The Trampled Grass: Tributary States and Self-Reliance in the Indian Ocean Zone of Peace

The Trampled Grass: Tributary States and Self-Reliance in the Indian Ocean Zone of Peace

The Trampled Grass: Tributary States and Self-Reliance in the Indian Ocean Zone of Peace

The Trampled Grass: Tributary States and Self-Reliance in the Indian Ocean Zone of Peace

Synopsis

In his new book Shepherd looks beyond standard cold-war interpretations and conventional North-South development analysis for an explanation not only of the plight of African nations, but of the means to remedy it. His thesis of subordination to continuing superpower dominance offers striking new insights into the debt, famine, war, racism, and human rights violations that plague Third World countries.

Excerpt

This book was conceived of as an attempt to form an adequate explanation of the failures of former colonial peoples, who nevertheless continue full of hope in their search for a better life. Their search has been the greatest human rights enterprise of the twentieth century, yet it is far from completed.

Failures have been obvious when judged in terms of the world conceived of by the original nationalist leaders, from Nkrumah to Nehru and Sukarno and Mao. But if there is an explanation for these failures, then there is a basis for revitalization and for a new projection of freedom.

The title of this book is derived from an African proverb that gives some initial insight into the nature of the conflict. It will be appreciated by those who know Africa firsthand that once the bull elephants have trampled the grass, it can be burned to generate new life. the people then build again.

One caution: "tribute" is used here to characterize a world system of relations between superpowers and new states. It is an allegory for the position of weak states in a world dominated by powerful concentrations of industrial capital and superpower rivalry. War, famine, and exploitation follow the course of the arms race and the struggle for dominance in which the Third World is more often the victim than the victor.

Whether the countries of the Third World can escape their tributary status under the superpowers through self-reliance is a subject of great controversy. This book analyzes self-reliance as it has been presented by a number of African intellectuals and leaders. the issues are hotly debated. Readers will have to decide for themselves who is correct.

My research, travels, and personal experiences cover a lifetime. But the primary research was made possible by two extensive tours of Africa and the Indian Ocean in 1979 and again in 1981 and 1986. the generous and hospitable people . . .

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