When the students of the Mboya Airlift were hand-picked to come to America, it was for a specific purpose: to educate demonstrably gifted Kenyan and Tanzanian students in the Western tradition and to send them home to be the leaders and information venders of their countries—preparation for independence from the European colonial powers. One of these students was my biological father, journalist Philip Ochieng.
That was in the late fifties to early sixties and most of the students did return home. The Airlift was a privately funded endeavor by the likes of the Ford Foundation, the Kennedy Foundation, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Harry Belafonte. I’m sure that there have been other experiments like it.
The recent tempest regarding President Trump’s alleged description of Haiti and African countries as s**tholes got me thinking again about this vehicle for my presence on earth and the concept of it. I believe it was an attempt to create an elite in the two countries – a rulership. If the intent was to lift these countries up close to the economic and social level of the freer Western nations, I’d say that it failed. But I doubt that this was the intent of the two foundations involved — though Mr. Belafonte, Mr. Robinson, and Dr. King, undoubtedly had nothing but the best of intentions.
A nation cannot be transformed through its leaders alone. But it can be manipulated by indoctrinating leaders and planting them.
In 1965, the US Congress passed a new immigration law and LBJ signed it. Suddenly, there was a flood of immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean and other non-European nations. Here came the Third World’s go-getters and risk-takers: the rest of the gifted students. And they’re still coming.
Meanwhile, back home, their friends and relatives remained mostly resigned to the old ways: kleptocracies, tribal wars, criminal cartels, monstrous pollution, deadly disease, etc.
I’ve seen a lot of outrage about the remarks from Haiti immigrants and immigrants from African countries. Some African leaders are calling for President Trump to apologize. Typical floor-showing.
But I’ve seen only one immigrant — a Nigerian — talk about going back home and making a difference there. Good luck, bro.
Most of the immigrants from the Third World thrive here and do not return to their countries of origin because it’s a lot easier and more profitable to stay here, have their children born as Americans, and raise them in relative safety and prosperity. And who can blame them? I certainly don’t.
But let’s stop pretending that they left some idyllic Trump-less places of beauty and peace. They left places that were dirty, stinky, dangerous and which have leaders who are blatantly corrupt.
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.
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