Konch Magazine - Chinweizu On Mali Crisis
Chinweizu on Mali crisis, 11 feb 13
Correspondence and Interview with Alkebu-Lan, edited and expanded
Part One: Preliminary exchanges
Bro. Heru,
In your email of 05Feb13, inviting me to take part in the Mali discussion, you said:
Mainstream media is advancing a narrative of European 'humanitarian intervention' to aid a
beleaguered people in mortal danger of advancing islamist hoards, yet these same hoards
were "freedom fighters" in Libya where they slaughtered Afrikans with impunity.
We want to unravel the real story behind the headlines to get a handle issue like:
Was France/Europe right to go in?
Can Mali govern itself?
Have the "freedom fighters" now turned to 'terrorism'?
What links, if any do these "freedom fighters" have to their former European/NATO
Are the European and Arabs forces working in cahoots to subdue Mali/Afrika?
What should ECOWAS and the AU be doing about the situation in Mali?
Will it spread to neighbouring countries?
Is the whole scenario a USA lead plan to stem China's encroachment on Afrika?
Of course we welcome any additional perspectives on the situation. Our objective to bring
some clarity to the situation for our community and to examine what approach/strategy will
best benefit Afrikans?
Afrocentric perspective
I shall start with additional perspectives and then address the 8 issues you have raised.
The questions you propose to discuss prompt me to ask:
If we are truly Afrocentric, shouldn’t our first question about any situation (Mali, Libya, Cote
d’Ivoire , Haiti, Marikana, Zimbabwe, climate change, “gender mutilation” or wherever or
whatever), about any situation or issue whatsoever, be this: What is our Black African/Negro
interest in this situation and how should we define, defend and advance it? Rather than what are
the interests/motives of the Europeans/Americans, or what are the Europeans and Americans up 2
to, and how should we regard or react to it? It is only after we define our Negro interest that we
should look around to find how the interests of other groups can hinder or be used to serve our
interests. Isn’t that the mature, as opposed to the helpless, crybaby approach to issues?
In this specific case of Mali, I think it is necessary and proper for Pan-Africanists to start by
considering the interests of the Malians and not get sidetracked into the game of guessing
what the Europeans and Americans may be up to. Therefore, I think Afrocentrists should start
by asking:
1. What are the Afrocentric, Black-Africa-wide issues raised by the Islamist
attack on Mali?
2. And most important of these: What are the interests of the Malians?
3. Do the Malians, like any other Black-Africans, have a duty and a right to
defend themselves from any outside invaders? Or do they lose that right
when the invaders are their fellow Muslims, and especially Muslim Jihadists?
4. As they clearly are unable to defend themselves, and the AU is also unable to
defend them militarily, don’t the Malians have the duty and right to use
whatever help they can get?
5. What is the historical context of the Mali crisis?
6. What is the history of Mali and what is their local historical experience of
Arab as well as European imperialism, etc. That should help non-Malian
Afrikans to appreciate the Malians’ welcoming of the French intervention.
Those Malians who know their history would know what Es-Sadi recorded
about the Morrocan expedition in 1591 that ruined Songhai in the 1590s. And
given the centuries-long Malian tradition of preserving manuscripts in family
libraries, it is most likely that enough elite Malians know that history for it to
have been a background factor influencing the Malian response to these
events. So, in welcoming the French intervention, the Malians have
presumably chosen the lesser of two evils. We can’t forget that history. It is
our duty not to forget that history.
7. What has been the role of the Tuaregs in all this?
8. What do they want?3
9. Why should they not break away from Mali if they want to?
10. Are these Berlin Conference entities and borders sacred? If so, why?
11. At the start of this Mali crisis last year, when the Tuaregs proclaimed their
breakaway Azawad republic, and before the Islamists took over the
Tuareg/Azawad territory, one of our Continentalist ideologues, Gamal
Nkrumah, wrote a piece in Al Ahram and insisted that “Azawad, will be
short-lived” and would be brought back into Mali. Now Why? Don’t the
Tuaregs have the same right to self-determination as the Ghanaians,
Algerians, Namibians, South Africans, South Sudanese, Saharawi, etc? Do
they lose that right just because they are imprisoned in a Berlin Conference
entity whose territorial integrity is allegedly sacred to Continentalists? Now,
Continentalist Pan-Africanists can’t continue to denounce these colonialist
entities and borders, and then turn around and insist that they must be
maintained at all costs. That isn’t being consistent. It’s like swallowing your
own vomit. It doesn’t make common sense. It is a backhand endorsement of
the European colonialism and neo-colonialism that Continentalists have railed
against since the 1950s.
