Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Summing Up the Pan-African Tribute to Fidel Castro in Toronto

Summing Up Tribute to Fidel Castro

By Norman (Otis) Richmond

The Pan-African Tribute to Fidel Castro in Toronto was a success. Despite the fact that only Omme Rahemtullah of CKLN-FM 88.1 and CHRY-FM 105.5 and Phil Taylor of CIUT-FM 89.5 promoted the event, about 30 people of all ages and nationalities came out to pay tribute to Castro. The event took place at the Trane Studio, 964 Bathurst St., Toronto, Canada on Monday, May 26th.

This event was organized to coincide with the 45th anniversary of Afrikan Liberation Day. There was a panel discussion featuring Heather Kere of United Black Students @ Ryerson and Dr. Keith Ellis. The film “Cuba! Africa! Revolution!” was screened after the panel discussion.

The idea for a Pan Afrikan Tribute for Castro came from the Baffour Ankomah, the editor, of the London based “New African” magazine. Ankomah wrote: “In the 1970s and 1980s, Fidel Castro sent 350,000 Cuban soldiers, civilians and doctors to support the African liberation struggle, especially in Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, and Sao Tome & Principe. It has been estimated that 2,077 Cubans died fighting in struggles to attain and preserve independence in Africa.”

Elombe Brath, Professor Ron Wilkins, Kali Akuno, and Abayomi Azikiwe endorsed the idea. Brath and Wilkins represent the Patrice Lumumba Coalition in New York City and Los Angeles respectively. Akuno is with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and Azikiwe is the editor of the Pan African News Wire.

The Detroit based Azikiwe screened the film Cuba! Africa! Revolution! on February 23 to commemorate the 140th anniversary of the birth of W.E.B. DuBois.

A copy of Muhammad Ahmad (Maxwell Stanford Jr.’s), “We Will Return In The Whirlwind: Black Radical Organizations 1960-1975” was raffled at the event.

Azikiwe pointed out that: “Fidel Castro should not only be honoured on African Liberation Day but every day we live and breathe on this earth.”

Ankomah also suggests that people study Castro’s life. According to Ankomah: “Interestingly, in his memoirs, Castro talks about Cuba’s love affair with Africa with such gusto and passion that you might think it happened only yesterday.” Titled “My Life, Fidel Castro”, this is a literary work that every African must get a copy and read!”

For more information email or call Norman Richmond, 416 979-5251 ext 2372.

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