“The protests in North Africa are being perceived in Europe and the West as an enormous threat, but the perspective takes on different hues if we move south of the Sahara”, said Alessandro Triulzi. In an interview with MISNA. Triulzi is a professor of African history and member of the executive committee of the International African Institute (IAI), describes the events in Libya as a “revolt for dignity”.
“Once the days of anger were called against colonial power. Fifty years later, the rebellion targets brutal and corrupt regimes,” said Triulzi, who added that “the areas of contagion are destined to spread to Sub-Saharan Africa as well, even if in the long and unpredictable term”.
According to Triulzi, the editorial pages of Africa’s main newspapers recently observed that despite the fact that the protests are borne out of the common malaise in the continent, which includes corruption, high unemployment and the lack of freedom of thought or expression, the revolutionary wind blowing through the region is struggling to extend beyond the dunes of the desert.
“We cannot underestimate that in Africa, politics are viscous and regimes rooted in power structures that are made more complicated because of clan and religious fractions,” said Triulzi.
He observed that from Khartoum to Kinshasa, Accra and Nairobi “there is interest in what is happening in Libya, a key country in the birth of the African Union and a country that appeared to be, until a few weeks ago, immune to street protests.”
Yet it would not be correct to describe the current events as unpredictable, said Triulzi, who remarked that “the reasons motivating people to take to the streets are the same that have led them for years to infiltrate and hide in the trucks headed to Spain from Morocco or to try their luck aboard a boat headed toward Lampedusa.”
Immigration and revolt, are like “two faces of the same coin, providing an alternative to a life free of prospects and perennial frustration of human dignity,” fueled by a “Europe that has denounced everything in the last few years including all of its knowledge of developing world problems assigning them the role of border guardians of the borders of dictatorial regimes, threatening to cut economic aid”.
“The system is all the worse when they were aware of the ferocious repression directed at opponents of the regime, convinced it was the price to pay to protect and pay for our well being,” Triulzi said.