Nyansapo – Going Back, Giving Back
“If you don’t want to resign yourself to poverty, resign yourself to work” – African Proverb, Hausa
Greetings, I’m back and having been living in Africa (first Nigeria and then Ghana) for almost two months it feels strange, almost alien being in the UK.
If it weren’t for being reunited with my family and friends I can’t in all honestly say that I am happy to be here. Upon my arrival, stories of bomb plots by ‘white’ male supremacists, a predicted 65,000 deaths from an alleged swine flu pandemic, mass unemployment of gifted and talented young people, the continuation of the UK’s racist DNA database policy, all this within moments of walking through my front door. The negativity is relentless, not to mention the sporadic thunder and rain. Our new servers which were just purchased after our last attacks have faced a renewed and sustained assault in my absence meaning both our emails and websites have died and yet again require new purchases.
Yet I am here, not quite home, but where my ‘hat’ is, and after the life enriching experiences I’ve recently had, I can honestly say I have returned with a sharpened personal perspective on Pan Africanism, in terms of practice, reality and solutions.
It’s difficult to know where to start, I don’t know why this trip to Africa was so different from my others but it was. I initially went out planning not only to volunteer my teaching skills but also to write a novel and direct a new film. With hindsight I think I was being way too ambitious! Instead I did neither and ended up meeting numerous priests, teachers and students whilst researching education policy in various schools across Ghana and working full time in the largest hospital in the eastern region repairing and rebuilding its entire ICT infrastructure with a tiny team and few resources apart from our own creativity.
I was not alone, I was privileged to go with a team of volunteers working with the African Development Association for Progress (ADAP) who through the Ghanaian based organisation Matthew 25 organised for us as a team of HIV specialist, ICT consultants, office management personnel and skilled & specialist nurses to collectively do similar invaluable work in different venues across the region. I hope to share more on that in the following weeks to come.
You see, to my mind these volunteering workers who gave up their paid leave to donate their valuable time and skilled labour to benefit Ghana and indeed Africa are heroes. Residing in the UK, coming from Jamaica, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Ghana, I was inspired by these Africans who when normally working in the Diaspora professionally earn money from their experience and skill. What was also so remarkable was that in most cases many of them did not even have an awareness of what Pan Africanism is and yet gave back more to Africa through action, than what many Pan Africanists brag but ultimately fail to do so through incessant talk.
All this has helped me realise that before we even think about honouring true workers like Nkrumah and Garvey we all need to embrace a new attitude towards that what passes as Pan Africanism in the UK today if it is not to become a stale failed vehicle for African progression.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am proud to be a Pan Africanist - but I am not proud of all that is claimed to be said and done in its name. The late great, Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem used to say ‘Organise don't agonise’. He was amongst a breed of activists who did not see African intellectualism as a tool of the elite to engage in heavy political petting and endless meetings of oral masturbation devoid of any hard core action. Like most progressive activists he used his oratory skills to educate, liberate, empower and most importantly move people into action. The human need for perpetual learning does not mean we have to remain motionless on our knees forever begging freedom, giving forgiveness, demanding apologies, seeking reparation whilst fearing ‘god’ and white supremacy.
Good friends of mine who have risked their livelihood to give back to our community are now struggling to make a living due to the overbearing agonising apathy and lack of organisation that has held our community in bondage for far too long. And where there is organisation, too many petty feuds mirroring the postal code madness we accuse our youth of buying into fractures what should be a united and progressive movement. In the past I would claim that most of the beefs were male ego driven, but today I see women from our community also exhibiting the same ego-centric arrogance that is tearing not just our society but also our families apart.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
I recently watched the epic Chinese film Hero again and it reminded me of what happens when competing forces unite and are prepared to sacrifice self for a greater collective good.
From Yaa Asantewaa and Shaka the Zulu king to Almamy Samori Touré, Queen Nzinga, Kwame Nkrumah and Nana of the Maroons, there have been many visionary leaders in our history prepared to defend our land and people at the cost of their own personal popularity. Like punishing an errant child, the work that needs to be done will sometimes seem ugly, but the long term benefits will in itself be the reward if we reject the softly softly diversionary ‘pray for change’, ‘wait for change’, ‘hope for change’ type approaches that have so far failed us for a millennia.
I cried whilst back home in Ghana, but not due to the issues you may think as portrayed by western media. Major scars from historic ethnic conflicts were pretty much healed, I felt safer walking the streets at night than in the UK, but when I thought about the opportunity and comparative wealth we have in the UK and then watched our people suffering unnecessary, that hurt. I witnessed malaria striking down friends I had just made, children in rural areas out of school because teachers were not being paid enough to come, churches preaching salvation whilst exploiting the scarce resources of their own congregations, young people in Accra swapping tradition for western values in a desperate bid of ‘getting paid’.
On many occasions I felt alone, isolated and fighting against waves of hopelessness whilst simultaneously blind to the surrounding sea of love, strength and opportunity. Fortunately when the rain washed away my tears and the sun dried my face and then kissed my skin I awoke spiritually renewed.
So here I am advocating a new assertive posture that moves beyond the populist yet politically paralysing mantra of ‘yes we can’ towards a self affirming, self determining ‘yes we did’. Progressive socialist based Pan Africanism provides that vehicle for change, however for it to be successful it is time for transformation at leadership level. A move away from the over reliance on handouts from government, towards a holistic dependency on resources generated by our own communities.
On the global stage the attempted hijacking of our most progressive ideology by opportunists like flip-flopping Libyan leader, Col Gaddafi and his self serving African Union compatriots has caused much damage. Even on the grass roots level the stale condescending community alienating rhetoric of so called activists whose well meaning fire talk is big on hot air whilst providing little on organisation and substance has left even lil ole indefatigable me tired. Yet we must continue for we cannot drop the baton handed over to us from our Ancestors for the next generation - they deserve better.
So perhaps in these times of so called recession, political instability and state induced perpetual fear it is time for a revaluation of our progress, our direction, our focus. For many years we have been told that we Africans suffer from low self esteem, that the cause of all our problems is a ‘black’ mind set that refuses to aspire to greatness. I would suggest that this is only part of the problem. In my experience there are many of us who have adopted the western L’Oréal ‘I’m worth it’ mantra and at the cost of everyone else have now developed an over-inflated sense of self importance that rejects all constructive criticism.
I would even argue that this narcissistic sense of self is breeding arrogance, selfishness, and a belief that we as individuals are so unique, so much more intelligent than everybody else that we feel almost justified to engage in manipulative behaviour that is not only condescending to our people, but also rendering us unfaithful and incapable of maintaining intimate, let alone political or spiritually healthy relationships with those we claim to love.
So yes we must love ourselves, but not at the cost of looking down on everybody else.
I was recently reading an article about the abuse of female inmates by prison officers, it was tragic reading but out of it shot a sentence that described the supposed ‘freedoms’ we have when living as a member of a minority community in an historically illiberal country like the UK or US. Our current global position was encapsulated by the question “how can you form a consensual relationship with someone who has all the power over you?”
It is a very good question, even back home in Africa, with the help of collaborators the actual power from electric plugs is stolen from our people, alongside water, food, oil, minerals and labour in order to feed the wants of bourgeoisie elite and their partnering western nations. This is not just ancient history, it is happening today. Whilst you read this article online, the average African back home is denied the same opportunity through lack of widespread access to electricity, internet or even modern computers. The absence of funds for schooling fees or life saving medicine that costs less than £1 a day impact on the lives of people I have met and broken bread with using my very own eyes. And yet when you speak to our people back home they are positive, they are forever working, they are determined not to give up.
“how can you form a consensual relationship with someone who has all the power over you?”
Perhaps it is the answer to this that is making me crave home, making me miss the attitude of those back home, and yet perhaps it is the very same answer to that question that makes me who I am, striving to replace that ‘power’ with our own - giving back that which continues to be stolen from us.
So for the moment, here in the Diaspora there is much work to be continued and we will only complete it if we put ego to one side and work selflessly together. A friend of mine recently asked “how can those of us who claim to want to help Mama Africa do so when we aren’t even prepared to do enough to help ourselves over here?”
If this isn’t you then please volunteer, help rebuild our communities whether in Brixton, Bristol, Kingston, Lagos, Moss Side, Hackney, Dakar or Accra.
Even in a recession we have enough collective wealth and skills at our disposal to make a real difference and transform the lives of our families worldwide, if that’s not worth getting organised for- then I don’t know what is.
May the Ancestors guide and protect us. Ase.
African Development Association for Progress
Matthew 25 - Ghana
Ipaja Community Link
Toyin Agbetu is a writer,
film director, poet, and founder of Ligali, the pan African human rights based organisation.
Nyansapo: News and Updates
Nyansapo: The Pan African Drum
The Nyansapo family formally thanks the widely respected community worker and broadcaster Sista C for hosting the Pan African Drum for several weeks throughout 2009.
