according to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, up to “1,520 people are estimated to have drowned in the attempt as of May 24.”
Probably many more now; as the weather gets better it’s Mediterranean crossing season.
Italy has registered over 50,400 new arrivals so far this year. And drownings notwithstanding, people remain undeterred as they try and escape war, terrorism, ethnic and religious conflicts, drought, famine… and other crises in various African and Middle Eastern countries.
The Italian PM is on to something, calling for massive investment in the continent (of Africa) to stem the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean.
But there was concern among analysts and aid organizations that the heads of state would lack the resolve to make any serious commitment to lifting African countries out of poverty.
True. Various political leaders have been talking that talk for generations. But there’s that creeping sense of “donor fatigue” as leaders of benevolent countries continue to do more serious introspection vis-à-vis how their foreign aid Is being spent once it gets to different recipient nations and the people the aid is destined to help.
Yes, given its Africa is the primary target providing greater assistance to Africa to persuade potential migrants to stay at home rather than make the dangerous journey to Libya and across the Mediterranean is an urgent issue for Italy, which has received hundreds of thousands of migrants in the last few years.
They’ve been talking that talk for generations.
So far so empty, and understandably. A regular crop of African leaders are doing little to dispel the global perception that most continental leaders are, well… corrupt, tribal, theirs a “good governance deficit” and an ongoing brain drain as those who should be staying home to help build the continent and help nations join the Group of 7, 8, 9… opt to legally come to the West to realize their individual dreams.
But as stated in the past, one cannot lose hope for Africa to one day rise from its slavery, colonial, neo-colonial doldrums… and rise like the proverbial Phoenix, or whatever mythical creature. And that will happen—one day.
As a voracious consumer of news (especially that pertinent to Africa) I see young, determined Africa working… hard to realize their African dreams—on the continent, not risking their lives in some migrant exodus across the Mediterranean to an uncertain future.
And here’s something more profound, African leaders must stem the flow of arms into their respective nations to fuel recurring civil strife and repression.
More importantly, nations on the Horn of Africa and other strategically placed ones must put an end to the use of their nations as military outposts to conduct military missions against “terrorists,” or be complicit in or party to the U.S. and other Western nations perpetual “war on terror.” It’s much too easy.
Worse than that it opens the continent up to more acts of terrorism, resulting in more innocent victims.
In the wake of the recent terrorist incident in Manchester, U.K., British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said there is a link between foreign policy and the growing terror threat.
“We must be brave enough to admit that the ‘war on terror’ is not working. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism.”
The sister of the perpetrator of that horrible Manchester act said that she was surprised by her brother’s actions, and that what drove him was what he perceived to be injustices…
“I think he saw children—Muslim children—dying everywhere, and wanted revenge,” she said.
“He saw the explosives America drops on children in Syria, and he wanted revenge… Whether he got that is between him and God.”
Here’s something, what if that $110 billion dollar contract signed by the U.S. president and Saudi Arabian royal leaders during his recent Middle East visit en route to the G7 meeting were to be used to find new ways to address the current scourge of terrorism. Not even those 59 Cruise missiles fired on Syria, or the (MOAB) Mother Of All Bombs dropped by the U.S. on Afghanistan a couple months ago, have stemmed the almost daily bloodletting in the international hot spots.
What a misuse of money.
Then the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in an April report that Saudi Arabia last year was the world’s fourth-largest military spender, spending $63.7 billion. Most of which is probably being used in Yemen.
The unfortunate reality is that the seemingly infinite, anti-terrorist exercise
And the mounting casualty toll of innocent citizens – men, women and children alike, individuals and members of families, sometimes entire families, will continue.
Pay close attention to the news, especially the alternative news (not the Trump-like or mainstream corporate kind). For in-depth, fact-based news, listen to NPR (National Public Radio) – On-line, on radio and on certain TV channels.
And so the world turns… to the whims, directives and interest of the economically and militarily powerful of the world.