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Ivory Trade bans are racist – no different from colonialism and slavery

History has taught us that racially driven motives do not produce sound
decision-making but we have apparently learnt nothing from it.

In their ongoing attempts to lead the international ivory trade ban without consulting the African elephant range states, the United States of America and the United Kingdom have evoked the same racism driven strategies that the UK and other European powers used centuries ago to enslave, impoverish and disempower the African people. These countries are famous for consulting their own people while ignoring black Africans. The insensitively decide the future of Africa’s elephants without reference to the people who live among the reminders or stinks of the racism of the 19th and 20th centuries.

While this is happening, there is a deafening silence from the ministers of finance and economists of the African range states, let alone their presidents, who should be the first to cry foul. Why are we putting up with these racist and unwarranted international ivory trade sanctions that are being undeservedly imposed on us? Are we African people too blind or to inert to protest?

British historian Walter Rodney wrote a book on how Europe underdeveloped Africa through racially fanned colonialism to exploit its raw materials that could later be sold back as finished products, but at a very high price. Walter Rodney could well have written another book on how America under-developed and savagely disempowered Africa through a new form of slavery. In both colonialism and slavery, Europeans and Americans racially and economically exploited black Africans. Sadly, today we see this history repeating itself in racist environmental politics masked as an attempt to save the African elephant. In reality, though, this policy suppresses the economic prosperity of African elephant range states. Worse, the poor rural communities next to national parks in these countries only get the costs of, without the benefits from, elephants.

Notably, the beneficiaries of these trade bans are largely British and American
animals rights organisations. They are raising billions of dollars from the elephant crisis that they and their governments have in part created by shutting down ivory markets and then seeking even more donations to “save” the African elephant. Very little or none of that money ever reaches its intended conservation destination in the African states. The newfound and lucrative animal rights industry money benefits the West and not Africa because it is scandalously kept in these Western countries.

Even communities settled around one of the world’s biggest national parks with one of the world’s biggest elephant populations, the Hwange Rural

By Emmanuel Koro

The Express News

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