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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Letters: WE CANNOT REMAIN SILENT! Africans in Africa and around the world in solidarity with African-American sisters and brothers

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Dear editor,

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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.

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. 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.

We African people are 1.3 billion strong.
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.

“We the people of Africa are one people, and one nation – 1.3 billion strong,” say a group of African singers, artists, academics, journalists, civil society and business leaders in a solidarity statement with African Americans.

We cannot remain silent!
We cannot remain indifferent because we have so many projects to initiate. One common element of our societal (and economic) project will be to revisit together — with courage and honesty — our shared history. But we will go beyond the recent history and look at the Africa we lost. Our history did not begin with the tragic period of slavery.
We will explore the distant lands of our forgotten kingdoms and empires, the glorious destinies of our noble leaders, the scientific, technological and social advances that have shaped the evolution of our societies and have largely gone unacknowledged. Our common work should be to finally put at the center of our concerns the education and training of our children so that they are better prepared to face the complex challenges of what will certainly be a complex future.

Humanity originated on our continent.
Finally our common task could be to develop mutually beneficial economic partnerships among those of us on the continent and those in the Diaspora, in order to create the conditions for true independence. And while we break our silence, we will claim our rightful place in human destiny. In these decisive moments when humanity is confronted with an existential threat linked to climate change, health pandemics, and a life-threatening rise of social inequalities, we must come together.

We have never forgotten that humanity originated on our continent. At this critical and fragile moment when humankind feels that it has reached a tragic impasse, it is our duty to help humanity build a better and more sustainable future for itself and for planet Earth, through the path of our founding values —’ubuntu’ and ‘nitté’ (our shared humanity), wisdom, equality, respect, solidarity, and brotherhood and sisterhood, so that our human family finally reconciles with itself in peace.

Today, in the memory of George Floyd and millions of other black lives who mattered, we Africans in Africa, mourn our loss and honor a rich moment of shared connection.
Add your name by following this link: https://www.change.org/p/africa-africans-in-in-solidarity-with-african-american-sisters-brothers?recruiter=1074988978&recruited_by_id=4fa82af0-7cd9-11ea-a30f-c157f104eac9&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=petition_dashboard

Youssou N’Dour, Akon, Salif Keita, Baba Maal, Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o, Djimon Honsou, Lamido Sanusi, Zeinab Badawi, Isha Sesay, Dr Ebrima Sall, Prof Muhammadou Kah, Dr Tijan M Sallah, Fatou Jagne Senghor, Dr Ebrima Ceesay, Prof Abdoulaye Saine, Prof Jainaba ML Kah, Dr Assan Jaye and 80 others.

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