3 Jan 2009
An African Emperor? writes Mumia Abu-Jamal
INHERITING AN EMPIRE
[col. writ. 12/20/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal
When Barack Hussein Obama takes the oath of office, he will receive more than the reins to the executive office of the U.S. government; he will inherit the rulership of empire, one that no American consciously voted for.
As if the highest political office in a nation of over 300 million people wasn't enough, capitals all around the world are immediately impacted by what happens in Washington.
In a sense, the U.S. inherited its imperial role after the weakening and decline of the British Empire at the close of the so-called Second World War (1941-194). This was the logical result of the losses of war, as well as the rebellion of British colonies in Africa and Asia, which struggled for national independence.
In many places where Britain withdrew, the U.S. advanced.
Because the war largely avoided American territory, the U.S. was free to use its excess resources to emerge as the strongest and wealthiest survivor of the ashes of war.
Now the U.S. freely interferes with nations across the globe. Through its intelligence services, its domination of the World Bank, and the military, it removes leaders, buys off other leaders, seduces critics abroad, and, using the media as it did on Iraq, wages unjust wars at will.
Part of this is a kind of global management program that claims to benefit America; part is also the abuse of great power to achieve desired ends, often the ends desired by the corporate sector.
This has led leaders to speak of democracy while supporting a train of dictators from one end of the earth to the other.
This is the system that Obama will inherit. Will he endeavor to change it, or will he try to strengthen it?
Time will tell.
Over 2,000 years ago an African took the throne of the Roman Empire. He ruled for some 18 years, and waged wars on behalf of Rome.
His name was Septimius Severus, and he was born in what is today Libya, in North Africa. And while his reign brought wealth, power and status to his family and his home province, he did not change Rome so much as Rome changed him.
His power went to extend empire, not to change it.
His son, Caracalla, ruled the Empire after him and he extended Roman citizenship to the provincial freemen, but he's also remembered for a reign of cruelty.
What Rome taught us all is that for an empire to be born, a republic must die.
When change next comes, what form will it take?
--(c) '08 maj