Thursday, November 20, 2008

actions speak louder than words

For the record, I love me some Africa. And I have been blessed to have lived in Nigeria for 13 months, 3 months in Ethiopia, four summers in a row in South Africa, and two six month stints in Senegal. I won’t even mention the Malawi’s, the Benin’s the Zimbabwe’s or score of other countries I have visited.

As we get closer to that historic day on which the President Elect is expected to take his oath of office, I have started to think about how or what his main foreign policy targets will be. Sure I’m certain that he will deal with the Asian countries located in what many call the Middle East, and that he will have to bump heads with Putin in Russia, but I’m not so sure where he will place the needs of the continent I love so dearly.

I would suspect or hope that the tope two will be Sudan and the Congo, followed closely by Rwanda. We know that genocide is the rule of thumb in the Sudan and has been so for a while. As a national government, all we have done is utter words, phrases and clauses and looked, on purpose the other way. I wonder what is Obama’s plan for dealing with the Sudanese Government and the Arab Janjaweed militias which are supported by Khartoum? Even after a July 30th UN Security Council resolution the Sudan still has yet to meet its commitment to rein in these militias.

I say this for almost 15 years after the atrocities we saw in Rwanda we must not let history repeat itself. I say this for I believe we have not learned our lesson since 1994 as a nation supposedly of moral statue. I was looking for any position papers that he may have written on the Sudan, Congo or Rwanda – but could not find any (just a statement from 2007). I just wonder if Obama really meant what he said that the United States should support the immediate deployment of an effective international force to not only protect civilians and proffer the delivery of humanitarian aid, but also to disarm militia, or support the African Union troops to do such.

Since this shit started in 2003, an estimated 450,000 plus have died as a function of and disease, and another 2 to 3 million displaced to neighboring countries. I know Obama was hard on Bush for his inaction, but my query is what is his plan, and what actions does he plan to take to support his prose? Yep, the economy needs to be dealt with, as well as issues of national security, but what will he do of substance outside of imposing tougher fiats that target Sudan’s oil revenue or implementing effective diplomacy? I know he has co-sponsoring six bills on the conundrum – but they still remain words on paper that have not yielded any results.

I’m not saying Obama can really do anything, but he can try. Especially now since we see what did happen in Rwanda, may be starting up again via the Congo. General Laurent Nkunda has actively recruited member of the Rwanda military to accomplish his stated goal to “eliminate” the militias who assisted in the genocide of nearly a million folks in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Even using and forcing children to kill in his effort.

So Mr. President elect, you were right to hold Bush accountable for his strong words but non action, just hope you don’t mind if we don’t forget, and remind you, or hold you to the same standard.

33 comments:

Sheliza said...

your title says it all and I couldn't agree with you more.

Urban Thought said...

Hit the nail on the head.

For some reason I see the pale folk taking sides on the issue. Probably bringing up the fact that dude is black (and his father being from Africa) as preferential treatment if he does decide to help, in any way.

I do hope he does something, more than the last administration.

They can find money for bailing out the banking and auto industry but no help for education and foreign issues such is these? Let's see.

Craigjc said...

what can he do? And what should he? Perhaps he will defer to the African nations themselves instead of dictating policy, which is a colonianistic mindset in itself. Whacha think Raw Dawg? Great post.

paisley said...

no one better to bring this to his attention, than you.. post it over on his website,, www.change.gov..

let him know what is on your mind... you make a believer out of me every time....

Randal Graves said...

What a mind-numbing photo that is.
I think along the lines of Craigjc, in that we help out with manpower and materiel - too bad it's all tied up in oil adventuring - but let the African nations dictate directives. They live there. Hell, we get pissy when the UN says something. This whole clusterfuck sadly still remains out of sight, out of mind for too many.

RealHustla said...

Faith: The substance of things hoped for, but the evidence of things not seen.

Have faith.

Dusty said...

Genocide is the most horrible of human rights violations.

I would pay, gladly I might add, higher taxes to help eliminate what has been going on in Africa for decades.

Why do we fight genocide in white nations but not black nations?

Great post Torrance, thank you brotha, thank you.

Amina said...

the situation in the Great Lakes is just so sad. I am originally from Burundi and people rarely talk about the genocide that occurred there too..
I still get nightmares about the war...i hope something can be done...

MacDaddy said...

Good post, Torrance.

The genocide tears apart my heart. Still I want to go to Africa, especially Ghana. You are blessed, indeed, to have lived there.

NoRegrets said...

Hmm... does the secretary of state have any sway in where the attention goes? Not sure if Hillary would want to tackle that. But yes, let's hope they do address these issues in some way.

I was in Nigeria in 1992. Hotter than hell. Very interesting. Lived in Zimbabwe for a year - travelled.

an average patriot said...

They were dancing in the streets in Kenya as I am sure they were all over the world. Actions do speak louder than words. Bush talked the talk now under Obama you will see the walk walked!

Curious said...

Off the cuff; with the Big 3 looking for a major portion of the "bailout", the economy in a slump, people out of work, banks collapsing or at least hunkering down, 2 wars in the Middle East that mpost people want to end, I doubt that Congress would even allow Obama to enter into the Congo. Apart from morally, there is nothing to be gained there. The natural resources that we need would be sold to us regardless who is in charge there.

The best thing I think he can do would be to encourage the African States to build there own industries by cutting the subsidies that make American agricultural goods cheaper for the Africans to buy rather than their own stuff. Once the African States start to have vested interests in their own economy, maybe they will be interested and more capable of sustaining peace in the region themselves without having the colonial or neo-colonial empires try to do it for them.

