Sunday, June 12, 2005

Ken Wiwa on Blair's Africa Commission, Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner Case

The top story in the London Guardian today was about Africa. Bob Geldof's name was prominently displayed. Ken Wiwa, son of Ken Saro Wiwa, who was killed by the Nigerian govt. for his Ogoni activism, made interesting comment. It's almost amazing to see such a thorough-going critique of bad banking practices in such a mainstream newspaper at the moment that the British govt. is being hailed for its goodwill. He says the panel is good but the prescription for change, not. "For example, its insistence on economic growth as the only curative is hard to swallow. Is it likely that the very institutions, governments and corporations that have made a killing on the continent can be trusted to repent, tear up their business and political models and 'fix' Africa?
Finally he makes a point that suggests that what Walter Rodney said about the relationship between the West and Africa is till too true: He says....Africa is not poor. As the Africa Commission report has noted Africa is rich in human and natural resources. It has two-thirds of the world's mineral resources. Africa pays out more in debt relief than it receives in aid. Africa trains and sends 77,000 professionals abroad each year to work in North America and Europe. There are more Ghanaian doctors in New York than in the whole of Ghana.The problem is that Africans have been forced to live in nation states whose raison d'etre was not to enrich the lives of the people within them; rather, they existed to transfer the resources abroad.

Meanwhile, back in the USA, there is a story in the NYT on the debt relief plan, which

Also in the news is the reopening of the murder cases of the conspiracy to kill James Chaney, Micky Schwerner and Andrew Goodman. The Times article mentions the political impact that the lynching, about which much of the town's white population knew, still has for Neshoba County whites. What it doesn't mention is how the pioneer of today's Republican party participated in that in 1980, as Derrick Jackson pointed out in 2000 in Commondreams,
Reagan established the institute in 1980 by kicking off his presidential campaign at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss. The Neshoba County Fair for decades had been the legendary gathering spot of segregationists and near the site of the grisly murders of three civil rights workers.

Reagan took the microphone and, to the roar of thousands of white fairgoers, said, ''I believe in states' rights.'' Anyone who knows Southern race policy knows that saying ''states' rights'' is like waving a Confederate flag, telling racists they can do whatever they want to black folks.
For a perspective from a Mississippi native, who can tell you exactly what it was about, no matter what the GOP-spin-meisters would have you believe, check out Donna Ladd's August 04 comments.

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