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“We have come together to assert our role
in the direction of world affairs
and to discharge our duty to the great continent...”
A
R.O.A.R.
Rastafari Organized African Reasoning
From
The RasTafari Reasoning Room
“Thinking Outside The Tanks”
HOW DID AFRICAN UNITY GO FROM THIS...?
TO THIS...?
Ghana President John Atta Mills (black suit), former Prsident Jerry Rawlings (in yellow) and Kwame Nkrumah's
children Prof Francis Nkrumah and Madam Samia among others pose with the independence leader's newlyunveiled statue in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Photo: Presidency.gov.gh)
ANOTHER PARTITIONING OF AFRICA?
Unveiling a 21st Century Version of Monrovia-vs-Casablanca-ism?
On The 50th Anniversary of the Organization of African Unity (OAU);
A Call To Africa, African People, and African Leaders,
From The African Diaspora
Part 1
Half-a-century ago, the leaders of thirty-two nations of Africa, inspired by the leadership
and mediation of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia –the King of Kings previously
known to the world as Ras Tafari Makonnen–- in solidarity with such Pan-Africanists as
Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, President of Ghana, and President Sekou Toure of Guinea,
representing the leadership of the so-called Casablanca Group; and Liberia's President,
William Tubman, Cote d'Ivoire's President Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Senegal's Leopold
Senghor, along with President Nnamdi Azikiwe and Prime Minister Tefewa Balawa of
Nigeria, representing the leadership of the so-called Monrovia Group, and guided through
the instrumentality of the Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Ketema Yifru, came together in
Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, and created the Organization of African Unity (OAU).
At that historic 1963 summit conference, the leaders of Africa acknowledged the clear and
immeasurable contribution of Ethiopia’s Emperor, Haile Selassie I, to its success. In fact,
the then-Heads of States of Africa, and their Foreign Ministers, unanimously honored HIM
as the “Father of African Unity.” They did so in recognition of his role as Africa’s Elder
Statesman in the vital reconciliation of the competing Monrovia and Casablanca groupings
of African nations, as well as for sponsoring and hosting the historic meeting, in addition
to serving as the organization's first Chairman.
Despite this, a year ago, in 2012, the African Union (AU) – the organization that was
developed on the foundation laid by the Organization of African Unity – found itself in the
troubling position of 'compromised credibility' over its handling of matters of great
significance to the assembling of the components of 'African Unity.'
In a particularly notable instance, the AU's credibility has been compromised by their
decision to not publicly acknowledge the truly historic role of Ethiopia's Haile Selassie I,
the OAU's First Chairman (see Appendix 1) –as well as honoring other leaders such as
Tanzania's President Julius Nyerere and the other designers of Africa's unification– in a
manner similar to the well-deserved recognition of Ghana's First President, Kwame
Nkrumah.
The erection of a solitary statue, of Kwame Nkrumah, in front of the new AU headquarters in
Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, while refusing –some say for political reasons– to similarly
recognize a leader who who played probably the most crucial role in the 1963 Summit, the
Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I, exposes the African Union to accusations that it is trying to
distort history; and doing so for insidious political expediency; as well as displaying open
disrespect towards Ethiopians, and African people, by avoiding the historical truth.
We can understand the present government of Ethiopia not wanting to highlight an Ethiopian
leader, Emperor Haile Selassie I, whose demonization has been a path to power in modern-day
Ethiopia. We can also understand some of the political considerations that may have guided the
government's erecting of a singular statue. All this without, it seems, the Ethiopian government,
and the AU itself, able –or willing– to complement the Chinese and Ghanaian gifts to Africa.
One should have no problem with historic statuary – for example, that of Ghana's First President
Kwame Nkrumah, as a start – gracing the entrance to what is a truly magnificent building. Both
the statue and the building are monuments to African Aspirations. They are monumental symbols
that are also, at the same time, gifts truly indicative of Africa's present geopolitical reality. Time
and history will tell whether the gifts are political Trojan Horses or not.
However, another important aspect of that geopolitical reality is the fact that, regardless of which
individual nation/state the headquarters of the African Union is located, the AU building is
sovereign territory – or should be – and therefore shouldn't be subject to nationalistic political
wranglings or arm-twisting. We understand that the African Union is supposed to represent all
Africans, at home and abroad, if it is to have any credibility.
Regardless of what petty, or 'important' and self-serving, nationalistic politics serves the ends of
short-term expediency, we all owe it to the posterity of the entire human race –and especially to
Ethiopia's posterity– to reflect a more complete and balanced view of a truly historic era, and
personages, in the story of Ethiopia, Africa, and the planet. Appropriate historical statuary would
be one easy way to symbolize the start of the necessary truth-telling about Africa's history.
Here it is noteworthy to recall that, before his coronation as Haile Selassie I, King of Kings
–arguably a most historic event for HIM personally, for Ethiopia, and for the world– Regent
Negus Tafari Makonnen commanded that a statue of the Great Ethiopian Patriot, Emperor
Menelik II, be built and erected, which he unveiled and inaugurated on the eve of his own 1930
coronation. No doubt, because, as Jamaicans and RasTafarians are known to say: Respect Due.
We, conscious Africans, love and admire and owe a great debt to President Kwame Nkrumah as
well as to all our glorious ancestors for their roles –via their establishing of the Organization of
African Unity– in bringing us, Africans, to where we are today, whether we agree(d) with their
politics or not. As such, we are in total agreement and are totally supportive and appreciative of a
statue in honor of the great President Nkrumah gracing the AU's headquarters. Moreover, we
think that all African Herues (heroes) and Heruwins (heroines) deserve similar honors.
But because we, conscious Africans, especially those of us born in the Diaspora, and in
particular those of us who choose to be called by the name RasTafari, especially love and
are inspired by RasTafari/Haile Selassie I, we must insist that he be accorded no less a
tribute to his exemplary contribution to the very existence of the OAU/AU in the first place.
We insist on honoring Qadamawi Haile Selassie because he loved us, the scattered children
of Mother Africa; enough to establish the historic, political, moral, and legal precedents for
our Redemption and Repatriation; by first inviting us home to Africa (in 1922, via
telegram to Marcus Garvey's UNIA Convention), then granted land (via the Ethiopian
World Federation, Inc) for us to return and live and build a future on. Then he also
welcomed us home, personally, and on behalf of the wonderful Ethiopian People – and
indeed, on behalf of all righteous Africans, and moreover, all people of goodwill.
Therefore today, on the eve of the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the OAU, the
RasTafari People of Jamaica – the island birthplace of Marcus Garvey (PanAfricanism’s most passionate and effective advocate); the Island Cradle of the
RasTafari Culture; and birthplace of Bob Marley, chief exponent of the global
inspirational phenomenon known as Reggae Music (and himself a world-famous
Rastafari apostle), in association with, and on behalf of the global RasTafari
community, Garveyites, Pan-Africanists, and Scholars – are calling on the present
African Union, leaders of Africa and Africans, for responsiveness and accountability
in these matters, in the interest of their own credibility, and for Africa's eternal good.
THE CALL
This call, therefore, is for the present leaders of Africa's peoples to address and clarify their true
feelings and intentions toward Diaspora Africans, in light of the Unending Call by RasTafari
people, Garveyites, Pan-Africanists, Scholars, and by other Africans born in the disapora, for the
following:
(1).Governmental and Personal Actions (not mere words) by African leaders, and the
African Union, to Confirm their Recognition of the singular enormity, and the ongoing impact, of the criminal kidnapping and enslavement of Africans by the
various invaders of their homelands, and the urgent need for redress.
