Obi Egbuna Jnr Simunye
For all people who have been observing and analysing US President Donald Trump’s first few weeks in the Oval Office, but have yet to find the words in either the languages they speak or the depth of their vocabulary to describe what they are witnessing, perhaps certain so-called African-Americans living inside US borders can be of assistance.
The reasons why those external to our culture reality or experience should not generalise when attempting to capture our sentiments and emotions at this historical moment are several, stemming from the glaringly obvious to what has been suppressed and overlooked.
When these outsiders finally encounter those so-called African-Americans whose point of view concerning Trump’s presidency are ideological extensions of Malcolm X and Kwame Ture, what they will discover is we feel this period can be best described as the never ending lover’s quarrel between Democrats and Republicans.
This will provide a logical explanation why civil and human rights icon US Congressman John Lewis arrived at the conclusion that boycotting President Trump’s inauguration was a matter of principle, duty and obligation.
Because the US-EU media imperialist apparatus has mastered the art of fast track propaganda, by the time viewers can put issues in proper perspective with historical context, at the blink of an eye focus and concentration has been shifted to an entirely different topic altogether.
Based on this approach to covering news, the majority of journalists are guilty of giving the impression that Congressman Lewis never boycotted the inauguration of a President during his tenure on Capitol Hill. Only after this falsehood was peddled faster than Usian Bolt sprinting towards the finish line in a race was it revealed that Congressman Lewis also skipped former US President George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2001.
What must be addressed is just because Congressman Lewis skips an inauguration does not mean he will not fall in line when President Trump calls for all hands on deck when the time for US imperialism to wreak havoc on a nation that refuses to succumb or capitulate simply because it is not in their best interest.
Let us not forget when the Bush administration decided to make an example of President Mugabe and zanu-pf by imposing the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001(ZIDERA), Congressman Lewis did not hesitate to vote in favour of this white supremacist and isolationist measure.
Those so-called African-Americans that have studied the legacy of Congressman Lewis hope his decision to support ZIDERA serves as a reminder to the current generation of youngsters who are newcomers to the battlefield, that those next to them on the frontline today could very well opt for greener pastures and comfort tomorrow, or those who fight to improve our social conditions settle for immediate change because they feel fundamental change is neither attainable or realistic.
One of the unique attributes of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee was their voracious appetite for truth of knowledge, that led them to travel to Guinee and Vietnam. The trip to Guinee was during the tenure of Congressman Lewis Chairmanship of SNCC which lasted from 1963-1966.
It was this historic visit to Guinee that provided Congressman Lewis and the rest of the SNCC delegation the opportunity to meet the revolutionary Pan-Africanist giant and first President of Guinee Ahmed Seku Ture and draw obvious and irrefutable parallels between the struggle against racial segregation in Babylon and settler colonialism in Mother Africa.
The trip was arranged by the internationally acclaimed entertainer Harry Belafonte, who many forget was a cultural adviser to the US Peace Corps under the Kennedy administration. We only hope Congressman Lewis remembers SNCC left for Guinee on September 11, 1964, this way every year when US imperialism lays it on extra thick with the 9-11 propaganda, he can remind the world as a son of Africa this same calendar day he touched liberated African soil for the very first time.
At the same time Congressman Lewis embraced President Bush’s quest for an illegal racist regime change in Zimbabwe that was pushed through the US Senate by his Democratic comrades in arms Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold and former US Vice President Biden, Mr Belafonte was on the board of directors of the now defunct TransAfrica Forum who funnelled National Endowment for Democracy blood money to 14 civil society groups in Zimbabwe under the auspices of the Zimbabwe Solidarity Fund.
Like so many of his generation, Congressman Lewis remembers his parents working as share-croppers in Pike City, Alabama that was an extension of the backbreaking forced free labour our ancestors were subjected to on plantations picking cotton and tobacco from sun-up to sundown, which is inextricably linked to the hell we endured cutting sugarcane in Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
For this reason, he should have been running down the halls of the US Congress shouting with joy that President Mugabe and zanu-pf have reclaimed our sacred land.
Once he emotionally collected himself the next step would have been to huddle the entire Congressional Black Caucus together and whispered to them, no way in hell do we allow Zimbabwe to be sanctioned for regaining control of what inherently belongs to them.
Throughout his political life, Congressman Lewis had found it challenging to embrace the African revolution, especially the most militant manifestations and expressions he has witnessed in his lifetime.
When he was in Guinee the revolutionary youth of the PDG (Democratic Party of Guinee) wanted to know how SNCC felt about Malcolm X. This was a question Congressman Lewis found uncomfortable because he patterned himself after Dr King the way NBA superstar Kobe Bryant mirrored the game of his boyhood idol Michael Jordan.
If Congressman Lewis decides to join the fight to lift US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe and were to issue a public apology to President Mugabe and the people of Zimbabwe for voting in favour of the sanctions in the first place, he would be duplicating the gesture of former Ku Klux Klan member Elwin Wilson who apologised to Congressman Lewis for barbarically attacking SNCC members in Montgomery, Alabama at the Greyhound Bus Station where he was hit in the head with a wooden crate.
Congressman Lewis moves around these days with an organisation called Faith and Politics, whose co-chair Emeritus is former US Congressman Amo Houghton annually lead a bi-partisan delegation to Selma, Alabama on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
This provides Congressman Lewis with the chance to retrace his steps by returning to the exact location where his skull was fractured by the goon following the marching orders of the war criminal Sheriff Jim Clark.
What is rather interesting was when ZIDERA was pushed through Congress in 2001 Congressman Houghton abstained from voting in favour of the sanctions. In 2003 Congressman Lewis and Congressman Houghton led a Faith and Politics delegation to South Africa; there is nothing stopping them from going to Zimbabwe to see the impact that sanctions have had on everyday Zimbabweans.
A trip to Zimbabwe could provide Congressman Lewis with a chance to reclaim his African fighting spirit, which could put him on a collision course with Faith and Politics corporate board members like Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Ford Motor Company, to name a few.
This would be the boldest step Congressman Lewis has taken since he denounced President Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights Bill because it failed to address naked police terrorism and voting rights.
Congressman Lewis not only has the distinction of being the youngest speaker at the historic March on Washington in 1963, but the only speaker who hasn’t transitioned to the ancestors.
Congressman Lewis excluded the question which side is the government on from his speech because he didn’t want to offend President Kennedy. He had the luxury of posing a similar question to President Obama, his CBC colleagues and favourite Caucasian liberal Hillary Clinton: When We Voted for Sanctions on Zimbabwe What the Hell Were We Thinking?
Obi Egbuna Jnr is the US Correspondent to The Herald and External Relations Officer to ZICUFA(Zimbabwe Cuba Friendship Association). His email is [email protected]