We must stand with the oppressed of the world

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The Nairobi Law Monthly condemns in the strongest terms possible the sustained assault on human rights currently being witnessed around the world. Specifically, we condemn the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Myanmar by government-allied forces, the discrimination of blacks in the United States and Israel, human trafficking and the sale of blacks as slaves in Libya, the incarcerations of journalists reporting on government excesses in Egypt, shooting of unarmed protestors and the disabled by Israeli troops in the Middle East and, worse, a Donald Trump-sanctioned campaign against Islam and all forms of peaceful co-existence. We would also like to register our dismay at the lack of seriousness with which these violations have been treated by the International Community.

Like Rwanda, the Myanmar crisis has blown over into genocide as the world watches. The US, the self-proclaimed human rights police, continues to defend and support Israel and Saudi Arabia’s intolerant regimes at the expense of the actual victims – millions of Palestinians in Israeli occupied West Bank who have no rights to self-determination. Meanwhile, Iran, Russia, North Korea, Syria and China continue to draw her condemnation. Aided by a propaganda offensive by a large section of main stream media, they are now seen by many as harbours for terrorism and the biggest threats to world peace.

The NLM would also like to commend those who speak out and risk their lives to report these stories. Social media has been awash with videos of the happenings in Libya and Myanmar, with many changing their profiles to reflect their anger towards the developments. Many agree that the goings on are a reflection of a culture of domination and racism.

Unfortunately, venting out on social media seems to be the only sanctuary available for the discriminated lot. We note with a lot of concern that without the means and ability to tell the story as perceived in their lenses, this situation is likely to persist for a long time. As long as Western entities continue to own and control the most influential news outlets, they will always control the narrative – and they have every right to do so. In the words of the inimitable Chinua Achebe, until the lions have their own historians, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. There are many stories of love, hope and determination from Africa which can only be effectively narrated by Africans. The time has come for Africans to stop the consumption of everything from Western media like it were gospel truth. From entertainment to information, the story is always skewed in their favour. Africa needs her own Al Jazeera.

Wealth as the means to freedom

At this stage the teaching of Dr Claud Anderson seems true. According to him, discrimination is not a result of like or dislike. All forms of discrimination occur in the absence of economic empowerment.  In his five stages of liberation, he points out that to earn recognition, the black man must first strive for economic wellness. The surplus gained from creating wealth should then be invested in politics. He doesn’t give much regard to voting as a source of citizen power instead advocating for the buying of every politician of influence and ability to look out for the rights of the small man.

Wealth and political power is what, according to him, delivers the integrity of the law enforcement agencies. Lack of power is what has made black discrimination so common place, especially in the US, because these agencies understand that all the blacks can do is protest. In his often-cited example, everyone else seems to be protected thanks to their wealth apart from the blacks and a section of the Arabs – often those without a commodity to trade. The fourth stage in his struggle is control of the media. As already highlighted, he urges a large scale and deliberate investment of wealth into media that will mobilise and push the Black agenda. Wealth is important because the new media will need to be sustained. Finally there is unity.

Although a little extreme, the methods that Dr Anderson advocates for present the truth about politics: that rights and recognition belong to those who take them and not those who beg for them. This is the level the discriminated should aspire to. Perhaps then equality and tolerance will become reality

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