Sunday, 19 June 2016

Colours For African Pride And For Marking Atrocities Against Africans?

June 20 2016
By Kwaku
TAOBQ co-ordinator

Following the terrorist attacks on Paris in 2015, who can forget the widespread exposure of the French flag colours of red, white and blue?

Facebook provided a filter for the colours on the profiles of subscribers who wanted to show solidarity with Parisians. The French tri-colour run across mastheads, such as Metro, the free London newspaper, whilst the colours were projected upon some of the city's buildings.

This year, following the massacre at the Orlando gay club, Metro's masthead was adorned with the multi-colours of the LGBT community's flag which was also photoshopped into the front page photo. Google incorporated the colours within its logo. And seeing the rainbow flag flying at half mast at the US embassy in Berne, Switzerland, one can imagine the same happened at other US embassies across the world.

This got me thinking - when do newspapers, corporate behemoths, or embassies show sympathy or solidarity by displaying symbolic colours when atrocities are inflicted against Africans?

Then it occurred to me that it wasn't so simple. What flag or colours are there that universally represent Africans? Not the green, white and yellow of the African Union (AU), as the organisation represents only continental Africa. The ratification of a 2012 proposed 6th region that could make African diasporan countries such as Haiti eligible for state membership seems far off.

There are two competing pan-African colours - red, gold and green, which is inspired by Ethiopia's green, gold and red flag, and the red, black and green of the UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association-African Communities League) flag.

Moving forward, I propose a combination of both flags, thus creating a Global African flag consisting of red, black, gold and green, which can represent people of African heritage, be they from the African continent or the African diaspora.

Without taking anything away from the two pan-African tri-colours, there's no reason why this "unifying" quad-colour can not come to symbolise African pride, unity, or solidarity.

The Global African flag was created in 2014 to illustrate the August 31 Declared African History Reflection Day press release published on the TAOBQ blog on September 1 2014. This year, TAOBQ along with African Histories Revisited/BTWSC, will be marking the third African History Reflection Day (AHRD) as part of African History Reflection Day: An Xtra History & Reasoning Session at Harrow Mencap. Expect the Global African flag, and Afriphobia, to be some of the topics that come up for discussion.

If one's in sympathy with using certain colours to symbolise solidarity with Africans, particularly when atrocities are inflicted against them, then it's up to one to be pro-active and not wait for mainstream newspapers, corporate behemoths or embassies. They will only co-opt such a move after some groundswell has been created from the grassroots up.

Finally, whilst AHRD is inspired by a UNIA declaration, it's important to note that there are a number of global African histories connected to the month of August. One of which is the inspiration for a UN/UNESCO initiative which has noble aims, but which is mollified and undermined by what some heritage establishments call Slavery Remembrance (or Memorial) Day, but which conscious Africans call International Day Of African Resistance Against Enslavement - August 23.

August 23 And The Significance Of August Within Global African History is a free inter-generational event which takes place Tuesday Aug. 23 2016, 6.15-8.15pm at Unite HQ in Holborn, central London. To book:

A Collective Response To Recent Suspensions Of Labour Party Members For Alleged Anti-Semitism

Copied below is an Africans For JC Values-led letter recently delivered to the Labour Party HQ. The letter is co-signed by Labour Party members and non-members, Africans and non-Africans, Jewish and non-Jewish people, united in view that the selective use of suspensions is unhelpful.

Delegation hand over letter at Labour Party HQ. Photo by Kwaku

Africans For JC Values
For the attention of:
Iain McNichol
, General Secretary
Members of the National Executive Committee
and Compliance Unit Head
Labour Party
1 Brewers Green
London  SW1H 0RH 
Hand delivered on 14th June 2016

Dear Mr McNichol,

Re: A collective response to recent suspensions of Labour Party members
We, the undersigned, affirm our faith in true Labour values and therefore support the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and the refreshing politics of the Alternative he has brought back to the Labour Party.  
We  are, however concerned about the recent suspensions of committed Labour Party members for alleged anti-Semitism which undermines serious discussion and thinking.  We are particularly concerned by the selective use of suspensions, most recently the suspension of Marlene Ellis, a hard working activist with a track record of fighting racism and supporting the local community, for an online post made on behalf of Momentum Black ConneXions which called for Ken Livingstone to be reinstated. 

