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An international conversation – Part 4


KWAME: The week began very well for us. Helmut: Really? How?
Kwame: The footage of that young African, not just a Malian, an African climbing the
balconies of a four-storey building to rescue a dangling white baby made my day! Doesn’t
fit into the European narrative of black nuisance in Europe.
: Well, you don’t have to capture things that way…
Vladimir: Raw talent; real brawn and bones! Fit for a KGB job!
Kwame: Spiderman, an African Spiderman to the rescue while the white father or
guardian stood by looking helpless! Mamoudou Gassama is a hero.
Tom: Well, you are up in arms today!

Vladimir: It’s good to carry arms sometimes; that’s how we liberated our country from a
feudal monarchy.
Tom: And created a chaotic and oppressive communist system that couldn’t stand the test
of time!
Vladimir: Let’s not go into what your country did to undermine my country, using the
stooge of glasnost!
Tom: We liberated millions of people from the scourge of oppression and hunger!
Pierre: By pouring American grains into the sea instead of selling or exporting to USSR!
Tom: That’s a mythical narrative! Fake news!

Vladimir: It’s payback time! Just a few hackers swung the last election the way we
wanted it and your country is tottering, probe and probe like a third World country! Your
President is confused flip flopping like a bird with broken wings!
Pierre: Can we please stay focused. We were not discussing superpower rivalry!
Kwame: The White man came to save us Blacks from barbarity and our pagan customs!
Pierre: We are not that racist in France; we are not racist! We’ve accommodated other
races the way no other country has.
Kwame: Yes, through assimilation! Destroying local cultures to superimpose yours!
: Your sarcasm today is bristling! Did your new wife insult you this morning?


Kwame: My new wife will never insult me; I will show her the door! I just have no time
rigmarole today. A spade is a spade!
Tom: Not always, not always my dear Kwame!
Pierre: The young man is now a French citizen!
Kwame: Yes, he has entered paradise. Long live the French people.
Pierre: I know you are being sarcastic today; yet I will take this as a compliment! Gassama
is indeed a hero.
Kwame: Just to let you know that we have hundreds of such heroes in Africa.
Helmut: Good to know. Do you make use of them? Do you give them opportunities to
express themselves?
: Good question; good good question!
Pierre: A good question demands an answer!
Boris: His country’s President has offered him a job in the Malian Army!
Kwame: Hmmmmm! Let him remain in France joor. If he returns they might just waste
him like a bush fowl!
Helmut: Can’t believe you are saying this!
Kwame: You’d better believe it. He is better off in France as a fireman than in Mali as a

Pierre: We intend to keep our word! His descendants will forever be grateful!
Kwame: And forget everything about their African ancestry!
Pierre: Not really; they can’t totally forget their ancestry. The skin colour is always a
Kwame: Skin colour as a marker. That would be a good title for an anti-racism essay!
Helmut: But it’s true, isn’t it?
Kwame: It doesn’t have to be a marker; in today’s world it is often pejorative.
Vladimir: The world will never ever be colour blind; the world will never ever be blind to
Tom: Exactly; we must recognize the strengths and weaknesses of everyone and build a
strong world where justice reigns.
Boris: Preach that gospel to the White House please and tell him that the Police should
treat African-Americans and Latinos like human beings!
Tom: Tough task that is!
Helmut: Back to the subject please!
Kwame: Thank you Herr Helmut. You asked whether we give our young people
opportunities to express themselves.
Helmut: Yeah!
Kwame: That got me thinking; that young man may have done everything in Mali to
attract government attention without success.
Boris: Hmmmm!

Kwame: There are no jobs; the climate is simply hostile to growth. I’m worried that we are
sitting on a ticking time bomb.

Pierre: There’s unemployment everywhere; however, in Africa that is bubbling with a
vibrant youth population you guys need to do more. Don’t depend on old thinking!
Boris: It’s the failure of leadership that is driving them to Europe.
Kwame: And the wars that you caused in the Middle East!
Helmut: You must excuse me! We have not caused any wars!
Kwame: The 1939 to 1945 misadventure is enough for a century and more!
Helmut: I have no comments! Baaaaaaack to subject!
Vladimir: With an active youth population that you have your economy should not have
problems as long as they are ready to work!
Kwame: Important rider- as long as they are ready to work
Boris: But the leaders have a set a bad standard- get rich quickly from the proceeds of

Helmut: So everybody wants to be rich by all means.
Tom: The truth is that you guys have no infrastructure to support independent lives.
Kwame: What do you mean?
Tom: The average African youth does not have access to the good things of life – road,
power supply, loans from banks, water supply, and health facilities. So even if they struggle
to set up it often ends in frustration.
Kwame: Is that why you all have ganged up to deny visas to Africans travelling to your

Boris: It’s no gang up; we simply want to protect our countries
Kwame: Are academics and students in the category of the unwanted?
Tom: We try as much as possible to be fair, though we cannot always vouch for the visa
Kwame: Exactly the problem! Sometimes it depends on how the visa officer feels. Else how
do you account for a situation in which two people in the same circumstances apply for a
visa and one of them is denied?
Tom: Occasional errors while dealing with thousands of applicants every day. Remember
that our current White House occupant does not love immigrants
Kwame: That’s no news at all.
Pierre: It’s lunch time!

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