Oh and also, maybe Obama can stop selling guns there as well as have the Chinese, Russians, Brits and French do the same.

Melody.Darlene said...

u know what i find amazing is this has been going on for YEARS!!! but b/c the media picks and chooses what to report on, we turn a blind eye as if it's not a problem... we're in denial of what's REALLY going on.

rainywalker said...

Perhaps when he gets in office America can do something to help. I have a friend in Nigeria I went to school with in 1980. BUt I have not been able to contact him for sometime.

esin said...

Yet another example of global hegemony; playing decreasing access to water againest those impacted... as the energy that should be ameliorating the needs of those tenet is usurped. China benefits most from these oil caches.

The horrific truth here, then, is that cheap energy that could solve Any issue faced by those many folk impacted by violence, et al, is being usurped... as the world looks away.

For far to long, greed of a few has trumped reason.

Anonymiss said...

Great question, Dusty.

Linda said...

Gosh, Africa.. there's something to worry about..

I once heard the statement: "there's no war in Africa, only hunger" - meaning that anyone would kill anyone just to have something to eat.

Perhaps he could start with something along the lines of 'if you HAVE to slaughter people, please do it a little humanely.. like.. with a bullet, instead of mutilating and raping first'

No, I'm not serious.... of course not ;)


greetings from the netherlands!

p.s. My daughter just saw your picture and asked: "When did I visit that man and sit on his lap?" - she's totally convinced that's her *lol*

Veronica Wright said...

Yes and I'm sure Obama will be held FULLY responsible and he will constantly be watched.

I hope he can put a dent in the piles of tasks to be tackled!!!!

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

Sheliza
so true mom

Urban Thought
i just want him to remember for. policy is more that Irag and Iran

Craigjc
well i hope he suports and empowers the OAS

paisley
will do and thanks madam poet

Randal Graves
yes it is and that is exactly what i am afraid of

RealHustla
i do sister, just a reminder

Dusty
horrible
indeed and i dk

Amina
dang nothing like personal experience

MacDaddy
i hope and desire for all to be able to live in such places

NoRegrets
i was there then also, and lets hop Hillary takes this seriously

an average patriot
i have faith and was just reminding folks

Curious s
so true, and especially since we trying to make the hybride cars all the colbalt (for lithium inonized batteries) in the world is mainly in the congo

Melody.Darlene
you are right about that

rainywalker
maybe be u are right

esin
truth as such is truly horrifying

Anonymiss
Thank u

Linda said...
lol at daughter calling me that man

Veronica Wright
i think he is smart enuff to - just waiting on the actions

KELSO'S NUTS said...

JONES: I'm bit of a cynic as you know, so I expect like every other head-of-state outside Africa, Obama's concerns will be where the loot is: Nigeria, South Africa (& Zimbabwe so as to quell spillover into South Africa), Ghana, Botswanna, possibly Cameroon, very possibly Liberia if the influence of Shirley Taylor is what the US press makes it out to be.

Sadly, those will take precedence over Chad, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopian, Sierra Leone, Cote D'Ivoire, Rwada, Congolese Rebublic, even Kenya...unless of course uncut diamonds start hitting the markets in force.

Egypt and Somalia are always on the verge of having non-loot related global significance. The other, smaller Arab nations will be no factor.

James Tubman said...

man that place has been a mess for a long time now

ive heard figures as high as 6 million people being killed because of th european regin=me that has power

the congo has much resources there thats why whoever controls that region has a lot of power

there os also an indigenous army there fighting the european puppet that now in office

the gureillas are fighting as hard as they can but they dont have the resources that the european puppets have

afrikan amerikans need to support that resistance

great article man

keep educating us

One Man’s Opinion said...

And pictures speak volumes over everything.

Viking Funeral said...

Craigjc said it best...isn't it arrogant as Americans that we automatically assume that we have some "divine right" to meddle in other nations' affairs. "What are we going to do about country XYZ...?" I say - nothing. It's never worked 100 times before and it never will work unless whatever nation we are trying to 'help' has the collective will to do something for themselves other than self-destruct.

Viking Funeral said...

Uh, excuse me Mr. Tubman, but wtf are you talking about here?

"ive heard figures as high as 6 million people being killed because of th european regin=me that has power"

I am assuming you mean "had power" since the DRC gained its' independence from Belgium over 40 years ago.

The evil-white-man-conspiracy no longer exists people - get over it! And if you really want to help your "peoples" over there how about taking the African leaders to task on responsibility for their own mess and not demand that our leaders do something about it for them.

Isn't that the same as the return of the colonialism which is blamed for already destroying Africa? Curious strategy there my friend.

Oh, and in case you want to try and educate yourself instead of letting Mr. Stephens do it for you, start here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo

bbgcmac said...

I met Paul Rusessabagina and a few months later threw myself into the subject of genocide in Africa over the summer. Read four different books regarding the one in Rwanda including one from the perspective of the killers themselves.

Its one of the saddest things I have ever seen in my life on many levels. I hope Obama can have some influence in this area too!

fly tie said...

this is one thing i'm interested in seeing as well (what he'll do/attempt to do in africa)

T.C. said...

EXACTLY! I hope he steps up and does what has been needed for over a century (not a decade or decades)

Kitty said...

My moms went to S. Africa and liked it so much she plans on moving there. I hope Obama does make changes and help out our African brothers and sisters. It's LOOONNNGG overdue.

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