Our weekly topical community programme continues and will broadcast live every Tuesday from 9pm – 12 midnight.
The Ligali website, forums and radio station are facing a series of technical challenges. We apologise for any inconvenience or down time caused as we carry out essential maintenance work. Donations at this time would be most welcome.
Remember: If you cannot access the Ligali website then the radio show will be available direct by going to http://www.myspace.com/nyansapodrum or clicking the link below;
Giving Voice to the Voiceless
George Jackson, born Sept. 23, 1941, was not quite 30 when he was murdered at San Quentin Aug. 21, 1971, yet his writings from prison had built a large and passionate following. Inside St. Augustine’s Church in West Oakland on the day of his Revolutionary Memorial Service, the first Black August event, were 200 Black Panthers in full uniform, while 8,000 people listened outside, perched on rooftops, hanging from telephone poles and filling the streets. As George’s body was brought out, the people raised their fists in the air and chanted, “Long Live George Jackson.”
by Mumia Abu-Jamal,
Written Aug. 4, 1993
“George Jackson was my hero. He set a standard for prisoners, political prisoners, for people. He showed the love, the strength, the revolutionary fervor that’s characteristic of any soldier for the people. He inspired prisoners, whom I later encountered, to put his ideas into practice. And so his spirit became a living thing.” – from the eulogy by Huey P. Newton, former Minister of Defense, Black Panther Party, at the Revolutionary Memorial Service for George Jackson, 1971 August, in both historic and contemporary African American history, is a month of meaning.
It is a month of repression:
August 1619 – The first group of Black laborers, called indentured servants, landed at Jamestown, Virginia.
Aug. 25, 1967 – Classified FBI memos went out to all bureaus nationwide with plans to “disrupt, misdirect, discredit or otherwise neutralize” Black Liberation Movement groups.
August 1968 – The Newark, New Jersey, Black Panther Party office was firebombed.
Aug. 25, 1968 – Los Angeles BPP members Steve Bartholomew, Robert Lawrence and Tommy Lewis were murdered by the LAPD at a gas station.
Aug. 15, 1969 – Sylvester Bell, San Diego BPP, was murdered by the US organization.
Aug. 21, 1971 – BPP Field Marshall George L. Jackson was assassinated at San Quentin Prison, California. Three guards and two inmate turncoats were killed, three wounded.
August is also a month of radical resistance:
Aug. 22, 1831 – Nat Turner’s rebellion rocked Southampton County, Virginia, and the entire South when slaves rose up and slew their white masters.
Aug. 30, 1856 – John Brown led an anti-slavery raid on a group of Missourians at Osawatomie, Kansas.
Aug. 7, 1970 – Jonathan Jackson, younger brother of Field Marshal George, raided the Marin County Courthouse in California, arming and freeing three Black prisoners, taking the judge, prosecutor and several jurors hostage. All, except one prisoner, were killed by police fire that perforated the escape vehicle. Jon was 17.
And in an instance of resistance and repression:
Aug. 8, 1978 – After a 15-month armed police standoff with the Philadelphia-based naturalist MOVE Organization, the police raided MOVE, killing one of their own in police crossfire, and charging nine MOVE people with murder. The MOVE 9, in prisons across Pennsylvania, are serving up to 100 years each.
August – a month of injustice and divine justice, of repression and righteous rebellion, of individual and collective efforts to free the slaves and break the chains that bind us.
August saw slaves and the grandsons of slaves strike out for their God-given right to freedom, as well as the awesome price, the ultimate price always paid by those who would dare oppose the slave master’s will.
Like their spiritual grandfather, the blessed rebel Nat Turner, those who opposed Massa in this land of un-freedom met murder by the state:
George and Jonathan Jackson, James McClain, William Christmas, Bobby Hutton, Steve Bartholomew, Robert Lawrence, Tommy Lewis, Sylvester Bell – all suffered the fate of Nat Turner, of the slave daring to fight the slave master for his freedom.
© Copyright 2009 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Read Mumia’s brand new book, “Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A.,”
available from City Lights Publishing, www.citylights.com or (415) 362-8193. Keep updated at www.freemumia.com. For Mumia’s commentaries, visitwww.prisonradio.org.
For recent interviews with Mumia, visit www.blockreportradio.com. Encourage the media to publish and broadcast Mumia’s commentaries and interviews. Send our brotha some love and light at: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCI-Greene, 175 Progress Dr., Waynesburg PA 15370.
Bai Bureh (ca. 1840-1908) was a Sierra Leonean ruler and military strategist who led the Temne uprising against the British and the Krios who were thought to have supported the British in Sierra Leone in 1898.
Bai Bureh was born in 1840 in Kasseh, a small village in Port Loko District in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone. His father was a local loko chief, in a village in Port Loko District, and his mother was a Temne woman from Makeni, Bombali District. When Bureh was a young boy, his father sent him to Gbendembu, a small village in Tonkolili District to live with his uncle who was a local warrior. Here Bureh, along with other young boys in the village, learned how to fight from his uncle who was already a local warrior for the village. The young Bureh was given the nickname Kebalai meaning one who never tired of war by the villagers in Gbendembu. When he returned back to Kasseh village from training, he had become a strong man who wanted to protect his homeland, his property and his people.
During the 1860s and 1870's Bureh had become the top warrior of Port Loko District and the entire Northern Province. He successfully fought and won wars against other villagers who were against his plan to establish correct Islamic and indigenous practices throughout the Northern Province of Sierra Leone. After wining his first major war, his popularity spread. The people of the Port Loko district felt they have found a warrior who would defend their land. In 1886, Bai Bureh was crowned as the chief of the entire Port Loko District.
As a ruler, Bureh never wanted to cooperate with the British who were living in the nation's capital Freetown. He refused to recognised the hut tax the British had imposed in 1893 in Sierra Leone. He did not believe the Sierra Leonean people had a duty to pay taxes to foreigners, and he wanted all British to return to Britain and let the Sierra Leoneans solve their own problems. After refusing to pay his taxes on several occasions, the British issued a warrant to arrest Bureh. In 1896 Bureh declared war on British in Sierra Leone. The war later became known as the Hut Tax War of 1898. He brought fighters from several temne villages under his command, as well as fighters from Limba, loko, Soso, Kissi, and Mandingo villages. Bai Bureh's men not only killed the British soldiers, but also killed Krio people such as John 'Johnny' Taylor who was killed in his house because it was thought (by the indigenous people of Sierra Leone)that he supported the British. Bai Bureh war was not only against the British but was also against the Krios who were thought to support the British. He had the advantage over the vastly more powerful British for several months of the war. Despite their arrest warrant, the British forces failed to defeat Bureh and his warriors fighters. Hundreds of British troops were killed, and hundreds of Bureh's fighters also died during the war.
Bai Bureh was finally captured on November 11, 1898 and taken under guard to Freetown, where crowds gathered around his quarters day and night to gain a glimpse of the great man.
The British sent Bai Bureh in exile to the Gold Coast (now Ghana), but brought him back in 1905, reinstating him as the Chief of Kasseh. Bai Bureh died in 1908.
Liberia: Memory And Politics - The TRC Report
A short extract from an article written by Lansana Gberie and published 23 July 2009
You now get the basic idea. In its modern form, Liberia was established by the American Colonization Society (ACS) in 1827 as a colony for American freed slaves. The condition of freed blacks in the United States at the time was both pressing and complex for America's (racist) white masters like Thomas Jefferson, for they amounted to hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Jefferson and his revolutionary colleagues clearly did not envisage that their ideas of independence and liberty, which had led them to revolt against British colonial rule, should extend to their own black population. These leaders thought that the chief solution would be to repatriate the blacks to Africa, where they would live in liberty with themselves. This point has been much stressed by various writers - from the English novelist and travel writer Graham Greene to the Liberian (indigenous) nationalist and academic George Boley, who later emerged as a factional leader during Liberia's recent civil wars, but it surely had been settled over a century ago by that erudite pan-Africanist Edward Blyden. Noting the influential African voices in America who were yearning at the time for a return to Africa, Blyden wrote that while the whites clearly wanted to expel the freed slaves, the Liberian project 'was in harmony with the instincts and desires of the Africans in America'.
The only problem was that by a cruel sub-Freudian dynamic, the 'instincts and desires' of these Africans would come to reflect exactly the pathos and contradictions of the American revolutionaries. In Liberia they replicated the system of servitude they had known in the antebellum South, only this time with themselves as masters and the majority indigenous Africans as virtual slaves. This is hardly surprising: the classical writers of ancient Greece and Rome, the world's first organised slave societies, had thousands of years ago postulated something about the 'slave mentality', the idea that a slave remains a slave even when freed, because the mind remains shackled and conditioned by an experience which makes freedom meaningful only if it exists side-by-side with servitude. This is Liberia's foundational deformity, if you will, and it is why post-war Liberia today is burdened by a very special anxiety, the fear that it is relapsing into that condition against which the struggles of the late 1970s, the nihilistic coup of 1980, and the subsequent collapse into bloody anarchy was triggered.
