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The colour of my skin

By Owei Lakemfa
BARACK OBAMA, the beautiful face of  America came  here to Africa last week.  Choosing Ghana, the homestead of legendary  Kwame Nkrumah, he delivered telling blows against tyranny, oppression and corruption.

Ghana, he said, shows a different  face of Africa, not the face that portrays only tragedy or the need for charity .Unfortunately, while Obama was selling America, banging the heads of her mostly prodigal leadership and receiving accolades, back in his home, the racists were at work trying to remind humanity that Obama’s victory has not laid to rest the unscientific thought  that  blacks are  inferior.

About three weeks ago outside Philadelphia, a summer camp of 65 children booked a contract with the Valley  Swim Club to bring the children to swim.  Contract sealed, the children and their handlers went to the club.

That was when the  Club realised that many of the children are black.  Quickly  the  white parents in the club  pulled their children out of the swimming pool as if devils had just descended on it.

The club management asked the camp  children to leave and offered to refund the money paid.  The club manager was quoted as saying that the contract had to be cancelled because the children  would change the complexion  and  atmosphere of the club.

Incidents like this show that despite Obama’s  electoral goal against racism, the black skin still has a lot of struggles to wage not only in asserting his fundamental rights as a human being, but also to  liberate  the  rest of humanity from racism, zionism and backwardness.

It was a struggle, Michael Jackson fought in the last  few years of his life after he had tried over the decades to be accepted by the white folks.

Unfortunately  the race war is a complex one,  and only this month we lost a major battle at the African Union (AU)  against  racism in Sudan.

It is a country where Blacks are still sold and bought as slaves. An estimated  200,000 Blacks were taken into slavery in the second Sudanese civil war.

The American CBS network said for as low as $50, a Black man can still be bought in that country.  Generals of equality like John Garang fought the  racists in Khartoum and asserted the right of the Black man in Sudan to live as a human being, free from oppression, repression and servitude.

The anger of the racist elites in Khartoum for their failure to subjugate the Black people led them to their blind massacres in the Darfur region. The American State Department had asserted that: “The (Sudanese) government’s support of slavery and its continued military action which has resulted in numerous deaths are due in part to the victims’ religious beliefs”.

Given this background, humanists and freedom lovers were elated when the International Criminal Court indicted Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir for carrying out genocide against the defenseless people of Darfur.

An international warrant for his arrest was issued.  But tragically, the AU  a forthnight  ago, sought  to give him a clean bill of health.  It argued that  the West should not impose its ways on Africa.

It declared Al- Bashir a freeman who can roam around the  continent without fear of being arrested.

But in no part of Africa is genocide accepted as a culture; so the AU misdirected itself and owes the continent the duty to reverse this resolution and partner with the international community to bring men like Al -Bashir to justice.

It is baffling that a country like Nigeria which has most of the peace keeping troops and police in Darfur, and has a first hand knowledge of the massacres, would sit in the AU and allow such an unholy resolution pass.

Countries like Uganda and Chad should be commended for  standing against AU’s attempts to shield the Al- Bashir gang.

It is not in Sudan alone that there is official or semi-official acceptance of enslaving Black  people.  In West Africa, Mauritanian  elites of Arab decent, the Bidanes own Black slaves, the haratines.  It is estimated that some 600,000 Black Mauritanians, or 20 per cent of the population are still enslaved despite the August 2007 law that criminalised slavery.

The Amnesty International complained that although the law had banned slavery in Mauritania by 1981: “Not only has the government denied the existence of slavery and failed to respond to cases brought to its attention, it has hampered the activities of organisations which are working on the issue, including  refusing to grant them official recognition”.

Although in parts of Africa like Niger,  Blacks are still enslaved  mainly by Arabs, it does not have a formal seal like it does in Sudan.

We Blacks can change our religion or region, we can even change our nationality, sex or ideology, but we cannot change our identity as Black people.  We can also not change the reality that we are discriminated against or enslaved in various parts of the world.

This is not going to change by lamentations or hurling insults at those who do not accept us as equals.

If  in a country like Nigeria, the Black peoples’ most populous nation, the vote does not count; candidates are imposed on political parties and leaders on the people.

If despite the stupendous wealth oil has brought to the country, most of our people live below the poverty line, our intellectuals  brain drain;  if we are not led by knowledgeable people, then the rest of the world will not respect us or accept that we are human beings like them.

Many would simply concluded that men like Obama, Nelson Mandela and Wole Soyinka, women  like Wangari Mathai and Graca Machel are exceptions; that basically, Blacks are inferior human beings.

There is no need to debate the fact that the colour of our skins.


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