25. Africa & its Disporas - Part 3

Uploaded by cahEIU on 12.05.2011

(Dr. Klevor Abo). Cecilia Green herself
then a newly minted Phd in Sociology
asked me where is this global Africa that Mazrui talks about.
I've been completely taken in by the novel thought of Africa
being global, just as whiteness is boundless.
Even as I had some initial [unclear audio] about the
grandiloquence of this expression.
At least its a compact toward notion, rolling off the tongue a
little more easily than other formulations.
I had no answer for Cecilia Green, so I had to
go back to the drawing board.
[Unclear audio] I went back, rewatched and studied Mazrui's
global Africa episode, not only that, the entire series.
I concluded that Professor Mazrui was signaling, without
explicitly articulating it, the death of what
I call classical Pan-Africanism, the five Congresses plus
the All-Africa Congress.
Classical Pan-Africanism has ended, not only because the
[unclear audio] the All-Africa Congress, whereby comparison
quite an [unclear audio] events.
Classical Pan-Africanism has ended because it has achieved
its historic mission: African independence and the
passing of civil rights legislation in the 1960s...
But I categorically disagree with Mazrui's agenda.
One of the things that Mazrui does is in
the debate over reparations.
He says, "We should take it easy on the Middle East.
We should address the biggest challenge first."
He says that is what is owed to Africa and Africans by the West.
Slavery in the Arab world, Mazrui argued, was old.
Is it still multicultural?
The rich in the Middle East, no matter how they look, no matter
their [unclear audio], Ali Mazrui argues
enslave whoever they fancied.
So there are black Arabs who owned white slaves.
There are white slaves, white Arabs who owned black slaves.
It's an equal opportunity kind of thing.
So, it's not exactly like the terrible experience
of slavery in the West.
What is most important is that, historically, it was both the
indigenous Arab and African slave systems that
provided the fertile soil in which the seeds of the
Atlantic trade generated in the first place...
It is true the debate about reparations in one form or
another needs to concentrate on the really big fish in the West.
Those whose ill-gotten wealth from the traffic in African
souls formed the integral part of the basis of the
industrialization of the West that still continues to exploit
the rest of us, and doesn't it make moral and ethical sense
for charity to begin at home?
That in the quest for reparations, doesn't it make
sense to start by addressing why Africans, again I am also
falling into the trap, very often it is stated very
generally that Africans enslaved other Africans
and that's a bad thing.
Of course, white people also enslaved other white people.
The English moved into, of all the things that we have
experienced here in Africa and the rest of the world, as far as
the English were concerned that started in Ireland.
All the terms, the terrible terms by which Africans were
caught with [unclear audio] were first applied
by the English to the Irish.
So, let's have some perspective of this, but let's not say that
African slavery was a lot more humane, so that's okay, it's
not, because if the enlightenment teaches us
anything for which you should be grateful is that no human being,
no matter what the color of your skin, deserves to be enslaved.
That is where we start from.
So we start from critiquing historical slavery on the
African continent, and mind you, some of
those forms of slavery are still here today.
You go to Paris, you go into those neighborhoods
that African immigrants lived.
There are still master-slave relations
even outside of the continent.
In those hostels in Paris, there are some of those African
immigrants in France who have to turn in their paycheck to
somebody in that same hostel who they consider their master.
Why don't you deal with that?
When you are finished with that, why don't we deal with
slavery in the Middle East?
It is true that the debate about reparations, in one form or
another, needs to concentrate on the really big fish in the West
whose ill-gotten wealth from the trafficking of human souls
formed an integral part of the industrialization of the West
that is to continue to exploit the rest of us.
And doesn't it make moral and ethical sense for charity to
begin at home in Africa?
In deepening the effect of [unclear dialogue]
apology to African-Americans.
Now, I need to explain this.
Not long ago, Henry Louie Gates published an essay, I think in
the New York Times, in which he argued that when we talk about
reparations, we should also talk about what Africans should pay
because they were also equally involved.
Wouldn't it be?
That is a question that has to be addressed, slavery,
historical and contemporary on the African continent, and not
only that, the continuing enslavement of Africans who are
being shipped out every day today to the Middle East.
Journalists have had occasion to interview some Africans who
escaped from bondage in the 1990s in Saudi Arabia and
Kuwait and Bahrain and Oman.
And with a global Africa, so if classical Pan-Africanism is dead
because its historical leaders have achieved what they wanted
for themselves, that of running the colonies and the continent
and that of moving from the neighborhoods into the suburbs,
what then is their agenda for global Africa?
Mazrui's very useful arithmetic sum is
nonetheless uni-directional.
He says Africa plus the diaspora of the middle passage,
plus the diaspora of colonialism.
Real life really doesn't work like that.
It's not a simple sum, it's a complicated sum.
What about the increasing current traffic in
the opposite direction?
There are African-Americans who are taking early retirement,
taking the money and building homes in Ghana.
And I just learned recently something that broke my heart
that in Ghana, there are now questions being raised,
there are too many African-Americans,
they are going to take the country from us.
I said, oh my god.
Same old argument that we hear here.
The immigrants are taking over our jobs.
It's happening in my home country.
I would have thought not long ago, there was a constitutional
amendment, which authorizes any African-American, any black
person from the diaspora to attain Ghanaian citizenship.
That is being reviewed.
To get Ghanaian citizenship now as an African-American, you have
to prove that you can speak an African language.
I said, "What bollocks?"