(2).AU Confirmation of All Africans' Right To Return (aka Repatriation) to Africa.
(3).AU Acknowledgment, Acceptance, and Application of the Precedent set by
Ethiopia's Emperor, Haile Selassie I, as the exemplary redemptive African leader;
to officially invite home Africans from the Diaspora; providing land for their
resettlement, and officially welcoming them home, as Africa's Children.
(4).AU Support in advocating the Payment of Reparations for African Enslavement.
(5).The erection of statuary at the AU headquarters in honor of the leaders who created
the OAU; including and in particular, statuary of Haile Selassie I, Ethiopian
Emperor, First Chairman and Host of the May 1963 Addis Ababa Summit, along
with Ato Ketema Yifru, Ethiopia's Foreign Minister, 1961-1971.
While we support and endorse, in principle (with special reference to, but by no means limited
to, the sections highlighted) the Declaration resulting from the African Union's First
Diaspora Summit, held in South Africa, in May, 2012 (see Appendix) 3), nonetheless, there
needs to be a clearly demonstrated reciprocal quid pro quo that clarifies the praxis, as well as the
philosophy, that is to govern the relationship between Africans at home and Africans abroad.
Africans born in the diaspora should be able to be convinced of why they should not simply
continue to give the overwhelming majority of their interest, love, concern, nationalistic feelings,
talents, and (especially) their moneys, to the various other nations to which they have been
committed over the centuries, and instead recommit their lives and treasure towards the
assistance, development, and progress of the African continent and its peoples, at home.
The Addressing and Resolving of these shared concerns will go a long way towards establishing
Mutual Respect, Healing, Reconciliation, and Progress for the global African Family.
Thankhs.
RDRR
Rastafari Iniversal Convention
This effort, in Honor of H.I.M. Qadamawi Haile Selassie, is spearheaded by the RasTafari of Jamaica.
It is complementary to, and supportive of, the letter “To All Our Brothers and Sisters Born OnThe Continent”
penned by Sister Marina Blake. (see appendix)
and in support of the petition to honor Haile Selassie I
@ http://www.change.org/petitions/a-statue-for-emporer-haile-selassie
********************
“In the 50 years of Jamaica's independence,
the advocacy of Rastafari has engendered awareness among Jamaicans
of the global African struggle.
Today, their advocacy has become the strongest expression
of our national consciousness."
Dr Jonathan Greenland,
Director of the Museums of History and Ethnography Division, Institute of Jamaica.
********************
Let Us Remember and Replicate the Better Times,
and Honor Those Who Went Before Us,
To Make Our Future Better.
'This is what Sekou Toure* told us** about the establishment of the OAU:
“When the Casablanca and Monrovia groups increasingly became separated,
“I thought that only Emperor Haile Selassie could bring them together.
I flew to meet him in Asmara;
I did not even wait until he returned to his capital city Addis Ababa.
The Emperor was gracious and agreed to send invitations for African Heads of
States to meet in Addis Ababa.
I, for one, promised him that I would convince the Casablanca group
(we were few) to attend.
Throughout the conference in Addis Ababa I was beside him working for unity
(until) final victory was achieved.
My love and respect for the Emperor is everlasting.”'
(*President Sekou Toure of Guinea)
** From a Statement by Dr. Msmaku Asrat,
Deputy Head of Delegation to the 4th African High Command meeting in Conakry, Guinea.
Ethiopia was Chairman of the High Command:
http://www.ethiopia.org/index.php/news/704-atse-haile
******************************
“Your Imperial Majesty, Mr. President, Your Excellencies,
First, I want to express the thanks of my country to your Imperial Majesty,
the Imperial Majesty’s Government and the People of Ethiopia
for the warm reception which they have given to my delegation and myself.
The presence of almost all the Heads of African States and Governments in Addis Ababa
is a great tribute to your Imperial Majesty personally.
The history of the new Africa will always have your name in the forefront,
because the unity which we are trying to build in this conference
is going to have quite a lot to do with the name of the capital city of Ethiopia,
Addis Ababa.”
Excerpt from a speech by Al-Haji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa,
Prime Minister of Nigeria, 1957-1966,
on the occasion of the creation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU)
at Addis Abba, Ethiopia, on May 24, 1963.
http://www.blackpast.org/?q=1963-sir-abubakar-tafawa-balewa-addis-ababa
********************
African Union Summit in Tripoli, Libya, under the Chairmanship of Col. Muammar Qadaffi
In Tribute To Emperor Haile Selassie I and President Kwame Nkrumah
….Recognizing that Their Call for
AFRICAN UNION GOVERNMENT...
“When semantics are stripped away, there is little argument among us.
We are determined to create a union of Africans.”
(H.I.M. Haile Selassie I, April 1960)
...in other words, for an AFRICAN UNION...
“I am more than ever convinced that Africa should unite into one state
with a Union Government.
This is the view which I stated in Addis Ababa in 1963 and in Cairo last year,
and I still hold to this position.”
(President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana)
“The OAU, faces the choice of going forward to progress
through an effective African Union,
or step backward into stagnation, instability, and confusion –
an easy prey for foreign intervention, interference and subversion”
(President Kwame Nkrumah,
Speech at the Opening Session, OAU Summit, Accra, Ghana, October, 1965)
...was made long before the naming of
THE EUROPEAN UNION...
“The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)
and the European Economic Community (EEC), formed by the Inner Six countries
in 1951 and 1958 respectively.
In the intervening years the community and its successors have grown in size by the accession
of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit.
The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union
under its current name in 1993.”
(Wikipedia)
“How Good and How Pleasant It Would Be, Before God and Man,
To See The Unification of All Africans...”
- Robert “Bob” Nesta Marley
“...Let's Get Together and Feel Alright ...”
--- Robert 'Bob” Nesta Marley ---
APPENDIX 1
OAU Chairman, H.I.M. Haile Selassie I, Speech to OAU Summit, May 1963
"We welcome to Ethiopia, in Our name and in the name of the Ethiopian Government and
people, the Heads of State and Government of independent African nations who are today
assembled in solemn conclave in Ethiopia's capital city.
This conference, without parallel in history, is an impressive testimonial to the devotion
and dedication of which we all partake in the cause of our mother continent and that of her
sons and daughters. This is indeed a momentous and historic day for Africa and for all
Africans.
We stand today on the stage of world affairs, before the audience of world
opinion. We have come together to assert our role in the direction of world
affairs and to discharge our duty to the great continent whose two
hundred fifty million people we lead. Africa is today at mid- course, in
transition from the Africa of yesterday to the Africa of tomorrow. Even as
we stand here we move from the past into the future. The task on which
we have embarked, the making of Africa, will not wait. We must act, to
shape and mould the future and leave our imprint on events as they pass
into history.
We seek, at this meeting, to determine whither we are going and to chart
the course of our destiny. It is no less important that we know whence we
came. An awareness of our past is essential to the establishment of our
personality and our identity as Africans. This world was not created
piecemeal. Africa was born no later and no earlier than any other
geographical area on this globe. Africans, no more and no less than other
men, possess all human attributes, talents and deficiencies, virtues and
faults. Thousands of years ago, civilizations flourished in Africa which
suffer not at all by comparison with those of other continents. In those
centuries, Africans were politically free and economically independent.
