Sunday, March 03, 2024

Gaza Resistance Engages IOF Soldiers and Vehicles, Targets Settlements

By Al Mayadeen English

On the 149th day of the war, the Palestinian Resistance in Gaza continues to ambush Israeli occupation forces and fire rockets at Israeli military sites and settlements.

Al Mayadeen's correspondent in Gaza reported Sunday that Palestinian Resistance fighters are engaged in fierce confrontations on the battlefronts with the raiding Israeli occupation forces, especially in the city of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip amid intense Israeli shelling.

Our correspondent confirmed that the Resistance is maintaining its combat positions in Khan Younis and the al-Zaytoun neighborhood, southeast of Gaza City.

As part of its continuous response to the Israeli aggression within the Al-Aqsa Flood Battle, al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, captured two Israeli Skylark drones in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza City and released footage documenting the operation.

On its part, Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement, announced that its Resistance fighters carried out several operations in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood.

Al-Quds Brigades said its fighters shelled an Israeli military gathering with mortar shells, engaged in confrontations with invading Israeli forces using machine guns, and hit a building where an Israeli force was holed up with a 107-model guided missile, causing casualties among the force.

The Brigades' fighters also bombarded a gathering of Israeli occupation forces northwest of the town of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza with mortar shells and hit the positions of Israeli vehicles and soldiers in the "Netzarim" advancement axis south of Gaza City.

The Brigades claimed responsibility for engaging two Israeli military vehicles with RPG shells and detonating a booby-trapped building where an Israeli force was entrenched in the town of Aabasan al-Kabira, east of Khan Younis, resulting in casualties among the force.

Al-Mujahideen Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian al-Mujahideen Movement, bombed Israeli forces' gatherings south of the al-Zaytoun neighborhood with heavy-caliber mortar shells.

The Resistance fighters also bombed the supply route of the Israeli occupation military south of the al-Zaytoun neighborhood with 107-model missiles, confirming direct hits.

Meanwhile, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades hit concentrations of Israeli soldiers and military vehicles in the "Netzarim" advancement axis south of Gaza City with mortar shells.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades announced that its fighters sniped an Israeli soldier in the battle axis south of the al-Zaytoun neighborhood, and ambushed an Israeli infantry force using machine guns and anti-personnel weapons, inflicting casualties among the force.

Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), announced that its fighters continue to resist the incursions of the Israeli occupation forces in all battlefronts, and are inflicting losses among the raiding forces and capturing their military equipment.

Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades said its fighters bombed the mobilization of enemy forces south of the al-Zaytoun neighborhood with heavy-caliber mortar shells in response to the enemy's crimes against civilians.

Israeli settlements and military positions under Resistance fire

In a related context, the National Resistance Brigades - Martyr Omar al-Qassem Forces, the military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), launched heavy-caliber mortar shells at the Israeli "Kisufim" military site east of the central area of Gaza.

Al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, released footage of its fighters shelling the Israeli sites of "Kisufim" and "Re'im" with salvos of rockets.

In a joint operation, al-Mujahideen Brigades and Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades announced shelling the Israeli "Be'eri" settlement and the Israeli occupation military's command headquarters in the "Re'im" settlement with rocket barrages.

As of Sunday, the Israeli occupation military has officially acknowledged that 587 of its troops have been killed since October 7, including 247 during the ground battles with the Palestinian Resistance in the Gaza Strip.

South African Official Accuses West of Complicity in Genocide

By Al Mayadeen English

3 Mar 2024 18:14

Communications Advisor Mohamed Faizal Dawjee expressed to Anadolu that western nations should not speak about human rights.

Mohamed Faizal Dawjee, a communications strategist and former media director for the South African government, denounced the West's position on "Israel's" assault on Gaza, accusing them of being "complicit in the genocide of Palestinians."

Speaking to Anadolu, Dawjee expressed that the West has "forfeited the right" to preach to the world about human rights, oppression, and freedom. 

Regarding his country's application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Dawjee stressed the necessity of recognizing that South Africa's foreign policy is founded on human rights, justice, and freedom.

The strategist recalled that Palestinians experience the "same kind of oppression, injustice, and apartheid" that South Africans witnessed, noting that many leaders who visited the occupied territories reported that what they saw was "10 times worse" than events in South Africa.

"We want justice, we want freedom, we want the oppression to end in Gaza and Palestine.”

Dawjee emphasized that South Africa wants justice for Palestine because it believes the occupation is guilty of apartheid and genocide, citing that this "cannot be tolerated."

He highlighted the pressure on the South African government to withdraw from the ICJ case, noting that when the ICJ decided in South Africa's favor, everyone realized that this was a significant matter, and he highlighted that many nations have halted their arms sales to "Israel" due to their worry of being complicit. 

Dawjee referred to a new era of significantly greater social solidarity across countries known as "The Global South," who are uniting and demanding a "new international order."

He underlined the necessity for any government that commits injustice to be held accountable.

He emphasized the importance of the panels at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, noting that Gaza and Palestine are important to the event.

Noting the significance of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's speech at the forum, he expressed that a forum like Antalya's could unite different groups to have a necessary dialogue.

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Ashraf Al-Qudra, announced today that 15 Palestinian children have died due to malnutrition and dehydration in Kamal Adwan Hospital north of Gaza. 

He further expressed concern over the lives and well-being of another six children in the Intensive Care Unit at Kamal Adwan Hospital who are also suffering from malnutrition, and dehydration amid the shutdown of the electric generator and oxygen adding burden to the already collapsed healthcare system. 

The overall casualties from the Israeli genocide since October 7 last year, have reached 30,410 martyrs and 71,700 injured, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

The UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Michael Fakhri stated in an exclusive interview with The Guardian that "Israel" is deliberately starving Palestinians and should be held responsible for war crimes and genocide.

“There is no reason to intentionally block the passage of humanitarian aid or intentionally obliterate small-scale fishing vessels, greenhouses, and orchards in Gaza – other than to deny people access to food," Fakhri stated.

He further emphasized that “Intentionally depriving people of food is clearly a war crime. Israel has announced its intention to destroy the Palestinian people, in whole or in part, simply for being Palestinian. In my view as a UN human rights expert, this is now a situation of genocide. This means the State of Israel in its entirety is culpable and should be held accountable – not just individuals or this government, or that person."

Tanzania and Ethiopia Seal Trade Deals


Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (C). PHOTO | MICHAEL TEWELDE | XINHUA


Tanzania and Ethiopia this week signed bilateral agreements targeting agriculture, trade, energy and air transport and aviation technology exchange.

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan and the visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Friday witnessed the signing of agreements strengthen trade between the two countries.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation said on Friday that the two leaders agreed to deepen trade and bilateral relations that would create new opportunities for trade between Tanzania, with a population of over 61 million, and Ethiopia, with a population of more than 100 million people.

Tanzanian Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation January Makamba said that the MoUs would open up new markets, investment and trade in key sectors, especially in coffee and tea.

“Ethiopia is globally renowned for coffee and tea production, Tanzania’s tea and coffee are equally popular, therefore, how to access markets together will be an integral part of bilateral agreements during this visit,” Mr Makamba said.

Ethiopia is among the leading coffee producers in Africa and the biggest coffee consumer in Eastern Africa.


Tanzania and Ethiopia have been collaborating in the aviation sector. A total of 75 pilots and 25 engineers from Tanzania received training at various levels in Ethiopia between 2016 and 2023, while Ethiopian Airlines and Air Tanzania have been operating through joint commercial operations, Mr Makamba said.

The two countries agreed to co-operate in power generation through technology exchange under the East African Power Pool programme. The Tanzanian government has been seeking experts from Ethiopia to advise and help it set up hydroelectric power stations as well as irrigation and land use technology for higher production of electricity, crops and quality livestock products.

They further agreed to end human trafficking involving Ethiopia nationals.

Tanzania has been collaborating with Ethiopia and other international immigration bodies to destroy human trafficking networks.

Tanzania has been transit route for illegal immigrants from Ethiopia sneaking to Southern Africa states to seek economic fortunes.

Several Ethiopian nationals have been intercepted in Tanzania on their way to South Africa and other Southern African states while travelling in cargo trucks and empty oil tanks.

Mr Abiy who arrived in Tanzania on Thursday was expected to complete his tour to Tanzania on Saturday.

Head Start Preschools Aim to Fight Poverty However Their Teachers Struggle to Make Ends Meet


12:05 AM EST, March 3, 2024

WASHINGTON (AP) — In some ways, Doris Milton is a Head Start success story. She was a student in one of Chicago’s inaugural Head Start classes, when the antipoverty program, which aimed to help children succeed by providing them a first-rate preschool education, was in its infancy.

Milton loved her teacher so much that she decided to follow in her footsteps. She now works as a Head Start teacher in Chicago.

