Amid Energy Shift in Sahel Area, Protesters Specific Solidarity with African Plenty

In latest weeks, many eyes have turned to the Sahel area of the African continent the place U.S.-trained army leaders have ousted African heads of state as a present of pressure towards France, the U.S. and different Western powers who’ve continued to exert political and financial management of these African nations.

Jacqueline Luqman, the mid-Atlantic organizer for the Black Alliance for Peace, spoke at the “No War in Niger” rally across the street from the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 2. (Sam P.K. Collins/The Washington Informer)
Jacqueline Luqman, the mid-Atlantic organizer for the Black Alliance for Peace, spoke on the “No Warfare in Niger” rally throughout the road from the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 2. (Sam P.Okay. Collins/The Washington Informer)

Whereas “coup” has been generally utilized in discussions about Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger, and most just lately Gabon, a number of individuals, like Jacqueline Luqman, have vehemently dismissed that phrase, primarily out of deference to the plenty of Africans on the continent and around the globe who’ve expressed assist for these actions.

Luqman, the mid-Atlantic organizer for the Black Alliance for Peace, mentioned that army leaders have acted in response to Western-backed political leaders who’ve siphoned cash and pure sources from their constituents whereas permitting France, the U.S., and different Western nations to do the identical below the guise of democracy.

Africans residing within the internal cities of the US expertise comparable situations below the management of politicians who embrace the police and fail to equitably distribute sources, Luqman advised The Informer.

“Not solely are we related to the battle in Africa as a result of we’re African, however our tax {dollars} go to militarizing the continent and suppressing nations that reject overseas affect. France, Britain and Belgium act on the route of the U.S. and so they nonetheless have affect over their former colonies by neocolonialism,” Luqman mentioned. “They’re junior companions of U.S. imperialism immediately. The best way that AFRICOM [U.S. Africa Command] trains troopers to suppress individuals who rise towards [puppet] leaders is much like how police [in the U.S.] suppress us.”

An Ongoing Motion In opposition to Neocolonialism

On Saturday, Luqman counted amongst dozens of organizers who converged on the French Embassy on Reservoir Street in Northwest for the “No Warfare in Niger” rally. This rally adopted the same occasion on the Jamaican and Kenyan embassies in response to their deployment of police forces to quell violence in Haiti.

Three days earlier than this protest, the Armed Forces of Gabon detained Gabonese President Ali Bongo and his household, not lengthy after Bongo received an election that opponents described as fraudulent.

For almost 60 years, a member of the Bongo household has sat on the helm of the West African nation. Throughout that point, the vast majority of its crude oil exports have gone to the U.S. and France. Declining oil reserves, partly, have induced the nation’s 33% poverty fee.

Gabon’s energy shift follows that of Niger, which got here into rule below a army junta weeks earlier. Between 2020 and 2022, army leaders in Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali took over the federal government in a similar way and expelled French officers and journalists.

Yejide Orunmila, African national women’s organizer of the African People’s Socialist Party, speaks during the “No War in Niger” rally across the street from the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 2. (Sam P.K. Collins/The Washington Informer)
Yejide Orunmila, African nationwide girls’s organizer of the African Folks’s Socialist Celebration, speaks through the “No Warfare in Niger” rally throughout the road from the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 2. (Sam P.Okay. Collins/The Washington Informer)

Since coming into energy through the latter a part of July, the army junta in Niger, at the least 5 members of which have been educated by the U.S., has demanded that France withdraw its ambassador and army troops.

The junta has even gone so far as chopping off the facility and water provide on the French Embassy in Niger’s capital of Niamey.

Nonetheless, French President Emmanuel Macron, in his assist of Niger’s at present detained president Mohamed Bazoum, refuses to acquiesce to the calls for of junta chief Abdourahamane Tchiani. In the meantime, ECOWAS management, which incorporates Bola Ahmed TInibu, president of neighboring Nigeria, has threatened army intervention if Tchiani doesn’t reinstate Bazoum.

If such a battle had been to happen, Burkina Faso and Mali have been approved to intervene in assist of Niger, as outlined in an order that Tchiani signed with the army leaders of each nations through the latter a part of August.

Earlier that month, Tchiani reached out to the Wagner group, a Russian mercenary pressure, for help. This growth, partly, has onlookers on the African continent and around the globe characterizing the battle as a part of a proxy warfare between the U.S.-Western European bloc and Russia.

