By Bennett Oghifo
A pan-African group has called on Africans around the world to unite and forge renewed and increased relationship to stem a rising trend of brutality they suffer.
The group, comprising African singers, artistes, academics, journalists, civil society and business leaders, made the call yesterday in a solidarity statement that condemned police brutality that led to the tragic killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African American in the United States, recently.
According to the group, “In these strange moments of uncertainty and fear, the news from America has broken our hearts. We cannot remain silent! We cannot remain deaf and blind to the plight of our African-American brothers and sisters. We are shocked by the brutal murder of George Floyd by police officers.
“The unbearable sight of George Floyd suffocating under the knee of a police officer in uniform looks like a return to the dark ages. George Floyd’s agony and death crowns a long litany of screams and supplications, adding one more atrocity to a chain of brutalities and racist killings. — It has revived in us the old wounds of our souls and summoned painful, shared memories.”
The group said it was impossible to remain silent in the face of tyranny against Africans. “We cannot remain silent because we know how much we have in common with our brothers and sisters in our global black community – our African Diaspora.” The group related to the agony of the forebears of African Americans as they were forced into slavery. “We know how your ancestors continued the resistance and the struggle for emancipation and dignity during the solitary traumas lived in the hulls of slave boats and the humiliation of plantations, and on the islands of freedom they built through the ages.
“That is the determined struggle for civil rights that you continue to wage fearlessly. Africans on the continent and around the world are grateful to African Americans and black leaders, writers, and thinkers for sharing with our elders the emancipatory idea of Pan-Africanism and for being connected with our struggles against colonialism and, of course, apartheid.
“No, we cannot remain silent with the cruel killing of George Floyd and the cries of citizens, black and brown and white, in the streets of cities in America and in other continents, declaring to the world that Black Lives Matter.
“How can we be silent when we know that your long walk to real freedom echoes the struggles of yesterday and resonates with the struggles we are waging here in Africa, your mother continent? We are waging these struggles to advance our common causes: democratic freedoms, dignity, equality, social justice, the rights and well-being of women and all minorities, the integrity of leaders and institutions, economic independence, and finally the control of our cultural and historic destiny.
“We cannot remain unmoved when we also have good news to share with our African American brothers and sisters; news that goes beyond the clichés, rebukes all forms of racial profiling, and updates old beliefs into fresh reality: a new Africa is truly emerging before our eyes. A resilient Africa carried by our communities and a dynamic and enterprising civil society, animated by a generation of young people and women determined to lift the continent from the fatality of despair, and create a future of unity in freedom, dignity and abundance. “Together, we are the soldiers of hope engaged in the building of a new African nation, deeply rooted in our strongest cultural heritage, with the ideological and intellectual contributions of African-American achievements.
“In this spirit, we the people of Africa are one people, and one nation. We are a 1.3 billion strong nation stretched out over a whole continent, and with you in the African Diaspora, we are millions more. Together we can build the global African nation. It will be our nation, and we will name squares and schools after the countless other heroines and heroes of African descent. In memory of our common ancestry, the new Africa will be conceived as our common home.”