The African Union is right; the U.S. is a hypocrite

Took their slaves, but not their refugees

“The very country to which many of our people were taken as slaves during the transatlantic slave trade has now decided to ban refugees from some of our countries,” said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, head of the African Union Commission, at a meeting of leaders of the African Union this week. And with those words the African leader nailed the hypocrisy and the ingratitude reflected in the U.S. government’s recent decision to ban refugees from three African countries.

Not only did the U.S. take in its share of slaves, but the resulting depopulation of African (millions were stolen and shipped to the new world) resulted in a brain drain that the continent has never recovered from. And not only did the Europeans enslave the Africans, they introduced a new kind of inhumane slavery in which they pretended human beings were animals, things, property, thus the term chattel slavery.

As Edward Baptiste proved in his book The Half has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism,” the wealth that the slaves produced served as the economic foundation upon which this country was built. Imagine the nerve it takes to now say you won’t take in refugees from the  Sudan, Somalia and Libya, countries that are part of a continent from whence came the people who built the very foundation of this country.

And yes, it’s more accurate to say U.S. government than President Trump, because this policy was bi-partisan. It should be remembered that it was under the administration of an African son, Barack Obama, that entry to the U.S. was initially limited under his Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.

The order restricted access to the U.S. and targeted those “who have been present in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, at any time on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited government/military exceptions).” Libya, Somalia, and Yemen were added in 2016, the last year of the Obama Administration.

The African leaders are right. The policy does strike of hypocrisy and ingratitude, but to the U.S.’ credit, it is consistent with its history of relating to Blacks and Africans.

Consider the nerve of the U.S. refusing Libyan refugees after it has dropped several billion dollars worth of bombs on it, killed thousands of people, and absolutely destabilized it while allowing its leader to be sodomized and dragged through the streets. Remember it was a representative of the Democratic Party (those tricksters we love so much, though they don’t love us) then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton who said looking into the camera and laughing, “We came, we saw, he died.”

And Somalia is partly in the condition it is in because of U.S. interference. After Siad Barre was deposed in 1991, the U.S. intervened for supposedly humanitarian reasons. Somalia had undergone a famine caused by drought, but, as was noted at the time, the famine was practically over before the U.S. arrived with its Operation Restore Hope.

Just as in the case of Libya and Somalia, U.S. focus on the country is motivated by self-interest. Sudan produces oil and South Sudan’s oil producing potential hasn’t been fully tapped. But the U.S. has cozied up to the new country with designs on helping American corporations help themselves to it.

Most remember Darfur. Many probably don’t remember in 1998 President Bill Clinton’s administration bombed the El Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum based on the lie that the plant was producing poison gas. The country has never recovered. Adults and children died from preventable diseases because of a lack of medicine.

Moreover, as demonstrated by this refugee ban, there is no such thing as U.S. humanitarianism; the phrase is oxymoronic. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger understood the real goal of so-called U.S. humanitarianism. He said in 1974 “To give food aid to a country just because they are starving is a pretty weak reason.”

Consequently the African leaders have stuck their fingers in an old wound. Enemies of Africa will most likely call out the shortcomings of the messengers and point to the continents myriad problems and its host of dictatorial and demagogic leaders.

However, even that, on a small level, can be placed at the feet of the European colonizers, who left poor examples of national leadership. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres commended the AU and African nations in general for opening its arms to people escaping war and turmoil. He pointed out that the continent was keeping its borders open at a time when some of the most developed countries were closing theirs.

“African nations are among the world’s largest and most generous hosts of refugees,” he told the gathering. An injury to one is indeed an injury to all.

 

Mel Reeves welcomes reader response to mellaneous19@yahoo.com.