Their social patterns were their own and their cultures truly indigenous.
The obscurity which enshrouds the centuries which elapsed between those
earliest days and the rediscovery of Africa are being gradually dispersed.
What is certain is that during those long years Africans were born, lived
and died. Men on other parts of this Earth occupied themselves with their
own concerns and, in their conceit, proclaimed that the world began and
ended at their horizons. All unknown to them, Africa developed in its own
pattern, growing in its own life and, in the nineteenth century, finally reemerged into the world's consciousness.
The events of the past hundred and fifty years require no extended
recitation from Us. The period of colonialism into which we were plunged
culminated with our continent fettered and bound, with our once proud
and free peoples reduced to humiliation and slavery; with Africa's terrain
cross-batched and checkerboarded by artificial and arbitrary boundaries.
Many of us, during those bitter years, were overwhelmed in battle, and
those who escaped conquest did so at the cost of desperate resistance and
bloodshed. Others were sold into bondage as the price extracted by the
colonialists for the "protection" which they extended and the possession of
which they disposed. Africa was a physical resource to be exploited and
Africans were chattels to be purchased bodily or, at best, peoples to be
reduced to vassalage and lackeyhood. Africa was the market for the
produce of other nations and the source of the raw materials with which
their factories were fed.
Today, Africa has emerged from this dark passage. Our armageddon is
past. Africa has been reborn as a free continent and Africans have been
reborn as free men. The blood that was shed and the sufferings that were
endured are today Africa's advocates for freedom and unity. Those men
who refused to accept the judgement passed upon them by the colonies,
who held unswervingly through the darkest hours to a vision of an Africa
emancipated from political, economic and spiritual domination, will be
remembered and revered wherever Africans meet. Many of them never set
foot on this continent. Others were born and died here. What we may utter
today can add little to the heroic struggle of those who, by their example,
have shown us how precious are freedom and human dignity and of how
little value is life without them. Their deeds are written in history."
H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I.
PHOTO: http://fettss.arc.nasa.gov
“Africa is today at mid- course, in transition
from the Africa of yesterday
to the Africa of tomorrow...”
APPENDIX 2
From OAU to AU;
From Founding Fathers to Mothers Managing in 50 Years.
We Have Come A Long Way. We Still Have A Long Way To Go.
– 1963 –
“But when semantics are stripped away, there is little argument among us.
We are determined to create a union of Africans.
In a very real sense, our continent is unmade; it still awaits creation and its creators.”
H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I, April 18, 1960
“The Queen of the South will rise up in the judgement with the men of this generation...
for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. “(Matthew 12: 42)
– 2012 –
African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson H.E. Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
AUC Chairperson H.E. Dr. Dlamini Zuma
meets with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,
24 February, 2013
AUC Chairperson at the Donors' Conference on Mali,
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 29 January 2013
H.E. Dr Dlamini Zuma welcomed by the Chinese State
Councillor H.E. Mr Dai Bingguo at a dinner organised
by His Excellency in Beijing, 16 February 2013
Closing Ceremony of the 20th Ordinary Session
of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government
of the African Union, 28 January 2013
Closing Ceremony of the 20th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of
the African Union, 28 January 2013
(All photos of H.E. Dr. Dlamini Zuma, Guests, and others are from the African Union website)
AUC Chairperson H. E. Dr Dlamini Zuma and the African Union High Level Delegation visiting Beijing
for the 5th China-AU Strategic Dialogue, 17 February 2013
AUC Chairperson, Dr. N. D. Zuma, makes Her Contribution to the Heads Of State Address,
Nations General Assembly
“From OAU to AU; From Founding Fathers to Mothers Managing”
Congratulations, Madame Chairperson.
APPENDIX 3
DECLARATION OF THE GLOBAL AFRICAN DIASPORA SUMMIT
SANDTON, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
25 MAY 2012
WE, the Heads of State and Government of the African Union, the Caribbean and South
America
RECOGNIZING the important presence of Heads of State and Government from the Caribbean
Community, South and Latin America and representatives of the African Diaspora;
EXPRESSING our appreciation to His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma, the Government and
People of the Republic of South Africa and the African Union for the warm reception and for
hosting and conducting this Summit;
TAKING COGNIZANCE of the dialogue carried out between Africans on the Continent and
representatives of the African Diaspora in various regions of the world, including North America,
South and Latin America, Europe and elsewhere;
RECALLING the Constitutive Act of the African Union that is guided by a common vision of a
united and strong Africa based on a partnership between governments and all segments of
society in order to strengthen cohesion and solidarity among its peoples;
RECALLING the struggle of the Founding Fathers and combatants for Pan-Africanism in
Africa as well as in the Diaspora;
ALSO RECALLING the Protocol on Amendments to the Constitutive Act of the African Union
adopted by the First Extra-Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and
Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2003, and in particular Article 3(q) which
invites the African Diaspora to participate as an important component in the building of the
African Union;
FURTHER RECALLING relevant African Union Decisions including Decision EX.CL/Dec. 5 (III)
on the Development of the Diaspora Initiative adopted by the Third Ordinary Session of the
Executive Council in Maputo, Mozambique, in July 2003, Decision EX.CL/Dec. 221 (VII) on the
Africa-Diaspora Process adopted by the Eighth Ordinary Session of the Executive Council in
January 2006 and Decision EX.CL/Dec. 406 (XII) on the First African Union Diaspora Ministerial
Conference adopted by the Twelfth Ordinary Session of the Executive Council in Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia, in January 2008, on the modalities for Diaspora participation in the organs and
activities of the Union and Decision Ass/AU/Dec.205(XI) adopted by the Eleventh Ordinary
Session of the Assembly of the Union in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, in July 2008 on the Africa
Diaspora Summit, Decision, Ass/AU/Dec 354 (XVI) of theSixteen Ordinary Session of the
Assembly of the Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2011 on the Roadmap for the
Diaspora Summit, including the convening of a Technical Experts meeting in Pretoria, South
Africa in February 2011 and Decision Ass/AU/Dec 367 (XVII) of the Seventeenth Ordinary
Session of Assembly of the Union on the convening of a second Ministerial Conference on the
margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2011 as well as
Decision Assembly/AU/Dec. 393(XVIII) endorsing the outcome and conclusions of the Second
Ministerial Conference held in New York in September 2011.
RECALLING the commemoration in 2007 of the bicentennial of the trafficking in Africans, an
obligation to remember the legacy of history, particularly the era of slavery and colonialism and
the enforced separation of African people as a result of that experience, as well as the
Declaration of the United Nations of 2011 as the year of the of people of African descent.
ENDORSING the initiative led by Member States of the African Union, the Caribbean
community and other States in the International community for the establishment of a
permanent memorial at the United Nations to honour the victims of slavery and the transatlantic
slave trade in fulfilment of paragraph 101 of the 2001 Durban Declaration;
EXPRESSING appreciation for contributions made to the voluntary Trust Fund established in
this regard;
TAKING INTO account the need to put African history in its proper perspective and harness this
towards rebuilding the global African family.