After four decades on the job, Milton, 63, earns $22.18 an hour. Her pay puts her above the poverty line, but she is far from financially secure. She needs a dental procedure she cannot afford, and she is paying down $65,000 of student loan debt from National Louis University, where she came within two classes of getting her bachelor’s degree. She dropped out in 2019 when she fell ill.

“I’m trying to meet their needs when nobody’s meeting mine,” Milton said of teaching preschoolers.

Head Start teachers — 70% of whom have bachelor’s degrees — earn $39,000 a year on average, far less than public school teachers with similar credentials. President Joe Biden wants to raise their pay, but Congress has no plans to expand the Head Start budget.

Many have left the job — about one in five teachers turned over in 2022 — for higher-paying positions at restaurants or in retail. But if Head Start centers are required to raise teacher pay without additional money, operators say they would have to cut how many kids they serve.

The Biden administration says the program is already turning kids away because so many teachers have left, and not enough workers are lining up to take their places. And officials say it does not make sense for an anti-poverty program, where people of color make up 60% of the workforce, to underpay its employees.

“We have some teachers who are making poverty wages themselves, which undermines the original intent of the program,” said Katie Hamm, a deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Early Childhood Development.

Head Start, created as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s “war on poverty,” serves some of the neediest children, including those who are homeless, in foster care or come from households falling below the federal poverty line. With child care prices exceeding college tuition in many states, Head Start is the only option within financial reach for many families.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the program, estimates a pay hike would not have a huge effect on the number of children served because so many programs already struggle to staff all their classrooms. Altogether, Head Start programs receive enough funding to cover the costs of 755,000 slots. But many programs can’t fully enroll because they don’t have enough teachers. It’s why the department estimates only about 650,000 of those slots are getting filled.

The proposed change would force Head Start programs to downsize permanently because they would not be able to afford as many teachers.

That worries Head Start leaders, even though many of them back raising pay for their employees, said Tommy Sheridan, deputy director for the National Head Start Association. The association asked the Biden administration to allow some programs to opt out of the requirements.

“We love this idea, but it’s going to cost money,” Sheridan said. “And we don’t see Congress appropriating that money overnight.”

While a massive cash infusion does not appear forthcoming, other solutions have been proposed.

On Monday, the Biden administration published a letter urging school districts to direct more of the federal money they receive toward early learning, including Head Start.

On Thursday, U.S. Reps. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., and Juan Ciscomani, R-Ariz., filed a bill that would allow Head Start to hire community college students who are working toward their associate degrees in child development.

The stakes are perhaps highest for rural Head Starts. A program outside of Anchorage, Alaska, is closing one of its five sites while struggling with a shortage of workers. Program director Mark Lackey said the heart-wrenching decision allowed him to raise pay for the remaining workers in hopes of reducing staff turnover.

“It hurts, and we don’t want to do it,” Lackey said. “But at the same time, it feels like it’s kind of necessary.”

Overall, his program has cut nearly 100 slots because of a staffing shortage. And the population he serves is high-need: About half the children are homeless or in foster care. The Biden proposal could force the program to contract further.

Amy Esser, the executive director of Mercer County Head Start in rural western Ohio, said it’s been difficult to attract candidates to fill a vacant teaching position because of the low pay. Starting pay at Celina City Schools is at least $5,000 more than at Head Start, and the jobs require the same credentials.

But she warned hiking teacher pay could have disastrous consequences for her program, and for the broader community, which has few child care options for low-income households.

“We would be cut to extinction,” Esser wrote in a letter to the Biden administration, “leaving children and families with little to no opportunity for a safe, nurturing environment to achieve school readiness.”

Arlisa Gilmore, a longtime Head Start teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, said if it were up to her, she would not sacrifice any slots to raise teacher pay. She makes $25 an hour and acknowledges she’s lucky: She collects rental income from a home she owns and shares expenses with her husband. The children in her classroom are not so fortunate.

“I don’t think they should cut classrooms,” Gilmore said. “We have a huge community of children that are in poverty in my facility.”

Milton, the Chicago teacher, wonders why there has to be such a difficult trade-off at all.

“Why can’t it be, ‘Let’s help both’? Why do we got to pick and choose?” Milton said. “Do we not deserve that? Don’t the kids deserve that?”

Hundreds of Inmates Flee After Armed Gangs Storm Haiti’s Main Prison, Leaving Bodies Behind


2:48 PM EST, March 3, 2024

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Hundreds of inmates fled Haiti’s main prison after armed gangs stormed the facility in an overnight explosion of violence that engulfed much of the capital. At least five people were dead Sunday.

The jailbreak marked a new low in Haiti’s downward spiral of violence and came as gangs step up coordinated attacks in Port-au-Prince, while embattled Prime Minister Ariel Henry is abroad trying to salvage support for a United Nations-backed security force to stabilize the country.

Three bodies with gunshot wounds lay at the prison entrance, which was wide open, with no guards in sight. Plastic sandals, clothing and electric fans were strewn across normally overcrowded concrete patios. In another neighborhood, the bloodied corpses of two men with their hands tied behind the backs laid face down as residents walked past roadblocks set up with burning tires.

Authorities had yet to provide an account of what happened. But Arnel Remy, a human rights attorney whose nonprofit works inside the prison, said on X, formerly Twitter, that fewer than 100 of the nearly 4,000 inmates remained behind bars.

Those choosing to stay included 18 former Colombian soldiers accused of working as mercenaries in the July 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. On Saturday night, several of the Colombians shared a video pleading for their lives.

“Please, please help us,” one of the men, Francisco Uribe, said in the message widely shared on social media. “They are massacring people indiscriminately inside the cells.”

On Sunday, Uribe told The Associated Press “I didn’t flee because I’m innocent.”

In the absence of official information, inmates’ family members rushed to the prison to check on loved ones.

“I don’t know whether my son is alive or not,” said Alexandre Jean as she roamed around the cells looking for any sign of him. “I don’t know what to do.”

The violence Saturday night appeared to be widespread, with several neighborhoods reporting gunfire.

There were reports of a jailbreak at a second Port-au-Prince prison containing around 1,400 inmates. Armed gangs also occupied and vandalized the nation’s top soccer stadium, taking one employee hostage for hours, the nation’s soccer federation said in a statement. Internet service for many residents was down as Haiti’s top mobile network said a fiber optic cable connection was slashed during the rampage.

In the space of less than two weeks, several state institutions have been attacked by the gangs, who are increasingly coordinating their actions and choosing once unthinkable targets like the Central Bank. After gangs opened fire at Haiti’s international airport last week, the U.S. Embassy said it was temporarily halting all official travel to the country. As part of coordinated attacks by gangs, four police officers were killed Thursday.

The epicenter of the latest violence Saturday night was Haiti’s National Penitentiary, which is holding several gang leaders. Amid the exchange of gunfire, police appealed for assistance.

“They need help,” a union representing police said in a message on social media bearing an “SOS” emoji repeated eight times. “Let’s mobilize the army and the police to prevent the bandits from breaking into the prison.”

The clashes follow violent protests that turned deadlier in recent days as the prime minister went to Kenya to try and salvage a proposed U.N.-backed security mission in Haiti to be led by the East African country. Henry took over as prime minister following Moise’s assassination and has repeatedly postponed plans to hold parliamentary and presidential elections, which haven’t happened in almost a decade.

Haiti’s National Police has roughly 9,000 officers to provide security for more than 11 million people, according to the U.N. They are routinely overwhelmed and outgunned by gangs, which are estimated to control up to 80% of Port-au-Prince.

Jimmy Chérizier, a former elite police officer known as Barbecue who now runs a gang federation, has claimed responsibility for the surge in attacks. He said the goal was to capture Haiti’s police chief and government ministers and prevent Henry’s return.

The prime minister, a neurosurgeon, has shrugged off calls for his resignation and didn’t comment when asked if he felt it was safe to come home.


Associated Press writers Joshua Goodman in Miami and Danica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico, contributed to this report.

At Least Two Dozen Migrants Died off Senegal’s Northern Coast Trying to Reach Europe, Say Officials

FILE - Senegalese youth gather around pirogues on the beach at dusk in Fass Boye, Senegal, Aug. 29, 2023. Officials in Senegal say at least two dozen people have died off Senegal’s northern coast and many were injured when a boat carrying migrants capsized. The boat was bound for Europe and capsized Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 near the town of Saint-Louis where bodies washed up on shore. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)


6:57 AM EST, February 29, 2024

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — At least two dozen people died off Senegal’s northern coast and many others were injured when their boat capsized, officials said, underscoring the danger of the route used by an increasing number of migrants seeking to reach Spain from West Africa.

The boat was bound for Europe and capsized near the town of Saint-Louis, where bodies washed ashore Wednesday afternoon and the fire department was alerted, said Alioune Badara Sambe, the local governor.

