Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Thomas Faulkner an African American came to Liberia in the 1920's.At the time many people were critical of the images of a Black republic oppressing fellow Black people.Thomas Faulkner tried his hand at politics in advocating for the poor indigenous people of Liberia.Indeed they were at the bottom of Liberia society and abuses towards them was appalling.Being from a racist society he was determined to see justice and equality in Liberia.He formed the People's Party.He was undermined not out of any real wanting to keep the status quo but the fact that Liberia was a country of although brilliant men,very shortsighted and coveted in their personal greed and arrogance.He was silenced but before he was some important things came out.The British and French were encroaching on Liberia's territory its very sovereignty was in peril.The territory of the Sherbro Island Sulima River and the Mano River hinterland was taken by a Liberia helpless to stop it.British businessmen tried to offer development in exchange for Liberia's independence.Only the United States stood in the way of a complete take over.The French had taken land on the coast from the Cavalla River to the San Pedro river and in the North the whole Guinea highland which was rich in gold and diamonds.They claimed Liberia failed to occupy this territory.Indeed Liberia wanted settlers from the United States and the West to occupy that land but they never came.So by the early 20th century Liberia was cut in half from its original size.Liberia organized the Liberia Frontier Force with the help of American Black officers of the US Army plus some British officers this stopped the encroachment.Now with it territories now defined the Fernando Po incident happens.Liberia demonstrated it can govern itself,even better than the colonial administration in the region.This did not stop the racist forces determined to take Liberia's sovereignty away.Faulkner had a good heart and good intentions.But the road to hell is often paved with good intention.
A British distinguished author Lady Kathleen Simon wife of noted British statesmen Sir John Simon made a series of attacks on the Black republic and the Americo Liberian.These prejudices were the result of rumors not anything founded in evidence.She bluntly without evidence called for the government to be put under the rule of strong high minded White men.A view sanctioned by her husband.Most of what she knew about Liberia was hear say but to think when the British were butchering half the globe in the name of empire building she like most hypocritical racist at the time said nothing.Several other leading newspapers and writers in Britain and America joined the chorus in condemning the Americo Liberians.The truth was there was hostility towards Liberia being a Black government at a time when Cecil Rhodes and Kruger and others were advancing the belief that Black men were incapable of governing themselves.Liberia like the free Blacks in the USA during slavery gave hope to other in bondage.Infact Liberia was the main reason for the African Nationalist movement.A movement that at the time struck fear in the heart of White Supremacist.So this little republic with all its problems was a threat to the racist and their myth of Black inferiority.The Americo Liberia were some of the most thorough people on the planet.In intellectual circles and international affairs the kept peace in a continent often torn by conflict.
The Fernando Po Incident was the epitome of hypocrisy.The British was in competition with Spain in the cocoa trade.The Spanish recruited labor from Liberia just like it was being done all over Africa.The British used this as evidence of slavery and called for Liberia to be mandated.The Liberians shot back and with the US intervention its sovereignty was preserved.The incident shows that although countries make mistakes.America had chattel slavery and genocide of Native Americans but only White countries keep their independence.
The Contract Labor Scheme
All over the colonial world governments sanctioned contract labor.It still exist to this day.What happens is recruiters are paid for every head delivered.In Liberia's case labor was usually communal.This means groups of men from the same village came and did work.The problem was labor may be abused and induced.This is the by product of this system that all parties are aware of.The British brought labor to South Africa from India because they could better control them.They brought Chinese labor to Malaysia and Singapore to work on plantations and in mills.In Fernando Po an Island off the coast of Nigeria and Equitorial Guinea the Spanish were growing Cocoa and needed labor.This venture was in direct competition with the British in the Gold Coast(Ghana.Now the some Liberian middlemen recruited labor from the Kru migration which the British themselves started.The British abandoned the Island and the Spanish claimed it.So in 1920 the Liberian government claiming sovereignty over all business activity in its territory taxed the enterprise like any other state would.Now the labor that was sent could have been used to build Liberia's own cocoa industry but short sighted greedy leaders went along with it.So should Liberia have lost its independence?No.Lets look at the whole reason.The Spanish recruited labor from Angola,Gabon,and Congo all under the same circumstances.Why was there no out cry about the laborers recruited by the Portuguese?Or the French?Why was Liberia singled out?Answer Racism.This was an attempt to wage a colonial war on Liberia but Liberia out witted and out foxed the fox in Britain and kept her sovereignty.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Liberty and freedom of speech is what I often hear people who detest Western philosophy spout when they want to spew their venom.My freedom of speech this,my rights that.Many of these people are hucksters,who have no idea what the world went through to acquire these rights.Forget civilization in Ancient Egypt,Greece,Rome,Persia,China or West Africa ect.All had their times of joy and liberty.This depended on who was ruling and how much they decided to share the blessings of liberty with you.In other words your rights were never written in stone.Well fast forward to the end of feudalism in Europe.The peasants and serfs rose up against feudal lords and corrupt kings then we had the Magna Carta and we had the Edict of Worms which is what the Prodestant reformation was the root cause.The beginning of the renaissance and the idea of individual rights.It seems what started in Ancient Egypt was coming full circle.This tiny attempt to recognize human dignity was the only thing challenging the the horrible Trans Atlantic slave trade, as humanist fought against corrupt religious institutions who sanctioned slavery.The right of mankind is something that man has been fighting for since the dawning of time.
