Africa and Aboriginal Tuesdays: Why Sudan? Minister Louis Farrakhan and Nation of Islam International Representative, Akbar Muhammad Discuss The Situation In Sudan With James Mtume
On May 7, 2006, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Nation of Islam International Representative Akbar Muhammad appeared on James Mtume’s “The Open Line Show,” which is broadcast on 98.7 KISS FM in New York. Today, we shall direct our viewer’s attention to a portion of that show that was centered on the Black “nervous system,” the human suffering in Sudan and that human suffering’s current place in international politics.
With African Union forces due to leave Sudan at the end of the month, the Darfur related demonstrations that were held this past weekend, and several meetings in the United Nations, Sudan has returned to prominence in the mainstream news. During his appearance on “The Open Line,” Minister Farrakhan raised the question of why the suffering in Sudan is the subject of so much attention and talk while other instances of human suffering, among Black People in particular, such as in the Congo, are not.
…Yet, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 3.5 million have died; no talk. In Northern Uganda, children are walking at night, trying to run away so that they would not be kidnapped and made to fight against the government in Kampala; no talk. Why the Sudan? “
While stating that he does not wish to denigrate the sensitivity to suffering among the 95% Caucasian crowd that gathered for a Save Darfur rally in Washington DC in April 2006, the Minister’s answer suggests that there are parties with ulterior motives for “Saving Darfur.” Specifically, Minister Farrakhan states that for the past 16 years Sudan has been a target for regime change as a consequence of its housing of Palestinian Resistance Fighters and Al Qaeda Leader Osama Bin Laden. He also notes the natural resources, such as oil, that exist in Sudan. The Minister goes on to say that Black People should not be deceived when those “former slave-masters” who did not care about lynchings or the Katrina disaster say that they care about what’s happening in Sudan.
But do we care? Perhaps that depends upon who “we” includes. According to Minister Farrakhan, “African-Americans” were certainly not present in significant numbers at the rally in DC earlier this year. Although he stated that the Blacks who could make something happen in Darfur were not invited, and that the rally “was not our party,” Minister Farrakhan spoke of how a shift in language has contributed to the disruption of what was a burgeoning international nervous system for the former Negro who became the Black Man. Without that nervous system, a disaster that unfolds in Mississippi and Louisiana happens to “us” while any disasters that take place in Somalia, the Congo, Haiti, Brazil, Uganda, or Sudan happen to “them.” When the anniversary of the Katrina disaster arrived this year, some of us couldn’t help but also think of the forgotten and widely ignored suffering of Black People in Africa, South America, and the Caribbean.
International Representative Akbar Muhammad quoted a saying that went “When there’s darkness, stand still” as he contributed to an explanation of why African-Americans did not attend the DC rally or become engaged with Darfur. Should the aforementioned nervous system emerge, and the “darkness” get dispelled, we will be left to consider how the Black People who might be known as Negroes, Coloreds, African-Americans, and Afro-Descendants, will make their presence felt in situations such as we find in Darfur. As you listen, with an open mind, to Minister Farrakhan and Akbar Muhammad describe the view of the origins of the injustice and conflict in Sudan that they have developed through their interactions on the ground with relevant parties like Sudan People’s Liberation Army leader, the late John Garang, consider the question of whether and how Black People in the West should make their voices heard and their hand felt.
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Tuesday, September 19, 2006