12. Is Arab or Islamist colonialism preferable to European colonialism and to be
accepted without resistance by Africans or protest by Pan-Africanists? If so,
why? There are Continentalists who seem to think that it is ok for Black
Africans to be colonized by Arabs and Muslims. And that these Islamist
invaders of Mali should be endured by the Malians to avoid the “politically
incorrect” resort to getting help from the West, or even just to spite the
West. As if a taking over of Mali by invading Islamists is not an imperialist
attack, just because it is not being done by Europeans. They should be told
that an imperialist is an imperialist, whether he is Arab or European or
Chinese or Martian. As the historical record shows, European imperialism is
not the only possible imperialism. And it hasn’t been the only one in Mali
territory. I have already mentioned the Moroccan expedition that wrecked
Songhai in 1591, looting Gao, Timbuktu, and Jenne! Just like these 21st
century Islamists are doing today.4
13. Why do we waste our time speculating about the minutiae of what
others are doing and why? Even if we were to prove that their motives were
the purest or vilest possible, how would that change the humiliating fact that
we still can’t defend ourselves? So why waste time on that decoy discussion?
The real discussion, I think, should be about building our own power,
so we can prevent such humiliating situations from arising ever
I hope you find the above 13 questions helpful in clarifying what an Afrocentric perspective
should be.
Your original questions are important. I will therefore give my answers to them, even
though from your subsequent synopsis (below), I see you no longer intend to ask them in the
actual interview.
Initial set of questions
1] Was France/Europe right to go in?
Right for who?
Right for France/Europe? But that’s entirely their affair!
But right for the Africans? Neither of them (Islamists or Europeans) is good for us. But When
we need help we accept help wherever we can find it—even from the devil.
2] Can Mali govern itself?
"Govern" is different from "defend." Clearly, Mali couldn’t defend itself from
these Islamists. But even if they can govern themselves, they won’t now
under the French, let alone under the Islamist invaders.
3] Have the "freedom fighters" now turned to 'terrorism'?
If there are any “freedom fighters” in this crisis, it is only the MNLA of the
Tuaregs. But from available reports, it is not the Azawad forces (the Tuareg
rebel National Liberation Front of Azawad, MNLA) that have demolished 5
shrines and tombs, cut off hands and feet, and applied "pure and hard"
Islamic Sharia law and banned alcohol, soccer and television in Timbuktu,
Gao, etc. It is the Ansar Dine together with the hard-line Islamist jihadists
of MUJWA, AQIM etc. These groups are Islamic fundamentalists; they are
made up of people from Jihadistan--countries such as Algeria, Libya and
even as far afield as Afghanistan and Pakistan. These Global Jihad
barbarians are not freedom fighters. The Libyans among them may have
been freedom fighters in their own country, Libya, but they are not freedom
fighters in other people’s country. In Mali, they are invaders, pure and
Whatever the names or acronyms they display, we should realize that
these Islamist fighters are mercenaries of Arab Imperialism and
expansionism. They are to the Arab Empire (a.k.a Dar al-Islam/Muslim
World) what the Foreign Legion is to French Imperialism. They are recruited
internationally and exported to do the fighting wherever their Arab
imperialist masters need some fighting done to defend or expand their
empire (Dar al-Islam/Islamic World).
We must never lose sight of the fact that the Global Jihad is an
imperialist war for the Arabs to conquer and rule the whole world under the
camouflage of their religion, Islam. The Arab religious Empire, (The Muslim
World) like the European secular empires (such as the British
Commonwealth), is a highly profitable economic enterprise for its masters.
For an indication of what the Arabs earn from their religious empire, consider
this: The International Islamic News Agency (IINA) reported Saudi Arabia’s
“revenues from Haj and Umrah services in 2012 at more than SR 62
billion ($ 16.5 billion), 10 percent up from 2011 figures.”
4] What links, if any do these "freedom fighters" have to their former
European/NATO benefactors? 6
Who knows? But you seem to be assuming that these are some of the antiGadafi “freedom fighters” rather than the defeated Gadafi forces who are
seeking refuge elsewhere. Now, why would the victorious anti-Gadafi
“freedom fighters” leave Libya to go to Mali instead of enjoying their victors’
spoils in Libya? It doesn’t seem plausible to me. Any Libyans among these
invaders in Mali are more likely to be from the defeated Gadafi forces.
5] Are the European and Arab forces working in cahoots to subdue Mali/Afrika?
The Arab forces are, for sure, trying to subdue Mali/Afrika. I think we know
Europeans and their agenda well enough. Also their penchant for
“humanitarian” excuses for their interventions. They don’t need to get in
cahoots with Arabs to do their dirt. In any case teaming up with Arabs at
this time would only aggravate their own terrorist/al Qaeda problem. And
even if they temporarily do so, they are not in long-term cahoots. Their
interests in global domination are irreconcilably opposed; mutually exclusive.
6] What should ECOWAS and the AU be doing about the situation in Mali?
Send troops to help defeat the Islamists. But the AU is not an independent
Afrikan factor, since it is 97% funded by the West—according to the current
AU Commission Chairperson.
7] Will it spread to neighbouring countries?
If left unattended, definitely. Boko Haram & Co are already jihading in the
wings next door in Nigeria. And one of the Global Jihad groups in Northern
Mali, The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO/MUJWA),
aims to spread jihad to the whole of West Africa. And if undefeated, that’s
precisely what they will proceed to do.
