by Obi Egbuna Jr.
President Obama made a cheap connection to aggrieved Black American with his statement that, had he had a son, the child would have “looked like Trayvon.” Yet this president, like his predecessors, kills young people that look like Trayvon all the time.
Add Trayvon to the List and Keep On Fighting
by Obi Egbuna Jr.
This article previously appeared in Your World News.
“Thousands of children who were killed during the US-NATO Alliance 2011 Bombing Campaign in Libya, also resembled Trayvon Martin.”
When African people at home and abroad reflect on numerous lessons that are the cornerstone of our positive value system, the entire world, including our former colonial and slave masters, have come to respect the manner in which we maintain our dignity and resolve in the midst of a tragedy. What is most uplifting about this particular attribute is we remain guided by a history and culture that the rich and powerful continue to attempt to hide and distort. This is why as freedom seeking and loving people all over the world express their anger concerning the shooting of Trayvon Martin, we as Africans must warn them to follow our trail of blood on the battlefield. While this is a humble request, it is stern and deliberate because we are not seeking validation or approval from those external to our community for the manner in which we choose to express ourselves concerning this matter. Once that is understood and accepted, our next step is to educate our children about the importance of having the last word concerning political developments that pertain to us as Africans. In the information age, a casual approach to this dynamic is suicidal as both white liberals and conservatives, from Bill Maher to Bill O’Reilly are becoming more audacious by the second, when it comes to sharing their opinions about our shortcomings as a people. At every phase of our frontline struggle for total liberation and human dignity, many a child has been sent to an early grave, the results, in most cases, have been an increase in unity, focus and concentration on the task at hand.
When the 16th Street Baptist Church was bombed in 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama, and four little girls were murdered, the naked terrorism of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizen’s Council were placed on the world stage for all to see. This year marks the 52nd anniversary of the Sharpeville/Kwa Langa massacre in what is called South Africa. Out of the 60 people brutally murdered, 10 of them were children. The demonstration exposed what the Apartheid Regimes in Southern Africa feared more than anything. The defiance of our youth in what is called South Africa came full circle 16 years later when a teenager named Hector Peterson was gunned down during the Soweto Uprising on June 16, 1976, a day now also commemorated as the Day of The African Child. The 1960′s generation remembers when the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee decided to go into Americus, Georgia, after the savage beating and murder of Anna B. Hayes. The 13-year-old girl was kidnapped, raped, and later died of complications because her parents were warned by the Caucasian rapists not to take her to the hospital or to alert the authorities unless they wanted to be killed too.
“The first recruit and treasurer of the Oakland Chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, in Oakland, California, was 17-year-old Bobby Hutton who was assassinated by the Oakland Police on April 6, 1968.”
While Africans all over the world continue to pay homage to Rosa Parks, and more recently Claudette Colvin, the 15-year-old who was first arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to relinquish her seat as part of the Montgomery Bus Boycott Strategy and Movement, the brutal and sadistic murder of Emmett Till that same numerical year, 1955, was just as vital when it came to drawing attention to the terrorism and hatred we encountered in the South on a daily basis. For those of us who are inspired by the history of the Black Panther Party and understand their relevance in the scheme of our genuine resistance, know that the first recruit and treasurer of the Oakland Chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, in Oakland, California, was 17-year-old Bobby Hutton who was assassinated by the Oakland Police on April 6, 1968, two days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.
While 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the Rodney King rebellions, Africans in the Washington Metropolitan Area will always remember Terrence Johnson and Deonte Rawlings. Johnson served 16 years in prison for shooting racist police officers in 1978 at the age of 15 while defending himself from cops intent on turning the interrogation room into a slaughterhouse. The mysterious circumstances surrounding Johnson’s suicide in 1997 after news reports that he and his brother robbed a bank have never sat well in our community. In the final analysis Johnson was robbed of his childhood because police terrorism scarred him for the rest of his life. We are only five years removed from two police officers shooting Rawlings, a 14-year-old, in the back of the head after claiming he was riding a stolen mini-bike that belonged to one of the officers. The FBI and Justice Department in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police Department’s Internal Affairs Branch cleared the two officers of any wrongdoing, which brings into question whether police review boards are simply exercises of futility.
Because Africans who live inside US borders are preparing for the upcoming Presidential elections, it didn’t take any political genius to know that due to the racial makeup surrounding Trayvon Martin’s murder it was only a matter of time before US President Barack Obama would make a statement aimed at boosting his campaign efforts. The remark President Obama made was as follows, “When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids, and I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this.” What Africans have to discuss are the broader ramifications of President Obama’s remarks. In order for our people to do this with substance and clarity, it cannot be done through the lens of the Democratic Party or the Homeland Security apparatus. When President Obama inferred that Trayvon Martin’s death instinctively makes him think of his two daughters, was it because of his physical appearance in addition to his cultural makeup? The reason this question has to be raised by the African community worldwide is that the thousands of children who were killed during the US-NATO Alliance 2011 Bombing Campaign in Libya, also resemble Trayvon Martin. If we fail to make this connection, we allow President Obama and his family to function from the understanding that it is ok to condemn the shooting of an African child in the US for political gain, but at the same time slaughter African children on our mother continent whenever he and his cabinet see fit.
“It was only a matter of time before US President Barack Obama would make a statement aimed at boosting his campaign efforts.”
