THIS IS AFRICA’S COPY OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS’ 1852 SPEECH TO AMERICA, TODAY ADAPTED TO EUROPE ON THE OCCASION OF THIS SO-CALLED “EU-AFRICA SUMMIT” – ALL THAT IS WRITTEN IS TRUE: WOULD THAT EUROPE TAKE STOCKS –
Fellow human citizens of EU, pardon me, and allow me to ask, why have you called me, Africa, to come meet with you in Brussels? What have I and my people to do with your “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace” summit? Are the great meanings of True Prosperity and Real Peace that are bestowed to European people extended to us Africans? Are we, therefore, called upon to bring ourselves as lambs to the Seat of Europe, and to confess the crumbs, and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your colonizing us or where we are today since our “independence” from you?
Would to the Creator, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions. Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, cold, cold, that a continent’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish that would not give this voice to swell the hallelujahs of a continent’s invite by you, after the chains of colonialism had been torn from her limbs (yet moved to and locked around her brains)? I, Africa, am not that person. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as an hart.”
But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this pompous summit! Your high summit only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you this day rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of prosperity and peace bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought prosperity and peace to you has given me stripes and death. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a woman in fetters, gang raped, and mutilated, into your grand and illuminated hall-room and require her to join in your joyous celebration, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens of Europe, to mock me, by inviting me to Brussels? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you, that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation (Great Babylon) whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin.
Fellow human citizens of EU, above your union, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions, whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are today rendered more intolerable by the jubilant shouts that reach their screens (and you wonder why they brave the high waves and the high flesh-tearing walls to migrate to your soil?). If I do forget, if I do not remember those bleeding children soldiers and 4 year-old little girls gang raped and over 8 million slaughtered in eastern Congo this day while, just yesterday, you celebrated the billions from my children’s bloody minerals, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!”
To forget them, to pass lightly over their atrocities and to chime in with the popular theme, “prosperity and peace”, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world.
My subject, then, fellow European citizens, is “European Racism.” I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the victim of European racism’s point of view. Standing here, identified with the African ignored victim, making his sufferings mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this Union never looked whiter and deadlier to me than to this Second of April in Brussels.
Whether we turn to the declarations of the past (Berlin-Brussels, 1884-1885), or to the professions of the present (African “independence” declarations and the EU-Africa “cooperation”), the conduct of the Union seems equally hideous and revolting. Europe is false to the African past, false to the African present, and solemnly binds itself to be false to the future. Standing with the Creator and the crushed and bleeding African victim on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity, which is outraged, in the name of liberty, which is fettered, in the name of the constitutions and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate racism – the great sin and shame of Europe! “I will not equivocate – I will not excuse.” I will use the severest language I can command, and yet not one word shall escape me that any man or woman, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a racist, shall not confess to be right and just.
But I fancy I hear some of my audience say it is just in this circumstance that you and your brethren True Liberals and Humanitarians fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more and denounce less, would you persuade more and rebuke less, your cause would be much more likely to succeed. But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-racist creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this Union need light? Must I undertake to prove that the African is a human “created equal” to the European? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The European racists themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their governments and the “UN”. They acknowledge it when they punish or intervene in Africa. You demonstrated this when one of your own, Adolf Hitler, invaded his fellow Europeans, yet, because of your racism and the minerals that you get for cheap from African blood, Paul Kagame, who, beside killing 3 (THREE) African heads of state, has killed more Africans than Hitler killed Europeans (working with his associate, Yoweri Museveni and his agent and Trojan Horse in DRC, Hyppolite Kanambe, cover name “Joseph Kabila”), you welcome him, Kagame, to your Summit as agent and friend, because he allows you to rape and steal Congo’s minerals. While Nazis who killed Europeans you tried and executed, Kagame and his gang-rapist goons you shamelessly befriend, embrace, and financially assist.
Are these Africans not humans? How do you distinguish the humanity of Kagame from the humanity of the Hutus, Tutsis, and Congolese he has slaughtered (as your own Carla Del Ponte points out in her Memoirs)? When the French would tell me that the Africans who fought to free them from the Nazis were not humans like them, or that the Jews would tell me that the African-Americans who fought to free them from Hitler’s concentration camps were not humans like them, then I will argue with you that the African is a human!