8] Is the whole scenario a USA led plan to stem China's encroachment on Afrika?
Remote but possible. Maybe they are trying to militarily intimidate the
African governments which are trying to make deals with China. As part of
resource rivalry, the West may be trying to put a lock on resources that are
already under the West’s control. And their way to do so could be to bring
these governments under their military protection by exploiting the Islamist
Part Two: The Interview
From: heru [mailto:heru6231@yahoo.co.uk]
Sent: Monday, February 11, 2013 7:23 AM
To: Chinweizu
Subject: Afrika Speaks with Alkebu-Lan 11/02/13 – Chinweizu Live! Mali Crisis – What is the Afrikan
Greetings Baba Chinweizu,
Please see below the synopsis for the show. . . . We’ve tried to summarise the issue then round
it up with a consideration of what we as a people need to do.
Will contact you later
Ancestral guidance
Bro. Heru
Chinweizu’s Note
As things turned out, the interview went on for only about 30 minutes before the phone
connection failed and we were cut off.
Below are my written answers to the questions in the synopsis.

3-5 pm Daylight Saving Time
Hear weekly discussions and lively
debate on all issues affecting the
Afrikan community, at home and
We talk it straight and make it plain!
This week’s show
Monday 11th February 2013
Mali Crisis – What is the
Afrikan agenda?
The ongoing crisis in the west Afrikan state of Mali has attracted in depth commentary and
analysis from around the world. In January last year a rebellion by the Tuaregs, a berber
people based the northern part of the country essentially set in train the events that lead to
the intervention from former colonial power France a year later. The Tuareg’s history of
rebellion against Mali’s central government dates back to the early days of independence in
1960 but what made the January 2012 situation different was that they were now equipped
with modern and heavy armaments, having just returned from Libya after Gadaffi’s
overthrow. Different Tuareg groups united to form the MNLA -Mouvement National de
Libération de l'Azawad (the National Liberation Movement of Azawad, the Tuareg name for
the northern Mali region where they are based).
MNLA was soon in control of several northern towns, which prompted one of the several USA
trained army officers Amadou Sanogo to stage a coup in march 2012, citing President
Amadou Toumani Touré’s inadequate handling of the Tuareg rebellions as the main reason.
By this time the independence seeking MNLA had allegedly forged links with hard line
Islamist groups such as Ansar Dine, that seeks to impose Islamic law across the country, AlQaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that includes mostly foreign fighters, and Movement
for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) said to be an AQIM splinter group whose aim
is to spread jihad to the whole of West Africa. The Malian army under Sanogo were routed
within ten days aided by the defection of three of the four Malian military commanders in the
north to the rebels, declared Azawad independent in April 2012. However, since then MNLA
nationalist have found themselves marginalized by the other Islamist groups that have
imposed Islamic Sharia law and set about destroying Afrikan artifacts as their forces pushed
further south towards the nation’s capital Bamako. Their successes against a weakened
Malian army compelled France to intervene in January. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said
France had to send in troops "very, very rapidly otherwise there would be no more Mali,”
adding “the hour has come for a broader commitment by the major powers and more
countries and organisations... to show greater solidarity with France and Africa in the total
and multi-faceted war against terrorism in Mali." UK has also announced that it is sending
troops to Mali, while the USA is offering logistical support and all are said to be assisting in
the training of ECOWAS (Economic Community Of West African States) troops to take over
when France leave.
Other factors that are said to be playing out in the background of the Mali crisis include
allegations that the USA is using Mali as one its projects to establish AFRICOM in the region;
that, according to Jeremy H. Keenan Professorial Research Associate as SOAS, Algeria’s
secret intelligence service, the Département du Renseignement et de la Sécurité (DRS)
“regularly colludes with western military intelligence to fabricating ‘false-flag’ terrorism to
justify the West’s “global war on terror” in Africa”; that AQIM is “Al Qaeda in the West for
the West”; and that a key objective is to maintain the lucrative drug trafficking route. An
estimated 60 per cent of Europe’s cocaine passed through the region - some $11 at Paris
street prices billion and seen as the main reason that the DRS supported factions had to
thwart MNLA’s nationalistic intentions.
So although there was outrage that, after Côte d'Ivoire in 20111, France has made yet
another incursion in west Afrika coupled with ongoing concern at USA’s agenda for the
continent, on the other side Malians are also suffering brutally at the hands of the likes of
MUJAO. With ECOWAS effectively under the tutelage and direction of Europe and the African
Union reliant on external funding, there is no clear Afrikan position being advanced. Not by
any stretch of the imagination a situation unique to Mali but a grave one nonetheless.
As renowned Pan-Afrikanist and scholar Baba Chinweizu stated in 2010 at the CBAAC conference on
Pan-Africanism in Abuja: “The Black race will be exterminated if it does not build a black superpower in
Africa by the end of this century.” Thus, “protection” from one Afrikan enemy from another not protection.
