KEY CONCEPTS IN THE REPARATIONS MOVEMENT

By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (April 20, 2001)

At this current stage of history in the Reparations Movement, it is important that key concepts be revisited and re-discussed in our continued efforts to seek clarity on certain ideas that are fundamental to the white supremacy foundation of America.

First, there is the idea and concept of the African Holocaust of Enslavement; which we refer to as the Maafa. The term Maafa is the Ki-Swahili word for disaster that we are now using to reclaim our right to tell our own story. When we discuss genocide against African people in America, we must also discuss the African Holocaust, because it was this Holocaust that has historically created the ongoing genocidal conditions inflicted against African people in America.

According to most dictionaries, holocaust means any widespread destruction. As African Holocaust researcher Michael Scott explains, "No African was waiting as a slave to be traded to the Europeans. In all regions of Africa, from which Africans were transported, the African was involved in a brutal war declared by the European aggressor, interested in exploiting the human and natural resources of the richest continent on the earth."

Further, Brother Scott reveals, "These Africans who became prisoners of war were placed in detention camps and then transported to the Americas to be enslaved by the benefactors of their captors. No African began his or her ordeal as a slave. Africans were reduced to slavery by conquest."

It is important for African people to understand and internalize these brief historical facts. Just as the Jews, or any other group of people in the world, internalize their holocaust, and act on it, African people must come to the collective reality of our African Holocaust and act on it also.

Finally, Brother Scott instructs us that, "Our foreparents were innocent victims of this heinous system of forced labor. They were never able to comprehend being seized in early morning attacks on their villages by vicious raiding parties. They were never able to understand why they were being sold by the avaricious middlemen. They could never fathom why they were being marched in fetters and chains to the coast where they were bartered for European merchandise especially rum and guns. They could never appreciate why they were being warehoused in hell–like dungeons in Elmina and Goree."

So now that we have some insight into the idea and concept of the African Holocaust, it should make it easier to understand the idea and concept of genocide. In Olomenji’s book, White Genocide, Black Obsolescence, the Question of Black Survival in White America, he defines genocide very succinctly. He says genocide is the "deliberate and systematic destruction of Black people by white American socio-economic and cultural forces."

According to Brother Olomenji, America has created and ideology that justifies the annihilation of African people in this country. This is the function of genocide by those who inflict it on a mass o f people. That is, they created a rationale for the annihilation and then try to explain that it does not exist.

As we prepare for the upcoming United Nations World Conference Against Racism, that will be held in Durban, South Africa from August 31 – September 7, 2001, it is important to understand the relationship of the Africa Group initiated resolution that the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade was a Crime Against Humanity to the issue of African slavery. This resolution has united the African Reparations Movement worldwide.

According to Professor Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz of California State University at Hayward, "the issue of African slavery in the United States falls within the 1948 Genocide Convention, an international treaty that has no statute of limitations and is retroactive." The provisions of the Genocide Convention are:

  1. killing members of the group
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
  3. Deliberately inflicting on the group, conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group
  • Article 3. The following acts shall be punishable:
    1. Genocide
    2. Conspiracy to commit genocide
    3. Direct and public incitement to commit genocide
    4. Attempt to commit genocide
    5. Complicity in genocide

    As a result of the African Holocaust and the genocide against African people in America, we must step up the demand for Reparations as the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N`COBRA) is advocating and preparing for its 12th Annual Convention in Baton Rouge, Louisiana from June 22-24, 2001.

    Reparations simply means repair for injuries, harm, and damages. As it has been pointed out, over and over again, we were made chattel and worked for more that three–hundred years without pay or other compensation for the value of our labor. The white man and white woman stole and criminally appropriated the services and the value of three–hundred years of labor and then passed it on through inheritance to their children. This process helped create the United States of America and this is fundamental to our demands for Reparations.

    Also, we are preparing to attend, and participate in, the 22nd Annual National Black United Front (NBUF) Convention that will be held July 12-15, 2001 in San Francisco, California. The theme of the NBUF convention is "REPARATIONS: The Key to the African Struggle: Building a Black Mass Movement Through Block-By-Block Organizing." We must continue to discuss these ideas in our efforts to dismantle our mental shackles. Every race and ethnic group in the world protects their interests and African People should, and must do no less. Let’s keep building and strengthening the worldwide African Reparations Movement!

      
    National Chairman
    National Black United Front (NBUF)


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