RECOGNIZING the need to build sustainable partnerships between the African continent and
the African Diaspora through sustainable dialogue and effective collaboration with governments
and peoples of different regions of the World in which the Diaspora populations are located;
COGNIZANT of the fact that culture and identity inform all facets of development;
ACKNOWLEDGING the need to celebrate and preserve the shared heritage between Africa
and peoples of African descent in the Diaspora;
BEARING IN MIND that the African Diaspora represents a historical and evolving experience
which calls for an approach that is sensitive to the specificities of the different regions;
AFFIRMING the need to promote South-South Cooperation as a framework for enhancing
mutual development as well as Pan-African Solidarity;
REAFFIRMING the importance of women and youth as important pillars of our society that
should be mainstreamed in all Diaspora discourses and actions;
LAUDING the efforts undertaken thus far to support Africa and African Diaspora process
including organizational efforts, measures and strategies pursued by the African Union;
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the First and Second Conferences of Intellectuals of Africa and the
Diaspora (CIAD I&II) held in Dakar, Senegal and Salvador de Bahia, Brazil in 2004 and 2006
respectively, the outcomes of the First AU-South Africa. Caribbean Conference held in Kingston,
Jamaica in 2005 and the various Regional Consultative Conferences held in different regions of
the world in 2007 to consolidate the results;
NOTING with appreciation the work of the Ministerial meeting which took place in Midrand,
South Africa from 16-18 November 2007 and the Technical Experts meeting held in Pretoria in
February 2011 and the second Ministerial Conference held in New York, USA on 24 September
2011as well as the Third Ministerial Conference held in Pretoria, South Africa on 23 May 2012;
CONVINCED of the need to build on these efforts and outcomes as the basis for establishing a
solid foundation for the rejuvenation of the global African family as an instrument of wider
renaissance; these efforts and outcomes as the basis for establishing a solid foundation for the
rejuvenation of the global African family as an instrument of wider renaissance;
REALIZING the imperative of a sustained and coordinated approach and ownership of the
African Diaspora related programmes and projects so as to promote their effective
implementation and impact;
COMMIT to cooperate in the political, economic and social areas outlined in this Programme of
Action, and implementation and follow-up modalities.
PROGRAMME OF ACTION
I. POLITICAL COOPERATION
In the area of political cooperation, we commit to the following:
A. Intergovernmental Cooperation
a) Enhance South-South Cooperation through closer collaboration between the African Union
(AU) and all inter-governmental entities in regions in which African Diaspora populations are
part of;
b) Leverage the collective efforts of the African Union and all inter-governmental entities in
regions in which African Diaspora populations are part of to promote and advance issues of
critical importance to Africa and its Diaspora;
c) Encourage AU Member States to establish more formal relations with the Caribbean and
Latin American nations and vice versa; and where practicable, the opening of more Missions in
the respective regions;
d) Continue to support the role of the AU as the focal point and the coordination hub of all
Diaspora initiatives in the Continent. To this end, Diaspora issues should be a standing item on
the programmes and agenda of AU Summits, and the AU’s Directorate tasked with Diaspora
matters should be strengthened and capacitated in financial and human resource terms;
e) Take necessary measures to promote and create effective synergies between national and
continental Diaspora programmes;
f) Create platforms for closer interaction, solidarity and effective collaboration between and
amongst governments and civil society of Africa and its Diaspora including continuation of
Regional Consultative Conferences and creation and consolidation of Regional Networks as
partners and interlocutors for the implementation of the outcome of the Global Diaspora
Summit;
g) Encourage and intensify the participation of the African Diaspora in conflict prevention,
management and resolution as well as post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation and
disaster mitigation in Africa and the Diaspora regions;
h) Strengthen the participation of the Diaspora population in the affairs of the African Union so
as to enhance its contributions towards the development and integration agenda of the
continent;
i) Encourage and support the development of an African Union Diaspora Volunteer programme
as a framework for associating the Diaspora directly with the development of the continent
j) Encourage African Union Member States to urgently ratify the Protocol on the Amendments to
the Constitutive Act, which, inter alia, invites the African Diaspora, an important part of our
continent, to participate in the building of the African Union;
k) Encourage the Diaspora to organize themselves in regional networks and establish
appropriate mechanisms that will enable their increasing participation in the affairs of the African
Union as observers and eventually, in the future, as a sixth region of the continent that would
contribute substantially to the implementation of policies and programmes.
l) Continue to integrate the African Diaspora agenda in its engagement with international
partners
m) Encourage AU and CARICOM to create a conducive environment for the African Diaspora to
invest, work, and travel on the African continent and the Caribbean;
n) Support efforts by the AU to accelerate the process of issuing the African Union passport, in
order to facilitate the development of a transnational and transcontinental identity;
o) Explore the possibility of establishing a Pan-African Secretariat in Dakar, Senegal for the
Conference of Intellectuals of Africa and the Diaspora (CIAD) as recommended by CIAD I;
p) Encourage and support the adoption and implementation, in different Diaspora countries, of
policies that will facilitate the elimination of racism and the promotion of equality among races.
B. Mobilization of Support
q) Encourage the civil society in the Diaspora and in Africa to support, advocate and mobilize
resources for the development of Africa and its Diaspora;
r) Express mutual support and solidarity between Africans on the Continent and in the Diaspora
in circumstances of violation of human and peoples’ rights;
s) Encourage the full implementation of United Nations General Assembly resolutions on the
Permanent Memorial to and remembrance of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave
trade, express appreciation for contributions made to the Trust Fund in this regard and urge
other countries to contribute to the Fund;
t) Campaign for the ratification and full implementation of all relevant instruments that enhance
the protection of women, youth, children and other vulnerable groups, in particular, the United
Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, the United Nations
Convention against all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the United Nations Convention
on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, and the
UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions;
u) Encourage the ratification and full implementation of the United Nations Convention on
Transnational Organized Crime as a means of stemming trans-border criminality;
v) Encourage Africans in the Diaspora to campaign against the proliferation of small arms and
light weapons in Africa especially in countries where they are domiciled and in those that are
arms producers;
w) Encourage the contribution of the Diaspora in the strengthening of International partnerships
of the African Union;
x) Affirm the Principles of International Law and the Charter of the United Nations that preclude
unilateral measures that would create obstacles to trade relations among States, impede the full
realization of social and economic development and hinder the well-being of the population in
the affected countries;
II. ECONOMIC COOPERATION
In the area of economic cooperation, we commit to the following:
A. Government Action to Foster Increased Economic Partnership
a) Develop effective regional integration mechanisms that would enhance closer interaction
between the African Union and the Diaspora;
b) Take concrete measures that would promote and sustain linkages between AU and the
Diaspora in the following priority areas: trade and investment, science and technology, travel
and tourism, communication and transportation infrastructure, energy, information and
communication technology and cultural industries;
c) Create an environment conducive for the growth and development of Small, Medium and
Micro-Enterprise and promote entrepreneurship in Africa and the Diaspora;
B. Mobilization of Capital
d) Use financial instruments focusing on investments to facilitate the mobilization of capital that
would strengthen links between Africa and the Diaspora;
e) Explore the possibility of creating a Development Fund and/or African Diaspora Investment
Fund to address development challenges confronting Africans in the continent and the
Diaspora.
C. Partnership in Business
f) Enhance partnership between the African and Diaspora private sectors through efforts such
as regular meetings of Chambers of Commerce and listing in African Stock Exchanges and
vice-versa;
g) Build on Africa’s and the Diaspora’s comparative advantages in culture to translate them into
economic gains through collaborative programmes that would facilitate the strategic
development and marketing of their cultural goods and services.