Elsewhere he stated: “to liberate ourselves from domination by the West, we must become as good at
organized violence as the West. We must get on with the project of building a black superpower in Africa.”
Baba Chinweizu’s contribution to inculcating the necessary consciousness for the missions includes
establishing the Committee Against Arab Colonialism in Black Africa (CAACBA) “an informal network of
black African scholars and activists, in Black Africa and the Diaspora, who, over the years, have kept an
Afrocentric sentinel's eye on Afro-Arab relations,” and the Pan-Africanism Study Project (PASP) that aims to
“harvest and hand on to the next generation the wisdom learned in two centuries of liberation struggles by the
Black Race. That is to ensure that they are not ignorant of what they should know.” He further suggests Three
Cardinal Goals for 21st century Pan-Africanism: 1) Raise the quality of life/standard of living of Blacks in the
mass; 2) Win the respect of the world for the Black race; 3) Achieve a Renaissance of Black African Civilization,
concluding: “How will we know when we have built that Black superpower? When we have at least one big
country in Black Africa, preferably of sub-continental size (e.g. ECOWAS or SADC), that has mighty armies
equipped with atom bombs, ballistic missiles, nuclear submarines. When we have Black African economies with
heavy industries, turning out iron and steel, petrochemical products, ships, aircraft, articulated trucks, trains,
tanks, artillery, microchips etc. Then we would have arrived.”
So tonight, we ask the question:
Mali Crisis – What is the
Afrikan agenda?
1.Are the Tuaregs oppressed Afrikans fighting for independence?
Whether oppressed or not, they clearly want autonomy, as shown by their declaration of
Azawad secession. Which is okay, provided they stick only to their desert homelands, and
don’t expropriate the lands of the sedentary cultivators along the Niger Valley, including
Timbuktu and Gao. They have been wrangling and warring with the peoples of the Niger
valley for centuries. Who has been oppressing who in this phase is not easy to determine.
It has been part of the endless conflict between nomads and sedentary cultivators in that
2.Would there really have been “no more Mali” had
France not intervened?
Who knows? Why should that take up our thoughts? What difference does it make to
Black African life and survival whether or not the Berlin conference entity called Mali
continues to exist or not?
3.Is the Mali crisis a direct fall-out from the ousting of
Gadaffi in Libya?
Whether it is or isn’t, how does the answer help us? Why should we as Black Africans be
speculating about that?
Shouldn’t our focus be on making sure we have the power to stop others from carrying
their fights into our territory?
4.How did USA training help the Malian army?
I don’t know and, frankly, I don’t give a damn.
5.Is the crisis really the result of European/Arab
manoeuvres in Afrika?
Perhaps. But the Afrocentric issue should be: Why are the Europeans and Arabs able to do
their maneuvers in Africa? Why are they not doing them in China? What stops them from
doing them in China? What have the Chinese done to prevent them, and when will we do
the same in Black Africa?
6.Is AQIM really “Al Qaeda in the West for the West”?
Who knows? And why should Black Africans waste time and burn up brain cells
speculating about that? Whether or not it is, so what? The key point is that they are
attacking Black Africa and therefore are our enemies.
7.Does 60% of Europe’s cocaine really pass through the
Who knows? Why should that concern us? Is that really an issue for us Negroes to bother
our heads about?
8. Do Afrikans have to “become as good at organized
violence as the West” to be free?
Please remember: You are only as free as you are strong: the weak are not free. That’s
a hard fact of life. The weak can’t do what is in their interest if the strong object. And
since the West is the strongest group in the world of today, and can impose its will
through its organized violence, you need to be able to use an at-least-equal amount of
organized violence to deter them from imposing their dictates on you. So, if you want to
be free, there is no avoiding the challenge to become as good as the West at organized
If you find this too hardnosed, let me remind you that, a century ago, Garvey said that
the Negro “must cast off his superstition, sentimentality and emotionalism, and become a
realist in a world where men depend upon organized force and strength.” [Quoted in
Garvey and the Vision of Africa, p. 434] That’s the reality in the world and we cannot
wish it away.
9. Is a “Black superpower” in Afrika a realistic possibility?
If you choose to believe it is not realistic, then it becomes unrealistic for you, and will not be
realized. But if you recognize that it is absolutely necessary, and if you decide that Negroes must
survive, then you will make it realistic and find effective ways to realize it. As they say “Where
there is a will, there is a way.” As Garvey put it “The man, the race, the nation, that helps itself is
helped by God.” Or if you prefer the Chinese parable on the same point, go and read Mao’s “The
Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains". The choice is up to you. I am an old man now. I
won’t be here with you to get it done. My job is to show you what you need to do. To help your
generation to discover your mission. It’s entirely up to you to fulfill it or betray it.
But I urge you to remember Garvey’s example. In 1914, a century ago, Garvey asked:
“Where is the black man’s Government?” “Where is his King and his kingdom?”
