Emma Emeozor [email protected], @Emekaili
African nations on June 16, adopted a resolution, requesting the United Nations Human Rights Council to set up an inquiry into “systemic racism” and “police brutality” in the United States following the death of George Floyd after Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while he was being arrested in Minneapolis on 25 May.
In the resolution submitted to the Council, African ambassadors drew attention to “recent incidents of police brutality against peaceful demonstrators defending the rights of Africans and of people of African descent.”
It called for “an independent international commission of inquiry … to establish facts and circumstances related to the systemic racism, alleged violations of international human rights law and abuses against Africans and of people of African descent in the United States of America and other parts of the world”.
In this report, Chairman for the Centre for Poverty Eradication, Development and Equal Opportunity, Abuja and a security expert and policy analyst, author, Dr Dan Mou recalls the history of racism against blacks and says the move by African nations will send a strong message of ‘Enough is Enough,’ to all racists across the globe.
Mou is a former director, Nigerian Airforce and former Special Advisor, National Security Affairs to the National Security Adviser in the Presidency under three consecutive Nigerian governments
Mou disagreed with those who queried the holding of ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests in African countries. “The truth of the matter is that when something is being racially done and it affects the black race anywhere in the world, nobody needs any explanation that it affects us in Africa because we cannot keep on tolerating the systemic racism that they have meted on us over the years . . . ever since we came in contact with the Europeans.”
Mou considers the protests as a clarion call on Africans to rise up against racism anywhere in the world. “Right from the pre-slavery trade era and especially during the slavery trade era up till today, Africa has been subjected to undue racism by the white race. And now it has extended to the level where even Arab nations, Chinese, Indians and others, are all subjecting Africa to racism. I was told that even in Mecca, if the Africa delegation arrives there even for spiritual pilgrimage, they are discriminated against, other delegations from the United States and other white countries are given preference. So, this is a systematic action that Africa must be conscious of it and start to fight.
“That is why the George Floyd case was not the first time a black man or a black woman was murdered in that circumstance. But you see, it is one too many. Unfortunately, now, because of the advent of social media such incidents can easily be publicised and distributed all over the world in a very short of time. So, I’m glad that the whole world reacted, it was not just Africa or just us (Blacks) in the continent of Africa, but you realise that even Europeans joined us to react because we should be at the level where the colour of the skin does not matter but peoples heart, integrity, wisdom and knowledge should be the determining criteria now, including human affection.
“Even in the US, there were some Congress and Senate members that joined, even among the police and soldiers that were sent by President Donald Trump to quell the protests, some of them removed their headgear and joined. It is good that the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests happened like that, it is beginning to show that the time for racism is over and that human beings are one family, they all originated from the black race before other colours came and we should learn to respect one another on individual basis and not on the basis of the colour of our skin.”
On the root cause of racism against Africans, Mou makes a historical analysis to drive home his standpoint: “It will interest you to know that there are three major factors. One of them is even spiritual. You will remember that slave trade started with Portugal and joined by Italy. The justification for that was provided by the Catholic Pope of the time. So, the Catholic Church, a religious organisation that should have fought slavery was in fact behind the slave trade.
“The second factor has to do with the fact that once one was captured as slave because of the disparity in the weapons, when arms were discovered in Europe, and they could have gunpowder and others, they were able to conquer us. And because of our own brothers and sisters, especially the African chiefs were so willing to sell their brothers, that also indicated that we must be people of lower quality, if not why would we be prepared to sell one another into slavery. So as far as the fact is, the church sanctioned it, our traditional leaders in Africa at the time also sanctioned it by capturing by force and selling their brothers and sisters.
“And the third factor has been for political and economic subjugation because they did not want to extend justice to the black race and the slaves that were taken to foreign countries would not be allowed to vote in the US, in Latin America and all the other places they were taken. Their concern became economic and political subjugation which became enforced in the form of racism because, the kind of prejudice that Africans are suffering have been suffered by women in the past.”
He explains further: “In Western societies, women were not allowed to vote for a very long time, that discrimination was there. And when later, Africans came as slaves and even when finally the slavery was abolished in the US and the West, they were not given any voting right until when Martin Luther King and others, during the civil rights movement in the US finally won the civic rights. But they won only political rights, they did not win social justice and also, they did not win economic rights and other social rights, therefore, racism continued even though the separations in buses, schools and others were now abolished.
“The Black Lives Matter’ protests have now registered the message to everyone that the time for abolishing racism and bringing about social, political and economic justice to the black man wherever he is has come. That is why we were quite excited about it.”
The election of Barack Obama, the son of a Kenyan failed to stamp out racism against Afro-Americans and Africans. But why? Mou who was an ardent campaigner for the election of Obama as US president said: “I was myself very shock. In the night of that election, most of us stayed up when Obama was to be elected as the first black president of the United States. But most of us have been increasingly disappointed. “We had expected that Obama as an African will use the opportunity of being the American president to integrate Africa into the global system and help to bring development to Africa. But when we realised the things Obama championed, we became very repugnant even to ask. Obama was not interested in championing black justice, social justice, political justice, economic justice for Africa not even for the African-Americans. He was more interested in championing the course of gay, lesbians, homosexual, same-sex marriage movements, these were his major campaign issues and he continued with those issues.”
“His foreign policy including in Africa was that a country must accept gay marriage, homosexual, lesbians and what they now call Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Bisexual (LGTB). So, to imagine that the first black president had opportunity to have lifted his own people and the black race and he wasted that opportunity of eight years on sinful and distasteful things.
“Obama was a big disappointment to us but the mere fact that a black man won the presidency in the US broke the jinx, it shows that we can aspire and achieve any position anywhere in the world. But we had thought that he will use it as a way of connecting the African continent and bringing aid and other social and economic development to Africa, he didn’t do that.
“Instead, he was hijacked by the evil forces, by the Freemason, by the occultic societies and the agenda he operated was neither for Christ, for God or for the African people whom he represented but he went chasing irresponsible courses. He did nothing in the area of eradication of racism. That is the unfortunate consequence of his presidential rule.
Mou was quick to dismiss the argument that Obama may have been a victim of the same forces of racism and may not have got the leeway to fight the monster: “The truth of the matter is that any president, whether he is white, black, red or Hispanic or whatever, there would always be some impediments to carrying out his agenda. No president is completely autonomous, it is possible to say the white president has more relative autonomy than the black president who was dependent on them to bring him to power. But that was not the issue, the American system has ways by which you can address this matter. For instance, Obama could have used executive orders to promote anti-racism. He could have used those same executive orders to promote social justice for the African-Americans and the rest of the African continent and he could have used those executive orders to make the US to champion industrialisation in Africa.”
•To be continued