03/08/2010 12:15:28
Remarks on president's Obama forum of African Young leader
WHY PRESIDENT OBAMA’S FORUM WITH AFRICAN YOUNG LEADERS SHOULD DEAL WITH THE REPARATIONS OF THE INJUSTICE OF SLAVERY, COLONIALISM AND POST-SLAVERY TRAUMATISMS
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By Jean-Marc Soboth

Dear President Obama,

I hereby wish to congratulate you once more for your – deserved - Nobel Prize (2009) and for progressively bringing promised social Changes (Health care reform, etc.) and into some White House old traditions!

I will still remember it; as Senator, you said this, talking about sub-Saharan Africa, during your trip to Nairobi, Kenya (in 2006): "(...) I want you to know that as your ally, your friend, and your brother, I will be there to help in any way I can". I'll never forget it...

I'm so proud of your kin remarks on Africa at the University of Kenya! I admired some pictures of yours on Internet, when, younger, you were going to village on foot, with your grand-mother. Since then, I am of the conviction that you will never forget Africa.

I still believe that you CAN – and, who knows, will! - do something to commence change in Africa. So many European and African ‘Intellectuals’ begged us to forget about you, to stop dreaming after your inauguration as President, when they saw us too happy... But I believe that, though you are US President, though you represent so many multifaceted interests, often different from ours in Africa, though you are so busy, you are one among those who, in this earth, really know Africa, and its real problems... You have a crucial role to play.

Your Presidency is therefore a chance to us, either you want it or not! I’m convinced that’s also what God Almighty Himself - who clearly announced your coming through Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. -, expects from you…

Thanks, then, for sharing insights, with these 120 young sub-Saharan leaders, on key themes of youth empowerment in Africa, good governance, and economic opportunity, and discussing the vision for transforming African societies over the next fifty years.

In fact, daring any realistic diagnosis on sub-Saharan Africa will never be an easy task! We hope, Africa’s White House invitees will be able, at that occasion, to deal courageously with crucial themes “of the past” that still delaying Africa’s development; this is, on my point of view, a sine qua non condition if we want the Forum to reflect a real half-century debate.

We know that if you really want, you CAN at least inspire a global vigorous UNO policy on Africa, in order to free this Continent from chains like: democracy (life leaderships sponsored by former colonialists), sabotage of continental Unity, French CFA Franc – that operates in our economies like Aids into human being! -, press freedom, poor institutions, and what you called, in Nairobi, colonization of groups...

I hereby want to suggest your team to address, during the Forum scheduled this week, as said, these essential issues: reparations for the injustice of slavery and colonialism (like what had been done to Japan, etc)... This would be implemented according to the OAU Abuja Declaration’ spirit (1993), as a result of a groundwork of an eminent persons group co-chaired by Nigerian defunct leader, Late Chief Moshood K. Abiola and former UNESCO Director-General, Amadou-Mathar Mbow.

If you refuse to deal with these issues, the Forum will achieve an incomplete work on Africa after the ‘independence’; it would be just like what is artificially done since decades by Bretton-Woods institutions, on my point of view.

Slavery which consequences are still visible on the Continent’s underdevelopment had just obtained a mere International Day as "Crime against humanity" since 2001, in Durban (SA). Practically, nobody in Africa celebrates or remembers that Day; the event is still unknown – maybe it is commemorated within the UNESCO building in Paris! That was surely the secret agenda of those – including African leaders – who fought the idea of reparations.

To us, it still so obviously insufficient for such an enormous injustice! I strongly believe that it is a multisecular nonsense and dishonest agenda leaving Black people throughout the World under such deep resentments and lies during this specific Century, as well as perpetuating the World's impunity for this other unacceptable genocide, undoubtedly the hugest: Arab's Black slavery (Cf. Tidiane N’diaye, Le genocide voilé). Why are we just still watching with secular cowardice, without any shame, these Africans, former slaves, paying to know where they come from in Africa; these Men whose identity and soul were stolen, bearing Scottish, French, Portuguese, Dutch and Spanish family names (carefully listen to Malcolm X on youtube,com), evidences that there is a genuine need of a multilevel reparation for obvious post-slavery subsequent traumatisms...