“Where is his President, his country, and his ambassador, his army, his navy, his
men of big affairs?” I could not find them, and then I declared, “I will help to
make them.” [Philosophy & Opinions, II:126]
Garvey then formed the UNIA, to help make black men of big affairs, and to challenge and
remove white governments from Africa. At that time, Negrodom, and indeed the whole world,
knew it was “not realistic” to even dream of challenging the white masters in Africa. But
Garvey defiantly advocated a free Africa and went ahead to challenge the white powers. In his
retrospective essay, Richard B. Moore, one of the anti-Garvey, Negro Communist intellectuals of
the 1920s, in complaining about Garvey’s methods said:
“ At the outset of his leadership career in the U.S.A., Marcus Garvey
proclaimed "Africa for the Africans at home and abroad." In the UNIA
organ, the Negro World of October 16, 1918, Garvey declared the
African colonies, then ruled by European powers, to be the property of
blacks and challenged "by God we are going to have them, now or
some time later, even if all the world is to waste itself in blood."
Similarly, Garvey had affirmed in the Negro World: "Africa must be
redeemed, and all of us pledge our manhood, our wealth and our blood
to this sacred cause."
During the first Convention of the Universal Negro Improvement
Association at the mammoth mass meeting held at Carnegie Hall in
August 1920, Marcus Garvey thundered: "We say to the white man
who now dominates Africa that it is to his interest to clear out of Africa
now, because we are coming . . , 400,000,000 strong, and we mean to
retake every square inch of the 12,000,000 square miles of African
territory belonging to us by right Divine.”
Unquestionably, this proclamation of intended reconquest of the
entire continent of Africa caused the Garvey movement to be
considered dangerous by the European colonialist powers which
dominated almost all of Africa. ”
--[ Garvey and the Vision of Africa: 220-221]
Few Negroes, Du Bois included, thought the African redemption project realistic. A year
later, Du Bois publicly declared his opposition to this project. The New York World of September
6, 1921, carried this report from the Du Bois Pan African Congress then taking place in Paris:
Dr. Du Bois, one of the best known Negroes in the United States declared the African
redemption plan was a chimera. The Colored American could not stand the African
climate. He said, “we cannot oust the Europeans from the Dark Continent, and we do not
desire to do so.” [Garvey & Garveyism: 72]
But by 1970, 50 years after Garvey announced the ‘unrealistic’ project of ousting the European
governments from Africa, more than 30 Negro countries in Africa had ousted their European
governments. And today, a hundred years later, no Negro country in Africa has a European
government. This change was achieved by leaders inspired by Garvey, together with those
inspired by those Garvey had inspired, (such as Azikiwe in Nigeria, who had been inspired in the
1920s by reading the Negro World when he was a teenager in secondary school, and who then
helped inspire Nkrumah and others in the 1930s through the Morning Post newspaper he edited in
Accra.) So, is building a black superpower realistic? It’s entirely up to you. If you decide to build
a black superpower, then it becomes realistic; but if you decide not to, it will be unrealistic.
Remember Garvey’s saying about anything that is humanly possible:15
Whatsoever man has done, man can do. . . . You are capable of all that is common to
men of other races. . . . God Almighty created all men equal, whether they be white,
yellow or black, and for any race to admit that it cannot do what others have done, is to
hurl an insult at the Almighty who created all races equal, in the beginning.
--[ Philosophy & Opinions, I: 7; Garvey & Garveyism: 29; Philosophy &
Opinions, I: 32]
10.What would need to happen for it to be established?
The basic thing is to industrialize your economy and give yourselves the kind of science and technology
capacity you need to match the most powerful groups in the world. Beyond that, don’t ask me. That’s for
you to work out. Put on your thinking caps and do the homework.
When you have committed to making it happen, then will be the time to investigate and find out
what is required at that time. You can’t decide in advance. If you wanted to do that in the 1900s, you
would have needed to create a technological capacity to match that which produced the Maxim gun. In the
1950s, it would have been the atom bomb. In the 1990s, it would have been the AIDS bomb. Today in the
2010s it would be all of the above plus drones. What would be needed in 2025 or 2030? To find out,
you’ll have to inspect the situation at that time. Over to you!
11.What evidence is there that “the Black race will be
exterminated if it does not build a black superpower in
Africa by the end of this century”?
In the early 1920s, that’s a century ago, Garvey raised the question: Shall the Negro be
exterminated? In examining the question he made two crucial points:
(a) “When the colonists of America desired possession of the land, they saw that a
weak aboriginal race was in their way. What did they do? They got hold of them, killed them,
and buried them underground. This is a fair indication of what will happen to the weaker
peoples of the world in another two or three hundred years when the stronger races will have
developed themselves to the position of complete mastery of all things material. [Philosophy
& Opinions, I: 63]
(b) “If we sit supinely by and allow the great white race to lift itself in numbers and in
power, it will mean that in another 500 years this full grown race of white men will in turn
exterminate the weaker race of black men for the purpose of finding enough room on this
limited mundane sphere to accommodate that race which will have numerically multiplied
itself into many billions. This is the danger point. What will become of the Negro in another
500 years if he does not organize now to develop and to protect himself? The answer is that
he will be exterminated for the purpose of making room for the other race that will be strong
enough to hold their own against the opposition of all and sundry.” [Philosophy & Opinions,
I: 66]
Garvey was talking of 500 years from the 1920s, or four centuries from now. But things have
speeded up in the world. And a danger that seemed 500 years away in his time, is considerably
nearer now.