D. Science and Technology
h) Promote coordination and development of institutions in Africa and the African Diaspora,
dedicated to innovation and invention for social and economic development of Africa and the
Diaspora;
i) Examine the merit of using the decisions of the Tunis phase of the World Summit on
Information Society, particularly the Tunis Commitment and the Tunis Declaration, as well as
the Digital Solidarity Fund as a means of creating e-linkages between Africa and the Diaspora.
E. Knowledge Transfer and Skills Mobilization
j) Promote the utilization of African and Diaspora expertise on economic development issues at
regional and continental levels, and explore the possibility of creating a Diaspora Advisory
Board(s);
k) Encourage the use of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for Migration for Development in Africa programme
to work in concert with the AU Commission to mobilize the skills and resources of the Diaspora
to enhance the institutional capacities of national and regional institutions;
l) Promote trade and investment opportunities linked to indigenous knowledge systems, while
ensuring that the related intellectual property rights are secured for the benefit of Africa and the
Diaspora;
m) Promote the establishment of a comprehensive and all-inclusive database that will match the
expertise of African professionals in Africa and its Diaspora to African developmental needs;
n) Adopt and promote the ‘Development Market Place for the African Diaspora Model’ (DMADA)
as a framework for innovation and entrepreneurship that would facilitate development.
F. Infrastructural Development
o) Support the development of Africa related undersea cable and terrestrial fibre optic
connectivity initiatives; and
p) Harmonise regulatory structures related to infrastructure, such as telecommunication and
transportation related to infrastructure, such as telecommunication and transportation.
G. Information Gathering and Dissemination Capacity
q) Develop an overarching communications strategy for disseminating information on Africa
Union programmes (including NEPAD) and Diaspora initiatives;
r) Support the development of an updated and reliable census and statistics on employment,
unemployment and entrepreneurship in Africa and the Diaspora with special focus on the Youth.
H. Climate Change
s) Work closely to advance the international agenda on climate change in international fora
given its devastating effects particularly on Africa and the Caribbean.
III. SOCIAL COOPERATION
In the area of social cooperation, we commit to the following:
A. Knowledge and Education
a) Design and develop platforms for African and Diaspora educators and scholars to address
the developmental agenda of the Continent and the Diaspora. These would include, among
others, the establishment of African centred institutions and programmes and increased
collaboration efforts between academic and research institutions in Africa and the Diaspora
regions;
b) Ensure the harmonisation and implementation of regional and international protocols
protecting indigenous knowledge systems and intellectual property rights;
c) Emphasize the importance of education as a basic condition of achieving human
development and the need to promote literacy campaigns.
d) Support the creation of linkages between Diaspora Academic, Research and Development
Institutions and those in Africa;
e) Ensure the participation of Diaspora Experts in the development and implementation of AUDiaspora initiative.
B. Arts and Culture
f) Promote the coordination and funding of cultural exchange programmes between Africa and
the Diaspora;
g) Further encourage and disseminate information to all Member States on African-Diaspora
projects which are being implemented such as the Museum of Black Civilisations, an African
Remembrance Square, the African Renaissance Monument, the Joseph Project and slave
route;
h) Support, encourage and promote the celebration of global observance days as symbols of
solidarity for the commemoration of the common heritage and vision of Africa and its Diaspora,
in order to strengthen Pan-African unity and identity, in particular, Africa Day, African Union
Day, Black History Month and Emancipation Day;
C. Media and Image Building
i) Coordinate efforts of the existing media and promote new media to re-brand Africa and to
counter stereotypes about Africans and people of African descent;
j) Explore possibilities of creating Africa News Network Service to enhance image branding and
imaging of Africa;
k) Promote national and continental initiatives that aim to enhance good governance and rule of
law, so as to strengthen a positive image of Africa among the African Diaspora and the
international community at large.
D. Immigration
l) Engage developed countries with a view to creating favourable regulatory mechanisms
governing migration; and to address concerns of African immigrants in Diaspora Communities;
E. Human and People’s Rights
m) Work for the full implementation of the Plan of Action of the United Nations World
Conference Against Racism;
n) Engage developed countries to address the political and socio-economic
marginalisation of Diaspora communities in their countries of domicile;
o) Strengthen the implementation of legislation and other measures aimed at eradicating child
trafficking, human trafficking, child labour, exploitation of children and women in armed conflicts
and other modern forms of slavery; legislation and other measures aimed at eradicating child
trafficking, human trafficking, child labour, exploitation of children and women in armed conflicts
and other modern forms of slavery;
F. Social and Cultural Issues
p) Allocate more resources on social spending programmes such as health, education and
housing;
q) Cooperate, in order to make social security institutions more efficient in protecting Africans
and members of the Diaspora;
r) Ensure expansion of access to the Internet for social, health, business and development and
trade;
s) Coordinate with the African Diaspora regarding the question of the illegally acquired
cultural goods that exist outside the African continent, with the aim of speeding their
return to their countries of origin in Africa;
t) Ensure the promotion of sports and sports exchange between the AU Member States and the
Diaspora;
IMPLEMENTATION AND FOLLOW-UP
We adopt the following implementation and follow-up mechanism/strategy:
1. Host rotational AU Diaspora Conference in Africa andin the Diaspora to review the
implementation of this Programme of Action.
2. Involve Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in the implementation of this Programme of
Action.
3. Request the AU Commission to develop mechanisms to ensure that the experiences of
women, youth and vulnerable groups are taken into account in the implementation of this
Programme of Action.
4. Continue communication efforts to popularize the African Diaspora initiative and promote
positive images of Africa that will create a conducive environment for investment opportunities
on the continent.
5. Take necessary measures to ensure the establishment of an AU-Diaspora Foundation/Trust
to support the AU-Diaspora initiative;
6. Agree to establish multi-stakeholder working groups comprising the AU, CARICOM and
representative from the Diaspora in the following priority areas: Economic Cooperation
(including infrastructure, sea and air links, trade and investment, and travel and tourism);
Science And Technology (including the establishment of Low Earth Orbit satellite, and research
in agriculture, biotechnology, renewable energy technologies, infectious and non-infectious
diseases);
7. Consider the possibility of setting up a mechanism, such as a Diaspora Consultative Forum
that would support closer collaboration between the AU and the Diaspora community;
8. Agree to set up a Diaspora Advisory Board, which will address overarching issues of
concern to Africa and its Diaspora such as reparations, right to return and follow up to
WCAR Plan of Action, amongst others;
9. Further agree, in principle that the structures and institutions envisaged in this Declaration are
established and operate in a streamlined manner, in order to achieve efficiency and value for all
Africans on the Continent and the Diaspora;
10. Explore various innovative and practical sources of funding for the Diaspora Programme, to
ensure its sustainability.
LEGACY PROJECTS
We further agree to adopt five legacy projects as a way of giving practical meaning to the
Diaspora programme and in order to facilitate the post-Summit implementation programme.
These are: a) the production of a Skills Database of African Professionals in the Diaspora; b)
the establishment of the African Diaspora Volunteers Corps; c) the African Diaspora Investment
Fund; d) a programme on the Development Marketplace for the Diaspora, as a framework for
facilitating innovationand entrepreneurship among African and Diaspora; and e) The African
Remittances Institute.
Done at Johannesburg, South Africa, 25 May, 2012
************************
APPENDIX 4
TO: All Brothers and Sisters Born on the Continent
FROM: Empress Marina M. Blake (Bobo Shanti House)
Blessed Love My Lords and Empresses:
We, your Black brothers and sisters in the West, would like to introduce ourselves to you;
have a conversation with you and re-establish a bond with you. Indeed, throughout the
years, we have seldom spoken directly to each other and have known of each other only
what has been fed to us by a biased, white media, intent on alienating us from one another
and sowing seeds of distrust and discord between us.