The injured are being treated in a hospital in Saint-Louis and an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident has been opened, he said.

The number of migrants leaving from Senegal on rickety wooden boats surged last year, and nearly 1,000 people died while trying to reach Spain by sea in the first six months of 2023, according to the Spanish migration advocacy group Walking Borders.

Factors such as youth unemployment, political unrest and the impact of climate change push migrants to risk their lives on overcrowded boats.

Senegal has been thrown into turmoil as elections meant for February were controversially delayed by the president, sparking deadly protests. Elections have been proposed for June but it’s unclear when or whether the president, whose term officially ends in April, will step down.

Kenya and Haiti Sign Agreements to Try and Salvage Plan to Deploy Kenyan Police to Battle Gangs


8:58 AM EST, March 1, 2024

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya and Haiti signed agreements Friday to try to salvage a plan for the African country to deploy 1,000 police officers to the troubled Caribbean nation to help combat gang violence that has surged to unprecedented levels.

Kenya agreed in October to lead a U.N.-authorized international police force to Haiti, but the Kenyan High Court in January ruled the plan unconstitutional, in part because of a lack of reciprocal agreements between the two countries.

Kenya’s President William Ruto said in a statement that he and Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry witnessed the signing of the reciprocal agreements between the two countries on Friday.

It was not immediately clear how, or if, the agreements could circumvent the court’s ruling, which also said that Kenya’s National Police Service cannot be deployed outside the country.

Kenyan opposition politician Ekuru Aukot, who filed the High Court petition against the deployment, said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that Henry has no constitutional or legal powers to commit Haiti to any agreements with Kenya.

In a public lecture at the United States International University in Kenya on Friday, Henry said elections in his country need to held as soon as possible to bring stability.

“We need elections in order to stabilize the country. We need democratic governance in order to have people to come and invest in Haiti,” he said.

Henry has repeatedly pledged to hold elections since being sworn in as prime minister and interim president after the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. But he and other officials say gang violence has not allowed them to move forward on those promises.

Caribbean leaders said late Wednesday that Henry has agreed to hold general elections by mid-2025.

Henry shrugged when asked if it was safe for him to return home from Kenya following a surge of gang violence in Haiti’s capital Port au Prince on Thursday.

Gunmen shot at Haiti’s main international airport and other targets, including police stations, in a wave of violence that caught many people by surprise. Separately, at least four police officers, including two women, were killed in an attack on a station near the community of Canaan, according to a police union.

The violence forced the airport, businesses, government agencies and schools to close as parents and young children fled through the streets in panic. At least one airline, Sunrise Airways, suspended all flights.

Jimmy Chérizier, known as “Barbecue,” the leader of the gang federation G9 Family and Allies, announced in a recorded video that his group’s aim was to detain the police chief and government ministers and prevent Henry from returning to Haiti.

“With our guns and with the Haitian people, we will free the country,” he said.

Gangs have grown more powerful and political instability has increased since the assassination of President Moïse, who had faced protests calling for his resignation over corruption charges and claims that his five-year term had expired.

More than 8,400 people were reported killed, injured or kidnapped in Haiti in 2023 — more than double the number reported in 2022. The gangs continue to fight over territory, and are estimated to control up to 80% of Port-au-Prince.

As DR Congo Seeks to Expand Drilling, Some Communities Worry Pollution Will Worsen

Annie Kopacitino holds her daughter, who she says has been affected by the pollution caused by oil drilling, in her village of Tshiende, Moanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023. The country is looking to expand the oil drilling. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)


11:22 PM EST, February 29, 2024

MOANDA, Congo (AP) — The oil drills that loom down the road from Adore Ngaka’s home remind him daily of everything he’s lost. The extraction in his village in western Congo has polluted the soil, withered his crops and forced the family to burn through savings to survive, he said.

Pointing to a stunted ear of corn in his garden, the 27-year-old farmer says it’s about half the size he got before oil operations expanded nearly a decade ago in his village of Tshiende.

“It’s bringing us to poverty,” he said.

Congo, a mineral-rich nation in central Africa, is thought to have significant oil reserves, too. Drilling has so far been confined to a small territory on the Atlantic Ocean and offshore, but that’s expected to change if the government successfully auctions 30 oil and gas blocks spread around the country. Leaders say economic growth is essential for their impoverished people, but some communities, rights groups and environmental watchdogs warn that expanded drilling will harm the landscape and human health.

Since the French-British hydrocarbon company, Perenco, began drilling in Moanda territory in 2000, residents say pollution has worsened, with spills and leaks degrading the soil and flaring — the intentional burning of natural gas near drilling sites — fouling the air they breathe. And the Congolese government exerts little oversight, they say.

Perenco said it abides by international standards in its extraction methods, that they don’t pose any health risks and that any pollution has been minor. The company also said it offered to support a power plant that would make use of the natural gas and thus reduce flaring. The government did not respond to questions about the proposed plant.

Congo’s minister overseeing oil and gas, Didier Budimbu, said the government is committed to protecting the environment.


Congo is home to most of the Congo Basin rainforest, the world’s second-biggest, and most of the world’s largest tropical peatland, made up of partially decomposed wetlands plant material. Together, both capture huge amounts of carbon dioxide — about 1.5 billion tons a year, or about 3% of global emissions. More than a dozen of the plots up for auction overlap with protected areas in peatlands and rainforests, including the Virunga National Park, which is home to some of the world’s rarest gorillas.


The government said the 27 oil blocks available have an estimated 22 billion barrels. Environmental groups say that auctioning more land to drill would have consequences both in Congo and abroad.

“Any new oil and gas project, anywhere in the world, is fueling the climate and nature crisis that we’re in,” said Mbong Akiy Fokwa Tsafak, program director for Greenpeace Africa. She said Perenco’s operations have done nothing to mitigate poverty and instead degraded the ecosystem and burdened the lives of communities.

The central African nation of Congo is known for its mineral riches. Now the country is looking to expand the oil drilling that so far has taken place only in its far west and off its Atlantic coastline. (AP video: Nqobile Ntshangase/Sebabatso Mosamo)

Environmental activists said Congo has strong potential to instead develop renewable energy, including solar, as well as small-scale hydropower. It’s the world’s largest producer of cobalt, a key component for batteries in electric vehicles and other products essential to the global energy transition, although cobalt mining comes with its own environmental and human risks.


Budimbu said now is not the time to move away from fossil fuels when the country is still reliant on them. He said fossil fuel dependency will be phased out in the long term.


Rich in biodiversity, Moanda abuts the Mangrove National Park — the country’s only marine protected area. Perenco has been under scrutiny for years, with local researchers, aid groups and Congo’s Senate making multiple reports of pollution dating back more than a decade. Two civil society organizations, Sherpa and Friends of the Earth France, filed a lawsuit in 2022 accusing Perenco of pollution caused by the oil extraction; that suit is still pending.

During a rare visit by international media to the oil fields, including two villages near drilling, The Associated Press spoke with dozens of residents, local officials and rights organizations. Residents say drilling has inched closer to their homes and they have seen pipes break regularly, sending oil into the soil. They blame air and ground pollution for making it hard to cultivate crops and causing health problems such as skin rashes and respiratory infections.

They said Perenco has responded quickly to leaks and spills but failed to address root problems.

AP journalists visited drilling sites, some just a few hundred meters from homes, that had exposed and corroding pipes. They also saw at least four locations that were flaring natural gas, a technique that manages pressure by burning off the gas that is often used when it is impractical or unprofitable to collect. AP did not see any active spill sites.

Between 2012 and 2022 in Congo, Perenco flared more than 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas — a carbon footprint equivalent to that of about 20 million Congolese, according to the Environmental Investigative Forum, a global consortium of environmental investigative journalists. The group analyzed data from Skytruth, a group that uses satellite imagery to monitor threats to the planet’s natural resources.

Flaring of natural gas, which is mostly methane, emits carbon dioxide, methane and black soot and is damaging to health, according to the International Energy Agency.

In the village of Kinkazi, locals told AP that Perenco buried chemicals in a nearby pit for years and they seeped into the soil and water. They displayed photos of what they said were toxic chemicals before they were buried and took reporters to the site where they said they’d been discarded. It took the community four years of protests and strikes before Perenco disposed of the chemicals elsewhere, they said.

Most villagers were reluctant to allow their names to be used, saying they feared a backlash from a company that is a source of casual labor jobs. Minutes after AP reporters arrived in one village, a resident said he received a call from a Perenco employee asking the purpose of the meeting.

One who was willing to speak was Gertrude Tshonde, a farmer, who said Perenco began dumping chemicals near Kinkazi in 2018 after a nearby village refused to allow it.

