Monday, April 14, 2008

When White Folks Take the Lead Black Folks Will Follow

The largest human scourge on the face of the earth since World War II is the almost six million dead Black people in the Congo since 1996. Half of the dead are Black children five years old and younger. In addition, hundreds of thousands of women have been violently raped as a weapon of war. The United Nations says the conflict in the Congo is the deadliest in the world since World War II. Most of the deaths in the Congo occurred as a result of conflict related causes such as starvation, pneumonia, diarrhea and other preventable diseases.

The conflict arose in the Congo as a result of invasions by her neighbors, Rwanda and Uganda, first in 1996 and again in 1998. Both regimes are client states of the United States and their invasions were fully backed by the United States, Great Britain and international institutions such as the World Bank. American and Great Britain taxpayer dollars played a role in financing the invasions and subsequent human carnage, which continues to this day where 45,000 Congolese continue to die each month.

One would think all this has happened on another planet. At the root of the silence around this issue is the devaluing of Black bodies by both Black and White people alike. What is bewildering however, is how Black people in general and Black leaders and thinkers in particular do not see it in their interest to speak out against such carnage, especially when United States policy has contributed to the devastation in Africa’s most critical country.

Although our leaders often hold up Dr. King as a model leader who said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Black leaders are not speaking out forcefully against the injustices in the Congo. Our scholars love to think they are the next W.E.B. DuBois but DuBois was a staunch Pan Africanist and intimately involved in what transpired in the African world. When it comes to Black folks of our age, their thinking appears to stop at the borders of the United States, even though we are living in the Internet age at a time when the world is more integrated than ever and what happens outside of one’s border has implications on a global scale.
Moreover, there is an unfortunate failure of our leaders and best thinkers to see that what happens to Black people throughout the world, especially in Africa, has an effect on what happens to Black people in America. If Black people are devalued in Africa, they will be devalued in America. The results are different but the implications are the same nonetheless. Devaluing of Black people in Africa results in mass death because of the continent's fragile societies. Devaluing of Blacks in America results in slow government action while grandmothers are stranded on roofs without food or water as a result of natural disasters such as Katrina. One would think that at the very least, self-interest would dictate that Black folks speak out the loudest, particularly when spectacular profits are made by American and other Western corporations in the midst of vast human suffering and carnage in the Congo.

Unfortunately, due to the stage of development of our leaders and thinkers, it wont be until White people start to say more about the greatest horror at the dawn of the 21st century that you will see our political, civil rights and other leaders and thinkers start to say something about this issue and offer prescriptions that will have been served up to them by White folks.

The ultimate reason for Congo being ravaged in the way it has in the past 12 years is a result of its enormous wealth. The dubbed it the Democratic Republic of Buried Treasure. Its natural wealth has been estimated to be equivalent to the GNP of the United States and the European Union combined. The central question in the Congo is who is going to control Congo’s wealth and profit from it; the Congolese or Western corporations? Congo is endowed with diamonds, gold, zinc, iron, timber, copper (used in our kitchen appliances and wiring in our homes and cars), niobium (key to the LCD panels in our computers and flat screen televisions), coltan (key to our cell phones, video games, air bags and braking systems in our cars, and many electronic devices), cobalt (key for jet engines, aerospace industry, United States military and central to the batteries in our cell phones, lap tops, and electric automobiles), and tin (key to the mother boards in our computers). Companies such as Microsoft, Panasonic, Nokia, Motorola, Hitachi, Cabot, Kemet, Eagle Wings, OM Group, H.C. Starck and many others benefit from Congo’s mineral resources that feed the devices that we all use in our daily lives. Yet we are silent while Black people continue to die on a Biblical scale. Instead of Congo being the economic engine for the development of Africa, it serves as a millstone around the continent’s neck.

Raising our voices can save lives and offer hope to our brothers and sisters fighting for human dignity. It does not cost us anything to say something.

Maurice Carney
Friends of the Congo

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Zimbabwe Faces An Uproar From Post Elections

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April 27, 2008 - Many voters fear the outcome of the 2008 Zimbabwe's Presidential Elections. For over 28 years, Former President Robert Mugabe's and the ZANU-PF party have ruled Zimbabwe. As a result, the country has suffered from economic and political turmoil. His opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai and his party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) wanted to put a end to the corruption by running up against the ZANU-PF party. After waiting for a week for the 2008 election results, the opposionist party and the voters became very concerned that there were no announcements. Presidential candidate, Tsvangirai, believed that Mugabe strategically planned to delay the results. The following week, Tsvangirai and MDG party issued a complaint to the court as a way to force out the results of the March 29 election. Tsvangirai announced that he is not suprised that President Mugabe would try to use a presidential runoff vote to reverse its defeat in elections.

On Sunday, a recount of votes alledgely confirmed that Morgan Tsvangirai party won full control of the parliment. According to tally results, the Zimbabewan Sunday newspaper claimed that the election authorities confirmed that Tsvangirai won the majority. However, Zimbabwe election authorities will not reveal the results until later on this week.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission called for a regional meeting with both parties to discuss the post-election crisis. Before the new results are released to the public, both parties will be able to scrutinze the entire recount.

At the same time, violent uprises continues to spread riots. Hundreds of MDG supports have been attacked and burned out of their homes. About 250 law enforcement officers raided MDG party's headquarters in Harare. Several people have suffered from head injuries. Only 10 have been murdered.

The 2008 Zimbabwe Elections created a huge international outcry. Tsvangirai and his party called for the United Nations for further investigation. So far, Britain urged the UN Security Council to take part in the human rights abuse and to urged Mugabe to resign.

President Bush Celebrates NATO's Newest Members

President George W. Bush greets the crowd at Zagreb's St.
Mark Square, Croatia, 05 Apr 2008

April 5, 2008 - President Bush celebrates Croatia and Albania for joining NATO at the 2008 Military Alliance Summit in Bucharest, Romania. On Friday, Bush publicly announced his rejoice for NATO’s newest members. Bush stated that NATO's newest members are significant in spreading Democracy and strengthening Western military protection. Bush promised that NATO would stand by Croatia and Albania if anyone endangered them.

Bush strongly believes the newest members deserve membership because they have continuously shown great contributions to NATO. Croatia and Albania have been very cooperative in NATO's support regarding the advancement of freedom and democracy while facing current political challenges. Their efforts in sending troops to Iraq and Afghanastan demostrated their profound committment to peace and security. Also, Craotia and Albania accession to NATO is marked as the sixth round of enlargement in NATO’s history. In 2004, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia were admitted.

In the near future, Bush hopes for more southern European countries will join NATO, in particularly Macedonia. Currently, Macedonia has been not extended membership due to not meeting the criteria in the Membership Action Plan because of their difficulty in political reforms. In order for NATO to reconsider membership, Macedonia must settle their dispute with neighboring country, Greece. However, NATO is still determine to strategically help Macedonia to seek NATO membership.