That anxiety is most clearly expressed in the TRC report released early in July, the month that Liberia celebrated its 163th year as a republic, making it the oldest in Africa. The TRC had been established by the Act of the Legislature in 2005, and in the course of its ponderous work collected more than 20,000 statements from victims as well as alleged perpetrators during the country's nearly 15 years of brutal civil war over the period 1989-2003. The commission was mandated to inquire into Liberia's tragic past from as far back as January 1979 - the final year of Americo-Liberian rule, and 10 years before the war began - to 14 October 2003, the day of the inauguration of the transitional government which replaced Charles Taylor's rule. This time-span was a compromise reflecting a fundamental Liberian problem, the fact that the tiny-but-still-powerful Americo-Liberian elite tend to view the crisis of state collapse and violence as beginning with the coup of 1980, which overthrew William Tolbert, the last of Americo-Liberian oligarchs.
Read More >> http://allafrica.com/stories/200907230944.html
We Remember... Donna O'Dwyer
In September 1995, Peter Thurston, 34, a British Telecom engineer was jailed for life for firebombing his neighbours and causing the death of Donna O'Dwyer, 26.
Thurston had hurled a petrol bomb into the flat four floors above his own where a party was being held with the intention of silencing the party goers. At his trail the court was told how Thurston had appeared at the front door dressed as a terrorist in dark clothes and a face mask with slits for his eyes dressed in a way "deliberately designed to terrify". Holding an imitation machine gun, he kicked a petrol bomb into the hall and shouted "this is for you". He then cut the electricity plunging the flat into darkness causing terror and panic.
Over forty or so party-goers smashed windows as they struggled for air. Donna O'Dwyer, the mother of a young son, climbed out of the window and lost her grip on the ledge. She fell 13 floors to her death.
Thurston, a father-of-two was an ex National Front members and owning a collection of nazi paraphernalia. However despite the fact that he specifically targeted African people the court claimed that Thurston’s act was not racially motivated.
The murderous BT Engineer from Leyton, east London was convicted of murder, arson and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
|We Remember... Anthony Walker
On 30th July 2005, Anthony Walker, 17 was murdered by racist thugs who put an ice axe in his skull. In a totally unprovoked attack, Michael Barton, began using the n word and hurling other racist abuse at Anthony, his cousin and girlfriend who were waiting for a bus.
The three walked away from the abuse without retaliating, but the gang of up to four europeans caught up with them after laying an ambush and began to physically assault Anthony. The young Africans girlfriend and cousin ran to get help but by the time they returned it was too late. Barton’s friend Paul Taylor drove a mountaineering axe into the skull of Anthony with such force that the adze end was embedded 6cm into his skull.
We Remember.. Joy Gardner
Deportation police from the SO1(3) squad arrived at the north London home of Joy Gardner in the early hours of the morning of 8 July 1993. In front of her 5-year-old son, they held her down to stop her struggling and placed a body belt around her waist, bound her wrists to handcuffs attached to a belt and tied her thighs and ankles with leather belts. They then wrapped 13 feet of tape around her mouth to stop her screaming. She was taken to hospital in a coma from which she never recovered.
Ayanna Black was born in Jamaica, and lived in England for several years before emigrating to Canada in 1964. Her work has been anthologized in Canada and in the Caribbean. She is one of the founding members of Tiger Lily, Canada's first magazine by women of colour as well as CAN:BAIA (Canadian Artists' Network: Black Artists in Action) from the early '90s, as well as a writer and poet who published anthologies of African-Canadian writers, Ayanna was very committed to creating spaces for artists who are often pushed to the side. She also contributed to the Fuse magazine, writing on cultural, social and political issues. She conducted poetry workshops in schools, and has given readings in major cities in Canada, the U.S, England, and Italy.
Ayanna Black peacefully crossed over to the Ancestors, peacefully on July 21, 2009 at her residence after a long illness, during which she was lovingly cared for by her partner Eckehard. She will be sadly missed by relatives and her friends in the art and medical communities. A Celebration of Ayanna's Life will be held on Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 11 a.m. in the Chapel of Cardinal Funeral Homes, 366 Bathurst St. (near Dundas). Cremation has taken place. Memorial donations may be made to Women's Art Resource Centre (W.A.R.C.). Online condolences may be made at cardinalfuneralhomes.com
Comments and Feedback
As an African living in the States, I have decided to bring to your knowledge, what has been seen as the resurgence of Supremacist media in American.
Ordinarily, last years' election of President Barack Obama was seen the World over as a transcension of racism. Well, that has not quite been the case. Altitude, they say die hard. For sometime now, the subtlety of institutionalized racism took a turn for the worst following the passing to glory of Michael Jackson. Never speak ill of the dead for in them lies the mirror of life, says an African proverb. It takes a well cultured society to note this. But the trash here has little regard for the dead.
Since Michael Jackson's death, the media here has gone off limits. From the simple truth to the most outrageous lies and from facts to plain nonsensical fictions, his image is demonized. Understandably, Michael was an African American who evolved from an unjust and imperfect system into the enviable heights of rarefied stardom. As a human, he may have had his own shortcomings but his outstanding contributions and achievements on the global scale of popular culture, far outweighed his shortcomings! Unfortunately, American mainstream media has refused to accept this. To them, for a blackman to take music, which to them is their exclusive preserve, to such a global scale is just not acceptable. Infact, in Michael they still see the image of a demeaning "Negro for Sale" that donned the pages of their media in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. How can such an image transcends time to dominate us? Instead, they sing Elvis Presley's praises even when they know that both are imcomparable.
And as this media demonification increases, Michael's kids have become objects of public punching as all manners of accusations are levied against them. This is a country that brags about child's right to the World. Besides, when Princess Diana died in an adulterous circumstances in 1997, the children were not shreded by the media as they are doing to Michael's kids.
It is indeed, very painful to sit by and watch the media tarnish, destroy and ridicule such a great man on account of his colour.
Thanks and I hope this will find a spot in your monthly publications.
Helen Veale and EHRC boss Trevor Phillips OBE
Phillips retains command of inept equality body as resignations increase following corruption
The Equality and Human Rights Commission, headed by Trevor Phillips OBE, has been criticised for re-hiring redundant staff as consultants. The practice which saw the EHRC fail its audit for having made £323,708 of unauthorised payments to former colleagues of Phillips is now plagued with instability and doubts about its integrity and future direction. The commission and its leader have come under sustained fire after a sixth commissioner resigned in opposition to Phillips recent reappointment by government minister Harriet Harman.
It has been reported that close friend and corrupt government minister “Peter Mandelson tried to persuade equality champion Trevor Phillips to quit by making him a Minister as ‘compensation’… Deputy Prime Minister Harriet Harman was also said to be involved”.
Speaking to the press Harman defended reappointing Phillips to his £110,000 per year, three and a half days a week job. She denied being a close friend of the controversial commentator and said "Trevor Phillips has been a long-standing champion for equality… I have full confidence now that he is going to put the Commission on a proper footing and it will face outwards and champion those issues which are so important to so many people, which is equality and fairness.”
The government funded equalities body as failed to tackle any substantive entrenched issues of discrimination facing African people since its inception. Activists say that the body through blasé comments made by its head Trevor Phillips have actually served to make matters worse and reduce social mobility for those plagued with ethnicity based socio-political inequality. The commissions shift away from equality legislation to ‘fairness’ which has no basis in law has left million of vulnerable people more open to abuse.
Mandelson promised Trevor ministerial post
Moi Ali on Phillips and EHCR
Mail - Trevor fights ageism rant
British media labels US President a ‘prat’ over racist arrest
Damian Thompson the Blogs Editor of the anti-African Telegraph Media Group is one of many commentators leading an attack against President Obama on the basis of his ethnicity. Obama had recently commented about the stupidity of the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates for disorderly conduct in his own house by police officer, Sgt James M Crowley. The veteran African American scholar is well known for his work on African history and is seen by many within the euro-American community as a ‘radical’ despite his community standing as a moderate. At a recent press release Obama suggested that the officer acted ‘stupidly’ for arresting Gates after he had produced evidence that he was not in fact, breaking into his own home. The officer apparently then refused to give Gates his name and badge number and subsequently handcuffed and arrested the professor for his irate behaviour. The charges were later dropped.
Obama is recently facing much global criticism for his series of condescending speeches to African people. His first talk in Ghana and then at a recent NAACP meeting has met resistance from many of his African supporters worldwide.
His decisions to continue the war in Afghanistan, failure to halt Israeli aggression, support for continued resource raiding of Africa, and attempt to force through a universal domestic health policy in the US has meant he is starting to experience a serious wane in popularity.