“People from Tshiende called us and asked if we were letting them throw waste in our area,” Tshonde said. “They said the waste was not good because it spreads underground and destroys the soil.”

Tshonde said her farm was behind the pit where chemicals were being thrown and her cassava began to rot.

A mother braids her daughter's hair in Kimpozia village, one of the areas auctioned for oil drilling, in Moanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Monday, Dec. 25, 2023. Its government is auctioning off 30 oil and gas blocks around the country. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)

A mother braids her daughter’s hair in Kimpozia village, one of the areas auctioned for oil drilling, in Moanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Monday, Dec. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Mosa’ab Elshamy)

AP could not independently verify that chemicals had been buried at the site.

Perenco spokesman Mark Antelme said the company doesn’t bury chemicals underground and that complaints about the site near Kinkazi were related to old dumping more than 20 years ago by a predecessor company. Antelme also said Perenco hasn’t moved operations closer to people’s homes. Instead, he said, some communities have gradually built closer to drilling sites.

Antelme also said the company’s flaring does not release methane into the atmosphere.

Perenco said it contributes significantly to Moanda and the country. It’s the sole energy provider in Moanda and invests about $250 million a year in education, road construction, training programs for medical staff and easier access to health care in isolated communities, the company said.

But residents say some of those benefits are overstated. A health clinic built by Perenco in one village has no medicine and few people can afford to pay to see the doctor, they said.

And when Perenco compensates for oil leak damages, locals say it’s not enough.

Tshonde, the farmer, said she was given about $200 when an oil spill doomed her mangoes, avocado and maize eight years ago. But her losses were more than twice that. Lasting damage to her land from Perenco’s operations has forced her to seek other means of income, such as cutting trees to sell as charcoal.

Many other farmers whose land has been degraded are doing the same, and tree cover is disappearing, she said.

Budimbu, the minister of hydrocarbons, said Congo’s laws prohibit drilling near homes and fields and oil operators are required to take the necessary measures to prevent and clean up oil pollution. But he didn’t specify what the government was doing in response to community complaints.

Congo has struggled to secure bidders since launching the auction in July 2022. Three companies — two American and one Canadian — moved on three methane gas blocks in Lake Kivu, on the border with Rwanda. The government said in May that they were about to close those tenders, but did not respond to AP’s questions in January about whether those deals were finalized.

There are no known confirmed deals on the 27 oil blocks, and the deadline for expressions of interest has been extended through this year. Late last year, Perenco withdrew from bidding on two blocks in the province near where it currently operates. The company didn’t respond to questions from AP about why it withdrew, but Africa Intelligence reported that Perenco had found the blocks to have insufficient potential.

Perenco also didn’t respond when asked whether it was pursuing any other blocks.

Environmental experts say bidding may be slow because the country is a hard place to operate with rampant conflict, especially in the east where violence is surging and where some of the blocks are located.

Local advocacy groups say the government should fix problems with Perenco before bringing in other companies.

“We first need to see changes with the company we have here before we can trust other(s),” said Alphonse Khonde, the coordinator of the Group of Actors and Actions for Sustainable Development.

Congo also has a history of corruption. Little of its mineral wealth has trickled down in a country that is one of the world’s five poorest, with more than 60% of its 100 million people getting by on less than $2.15 a day, according to the World Bank.

And some groups have criticized what they see as lack of transparency on the process of offering blocks for auction, which amounts to “local communities being kept in the dark over plans to exploit their lands and resources,” said Joe Eisen, executive director of the Rainforest Foundation UK.

Some communities where the government has failed to provide jobs and basic services say they have few options but to gamble on allowing more drilling.

In Kimpozia village, near one of the areas up for auction, some 150 people live nestled in the forest without a school or hospital. Residents must hike steep hills and travel on motorbike for five hours to reach the nearest health clinic and walk several hours to school. Louis Wolombassa, the village chief, said the village needs road-building and other help.

“If they come and bring what we want, let them drill,” he said.

Takeaways from AP Visit to DR Congo as Nation Offers Expanded Oil Drilling


11:26 PM EST, February 29, 2024

MOANDA, Congo (AP) — The central African nation of Congo is offering 30 oil and gas blocks around the country for auction. It’s a prospect that concerns environmentalists and some of the people who live near the drilling that has so far been limited to a small area near its far western border on the Atlantic Ocean.

The Associated Press visited Moanda territory, including two villages near drilling sites, and heard from residents who said air and ground pollution has hurt their crops and caused health problems. They say Perenco, the French-British company that began drilling in 2000, has failed to address those problems, and advocacy groups say they want to see changes before drilling expands.

Perenco disputes any problems.

Some takeaways from AP’s visit:


Congo is a mineral-rich nation, but little of that wealth has trickled down to ordinary citizens. Longstanding issues of corruption get part of the blame. More than 60% of Congo’s 100 million people get by on less than $2.15 a day, according to the World Bank.

Congo’s leaders argue that’s one reason that drilling should be expanded — to contribute to economic growth. The sites up for auction contain an estimated 22 billion barrels of oil.

Congo’s treasures go beyond what can be mined or drilled. It’s home to most of the Congo Basin rainforest, the world’s second-largest, and most of the world’s largest tropical peatland, made up of partially decomposed wetlands plant material. Together, both capture huge amounts of carbon dioxide — about 1.5 billion tons a year, or about 3% of global emissions.

More than a dozen of the plots up for auction overlap with protected areas in peatlands and rainforests, including the Virunga National Park, which is home to some of the world’s rarest gorillas.


AP journalists spoke with dozens of residents, local officials and rights organizations on their visit. Residents say drilling has inched closer to their homes and they have seen pipes break regularly, sending oil into the soil. They blame air and ground pollution for making it hard to cultivate crops and causing health problems such as skin rashes and respiratory infections.

In the village of Kinkazi, locals told AP that Perenco buried chemicals in a nearby pit for years and they seeped into the soil and water. They displayed photos of what they said were toxic chemicals before they were buried and took reporters to the site where they said they’d been discarded. It took the community four years of protests and strikes before Perenco disposed of the chemicals elsewhere, they said.

Most villagers were reluctant to allow their names to be used, saying they feared a backlash from a company that is a source of casual labor jobs. One who was willing to speak, farmer Gertrude Tshonde, said Perenco began dumping chemicals near the village in 2018. She said her farm was behind the pit where chemicals were being thrown and her cassava began to rot.

AP could not independently verify that chemicals had been buried at the site.

AP journalists saw drilling sites, some just a few hundred meters from homes, that had exposed and corroding pipes. They also saw at least four locations that were flaring natural gas, a technique that manages pressure by burning off the gas that is often used when it is impractical or unprofitable to collect it. AP did not see any active spill sites.

Between 2012 and 2022 in Congo, Perenco flared more than 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas, according to the Environmental Investigative Forum, a group of environmental journalists that analyzed data from satellite imagery. Flaring of natural gas, which is mostly methane, emits carbon dioxide, methane and black soot and is damaging to health, according to the International Energy Agency.


Perenco spokesman Mark Antelme said the company doesn’t bury chemicals underground and that complaints about the site near Kinkazi were related to old dumping more than 20 years ago by a predecessor company. Antelme also said Perenco hasn’t moved operations closer to people’s homes. Instead, he said, some communities have gradually built closer to drilling sites.

Antelme also said the company’s flaring does not release methane into the atmosphere.

Perenco said it offered to support a power plant that would make use of the natural gas and thus reduce flaring. The government did not respond to questions about the proposed plant.

Congo’s minister overseeing oil and gas, Didier Budimbu, said the government is committed to protecting the environment.


Congo has struggled to secure bidders since launching the auction in July 2022. Three companies — two American and one Canadian — moved on three methane gas blocks in Lake Kivu, on the border with Rwanda. The government said in May that they were about to close those tenders, but did not respond to AP’s questions in January about whether those deals were finalized.

There are no known confirmed deals on the 27 oil blocks, and the deadline for expressions of interest has been extended through this year. Late last year, Perenco withdrew from bidding on two blocks in the province near where it currently operates. The company didn’t respond to questions from AP about why it withdrew, but Africa Intelligence reported that Perenco had found the blocks to have insufficient potential.

Environmental experts say bidding may be slow because the country is a hard place to operate with rampant conflict, especially in the east where some of the blocks are located.

At the Funeral of a Slain Zimbabwean Activist, Clashes and a Low Turnout Mirror Opposition Decline


12:19 PM EST, March 2, 2024

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — A Zimbabwean opposition activist slain nearly two years ago was finally buried Saturday at an event marked by a low turnout and clashes between members of the main opposition party, highlighting its decline.

Moreblessing Ali, 46, a member of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change, or CCC, was abducted in May 2022 outside a bar in Nyatsime, a neighborhood of Chitungwiza town on the outskirts of the capital, Harare.