Free Speech is not free
The idea of free speech is rooted in American democracy,or the experiment in democracy.There is no other time or place in history where this right was guaranteed by law.The Declaration of Independence,of which the Constitution is based states that "We hold these truths to be evident that all men are created equal".If that is the basis, then explain slavery?It was in imperfect experiment,but many take that and the constitution of America as their reference when wanting to exercise their so called civil liberties.No place is where this is more evident than in Africa.Many people still have no concept of what a civil society is, and what are the obligations to it.What is the responsibility of the citizen?What is the obligation of the state?In America democracy is rooted in land and property ownership.There is a social contract.The state protects property and the individual obeys the law and pays taxes.In other circumstances people may be require to go to war.But the rule of law and the consensus of the majority is what allows a country to grow and surviveLiberian opposition misunderstands democracy.
People forget the Rwanda Massacre.People who naively want to give free speech to people who cannot read or have a concept of what the limited of a government can do.In Liberia as in Africa many people accuse others of stealing.With no evidence they take to the airways and incite people to disobey authority.We see now this is how things are done in Africa.If you do not like the election results you go to the bush.You get arms from any power broker who will finance your cause.The state treasury is something to enrich oneself at the expense of the nation.So tell people to go out and make the country ungovernable is freedom of speech?Where is this based on?I know the Right wing in America is coming close to this sort of savagery,but is that what a democracy is?Has it ever worked?Look at what it did in America a civil war.Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the early days of the civil war.Was President Sirleaf any different?History proved Lincoln right.History will vindicate President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for shutting down the media outlets to avoid another bloodbath instigated by the same type of people who have Africa in the state it is in.The AK47 and Machete rules all other consideration except money.The following is an excerpt from the Rwanda Massacre of 1993-1994...KALAGENESIS
The killing was well organized by the government. When it started, the Rwandan militia numbered around 30,000, or one militia member for every ten families. It was organized nationwide, with representatives in every neighborhood. Some militia members were able to acquire AK-47 assault rifles by completing requisition forms. Other weapons, such as grenades, required no paperwork and were widely distributed by the government. Many members of the Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi were armed only with machetes. Even after the 1993 peace agreement signed in Arusha, businessmen close to General Habyarimana imported 581,000 machetes for Hutu use in killing Tutsi, because machetes were cheaper than guns.
Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda revealed in his testimony before the International Criminal Tribunal that the genocide was openly discussed in cabinet meetings and that "...one cabinet minister said she was personally in favor of getting rid of all Tutsi; without the Tutsi, she told ministers, all of Rwanda's problems would be over." In addition to Kambanda, the genocide's organizers included Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, a retired army officer, and many top-ranking government officials and members of the army, such as General Augustin Bizimungu. On the local level, the genocide's planners included Burgomasters, or mayors, and members of the police.
Hutus and Tutsis were forced to use ID cards which specified an ethnic group. These cards served as symbols that the Interahamwe could check via the threat of force. Skin color was a general physical trait that was typically used in "ethnic" identification. The lighter-colored Rwandans were typically Tutsi, the minority group, while the darker-skinned Rwandans were typically Hutu, the majority group in Rwanda. In many cases, Tutsi individuals were separated from the general population and sometimes forced to be Hutu slaves. Tutsi women were often referred to as "gypsies" and frequently fell victim to sexual violence.
Government leaders communicated with figures among the population to form and arm militias called Interahamwe, "those who stand (fight, kill) together", and Impuzamugambi, "those who have the same (or a single) goal". These groups, particularly their youth wings, were responsible for much of the violence.
