A child in need, hurt and aching; calls out to her mother, longing for her touch, her comfort and her assurance. It is said that even dying men call out for their mothers. Africa, home of the black man, is that mother to people of African descent. They have suffered all forms of injustice, indignity, and suffering. Even in lands that have been set up as their home away from Africa, they find no peace. Black people are looked at with contempt, disrespect, and belittled in every way imaginable.
In April and May 1964, Malcolm X sought the help of independent African nations to help the course of the black civil rights movement. This visit led to his formation of the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) with such goals like restoring the connections with Africa, educating diaspora Africans about Africa as well as setting up economic ties with Africa, all in the hope of reorienting blacks to a positive image of Africa. Africa, through the newly formed Organization of African Unity (OAU) wasn’t very effective in furthering the course of the civil rights movement, neither was it in a position to put any pressure on the US to recognize black as citizens of the US with rights like any other citizen of the US. Besides, apartheid was at its worse right under its nose too but collectively, the continent couldn’t save her own citizens on the continent. One may say this is due to the infancy independence and the lack of structures to effectively lobby for any course.
Fast forward to 2015, Guyana’s new government is asking for support from the African Union amongst other international players to help diplomatically resolve the border dispute with its larger neighbor Venezuela. This help too will not be forthcoming unfortunately due to the ineffectiveness of this continental body. A sad situation however one looks at it.
Black people as a race, have collectively been fighting for their dignity longer than any group of people, they have suffered the most, collectively as a people. They are the most oppressed. No reprieve, no hope for better days, they feel so down and beat almost to the point of defeat; then they look up to Africa for help, and what do they see? Their hopes are dashed, dreams crushed, salvation unlikely, because the mother herself is in bondage, suffering, crying and bleeding more than they are, yet we can’t seem to do much to help. Even the oppressors cite conditions in Africa to justify their oppression of blacks, because our leaders are worse. Then, unwillingly, we accept our status and the labels put on us. We’ve lost the physical fight, we’ve lost the mental fight, and the spiritual strength is waning fast.
But if history taught us one thing, it is that you cannot break the spirit and will of the true black man to true self-determination and dignity. And fortunately, there is still a lot of those true spirits left and they are not resting, they are fighting on.
The Israeli prime minister recently called for Jews ‘persecuted’ in Europe to come back to Israel and will be received with open arms, even though it may be back to some stolen land, they have a place to go with hopes of a better life. What African leader could say the same to oppressed blacks elsewhere who choose to look up to Africa for salvation? They cannot even stand up to face leaders of countries openly dehumanizing black people and tell it to their face because collectively their words amount to nothing even at the assembly of nations.
Listen to the voices of some of your oppressed brothers and sisters and for once see things from their position. When the Emperor Haile Selassie gave Sashamane Land to the blacks from Jamaica who wanted to resettle in Africa, he did it with a higher goal in mind, the unification of blacks across the world.
Black unity should be understood in the context of brotherhood amongst people with so much in common and not as a plot to dominance over any group. It is a fight for dignity and independence in the true sense of the word and not a power struggle. Africa can be independent of the rest of the world in every sense of the word, so Africans need not dominate or colonize others for any reason.
Nkrumah said it decades ago that if we do not unite, we will perish, the situation in Africa today is proof of that.
But just like we emerged from colonialism, so too will we emerge from neo-colonialism. The dawn of Africa’s true independence and subsequent unification is upon us and we should embrace it.
“Unite for the benefit of your people for its later than you think…Cause Jah children wanna come home” (Bob Marley)