Her body, cut into pieces, was found in a well in the area more than two weeks later, sparking anger. A man was later jailed for 30 years for the murder.

Ali’s remains had remained in a government morgue ever since. Her family refused to bury her until the release of a top official and family lawyer who was arrested after he said she had been murdered by ruling Zanu-PF supporters.

The official, Job Sikhala, spent close to two years in pre-trial detention and was released in January this year after a magistrate handed him a suspended prison sentence, paving the way for Ali’s burial on Saturday.

“We are relieved that she has finally rested,” said Wellington Ali, a brother to the slain activist. “But we are heartbroken because it is not a joke going two years without burying our relative. We have been through a lot.”

He said the family decided to skip the process of viewing the body, because “her body was getting really bad and decomposing.”

Sikhala, who quit the CCC upon his release from prison, said Ali “would not die in vain.”

“Her death will play a role in Zimbabwe’s political trajectory. She is going to inspire us to remain strong,” he said in a graveside interview at a cemetery near Chitungwiza.

Only a few dozen people, some singing political songs but not wearing party regalia, said farewell to Ali at the cemetery. Earlier in the day at her home, police officers with batons easily outnumbered mourners.

Such scenes are in stark contrast to the multitudes of CCC supporters and top officials who gathered to grieve Ali when her body parts were discovered in June 2022 – shedding light onto the disintegration of a party that was once a formidable force in Zimbabwe’s politics.

In August last year, the party’s candidate and then leader Nelson Chamisa narrowly lost presidential elections. However, the CCC took control of all major cities and towns, as well as winning enough parliamentary seats to deny the ruling ZANU-PF party the two-thirds majority it would need in order to change sections of the Constitution.

But the party has struggled to remain united since the elections after a man claiming to be the CCC secretary-general began removing dozens of elected officials, with support from parliamentary authorities, the government and the courts. Chamisa said his party didn’t even have a position of secretary-general and described the man as an imposter and fraudster.

The CCC has since split into many tiny factions after Chamisa quit the party in January, claiming that President Emmerson Mnangawa’s administration had hijacked the opposition and was engineering its decimation.

Some of Chamisa’s former associates accuse him of being dictatorial, charges he denies, claiming the movement has been a victim of state machinations.

The few mourners at Ali’s burial shoved and engaged in verbal insults as each faction tried to drown out the other and take control of burial proceedings.

The brawling opposition activists left before the burial was over, with only a handful of Ali’s family members remaining to complete the process.

Further to the opposition infighting, some local and international organizations such as Amnesty International say Mnangagwa is using intimidation, arrests and the courts to entrench his rule.

The 81-year-old former guerrilla fighter promised democratic reforms when he replaced longtime ruler Robert Mugabe after a popular army-backed 2017 coup but is now accused of being as repressive as his predecessor and mentor.

Mnangagwa attributes the near-collapse of the opposition to infighting and denies allegations of subverting democracy.

However, some fear for the future of Zimbabwe’s democracy now that the ruling party, which has since regained its two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament, is governing without effective and organized opposition for the first time in decades.

“Locally, there are fears among people that we are moving towards a one-party state, with democracy dying a slow death,” said the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference in a letter marking the start of the church’s Lenten season in February.

Friday, March 01, 2024

Pan-Africanism and Palestine Solidarity, Then and Now (Part II)

Genocidal policies towards Gaza and other West Asian states have substantially increased solidarity efforts with the Palestinian people

By Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Thursday February 29, 2024

African American History Month Series No. 10

When the Al-Aqsa Storm began on October 7, 2023, the corporate and government-controlled media in the United States and European countries utilized their resources to justify the Israeli genocidal assaults on the Gaza Strip and the Occupied West Bank.

Israeli governmental and military spokespersons were given free reign by the television, radio and newspaper platforms to denounce the Hamas Resistance Movement and the Palestinian people as a whole.

Palestinians were referred to as “animals, sub-humans, murderers and rapists.” These comments made by the Zionist officials did not receive any rebuttal by the western media outlets. 

However, despite the demonization of Palestinians and their allies in the region by numerous news agencies such as the British Broadcasting Corporations (BBC), Cable News Network (CNN), MSNBC and many others, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to denounce the blanket bombing and later ground invasion into the Gaza Strip. From New York City to the West Coast, protest actions were organized on college campuses, in business districts along with vigils outside the homes of leading Congressional figures such as Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Although the majority of African American elected officials for both the Democratic and Republican parties tripped over themselves to express support for Tel Aviv, many rank-and-file activists issued statements and joined demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinians. President Joe Biden was quickly labeled as “Genocide Joe” for his unconditional support for the Zionist state.

In an article published by the Black Agenda Report written by radio host Jacqueline Luqman, she emphasized:

“It shouldn't need to be said at this late date, but imperialism and settler colonialism are the pertinent issues to address in any discussion of Zionism. The foundational issue in the ongoing and existential conflict between Israeli settlers and indigenous Palestinians, not a continued and historical hatred of Jews, as many Zionists claim. But why do we make the distinction that opposition to Zionism is not automatically opposition to Jewish people? I believe that to understand this is to understand what Zionism is and the contradictions therein. First, Zionism itself is not entirely synonymous with Judaism. Although it is true that the Zionist movement was ‘officially’ organized by Theodor Hertzl in Austria in 1896 to establish a Jewish homeland in response to the bigotry and repression against Jews, it is important to understand that Hertzl was not himself an Orthodox, or ‘observant’ Jew; he was more secular than religious.” (

Biden who has described himself as a “Zionist” traveled to Tel Aviv just hours after a hospital was bombed in Gaza City killing hundreds of patients and civilians. Biden in a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, apportioned blame for the Al-Ahli Hospital massacre on the Palestinian resistance absent of any investigation by any outside entity. He quoted former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir as saying that the Jewish people had nowhere else to go other than Palestine. Biden has expressed no sympathy for the plight of the Palestinian people who have been dislocated from their traditional homeland. 

Weapons were immediately sent to Israel while the Pentagon deployed an aircraft carrier to the Eastern Mediterranean to bolster the military onslaught in the Gaza Strip. U.S. military drones enhanced their surveillance over Palestine while it was revealed that the White House would bolster its already existent military base in the Negev.

Black Clergy Begins to Break with White House Calling for Ceasefire in Gaza

During late January after the annual federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and on the eve of African American History Month, one thousand African American members of the clergy issued a statement indicating that the White House under President Biden was jeopardizing its possibility of reelection by its unconditional support for the Israeli war against the Palestinians in Gaza. This clear message sent to Biden and the Democratic Party in general has been ignored by the administration and many within the U.S. Congress.

In a report published by the Root, a news website which is geared towards the African American community, it says in relations to these political developments:

“Black faith leaders from around the country are calling for an end to the Israel-Gaza war with an urgent message to President Joe Biden and Democratic leadership that inaction could cost them Black voters. According to The New York Times, a coalition of 1,000 Black pastors has launched a multi-tiered effort on behalf of their congregations, calling for a cease-fire and the release of Palestinian hostages in Gaza. In a letters, ads and meetings with the White House, the pastors reportedly put Democrats in Washington on notice about where they stand on the issue. The Black faith leaders said their congregations feel a connection between the Palestinians’ struggle in the region and their fight for civil rights in the United States, and they are growing impatient with the president’s support for Israel. According to NBC News, an overwhelming 70 percent of all voters ages 18 to 34, disapprove of the way Biden is handling the war.” (

The following month of February, yet another blow to the Biden administration took place when the Board of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ), two of the oldest Black congregations in the U.S. which can trace their origins to the late 18th and early 19th centuries, made its opposition to the genocidal war in Gaza public. These two denominations combined represents 4.9 million members located across the U.S. and internationally. 

The official statement issued by the AMEZ Church emphasized:

“Our faith and our heritage demand a consistent stand for the value of all life. Whenever we witness acts of violence and human suffering, we have no choice but to raise our collective voices in prayer but also in protest. It is in this spirit that the Board of Bishops of the A.M.E. Zion Church joins with other Faith Leaders, including Bishops of the A.M.E. Church, our sister denomination, to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the immediate release of all remaining hostages…. We call upon President Biden and the members of Congress to issue a call for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all remaining hostages, and reviving efforts towards a two-state solution where both Israelis and Palestinians can live with security, prosperity, and peace…. The International Court of Justice has issued a ruling calling on Israel to take all measures to prevent genocide and ensure access to humanitarian aid. We believe that the line has been crossed. According to UN human rights experts, much of the population in Gaza is starving and struggling to find food, drinkable water, healthcare, and fuel. Women and children are the disproportionate victims of this humanitarian crisis. It must be ended immediately. (,50401)

Undoubtedly, the bulk of the AME and AMEZ members along with other clergy in opposition to the Biden policy on Palestine are participants in electoral politics as consistent voters. These events and other policy decisions of the Biden White House could easily lead to the Democratic Party losing control of the executive branch as well as the Senate.