Protesters Demand Elimination of European Army, Political Establishments from Africa

On Saturday, protesters sporting military fatigue and waving the Pan-African flag, together with flags of African and Caribbean nations, spent a lot of the morning and early afternoon belting chants demanding the elimination of European army, intelligence and political establishments from the African continent.

Additionally they indicted leaders within the African Union and ECOWAS, calling them puppets of Western nations.

The organizers, coming below the route of the Africans United Motion, represented Black Alliance for Peace, Pan-African Neighborhood Motion, African Folks’s Socialist Celebration, All African Folks’s Revolutionary Celebration, and Common Negro Enchancment Affiliation-African Communities League Rehabiliating Committee 2020, amongst quite a few different entities.

Audio system of varied nationalities and spiritual backgrounds took to the mic and offered classes in historical past and politics in English, German and French languages. They alluded to the Berlin Convention of 1884 and 1885, which led to partition and colonization on the African continent. Some additionally espoused assist for Ousmane Sonko, the opposition chief in Senegal whose detainment sparked protests and clashes with police forces.

Some audio system, like Netfa Freeman of Pan-African Neighborhood Motion and Sean Blackmon of Celebration for Socialism & Liberation talked about what they described because the complicity of Black leaders within the U.S. within the militarization of Black communities at house and overseas.

In his evaluation, Freeman cited Ward 8 D.C. Council member Trayon White’s name for the Nationwide Guard within the aftermath of a capturing on Good Hope Street in Southeast.

Djonabaye Laya, a Chadian organizer who spoke on behalf of the Africa United Motion, mentioned that U.S. democracy hasn’t meant Africans any good as a result of Western-backed leaders usually create situations that pressure individuals to depart their house nations.

“We’re uninterested in residing as hostages in our personal nations and shedding our kids within the Mediterranean [while] operating away from poverty,” Laya mentioned. “Our sources are going to France and throughout Europe. We see the falling of an empire that doesn’t need to let go. We’re uninterested in army bases in our nations. The individuals of Niger have spoken. The U.S. has nothing to show us about democracy. Neocolonialism should finish immediately.”

The Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Weighs In

Through the latter a part of September, the Congressional Black Caucus Basis will host its annual legislative convention on the Walter E. Washington Conference Heart in Northwest and different components of the District.

The convention, themed “Securing Our Democracy, Defending Our Freedoms, Uplifting Our Tradition,” will enable 1000’s of contributors to debate varied matters, together with the U.S.’ relationship with Africa and the Caribbean.

Earlier this 12 months, Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nevada) and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York-Eighth), together with different members of a delegation, visited Ghana to determine partnerships that may spur entrepreneurship, financial growth and workforce growth on the African continent.

Horsford, CBC chair and a member of the Home’s Armed Providers Committee, declined to talk in depth about whether or not the CBC, in gentle of grassroots requires Western army withdrawal, has explored the potential of supporting the dismantling of AFRICOM.

He nonetheless advised The Informer that U.S. authorities officers are striving to make up for what had been misplaced through the Trump presidency, when the U.S.’ engagement of Africa waned.

“The U.S. partnership with Africa is one which should proceed to enhance and increase,” Horsford mentioned.

“It’s a part of the rationale why the president and vice chairman led the U.S.-Africa Summit and why members of Congress, by the CBC, are rising our engagement with Africa,” he continued. “An abandonment of African coverage and priorities created a vacuum to permit China and Russia to make inroads and that’s one thing we’re working to alter.”

Making a New World for Future Generations

Toikumo Sofiyea, a member of Conference for Pan Africanism and Progress, stood on the entrance strains of the protest waving the flag of Nigeria, a rustic he described as a colonial invention. Drawing on many years of political consciousness, Sofiyea criticized the Western European powers who proceed to manage African nations by heads of state.

Sofiyea mentioned that the time was proper for a paradigm shift that put energy again within the arms of the African plenty. He cited the rally as an efficient technique of unifying Africans, including that African leaders who arise for sovereignty should not be assassinated.

“These will not be coups, however revolutions. Democracy hasn’t served the curiosity of Africa as a result of people who find themselves in energy for many years get assist from the West,” Sofiyea mentioned. “The independence we got is just OK on paper. We would like to have the ability to determine our lives and we don’t need our kids to expertise what we went by and what our dad and mom went by.”