That warning was issued in the early 1920s, before the atom bomb was invented; long before
the AIDS bomb was invented and thrown in Africa to wipe us out; long before GMO seeds were
invented to destroy our ancient ability to plant the seeds from our harvest, thereby destroying our
food autonomy by putting our annual food planting under the control of imperialist GMO
corporations; long before a series of concentration camps and gas chambers were built in the USA,
ready for the black people who are to be exterminated at the appropriate time. And long before the
Arabs resumed their expansionism at the expense of Black Africans; long before the Chinese and
Indians industrialized themselves and began looking for cheap resources from Africa; and long
before the new scramble for land in black Africa by Chinese, Indians, Arabs, Koreans etc. With all
these peoples hungry to seize your land, and with the capacity to wipe you out, you had better take
the threat of extermination seriously. When these peoples didn’t have the capacity or the need to
wipe you out and seize your land and resources, you could complacently continue burying your
heads in illusions of long-term security. Now, with your comprador gangsterments (governments)
eager to sell off Black African land, how much land will you have by the end of this century?
Without land of your own, how can you survive? That is before you factor in the population
depletion that AIDS is causing. So unless you create enough Black power to protect your land
from all these peoples who desperately want it, you will be exterminated like the native Americans
in North America. You are now facing the danger that the Native North Americans faced in the
second half of the 19th century. All because for the last century, your leaders refused to read or 17
heed Garvey’s warning.
Now the terrain is more difficult for building your black superpower than it was in the second
half of the 20th century. But if you mean to survive, you will have to find a way to get the job
But whatever the details and confusions of the Mali crisis, the bottom line, the take-away from
the Negro-humiliating drama, is that it has made it clear for all Negroes to see that Black Africa
cannot defend itself from anybody, even after 50 years of Independence/Self-Government. We
have always known that Black Africa cannot defend itself from the West. But the Mali Crisis
shows to everybody that Black Africa can’t defend itself even from the bloody Arabs who are no
match even for tiny Israel; and Black Africa has had to humiliate itself by accepting a return of
the former colonial masters to keep Mali from being grabbed by the Arabizing Islamists. Mali
makes clear what many Negroes could not, or refused to, see in the case of Dafur where the
Jellaba-Arab minority regime in Khartoum helped Arab nomads to seize and settle on a territory
the size of France, and without any resistance from these disgraceful Black African
gangsterments and their AU.
Our humiliation in Mali should be the final wake up call to the Negro to get on with the job of
guaranteeing his security in this dangerous world.
Now, why is Black Africa, after 50 years of Independence/Self-Government still in this
shameful defenseless situation? The answer is that Black Africa’s leaders of the 1960s—those
who led their countries to Independence/Self-Government by 1969 are largely responsible.
Why? What did they do wrong? What did they fail to do that they should have done?
The “Never-Again-Question”
After leading their countries to self-government/independence, they failed to ask and answer the
fundamental “Never-Again-Question” dictated by Negro history: Why did Negroes suffer the 6-
centuries-long nightmare of being enslaved, conquered and colonized by Europeans--the
nightmare from which they had just begun to emerge in the 1960s? And what must be done by
Negroes to ensure that they would “Never Again” suffer any of that? That’s what I call the
Never-Again-Question. But our 1960s leaders obviously didn’t pose that vital question. Had they
done so and tried to answer it, they would have discovered that Garvey had answered it back in
the 1920s, when he said, in 1922:
“... we are determined to solve our own problem, by redeeming our
Motherland Africa from the hands of alien exploiters and found there a
Government, a nation of our own, strong enough to lend protection to the
members of our race scattered all over the world, and to compel the respect
of the nations and races of the earth.”
-- [Philosophy & Opinions, I: 52,]
And when he later explained, in 1926, that:
"The days of slavery are not gone forever," he reminded his followers.
"Slavery is threatened for every race and nation that remains weak and
refuses to organize its strength for its own protection."
--[ Race First, p. 33; Negro World, May 22, 1926]
Had they found and accepted these words by Garvey, they would then have focused their
considerable energies and organizing talents on accomplishing the task of building a black
superpower in Africa by the end of the 20th century.
Their intellectual failure to pose the Never-Again-Question is at the root of why we find
ourselves today still incapable of defending Sub-Sahara Africa from anybody.