This incident with the arrest of Gates has sparked a ‘racial’ argument across the United States. Racists are arguing the President should not have commented on the matter, a view supported by the aging entertainer Bill Cosby who on Boston’s WZLX radio said; “If I’m the president of the United States, I don’t care how much pressure people want to put on it about race, I’m keeping my mouth shut.”
His view is supported by many anti-Africans across the world. A key component of Obama’s election policy was his deliberate decision not to refer to racism in a so called ‘post-racial America’. His election was promoted as the end of the glass ceiling for African Americans and evidence of Martin Luther King’s ‘dream’ come true.
The majority of euro-Americans are now calling on the President to apologise for his comments against police abuse of power and racial profiling. The irony of the matter is that most of the same people in opposition agree that this arrest would never of occurred if the police had stormed the house of Bill Gates instead of Henry Louis Gates. Obama has since phoned officer Crowley, and publicly expressed regret for creating "an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge police department or Sergeant Crowley specifically”.
Telegraph - Obama - Prat over Gates
Boston News - Should Prez get involved
Examiner - Sgt Crowley should have known better
Obama acts to defuse police race row
Police pay damages after IPCC whitewash proved bogus
The metropolitan police were forced to pay an African family substantive damages after it was proven officers had lied about criminal behaviour despite the Independent Police Complaints Commission clearing them of misconduct.
An African family wrongly prosecuted for assault after the father was falsely accused of drug dealing by the British police;outside a London theatre has won "substantial" damages and an apology from Scotland Yard, four years after the case collapsed. The Met commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, agreed for a payout to O'Neil Crooks, 45, his son Divanio, 25, his wife Patricia and a family friend, Yasmin Adbi.
The encounter, which led to Crooks, his son and Abdi facing charges of threatening behaviour and assault, occurred in 2005 in front of performers and production members of the musical Big Life at Apollo theatre in the West End.
Bill Kenwright, the musical's backer, paid for the family's legal fees after it became clear that a great injustice had taken place after one of the officers struck out at the innocent family with her baton claiming she was assaulted by Adbi. Mrs Crooks, who is partially disabled, was injured.
The Guardian Newspaper reports - When the police approached the two men they encountered general incredulity bordering on derision, and observers say this seemed to make things worse. Mr Crooks eventually told the officers to "f**k off" but also sought to calm the situation, offering his wrists for handcuffing so the matter could be resolved elsewhere. In the event he was forcibly handcuffed, and when Divanio came around the corner and saw his father being detained, he joined the melee, as did Yasmin Adbi, the family friend. Ms Empson's statement talks of officers being "intimidating". She says that as the arrests occurred, "the crowd was outraged. People were saying things like 'Let him go' and 'He went to see the show'."
Ms Horlock recalls an officer behaving in "a very aggressive manner", adding: "I was appalled by the unnecessary escalation of the situation". She notes that "all the people the police had accused of drug dealing were black and that I was not asked for my name or asked by the police if I was dealing in drugs". The three defendants were released after six hours, having been charged with causing a disturbance, and went straight back to the Apollo.
"Divanio wanted to just pay a fine but I knew that would mean he would have a record," Mr Crooks recalls. "I told him we have been accused as a family and we will stick together as a family.
"We had no money for lawyers and the charges meant we could not get legal aid. So I headed for Brixton library and started reading about the offences we had been charged with. I also started going to Camberwell magistrates court to see what I had learned being put into action."
Six witness accounts, including three from cast members, challenged the lying officer's version of events. The only independent police witness failed to show up during the case, and the Crown Prosecution Service identified one of the four officers involved as an unreliable witness.
O'Neil said he would not give up the fight because of his son Divanio;
"I was one of many beaten up by the police when I was younger. When you are young and naive you accept these things. My son is a different generation. What prospects will he have if every time he goes out he is accused of being a drug dealer or has to face being hassled?"
The case provides much insight into the manner in which the police cover up abuse by racist officers. The department of professional standards which investigated the CPS allegation that one of the offices was an "unreliable" witness concluded that “this claim was unfounded". However most revealingly of all, an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into the arrests concluded there were "no criminal or misconduct offences for officers to answer".
The IPCC has a long history of protecting corrupt police officers. The police watchdog has been plagued with complaints from the public providing evidence of its deliberately botched investigations as well as resignations from key staff citing corrupt and incompetent leadership.
As well as the family receiving an undisclosed amount of compensation, all fingerprints, DNA evidence and photographs taken at the time will be destroyed.
Louis Charalambous, the solicitor who represented the Crooks and Miss Abdi, added: "Despite an IPCC report into this incident that ruled overwhelmingly in favour of the police, the Crooks family and Miss Abdi have at last received vindication. After four years of seeking redress, they can finally move on with their lives."
Family wrongly accused outside West End theatre wins police damages
I wanted to show my son that you have to stand up for yourself in the right way
Britain to track slavery money
Published: Sunday | August 2, 2009
THE BRITISH government has earmarked over £600,000 for the University College London (UCL), to carry out an in-depth study to measure how monies accrued from the slave trade were spent.
The study will look into those British companies and institutions established from the profits of slavery. The government has said that the study should highlight how the owners were involved and how they contributed to the provision of social services.
University of the West Indies (UWI) professor of history, Verene Shepherd, has hailed the development as encouraging. "This major project has the potential to add strong support to the reparation movement," Shepherd said. She added: "It will place the matter of culpability for African enslavement - that great crime against humanity - squarely on the table and will allow an unambiguous naming of those who benefited from the labour and productive skills of enslaved Africans in the Caribbean."
Meanwhile, another UWI professor, Barry Chevannes, who is chairman of the National Commission on Reparations, told The Sunday Gleaner that he was looking forward to the research. "It is an exciting piece of research. It is the kind of study which will certainly enrich the work of the commission and something that we will be very interested in," Chevannes told The Sunday Gleaner.
But Government minister Mike Henry, a champion in the fight for reparation, is not salivating at the grant by the British government to research the beneficiaries of the slave trade. "It is a sleight-of-hand approach,"
Henry told The Sunday Gleaner. "They already know who are the beneficiaries of the slave trade. They have enough material to show who benefited. This money should go towards paying the descendants of the slaves, rather than studying to escape the responsibility, or to reduce what they must be asked to pay," Henry added.
Henry said that up to last week, he discussed the matter with an international lawyer and he intended to pursue the issue of slavery and reparation at the International Court of Justice.
Please can you sign our petition and pass this on to those who are willing to support independent learning ( home education). Our liberty and choice is at risk ,this includes all parents with children. If the government start with regulating in dependant learners and facilitators ( home educationists)Who's children are achieving, are happy and contented, then they will then be looking at all parents with children across the UK.The law already exists if there is a need to intervene, but the government and services want more legislation, regulation and are taking a sledge hammer to a nut approach.This will be the third review and consultation in less than four years. This has increased the paper work for parents who just want to get on and facilitate their children's learning.
The petition was created by Lynn Daley and reads:
'We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Reject the
Report to the Secretary of State on the Review of Elective Home
Education in England by Graham Badman.'
Your support would be gratefully received
Please can you send this on to everyone that you know. It's important that all people who are willing to support independence and an individual approach to learning step up and help us.
Black and Other UK Home Educators
The Pan African World
Mohammad Yusuf: Boko Haram
Nigerian government executes islamic cult leader while in custody
Mohammad Yusuf, the charismatic leader of the islamic cult Boko Haram was killed by Nigerian police after his sect attempted to replace the western cultural influence in Nigeria with one based on sharia law using force.
Between 300-600 Africans were killed and thousands displaced after Mohammad Yusuf's following of African muslims attacked churches, innocent people and police stations. The Islamic cult caused much terror and civil unrest whilst installing several mosques across the northern region.
In an early interview with the BBC, Yusuf said he believed western-style education was contrary to Islam and "spoils the belief in one God". Yusuf continued: "Like rain. We believe it is a creation of God rather than an evaporation caused by the sun that condenses and becomes rain. Like saying the world is a sphere. If it runs contrary to the teachings of Allah, we reject it. We also reject the theory of Darwinism."
Nigeria’s Muslim president, Umaru Yar'Adua ordered nigerian forces to defend against the jihad (holy war) being waged against the neo-colonial Nigerian state, and an army crackdown proceeded bloodily in Borno, Bauchi, Kano and Yobe states.
Yusuf was eventually captured by Nigerian forces on 30 July 2009 and illegally executed after a video tape of him was made of him pleading for his life. His murder is widely condemned and recognised as an attempt to circumvent Nigeria’s judicial process that is sadly, endemically corrupt.
Mohammed Yusuf is said to have been born on January 29, 1970 in Girgir village, Jakusko Local Government Area of Yobe State in Northern Nigeria. He was married to four wives and had 12 children. Yusuf founded Boko Haram in 2002.
The Borno police commissioner, Christopher Dega, said that people should return to their daily business, but to "be vigilant and watch out" for any remaining militants.
