There are realities we need to address before we stand up and take on others who do the same things we do. What transpired recently in the US where racist police are known for systemic brutalities against African Americans speaks volumes.
Right from the outset, I argue that we must put our house in order before asking others to do the same. We need to be open and truthful to ourselves and others in matters to do with brutality and racism. We need to take this pandemic called racism face on without sparing ourselves from the same shameful sin we commit daily in many African, American, Asian, Australian or European countries.
Almost all police forces globally are colonially trained to become anti-human rights. They all share the same nexus, brutality and unfamiliarity. We thus, need to reform, decolonise, deconstruct and reconstruct our police forces.
Following the brutal killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, many demonstrations are taking place in various African countries: from Nairobi to Johannesburg; Accra to Abuja condemning racism in the US.
Fighting and opposing racism is good, for we are all equal despite our physical distinctions. However, sometimes I wonder about what I see. For example, it’s an open secret that African police are equally brutal like their US counterparts. They harass, maim and kill as governments that employ them stay aside and watch. While US police and others in racist countries kill blacks based on colour differences, in Africa, cops kill their brothers and sisters based on ethnicity, class, ideology and political cabalism.
It is worth noting that while a bigger chunk of the world demonstrated against racism in the US, no single Asian country did so. Only two Syrian artists, Aziz Asmar and Anis Hamdoun, stood up to be counted. In Asia, everybody’s shamelessly going about their business unperturbed. To Asians, racism against blacks is nothing important. Again, let us not blame them because they commit the same sin against blacks.
Many Africans in many African countries walk the streets whenever either their brethren in the West are discriminated against; but don’t do so whenever their African brethren face the same in any Africa! How many countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas reciprocate? Refer to the xenophobic attacks in South Africa or selling Africans in slavery in the Maghreb. When the human rights of Arabs in the middle East are violated, Africans take to the streets! Isn’t this candle love? The candle provides light but ends up perishing. China’s Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian was quoted asking: “Many people may want to ask this question: Why does the U.S. refer to those ‘Hong Kong independence’ and black-clad rioters as ‘heroes’ and ‘fighters’ but label its people protesting against racial discrimination as ‘thugs’?”
The question we need to ask ourselves is: why do we demonstrate to support the people who don’t support our cause[s]? Africans can see what is happening far, far, far away but are unable to see what’s happening under their noses. That is why they carry out xenophobic attacks in South Africa. In 1994, they butchered their own in Rwanda. In 2007, they rose up against each other during the Post-Election Violence in Kenya. North and South Sudan people were on each other’s neck for a long time. The Dinka and Nuer in South Sudan are still fighting. In Central African Republic, Christians and Muslims have been butchering each other for a while now. Where do we get the willpowers of condemning others for what we do without first condemning ourselves or just abandon the same?
The other day, I heard a Jamaican black retorting––when she was referred to as an African–– “can’t you differentiate me from Africans?” I was annoyed. Such a reaction reminded me of the Swahili sage: the mandrill doesn’t see its rumps. It laughs at those of others. I asked her, why are your colleagues in the US referred to as African Americans if they are not Africans? She had no answer for this thorny question.
We need to put our house in order. Two wrongs don’t make a right. We all are a human race whether we’re black, brown, pink (white) or anything. Those who participate in any form of racism or stay back and do nothing when it is time to take on it, must be shamed and told to their face. What they’re doing is a crime against humanity. Let all of us be humans but not black, blue, green, pink, white or whatever. We all have the same needs; and thus, deeds to humanity. Black Lives Matter.
By Nkwazi Mhango
Mhango is a lifetime member of the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL) and author of over 20 books among which are Africa Reunite or Perish, ‘Is It Global War on Terrorism’ or Global War over Terra Africana? How Africa Developed Europe and contributed many chapters in scholarly works.