Thank you for your mail and for agreeing to step-down as Chairperson of the Honorary Board and agreeing, as Kola says, ‘to remain on Board’, by being a member of the Honorary Board of the Sudan Sensitization Peace Project (SSPP)That said and to reverse the order of proceedings, I come to the ‘Charges’ as you call them. Please do not take these questions personally. We are all in a learning curve, with some more advanced in their knowledge of Afro-Arab relations than others. The fact that these issues are discussed now is precisely because the forum where they are supposed to be raised, the African Union (AU) is closed for such opinon forming and defence of African interests and kith and kin. It is well known that the South Sudan issue was never discussed at the Organization for African Unity (OAU), but was decided upon in the Arab League.The questions are developed to assist to share ideas and arrive at consensus and common understanding and the input of all is requested. We would all like to know why African national interests are ignored, in this instance, the Darfurians and prior to them the South Sudanese, in their pursuit of justice in their experience of genocide and ethnic cleansing- why the African Union (AU) is do nothing to ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity are brought to book. Rather we see the AU defending those who have killed our kith and kin. I read that President Museveni and others are proposing that the AU send a team of lawyers to Darfur to establish if indeed Bashir has committed acts justifying the issue of a writ by the International Criminal Court (ICC). This is supposedly an African law approach.Those who are dying in Darfur are our kith and kin and we cannot be indifferent to their fate even if the neo-colonies are. As Pan-Africanists we are not wedded to the states created by the Berlin Conference. The pre-occupation with the State at the expense of the people is a charge I will return to, because this unhealthy commitment to the principle stumbling block to our unity, after the Arab connection, is a major weakness in your Pan African approach, in my view.Why were we so poorly served by the OAU that we had to go for a face-lift and create the AU ? I recall, for me, the major issue arising from the 7th Pan-African Congress in Kampala in 1994, was the integration of the Diaspora. Today this means not only the Western Diaspora in the Americas, Caribbean, Europe and Western hemisphere, but also the Eastern Diaspora, the Eastern Diaspora including Africans and those of African descent in the Gulf states, Arabia, North Africa, Asia and points eastwards. This and the Permanent Secretariat of the Pan African Movement were to be the main gains from the 7th PAC. Why is the so-called 6th Region of the AU not an integrated part of the AU and its Secretariat. And by integrated I mean, states like Haiti, populated in its majority by Africans, should have similar voting rights as Zambia, for instance.My understanding of Pan-Africanism is that it is dynamic and flexible, representing the sum total of the African quest for liberation. What is antiquated is discarded and new approaches are adopted as the need arises, always keeping in view the objective of liberation.In order to deal with the issues effectively we need to put facts before personality. What is being raised here is the safeguarding of our collective interests as a people. This overrides small matters such as my pride and your place in history. Time marches on and soon we will be gone. According to people such as Chinweizu we as a people will be ‘gone’ in this competitive world if we do not get our act together more effectively. What this means is that if the Pan-Africanists are not clear headed then we are lost, as far as unity is concerned.Of your own admittance, you know little about Afro-Arab relations and are only now coming to terms with the realities of these. As the person who chaired the short lived OAU Committee on Reparations, I would have expected you to be well researched on Arab led slavery of Africans as well as the Western slave trade which developed the West.After all Arab slavery lasted ( and continues ) for over a thousand years. Wheras its western counterpart lasted some five hundred or less years. Surely leadership is a matter of knowledge rather than theatrics. Apparently in the African context research and knowledge is not the criteria for appointment. Is it surpising that we are last. The most informed and able should lead at the Pan-level. That is what other nations do. Researchs requires not only maintenance but adequate resources. In Pan-Africanism we come across African leaders saying Pan-Africanism is a matter of self-sacrifice. This is pure escapism from their responsibilties to lead Pan-Africanism and to fund it as a primary state activity. One would not be surprised if Americans or British seeks to starve Pan-Africanists, who they see as curtailing their economic exploitation of Africans. Bur today there is an attitude also in the leadership that Pan-Africanists deserve a harsh and difficult life. Where do you, as an active Pan-Africanist, stand on this issue, that of funding by the African state to advance Pan-Africanist research on issues such as Afro-Arab relations?One of the characteristics we find in state Pan-Africanist circles is grandstanding and the absence of humility. Where people profess to lead who do not know and lack humility, then a dangerous situation is created. Be aware that the opposition is better informed than us. They study us. The current Sudanese Ambassador at the UN in New York attended the 7th PAC and Sudan (North) had the second largest delegation at the Congress. Why? Because they were spying. You should be aware of these because I saw you on the Head Table, chairing sessions during Congress. I did not see you at the many prep meetings . The Arabs used that Congress to study our tactics and we were clueless. I admit at that time I did not appreciate all the dynamics going on in Congress, because at that stage I did not know what I know today.That was at a time when the state led Pan-Africanism was headed by Butros Ghali, Salim and Tajudeen jumped on their bandwagon , funded as it was by Gadaffi.To come to the core – in 1980 or 1981 the Late Mr Justice Hayfron Benjamin from Ghana, who was then Chief Justice of Botswana, who had worked with Diallo Telli in the Legal Department of the OAU, in its early days, told me that the main impediment to African unity, was the Arab deliberate division of Africa from its Diasora. At that point in time I did not understand the implication and the mechanism the Arabs used to separate Africa from its Diaspora, and the outcome if Africa was joined with its Diaspora.However I kept in mind this information and later learnt its veracity. I have been working consciously to implemen the ‘key link’ of Africa with its Diasporas. The logic of what I was told by the Judge is as follows – if the Arabs are intent on keeping Africans