The 2011 bombings of Libya objectively can be seen as a working tribute to Ronald Reagan, who on April 15, 1986, bombed Libya under the guise of retaliation for the bombing of a disco in West Berlin that claimed the life of a US soldier. This makes us wonders if Muammar Qaddafi’s two-year-old daughter Hana, who died at the hands of Reagan’s bombs, makes President Obama and his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, think of their children too. For the fourth year in a row President Obama has used Executive Order to extend US-EU (European Union) sanctions against Zimbabwe. In each of the years the President supported this repressive measure against Zimbabwe, it is glaringly obvious that he and his cabinet had no regard for the women and children, who are directly affected due to the impact that the sanctions have had on the educational and health infrastructure in the country.
The murder of Trayvon Martin took place in Florida, which is exactly 90 miles from Cuba. We are now in the 50th year of a monstrous blockade on Cuba, originally imposed by the Kennedy administration on the heels of a failed invasion of Cuba by the CIA commonly referred to in the history books as the Bay of Pigs invasion. Not only has this genocidal measure cost Cuba $96 billion dollars, it endangers the lives of African children in Cuba who look just like Trayvon Martin. Because the current US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, who like her Republican counterpart former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, are political disciples of Madeline Albright, who during her stint as US Secretary of State imposed sanctions on Iraq that claimed the lives of 500,000 children, we can say without hesitation that leaving trails of dead children is part of the political culture that drives the domestic and foreign policy of the US government.
The Africans who have been completely stripped of their core identity will give the same predictable response. Voicing displeasure with President Obama’s Africa and Foreign Policy plays right into the hands of the Republicans, therefore maintaining silence is only temporary until we gain more political leverage. What is troubling about this point of view is that this year marks the 40th anniversary of Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah’s passing and the 25th anniversary of Thomas Sankara’s assassination in Burkina Faso. Additionally, we have yet to take a stand against the CIA orchestra coup and British Intelligence that ousted Nkrumah or Sankara’s assassin, Blaise Comporare, who still presides over the country after all these years. For that matter, every African, Caribbean and Latin American nation that has been bombed and invaded by US Imperialists since World War II have one thing in common, children who resemble Trayvon Martin were killed in the process. This should serve as a lesson to Africans not only in the US, but all over the world, that if you become president of the United States the only guarantee you have concerning your legacy is that by the time you leave office, regardless of your intentions, you will have become a full-fledged war criminal.
“Madeline Albright as US Secretary of State imposed sanctions on Iraq that claimed the lives of 500,000 children.”
The irony of this tragedy is Trayvon Martin was interested in a career in military aviation. Sadly, he may have been brainwashed into believing it heroic to drop bombs on the usual targets of US Imperialism–countries and people who they can’t politically control or manipulate.
One of the most unique organizations in our community is the Children’s Defense Fund, who are the original architects of the concept Leave No Child Behind, which was stolen and grossly misrepresented by the Bush Administration. However, many of our bravest freedom fighters who were assassinated in cold blood by their oppressors in cold blood “left their children behind.” However, many of our bravest freedom fighters who were assassinated in cold blood left their children with their family and community. We have never looked at the psychological impact that political assassinations have had on the children of warriors like, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Patrice Lumumba, Medgar Evers, Walter Rodney and countless others who died on the battlefield fighting for our liberation. Shielding their children from frontline political activity due to fear of becoming an automatic target because of the family name also has a negative impact.
The other issue that the die-hard Democrats in our community have failed to touch is that Trayvon Martin fits the current profile of a domestic terrorist. What has been sugar-coated as racial profiling is only scratching the surface. While mainstream media has made the image of a terrorist synonymous with people from places such as Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan, inside the US so-called African-American males between the ages of 15 to 40 are the first image that comes to the minds of US citizens like Mr. Zimmerman because of the propaganda machine. What this tells our people collectively is that Trayvon’s death must be connected to the poverty and violence that sends daughters and sons of Africa to the cemetery, whether we are dealing with the children in Africa who die of hunger every 15 minutes, or the fact that each day in the US eight children or teenagers are killed by firearms. While this is the busy season for Africans who swear by the Democratic machine and take pride in being their watchdogs in our community, we must send a statement to them that Africans plan to ensure we are the beneficiaries of our organizational genius and genuine resistance. In 1992, Bill Clinton benefited from the Rodney King rebellions, in 1960 JFK benefited from the death of Emmett Till and the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, and now Barack Obama seeks to benefit from Trayvon Martin and any other African child whose death is racially motivated between now and November.
We are obligated by history to add Trayvon Martin to the list of African children who died at the hands of our former colonial and slavemasters and keep on fighting, which means challenging the ultimate contradiction of all, that 95% of us are not politically active today. Because we appear to be suffering from political hypnosis, which has led us to vote Democrat for the last 100 years, the only way to reverse this tide is to get organized at the grassroots level. This is how all our major victories, from attaining the right to vote itself, to smashing the mandatory draft during the Vietnam War were won. This way Trayvon’s generation restores appreciation for our rich tradition of frontline resistance.
Obi Egbuna is the US Correspondent to The Herald, Zimbabwe’s National Newspaper
and a US-based member of the Zimbabwe-Cuba Friendship Association. Mr. Egbuna is also a frequent contributor to Your World News. He can be reached at [email protected].