Africa, the stigmatized, beaten down continent, who needs to rise up and overcome the past and the present where it has been exploited and oppressed by colonial and neocolonial powers. The peaceful, strong, beautiful, joyful, open and decent people, who have been robbed of their self-worth and who have had to accept their role as the underdog of the world, as the underachiever, as the dependant, as the servant. The simple good people, who have been enslaved, exterminated, driven to madness and poverty, and who have a need to stop and learn to ask for direction from within, for their future and for everyone’s future. Africa, our common motherland can be a symbol for so many things that apply to us all. How to stop being the passive victim of history and strengthen the positive creativity, overcoming weaknesses and fears? We are all in this process with mother Africa, with mother Earth, with our open future, that awaits us with endless patience.
Today we held a small but heartfelt and deeply meaningful event together with Humanist friends from Senegal, Guinea, The Gambia and Mali, in the island of Goree, here in Dakar. Decades ago that charming island was a prison and a marketplace for millions of totally enslaved human beings. The slave ships to America left from the island, where the slaves were held once they arrived from the different parts of West Africa. That was not a long time ago. Even less time ago, the black consciousness rose and the African countries got their formal independence and formal democracies. Equality was fought for and achieved with nonviolence in USA with Martin Luther King and in South Africa with Nelson Mandela. This year another historical step was taken in USA: their first Afroamerican president took office, considered by many as a symbol of hope.
In all this, while the “yes” makes progress, the “no” continues weaving its web of shadows, with corruption, economic exploitation and indifference. As mentioned by our international spokesperson Rafael de la Rubia in the island of Goree, one of the negative processes is the “brain drain:” economic inequality leads to the migration of the educated population to rich areas and leaves the poor in ever repeating situation of ignorance and lack of capacities for overcoming their poverty.
This night, we leave behind the heat and beauty of Senegal, and fly to the winter of New York and Washington, in order to continue demanding for true and necessary changes from those in power. We seek to transform the established “no” into another kind of a no: