Pambazuka News 814: Israel's apartheid crimes

Two recommendations from the report stand out. First, it asks that the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel. Second, the report urges that UN member states allow criminal prosecutions of Israeli officials connected with the practices of apartheid against the Palestinian people. Since most of the world’s states have signed the Convention Against Apartheid, they are now obliged to act.

Black people are quickly labeled racist any time we raise our voice against white supremacy. It is racism fighting back. It is meant to silence us. We should not openly express what we feel and know. As Black people we should not own our experiences and history. No. We are instead supposed to become complicit in our oppression by attributing our suffering to everything else except white supremacy.

In the four years Uhuru Kenyatta has been in power, the country has accumulated huge debts that will take ages to settle. Official theft of public money stands at a third of the national budget. Kenyatta’s authoritarian tendencies have seen a shrinking of democratic space. Kenya is deeply divided along ethnic lines. As the August elections approach, it is increasingly clear that a new leadership is needed.

Namibia marked its 27th independence anniversary on Tuesday. Despite the government’s populist rhetoric, Namibia remains a rich country with poor people. Redistribution of wealth is mainly limited to a new black elite. These are office bearers, party stalwarts and those with close ties to the state. They thrive through a policy of so-called affirmative action and black economic empowerment.

Rima Khalaf’s resignation, under pressure to suppress factual and legal findings unfavorable to Israel, will send a chilling message to other UN officials that they are better off serving those in power than in upholding any mandate to advance human rights and respect for international law.

De Klerk succeeded in shaping post-apartheid South Africa in deep and fundamental ways. Every policy he spelt out in his 1990 speech has been faithfully followed by successive administrations of the ANC. This is why so many black South Africans feel that their dreams are unrealised. It also explains why there is so much confidence among white racists that their positions of power are untouchable.

World Poetry Day was marked on Tuesday, March 21. Throughout Africa, spoken word art is taking firm roots, especially when it explores social issues. Spoken Word artist Valentine Onyeka Ogunaka aka Brainbox from Nigeria shares his experience.

Rima Khalaf resigned as executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia(ESCWA) after the agency was forced to retract a report stating that Israel is an “apartheid regime.” Khalaf’s letter of resignation to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was translated and posted by poet Lena Khalaf Tuffaha on her Facebook page. Here is that translation:

Popular former President Aristide survived an assassination attempt this week against the backdrop of increased violence in the world’s first black republic. The mandate of the deeply resented UN occupying force MINUSTAH ends in April and is set to be renewed. The violence is orchestrated to justify continued imperialist intervention that benefits foreigners and their local henchmen.

Hundreds of popular organizations, networks and movements of Latin America and the Caribbean launched a Week of Solidarity with Haiti, March 15-22, with a petition demanding the total withdrawal of the troops that occupy that country and closure of the UN Mission (MINUSTAH). They also want the UN to provide reparations for violations and crimes against the Haitian people.

March 21 is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. A notable cultural icon in the struggle against racism is Jamaican reggae artiste Peter Tosh. He was an internationalist and linked the fight of Africans against racism, settler-colonialism and apartheid in Southern Africa with the struggle of the Palestinians against Zionism and Israeli apartheid.

If Steve Biko – the iconic leader of South Africa’s Black Consciousness Movement - were alive today, what would he make of the Afrophobia/xenophobia in South Africa? Would he stridently denounce it – unlike South Africa’s leaders – and seek to foster a new sense of self-love in the transformed slogan: “Black is Beautiful! Be Proud of your Blackness and the Blackness of other Africans!”?

Negotiations did not produce the state of Israel. From 1917 when the Jews procured the dubious Balfour Declaration right up to independence three decades later, the Jews conducted themselves in a manner that could have made the murderers of today’s ISIS and Boko Haram look like saints. So, why do some people encourage Palestinians to embrace negotiations as the way to their freedom?

The racist policies of Israel constitute the internationally recognized crime of apartheid against Palestinians. As was the case for South Africa under minority white supremacist rule, it is imperative to think seriously about the nature of Israel’s constitutional order and about how to deepen anti-racist alliances and solidarities across borders on behalf of the Palestinian people.