Nigeria's Information Minister Dora Akunyili told reporters that how Yusuf had died was "a big issue to the good people of this country because Nigeria believes in the rule of law, Nigeria believes in fundamental human rights being respected".
L’Oréal guilty of racial discrimination
The French cosmetics giant, L’Oréal, was found guilty of racial discrimination by La Cour de Cassation (France’s highest court) after considering African and other non european women unworthy of selling its products. The racist organisation had had sought an all-european team of sales staff to promote Fructis Style, a haircare product made by Garnier, L’Oréal’s beauty division. The organisation has a history of anti-African discrimination and last year L’Oréal executives were exposed after it was revealed they had electronically whitened the singer Beyoncé Knowles’s skin for a product campaign.
The court ruled that Adecco, the temporary recruitment agency who used a coded BBR — “bleu, blanc, rouge” (the colours of the French flag) when hiring promotion staff for the firm was also guilty of racial discrimination. Both L’Oréal and Adecco were fined €30,000 (£25,500) and ordered to pay a further €30,000 each in damages to SOS Racisme, the anti-racist campaign group, which brought the case. The court upheld the fines but told the appeal court judges to reconsider the damages.
French cosmetics giant L’Oréal guilty of racial discrimination
President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and former US President George W. Bush at the White House - 13 December 2007
DEEPENING DEMOCRACY: Gagging order
Author: Jibrin Ibrahim, Director of Centre for Democracy and Development
July 17, 2009 10:23
We were at Kagoro Town in Kaduna State on Saturday 11th (July 2009) for a public lecture organised by the “Movement for a Better Future” and the theme was “Corruption and the Crisis of Development”. The lecturers invited for the event were Professor Sam Egwu of the University of Jos, Father Mathew Kukah of the Catholic Church and Dr Kayode Fayemi of Action Congress.
The venue was however sealed by a team of 30 policemen under the command of one Divisional Police Officer Attahiru who informed us that the Kaduna State police commissioner had directed that we should not be allowed to discuss corruption. We drew his attention to our constitutional rights of freedom of association and speech to no avail. DPO Attahiru argued that we did not have a police permit to organise a public lecture.
This was surprising because the Court of Appeal had in December 2007 nullified the provisions of the Public Order Act in the case of the Inspector General of Police versus the All Nigeria Peoples’ Party. The ruling was clear that Nigerians do not require the consent of the police to assemble and to discuss. DPO Attahiru however stuck to his guns and refused access to the hall.
It turned out that the police and the state security service have been calling and harassing the organisers of the event. They insisted that the lecture should be cancelled because the state government was worried about the security implications of a public debate on corruption. This is surprising as the government has repeatedly proclaimed its commitment to the war against corruption. How can a lecture discussing the evils of corruption in Kaduna State and calling for a concerted struggle against corruption be a threat to security?
A statement had been published in the front page of New Nigerian Newspapers of Friday, July 10, 2009 credited to Tambari Yabo Muhammad, police commissioner,
'Kaduna State command warning citizens of Kaduna State that he had information some politicians were holding clandestine meetings without recourse to provisions of the Public Order Act CAP 382 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Penal Code of Northern Nigeria’. Based on this assertion,
Mr. Muhammad warned that ‘the command would arrest and prosecute anybody who ran afoul of the law’.
It is tragic that the rights of Nigerians affirmed by the courts can be withdrawn by the Kaduna State police commissioner. It was clear that the police command was acting on the orders of the state government because for 24 hours, announcements were run at intervals of 15 minutes on the Kaduna State owned radio station, KSMC, claiming the public lecture had been postponed.
The interesting question was why the Kaduna State government was so frightened of a public debate on corruption. The issue it appears was that the Movement for a Better Future had over the past one year been generating public debates all over the state on the basis of the rising profile of revenues accruing to the state and local governments and the rising poverty levels. The police were therefore called in to stop citizens of Kaduna State discussing how their money was being spent.
Citizens are however not docile. Cell phones were put to effective use to inform citizens that the lecture would hold and that the radio announcements on the postponement were fakes. A large crowd gathered for the lecture and since the hall had been sealed the lecture started in the football field in front of the town hall.
Given the fact that many senior citizens had turned up for the lecture, the authorities of the Catholic Seminary, Madakiya offered their hall as an alternative venue. About 150 people participated in the debate that followed the lectures by Sam Egwu, Usman Bugaje and I. It was chaired by Bawa Magaji.
In the dark days of the Abacha regime, concerted efforts were made to deny Nigerians the freedom of association and speech. It cannot be allowed that under a democratic dispensation, the attempts to deny us our rights can continue. The police and the state security service must respect our laws and defend the rights of citizens.
As we move closer to the 2011 elections, the temptation for state governors to use security forces and state media to harass perceived enemies increases. Vigilance and determination in the protection of the democratic rights of citizens is imperative. When we review the historical trajectory of the growth of democracy in the world, the powers that be never gave citizens their rights. Citizens fought for, won and exercised their rights. The struggle continues.
The VOICE Online on Felix Otto's Imprisonment:
The Campaign for the Immediate Freedom of Felix Otto from Deportation Prison
Why Felix Otto Is In Prison: A Thesis on Colonial Injustice and Crimes Against Humanity in Germany
For many people living outside of Europe or the United States, countries like Germany are all too often seen as a sort of paradise, a place where human rights and dignity are respected and where people are entitled to the basic amenities of a right to life (access to employment, education, housing, basic social services, etc.). Moreover, the idea is both understood and propagated that, contrary to many countries of Africa, Asia or Latin America, all people are treated equally and discrimination, if it exists, is kept to a minimum.
In fact, laws even exist on a European level which make discrimination of people based on their race or heritage, among other aspects, a violation of both European and, as a result, national law. Even the very first article of Germany's national constitution states, "Human dignity is unassailable…"
Yet as millions of people from all over the world have come to realize, the promise of rights and dignity have proven to be nothing more than a bitter illusion; yet another lie, another broken promise in a long chain of abuses and injustices which have characterized the relationship between Europe and the United States with the rest of the world.
For instance, Germany is considered to be a country which supposedly represents both the best and worst of Europe; worst for its role in the Holocaust and the targeted elimination of millions of human beings throughout the European Continent and best for having overcome that legacy, confronted its past and created a new role for itself as a primary defender of human rights throughout the world.
Yet as we will see in the article below, either these principles are simply not applied or, as in the case of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, certain groups of people were not the intended beneficiary of such efforts at ensuring that the dignity and humanity of all human beings be respected as unassailable.
In this particular case we will be focusing on the issue of Residenzpflicht, also known as the Obligatory Residence Law. On the books since 1982, Germany is currently the only European country to apply this law to asylum-seekers. Much more than a law to determine the residence of asylum-seekers, Residenzpflicht is used as a weapon of repression to control the movement of asylum-seekers and ensure that they remain intimidated into staying in their designated places of residence or be punished for not doing so.
One example is the case of Felix Otto. Otto is an African asylum-seeker from Cameroon.
Full Text: >>> http://thevoiceforum.org/node/1341
A 'beer summit' to tackle the serious issue of racism in US Police force
Anger Has Its Place
By BOB HERBERT
August 1, 2009
No more than five or six minutes elapsed from the time the police were alerted to the possibility of a break-in at a home in a quiet residential neighborhood and the awful clamping of handcuffs on the wrists of the distinguished Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
If Professor Gates ranted and raved at the cop who entered his home uninvited with a badge, a gun and an attitude, he didn’t rant and rave for long. The 911 call came in at about 12:45 on the afternoon of July 16 and, as The Times has reported, Mr. Gates was arrested, cuffed and about to be led off to jail by 12:51.
The charge: angry while black.
The president of the United States has suggested that we use this flare-up as a “teachable moment,” but so far exactly the wrong lessons are being drawn from it — especially for black people. The message that has gone out to the public is that powerful African-American leaders like Mr. Gates and President Obama will be very publicly slapped down for speaking up and speaking out about police misbehavior, and that the proper response if you think you are being unfairly targeted by the police because of your race is to chill.
I have nothing but contempt for that message.
Mr. Gates is a friend, and I was selected some months ago to receive an award from an institute that he runs at Harvard. I made no attempt to speak to him while researching this column.
The very first lesson that should be drawn from the encounter between Mr. Gates and the arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley, is that Professor Gates did absolutely nothing wrong. He did not swear at the officer or threaten him. He was never a danger to anyone. At worst, if you believe the police report, he yelled at Sergeant Crowley. He demanded to know if he was being treated the way he was being treated because he was black.
You can yell at a cop in America. This is not Iran. And if some people don’t like what you’re saying, too bad. You can even be wrong in what you are saying. There is no law against that. It is not an offense for which you are supposed to be arrested.
That’s a lesson that should have emerged clearly from this contretemps.