Rather than the Black superpower project which our history demanded, they set off to do all
manner of unhelpful things: For example, in Senegal, Senghor set off for the Negritude nirvana of
African Socialism; in Tanzania, Nyerere set off to create Ujamaa villages; in Ghana, Nkrumah set
off to “build socialism”; in Zambia, Kaunda set off to “implement Humanism”; In Nigeria,
Balewa and his boss Ahmadu Bello set off to make Nigeria a feudal estate of Dan Fodio’s
descendants, and to “dip the Koran into the sea”. It was as if lack of African socialism, or lack of
Ujamaa, or lack of Scientific socialism or lack of African Humanism or lack of the Koran and
whatnot was the cause of the enslavement and colonization of Negroes by Europeans since the
1440s. What a wrongheaded generation they were!
Why were they so wrongheaded, despite what Garvey espoused?”And why have we remained
wrongheaded till this day, despite having Garvey to guide us? That’s an important discussion, but
a discussion for another occasion. For now the lesson is for Pan-Africanists to return to
Garvey’s works, and read him daily like they read the Bible or Koran, and study his diagnosis 19
of the roots of our humiliating situation, and learn what he taught must be done by us to bring
it to an end. Just knowing and using his name for name-dropping is not good enough!
As Garvey correctly and regretfully observed in 1936, we are not “a people capable of seeing
down the ages”. [Garvey and the Vision of Africa: 362] Negroes, in their short-sightedness
and deafness, refused to heed Garvey’s wise warning, and failed to build our black power in
the last 50 years when we had the most favorable window of opportunity to do so. And rather
than focus on building a black superpower, we allowed ourselves to be diverted to pursue the
mirage of an Afro-Arab Continental Union Government (CUG) that, by being a racially
integrated African and Arab entity, and therefore a mixed race entity, would never be a
NEGRO superpower--even assuming it could become a superpower at all, which it cannot,
given the mentality of the gangsterments that make up the AU. And so we find ourselves
today still unable to defend Mali, Darfur, Kordofan or South Sudan, let alone all of SubSahara Africa from the Arabs or anybody else. We must note that the half-century that we
squandered pursuing these mirages of socialism and CUG and whatnot was the same period in
which communist North Korea industrialized and became a nuclear power. And capitalist
South Korea became an industrial power. And Malaysia as well as tiny Singapore became
industrial powers. Yet no Negro country, whether professing socialism or capitalism or
whatever else, managed to industrialize itself. What a dismal performance! As Garvey warned
in 1938:
“A race that is continuously subjected to another admits its inferiority. The Negro
will never be able to hold his head as a man and speak as a man until he is able to
do the things that other races have done and are doing. This is the urge that forces
men on to the accomplishment of those things that are worthwhile, and it is
hoped that the African at home as well as the African abroad will work toward
that end.” [Garvey and the Vision of Africa: 368]
Back in 1936, in response to the Italian conquest of Abyssinia, Garvey, published a column
titled “Unpreparedness a Crime”, and warned:
Negroes, why are you such fools? Are you going to continue playing the fool,
expecting to find yourselves among the living in another century? This is a
warning. If you Negroes do not readjust and steady yourselves and think
intelligently as the age demands, your next fifty years will not see you defeated,
but will see you wiped out entirely from civilization.” [Garvey and the Vision of
Africa: 361]
That warning is still relevant today. Negroes must stop being sentimental fools and start being
clear-headed, hardnosed and hard-headed about the world. And, in order to save ourselves, we
must set out to do even things that look impossible and unrealistic. For like Garvey said to
Negroes, (and it bears endless repeating till it is ingrained and active in our consciousness):
Whatsoever man has done, man can do. . . . You are capable of all that is
common to men of other races. . . . God Almighty created all men equal, whether
they be white, yellow or black, and for any race to admit that it cannot do what
others have done, is to hurl an insult at the Almighty who created all races equal, in
the beginning.
--[ Philosophy & Opinions, I: 7; Garvey & Garveyism: 29; Philosophy &
Opinions, I: 32]
A Note on the word Negro
You may have observed that, like Cheikh Anta Diop, I use the word Negro without hesitation or
apologies. My reasons are three:
First of all, that was the accepted usage in Garvey’s time, and when I quote him, I don’t
want to change his words.
Secondly, I want to be precise and avoid the confusions, dangerous for us Negroes, that
now go with the term African. I am concerned only with the African Race, the indigenous
peoples of Africa. Negroes, in all our shades of black and brown skin color and various textures
of wooly hair, are the only peoples indigenous to Africa, the only members of the African race.
And I do not wish anybody to get the false impression that I am talking to, about or for, such
non-indigenous peoples now domiciled in Africa as Arabs like Nasser, Gadafi or Morsi;
Europeans like Verwoerd, De Klerk or Oscar Pistorius; or the Indians that the British brought in
as camp followers and assistants in their colonization of Africa, persons like Issa Shivji, Karim
Essak, Mahmood Mamdani or Jay Naidoo. By using the term Negro I am making it clear,
beyond honest or sane doubt, that I am not speaking for, about or to, such non-Negro persons.