divided, then they must be excluded from our unity project. Our unity project therefore seeks to bring together the African Nation, constituted by Africa South of the Sahara, plus the Western and Eastern Diasporas, excluding North (Arabic ) Africa, whoes people of African descent are part of the African Nation. The book I co-edited ‘ Pan-Africanism/African Nationalism’ just published by Red Sea Press in the United States makes the argument for the African Nation, which you will also find in ‘The African Nation’ by Kwesi K Prah published in 2006 ( available from ). If I learnt this truth in 1980, how come you with your large exposure to the OAU/AU and you friendship with African leaders of the period, such as Kenyatta, who after all the Pan-African exposure he had failed us badly as a Pan-African leader and Nkumah, do not know all this ?You of all Caribbeaners must have been aware early of the ambiguous relationship of Arabia with Africa. What did you do with this privileged information ? Why is it only now, through the good offices of persons such Prah and Chinweizu, do you begin to see the light on the true nature of Arabia settlement in Africa by means such as genocide. This Arab hegemony has been a creeping expansionist agenda for all of Arabia in Africa, since the Arabs set foot in Africa. It was the African leaders on self-government, who allied themselves to the Arabs, choosing to ignore the older problem of Arab Slavery. So that your OAU Committee on reparations choose to look only at half of the problem, the Western enslavement, ignoring the other half, the bigger Arab enslavement.So it was with the earlier Pan-Africanists. They were preoccupied with Western slavery and never gave a thought to what was going on at their borders, in the Afro-Arab Borderlands and in East Africa. Your Pan-Africanism is only half, or less of the story.What was particularly annoying was a certain arrogance based on ignorance when the fuller picture was exposed, of the Western and Eastern enslavement around the time of the World Conference on Racism in 2001. Certain people of African descent wanted to exclude victims of Arab slavery from the reparation movement.People like Prah and Chinweizu are leaders in the increasing awareness in the western world on Afro-Arab realities. We must humble ourselves to learn their wisdom. Humility is not evident, when we ask questions, receive long laboured response and proceed to ask the same questions. It is such behavior which clearly, in my view, answers the question about why we have been unable to progress within the movement. That in large part the problem is generational and linked up with the ‘big-man syndrome’ which has poisoned publc affairs in general amongst us. The ‘I know better’. You even gave a command to Prof Nabudere. In Johannesburg in 2003, at a Conference on Arab slavery of Africans, we proposed a civiliasational dialogue as the alternative to the long standing aggression from the Arab side. Such a dialogue must be conducted not by those far from the point of contact, but by those co-habiting with Arabs, such as the Darfurians, in a level playing field. Not with parties with long histories of broken agreements but with the representatives of moral and spiritual values.I want to return to the OAU Reparation Committee. I remember being energized when I read about that Committee. A similar committee was formed by the Global African Congress (GAC) in 2006 or thereabouts. Both of these were announced with much fanfare and achieved virtually nothing. Your committee, I think meet once in Abuja and Tony Gifford produced an excellent Writ, which document I have referred to on occasion. Why did you attract so much attention, when you launched your OAU Committee ? You must have been aware that the chances of achieving anything were next to zero. This ‘big show’ is, in my mind, symptomatic of the Pan-Africanism of your generation. That and the avoidance of the core issue ( ie 50% of our problems in unifying, being an ahistoric attitude to Arabia ).Your book ‘The Africans’ looked interesting. I purchased two copies from Clarke’sBookshop in Care Town and gave a copy to Kwesi Prah. On inspection I noted that it was dedicated to Pan-Africanists, but it only featured leaders, such as Mandela, Garvey etc. I had never considered Mandela a Pan-Africanist. History will judge. Nowhere in the book are the ‘people’ seen. It is as if the Pan-african movement is the product of personalities and individuals. Again, this tied-in with the Heads of State Pan-Africanism, which has proven inacapable of finding solutions and unable to reform.As I stated at the beginning, these observations should not be seen in a personal light. We are trying to constantly update our project and self-criticism is a small price to pay for progress.The person you introduced to me is enthusiastic, no doubt, but she knows next to nothing on Sudan. By now you would be learning about the complexities of this part of Africa, which was a closed book. As somebody said, in SSPP we all come with our differing perceptions on the Arab question. Enthusiasm is not enough. It took me some 12 years to come to terms with the Arab issue and move from continentalism to the African national approach favored by people such as Diop. It was only after arriving here in Juba, South Sudan that it became crystal clear that previously I had only addressed half of the African constituency, that in the Westernt hemisphere. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) of South Sudan, did not help us much. It’s war against Arabia dating from 1956 was not publicized to Africans and its root causes, Arab hegemony and racism, remain unknown. It was only with the war starting in Darfur around 2002-3 that many began to learn the historic truth of Afro-Arab relations. In my view the West had an agreement with the SPLM’s late leader John Garang to conceal the long war, because it could impact the balance in the Middle East theatre and effect the Arab-Isreali contention.Now, with the writ pending against the Sudan Head Of State Bashir, these issues will no longer remain hidden. It is the Pan-Africanist who should open up these issues of the Borderlands. Africans are suffering at the hands of Arabs in Mauritania, right across to Sudan on thee Red Sea. The fact that these are the darkest Africans is not co-incidental either. Those of the Borderlands were subjects of both Arab and European racism, more so than the lighter complexioned coastal peoples. They were more marginalised by the colonial dispensation they were give, which more often than not meant that they were left in their majorities, in states subject to Arab minority rule. In Southern Africa a similar arrangement was carefully nurtured with some development and deconstructed with the fanfare of the Anti-Apatheid Movement. The Borderlands were ignored for obvious. reasons.DUDLEY THOMPSON - The Chargesby B.F.BankieJubaSouth Sudan31st August 2008
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