DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA (FinalCall.com) -
Proudly, solemnly the Zulu warriors paraded; their lances, their
shields of lion skins illustrated Africa’s
customs. The column of female soldiers, wearing combat fatigue
uniforms with automatic weapons on their shoulders, were like a
sign of modern African democratic traditions.
with 43 of their continent’s 54 heads of state, but only a scant
few observers from the United States, the Caribbean and Latin
America, the warriors, the soldiers, the diplomats eulogized the
end of the Organization of African Unity and they celebrated the
birth of the new African Union (AU).
at last from colonial domination from Cairo to Capetown, the
leaders pledged to forge the solidarity foreseen by Kwame
Nkrumah and Gamel Abdel Nasser. Host President Thabo Mbeki
proclaimed it the dawn of “The African Century” where peace,
security, stability and sustained development of a better way of
life for all the people of the continent would prevail.
forming the Union, the peoples of our continent have made the
unequivocal statement that Africa must unite!” Mr. Mbeki told
20,000 witnesses in this city’s rugby stadium July 9. “We as
Africans have a common and shared destiny! Together we must
redefine this destiny for a better life for all the people of
stumbling blocks along the way to achieving the cohesion and
cooperation, to building the institutions necessary to deepen
the political and social integration they envision. There are
obstacles to overcome before the African Union can
achieve the new forms of partnerships at all levels and segments
of society. One of the most troubling is the lack of
participation by Africans in the Diaspora, those Blacks who live
in the Western Hemisphere because they were forcibly removed
from the continent during the brutal Transatlantic Slave Trade.
very honored to be here at the birth of the African Union,” the
Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, one of the few Black
observers from the United States, told reporters following the
closing session of the historic summit. “As representatives of
the sons and daughters of Africa in the United States of
America, the Caribbean, Central and South America, as well as
Canada, we have a keen interest in not only seeing the birth of
the African Union, but watching it grow to success.
only when Africa is honored and dignified and self-reliant that
all sons and daughters of Africa wherever we may be in the world
will be honored, dignified and self-respecting. When Africa is
down, all her sons and daughters are down. When Africa is up,
all the sons and daughters of Africa go up with her.”
heads of state to whom the Nation of Islam leader offered his
goodwill and best wishes for the success of the effort that may
eventually grow into a United States of Africa were: host
President Mbeki; Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo, Republic of Nigeria;
Pres. Robert Mugabe, Republic of Zimbabwe; Pres. Omar Hassan El-Bashir;
Republic of Sudan; Pres. Yahya Jammeh, Republic of Gambia; Pres.
Bakili Muluzi, Republic of Malawi; and Pres. Assoumane Azali,
Union of the Comoros.
Farrakhan also met with United Nations Secretary General Kofi
Annan; the Vice President of Liberia; Amara Essy, Secretary
General of the African Union; and the Secretary General of the
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) before he
held his press briefing at the International Conference Center (ICC).
Those remarks by the Nation of Islam leader were broadcast live
throughout the country by the South African Broadcasting Co. (SABC).
remarks the Nation of Islam leader gently offered a word of
advice: “In all of the deliberations that we heard, we very
rarely heard any mention of God. In my humble judgment, since it
is He Who originated the universe that is united under one great
law, and it is He Who caused us to grow from a sperm united with
an egg to produce our lives and the lives of everyone who worked
for the African Union, it would seem to me that there can be no
real union without the intervention of the Originator of the
Heavens and the Earth and the Architect of unity.
servant of God and as a lover of Africa, I respectfully suggest
that God not just be mentioned, but that he become an integral
part of the drive for African unity.
very little publicity in the United States about the African
Union,” Minister Farrakhan said. “I believe that if more of our
brothers and sisters in America knew that this was happening,
more would have desired to be here. But I thank God that we are
here, and we are here
in the name of all of those who might have wanted to come but
were unable to come for one reason or another.”
asked about the oversight, the summit leaders promised to
consider reaching out to Africa’s important Black constituency
in the United States by utilizing the upcoming Leon Sullivan
African-American Summit in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2003; the 250
publications that make up the Black Press and the thousands of
Black journalists employed in corporate-owned media outlets; and
their own embassies in Washington as well as their United
Nations missions in New York City.
procedural AU Ministerial conference that preceded the Summit,
U.S. activists Viola Plummer, of the December 12th Movement, and
Erika Bennett managed to win approval of a resolution to confer
official “observer” status to a delegation of Blacks from the
U.S. at future AU meetings.
having an important role in this is something that will be
talked about as time goes on,” Min. Farrakhan told reporters.