Historically, the state is a transient phenomenon. Where are the world’s once great empires? Europe, with just a third of Africa’s population, has produced 23 new states since the late 1980s. There is no point in insisting that the Igbo people, victims of Africa’s worst – and ongoing – genocide, who want their own state, must remain a part of Nigeria.

An American manufactured helicopter attacked a vessel carrying Somalis fleeing from the war-torn state of Yemen killing 42. Somalia supports the US-backed Yemeni regime against the Houthi forces. But it is well known that Yemeni forces and their allies continue to target civilians in the war and prevent the transport of essential goods and services from reaching millions of people inside the country.

Pambazuka News 813: Invasions, protests and fifth columnists 

In order for Africa to assume responsibility for its own transformation and elevation, and be able to undertake self-reliant development and create secure domestic prosperity, it must create its own specific ideology and strategy of self-development. To do this there are 5 irreducible components that have to be designed and put in place.

Security forces shooting dead unarmed protesters, arbitrary arrests, detentions, torture, disappearances, harassment and intimidation are some of the reported human rights abuses that have been continuing for more than four months now in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.

What is the state of activism in Africa today? How effective is activism in bringing about the transformations that are needed to improve the lives of the African people? What should be done better? Pambazuka News invites articles exploring different perspectives on this theme.

Tagged under: 813, Announcements, The Editors

The Rwandan dictator has mastered the philosophy of the big lie: if you keep repeating a falsehood over and over again, people will sooner or later believe it. Kagame has grossly exaggerated his social and economic accomplishments of the past 23 years. He says he has built the Singapore of Africa. In reality, though, Rwanda is the poorest country in East Africa, except for Burundi.

Kenya’s rulers and some elite commentators frame the ongoing occupation of indigenous lands grabbed by colonialists in Laikipia as a criminal invasion of private property by lawless bands of tribal herders. Really? Those white ranches - in land-hungry Kenya, half-a-century into “independence” - are nothing more than ample proof of neocolonialism. The dispossessed indigenous people must take back their land. By any means necessary.

Somalia’s president has declared the famine ravaging the country a national disaster. There has been little response from the world.  Drought is a natural calamity that can happen anywhere, but what makes it more deadly in Somalia is the continued conflict that prevents relief aid from reaching the needy or makes it difficult for affected nomads to travel to other places to find help.

President Donald Trump’s declared agenda is to put America first in world affairs. That seems to have frightened some people as it suggests the so-called leader of the free world is not interested in promoting multilateralism. But, as a matter of fact, when has America ever been interested in internationalism? When has America ever championed interests other than its own?

Not only was she involved in the development of the first national television network in Ghana, Graham Du Bois worked on a high level within the CPP government as an administrator within the state publishing house. She worked directly with President Nkrumah and was a part of his inner circle of advisors.

Israel summoned the South African ambassador for an official reprimand after two SA officials condemned Israeli policies in Palestine. During the Israel Apartheid Week, SA Minister of Water and Sanitation called the Israeli Defence Forces "a murderous machine" and accused Israel of conducting a "water apartheid" against Palestinians. Here is Nomvula Mokonyane's speech:

As the head of Nigeria’s elections body, Prof Attahihu Jega is widely acknowledged to have delivered a credible election, with abiding lessons for Africa. For him, a credible election requires planning, effective organisation, focus, resilience, relative autonomy of the electoral body, as well as its impartiality and integrity.

Last week in six Caribbean countries - Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago - survivors of gender based violence and their supporters took to the streets for International Women’s Day in solidarity with the #LifeInLeggings movement to raise awareness and to demand adequate measures to end the vice.

The National Coalition for Blacks for Reparations in America (NCOBRA) and the Pan-African Institute for the Study of African Societies (PAISAS) have signed an MOU as part of a process of strengthening relations between Africa and its Diaspora. Here is the document:

Morocco’s newfound interest in Africa is linked to NATO’s attack on Africa and the murder of Muammar Gaddafi. NATO’s destruction of Libya completely humiliated the African Union. It tore the heart out of an alternative African future. And left Africa seriously exposed once again to the Western imperial virus: a virus contemporary Morocco carries.

Britain will have no problem explaining to the world why it accepts 5 million Scots to exercise their right to self-determination which could cause the collapse of a union of 310 years of willing partners, but is unrelentingly instrumental in supporting a 51-year-old genocide campaign against 50 million Igbo people, forced into a conquest agglomeration of a “state” created and called Nigeria by Britain, but who, equally as the Scots, want their freedom.



