Before further update on the Russian referenda in Ukraine, we’ll just take a quick look-see at a map of the African continent.
Behold some of their perfectly straight line borders below!
Omputih rulers simply used a ruler
The national boundary separating Egypt and Sudan is a perfectly straight line drawn horizontally across.
Egypt’s border with Libya is a straight line too, vertically.
Libya’s border with Chad is also a straight line. As well Niger’s border with Algeria — another straight line.
Likewise is Algeria’s border with Mali a straight line. Ditto Mali’s border with Mauritania — yet more straight lines.
Then there are the partial straight-line borders of Mauritania and Western Sahara as well as along national boundaries between a few other African countries going southwards on the continental map.
These perfectly straight lines are unnatural!
Why Africa’s borders are a mess
The video above and map below provide some answers for the ‘messy’ (straight) state of African borders.
British magazine The Economist, in its article ‘Why Africa’s borders are a mess’, also takes a stab at providing an explanation for unrealistic borders that are the colonial legacy.
“Colonial administrators drew lines on maps,” explained The Economist on 17 Nov 2016 but adding “The reality on the ground is quite different”.
Source: Map pdf here
Well, The Economist should know some because after all, Great Britain’s colonial enterprise – together with its frenemy France’s – contributed most greatly to our present-day Africa territorial map.
In late 2016, there were nineteen border disputes bubbling across the continent, according to African Union’s head of conflict prevention Fred Gateretse Ngoga — as quoted in The Economist.
Many Africans living in the borderlands disagree with these artificial demarcation lines which were drawn arbitrarily.
And there have been too many intra-African wars in the post-colonial era for us outsiders to keep track of.
For example, Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia through a war of independence. After a referendum in 1993, Eritrea was recognised as a sovereign nation.
Similarly South Sudan seceded from Sudan after a long civil war. Following a referendum in 2011, South Sudan was recognised as a new independent country.
(Ukraine became its own modern country after the breakup of USSR and a referendum in December 1991.)
BELOW: Why shouldn’t eastern Ukraine hold a referenda again today?
Never underestimate role of language
People are a ‘nation’ when they have religion, race, culture and language, history, custom and traditions in common.
After their split, South Sudan became a Christian-majority country while Sudan remained a Muslim-majority country.
In Eritrea, Arabic is one of its official languages. Others are English and Tigrinya. In Ethiopia, neither Arabic nor English are official languages.
There is a deterministic link between bahasa and bangsa. The term ‘nation state’ is expressed in bahasa Melayu as ‘negara bangsa’.
Remember this important language factor when we next discuss Bangsa Malaysia another time.