AN ATTACK ON PAN AFRICANISM

By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (March 29, 2001)

A few weeks ago I read with amusement, and interest, an article that appeared in the Sunday, March 18, 2001 edition of the Chicago Sun Times titled "Tangled Roots" written by G. Pascal Zachary. Apparently, this same article first appeared in the Wall Street Journal under the title "For African Americans in Ghana, The Grass Isn’t Always Greener." Both titles of the article depict a deep white supremacist and propagandist view of the relationship of Africans in America’s with Africa and specifically with Ghana.

Given the growing mass mobilization, and Pan African Unity of African people around the world who are diligently preparing to attend, and participate in, the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, that will be held in Durban, South Africa from August 29th through September 7, 2001, the European nations, led by the United States and Canada, are attempting to utilize their age-old tactic— "Divide and Conquer."

This "divide and conquer" tactic is aimed at diffusing the groundswell of Pan African Unity in support of the resolution "that slavery and the Slave Trade constitute a gross and flagrant violation of human rights against the African peoples and a crime against humanity." Most European bloc nations are doing all they can to prevent this resolution from becoming an official part of all the Durban Declaration documents that will be deliberated on at the conference this summer.

Since they can’t stop this Pan African Unity, the European world is beginning to use the propaganda of their media outlets to suggest that Pan African Unity is a myth. In this instance, they use Ghana, through this article, to make their point.

Pan African Movement forces, throughout the world, which have been advocating Pan Africanism for decades, are clear on the purpose of the article written by Zachary. Zachary quotes a popular Ghanaian comedian who in his performances jokes in this manner, "Brother, I’ve found my roots! – the African American crows. A local shakes his head, wondering why anyone with a coveted U. S. passport would choose to move to Ghana. – Move to the motherland?– the Ghanaian cries. I want to escape the motherland."

In response to Zachary’s article, Cheo Taylor Tyehimba, a journalist and university lecturer, who has visited and written extensively about Ghana— and familiar with Ghana’s complexities, both positive and negative. Tyehimba observes that he can detect unfair, inaccurate journalism when I see it. I personally know several of the people Zachary interviewed in his article and like most journalists, know the formula for spinning stories."

Tyehimba goes on to write that "It mysteriously lies between the sly use of quotes, text and context, maligning by omission and, of course, corporate editorial and advertising mandates." In this connection, Tyehimba observes, "The deadline driven, newsstand–rocking copy is then processed with assembly-line expediency. Just call it shake n’ bake journalism. Ready to eat anytime."

Tyehimba concludes his critique of the Zachary article in this manner— "Don’t get it twisted. A romantic view of Africa (or America, for that matter) just won’t cut it. We owe it to ourselves to be constructively critical toward Africa as we would with our family members. I truly believe the blood of the universe is on the side of justice in Africa and joining in the struggle to understand our (all people of African descent) relationship to the continent is what time it is. Has been."

Continuing on the point, Tyehimba says, "White supremacy, capitalism, neo-colonialism, and other assorted schisms aside, it really ain’t that complex. Either you feel connected to and love Black people everywhere or you don’t— straight up and down." It is my belief that millions of African people, scattered around the world "feel connected to and love Black people everywhere" no matter what Zachary and others may write about the divisions between African people.

Since the Berlin Conference of 1884, when the former slave trading nations came together to divide up Africa among themselves, the Pan African spirit of the African Liberation Movement worldwide has been tuned in to the plight of our brothers and sisters in Africa, our ancestral homeland and African people everywhere in the world.

As our great, departed ancestor, Dr. John Henrik Clarke repeatedly reminded us— "History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is also a compass that people use to find themselves on the map of human geography."

African people have found the map of human geography in our connectedness to Africa. As Tyehimba reminded us, "Surely, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who gave a speech of brotherhood at Kwame Nkrumah’s inauguration in Ghana in 1957, and W. E. B. Dubois, who spent the last years of his life in Ghana and is buried there, would charge us to think higher, broader about Africa."

I agree and hope you do to!

  
National Chairman
National Black United Front (NBUF)


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