Family ties and relationships were manipulated by the Rwandan government as well as the Rwandan Armed Forces to create killing groups, or Interahamwe, throughout Kigali and more rural areas. Without these killing groups, the genocide would not have been nearly as effective and gruesome. In her article on citizen participation in the genocide, Lee Ann Fujii argues that the Interhamwe formed not from hatred for Tutsi or the Rwandan Patriotic Front, but from "social dynamics that sometimes took precedence over ethnic considerations"
According to recent commentators, the news media played a crucial role in the genocide; local print and radio media fueled the killings while the international media either ignored or seriously misconstrued events on the ground. The print media in Rwanda is believed to have started hate speech against Tutsis, which was later continued by radio stations. According to commentators, anti-Tutsi hate speech "...became so systemic as to seem the norm." The state-owned newspaper Kangura had a central role, starting an anti-Tutsi and anti-RPF campaign in October 1990. In the ongoing International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the individuals behind Kangura have been accused of producing leaflets in 1992 picturing a machete and asking "What shall we do to complete the social revolution of 1959?" – a reference to the Hutu revolt that overthrew the Tutsi monarchy and the subsequent politically orchestrated communal violence that resulted in thousands of mostly Tutsi casualties and forced roughly 300,000 Tutsis to flee to neighboring Burundi and Uganda. Kangura also published the infamous "10 Hutu Commandments," which regulated all dealings with Tutsis and how Hutus were to treat them. It communicated the message that the RPF had a devious grand strategy against the Hutu (one feature article was titled "Tutsi colonization plan").
Due to high rates of illiteracy at the time of the genocide, radio was an important way for the government to deliver messages to the public. Two radio stations key to inciting violence before and during the genocide were Radio Rwanda and Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM). In March 1992, Radio Rwanda was first used in directly promoting the killing of Tutsi in Bugesera, south of the national capital Kigali. Radio Rwanda repeatedly broadcast a communiqué warning that Hutu in Bugesera would be attacked by Tutsi, a message used by local officials to convince Hutu that they needed to attack first. Led by soldiers, Hutu civilians and the Interahamwe attacked and killed hundreds of Tutsi.
At the end of 1993, the RTLM's highly sensationalized reporting on the assassination of the Burundian president, a Hutu, was used to underline supposed Tutsi brutality. The RTLM falsely reported that the president had been tortured, including castration (in pre-colonial times, some Tutsi kings castrated defeated enemy rulers). There were 50,000 civilian deaths in Burundi in 1993.
From late October 1993, the RTLM repeatedly broadcast themes developed by the extremist written press, underlining the inherent differences between Hutu and Tutsi, the foreign origin of Tutsi, the disproportionate share of Tutsi wealth and power, and the horrors of past Tutsi rule. The RTLM also repeatedly stressed the need to be alert to Tutsi plots and possible attacks. It warned Hutu to prepare to "defend" themselves against the Tutsi. After April 6, 1994, authorities used the RTLM and Radio Rwanda to spur and direct killings, specifically in areas where the killings were initially resisted. Both radio stations were used to incite and mobilize populations, followed by specific directions for carrying out the killings.
The RTLM had used terms such as inyenzi (cockroach in Kinyarwandan) and Tutsi interchangeably with others referring to the RPF combatants. It warned that RPF combatants dressed in civilian clothes were mingling among the displaced people fleeing combat zones. These broadcasts gave the impression that all Tutsi were supporters of the RPF force fighting against the elected government. Women were targets of the anti-Tutsi propaganda prior to the 1994 genocide; for example, the "Ten Hutu Commandments" (1990) included four commandments that portrayed Tutsi women as tools of the Tutsi people, and as sexual weapons to weaken and ultimately destroy the Hutu men. Gender-based propaganda also included cartoons printed in newspapers depicting Tutsi women as sex objects. Examples of gender-based hate propaganda used to incite war rape included statements by perpetrators, such as, "You Tutsi women think that you are too good for us", and "Let us see what a Tutsi woman tastes like."