The 13th Israel Apartheid Week continues in Kenya, March 20-25, 2017. The event, organised by Kenya Palestine Solidarity Movement, will feature films, poetry and discussions. In this poem, Shailja Patel shares her thoughts on why Kenyans - and Africans - should support the struggles of the Palestinian people against Israeli apartheid.

Pambazuka News 812: No Revolution without women!

Before the start of a public lecture by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o in South Africa, student activist Kolosa Ntombini requested the renowned Kenyan writer and academic to ask white people in the audience to leave the hall as only black people could meaningfully discuss decoloninization. Kolosa recounts the episode.

As American contradictions get sharper in the coming four years, what is needed is a rich Islamic selfhood that abides by the law of the land, is at ease with quarrelsome heterogeneity, and is confident enough to enter into open, vigorous and respectful dialogue.

It is wrong history to teach that Africa was named by Greeks or Romans when these colonialists illegally occupied this unique continent through aggression and invasion. This was in 332 B.C. until the Roman invasion in 30 B.C. Africa got its name from Africans.

On what would have been indigenous and environmental movement leader Bertha Cáceres' 45th birthday [March 4, 2017], we reproduce this letter from her daughter Laura. Cáceres was assassinated in her native Honduras just before midnight one year and one day ago. Her birthday party had already been planned.

Women played an instrumental role in the formation of the Pan-African Movement and in the national liberation struggles. Inside Africa, women were at the forefront of the independence movement in the areas of mass mobilization, political education, armed struggle and national reconstruction. In the U.S., numerous women provided the impetus for the reemergence of the Civil Rights and Black Power struggles.

What good is Ngũgĩ, revered as a literary great, if he is unable or unwilling to respond to the most basic of decolonial questions: Can the oppressor leave so that the oppressed can engage? The time for grandstanding and sloganeering about decolonization has come to an end. The time for praxis is now.

International presence and pressure is necessary to ensure a fair re-trial, set to continue on March 13, against the Gdeim Izik Group from Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara, who Amnesty International says were “unfairly convicted.” The Group strenuously denies the charges, claim that they are politically motivated, and insist that confessions used at the trial were obtained using torture.

Development capacitation through local resource exploitation, mass industrial production and domestic prosperity-generation is what Africa requires to become the self-actuated mover of its own development  that does not depend on the vagaries of external demand for primary commodities. But sometimes even such initiatives are resisted by anti-African development leaderships.

The business community, oil companies, government officials, residents of Port Harcourt and non-governmental organizations need to come together to find a lasting solution, which borders more on structural and systemic issues associated with the oil and gas capitalist economy than with any flimsy explanation being given.

Despite widespread vociferous opposition by citizens, the government of Somaliland has granted a military base to Abu Dhabi. There is no credible justification for this decision in terms of Somaliland’s national security or economic needs. The decision is one more example of the culture of impunity, entitlement and mendacity of the Kulmiye government.

The Pan-Africanist movement harbours some African men who conceal patriarchal attitudes. These “Man-Africanists” are cancerous to the advancement of the movement that needs to engage in developing new men who are genuinely anti-sexist, anti-heterosexist, empathetic, connected to a radical political concept of self-awareness, and guided by an ethical sense of equality, justice and freedom for all.

A record of some visits, different moments, several episodes, significant speeches, various events and testimonies, as part of the international work of President Chávez to Africa between 2001 and 2013. Download the publication below. 

To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights published its first-ever report on the human rights of African women. The report celebrates important achievements such as provisions on sexual and gender based violence, economic, social and cultural rights and the principle of non-discrimination in constitutions, polices and in legislations across the continent.

Kenya’s much-awaited elections on August 8 have thrown up the usual crowd of crooks in designer suits shouting themselves hoarse with the well-worn promises to deliver a sparkling new nation of milk and honey. It is all nonsense.

In this final essay of a seven-part series, Yash Tandon depicts fascism as a systemic phenomenon arising from the incompatibility of democracy and capitalism. For capitalism to persist, as is the case now, democracy is dispensed with. Hegemonic imperialist powers embody fascism in their relations with the rest of the world. Leaders of African neo-colonies administer the fascist system on behalf of the global corporate and financial fascism.