“Those of us who are living in the Diaspora are a part of this
and cannot justifiably be left out of this, since the idea
started in the Diaspora with the Honorable Marcus Garvey and
(George) Padmore and the Pan-Africanists,” said the Muslim
leader when asked about the sparse representation of Blacks from
the U.S., the Caribbean and Latin America in this founding
was picked up by Osageyfo Kwame Nkrumah, Gamel Abdel Nasser, (Mwalimu
Julius) Nyerere, and the African leaders. (Dr. W.E.B.) Du Bois
was a part of that. We watched this with great joy. We watched
this with great hope for the future of Africa,” Min. Farrakhan
continued. “It is not necessary for us to force our way in, but
I believe that we will take a very important role in the
development of the African Union.”
the lack of participation of African Americans and people of the
Diaspora is due in great part to the deliberate effort by the
media in the United States to have a media blackout about what’s
really going on in the continent, to trivialize the whole
importance of this historic moment and to belittle the efforts
of Africans to overcome their own problems,” Gamal Nkrumah, a
Cairo-based correspondent for Al-Ahram newspaper and son
of Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah told The Final Call.
“Also, to make sure African Americans are not part of the
African agenda. I think deliberate efforts have been made by
certain vested interests in the United States of America. This
is why the presence of Minister Farrakhan here with us today is
of great symbolic value and importance. It gives us a lot of
courage and a lot of hope.”
sticking point to be worked out by AU organizers is the role of
the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
The partnership is a program with the support of the “G-8,” the
world’s major industrialized nations, in which democratic,
well-managed states are to be rewarded with foreign aid and
accept help, but we refuse conditions,” Colonel Muammar Gadhafi,
leader of the Libyan Arab Jamahariya, told the cheering stadium
audience in a short speech delivered in English.
welcome all those who want to assist us, but we will refuse it
if they impose conditions,” Col. Gadhafi said. “We are not
pupils who need someone to teach us. We are not beggars. We are
enemies of those who are enemies to us, and peaceful to those
who are peaceful to us. We accept assistance and we will take
part in the development of the world to try and defend human
rights and to allow popular democracy.”
of the African Union was not the “delivery of twins,” Min.
Farrakhan told reporters. “NEPAD is an integral part of the
African Union and must not be allowed to be manipulated by the
enemies of Africa to subvert or subsume, or take away the drive
of the African people for an African Union.”
other side of that, we have to be careful of what the Bible
calls ‘wolves that come in sheep’s clothing,’ because sometimes
our very oppressor will send us people that look like us but
their mind is the same mind of the oppressor. So we have to have
the power of discernment to know those who truly love Africa,
who truly want the best for Africa, from those who come in a
black face, with the heart of the colonial master to further the
oppression, the subjugation, the division.
why I would hope that we would watch carefully that the
formation of NEPAD which hopes for the partnership of the
Western powers and billions of dollars coming from them to aid
African economic development, we must be careful that there are
no strings attached that make us the same as we once were.
needs to be involved in that partnership, but it must be a
partnership that respects the dignity of the African people and
our desire for self-determination and no longer to be the orphan
child, or little boy of Western powers.”
Photos (Credit, Kenneth Muhammad):
1-Minister Louis Farrakhan (4th from left) stands with Peace
Mission delegation members (L-R) Leonard F. Muhammad, Joshua
Farrakhan, Mustapha Farrakhan, Min. Farrakhan, Imam Tijani Ben
Omar, Rev. Al Sampson, Akbar Muhammad and Rev. James Bevel at
African Union inauguration in Durban, South Africa in July.
2-Former South African President Nelson Mandela and President
Muammar Ghadafi of Libya.
3-Delegation cheers inauguration of African Union.
4-Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh chats with Min. Farrakhan.