Greetings of progress for us all! This is posted, at 5:00 AM, b4 a historical telephone conference call later this morning to discuss our struggle for what is known as REPARATIONS. It's a lil background in a recent book edited by Raymond A. Winbush, Ph.D. SHOULD AMERICA PAY from an article written by Roger Wareham.
"AUTHOR'S PREFACE: The United Nations World Conference Against Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR, August 31-September 7, 2001) will be remembered for and defined by the struggle for reparations. The process of organizing for the WCAR was key in making the issue of reparations for African people,(1) in the Diaspora and on the African continent, an international one. This brief history of our experience in the UN will help illuminate the events leading up to the historic meeting.
'Our problem is your problem. It is not a Negro problem, nor an American problem. This is a world problem for humanity. It is not a problem of civil rights, it is a problem of human rights.'
---MALCOLM X, Speaking to the Organization of African Unity, 1964
One cannot understand how reparations for African people have become an issue of international dimensions without first paying homage to Malcolm X. Malcolm, following in the steps of Blyden,Garvey,Trotter,Du Bois,Patterson, and Robeson, among others, helped Black people see the important role the international arena plays in our domestic struggle for freedom and for human rights.
The December 12th Movement International Secretariat [IS] first went to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1989 as part of a group called Freedom Now, a campaign seeking amnest for political prisoners and prisoners of war in the United States. Many of the IS members were veterans of the African Liberation Support Committee of the 1970s and had a wide range of experience in the international arena. We learned from this first ecperience in Geneva, Switerzerland, that the international community's perception of the nature of Black people's existence within the United States was totally false. The reality had been deliberately skewed by United States government propaganda and by the omnipresent media images of the U.S. Olympic Dream Team, Michael Jackson, Oprah Winfrey, Colin Powell and others. Their elite lifestyle was perceived as the Black norm rather than the exception. The need for reparations, much less the legal duty to provide them to Black folks in the United States, was not even being considered.
Countries who supported our struggle for freedom in the United States taught us that the only way we could change the misperception and replace it with truth was to interact consistently with all the United Nations bodies that dealt with human rights, that is, the Commission on Human Rights, the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (Sub-Commission), the Third Committee of the General Assembly, World Conferences, et cetera. The IS took this advice seriously and committed ourselves to be everywhere in the United Nations raising the banner of the human rights violations suffered by African people, in the United States in particular and in the Diaspora in general. We did this over the years by presenting indisputable facts and an objective analysis that proved that African people around the world suffered from underdevelopment that was tied to the TransAtlantic Slave Trade, slavery, and colonialism." p. 227-28.
Baba note: I present this here in Open Forum, bcause it appears that my so-called "column" BABA SPEAKS is seldom viewed; if not viewed evidentally its not read. I hope this entry will be read. I also hope that more of our diligent posters and general readership take note that no one group of Afrikans in American has all the answers to our complicated, complexed sometimes bewildering problems to be solved as best we can. Black people making working agreements with other Black people is vital; and in this country the Brown people too are linked with us. But we were the first enslaved folk who were aided by a few so-called Native folk; that's a whole other struggle. But we specifically need to compare more notes and get out stuff together in America. One important point is made by brutha Wareham, our true conditions in this country are seen through jaundiced perceptions filtered through U.S. propaganda. This means that our stance has little support internationally; for our's is not a new battle. We have a responsibility, an obligation to support each other first. To stay abreast of the int'l scene but to instill our primary energies into our struggles here. And to remain up on what we generally are do n that affects our home scenes and internationally. And to remember to not place too much hope in any institution not of our own making, including the U.N.
But we must, as Malcolm said, use ANY MEANS NECESSARY. And I add, any and all available means that conform to our principles.
I'll attempt to provide a lil feedback from our coming conference call. Til then, be cool, be smooth and above all don't be no fool! Stay strong, committed, involved 24/7. Our rest will come when our descendants continue to show that we are a people who respect ea other and will someday demand the same on the world's stage.
As Bob Law used to greet his callers into his late night talk radio show: Namaste! The god in me recognizes the gods in y'all!!!
A Luta Continua