Left Forum 2013 just ended. I was pleased to present at two panels. On Saturday, the United National Antiwar Coalition sponsored “The War on Africa.” My fellow panelists were Joe Lombardo, Abayomi Azikwe, Anna Edwards and Patrick Bond. I’m hoping to post the video soon. In the meantime, here are my comments.
The stand down of progressive forces to the Obama administration has had many disastrous consequences in the U.S. and around the world. There is so much evil to expose, and so little time to talk about it all.
But today we are talking about Africa and I want to talk about the terrible role that the U.S. has played in causing suffering for millions of people on that continent, from Libya to Congo to Somalia.
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that Africa would be able to prosper were it not for the interference of the western world. Somalia was emerging from years of war when the Bush administration used Ethiopia to invade that country and kill hundreds of thousands of people. In 2011 alone 250,000 Somalis died of starvation as a direct result of the warfare which was instigated by the U.S.
Just as in the 19th century when European nations carved up African spheres of influence at the Berlin conference, in the 21st century the U.S. and other western nations decide who will control the destiny of Africa.
They may decide to overthrow a government as they did in Libya, or pit one country against another as they have done by supporting Uganda and Rwanda in their invasions and plundering of the eastern Congo that have killed 6 million people.
As he has done all over the world, Obama has accelerated the pace of U.S. intervention in Africa, and he has legitimized practices which previously would not have been acceptable to people who attend events called Left Forum.
The 1% committed the perfect crime when they chose Barack Obama to be president back in 2008. They have been able to hide their evil doing behind a brown face and Africa would be exhibit A if there were true justice on this planet and the crimes committed against Africa were ever prosecuted.
The U.S. African Command, Africom, began in 2008 but has reached its peak of influence under the Obama administration. Drone bases exist in Ethiopia, Niger, Burkina Fasso and the Seychelles. Special forces are stationed in Uganda, Kenya, Central African Republic and the South Sudan.
Africa holds a special place in the hearts and minds of black Americans, but as with every other issue that Obama touches, the urge to defend the president outweighs every other imperative and makes a mockery of the word African in the term African-American.
The saga of Susan Rice is a perfect example of how this tragicomedy plays out. Rice began her career in the Clinton administration serving on the National Security Council. She and her boss should forever be scorned as they watched the genocide unfold in Rwanda but did nothing. They did nothing because Rwanda was then, as it is today, a U.S. client state.
Rice climbed the diplomatic ladder, and was confirmed as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the Obama administration. In that position her name became a house hold word, but for all the wrong reasons.
Susan Rice was one of the administration’s strongest advocates for regime change in Libya. She helped to concoct the worst lies about the Gaddafi regime in order to make the case for U.S. and NATO intervention.
She was among those who spread false tales about Gaddafi supplying his troops with viagra in order to commit rape on a mass scale. It was a lie and someone as smart as Rice had to known that. While Libya descended into chaos and African migrants and dark skinned Libyans were targets for rape and other atrocities, Rice said nothing.
Of course, the chickens do always come home to roost, and that is what happened at Benghazi where the US ambassador and others were killed. You see Rice and her boss bet on the jihadi horse to take out Gaddafi. They won their bet, but then had to deal with an unwieldy marriage of convenience.
The ambassador was killed by some of the very same people who Rice and Obama put in power. Republicans made enough hay out of Benghazi and Rice’s public statements about it that she was thwarted in her ambition to be nominated as secretary of state, but not before the black misleadership class and sadly, popular black opinion was foolishly directed in her favor.
The lack of good reporting, especially as it relates to Africa, or even any basic knowledge of African history, combined with the desire to protect the black face seated in a high place, gave Rice cover, despite the terror she helped American presidents wield against Africans.
Senator John McCain not only criticized Rice’s much discussed Benghazi talking points but also felt compelled to add that she was “unqualified” and opined “I don’t think she is that smart.” Those were fighting words for the black misleadership and for the average black person too.