To promote an informed population and democracy in Rwanda, international agencies had promoted development of the media during the years leading up to the genocide. It appeared that promoting one aspect of democracy (in this case the media) may, in fact, negatively influence other aspects of democracy or human rights. After this experience it has been argued that international development agencies must be highly sensitive to the specific context of their programmes and the need for promotion of democracy in a holistic manner.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
The Fernando Po Incident was a scandal involving the Liberian Presidency of King during the 1920's and 1930's with the collaboration of traditional rulers of the people.This involved forced of coerced labor from the interior to islands in Fernando Po.Now coerced labor was being done in South Africa,Belgium Congo,Kenya-Mombassa on much larger scales and brutal methods.The Liberian situation was different in that the perpetrators were Americo-Liberian agents their tribal partners and the Government of Liberia who taxed labor as a state would tax any economic activity under its control.Laborers were forced to work much like the Black codes in the post Slavery South in the USA.This system of exploitation was common in much of the world.It is what brought the labor movement of the 1930's in the West.Now It should be noted that the perpetrators against the natives of Liberia were also native Liberians who assimilated into the Americo Liberian society.They along with the elite Americo Liberian were the most harsh on the indigenous population.Grebos educated people were middlemen in dealing with the kings who got paid for every head sent.Also without the Kings who had the authority over the people this system would never have worked.Never the less the enemies of the only Black Republic in Africa besides Ethiopia,used this to discredit the government of Liberia.The attempt was to get Liberia to cede it's independence and become a colony.It had nothing to do with concern for the Native Liberians.The Belgium King Leopold occupied the Congo and made himself one of the richest men in the world by enslaving the whole Congo.Men,women and children had their fingers,hands,ears,cut off for not meeting a quota of rubber.Now in Liberia workers never faced that sort of brutality.The Liberians never made profit off the labor they only taxed it.The bigger question is why is this incident known but the outrages in the Congo not? This was racist propaganda against Liberia.The Liberian elite saw the Native African as competition if they did not assimilate with them as the Grebos did.When Native Africans read about what was going on in the rest of Africa they joined and supported the Liberian government more than the settlers.Liberia elite began to exploit the natives out of a false sense of superiority.The issue was why the native would obey White visiting administrators but never give the Americo Liberians the same respect.This created a sense that they had to be controlled. This is the root of the bitterness lingering in Liberia today.The The best way to exploit people was to control where they worked.Instead of using the labor to create roads and farms the corrupt Americo Liberian agents and officials found it easier to export the labor.The years of lost manpower,that could have developed Liberia was a scandal.
Friday, November 11, 2011
The difference between someone who is a African Nationalist and someone who is a Black separatist is the facts that the nationalist revolve around his culture and heritage.This means he wants a connection or cohesion with his people.When people come from the same land,city,state,territory,nation they develop a culture from traditions, values,morays,norms and customs.Those values are reinforce though economic cooperation,folk music,dance,storytelling and identifying a common enemy or dislike.Example the Texan may say collectively "Remember the Alamo"and most Texans will know where he is coming.Now the nationalist want to ultimately have a NATION to be the focus of the people.Like the Jewish community have Israel.The Chinese have Hong Kong,Mainland China,Taiwan and Chinatown's all over the globe.Even assimilated White Americans have ties to their ancestor's homeland.The Scott/Irish trace their heritage 20 generations back to Ireland.The Italian community pride themselves for successfully recreating themselves in America while maintaining their heritage and cultural ties to Italy.
The False doctrine of Black Separatism
The Black separatist movement is a product of American White supremacy culture and the lasting effects of slavery and Jim Crow.This movement has its roots in the bitter legacy of the Plantation system in America.A system that completely destroyed the African people in America.Africans were stripped of their land,language and culture.Also the brutality of rape is commonly known and the castration and emasculation of the Black man is one of the effects lingering today in Black America.Now one of the short sightedness to come out of the American experience is Black separatism.A separatist believes in racial separatism from Whites.But the separatist never gives their students a successful example of how to achieve this inside a White country.This plays right into White racist hands.They know America after spending trillions to develop is not going to give Black people one state.But many racist dangle this to the so called Black separatist to make his dream of independent Black communities in America an alternative to an Exodus from America which would bring down this country's image to the world.The Black separatist masked his deceit and foolishness with hate speech,violent rhetoric,and threats.All the while he never embraces Africa or plans to leave America.He is a pathetic loser.The Ugly Man,standing on the corner peddling newspapers,pies,herbs,oils never rising above mediocrity.Now the same people will attack Black people for venturing into the mainstream of business.They will put down and ridicule Black men and women for engaging in business with Whites or Asians even when that business will create wealth.I have seen Whites come on Black radio shows only to get insulted by blindsides"White man is the Devil"Coons and radicals.Now it is time to embrace African Nationalism which is not separatism.Any attempt to link the two is slander and a conspiracy to silence real revolutionary men and women.