And it is my perfect right to decide who I want to speak to, for or about.21
Such persons are not indigenous Africans. Not being part-Negro, they are persons of
alien race from Europe and Asia. Like uninvited guests in a home, they are not members of the
family and cannot participate in the family meeting. They were not part of Pan-Africanism
before 1958 and, in my view, should not have been brought in, and should not continue to be
accommodated in it.
Before 1958, Pan-Africanism was about improving the condition of the African or Negro race:
the indigenous Africans who had been the targets of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. To that
agenda Garvey had added the task of preventing the extermination of the Negroes. We must
bear in mind that not every people living in Europe between 1930 and 1945 were targets of the
Nazi extermination program. Only those who were can be part of any Holocaust memorial or
Holocaust reparations movement. Similarly, not every people living in Africa between 1400 and
1900 were a target of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The Arabs in North Africa were not; the
Europeans in Southern Africa were not; the Asians (Arabs, Persians, Indians, Indonesians,
Malays etc.) on the East African Coast were not; only the Negro peoples were. So only the
descendants of those Negro targets can be part of any movement to eradicate the legacy of that
Now, these alien groups we find settled in Africa today—the Arabs, the Europeans, the
Indians and other Asians, in not being Negroes,
(1) are not indigenous Africans;
(2) are not descendants of the targets of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: that core experience
whose legacy of Negro degradation Pan-Africanism arose to eradicate; and
(3) are not part of the group at risk of the extermination intended for us Negroes by our enemies-
- through the AIDS bomb etc. If anything, they are the advance guards of those who stand to
inherit Sub-Sahara Africa after the intended extermination of the indigenous Negro population.
So, in so far as eradicating the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade’s legacy of Negro degradation
and the prevention of Negro extermination are part of the legitimate self-preservation agenda of
Pan-Africanism, we cannot, if we are sane and non-suicidal, include these non-Negro aliens in
the constituency of Pan-Africanism. On these three historical grounds, they do not qualify for
membership in Pan-Africanism. That’s why I insist on their exclusion. And even if all that were
not the case, they are not part of my concern, and, as I said before, I have a perfect right to 22
decide who I should be concerned about. And every Negro who accepts the case I make, is
entitled to make the same choice, and without apologies to anyone.
Thirdly, Negroes have been so despised for centuries that I suspect that none of these nonNegroes would want to identify as Negroes. If I am correct, they will keep away from a PanAfricanism that is unabashedly for Negroes only, and leave us alone so we can fight our battles
without their spying and misleading presence.
However, if you are Negro and still object to the word Negro, my apologies for offending
your sensibilities.
What is the African Agenda on Mali?
There is no immediate or short-run African agenda for ending the Mali crisis. We must be in the
power game to have an agenda, and we are not. You can’t have an agenda for today’s African
Cup of Nations if you don’t even have a team to enter for the competition. Your only sensible
agenda would be to raise a team for some future competition. Similarly, when it comes to the
power game in Mali today, Black Africans are merely in the spectator stands, humiliated,
seething with outrage and wringing their hands in impotent anguish at what others are doing on
their turf. While the crisis lasts, the only sensible Afrikan agenda is to watch it closely, study it
and draw useful lessons for the future.
Other than that, the only thing open to us is a long-term agenda of building the Negro
superpower in Africa that can protect the Negro Race and its turf. Our only sane long-term
agenda is to build it, as fast as possible, preferably before the end of the 21st century.
What should we do to accomplish that task?
As everything begins with awareness, you have to start with education. I suggest three
fundamental kinds of education:
First of all, an Afrocentric political education, especially of our children; a political
education grounded on the true history of the Negro/African race, with the main theme being the
changes in our place in the world over the last 6 millennia. And why the changes happened.
That’s the way to understand the Never Again question. Teach Pan-Africanism; teach all of
Garvey. That’s the way to appreciate the issue of Negro power. Only when we understand the
role of power and powerlessness in causing and sustaining our plight can we appreciate the
paramount importance of building the black power that Garvey urged us to build.
Secondly, teach science to all Negro children. Inculcate in them the spirit, techniques and
habit of scientific inquiry. Let their lives be governed by devotion to scientific truth, with a habit
of intellectual submission only to the authority of demonstrable fact and logic. As Garvey
“In your homes and everywhere else, you must teach the higher development of
science to your children; and make sure that we have a race of scientists par
excellence.” [from a Garvey speech: Audio, n.d.]
Thirdly, teach the Race First principle. And show how all the races practice it except the
Black race, and what the harmful consequences have been for us of our failure/refusal to practice
When you have thereby produced an Afrocentrically and scientifically well educated Negro
population, one that is trained in race loyalty by the Race First principle, you will obtain the type
of leadership required for redeeming the Negro race and saving it from extermination.
If our humiliation in Mali spurs us to take this action, we would have
profited from our adversity.
Thank you.
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