Recognize and reject all violence in conservation

Seretse Khama Ian Khama  posted this on 13 April 2022

“This was one of the largest if not the largest tusker in the country. An elephant that tour operators constantly tried to show tourists as an iconic attraction. Now it is dead.

How does it being dead benefit our declining tourism due to poor policies. Our tourism is wildlife based. No wildlife means no tourism, no tourists no jobs, and no revenue stream. Incompetence and poor leadership have almost wiped out the rhino population, and now this!”

This a quote from the immediate former president of Botswana, lamenting the recent killing of a particularly large-tusked elephant by white paying poachers (aka sport hunters) in his homeland. As expected, the comments section was filled with paroxysms of grief, accompanied by the smells and sounds of people breaking wind in consternation. His post above, illustrates that like 99% of African leaders, he is completely incapable of examining or understanding the value of our natural heritage outside the prism of entertainment and edification of white people. My home country, Kenya is a veritable intellectual vacuum in this regard. 99.5% of people in the conservation sector have zero understanding of the value of natural heritage. Out of the 0.5% who do, I am probably the only one who doesn’t work for the 99.5%

We in conservation have become prisoners of this is ridiculous ‘whiteness’. The best description of this malaise that I’ve heard was given by Darius Okolla, a Nairobi-based researcher; “Whiteness describes a paranoid society which cannot co-exist with nature without seeking to acquire it in some way”. The mindless bloodlust of sport hunters is just one of many symptoms of the disease, but there are many others, including the theft of elephant calves from the wild by “conservation” organizations who then hold them captive to entertain other paranoid clients for money. Another is the intellectually vacuous program KWS launched which seeks to get money from paranoia victims who want to “acquire” wildlife by paying to “name” animals after themselves. If we allow ourselves to think clearly, we will realize that the need to kill a bull elephant for his huge tusks comes from exactly the same mental place as the need to name him after yourself (because of his huge tusks). Do we now understand clearly why the biggest tusks in Amboseli belong to an elephant called “Craig”? Now examine all the policy arguments around conservation in Kenya. They are all centered around the needs of different centers of whiteness, namely the tourism industry, the hunting industry, and the “conservation” industry. These are all different facets of whiteness, each with its own methods and avenues of violence. The sport hunting industry is the most primitive facet of whiteness, and in some ways, the most honest, because they kill in broad daylight and until the rubbish they started speaking recently, they have never claimed to be interested in anything or anyone’s need, other than their own bloodlust. The tourism industry is the most intellectually stunted facet, because they wait for other people’s warped or childish dreams about Africa, then work very hard, doing their best to bring this nonsense to reality. The most devious and deliberately violent are the conservationists, most so because they seek to serve the interests of whiteness by expressly vilifying indigenous people, their livestock, and their livelihoods. They are also the most dishonest, because they claim to be altruists, doing all this for some strange faceless concept they call ‘nature’ that is somehow separate from human beings. Their hubris is only matched by their hypocrisy, and its normal to hear them cry over the violent death of an elephant and rejoice over the violent eviction of humans from their homes to make room “for wildlife” with which they have shared their homelands for millennia. That’s also why the people who constantly moan about the local population ‘threatening’ wildlife in Kenya are the same ones who went to ask the minister to allow them to hunt, and he actually formed a taxpayer-funded task force to look into that nonsense. They are the ones who imprison our political leaders and state authorities into parasitic relationships that facilitate their violence. Our authorities thus become their choirboys, singing their praises and mourning when they are challenged, either by natives, or their fellow pirates. This is the intellectual ditch Khama has fallen into. The killing of any African animal for sport is a brutal affront to our values as Africans. However, Khama thinks this is a tragedy because of the value of this animal to another set of “white” pirates who want to acquire it in a different way. If he and other African leaders truly understood conservation, they would know that the size of his tusks are about as important to us as the size of the ticks on his wrinkled backside. Aluta Continua!