Monday, February 23, 2009

Request For the Participation of the Obama Administration in the UN Durban Review in Geneva

Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at
(fka, Jahahara Harry Armstrong)
P.O. Box 10963
Oakland, CA 94610

21 February 6249 KMT/2009
[44th Year Commemoration of Assassination of Ancestor EL HAJJ MALIK EL SHABAZZ (MALCOLM X)]

President Barack Hussein Obama
U.S. President’s (“White”) House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500


Greetings of IMANI (FAITH) Brother President Obama:

May our Divine Creator and Beloved Ancestors find you, First Lady Michelle, your precious daughters Sasha and Malia, and the extended family in the best of spirit and health. My young son Chioke Bakari, his 86 and 85 year-old Queen Grandmothers and I watched with pride as you were sworn-in as President on his ninth birthday, the 20th of January. He has said and I quote: “This is an excellent present, Baba Jahahara... Watching President Obama (take his oath) is even better than going to see and meet the Harlem Globetrotters… or singing at our Martin Luther King Day celebration.”

With an understanding of “so many ‘vittles’ on your plate”—as we busy community and labor organizers on Chicago’s south-side would say back in the 1980s and 90s—I would like for you to add an additional item to your agenda. As you know, in April of this year, the United Nations will hold a “Durban Review” session in Geneva, Switzerland.

This gathering of heads and representatives of states, non-government organizations and grassroots activists is a follow-up to the 2001 “Third World Conference Against Racism (WCAR)” in Durban, South Africa. The upcoming session in Geneva will offer participating states and advocates an opportunity to monitor the successes, or lack thereof, in implementing the program of the WCAR.

Unfortunately, and despite numerous requests (see one attached letter from July 2001), former President George W. Bush initially balked at sending, and later withdrew, an official U.S. government delegation to this important world gathering.

Therefore, a major opportunity was missed in listening to, learning from and dialoguing with victims and survivors of U.S. government-sanctioned brutalities; and to begin making necessary amends.

It is my contention that had the U.S. been a full and equal partner in the WCAR process, and earnestly began implementing the conference program of action, we may not have experienced the deadly crimes and tragedies of 11 September 2001; the false “justifications” for unjust U.S. wars, invasions, murders, imprisonment and torture against the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Haiti, the U.S., etc.; the horrific governmental inaction in response to hurricanes “Katrina” and “Rita”; and numerous other crimes against humanity and nature.

Therefore, Brother President, we respectfully ask that you take time to participate in the important Durban Review conference. Please use your position of leadership to assist all of us in addressing long overdue matters of “race,” racism and the vestiges of war, enslavement, terrorism, colonialism, genocide and discrimination; and the moral and internationally-accepted solutions of self-determination and reparations.

Asante Sana (Many Thanks) for your consideration. May our Creator and Ancestors guide you righteously. Until we meet again, I wish you and each of us more…

Justice, Peace, Love, Shared Prosperity and Continued Blessings.

Brother Jahahara

Cc: Sister Congresswoman Barbara Lee (Ninth District of California), Chair of Congressional Black Caucus

Elder Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Chair of U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee

Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State

National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America
P.O. Box 90604
Washington, DC 20090

28 July 2001

President George W. Bush

The U.S. President’s (“White”) House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Bush:

The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA) urges you to send a high-level delegation to represent the United States of America at the United Nations’ World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, August 31 — September 7, 2001. It is critical that the United States join with other governments, organizations and people to agree to policies, programs and strategies to end racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances throughout the world.

We are particularly concerned with the reports that the United States will not participate if reparations for enslavement of Africans are discussed. How can a government that professes its support of freedom and democracy, including the right to free speech, take a position that discussion of remedies for one of the most heinous crimes against humanity would result in it not being present?

Surely you want to address the continuing vestiges of enslavement in the U.S., as well as throughout the world. Right? Surely you recognize that reparations are a well-established method of redress that the U.S. has embraced as it relates to Japanese Americans, European Jewish victims of the holocaust of the 1930s and 40s, and others.

Surely you want to participate in formulating meaningful remedies that create a level playing field within the U.S. and worldwide. The participation of the U.S. seems particularly important since it has contributed to creating such an uneven playing field.

Again, we urge you to send a high-level delegation to Durban. Join with the governments and people throughout the world to end racism and provide meaningful remedies for the injuries suffered as a result of government-sanctioned enslavement, racist violence and terrorism, race discrimination, colonialism and numerous other brutalities.

Aurevouche Dorothy Benton Lewis
Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at
N’COBRA National Co-Chairs

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