It was galling to many people to see the old right wing white man who made his career from family ties, entitlement and marriage to a rich woman, criticizing a black Rhodes scholar who works for the beloved black president.
The Rice defense league leaped into action, writing online petitions, irate op-eds and inspiring an outraged citizenry. Of course the Rice explanation was phony, because the Obama administration didn’t dare tell the truth about what it had done in Libya and how the chaos they created ended up killing an American diplomat.
There was no massacre in the very same Benghazi, no viagra laden troops, just a voracious U.S., and its partners Britain and France who decided they ought to take out a militarily weak oil but oil rich nation because they could get away with it as the Arab spring unfolded with unknown consequences for the west. And they got away with it because they made common cause with gulf monarchies and jihadists, and some of those jihadists didn’t as the saying goes, stay in their place.
The righteously angry didn’t talk about what Rice had done to Rwanda or the Congo. As U.N. Ambassador she actively worked to delay a report on human rights violations in Congo committed by America’s friends in Uganda and Rwanda.
We described this phenomenon in BAR in the November 28, 2012.
“The first document, a ‘Mapping Report,’ described human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1993 through 2003. Finally published by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in October of 2010, after long delays, the document specifically charges Rwandan troops with engaging in mass killings ‘that might be classified as crimes of genocide.’ The more recent report by a UN Group of Experts concludes that M23, the Congolese ‘rebel’ group that captured Goma, is actually “a Rwandan creation,” embedded with Rwandan soldiers that take their orders from Paul Kagame’s military. Uganda also supports M23.”
No matter. The congressional black caucus couldn’t find the time to condemn U.S. actions in that region, but they publicly upheld Rice as a symbol of the virtues of black womanhood, her career ambition having been derailed by those mean old republicans.
Rice and her boss Barack Obama ought to be condemned for what they did in Libya and for what they continue to do in the Congo. It is just one of a long list of crimes that Obama has gotten away with and sadly with the support of people who once would have stood up for the mother land.
Obama’s ability to lie so well is always dangerous but particularly so as his policies relate to Africa. Needless to say, he wouldn’t have been chosen to serve as president if he hadn’t promised to continue the imperial project in the first place.
Now Rice will serve as National Security Adviser where she will continue all the evil doing demanded by the U.S. government. The problems go deeper than Susan Rice, who after all is acting like mid-level managers the world over and doing what her boss tells her to do.
As we said in Black Agenda Report, there is now no constituency in the U.S. which acts to protect Africa interests. Before money took over black politics and before there was a black president for people to rapturously rally around, there was at the very least lip service of concern expressed for Africa.
At the very moment when the noose tightens around the continent the misguided love for a black president trumps all else. Concern for the career success of ambitious but unscrupulous people is allowed to trump every other concern. In short, the black community’s love for all things Obama has proven disastrous yet again.
Today I read online an article on Doctors Without Borders website. It told the story of a woman names Victorine and her family trying to survive in the Congo.
“Victorine and her family fled their home near Goma, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), during four days of violent clashes in late May between the Congolese army and the M23 rebel group. She is now one of up to 5,000 people taking refuge in Sotraki Stadium, on the outskirts of the city.
This was the third time since 2008 that the family had been forced to flee. The last time was just six months earlier, during the M23 attack on Goma in November 2012, when the family spent two weeks sheltering in a school as they waited for the fighting to die down.”
But I would be remiss if I didn’t connect the reaction or lack of reaction to what is happening in Africa to the larger issue of the crisis in left wing politics. Here at an event called Left Forum we must ask ourselves why the role of the U.S. and NATO in destroying Africa isn’t more widely known.
Yes the corporate media have done their usual terrible job in either ignoring or outright lying about how the deeds concocted in Washington, London and Paris have caused such suffering.
We cannot be shy in calling imperialism imperialism or genocide genocide. There is no reason to distinguish ourselves as being on the left if we go along with terror if it is committed by a democratic president.
The war on Africa now is primarily an American one. As Americans with claims of conscious we must be the ones who expose the wrong doing which comes straight from Washington.