Monday, September 22, 2008

The Urgency of Lifting Sanctions on Zimbabwe

The Urgency of Lifting Sanctions on Zimbabwe

By Obi Egbuna

The greatest danger of sanctions when imposed by Colonialist and Imperialist powers is when those of us who gain first hand exposure to the degrees of suffering the people in a country targeted for sanctions are enduring, either procrastinate in addressing the matter or even worse remain completely silent.

It would be extremely difficult to argue, that these dynamics do not accurately describe how Africans (African-Americans) have treated the question of Zimbabwe. The Sanctions being imposed on Zimbabwe's Government and People, are not only racist and immoral, but must be viewed as an act of military aggression with diplomatic camouflage.

The time has come for all freedom loving people, world over, who have courageously condemned the US blockade on Cuba, and also brought attention to the US imposed sanctions on Iraq that have left 2 million people dead, to courageously stand up and condemn the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 that was introduced by the Bush Administration seven years ago.

We realize that by assisting Zimbabwe's former colonial master, Britain, in attempting to bring about an illegal racist regime change in the country, President Bush is demonstrating his loyalty to his European ancestry. We, as daughters and sons of the African continent, must do the same by giving the people of Zimbabwe our unconditional support by demanding the immediate lifting of these sanctions.

Due to the fact that many of us feel the anti-apartheid movement surrounding developments in South Africa was one of our crowning achievements in relationship to positively affecting change on the African continent, it is heartbreaking to learn that these sanctions imposed on the people of Zimbabwe have the unconditional support of the Congressional Black Caucus and US Presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama.

Under normal circumstances, at the grassroots level, the democratic machine in our community would urge us not raise this urgent matter because we would accidentally give the Republicans momentum in their quest to remain in the White House.

However, because it is politically fashionable to condemn the War in Iraq how does assisting the Bush White House in overthrowing President Mugabe and ZANU-PF fit into the equation? That rationale has no bearing in this situation because the Africans representing us in the Democratic Party have decided to give the Bush administration their unconditional support in forcing an illegal racist regime change in Zimbabwe.

As we take into account the various lessons learned about the Military Industrial Intelligence Police Complex, with one of the most important being sentimentality to either of the mainstream political parties in the US, there will never be an acceptable reason to allow any Democrat or Republican to engage in political activity that will extend the suffering of our people on the continent of Africa.

The Government of Zimbabwe is being targeted for these sanctions, because they decided to be masters of their own destiny and reclaim their precious land (12 million acres), from 4,500 white commercial farmers and give it back to 350,000 indigenous families in which the average family comprises of six people.

Because South Africa's struggle against apartheid serves as the main point of reference for Africans in the US, it is hard to put in words the irreparable damage we do to the solidarity links with the entire region of Southern Africa, if we do not take the correct position on Zimbabwe.

The first step is to take the lead from the political leadership in the SADC region, who has been willing to confront both the Bush and Brown administrations, in relationship to having the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, by the US and EU, lifted at once. Because the US and British Governments have chosen to diminish the value of the talks between President Mugabe and ZANU-PF, as well as both factions of the movement for Democratic Change, it has become increasingly difficult for either Mr. Bush or Mr. Brown to convince Africans both on the continent and throughout the Diaspora, that all they want is for democracy to flourish in Zimbabwe.

What is lucidly being exposed is that Southern Africa is a politically stable enough as a region to assist the Government of Zimbabwe in spite continuous attempts of interference by the west. This is part and parcel due to the courage and vision of South African President Thabo Mbeki.

The Bush and Brown administrations have been deceived by their own embassies in Zimbabwe, who have told them that Zimbabwe is war torn and divided. The truth is that the smaller political parties, churches, artists and business leaders stand united on having the US and EU imposed sanctions lifted immediately. As we commemorate the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., let us remember that he risked open door access to Lyndon B. Johnson's White House to oppose the Vietnam War.

Dr. King, along with Fannie Lou Hamer and Kwame Ture, organized a demonstration in front of the Democratic National Convention in 1964 four years after John F. Kennedy was deemed the savior of our people inside US borders. The US and European Union are the main cause for political and economic challenges in Zimbabwe therefore we demand the following:

1. Every member of the Congressional Black Caucus who voted in favor of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001, which is still in office, immediately change their votes on the sanctions;

2.That the US and British Governments compensate the Government of Zimbabwe for applications to the Global Fund during the 2nd,3rd,4th and 6th rounds this century, which were denied without explanation by the former US Secretary of Health Tommy. Thompson and Richard Feacham who were following mandates of their Governments respectively;

3. That the US and British Governments award the Government of Zimbabwe the amount of money promised during the Lancaster House Negotiations in 1979,which will go towards the current land reclamation program.

We all must remain vigilant and unified in our pursuit of justice for our brothers and sisters in Zimbawe.

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