The lawsuit filed by the African National Congress (ANC) government in the Republic of South Africa against the Israeli regime at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has drawn support worldwide. Former ANC leader and the first democratically elected President Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) stated repeatedly that the people of South Africa cannot be completely liberated until the Palestinians are freed.

As the struggle against apartheid in South Africa during the 1980s was an issue which mobilized millions around the globe, the same situation is developing in regard to the Free Palestine movement. African Americans and peoples of African descent will continue to play a critical role in these efforts.

Electoral Challenge Through the Uncommitted Primary Vote

In the state of Michigan, activists led by young people within the Arab American community launched the “Abandon Biden” and “Listen to Michigan” campaigns. This protest action operating in the electoral arena encouraged voters in the primary to mark “uncommitted” as a rebuke of the White House policy on Palestine.

The call resulted in 101,000 voters casting their ballots as “uncommitted” sending a powerful message to the Democratic Party and the Biden administration. Michigan is considered a “swing state” where, as in 2016, its loss due to the negligence of the Hillary Clinton for president campaign, resulted in the victory of Donald Trump.

A mass rally held at the Dearborn Manor on February 25 by the Michigan Task Force for Palestine featured a panel composed of Maureen Taylor of the Welfare Rights Organization in the state as the chair; Nina Turner, former State Senator from Ohio; Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud; Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib; Gabriela Santiago-Romero of the Detroit City Council; Atty. Julie Hurwitz of Jewish Voice for Peace and the National Lawyers Guild; Rev. Ed Rowe, Pastor Emeritus of the Central United Methodist Church; Rev. Robert Smith, Jr., Senior Pastor of the Historic New Bethel Baptist Church; and Jay Makled, Financial Secretary of the UAW Local 600. Such an alliance of diverse forces is reflective of the growing support for not only a ceasefire in Gaza it represents a repudiation of the longstanding U.S. policy towards Palestine.

Biden’s poor showing in recent polls indicates that his reelection is by no means certain. African Americans and their progressive leaders will continue to play an important role in the Palestine solidarity movement both inside the U.S. and around the world. 

Pan-Africanism and Palestine Solidarity, Then and Now (Part I)

From the era of Malcolm X to the present, progressive forces have supported the Palestinian and Arab struggles against Zionism and Imperialism

By Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Thursday February 29, 2024

African American History Month Series No. 9

19th century theorist and educator Edward Wilmont Blyden (1832-1912) viewed the struggle for African redemption as being comparable to the Zionist movement, then in its infancy.

As the founders of the World Zionist Movement allied themselves with the imperialist powers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Blyden, who was born in the Caribbean during the period of African enslavement, became a staunch advocate of migration to the African continent.

During his formative years in the Danish West Indies, now known as the American Virgin Islands, Blyden under the mentorship of Protestant Minister John Knox was brought to the United States in 1850 seeking admission to three theological colleges. He was rejected by these institutions of higher learning due to his race. 

Knox then encouraged Blyden to migrate to Liberia, a nation created by the American Colonization Society (ACS) for the repatriation free or manumitted Africans in the United States. The ACS had been controversial among many Africans living in the U.S. whose primary objective was the abolition of slavery and the securing of equal rights. 

Blyden wrote extensively on African history and culture as a journalist and academic in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. While in Liberia, he worked as a school principal, college professor and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister. Between the 1860s and the 1880s, he served in several Liberian governmental positions as Secretary of State, Secretary of the Interior and even unsuccessfully contested for the presidency in 1885.

Later Blyden published his most well-known book entitled “Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race” (1887) where he suggested that Islam was a religion more suitable to the people of Africa. However, during the life of Blyden, the exploitative systems of slavery and later colonialism were at their heights of influence. It would take the emergence of two imperialist wars in the 20th century for the African independence struggles to fully emerge seeking the liberation of nation-states and continental unity during the mid-to-late 20th century.

Scholar Michael Williams in his article entitled “Pan-Africanism and Zionism: The Delusion of Comparability”, chronicles the role of Zionist thought and its influence on thinkers and activists seeking identification and repatriation to the continent. He concludes the report by emphasizing:

“It would be remiss to conclude this review without noting that not all persons today, or in the past, who have in some way been associated with either or both of these movements, have shared this delusion of comparability. There are a few notable exceptions. For example, Pan-Africanist Malcolm X viewed Zionism with utter disgust, albeit through an Islamic prism.” (

While in Egypt during September 1964, Malcolm published an article in the Gazette on the question of Zionism. He refutes the notion of a religious basis for the occupation of Palestine while placing the struggle against Zionism within the context of the movements against colonialism and imperialism.

Malcolm X says in this article that:

“The Israeli Zionists are convinced they have successfully camouflaged their new kind of colonialism. Their colonialism appears to be more ‘benevolent,’ more ‘philanthropic,’ a system with which they rule simply by getting their potential victims to accept their friendly offers of economic ‘aid,’ and other tempting gifts, that they dangle in front of the newly independent African nations, whose economies are experiencing great difficulties. During the 19th century, when the masses here in Africa were largely illiterate it was easy for European imperialists to rule them with ‘force and fear,’ but in this present era of enlightenment the African masses are awakening, and it is impossible to hold them in check now with the antiquated methods of the 19th century. The imperialists, therefore, have been compelled to devise new methods. Since they can no longer force or frighten the masses into submission, they must devise modern methods that will enable them to maneuver the African masses into willing submission.’ (

Malcolm foresaw an alliance between African and Arab states in opposition to imperialism. Initially he made reference to his rejection of Zionism on the basis of religious affinity with other Muslims who were of dark complexions. After leaving the Nation of Islam in March 1964, Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) took on a more secular approach to the Zionist question.

In a recent article published by the Middle East Eye, it reports:

“Malcolm travelled from Egypt to Gaza on 5 September 1964. At the time, the Gaza Strip was under the control of Egypt (which took over the enclave in 1948) and therefore travel between the two territories was relatively smooth. According to his travel diaries, Malcolm visited the Khan Younis refugee camp, which was created in 1949 following the Nakba to house people displaced from other parts of Palestine. He also visited a local hospital and dined with religious leaders in Gaza. Later in the evening, the American preacher met renowned Palestinian poet Harun Hashem Rashid, who described to him how he narrowly escaped the Khan Younis massacre of 1956…. On 15 September, in Cairo's Shepheard's Hotel, Malcolm met with members of the newly formed Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), including Ahmad al-Shukeiri, the group's first chairman.” ( 1964#:~:text=On%2015%20September%2C%20in%20Cairo's,Shukeiri%2C%20the%20group's%20first%20chairman.)

After the assassination of Malcolm X on February 21, 1965, new forces would emerge in the solidarity efforts between African Americans, Palestinians and other progressive forces within North Africa and West Asia. The rebellion in Los Angeles during August 1965 revealed the rising frustrations and political consciousness among the Black population in the U.S. 

SNCC, the Six Day War and Palestinian Solidarity

After the nationalist and Pan-Africanist shift within the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) with the ascendancy of Stokely Carmichael (later known as Kwame Ture) in the Summer of 1966, a greater emphasis was placed upon international solidarity. In the following year, 1967, H. Rap Brown (now known as Imam Abdullah al-Amin, was elected Chair of SNCC. 

James Forman, then the International Affairs Director for SNCC, described 1967 as the “High Tide of Black Resistance.” Forman and SNCC lawyer Howard Moore, traveled to Kitwe, Zambia to participate in the UN-sponsored conference on the struggle against white-minority rule in Southern Africa held in July 1967. (

When war erupted in early June 1967 between Egypt, Jordan, Syria against the State of Israel, SNCC sided with Cairo, Amman and Damascus. The organization came under fire from the ruling class and its Zionist operatives when their newsletter published an article written by Ethel Minor on the Palestinian question. 

Minor had been a member of the Nation of Islam (NOI) in the early 1960s. When Malcolm X broke with the NOI, she left in solidarity with the former national spokesperson of the organization. After the martyrdom of Malcolm X, she joined SNCC and later became Communications Secretary for the group.

In the June-July Newsletter of SNCC, Minor wrote an article entitled “The Palestine Problem: Test Your Knowledge” which consisted of a series of questions about the history of the region. Initially it was not considered a formal position of the organization. Nonetheless, on August 15, 1967, SNCC issued a statement entitled “The Middle East Crisis” articulating their position on the Palestinian question and the recent fighting labeled as the “six-day war.” ( (

The views of Malcolm X’s Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) and Muslim Mosque, Inc. set the course for the burgeoning anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian sentiments in the African American community. Solidarity with Palestine was reflective of the positions of progressive and socialist oriented states on the African continent. 

