By Kaela MulengaI have never challenged any of Field Ruwe’s views before – but we would be doing him a disfavor if we don’t point out flaws in his recent thesis on IQs. Who cares about IQs anyway when most of those leading the world today have no inkling of what the phrase (IQ) means anyway?
Nobody can dispute the fact that Zambia under utilizes its human capital or the things he describes regarding the conditions common Zambians are experiencing nor the lack of substantial economic development. But what is missing in his analysis is the contextual historical background of the dismay conditions he so well describes. This is inexcusable coming from someone who is supposed to know the importance of economic history and development.
For instance, while heaping a lot of blame on the “unread and drunk” Zambians – Ruwe completely ignores that, the preoccupation of Caucasian race and in particular the British colonialists was to do everything in their powers to undermine and keep backward the advancement of black Zambians. If Ruwe was a careful observer, he would realize that President Barack Obama in USA is being lynched under precisely the same process. The inferiority complex. Psychological downtroddeness, lack of assertiveness and despair on the part of Black people (in this case black Zambians), fall under this big scheme of racial wars. These are the roots which Ruwe failed to trace.
Through brain washing propaganda and other forms of discouragement, the White race will always want to claim that they are the cleverest. Psychological and/or environmental influences have nothing to do with ones intelligence, but are conditioning factors. In other words, shift the whole Cambridge Massachusetts and make them swap positions with those in Kanyama – living all conditions unchanged, suddenly the Kanyama people will be cleverer than Americans. Thus, Zambian’s 70 IQ does not mean anything. They are not stupid as the measure misguides. Richard Lynn and others just happen to be agents of a dominant White race. Sadly Ruwe appears to have been inscripted into this group.
Therefore to use the lack of defensive mechanism against the onslaught of this White attack as the causer of the Zambian mess and underdevelopment Ruwe describes is not entirely correct. In other words it is not simply because one can’t read – hence, they would perpetually remain in Stone Age conditions. Apparently Ruwe seems to believe so.
In fact in terms of fundamental advancement from real primitive, backwardness and raising of awareness – the “uneducated & unread” UNIP stone throwers performed better in transforming Zambians’ mindset than the current crop of the so-called “well-read” PhDs and Masters Degree holders running things in Zambia today. Were it to be so, then people in Chaisa compound would simply ‘read’ themselves out of poverty. Agreed – reading is educative, but it is not the panacea or ‘abragada bragada’ to save everyone from hunger and disease.
Demonstrated differently – Nigeria has probably got more PhDs than most of EU countries, but look at the malaise in that country. In short, you can be well read and still be dumb in making rational decisions. Bemba chitemene system was a more conservatory and better for survival than the malasha (charcoal)method which is causing deforestation. Therefore in essence, Ruwe’s conclusions are awfully simplistic – call it an elitist way of looking at things. It is like you can’t go to a loo (lavatory) unless there is a pile of magazines to read. Or is the importation of SUVs to ride from Chibolya and Kanyama or for that matter from Chelston to central Cairo Road real development? No! Chinese and Danish would cycle.
This brings me to another crucial issue which was missing in the piece – being moral and proper definition of development. Apparently my brother Ruwe fully embraces and accepts the Western model of development. He ignores its immorality precincts and its incompatibility with the “natural laws” model built on nature and simplistic ways of living. Is the world where there is harmony with nature and ecological balance not important? Evidence that climatic change is human-made backs this contention.
In other words, those who live and can get by with only simplest of amenities of life, are less wasteful than those who live in 15 rooms Castles for only two people – and driving one SUV per person. The later group is of course inefficient user of natural resources and is more likely to cause environmental degradation. Who is cleverer – those who conserve or the excessive exploiters of mother Earth? The fact that these points were missing in the article, suggests that the writer was rushing to criticize than to provide solutions.
If we continue polluting planet Earth at the current level – which the Western model compels, it means that we are accelerating towards human race extinction. I am not pessimist, but the thinking that if we pollute our planet we can hop to another one simply because the universe is vast, is faulty and definitely a wishful thinking. Wastage, no matter where we go by definition, is illogical, unsustainable and irrational. After all interstellar vehicles’ survivability critically depends on conservation, reuse/recycle and believing in the principle of scarcity. So why don’t we practice it now?
It turns out therefore, that after all, simplicity is not a bad attribute. The villager from Mugubudu compared to a Whiteman living in upscale New York City – in terms of happiness, is happier. Also, while the villager is trying to live communally and in balance with nature – the New Yorker is living selfishly and isolated from others. The New Yorker model is for sure wasteful and since nobody cares about solidarity – chances are that this system is also immoral and probably ‘evil’ too as Moslems claim.
Hence, before we rush in condemning what is happening in Zambia, we had better considered all the causes and effects of those anomalies. The problem is much more complex than meets the eye. While we appreciate the invitation of pointing out the “backwardness”, I would rather entertain someone who is telling me ways to eliminate poverty than those who are describing it or ‘the how’ Zambia is. But all in all, people appreciate Ruwe’s frankness and boldness. Hopefully the way I have flipped the coin will be illuminating and not taken in bad breath. Cheers!
Toronto, January 23, 2013
Kaela B Mulenga