Western Sahara stands out today as Africa’s last colony, occupied illegally and forcefully by Morocco with the backing of France. Everyday Saharawi people suffer horrendous human rights violations by the occupying power. This is one of the world’s forgotten conflicts. The only peaceful solution is for Morocco to accept the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination.

Government statistics show that Kenya’s public universities and counties are largely ethnic ghettos. The universities are often headed by academics - and have a majority staff - from the ethnic communities where these institutions are located and whose names they bear. Same thing with the country’s 47 devolved units. The names of universities and counties should be changed to de-ethnicize them.

Biafra’s sons and daughters must cease to represent genocidist Nigeria in all conceivable competitions. Never again should we be treated to the grotesque scene of witnessing some Igbo athlete, some Igbo writer, some Igbo academic, appearing at some world stage carrying or wrapping themselves around a Nigerian flag. Enough! Order a Biafran flag for the occasion.

Pambazuka News 811: Exclusion: Afrophobia, war criminals and tribalists

The Tanzanian activists had entered Malawi legally for a cross-learning trip with Malawian colleagues at the defunct Kayekera uranium mine in the Karonga region. Malawian authorities had approved the mission beforehand. The arrest and detention comes at a critical time during Malawi’s own domestic debates about the harmful impacts of mining on local communities.

On January 18, 2017, the regime in Ethiopia signed a Memorandum of Understanding to pay SGR Government Relations, Lobbying (Washington, D.C) $150,000 per month for lobbying services for a total of $1.8 million. Why is the regime in Ethiopia spending so much money to lobby the Trump Administration, when some 20 million Ethiopians are starving?

In Africa the ‘collapse’ of the Soviet block had profound implications. At that time in the late 1980s and early 1990s Africa, and particularly Southern Africa, was involved in a process of decolonization by way of armed struggle, in which the Soviet block played a decisive role.  The contribution of the Soviet block and Cuba to the decolonization of Africa remains a testament to the progress of humankind.

Does the ANC leadership, many of whose members lived in exile in other African countries for many years, bother to tell their stories to the new generation that is growing up in South Africa and who know almost nothing about the role played in the struggle against apartheid by the poor African countries whose people constitute the “immigrants” they now despise and harass?

Zimbabwe is heading to elections next year, but anyone who hopes that the polls will translate into a better life for the majority of the people is deluded. Elections are merely contests for state power and never about finding the best vision and leadership for the country. With the ruling ZANU-PF party determined to remain in power, the likelihood of election-related violence in Zimbabwe is high.

That a government which vigorously campaigned that it would do things differently and was ushered in on the wings of an ear-splitting mantra of change could not put the slightest dent on the acquisitive and thieving tendencies of federal legislators readily explains how deeply ingrained the culture of corruption is in that parliament.

South Africa recently discovered that 17 banks were colluding to manipulate the national currency to make super profits. Often, government officials are part of such scandals. What is needed is a unified, Africa-wide solidarity network from below and beyond borders working together to get governments and institutions to ensure that damaging profiteering is stopped.

The people of Sudan, victims of one of the most murderous regimes in the world today, appear to have been abandoned to the terror of Omer al-Bashir, an indicted war criminal. The Sudanese despot has taken advantage of the vagaries of geopolitics and the so-called war on terror to consolidate his regime and protect himself from international justice. For how long with the Sudanese suffer?

 “The actions by our siblings here in South Africa, particularly in Pretoria, when they target those black persons who are from other parts of the continent, are anti-black actions stemming from self-hatred caused by white supremacy.”

February 27 was the national day of Western Sahara, Africa’s last colony that is illegally and forcefully occupied by Morocco with the support of France. In this interview, Malainin Mohamed (Lakhal), a Saharawi journalist and translator and a member of Saharawi Natural Resource Watch, reflects on his people’s struggle for freedom and the role that Africans and other people in the world should play in solidarity.

A year ago, one of the world’s boldest and loudest woman voices in defense of the rights of indigenous people against capitalist theft and destruction of Our Planet was assassinated by the government of Honduras and a multinational company, with the support of the US. The daughters of Berta Cáceres speak out about their mother’s glorious legacy.