Forman noted that in June 1967, he and other SNCC leaders were summoned by the UN Mission of Guinea-Conakry which spelled out its views on the six-day war and the importance of solidarity with the Palestinians. Between 1948 and 1967, millions of Palestinians were forced from their historical homeland. Thousands of others were killed due to Israeli aggression backed by U.S. imperialism and its allies.

During the late 1960s and 1970s, the issues related to the status of Palestinians became more pronounced. Under the administration of President Jimmy Carter, the veteran civil rights leader Andrew Young was dismissed from his position as UN Ambassador for the U.S. for merely holding a meeting with a representative of the PLO. This action by a Democratic White House illustrated the strategic significance of the State of Israel to the overall role of imperialism in the 20th century.

Before and Beyond Vietnam

From an appeal to the United Nations and opposition to imperialist war, the movements for civil rights and peace proved costly to the African American people

By Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Thursday February 29, 2024

African American History Month Series No. 8

Even though the United States government in its propaganda during World War II suggested that there would be greater freedoms for African Americans in the wake of the defeat of European fascism and imperial Japan, in reality a very different social situation prevailed.

There was an immediate upsurge in both mob and police violence directed at Black communities across the country, particularly in the South. 

During 1946 and 1947, three horrendous incidents occurred. African American Army Sargeant Isaac Woodard after being honorably discharged in February 1946, was traveling from Georgia to South Carolina on a Greyhound bus when the driver summoned the police to arrest the soldier due to an argument over a bathroom stop. Woodard was arrested by Batesburg, South Carolina Police Chief Linwood Shull and severely beaten resulting in permanent blindness. The case gained national attention and was taken up by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) by demanding action from the federal government. Although Chief Shull was put on trial in the federal courts, a jury acquitted him after deliberating for 30 minutes. (

Later that same year on July 25, 1946, two African Americans couples were lynched at the Moore’s Ford Bridge just 60 miles outside of Atlanta, Georgia. The lynching occurred after one of the Black men was bailed out of jail being accused of stabbing a white man at a plantation owned by whites. 

One source on the incident said that:

“George W. Dorsey (a veteran of WWII), Mae Murray Dorsey, Roger, and Dorothy Malcom (seven months pregnant) were accosted by a mob of white men as they headed to their home. As documentary filmmaker Keith Beauchamp explains, ‘Roger Malcom had been imprisoned in Walton County for stabbing his white employer. After a week in jail, Malcom’s wife, his brother-in-law, and his wife accompanied a prominent white farmer, Loy Harrison, to bail him out. What they didn’t realize was that this was a set-up to lynch Malcom. At the funeral, an African American man told a journalist from The Chicago Defender, ‘They’re exterminating us. They’re killing Negro veterans, and we don’t have nothing to fight back with except our bare hands.’” (

Nothing was ever done to bring the assailants to justice for the lynching. NAACP leaders met with then President Harry S. Truman who, although condemned the racial terror, the White House responded with meager measures such as issuing a report and imposing an executive order to desegregate the military.

Just one year later, on June 29, 1947, in Covington, Tennessee, police officials lynched Jimmy Wade, Sr. who was 36 years old. Wade worked at the Naval base in neighboring Shelby County while he and his wife were building a house for their family of eight children. Wade was picked up on his porch by police officials on Sunday evening while he and his son listened to the church services being held across the street. He was taken to a home right outside the town and accused of attempting to rape a white woman connected with a local grocer. Wade was shot, genitally mutilated, tied to the police sedan and drug through Covington. After arriving back at the location of the shooting, the police, the grocer and the woman who made the false allegations, noticed that Wade was still breathing. He was then pumped with another 20 bullets. 

In an evidentiary hearing several days later in the Tipton County Chancery Court, the police claimed that Wade had pulled a knife on four armed white men. Wade’s brother in an interview conducted later said that Jimmy was killed because he argued with the grocer after he attempted to sell him rotten products, which he refused to pay for. The Court declared Wade’s death justifiable homicide. ( (

These three incidents represent not even a small fraction of the racial terror meted out to African Americans after the conclusion of World War II. The situation was so dangerous that the NAACP submitted a 100-page document to the United Nations entitled “An Appeal to the World: A Statement on the Denial of Human Rights to Minorities in the Case of Citizens of Negro Descent in the United States of America and an Appeal to the United Nations for Redress.” The document was written and published under the editorial supervision of Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, then the Director for Special Research with the Association. (

The appeal to the UN was an important development in the African American struggle in the post-war period. However, within a brief period of time such efforts requesting the intervention of international bodies bypassing the U.S. government clashed with the exigencies of the rapidly developing Cold War. 

We Charge Genocide

By 1948, within the African American community and broader progressive movements in the U.S., there was much dissatisfaction with the Truman administration’s response to the escalation in lynchings and unjustifiable police killings. Many people feared the initiation of another imperialist war. 

The Progressive Party was formed to counter the reactionary trends dominating U.S. politics and nominated Henry A. Wallace to run for president in 1948. Wallace had served as Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce under the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was a supporter of the New Deal and drew the ire of conservative elements within the Democratic Party. In 1944 he was removed from the last Roosevelt ticket and replaced by Harry S. Truman of Missouri. (

Du Bois and others in the civil rights movement chose to back Wallace. His position and open criticism of the Truman bid for the presidency resulted in his dismissal from the NAACP, an organization which he co-founded. 

In 1951, Paul Robeson, Eslanda Goode Robeson, Du Bois, Claudia Jones, William Patterson, Dorothy Hunton and many others filed another petition with the UN characterizing the plight of African Americans as genocide. The document further split the civil rights movement with Eleanor Roosevelt threatening to leave the NAACP board if the organization signed on to the document entitled “We Charge Genocide: The Historic Petition to the United Nations for Relief from a Crime of the United States Government Against the Negro People.” ( (

The evidence presented in We Charge Genocide was a damning indictment of the Truman administration and its failure to address institutional racism. Of course, the Civil Rights Congress (CRC), which issued the document was accused of being a front for the Communist Party. Over 100 people associated with the CRC and other fraternal groups were criminally charged, prosecuted, imprisoned and deported during the course of the 1950s. 

Beyond Vietnam: The Persecution and Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

When Dr. King, Rosa L. Parks and others inherited the mantle of the mass civil rights movement in the mid-1950s, they too were accused of being communists. The NAACP was banned in several southern states during the 1950s despite its reliance on filing lawsuits in the federal courts.

Therefore, when King delivered his well-publicized speech in opposition to the war in Vietnam at Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, he was met with a torrent of press editorials condemning him for his position. Communications between the Johnson White House and the SCLC were severed. SCLC joined SNCC and dozens of other antiwar organizations in a mass demonstration to the United Nations on April 15, 1967. A petition was delivered to U-Thant, the then Secretary-General of the UN, demanding his assistance to end the U.S. occupation and blanket bombing of Vietnam. 

The King Institute at Stanford University says of the Beyond Vietnam speech by King that:

“The immediate response to King’s speech was largely negative. Both the Washington Post and New York Times published editorials criticizing the speech, with the Post noting that King’s speech had ‘diminished his usefulness to his cause, to his country, and to his people’ through a simplistic and flawed view of the situation (‘A Tragedy,’ 6 April 1967). Similarly, both the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Ralph Bunche accused King of linking two disparate issues, Vietnam and civil rights. Despite public criticism, King continued to attack the Vietnam War on both moral and economic grounds.” (

SCLC, SNCC and other progressive groups were a part of a movement of millions calling for the immediate end to the war. Muhammad Ali, a member of the Nation of Islam in 1967, refused induction after being drafted into the military saying that “No Vietnamese Ever Called Me a N word”. Youth burned draft cards, participated in actions to shutdown recruitment and induction centers, went into exile in Canada and other countries to avoid being sent to Vietnam. 

King was assassinated one year to the date of his Beyond Vietnam speech on April 4, 1968. He was gunned down in Memphis, Tennessee while supporting a sanitation workers strike demanding recognition as a bargaining unit within the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). His assassination occurred as he prepared to lead a Poor People’s Campaign to occupy Washington, D.C., demanding unprecedented White House and Congressional action aimed at eliminating poverty.

More than five decades since the martyrdom of King, the U.S. is still engaged in imperialistic warmongering in West Asia, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America and on the African continent. Those who speak out against interventionism continue to be labelled as leftists and opposed to the interests of the federal government and the capitalist system.

Some individuals and organizations purportedly following the legacy of King and other progressive and revolutionary leaders, refrain from challenging the Pentagon. Perhaps from fear of being characterized as subversives, there are those who even serve as apologists for U.S. military interventions. 

Nonetheless, military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Syria, Ukraine, Libya, among others, have been met with formidable opposition. These destabilization campaigns, bombings, invasions and occupations have further eroded the political status of the U.S. internationally. 