In particular, the white media portrayed you as backward and uncivilized, while at the
same time depicting us as lazy, unproductive, criminally inclined individuals who would
rather rely on government handouts than work for an honest living. In fact, the United
States of America has willfully exported a negative image of its Black citizens throughout
the world for the explicit purpose of engendering hatred toward us. This conversation aims
to change that perception.
Specifically, we want to show that there is a deeper truth beyond the media headline and it
is that truth which Africans on the Continent must understand in order to fully
comprehend the continued tribulations of Black people in the West, notwithstanding the
election of Barack Obama in November 2008 as the first Black president of the United
States.
We will tell you about the difference that makes no difference and the change that brought
about no change. We will tell you about the paradox of progress which allows a Black man
to become president, even as millions of Blacks are subjected to increased racism and
brutality. We will tell you about the shifting nature of racism and demonstrate to you that
racism is both an idea and a structure of institutions, impervious to meaningful change or
challenge.
We will explain why in the midst of seemingly boundless wealth, Black people have
remained poor. We will show you that poverty is not accidental, but rather by design. We
will demonstrate how the white man places hurdles in our path to success, then curses us
for not succeeding, a practice which led Malcolm X to remark that “[he has] no respect for
a society that crushes a man under a heavy burden and curses him when he is unable to
stand up under the weight of that burden.” We will show you that their contempt for us is
based on nothing but the color of our skin. Indeed, we will show you that they hate us when
we fail but hate us more when we succeed.
We will expose the distortion of tying blackness to criminality, and argue that the real
criminality is to have wretched poverty in the midst of unbridled wealth. That whatever
offense they accuse us of, they have committed greater offenses against us. To put it bluntly
and to borrow a line from Shakespeare “we have been more sinned against than we are
sinning.” Finally, we want to communicate strongly our desire to come home to Africa, but
we need your assistance in facilitating our return. We want you to join us in our demand
for reparations for Africa and all her children.
Below we provide a small sample of the myriad ways in which our progress in the West was
deliberately thwarted by whites and show you the impact of inherited disadvantage.
Correspondingly, we want to acknowledge your suffering at the hands of the “colonizers”
and the “investors” in Africa.
At the end of this communique, it is hoped that we in the West and you on the Continent
will realize that our struggles are one and the same and that the need is urgent for us to
work together to save Africa and to preserve and advance the interest of the Black race.
To understand our current dilemma, we must go back to the origin of our crisis. The
foundation for our perpetual oppression was laid very early. In 1803, the Haitian people,
led by Toussaint L’Ouverture, defeated the French army and won freedom for the enslaved
Blacks on the island, thereby allowing Haiti to become the first free Black Republic in the
Americas.
As punishment for succeeding against a white army and freeing its citizens from slavery,
Haiti became the direct target of European and American hostility. Specifically, Haiti was
subjected to unrelenting military invasion, economic embargoes, diplomatic quarantines,
imposition of U.S.-backed dictators, and demands for reparations.
More specifically, shortly after Haiti declared itself a free Republic, France demanded $21
billion dollars (2004 dollars) in reparation from Haiti for depriving France of Haiti’s slave
labor. Moreover, in 1825, France threatened to re-enslave Haitians, if Haiti did not agree to
pay France an additional 140 million francs, as well as grant France a 50% tariff reduction
for all French ships docking in Haiti.
To meet its financial obligations to the French government, Haiti was forced to borrow
money from various French banks at extremely high interest rates. From that time on,
Haiti has been struggling under the yolk of a huge economic burden, never able to balance
its national budget or offer its citizens a good standard of living.
In fact, today, Haiti remains the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, as a direct
result of the actions of Europe and the United States in 1825. (For a full discussion of the
continuing legacy of slavery in Haiti see Randall Robinson’s work “An Unbroken Agony.”)
Similar schemes were set in place in the United States. Shortly after the abolition of slavery
in the United States in 1865, the U.S. government and its white citizens devise new ways to
keep Blacks enslaved and oppressed. Among the many practices and schemes put in place
to hinder the development and growth of Blacks were:
The Enactment of Vagrancy Laws - Numerous states enacted “vagrancy” laws which were
so vague that a person had no way of complying with these laws. Accordingly, Black men
were systematically rounded up and arrested for vagrancy, after which they would be
taken before a county judge, found guilty, then a fine would be imposed and the man
sentenced to 30 days in prison. However, because most Black men could not pay those
fines, their sentences would be extended to one year of hard labor. In this way, white
America was able to continue its practice of forced labor without compensation, under
brutal conditions. This practice continued for many years.
Discriminatory Housing Laws – Black codes were developed after the end of slavery and
race determined (i) whether a person could own property (ii) where a person could own
property (iii) where a person could live. Residential patterns were established by racialized
zoning laws established in the late 19th century. When this practice was outlawed by the
Supreme Court in 1917, white citizens created restrictive covenants in their real estate
deeds to prohibit any white from selling his or her property to Blacks. Blacks, therefore,
were confined to living in the worst areas and environments, often at the sites of toxic waste
dumps.
Redlining - Redlining was a means by which banks would designate neighborhoods where
they would not invest, and these were generally black neighborhoods. Thus, Black
communities, stigmatized and denied access to loans and other resources, often became
places that lacked businesses, jobs, grocery stores and other services. This, in turn, would
cause upwardly mobile Black to leave these neighborhoods, further causing these
communities to fall into chaos and despair. Thus, redlining further entrenched the
problems of concentrated poverty, thereby creating and reinforcing a vicious cycle of
decline for which Black people themselves were blamed.
Restrictions on Entreprenurship - Black people’s attempts at economic self-sufficiency and
independence were thwarted by whites at every turn. Specifically, Blacks were restricted
by law from participating in business on the open market. In fact, explicit state and local
policies restricted the rights and freedom of Blacks as entrepreneurs.
Indeed, numerous industries and various types of businesses were off limits to Blacks.
Furthermore, those types of businesses opened to Blacks were restricted to all-Black,
segregated markets, thereby depriving Black businessmen access to customers of other
races.
In other words, Blacks could only sell to Blacks but other business people such as whites,
Jews, Japanese, and Chinese were allowed to sell to each other and to Blacks as well. Above
all, Blacks were also forced into the role of consumer, then cursed for not being sufficiently
industrious.
Eugene Robinson says it most succinctly in his book entitled, “Disintegration: The
Splintering of Black America”. Mr. Robinson states that Black progress was not just
discouraged, not just hampered, but actually outlawed. Blacks were prohibited from
learning to read and write; were prohibited from going into certain types of industries and
were prohibited from doing business beyond the black community.
Education – Our access to education was severely limited and even in those rare situations
where we managed to get a good education, we were prevented from pursuing higher
professions, such as law and medicine. Instead, we were channeled into athletics and
performing arts, under the theory that we were good at those things, but not at science and
math or intellectualism, generally.
The Criminal Justice System – Black men are disproportionately targeted for police
brutality, arrests and ultimately incarceration. Every year, numerous Black youths are
killed by white police officers and thousands are locked up for crimes that go unpunished if
committed by white youths. The scope of the problem is vast and the situation grave. Here
is a frightening statistic: 70,000 rapes take place in prison annually. Who do you think this
is happening to? What impact do you think this is having on our communities, on the Black
race? [I am writing a separate paper on Mass Incarceration in the United States and the
misery that that spawns for Black people.]
