Thursday, April 20, 2006
I have often suspected that African Americans are the most insular and most selfish of all the African people in the world. Given what's been happening in Darfur and the lack of interest and out cry from blacks in this country, I believe that my suspicions were correct. Part of the problem of course is that unlike Africans in other mostly Third Workd countries, we have it too good here. After all, we live in the greatest country on earth, and we are often sheltered from many of the world's problems. This, coupled with the fact that we just don't give a damm- primarily becuase we are too selfish and busy with our own lives accumulating material things and keeping up with the Joneses- makes it all too easy to look away. But that's black America for you, if it isn't happening in good ole USA, it just aint happening anywhere. But let's consider what has been happening in Darfur for a minute.
Darfur is in the western region of Sudan, and what has been happening there is a tragedy of epic proportions. Thousands of black people have been killed in the name of ethnic cleansing by Arab millitiamen. They have attacked villages, burned, mutilated, and raped women and children by the thousands; all with the blessing of the Sudanese government. The situation is so bad, that one report says that 40% of the people in that region between the ages of 15-49 have died at the hands of violence. It's a fact that over a million Sudanese have been forced to flee their homeland and have become refugees as the genocide continues.
One of the dirty little secrets from that region is this: Many Arabs look down on black Africans , and in fact, the Arab colonialist to that continent were as, or even more brutal than those who came from Europe. To this day, the Arabs view black Africans as Kaffirs or slaves, and as a result, what has been happening to these poor people in Dafur has had the blessing of President Omar-el Bashir; a man who has used Sudanese troops, and armed militias to carry out his ethnic cleansing. The situation there is similar to what happened in Biafra in 1967-68 when armed Nigerian thugs tried to illiminate the Igbo tribe. And what happened in Rwanda in 1994, when Hutu extremist unleashed a genocide in which over 800,000 of their fellow countrymen were slaughtered. The general consensus is that the people of Darfur do not have a constituency here so there is no one to speak on there behalf. But that's not true, they do have a constituency and it's every black person in this country.
These atrocities against our people take place in other parts of the world, while African Americans choose to do nothing. We go to Durham North Carolina and speak out against the Duke lacrosse team for allegedly raping one of our sisters, or to Mexico to confront their President for making derogatory remarks about us, but there is silence while thousands of black Africans are being slaughtered on a daily basis. Where is Jessie, where is Al, where is the CBC? To his credit Colin Powell did speak out about Darfur and has taken the issue to the UN on behalf of the United States. But it was frat boy who said nothing like this would happen on his watch, and yet, it's happening. But I am not going to get on frat boy about this issue, this is about black folks here at home, not about the President. This is about black folks not having a clue about what's going on in the world and not realizing that we are part of a larger world community.
I have seen more white people involved in this struggle, and trying to bring this issue to the forefront than blacks. And for that, we as black folks should all be ashamed. The UN called this the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and still black folks in this country remain silent. No outcry, no marches in Washington organized by black leaders, no ink from the black press, nothing; just silence.
There is finally a march being sponsered by the American Jewish World Service and other religious groups. And the Jewish community has raised over two million dollars towards the effort in Darfur. Also, I would like to give some props to New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof who is the only journalist in the world who seems to be trying to keep this story alive. -The last time I checked he was a white man- I understand that the Jews have a unique sensitivity to this issue, but so should we. Unfortunately, we are too busy being entertained by UPN and BET, and too busy washing and waxing our cars to care.
The march takes place on April 30, 2006 in Washington D.C. between 2-4 PM on the National Mall.
You can help organize by hitting this email address: MillionVoices@SaveDarfur.org
Or you can hit the web site at: http://millionvoicesfordarfur.com
Posted by field negro at 10:16 PM