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Reparation

 Master of Ceremony, Mr. Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro of the Herero people, Hon Madam Ida  Hoffmann, the Chair Person of the Nama people, Distinguish Guest, friends and comrades, Brothers and Sisters, I greet you all in unity, love and fellowship as Afrikan-conscious Panafrikanists. I am here today, on this Memorial Day, not only as a personal warrior for the just cause we seek, but also as a member of the Global Afrikan Congress that was set up under the auspices of the United Nations’s Durban Declaration 2001, as a representative of the Black Quest for Justice Campaign UK set up in the UK, but more importantly on behalf of our entire Afrikan family wherever they might be.  It is unfortunately given to us to remember the sad and tragic events perpetrated on our ancestors by the German community several decades ago.  Under the tyranny of the German government, the indigenous peoples of this land experienced the worse genocide at the start of the 20th Century in what was formerly known as South West Africa, now Namibia.

As we contemplate the enormity of this cruel, inhumane and unjust slaughter of our family, Mr Chairman, with your permission I humbly request that we all have a minute of silent reflection in honor of all those who suffered in this merciless holocaust. (SILENCE). Thank you.

Master of Ceremony, lest we forget, it was not only the Germans that inflicted a long reign of terror on our people, they were facilitated and intentionally assisted by other Western Europeans countries. Together they brought unspeakable suffering upon our people in the form of mass rape, mass murder, mass theft of land and resources, mass destruction of our communities, cultures, life styles and our livelihood. This tragedy of wholesale slaughter of our people and plunder of our lands, that resulted in dreadful lasting consequences that reverberate today across our communities, did not only benefit Germany and the German settlers, it also contributed directly and indirectly to the development of those Western European countries against whom our people also charge with similar atrocities. The legacy of the European Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade where our ancestors were kidnapped from Afrika in chattels and scattered to this day in lands far away from home is a solemn reminder to us of the gross and collective punishment genocide inflicted on our sacred humanity.

 On reflection, Mr Chairman, our people’s genocide was no accident. It was a deliberate and calculated act against us because we were Afrikans; indigenous peoples of this land, proudly wearing our Afrikan identities in our black skins and liberal costumes, our textured hair, our treasured customs and traditions, our linguistic codes and our easy to get along with lifestyles. Yes, we were Afrika’s true children. We belonged to Afrika as much as Afrika belonged to us. There was no crisis of identity, nor were there any challenges that we were not able to overcome as a collective people sharing collective responsibility for a collective will to survive in togetherness. Our ancestors had given to the world a civilization that benefitted every race wherever they were. Mr Chairman, our ancestors left them to live peacefully in their lands.  Neither Germany nor its Western European allies belonged to Afrika. Nor did they had any justifiable moral or legitimate authority to invade our lands and subject us to the most despicable, degrading and inhumane forms of abuse that fragmented our communities, distorted our personalities, disrupted our family institutions and left us a broken and impoverished race of people. Master of Ceremony, despite our so-called independence, we as a people are not happy, nor have we recovered from such brutal acts of criminality where thieves and murderers came to our shores, stole and pillaged our land, massacred our ancestors, drove our people off our land, raped our children and parents, and created laws to keep us under impoverishment and subjugation. How can we ever accept this inequality and injustice? Why should anyone expect us to do so? Why do we not have the legitimate right to claim reparations? This is not true for the Jewish holocaust, nor for the reparations to Japan for World war 11, nor for the reparations to the Philippians, nor for reparations to Korea.

Mr Chairman, I am sure that many of us have listened to the most ridiculous reasoning advanced by many as to why we should not be given reparations. They argue that crimes of genocide have nothing to do with them; it was not them; it happened a long time ago; let’s forget about the past and move on. They are unwilling to entertain the thought that they have and are still benefitting from their ancestors ravaging of our people’s lands and lives, and that today, despite our independence, 80% of our ancestral lands are not in our ownership. Nor can they explain why the Jews and others have been granted reparations for lesser crimes against them. Mr Chairman, I wish to remind this august gathering of Panafrikanists that it was the philosopher John Locke in 1689 that gave one of the most powerful arguments for reparations. Locke argued that people have Natural Rights that they get directly from Natural Law and which they also acquire from Natural Law. According to Locke, people have a natural right to self-preservation and where those rights are violated they are entitled to reparation as a means of repairing the damage done to them. Our people have had enormous economic, social, educational and cultural advantages wrested from us for over five centuries. The cost to us is incalculable and we are still suffering. We are still waiting for the damage to be repaired.

