Civilization: Beyond Earth - Letter from Samatar Jama Barre
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One of the last times we spoke, you asked me why I permitted so many powers from outside of Africa to gain access to our resources, when we both knew the great cost of the colonial legacy on our people. I can remember now, that evening in Tripoli, you said: "What difference is there between Cecil Rhodes and an ARC contract?" I asked you to trust me in the trade deals, and you never opposed me in public, but I know that you never agreed with me.
Walaalkaa, I saw no other way forward for our people. We had titanium, but no machinists. We had petroleum, but not enough modern chemical processing plants. We never had enough money, and our people never had the resources for education or training. We didn't have time to build these things up, either.
It was like that time that the Union sent us to put down the Glorious Resistance Force in the Congo. Remember how they sent us out to die with whatever small arms ammo we could carry? We had to trade resources and lease launch facilities, because we had too much of the one thing and the Seeding requires a thousand different things.
I hated it, brother. I hated signing those deals because I knew that you were right, that we were signing over the richness of Africa again, maybe for the last time. I hated how I had to smile and thank those ministers of trade, with their suits made from the wool of village goats of Africa, over cups of our coffee, playing the part of the big chief man, and they smiled and congratulated themselves on pulling another one over on our people. They came to Africa to make a fortune, and they left with a fortune, and I let them do it because I didn't see any other way for our people's future.
You're in Tripoli now, and you have to live with the choices that I made. I know the oil fields off Nigeria are going dry. I know that the neodynium prospecting in Kenya failed to find new formations. I know you tried to hide these from me, and I forgive you for that. I don't know how the Union is going to meet the contract quotas for the PAC this quarter, much less next year, but I know you and Bugansowa are clever and live for a chance to pull off one of your little political stunts. I wish I were there to see whatever you cook up for Wu.
We are going to make this new world. We are not going to repeat what happened to Africa on a new planet. We are going to raise our children to remember what happened here on Earth, telling them every night before they go to bed: Remember Africa - remember that men with guns will try to take your birthright away from you. We will teach them about elephants and lions and Mt. Kilmanjaro and how the Nile floods made Egypt the first great civilization in the world.
They tell me it is likely that other Seeding expeditions will settle our world. When they do, and when their heads of state come and ask me for titanium or oil or land, I will smile and nod and play the part of the nice, simple old village chief. But Africa will be in my heart, Walaalkaa, and history will not be repeated.
I love you, my brother. Know that I leave the Earth with a heavy heart – connected by many years in the struggle together, but so far apart that we haven’t spoken in what feels like years.
Please forgive me.
PS: I hear you have been going to the mosque again. Walaalkaa, you know what I think about imams and priests…but I wish you nothing but peace, whatever you choose.