Mr. President, if you will to address these important issues, you’ll hear so many paradoxical advocacies and witchcrafts working against the idea. Many will still suggest that "It is a thing of the past". There are those who will pretend that African leaders – who rarely represent their population - had already rejected the idea of reparations – including our talkative Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal in Durban (2001), among others. Don’t listen to them, please! They are liars. Many are simply ignorant, when they are not just speaking on behalf of some former slavers.

Some may bring back the cynical debate on the responsibility of Africans during the Trade. As you know, it is the planned version of that history which worst achievement had been throwing devilish and incurable hatred, diversion and division among uneducated Black communities since centuries, while Africans was strictly kept unaware and badly-informed of what happened in their own Soil, receiving very few information on the blood Trade just from some African-American intellectuals. Of course, that secular deception will be disappearing since everybody can now read these relevant documents from the Portuguese Prince Infante Dom Henrique (March, 4th, 1394-November 13rd, 1460), known as Henri Le Navigateur, and regarded by European historians as the father of Black slavery. Africans didn’t even know, according to reports, the existence of another Continent than theirs, or ever seen a White man before the European plunder’s crusade. Africans were attacked, massively killed and later were trained, while their own ordo ab chao where put in place in order to implement the curious Trade imagined after the “discovery” of an interesting kind of naïve humans “who seems to ignore mercantile cynicim”...

Post slavery traumatisms are still daily speaking to us, talking so loudly to our Generation, to nowadays' American and African landscapes... Cynicism is our main collective answer to the call, since decades. I carefully listened to your personal remarks to African-Americans, telling them to help themselves - by sending their offspring to school. I didn’t totally agree with your point: they can’t fully help themselves while this World, without pity, still refuses to pay what we owe to them. If the World wants them to help themselves, we should firstly deal with the inception, not treating it as “a thing of the past”; we already learned from Jews’ history (I’m a fan) that nothing belongs definitely to the past... Is it a racist issue, or a mere desire of racial revenge? No. When I read the American history, I realised that the Blacks’ case had so many White active supporters.

Are we really serious on what we are doing? Is it really possible to live a normal life when you are just freed from a scandalous generational injury and be suddenly told, one day: go, be, live and compete with all those people who did not suffer any traumatically secular injury? I don’t believe, though I’m not neither psychologist nor psychoanalyst…

I will simply never believe!

As our best ally, friend and brother, Mr. President, I thank you in advance for I know that this essential debate will be taken into account.

We want back the former African-African-American Summits in order to gather and reconcile Africa's sons. I’m convinced that there is no good future of Africa ever possible without Unity, and especially the involvement of its (‘good’ or ‘bad’) Diaspora. The greatest African Intellectuals (Cheik Anta Diop) clearly suggested these ideas; the founding fathers of African Unity knew and worked on it - we don’t need to re-quote Israel’s case.

The Africa-African-American summit however needs a more relevant content; not only these Business goals motivated by the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA); it should help to discover/teach Africa’s vanishing Cultures, establish a common development strategy and make known this forbidden History, unknown in our Schools and Universities.  We don’t want Black people back hic et nunc to a Continent that still mainly under European control and chaos. But we want the World to stop hiding itself behind one finger.

Our generation should prevent the World form a remake of the History – we’ve pertinently learned from famous authors that ignorance creates repetition, and that people need to know where they come from; this enables them to better apprehend where they go (Aimé Césaire)...

The Summit should be the greatest 'come together' between Africa and African-Americans that will lead to many platforms like erecting African overseas Diaspora as citizens of Africa. I’m sure this will bring back more hands to rebuild Africa and improve the two continents’ historic cooperation; it might largely contribute to Africa’s development and diplomacy in the next fifty years.

I remain, your faithful, humble ally, friend and brother,

Jean-Marc Soboth, Ottawa, ON

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