Author – Carmen Dibaya
It is officially the end of the world…as we once knew it! The Mayan prophesied that the world would end in 2012. Well not exactly 2012 more like December 21, 2012, so don’t freak out just yet, you have lots more time till then. I’m not going to get into the details of the Mayan calendar and how they came up with this specific date, you can search that up on your spare time. But just so that we are all on the same page, the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar (aka the Mayan Calendar) is based on 20 Katun cycles known as Baktum; our current calendrical cycle is the 13th Baktun cycle. According to the Mayans, the 13th cycle is due to end on the 21 of December of this year…
So this natural order of our universe has brought about various interpretations, one being that this date will simply mark the start of time in which the earth and its inhabitants, us, will undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation. Others however infer that it’s the much-prophesied Apocalypse, the doomsday end where the earth will be swallowed up by a black hole or destroyed by a passing asteroid.
I personally prefer the former interpretation, the idea of being destroyed by an asteroid before my prime isn’t too appealing. However, undergoing a positive physical and or spiritual transformation, whatever that may be, sounds more thought provoking. Not only does the former account seem more alluring, it is the only explanation that seems to embody the essence of this New Year. 2012. Of this I was convinced after observing how the series of events that took place all through last year gave way to the beginning of a new era of consciousness and civil resistance.
We witnessed the dawn of the Arab Spring early last year with civil uprisings of North African Nations; one after the other, citizens demonstrated, marched, rallied and made use of social medias to mobilize and forced rulers out of power demanding the resignation of the old regimes. This movement, which captured global attention, not only inspired, but set forth a snowball effect that led to Palestinians officially requesting a United Nation membership and State recognition, to the capturing and killing of Qaddafi, to the Occupy Wall Street protest movement and later the Russian protest, the Nigerian fuel protest and now the Kony2012 campaign.
For the sake of the length of this article, I purposefully did not mention every major event that took place the previous year. But what I wanted to get at with mentioning the successions of revolts that began with and followed the Arab Spring was the Congolese Election that took place last November. As it is generic with African politics, the elections fell short of everyone’s optimistic expectations. Although it shouldn’t have come as a surprise, still many of us couldn’t help but feel that this presidential election was going to be the FIRST free and fair election in the history of Congo since its independence.
Devastation, disappointment and despair lingered somberly in the spirit of citizens of this war torn nation. For a brief second, it seemed as if everything had stopped … crickets … at this moment, Congolese people found themselves at the crossroads. Here, the laissez-faire attitude that was accustomed to in the past was no longer an option. You see something had change, something was different, I would like to think that the momentum of the snowball effect sparked the spirit of sub-Saharan Africans to believe that they too could fight for their freedom and challenge the political powers.
United for a common cause, Congolese home and in the diaspora took the streets of Kinshasa, Johannesburg, Brussels, Paris, London, Montreal, D.C. to challenge the result of the elections suspected of fraud. Their efforts fell short at the international front, it seem as if the enthusiasm had run dry and the humongous “snowball” had come to a full stop at the gates of Congo with no one in sight to crack open the bolted doors.
I’m discouraging you from thinking that Congolese people were less equipped to carry out an impactful revolution like that of the Arab Spring. They were very much capable. However, actions alone cannot change a deeply rooted handicap that is the Congolese attitude and the African mindset: “too much intrigue; lots of intolerance; too little selflessness.” This rigid impediment had the Congolese revolution predisposed for failure. We took the streets, we sang, we marched, we waved banners and posters, lost our voices and emptied our eyes of tears and withstood the cold winter winds, all so radical and all so heroic…but a true revolution is not one that is fueled with volatile emotions rather one that transforms the mind, attitude and course of conduct. This is where we fell short.
Because I’m naturally optimistic, it’s only right for me to say that Congo will see better days and that it will regain not only a say in the allocation of its natural resources but its dignity. However, my pragmatic side knows that it is all bull. Congo will continue to suffer as long as its people are unwilling to self-analyze and change from inside out. We need to drop the slave mentality, Belgium left out lands half a century ago, why are we so freely allowing them to occupy the premises of our minds after we fought for our independence on blood, sweat and tears???!
Congo has tremendous potentials (politically, economically and culturally), but the distrustful attitude, selfishness tendencies, distastefulness for anything African and belief that prosperity is only attainable in the West mentality represented in the silhouette of tradition and conveyed as a social standard needs to STOP.
There is much that needs to be done, an arduous task to say the least, but a necessary one. We can chose to either embrace the possibility of a positive transformation: mental as well as spiritual, that is marked with the end of the 13th Baktun cycle or be swallowed by the black hole that is our ignorance and inability to change. Its 2012 have your pick.
I know that my tone of voice might have been a bit harsh and condescending, but very much needed. I’m not the type to sugar coat anything for the sake of pleasing and gaining the good favors of my peers. Criticism is the one thing that we can never have enough of, especially when it’s a constructive one.