In addition to the structural barriers to achievement which whites erected, ambitious
Blacks and successful Black communities were targeted for attacks. Among those incidents
are:
Rosewood community in Florida – In June 1921, the thriving Black community of
Rosewood was burned to the ground by racist whites who could not tolerate the success of
Black people. Accordingly, an angry mob, supported by the government, completely
destroyed the schools, churches, businesses and homes in Rosewood. Hundreds of Blacks
lost their lives and property loss was estimated at $2.3 million. Numerous such incidents
took place throughout the United States, where thriving and successful Black communities
were sacked by whites, with many Blacks killed in the process. This was to serve as a
deterrent to Black people advancing.
Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans – In 2005, after hurricane destroyed a predominantly
black community in New Orleans, the people were left without help or resources for an
unreasonably long time. Those seeking refuge in neighboring white communities were
turned back by white government officials and were even fired upon by white citizens.
When help finally arrived, the rescue workers would bypass Black people to save the white
people of the town.
Paul Robeson – After graduating at the top of his class from Columbia Law School in New
York in 1923, Paul Robeson was unable to find a job as a lawyer. When he was ultimately
hired by a law firm, he faced so much discrimination, ever from the secretaries and the
clerks, that he was forced to leave the firm. As a consequence, Paul Robeson he was forced
to go into theatre and performance, one of the few fields that were available to Blacks,
although not without harsh discrimination.
Reginald Lewis, an able and successful businessman, was hindered in his bid to acquire
Beatrice International Foods, a thriving conglomerate having 64 companies in 31 countries.
Ultimately, Mr. Lewis had to hire a white man to “front” the deal in order to successfully
effect the acquisition of Beatrice Foods. The white business men became enraged when they
discovered that Reginald Lewis was, in fact, the person behind the acquisition. They could
not abide the idea that a Black man should own such a successful company. Reginald Lewis
died in 1993; it is widely rumored that he was poisoned.
Bill Cosby - In1992 and 1993 famous actor and comedian, Bill Cosby, was denied the right
to acquire National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), the number two broadcasting
network in the U.S., at that time. Once again, the powers that be could not abide the idea
of a Black man owning a mainstream media outlet, which would allow him to help control
the images of Blacks that is projected around the world.
To be sure, a few carefully selected Blacks are allowed to advance to certain positions (i.e.,
Barack Obama, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Michael Jackson, Oprah Winfrey,
Michael Jordan etc.). However, the remaining millions of Blacks are poorly educated;
unemployed; homeless; confined to depressed neighborhoods; suffer from ill health; are
brutalized by police or are incarcerated at disproportionate rates.
The successful Blacks may be the elite of the servant class, but they are still the servant
class. Thus, in measuring progress, we have to look at the collective, and not just at the
exceptional successful Blacks.
Indeed, there is great strategy involved in allowing a select number of Blacks to advance.
Specifically, in positioning a number of Blacks in top positions, it helps to deflect
accusations of racism in America. Thus, people become focused on what America looks
like rather than what it does.
Accordingly, the principle of fighting structural discrimination is eclipsed by the desire to
showcase difference through symbolic gestures. Therefore, the presence of Blacks in
certain position is little more than “window dressing” and any perceived change is simply
cosmetic. Furthermore, the system could never remedy the Black condition because the
system IS the problem.
The same is true with the Presidency of the United States. Although a Black man occupies
the office of President of the United States, this achievement must not be interpreted as a
structural change in the system. You see, racism is not simply about whites as obvious
villains and Blacks as obvious victims. To be sure, racism is a system of oppression that
discriminates against people on the basis of their race.
But racism is not static; it has a shifting nature so that it can give something on the one
hand, and takes away something greater on the other hand, yet, at the same time, gives the
illusion that it is receding. That is the genius of the system.
Therefore, so long as the system remains intact, the question of which individual holds
power is irrelevant and, thus, Barack Obama’s election works as a subterfuge which causes
Black people to relax their position and convince them that they are living in a “postracial” society, where race no longer matters. But that would be a grievous mistake on our
part, if we should disarm at this time.
In fact, Obama’s election should confirm for us that no matter our achievement, what
“progress” we seem to make, racism remains intact. As stated above, we must recognize
that our redemption will not come from within the system, but rather from our resignation
from the system.
Indeed, they want to dupe us with the illusion of a post racial society so that when we talk
about continued racism and discrimination our arguments are immediately discounted and
we are accused of living in the past or of practicing the same discrimination of which we
complain.
They call this “reverse discrimination.” But we must be able to see the difference between
“racial distinctions intended to impose white supremacy” and “racial distinctions intended
to undo the harms of white supremacy.” In sum, we are not anti-white; we are just proBlack.
Like us in the West, you on the Continent have been subject to brutal colonialism,
imperialism and now Chinese “investments.” We are aware of the lopsided contracts you
have been forced to sign; the many incidents of multinational corporations dictating the
terms of a trade agreement or outmaneuvering African governments in negotiations.
Similarly, they have convinced you that their white culture is more advanced than yours
and that they are better at governing than you are. In this way, they hope to erode your
self-confidence, your abilities and your culture. We are aware of the myriad ways in which
they undermine your political and economic system; how they promote internal strife to
create unrest or rebellion, thus “proving” that Black people are unable to maintain a stable
government. We know fully well the nature of these people.
Remember, we are talking about people who have no compunction about poisoning a river
where women, children and cattle go to get drinking water, as was the case in Namabia
when SWAPO fought to eliminate colonial rule. We are talking about people who would
manufacture germs in a lab such as the HIV virus to kill millions of people for the sole
purpose of acquiring the people’s land.
We are talking about people who have attacked or killed our freedom fighters such as,
H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie; Marcus Garvey; The Right Hon. King Emmanuel Charles
Edwards; Patrice Lumumba; Kwame Nkrumah; Steve Biko; Nelson Mandela; Jomo
Kenyatta; Winnie Mandela; Malcolm X; Maurice Bishop; Walter Rodney; Robert
Mugabe; Albert John Luthuli; Walter and Albertina Sisulu; Kenneth Kaunda; Hector
Pieterson and countless others.
We are talking about people who are now inducing African countries to impose greater
restrictions on issuance of visas to Blacks from the West, especially Rastafari. People who
want to compel African countries to adopt or endorse social policies (such as
homosexuality) under the threat of reduced financial aid and in total derogation of these
countries cultural practices or moral principles. In every way possible, Europe and
America continue to impose its will on Africa and its people.
Yet, for all that the white man has done to us and continues to do, we remain loyal to him
and to his system. In fact, in a masterful act of treachery, the white man continues to
retain a position of trust and reverence among Black people, a situation that is as perverse
as it is paradoxical. That is why, in his book entitled “Breaking the Chains of
Psychological Slavery” psychologist Dr. Na’im Akbar writes that the slavery that feeds on
the mind; that invades the soul of men; that destroys a man’s loyalties to himself and
establishes allegiance to forces which seek to destroy him, is an even worst form of capture.
Brothers and sisters, the evidence is all around us. White people don’t love us, they never
will and they seek only our destruction. In furtherance of that objective, whites have
consistently tried to create division among us, by pitting Blacks from the Caribbean against
those born in the U.S., and all of us in the Diaspora from you born on the Continent.