It was the police officer, Sergeant Crowley, who did something wrong in this instance. He arrested a man who had already demonstrated to the officer’s satisfaction that he was in his own home and had been minding his own business, bothering no one. Sergeant Crowley arrested Professor Gates and had him paraded off to jail for no good reason, and that brings us to the most important lesson to be drawn from this case. Black people are constantly being stopped, searched, harassed, publicly humiliated, assaulted, arrested and sometimes killed by police officers in this country for no good reason.
New York City cops make upwards of a half-million stops of private citizens each year, questioning and frequently frisking these men, women and children. The overwhelming majority of those stopped are black or Latino, and the overwhelming majority are innocent of any wrongdoing. A true “teachable moment” would focus a spotlight on such outrages and the urgent need to stop them.
But this country is not interested in that.
I wrote a number of columns about the arrests of more than 30 black and Hispanic youngsters — male and female — who were doing nothing more than walking peacefully down a quiet street in Brooklyn in broad daylight in the spring of 2007. The kids had to hire lawyers and fight the case for nearly two frustrating years before the charges were dropped and a settlement for their outlandish arrests worked out.
Black people need to roar out their anger at such treatment, lift up their voices and demand change. Anyone counseling a less militant approach is counseling self-defeat. As of mid-2008, there were 4,777 black men imprisoned in America for every 100,000 black men in the population. By comparison, there were only 727 white male inmates per 100,000 white men.
While whites use illegal drugs at substantially higher percentages than blacks, black men are sent to prison on drug charges at 13 times the rate of white men.
Most whites do not want to hear about racial problems, and President Obama would rather walk through fire than spend his time dealing with them. We’re never going to have a serious national conversation about race. So that leaves it up to ordinary black Americans to rant and to rave, to demonstrate and to lobby, to march and confront and to sue and generally do whatever is necessary to stop a continuing and deeply racist criminal justice outrage.
Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
Global Afrikan Congress
Global Afrikan Congress - Press Release
Call for Reparations in response to the UN World Conference Against Racism Review
The Global Afrikan Congressuk (GACuk) is calling for Reparations for the crimes against humanity that have been committed against Afrikan people for over 500 years – chattel enslavement which the West used as finance for their development; direct colonial rule that destroyed Afrika’s natural nation states and directed the development of the continent in a way that was beneficial for the West, with the negative consequences for Afrika still reverberating to this day; the continuing imperialism which includes an unequal international economic order that prevents Afrika from meeting the needs of its people; the racism Afrikan people living in the UK face – which has its roots in all the aforementioned.
Reparations are not just about money to individuals descended from the victims of these crimes against humanity. It means a restructuring of the international system to include equal terms of trade, an end to the so called third world debt, an end to the deliberate destabilizing of particular Afrikan nations rich in natural wealth via the arms trade, and the calling to account of the Multinational Corporations and their practices within Afrika. In the UK, Reparations will involve an end to all forms of racism, which is reflected in the data that shows us Afrikan people are 8 times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police, 70% of Afrikan youth in London have their DNA profiles on record and Afrikan youth are more likely to be incarcerated in prison or a youth offending institution than in university. Other data demonstrates that Afrikan people are the ethnic group that fare the least well within the UK.
GACuk attended the UN World Conference Against Racism Geneva Review from 19th to 24th April 09, and have met with UK Government representatives to discuss our demand for Reparations. On Wednesday 17th June, we met with the Head of the Equality and Communication team representing the UK Government at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. At the meeting, the Government representative was unable to tell us what the British Government had done in response to the Durban Review Conference document or the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action (2001). This had also been the case at the Geneva Review Conference. The point of the Geneva Review Conference had been for Governments such as the UK to state what they had achieved. This would have involved the UK Government reporting on the world stage the steps it had taken to combat racism in the UK since the Durban Conference in 2001. The fact that they have been unable to report anything indicates that they have achieved nothing. This is despite the fact that the British Government signed up to the Durban Declarations and Programme of Actions agreements in 2001, which included the deliverance on Reparations.
Members of Parliament who have supported our campaign put forward the following EDM:
That this House recognises the importance of the forthcoming Durban Review Conference to be held in Geneva in April 2009; recalls the declaration of the World Conference Against Racism held in Durban in 2001 which emphasised the importance of the provision of effective remedies, recourse, redress, and compensatory and other measures at the national, regional and international levels, aimed at countering the continued impact of slavery and the slave trade; and urges the Government to support proposals at the Review to ensure that the recommendations of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action are put into practice.
A number of MPs from across the political parties have signed, and we are expecting many others to.
GACuk are now in the process of reporting back to the Afrikan community in the UK, and is initiating an international process of educating people on the Durban Declaration Plan of Action, what Reparations means and its importance to Afrikan people worldwide.
For further info contact GACuk’s Press Officer Funmi Alder – 07958 685 239 MediaGACuk@aol.com or GACuk’s General Secretary Glenroy Watson - 07956 133 450 SecretaryGACuk@aol.com
International Website: www.globalafrikancongress.org
700,000 Caribbean slavery records online
VIRGIN Islands Social History Associates (VISHA) has launched, in collaboration with Ancestry.co.uk, an online collection of almost 200 years of Caribbean slave history from the St. Croix-Virgin Island.
The U.S. Virgin Islands St. Croix Slave Lists (1772-1821) and Population Census (1835-1911), contain information on more than 700,000 slaves, owners and family members.
These records will be added to the comprehensive collection of slavery records available at Ancestry.co.uk, which include the Slave Registers of Former British Colonial Dependencies, 1812-1834. These registers form the definitive collection of slave records for 17 former colonies, listing the details for more than 2.7 million slaves and 280,000 slave owners. The 17 former colonies are Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Berbice, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Dominica, Grenada, Honduras (Belize), Jamaica, St Kitts & Nevis, the British Virgin Islands, St Lucia, Trinidad, Tobago, St Vincent and Mauritius.
The new collection is a result of the St. Croix African Roots Project, initiated in 2002 by VISHA to bring together records that document the population, families and individuals on St. Croix during the period of Danish rule.
Traditional Voices, Spoken Words
Poetry / Spoken Word
The Ligali Organisation is still seeking poems that have most moved you or you feel best reflects our own cultural, political and spiritual beliefs. It doesn't have to be formal prose, lyrics from a song or spoken word performance are all eligible. Please email the words and name of the artist to email@example.com with the subject heading 'Poetry'.
"the writer cannot be a mere storyteller; he cannot be a mere teacher; he cannot merely X-ray society's weaknesses, its ills, its perils. He or she must be actively involved in shaping its present and its future." -
Ken Saro-Wiwa (1941-1995)
We are created in the image of the One who created us and the World:
Therefore truly natural, pure, beautiful and powerful
Therefore having the ability to know that attempts to destroy us and the world is impossible and will not be achieved.
Therefore having the ability to never being afraid
Therefore having the ability to achieve what we want
Therefore having the ability to accept that everything happens for a reason
Therefore having the ability to accept that nothing happens before the time
Therefore having the ability to rebuild our families
Therefore having the ability to recreate our communities
Therefore having the ability to unite wherever we live in the world
Therefore having the strength to develop our own institutions
Therefore having the ability to also reconstruct a United States of Afrika
Therefore being free to represent who we are, with dignity and peace anywhere we are in the world, because …
… A Race with power and authority is a Race with respect!
NiA Training & Counselling Services
PO Box 62908
Tel/fax: 020 8803 6366
An Icon By Kwame M.A.McPherson
A frailty to love
To be kind
Inspired to uplift
Help others themselves to find
Help us all to shine
I remember Off The Wall
Hand in hand, young love walking through the mall
Who could forget Thriller?
The first real dance video
How about Bad?
Some songs about anger
Even when sad
Continued inspirational creativity
Always a trademark
Sang by you bought by us
Time to tell a story
Touching many lives
Songs of tolerance
Compassion and love
And why some of us should not complain
Especially us better off than some
From every corner
Sydney to Bogota
North to South Pole
Messages of hope
To Prime Ministers, Presidents and even Popes
One to be celebrated
We have been blessed to experience him in this time
Under pressure from enemies who built him up
Then refused to let his light shine
A lesson for us
This icon, accused
Even his creativity they tried to deny
Michael Joseph Jackson
25th August 1958 to 25th June 2009
A phenomenal blessed talent
Let’s embrace what he stood for
Forever and for all time
Dedicated to Michael Joseph Jackson, passed on Thursday 25th June 2009
(c) Kwame M.A.McPherson
The Way We See It
The Way We See It
Author: Sis Dr Sandra Richards
Publisher: Trentham Books
Employing an African-centred approach, Richards makes an important challenge to the British educational system and the ways in which it excludes, and ultimately fails, Caribbean-African children. According to Richards, the persistent exclusion of Caribbean-African boys, in particular, is linked to institutional racism which, in turn, is here tied to a broader historical framework of British Colonialism and Imperialism.
