Black lives matter in the context of the African struggle
Ayesha Rahim-Kamara, UK
The future of racism in the west lies in the hands of today’s children who are tomorrow’s leaders, be they black or white.
To wipe out the ideology, white children need to be educated on the history of racism. The more educated they become about how social inequalities and injustices are perpetrated on the black communities because of the colour of their skin, the more hope there is in fighting this plague especially in USA, UK, Paris, etc.
This is happening right now on a massive scale- thanks to the media activism by organisations like Black Lives Matter movement. White parents that hold a racist ideology are suddenly very scared of losing what they perceive to be “power” over the black man.
The result has been voting in people like Trump and Boris (USA & UK) in a desperate attempt to prevent an “equal society.”
All we are asking for is equality- nothing more; and this is something that will in no way shape or form threaten their ill-gotten wealth because no one is asking them to give that up. However, because they know it is ill-gotten, they’re filled with fear and hence the hate campaign to keep the black race down.
In equal measure, white parents that may not hold racist views, but felt this had nothing to do with them, or that their inaction against racism does not necessarily mean they support the ideology are also being awakened by the young generation’s education on the subject.
There is the power of social media and smartphone technology which is suddenly exposing racism for what it is, with white children suddenly being on the side of their black counterparts. What this means then is, the minority is getting the majority’s support in the fight on such a massive scale that the momentum can no longer be ignored and must not stop.
The message is simple: Black lives matter.
Contrary to the uninformed alternative still grappling to justify that “all lives matter,” the latter will only be really true when black lives matter. To say that all lives matter in the face of the current racial inequality and bias against black people is to actually say black lives are not part of “all lives.”
How do Black Lives matter in the context of Black Africa?
Many parallels can be drawn with racism and the regional politics we see in most African countries including our very own Sierra Leone. One thing that always baffles me about Sierra Leone’s politics is the absence of a political ideology in any of the two main parties- the APC (dubbed the Northerners’ Party) and the SLPP (dubbed the Southerners’ Party).
What is it that one party is fighting to uproot the other from political role it is playing? Not to fight injustice faced by many Sierra Leoneans; not for social inequality; not for poverty alleviation; not for gender equality; and above all, not even for children’s rights.
The majority of the electorate just seem to pick sides based on what region they consider to belong; from an ancestral perspective or what politician they are related to or know on a personal level.
In a country that sadly still statistically has an illiteracy rate of about 75%, those of us that are fortunate enough to be literate and consider ourselves to be “educated” need to wake up and emancipate ourselves from mental slavery (in the words of the great Bob Marley).
We need to start thinking about doing what is right not just for us but for our children who are tomorrow’s leaders. That is the greatest legacy we can ever leave for generations yet unborn.
Until we do, Sierra Leone will continue to be stuck in this political merry-go-round which sees the unwinding of progress every 5-10 years; donor dependency and economic & social confusion living with the majority of the population often needing “social support” from a minority subset of either: “political wealthy relations” with an often vested self-interest; or “conscientious hard working relations” barely providing support because they empathise.
It is morally wrong for a country like Sierra Leone with so much natural wealth to be unable to feed and provide the basic human needs for its people especially given the size of the population.
Many of us out here in the west continue to be subjected to racism and remain economically exiled; wrongfully denied the opportunity to return to our own native land to thrive in whatever professions we hold and collectively build the economy of Sierra Leone and get the country we all so desire.
All we really need is an open and fair society for everyone, devoid of political gimmicks. Until that happens we are not that dissimilar from the African-American or black British with a slave ancestry who has nowhere to call home except the racially mixed society of the west where hatred for our race had designed a system of endemic and systemic oppression in all aspects of society.
The Sierra Leone political calamity is not unique to the country but I have of course centred my write-up to and focus on Sierra Leone because as the saying goes: charity begins at home.
What am I saying?
Wake up Sierra Leoneans and African leaders. Support the return to Africa of its economically exiled brains to build Africa.