African American Liberation and the Vietnamese Revolution

With the escalation of United States involvement in Southeast Asia, a mass movement arose against the genocidal war

By Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Tuesday February 27, 2024

African American History Month Series No. 7

“Up in French Indochina, those little peasants, rice-growers, took on the might of the French army and ran all the Frenchmen, you remember Dien Bien Phu! The same thing happened in Algeria, in Africa. They didn't have anything but a rifle. The French had all these highly mechanized instruments of warfare. But they put some guerilla action on. And a white man can't fight a guerilla warfare. Guerilla action takes heart, takes nerve, and he doesn't have that. [cheering] He's brave when he's got tanks. He's brave when he's got planes. He's brave when he's got bombs. He's brave when he's got a whole lot of company along with him. But you take that little man from Africa and Asia; turn him loose in the woods with a blade. A blade. [cheering] That's all he needs. All he needs is a blade. And when the sun comes down – goes down and it's dark, it's even-Stephen. [cheering]”

Malcolm X speech entitled “The Ballot or the Bullet” delivered in Detroit on April 12, 1964 (

These words were spoken by Malcolm X at the King Solomon Baptist Church on the westside of Detroit. The address was made just prior to the departure of Malcolm X to Africa and West Asia where he made the Hajj in Saudi Arabia and visited numerous African states.

African American opposition to the Vietnam War was a logical response to the national oppression suffered by Black people after a century since the conclusion of the Civil War. The failure of Federal Reconstruction between 1865-1877 had resulted in the era of Jim Crow and what is described as “the Nadir”, an historical period of super-exploitation, national oppression and the failure of local, state and the federal governments to implement the Constitutional Amendments and Civil Rights legislation passed in the 1860s and 1870s.

The following year on April 17, 1965, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) joined with the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) for the largest demonstration against the Vietnam War up until that time. It is reported that 15,000-20,000 people participated in the demonstration in Washington, D.C. Bob Moses, a leading organizer in SNCC represented the organization and spoke at the rally. (

President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had just begun his full term of office after inheriting the position in the aftermath of the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, in March 1965 ordered the deployment of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops into South Vietnam under the guise of halting the spread of communism. Similar claims were made in 1950 when the administration of President Harry S. Truman, under the rubric of the United Nations, invaded Korea. The Korean war began officially in June 1950 and continued for another three years before an Armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. Since 1953, there has not been a comprehensive peace agreement signed between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Republic of Korea, the U.S. and the UN.

In a document published by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) in July 1965, members responded to the combat death of a young man known by several civil rights organizers in the state. An entry in the SNCC Digital archives notes:

“In late July 1965, a group of young activists in McComb, Mississippi’s Movement learned that John Shaw, one of their former classmates at Burglund High School, was killed in combat in Vietnam. The news stung them and that he was fighting in Vietnam seemed hypocritical–Why should young Black men fight and die in far-off Vietnam when first-class citizenship and freedom was denied to them in Mississippi? They wrote and released a broadside declaring in part that “Negro boys should not honor the draft [and] mothers should encourage their sons not to go.” Their public denouncement was the first anti-war statement from within the Civil Rights Movement and paved the way for SNCC to take a stance against the war.” (

Although SNCC had participated in the April 17 antiwar demonstration in Washington, a statement articulating its position was not formally released to the public until January 6, 1966, in the wake of the murder of one of their activist Sammy Younge, Jr. in Alabama. Between July 1965 and early 1966 several monumental events occurred including the Watts Rebellion in August and the burgeoning organizing work which resulted in the formation of the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, the original Black Panther Party. 

The overall atmosphere in the African American community, particularly among youth and workers, was becoming far more radical. Consequently, it was not surprising when SNCC wrote that:

“We, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, have been involved in the black peoples’ struggle for liberation and self-determination in this country for the past five years. Our work, particularly in the South, has taught us that the United States government has never guaranteed the freedom of oppressed citizens, and is not yet truly determined to end the rule of terror and oppression within its own borders…. We ask, where is the draft for the freedom fight in the United States? We therefore encourage those Americans who prefer to use their energy in building democratic forms within this country. We believe that work in the civil rights movement and with other human relations organizations is a valid alternative to the draft. We urge all Americans to seek this alternative, knowing full well that it may cost them their lives–as painfully as in Vietnam.” (

During the May 1966 national SNCC conference, Stokely Carmichael (later known as Kwame Ture) was elected chairman. His work in Lowndes County had gained attention across the U.S. Opposition to the war in Vietnam, the militant demands of the civil rights movement and the launching of the Black Power movement represented a sharp turning point in the work of SNCC as well as the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE). Both organizations adopted the Black Power slogan and the program of independent politics including opposition to the draft which fueled U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. 

Diane Nash, who joined the struggle while a student in Nashville at Fisk University, gained national attention for her leadership role in the sit-ins to end legalized segregation in 1960 and later the Freedom Rides” during the Spring of 1961. In December 1966, she traveled with four other women working with various peace organizations to North Vietnam with stopovers in the Soviet Union and China. 

In a report on the trip written by Nash and published in Freedomways journal she noted that:

“Finally, on January 2 we had an hour-long discussion with President Ho Chi Minh. He seems to be a very gentle man. He is 76 years old but is very alert and shows no signs of becoming senile. He is determined that Vietnam be reunified and independent. He expressed regret that so many American youth were dying on Vietnamese soil but said, ‘If they came to teach or to help us build, we would welcome them, but they come to our country to kill us, so we have no 

other choice but to kill them.’ He said, ‘in this war we are at home. We want peace, but we insist on peace with independence.’” (

During 1967, Carmichael traveled to Puerto Rico and later Cuba, Egypt, Tanzania, Guinea-Conakry, England, France, China, North Vietnam and several Scandinavian countries. James Forman, the former Executive Secretary of SNCC, established an International Affairs division where he served as Director between 1967-1969. Forman spoke on more than one occasion to the Fourth Committee of the UN on Decolonization where he addressed the then ongoing armed struggles in Southern Africa and the unconditional solidarity advanced by SNCC and other liberation forces within the African American community. (

Amid the rising opposition to the war within the Civil Rights Movement, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) under Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had written documents and resolutions critical of the war as early as 1965. However, it would not be until early 1967 that Dr. King came out publicly against the War, linking it to the failure of the Johnson administration to fulfill its promises of the Great Society and the War on Poverty. 

King’s position on Vietnam, his determination to bring forward the plight of poor people in the U.S. and the intensification of the fight against racism contributed to his further alienation from the Johnson administration and subsequent assassination in Memphis on April 4, 1968. Although King had initially refrained from condemning the war, his wife, Coretta Scott King, had participated in antiwar demonstrations related to Vietnam as early as 1965. (,a%20small%20first%20step%20that)

Panthers for Pentagon Prisoners of War

Building upon the relationships between African Americans and the Vietnamese, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense founded in October 1966 in Oakland, developed new solidarity programs between the two peoples. Moreover, during the 1920s, Ho Chi Minh, the founder of the Indochinese Communist Party and later the Communist Party of Vietnam, lived in New York City where he was a supporter of Marcus Garvey. There is a document written by the Vietnamese revolutionary leader on the plight of African Americans. (

By 1968, the Black Panther Party had gained notoriety internationally. In December of that year a solidarity conference on Vietnam was held in Montreal. Bobby Seale, co-founder with Huey P. Newton of the Oakland-based BPP, was invited to address the meeting attended by delegates from 25 countries. The conference would endorse both the National Liberation Front fighting in South Vietnam and the Panthers as the vanguard organizations in the struggle against imperialism.

The following year at the First Pan-African Cultural Festival in Algeria, the BPP was invited alongside liberation movements and governments from throughout the continent. The Panthers were recognized as the legitimate representatives of the African American people. They would establish an International Section beginning in 1969 during the festival at the location vacated by the NLF. 

Several weeks later during the Chicago 8 conspiracy trial, the socialist government in Hanoi offered to turn over all U.S. Prisoners of War in exchange for the release of Panther leaders and co-founders, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, then incarcerated in California and Illinois. The U.S. administration under then President Richard Nixon immediately rejected the proposal. Later there was a modified version of the Vietnamese offer which was called “Panthers for Pilots”, where for each Pentagon operative released in Hanoi, there would be the liberation of detained members of the Party, which in 1969-1970 included hundreds of cadres across the country. After the release of Newton on appeal in August 1970, he continued the outreach to the Vietnamese by pledging to send Panther cadres to assist the NLF fighting in the South of the country. (

These historical examples of African Americans and their opposition to the Vietnam War provide only a glimpse of the widespread solidarity efforts. Despite the increasing bans on literature which examines resistance history in the U.S., people must continue to seek out and demand information and knowledge which reveal the actual situation in the U.S. and the world.