As the IMF discusses a new programme with Mozambique, an important debate with and within the IMF becomes relevant. After the secret debt fiasco, the IMF has the upper hand, but donors and civil society will need to monitor the discussions to ensure that a hard-nosed IMF negotiating team actually follows the new guidelines emerging from Washington.

Xenophobia is fear of strangers. Afrikans cannot be strangers or “foreigners” in Afrika. What is happening in South Africa is an extreme form of an element we can trace in all Black societies across the world: self-hatred expressed as rage against our own. White Supremacy has disempowered the Afrikan being to such levels that it only reacts with violence: Us killing us.

Unity in Rwanda is part of a rehearsed consensus. The government has established a monopoly over the country’s history, to the extent that alternative histories cannot be articulated. Debate about the past is actively policed. The regime’s authoritarian approach has prevented the emergence of potentially more complex identities from below that could form the basis for more inclusive forms of citizenship.

Co-founder of the UNIA-ACL, the first wife of Marcus Garvey worked tirelessly for women’s rights and inter-continental unity from the Caribbean and Central America to the United States, Europe and Africa.

Pambazuka News 810: Overhaul the African Union

 

Tanzania wants compensation from Germany for atrocities committed during colonialism. Colonial authorities under the direction of Karl Peters, the founder of the German East Africa Company, imposed a draconian system of land theft, forced labor, economic exploitation and unjust taxation. Some 75,000 Tanzanians were killed during the Maji Maji rebellion. The African Union should back Tanzania’s demand.

Fadumo Dayib became Somalia’s first woman candidate for the presidency in the recently concluded election. Of course she did not win in the deeply patriarchal society. But her decision is courageous and inspirational. Lots of work needs to be done to disrupt firmly rooted beliefs and practices against women in Somalia.

South Africans who agree that government policies must enjoy popular support, who believe that peace is a desirable value which society ought to collectively and actively aspire towards and who admit the possibility that nuclear technology could be incompatible with the genuine pursuit of peace, should object to the government proceeding with its current nuclear plans without comprehensive public consultation.

Public office in Nigeria is nothing but a feeding trough. This state robbery is not a new phenomenon. It dates back to the colonial period when the political elite who opposed British colonialism saw themselves as heirs to the throne of the departing rulers. After independence, very little was done to shake off the feeling of entitlement and bridge the gap that existed between the rulers and the ruled.

Friday, February 24 is the anniversary of the 1966 coup against leading Pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah. Canada played a key role. Following the coup, the Canadian High Commissioner in Accra C.E. McGaughey, wrote that “a wonderful thing has happened for the West in Ghana and Canada has played a worthy part.”

Morocco is back in the African Union unconditionally while illegally occupying Western Sahara, the continent’s last colony. This raises troubling questions about the Union’s commitment to its own principles. Morocco has no intention of giving up its occupation. Its return to the Union is intended to eventually push Western Sahara out of the AU in connivance with friendly member states and foreign powers, thus silencing the voices of the Sahrawi people .

The fundamental problem of the African Union is ideological. And no one typifies this crisis better than Paul Kagame, the terrifying tyrant and imperialist stooge of Kigali. His new report proposing remedies for reforming the Union belongs in the dustbin. The AU does not need reform. It needs a radical transformation taking it back to its Pan-Africanist roots.

The government of Cameroon must immediately halt the on-going military operations in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, withdraw the army, restore internet services and desist from any further actions that may worsen the human rights plight of the inhabitants of these two regions. On the longer term, it should take steps to address the underlying roots of the conflict.

Fellows earn either a master’s degree or a professional development certificate in peace and conflict studies at one of the Rotary Peace Centers, located within seven leading universities around the world. The over 1000 program alumni are working in over 100 countries as leaders in national governments, NGOs, the military, law enforcement, and international organizations.

In their blind rejection of tragedy, in their fear of that dreadful genre that tells us the truth of our failures as individuals and as a people, in that lack of knowledge that our public lives are doomed to destruction because our private lives are warped, Americans have condemned themselves to an unforgivable innocence. Nowhere is this innocence more clearly revealed than in their foreign policy in the third world.

The 2017 South Africa budget is not redistributive towards the working class nor is it progressive. Rather it is a standard neoliberal budget, delivered by a state that benefits the ruling class – white and black capitalists and top state officials – and that is controlled by that very same class.

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