They have even told some of you on the Continent (especially Ethiopians, Somalians and
Eritreans) that you are not Black or “Negroid” like people in other African countries or
those of us in the West. Their strategy continues to be “divide and conquer.” In a further
effort to keep us alienated from each other, they continue to advance the argument that you
on the Continent participated in the slave trade.
Indeed, the argument that “our own brothers sold us into slavery” has become more
popular and prevalent in recent years. However, it is dishonest to compare the role played
by Blacks in the Transatlantic Slave Trade with that played by whites.
After all, it was whites who invented the system; it was whites who forced many Blacks to
participate or risk their own enslavement; it was whites who transported us across the
ocean in some of the most inhumane fashion; it was whites who divided families; it was
whites who auctioned us off as chattel; it was whites who raped our women; it was whites
who savagely beat us and lynched us if we rebelled against any injustice; it was whites who
kept this brutal, savage system of slavery going for hundreds of years; it was whites who
made huge amounts of money from enslaving Blacks; it was whites who said that Blacks
are less than human, were animals.
So we don’t want whites to tell us about your participation in the slave trade unless they
are ready to hear some hard truths about themselves. Your participation does not relieve
whites of their culpability.
Sadly, many Blacks in the West have taken up this position. (When the oppressed starts
making the argument for the oppressor, you know the oppression is complete).
Fortunately, most of us in the Diaspora have recognized that we need to be careful because
when we countenance this type of argument, we legitimize the behavior of whites and
become co-conspirators with white men in their never-ending quest to evade responsibility
for the atrocities they have inflicted upon the Black race.
In any event, whether or not you on the Continent participated in the Transatlantic Slave
Trade, is no business of the white man. This is a family affair, an internal matter and will
be handled as such, without the interference of any white man.
Another point to be made is that the Jews are guilty of worst behavior toward their own
brothers; but no one likes to talk about that. Jews delivered thousands of their fellow Jews
to the Nazi regime, knowing fully well that the people they gave up would be exterminated
in the gas chambers. Those Jews were handsomely rewarded for betraying their brothers;
but that discussion is always stifled and never pursued.
My brothers and sisters on the Continent, it is time for us to unite and work together. We
must move to erase the socially constructed barriers that continue to imprison and divide
us. Black people cannot afford to be divided by ethnicity, tribal or political affiliations,
geographic boundaries, gender differences, culture or religion. We must unite across all
these divides, if the Black race is to be preserved and become strong.
When we stay alienated, separated and divided, white man wins. Some have argued that
skin color is not a sufficient basis on which to unite but we believe that our collective
experience as victims of racial oppression is all the cohesion we need. White people have
always united around skin color, notwithstanding any internal differences. We should do
the same.
In this connection, we urge you to petition your respective governments, tell them about us
and our plight in the West, tell them how we continue to suffer at the hands of whites and
that the election of Barack Obama does not diminish this truth. Tell them that we work
hard and continue to strive but that each time we reach the goal post, they move it further
and further away.
Tell them that the system was designed for us to fail; that the system is “rigged” against us
in the Diaspora, as it is rigged against you on the Continent. Tell them that the system is
rigged against Black people universally.
Tell them that in judging Black people’s advancement or lack of advancement in the West
they should bear in mind that success and advancement are tied to more than individual
effort; they are tied to the willingness of the larger society to allow access to those seeking
to enter. Tell them that in many cases we are honorable people forced to do dishonorable
things.
Tell them that the destructive behavior that some Blacks engage in is a direct result of the
oppression under which they are forced to live. Tell them how white men quote statistics as
proof of Black men’s criminality but that statistics do not reveal cause nor do they give
balance or provide context for the information upon which the statistics are based.
Tell them to not accept racial stereotype as fact. Tell them that the bad behavior is both a
cause and a consequence of our condition, so that the symptom and the syndrome are one
and the same. Tell them that most of us have done everything they require of us, yet it is
not enough for we cannot do the one thing white men require most of us, in that “we cannot
stop being Black.” Tell them again that despite any wrongdoing they perceive on our part,
“we have been more sinned against than we are sinning.”
Tell them to be ever vigilant against the deception of the white man. Tell them that the
white man’s methods may have changed but not his motives. Tell them to not impose any
restrictions on our travel into Africa. Tell them to reject the argument that slavery was
good for us, that we in the West are better off than you on the Continent because of slavery
and that European culture is superior to African cultures. No, they are not brighter or
more intelligent than Africans; they are not more industrious than Africans; they are not
more creative or ingenious than Africans. They are simply more evil and godless than
Africans.
What they excel at is deception. Tell them that white man’s doctrine is as sweet as honey
but as corrosive as acid. Remind your governments that all that the white man has
achieved has come at our expense. Their “advanced society” was built with the forced
labor of Black people. The minerals they used were stolen from Africa, after they pillaged
the continent and forced the people into servitude.
The “know-how” they acquired was done by copying us, after which they destroyed our
libraries and great civilizations. The monuments and artifacts in their museums belong to
us. They are criminals who continue to profit from their misdeeds, both past and present.
Tell your government about Rastafari. Tell them to look closely at Rastafari culture and
what it promotes; what it means for the dignity of the Black man; how it pledges it’s loyalty
to Africa above any place else; how it affirms the Black man’s humanity; how it doesn’t
require the Black man to subordinate his culture to European culture. Tell them that
Rastafari serves to lessen the demoralizing effects of the degrading roles that Black people
are forced to assume in the world.
Tell them that Rastafari stands as the defender of the poor and the powerless, in David’s
perpetual battle with Goliath. We know that the governments of Africa have been fed a
negative image of Rastafari, so that they may reject the culture and Rastafari people. But
tell your government that our only offense is that we reject white man’s culture and that
the white man is running scared because he is losing his grip on the Black man’s mind.
Above all, tell them we want to repatriate. Tell them to join us in our demand for
reparations from the governments who enslaved us. Tell them that we must collectively
reject welfare, foreign aid and IMF loans and demand reparation because we prefer justice
to charity. Tell them that Africa and her children are entitled to reparations for the
damages they have suffered. Tell them that this is true, despite any seeming generosity
from white government with whom they transact or any “nice” white person with whom
they share a friendship. Tell them that our fight is not against individual whites, only the
oppressive white system.
Tell them that slavery and discrimination are social problems that demand social solutions
– not individual misdeeds that demand individual reparation. Tell them that Africa’s
children in the West need their love and loyalty. Tell them we want to re-unite with our
mother.
Tell them we want to come home.
One Perfect Love,
Your Blood Brothers and Sisters in the Diaspora
Authored by Empress Marina M. Blake
(Bobo Shanti House)
“No one knows when the hour of Africa's Redemption cometh.
It is in the wind. It is coming.
One day, like a storm, it will be here.
When that day comes, all Africa will stand together.”
– Marcus Mosiah Garvey –
******************************************************
Remembering...
On The Occasion of the 117th Anniversary of the Ethiopian Victory
over the Italian invaders at Adowa.
On Behalf of All Africans, at Home and Abroad, and all Lovers of Liberty.
Thankhs, Ethiopia.
Ras Don Rico Ricketts
March 1, 2013
[email protected]
NEXT – THE CALL Part 2:
The global RasTafari Family,
Inspired by Reggae Singers and Players of Instruments,
Rally in Defense of the Honour of Their God-King,
The Progress of Their Place of Birth,
and the African Motherland.
And introducing:
RasTafari_Is_HIM: The IinI meme
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