Richards shifts the blame away from the boys themselves – who often become convenient scapegoats to Britain’s continued reliance on and profiting from Colonialism – and instead throws the hard and oppressive gaze of the British school system back on itself. The result is an uncomfortable but necessary look at the ways in which UK schools represent sites of enduring post-colonial trauma for young British Caribbean-African students, their parents and their communities.
The book starts by revealing the social inequalities and educational injustices concealed within the veiled system of school league tables. Here, Richards uncovers shocking statistics pertaining to the exclusion rates of Caribbean-African pupils and the consequent downward spiral of poverty, crime, violence, social disadvantage and high mortality rates within their communities.
Richards details how, within the British school system, enslavement has been replaced with a fear and consequent exclusion of pupils which, in addition to the misrepresentation of African culture and the consequent erasure of African history, has led to the emotional, social and intellectual isolation of Caribbean-African students. This in turn, claims Richards, has the potential to lead to underachievement, social disorder and social exclusion.
Richards urges the need for difficult conversations which address the gap between the theory and practice of inclusion. This would take as its starting point the need for adults not to pathologise and blame children whilst absolving themselves of accountability. Instead, claims Richards, both teachers and practitioners need to take responsibility for their own position and affect on the educational lives of the children in their care. Often, stresses Richards, it is the discomfort of this realisation which makes teachers choose their own careers over the education of their pupils.
The book concludes by setting out a model of a socially inclusive practice in an attempt to support excluded pupils and to start a dialogue between pupils, parents, teachers and practitioners. Drawing on examples of socially inclusive practice recommendations for teachers and policy makers, Richards urges a paradigm shift towards an African-focused pedagogy which makes it the responsibility of teachers and policy makers to work in partnership with the Caribbean-African community in order to address cultural ignorance, miscommunication, and misunderstanding.
According to Richards, it is only by acknowledging, and truly understanding, African cultural history and contemporary culture that the real reasons behind the marginalisation and exclusion of Caribbean-African pupils can be properly addressed and rectified. In this way, Richards reverses the claim that British Caribbean-African sub-culture is to blame for the high exclusion rates of descended pupils and instead argues that these pupils need to have a sense of belonging and a connection to their cultural heritage in order to thrive and reach their full academic potential.
Review By Dorothy Teague
Sub Editor, Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World: A Review Journal
About Sis Dr Sandra Richards
Sandra Richards Ph.D., MAEd is an author and culturally sensitive
counsellor. Her research is African-centred and champions the call for a‘difficult conversation’ as an approach to therapeutic intervention. Dr.
Richards is a quality specialist and lectures internationally on
self-development and education otherwise than at school (EOTAS).
Dr Richards is also Chief Executive of EAT (Education Africa Teaching a
not-for-profit non-funded initiative for vulnerable young people), the
Founder of SPACE (a healing centre for Caribbean Africans), a Patron of NIEC
(the National Independent Education Coalition), Writer with Nex Generation
magazine and Author of The Journey, Empowerment Through Education CDs and a
guided meditation CD.
Contacting Sis Dr Sandra Richards
Skype – SisDrSandraRichards
Facebook – www.facebook.com/SisDrSandraRichards
Sis Dr Sandra Richards - Speaks
Dr Richards will be supporting the Redefining Sanity Conference in London -
30 September 2009. For more information contact The BabyFather Initiative.
Barnardo's. 011 44 (0) 20 8498 7148 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Phoenix: Misrule in the land of Nod
The Phoenix is a savage, funny and brutally honest tale that brilliantly explores the lives of Africans in Britain who once integrated into the culture of a parasitic host nation then struggle to reclaim the soul they sold for a price they are discovering they cannot afford.
In writing The Phoenix, author Onyeka has managed to expose a world most contemporary authors on the African experience in Britain seek to deny.
We are taken on an journey where we begin to think we recognise the familiar characteristics of our cast, but whereas most literature painting a similar cultural landscape has traditionally remained static in development by fleshing out this mediaeval urban ensemble using media stereotypes, Onyeka instead kicks open the door to the unsaid thoughts that haunt those we thought we knew.
It is this brutal yet uncompromising love of his subject that enables him to paint a stark honest if not bleak canvas which is also causally depressing as it is violently optimistic and spiritual.
This is one case where whilst the problems are on the page, the answers are definitely between the lines. The Phoenix is essential reading.
||Rites of Passage: Training, Healing and Meditation
Akoben: Symbol of vigilance and wariness. Akoben is a horn used to sound a battle cry.
Spirit of the Warrior
Date: Every Week
Adm: 1st lesson is free. Thereafter, £4.50 per lesson. Members £2.50 per lesson
Mashufaa is a martial are created for the mental, physical and spiritual upliftment of a generation of people who have become detached from themselves! Mashufaa is about living a life with light through the sweat of training. Sweat lets you know you are alive.
Remember Mind, Body and Spirit are one. Train to live and live to train. Mashufaa Classes will take place from at The Albany Theatre (Plum Room) nearest Rail: Deptford or DLR Deptford Bridge.
Monday and Fridays
Venue: Lord Morrison Hall, Chestnut Grove( off Scales Rd), Tottenham, London N17 9ET
Travel: Tube: Seven Sisters (Victoria Line), Tottenham Hale / Rail: Bruce Grove / Buses: 243, 341, 149, 259,279
Venue: Boy Scouts Centre (Near Bruce Castle Park), All Hallows Road, London N17 7ADTube: Travel: Seven Sisters (Victoria Line), Tottenham Hale / Rail: Bruce Grove / Buses: 123, 243, W4
Venue: The Plum Room, The Albany Theatre/Centre, Douglas Way, Deptford, London SE8 4AG
Tube: New Cross / Rail: Deptford Station / Buses: 53, 453, 177
Tel: 07956 337391/ 07715 942734
Community Radio: Pan African
Pan African People's Phone In
Time: 22:00 - Midnight
Where: Galaxy Radio 99.5 FM (www.afiwestation.com)
Number for on-air discussion: 07908 117 619
The Pan-Afrikan People’s Phone-in is a space for themed interactive discussions conducted over the airwaves and cyberspace. The themes are focused around issues affecting Afrikan people both locally and globally.
Africa Speaks with Alkebulan / Sister Ekua (aka Esther Stanford-Xosei)
Where: Voice of Africa Radio (VOAR) / 94.3FM
When: Every Monday / Wednesday 8-10 pm GMT
Number for on-air discussion: 0208 180 2523
Screening: A Marcus Garvey Story
When: Wed 5th Mosiah (Aug) '09
Where: Mama Afrika Kulcha Shap, 282 High Road Leyton E10 5PW
Adm: FREE (Contributions Welcome)
A Marcus Garvey Story – A Film Showing & Discussion on the Life & Legacy of
Marcus Mosiah Garvey
Hosted By: Natural Mystic & SoulJAH MC
Akeba Annual African & Caribbean Cultural Fun Day
When: Sat 8th August 2009
Where: Lewsey Park, Pastures Way, Luton LU4 0PF
Time: 12 - 7 pm.
Adm: Free Family Day Out. Groups welcome.
The African & Caribbean Market starts from 12 p.m. Limited number of stalls still available to date. The Akeba Magazine available on the day will list the full program and contain a directory of African & Caribbean Resources in the region.
You can sign up for the following workshops:-
Gum Boots Dance - South African Miners Dance - You need to bring your wellies
Soca Dance, African Cloth Wrapping, Making Carnival Costumes, Making Traditional Jewellery
And sign up for the following challenges:-
Skanking Competition, Draughts, Chess, Owari, Adult & Child Team Dominoes, Limbo
For more information visit www.akeba.org.uk or call Juliet on 07957 147547
Pan African Women’s Day 2009
When: Saturday 8th August 2009
Time: 6pm - 10pm
Where:Chestnuts Community Centre, St Ann's Road, Tottenham, N15 (nearest tube: Seven Sisters - Victoria Line)
Adm: £3 donation requested (children free)
The AAPRP & AJAMU invite you to celebrating African women’s resistance and join them in asserting the human rights of African women at home and abroad.
Speakers: Sista C (Galaxy Radio) , Sista Mawasi (PASCF) and Sista Njeri (Moya Wa Taifa)
The struggles of our mothers, sisters and aunts in Azania demonstrate to us that it is not possible to progress the struggle for black women’s liberation and equality outside of the struggle for the total liberation and unification of Africa and African people worldwide (pan-Africanism). Equally, in the UK it is not possible to progress the struggles of Black (African) women outside of a wider struggle for the enlistment of the Black (African) community in general. Black (African) women in the UK of all ages continue to suffer triple oppression: we are oppressed as Africans facing both institutional and individual racism, we are oppressed as workers experiencing lower pay, greater unemployment and more harassment than white women and we are oppressed as women-raising families on our own and depicted as no more than sex objects in the media.