Mr Chairman, while I attribute this state of affairs to those culpable for these terrible atrocities against our people, I also regrettably apportion blame to those of us who are either reluctant to vigorously pursue reparations in collaboration with the masses of the people, or are at best unsure as to what should constitute a good and reasonable reparation package that would address the transformational needs of our people and our land(s). At this juncture, I wish to pay tribute to the great Afrikan pioneer of Reparation and restitution on the Afrikan continent, the late Honorable Paramount Chief Rikura. He is remembered as a very distinguished Afrikan warrior and the foremost leader in the struggle for reparation and restitution for the Afrikan people.  Chief Rikura is indeed, the only accredited leader that came forth on the international stage so far from the entire Afrikan Continent (barring the exception of the Malmal family of Keyna) to champion reparation and restitution.  He managed to get the German people and the German Government to acknowledge the enormous horrors of the past, in the genocide they had committed against the peaceful people of Namibia. We on the international stage, gave thanks to Chief Rikura and his team for single handedly bringing the matter of reparation and restitution to greater recognition and awareness and for highlighting the dreadful reality of the German genocide upon the Herero and Nama family. Chief Rikura work should serve as an inspiration and a guide to us in the construction of our demands for reparation

Master of Ceremony, it is said that our ancestors live in us. Like many here, I am therefore one of the millions of Afrikan descendant of the family of Afrikans who was kidnapped by Europeans and carried off into captivity 500 years ago.  Scattered as chattels to the highest European bidders in foreign lands and ill-treated in the most abusive way, like many, I still bear the spiritual and psychological scars of suffering the greatest of genocide in the history of humankind, commonly referred to as the Great MAAFA.  Today I am back on my land, home at last and I carry the spirit of the millions of the souls of dispossessed and unhappy victims of history’s heinous crime against Afrikans by Western Europeans, the British, Dutch, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. The Christian bible refers to such people as being marked in the number of the beast. I can find no other appropriate word to describe anyone who committed such dreadful acts of gross indecency against us and our descendants.   Master of Ceremony I can assure you, the trees, the earth, the seas, everything that dwells upon this Earth and above it; the souls and spirit of our ancestors bear silent witness to the injustices committed against us as a people.

Mr Chairman, it seems incomprehensible from an Afrikan—centric perspective to fathom how can any enlightened people perpetrate such abominable acts of cruelty on a people responsible for their rise from obscurity and darkness. And yet lamentably, we must contemplate it and confront them with the consequences of their actions. We are known for our wisdom but we are also known for our resilience and our commitment to enduring freedom and peace for our peoples.  Afrikan leaders like His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassi 1, Nkrumah of Ghana and others have been beacon lights that pointed us in the right direction of our struggles so that we may again stand tall as a great and mighty people. We, Mr Chairman, must look beyond the narrow confines of our borders and conceptualize Afrika as home to all Afrikans wherever they sojourn. Reparations must therefore seek to embrace and address the accommodating of our brothers and sisters return to the lands of their forefathers that they too can contribute to the reconstruction of our motherland. I believe that this was one of the underlying objective of the Charters of the Organization of Afrikan Unity (OAU) now Afrikan Union (AU) and the Panafrikan movement.

In conclusion, Master of Ceremony, the 2001 Durban United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Xenophobia and other Related Intolerances, recognized and acknowledged that the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism represented Crimes Against the Afrikan people and called on all governments to do what was necessary to ameliorate and prevent the recurrence and continuation of these vile, demeaning and destructive acts against humankind. By so doing it created the unique opportunity for our leaders and we as a people to use the Global Afrikan Congress’  Protocol to create strategies and policies that will lead to us again in controlling our sovereign destiny and redesign the rebirth of the Afrikan identity and the Afrikan consciousness. To date, I struggle to understand why some decade and a half after Durban we still seem to be marking time here in Afrika. The Reparation fight being headed by all Heads of State in the Caribbean is now before the UN.  Where is reparation with the continental Afrikan Heads of State?  The Caribbean Heads of state has shown the way to fight alongside the people in bringing the atrocities of the past to the forefront. For reparation, restitution and repatriation of the Afrikan diaspora to become a reality we too must recognize the need to have an inclusive participation of the people if our collective interests are to be realized in a meaningful and sustained way. Let us pursue this challenge with one heart, as one people, one aim and with a unified destiny.

I thank you.

Kilanji Bangarah

Black Quest for Justice Campaign UK and the Global Afrikan Congress (See Bridgetown Protocol at www.globafrikancongress.com)

Download the original: Kilanji on reparations.docx 

SOURCE: BFBankie

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