For the present it is enough to affirm the equal humanhood of the Africans. Is it not astonishing that, while we are plowing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical and electronic tools and appliances, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver, and gold; that while we are reading, writing, and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants, secretaries, and leaders of industries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, presidents, prime ministers, lawyers, doctors, ministers and priests, poets, authors, editors, orators, and teachers, artists and sport stars; that we are engaged in all the enterprises common to other humans – digging gold from the Gold Coast to Congo, feeding sheep and cattle on the hillside, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives, and children, and above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian God and Allah, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave – we are called upon to prove that we are humans?
Would you have me argue that every human is entitled to equality? That he or she is the rightful owner of his or her own body and land? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of racism? Is that a question for any political party? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principles of biology or philosophy hard to understand? Is there a human beneath the canopy of heaven who does not know that racism or discrimination is wrong?
What! Am I to argue, taking the case of the holocaust ongoing in the DRC, that it is wrong to slaughter millions of innocent Congolese who never invaded either Rwanda or Uganda, to gang rape over 2 million Congolese women, including the elderly and the little girls as young as 4 years old and to mutilate or to cut up some in pieces then carve off their genitals and carry them away as trophies after gang raping them (we have photos), to shove long pieces of pipes or wood in women’s genitals after gang raping them before butchering them, to burn alive women after gang raping them, to bury alive groups of women for resisting being gang raped, to slaughter or burn alive entire families, to hack children, little children to death, to make boys rape their mothers in front of the entire family or face death or to make the father rape his daughter in front of the entire family or face death? Must I argue that these unspeakable and inhuman acts that you, Europeans, have documentation just like we do, are wrong and should be condemned and punished? No – I will not. To argue the wrong of these heinous acts will be to insult your humanity and mine, since none is DUMB.
What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that racism is not divine; that God did not establish it; that those who preach and practice brethren-hood are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman cannot be divine. Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may – I cannot. The time for such arguments is PAST.
At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument is needed. Oh! Had I the ability, and could I reach the Union’s ear, I would today pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the EU must be quickened; the conscience of the EU must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the EU must be exposed; and its crimes against God and humans must be denounced.
What to the African people is your “prosperity and peace” summit in Brussels? I answer, a couple of days that reveal to them more than any other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which they are constant victims. To them, your “summit” is a SHAM; your boasted prosperity, peace, security, democratic governance, human rights, hollow mock; your Union greatness, as the Scripture says, is swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing about your programs for Africa are empty and heartless; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, and with all your religious parade and solemnity (illustrated in the DRC with your use of African fools of the cloth to legitimize repeated fraudulent elections) are to them mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy – a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the powers of Europe (and the US) at this very hour for financing, supporting, tolerating, covering up, rewarding, and brushing aside all the atrocities and the misery and the poverty and the crimes and the genocides and the holocaust and the sufferings taking place in Africa.
Not as though your own have not told you, warned you, or tried to raise your conscience about your crimes in Africa, but you, like the most foolish and obstinate mule that refuses to budge no matter what, you will not listen. I will not cite all of them but give two or three titles: “Whispers of Genocide, and, again, Africa suffers alone”; “West’s Involvement in Congo Suffering”; “Apocalypse in Central Africa: Ongoing Repression, War Crimes, and US Involvement”; “Women Left for Dead – And the Man who’s Saving Them”; “Where Anti-Arab Prejudice and Oil Make the difference; the contrast in Western attitudes to Darfur and Congo shows how illiberal our concept of intervention really is”; “Report of the Mapping Exercise documenting the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between March 1993 and June 2003”; Ludo Martens’ “Le Congo à la veille du 45e anniversaire de l’indépendance”; “Congo’s Tragedy : the War the world forgot”; “Hollande a Trouve dictateur a son pied”; “How we fuel Africa’s bloodiest war”; “Congo killing fields worse than holocaust”; “Rwandan genocide 20 years after: how Americans were lied to by Bill Clinton who turned Paul Kagame from arsonist into a hero fireman”; “BBC and world media corrupt and racist when it comes to Congo holocaust and Rwanda, yet raising Cain when it comes to Ukraine, Syria,…?”.
Go search where you will, roam through all the conquests of the ancient world, of the antiquities, search out every abuse and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of Europe in Africa (starting with modern Europe’s “discovery” of Africa, through Leopold II’s holocaust all the way to today’s Congo holocaust being carried out by the trio Kagame-Museveni-Kabila/Kanambe for your benefit and your enjoyment and your development), and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, EU (and US) powers reign without a rival.
AfricaGreatLakes4Peace, circa March 31, 2014, copying Frederick Douglass, circa July 4, 1852