We also register our concerns about the suspensions of Ken Livingstone, Simon Hinds, Tony Greenstein, David White and others. We are disappointed that the appalling behaviour of John Mann MP, haranguing and insulting Ken Livingstone, a senior citizen, and calling him a liar and Nazi apologist in front of cameras
has not led to reproach or censure from the Labour Party and its Compliance Unit, even though the behaviour brought the Labour Party into disrepute. John Mann MP is an elected representative of the Partyand his behaviour fell far short of the standards expected of elected representatives.

It appears allegations of anti-Semitism are being used to stifle the sharing of information on some of the uncomfortable events that took place during the Shoah
the Maangamizi (African Holocaust) and free speech. Allegations are also being made to silence criticisms of Israel, hamper the work of Momentum activists, and undermine Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
We are uncomfortable with the parallel between the suspensions and what took place during the McCarthy era in the United States.

It is worrying that comments that do not please a section of the population are deemed anti-Semitic,
 whether or not statements are made in the course of rational or factual discussionand there seems to be undue haste to suspend Some members of the Party appear to have exploited a somewhat hysterical atmosphere which has been allowed to developThis is reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts, rather than of calm, rational consideration. African tradition teaches us to value the lessons of the past in the spirit of Sankofa, so that we do not repeat mistakes. 

We also note that there isn't the same level of indignation when anti-African comments, or Islamophobic comments linking Muslims to ISIS, are made. All communities should be treated with equal respect.

The current suspensions are perceived as a tool to intimidate activists on the Left which is inimical to the progress of the Labour Party.

The recent lifting of Jackie Walker's suspension supports the view that the suspensions are being applied and publicised in haste, without due consideration.

We call on the General Secretary of the Labour Party, the Compliance Unit and the NEC to make a full response to the points raised in this letter and not use the Chakrabarti Inquiry as an excuse to avoid addressing the serious points raised.

Yours sincerely,

Awula Serwah, Africans for JC Values

Chris Jones, Africans for JC Values
Kwaku, Africans for JC Values
Nana Asante, Kilombo UK, Momentum member
Abu Akil, GACuk
Adotey Bing-Pappoe
Alexis Shepherd
Beverley Wong, Momentum Black ConneXions (MBC)
Camille Sahiri
Cathy Bolore
Delia Mattis Momentum Member
David Prichard-Jones, Labour Party Member
Dr David Muir
Dr. Ricardo Twumasi, Labour Party Member
Eddio Calpan
Esther Stanford-Xosei, Global Afrikan People's Parliament (GAPP)
Explo Nani-Kofi, Kilombo Centre for Civil Society and African Self Determination
Glenroy watson, GACuk
Ian Malcolm-Walker, Momentum NC and LRC EC both in a personal capacity
Jackie Walker, LRC, Labour Briefing Editorial Board
Jan Pollock, London Disabled People for Momentum member, UCU London retired member
Kayanja Tunya
Kofi Mawuli Klu, Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE)
Leandre Sahiri
Linda Musoke
Martha Osamor
Mary Goffore
Mary Sithole
Master Mo Monty
Michael Kalmanovitz, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (U.K.)
Mike Cowley, Edinburgh North and Leith CLP in a personal capacity
Natoya Smith
Nechamah Bonanos, Streatham CLP member Brixton and Streatham Hill ward
Nubian Emperor, Global Afrikan Congress
Orvil Kunga
Pauline Muir
Raj Gill Ealing, Momentum member 
Richard Clarke
Sam Weinstein, Payday Men's Network
Selma James, Global Women’s Strike
Sara Calloway, Women of Colour, Global Women’s Strike
Shemi Leira
Simeon Stanford
Simon Hinds
Steve Tomlinson
Tony Greenstein, Brighton Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Brighton & Hove Unison LG, Jews 4 Boycotting Israeli Goods
Yvonne Sahiri