Contact: AJAMU on 07852.937.981 or email@example.com
Other events we are co-organising:
Honouring Osagefo Kwame Nkrumah
When: Saturday 19th September 2009
2009 - A year dedicated to promoting his ideas & practice (Look out for the info, events and activities this year organised by the AAPRP & AJAMU)
Ancient Dedication or Contemporary Education:
Which one holds the Keys to the future?
When: Sunday 9th August 2009
Where: London South Bank University, Castle Lecture Theatre, Abbey Conference Centre, London Road Buildings, Elephant & Castle, London Road SE1 6LN
Time: Doors open @ 2.45PM Seminar starts @ 3.15PM
Adm: Free (Donations Welcome)
The Institute of Regenerative Truth In association with Nu-Beyond and Black StarLine, presents International Seminar Series 2009 on Ancient Dedication or Contemporary Education: Which one holds the Keys to the future?
Timely! Thought-provoking! Evolutionary! Appropriate descriptions of this applied MULTI-MEDIA and oral INTERACTIVE seminar presentation. It steps into the arena of the lofty echelons of Modern Contemporary Educational traditions with challenge and beckoning for dialogue on an ORIGINAL IDEA! The National Scholarship Body, of the Hebrew Israelite Community of Jerusalem pose these CRITICAL questions:
CAN THE RISE OR FALL OF A CIVILISATION BE TRANSMITTED IN THE CLASSROOM???
SINCE ALL BEHAVIOUR IS LEARNED ARE WE ONLY DOING WHAT WE HAVE BEEN TAUGHT?
HAS EARTH NOW BECOME AN ENDANGERED PLANET, AND THE DISRUPTION OF PRESENT-DAY WORLDWIDE SOCIETIES, COMMUNITIES AND FAMILIES BEEN THE END RESULT OF MODERN EDUCATION?
DO NOT MISS THIS CHALLENGE TO DIALOGUE ON THIS ORIGINAL IDEA!!!!!!!
For information please contact: Tel: 07961223464 / 02084804068Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Nearest Tube: Elephant & Castle (Northern & Bakerloo Line)
Bus: 12, 35, 40, 45, 53, 63, 68, 133, 148, 155, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 196
Marcus Garvey Family Day
When: Saturday 15th August 2009
Time: 12 Noon - 8pm
Where: Max Roach Place, Brixton Road, London SW9 7ND
History of African People in England (part 2)
Date: Saturday 08th July 2009
Venue: Walthamstow E17
Contact: 07958 671 267/ 07816 277 360
Black and world history in pictures presents:
History of African People in England (part 2)
Copy & paste this link to view the trailer;
“I Am Project”
When: 10-15 August 2009
Where: Walthamstowe, London
Looking for something to do this summer?
Looking for something that’s FREE?
Wanna explore performing arts, film, photography & spoken word, go on trips and exhibit what you have created? Then Join Us
I AM is a 1 week summer programme aimed at young people aged 11-16. You decide the format of the week, and exhibit at the end of it. And it’s Free!!
Contact: 07958 635 636
Excelsior College Fun Day
When: Saturday August 15, 2009
Where: Excelsior College, Selby Centre, Selby Road, Tottenham, London N17 8JL
There will be a line up of African Martial Arts display , Sport Displays, Drummers and Dancers, Henna Tattoos, Face painting, Games for Children and Adults, Netball & Football exhibition match
We will also have a raffle draw
For more information contact: Gareth 07956590101
Screening: Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome
When: Saturday 15 August 2009
Where: African Caribbean Library, 265 Lavender Hill, Battersea SW11
This is a free screening of the brilliant documentary on Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome by the eminent Dr Joy DeGruy-Leary. This film is the best documentary on the subject I have ever seen. It changed the way I see myself and those people in my world. It's phenomenal. It helps you to see where you where previously wedded to ignorance.
It's for everyone.
To register: phone 0208 871 7456
Wade A. Jacks
Buffalo-san Black&Asian film festival
Any additional details: firstname.lastname@example.org
African Ancestors Day
When: Sunday 23 August 2009
Time: 1:30 pm
Where: Museum of London Docklands, West India Quay, E14 4AL
AFRICAN ANCESTORS DAY also sees the launch of 'EQUIANO’S EPIGRAMS, The Interesting Narrative in Poetry' by John Agard. The Guyanese Poet is at his very best as he puts words into Olaudah Equiano's mouth, and the book becomes a twenty first century Narrative - in Poetry.
John Agard was born in Guyana, and in 1977 moved with his partner - poet Grace Nichols to England. He has published many collections for children and adults, including his recent ‘Alternative Anthem: Selected Poems’ and ‘Clever Backbone’, both published by Bloodaxe Books Ltd. His awards include the Casa de las Americas Prize, the Hamlyn Award, the Guyana Prize and the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) Poetry Prize (2009), which he received for the ‘Young Inferno’ - a teenage spin on Dante’s classic, published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books. His poem ‘Half-Caste’ is on the current National Curriculum GCSE English syllabus.
Presentations by John Agard, Burt Caesar and Arthur Torrington; Drumming and Dance by NYANOME. ADMISSION FREE.
Contact: 0870 444 3855
Time to get outa da city people!
When: Thursday 20th - Thursday 27th August 2009.
Where: Westermill Farm, Exford, Exmoor nr Minehead Somerset
Adm: Adult : £5.00 / Child : £3.00 / Car : £2.50 (Prices are all based on a nights stay)
Greetings Beautiful People!, Thursday 20th to Thursday 27th August 2009.
Chi and Aama have recently qualified and gained an Expedition Leaders award. We would like to celebrate, relax and experience with you at the breathtaking campsite in Somerset over 7 days
Details of campsite-
Tel : 01643 831238 Mobile : 07970 594808
Check it out online, it is a popular campsite so make your bookings asap! When booking please state FIELD 4 on the form as this is the field where they allow open fires.
Finally...If you are up to date with your camping skills come share your expertise and take the opportunity to meet the others.. Let us know if you plan to attend.
Aamasade 0797 658 3115
Ayekoo Session: Looking @ Nkrumah
When: Saturday 5 September 2009, 3-6pm
Where: Mission Dine Club Centre Fry Road, Harlesden London NW10 4BZ (by Longstone Avenue/Drayton Road intersection)
Adm: Free (a meal costs £5) - Booking is NOT essential, although it's useful to know in advance who is attending.
We are looking at marking Nkrumah's life on 5th September, and any suggestions are welcome.
Click for more information about Ayekoo session
The 2nd Annual Ghana Business & Investment Exhibition
When: Saturday 19th September 2009
Where: The Bernie Grants Art Centre, Tottenham, London
Due to popular demand and a successful launch in 2008; the Ghana Black Stars Network are presenting the 2nd Annual Ghana Business & Investment Exhibition on Saturday 19th September 2009 at the Berne Grants Art Centre, Tottenham, London.
With a strong cedi against the dollar, interest rates going down, a thriving economy, a growing middle class and a pool of opportunities for the business minded, Ghana is on the international platform growing from the seeds that have been sown.
With all industries from Construction to Agriculture to any service industry open for all; The Ghana Business & Investment Exhibition will provide delegates with the opportunity to hear from key industry professionals on Ghana’s development and opportunities. The event is also a chance for business minded individuals to network and share ideas on doing business in Ghana.
This year’s event is in partnership with the Ghana High Commission UK and Ghana Investment Promotion Centre. Media partners include: African Business magazine, New African magazine, Trumpet newspaper, African Caribbean Business Network, Find-A-Job in Africa, Re-Connect Africa, African Voice newspaper and BEN TV.
To contact us and find out more information about the event or GBSN please contact:
0788 6411 661
Word Power: International Black Literature Festival & Book Fair
Voices of the Diaspora
When: 24th - 25th October 2009
Where: Ocean, 270 Mare Street, Hackney London E8
Dozens of Authors, hundreds of readers, thousands of Books. All under one roof.
Featuring leading writers, historians, poets, publishers, distributors, book sellers dealing with African Caribbean literature from all over the world.
Bonnie Greer, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing (author of The Isis Papers), Dr Haki R. Madhubuti (Founder and editor of Third World Press), Nia Reynolds, Paul Ifayomi Grant, Wayne B. Chandler, Dr Marimba Ani, Anthony T. Browder, Sister Nzingha Assata, Jacob Ross, Dr Robinson Millwood, Onyeka, Paul Simons, Nathaniel Agbahowe, Debii Mckoy, Charles Emeka, Anton Marks, Dan Obachike, Dr William ‘Lez’ Henry plus many more
Lecture: Dr Frances Cress Welsing
When: 31st October 2009
Time: 6.30 - 10pm
Where: Centreprise, 136 Kingsland High Street, London E8, 2NS
Adm: Tickets £12 adv - £15 on the door
A lecture by Dr Frances Cress Welsing, author of The Isis Papers, the Keys to the Colors