Journalist And Human Rights Advocate Eskinder Nega's Full Speech in Minnesota | Ethiopia News
Geographic borders that were imposed for economic and political reasons have since become immovable realities. When there are movements for self-determination, they are usually suppressed – sometimes violently – and their leaders are accused of “treasonable felony” (itself a colonial artifact).
Over time, Africa’s confected geographic borders have become psychological boundaries, too. People who were “borderized” into different countries after previously sharing an ethnic identity have since started seeing themselves as different people. While South Africa shares some ethnic groups with neighboring Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Namibia, it now sees these countries’ citizens as foreigners and outsiders.
But this dynamic runs in both directions. The Hausa-Fulanis across Sahelian Africa have continued to emphasize their common identity irrespective of national boundaries. Yet this coherence itself has become a source of tension, insofar as it fuels suspicion among the other groups living within these artificial countries.
The longstanding emphasis on colonial borders, usually at the expense of traditional ethnic groups, continues to inform policies and international relations to this day. Multilateral institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations often think and act within the confines of colonial borders. The same is true of economic governance and cross-border coordination: all decisions are based on “national” interests, which themselves are based on colonial legacies and affiliations. Despite their shared ethnic identities, the Anglophones and Francophones of West Africa frequently clash over economic and political matters.
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