Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, at the rally to oppose the Zimmerman not guilty verdict held at Grand Circus Park on July 14, 2013., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
July 24, 2013
To listen to the Heart of Africa episode with Abayomi Azikiwe & Joseph Ochieno, just click on the website below:
On Heart of Africa this week Kudakwashe discusses the ongoing protests against the aquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin. She hosts African Historian, Political Analyst & Editor of Pan-African News Wire, Abayomi Azikiwe, who is a guest on behalf of the African American community in the USA.
Also in the discussion is Independent Political and Media Commentator on African Affairs, and leading Academic in Refugee Affairs, & Columnist with New African Magazine, Joseph Ochieno, who is representing the African community on the motherland and around the world.
This discussion fundamentally reveals the adverse effects of the disconnect between Africans on the motherland and those in the Diaspora, as the main cause of disengagement of Africa in cases like that of Trayvon Martin. Africans around the world are vehemently encouraged to unite in the purpose of cohesively fighting against the injustices that affect us all no matter where we are in the world.
Abayomi begins by informing the audience of the overview of the murder of Trayvon Martin – a 17 year old African American, by George Zimmerman – a 28 year old mixed Hispanic, in February 2012. He describes how George closely followed Trayvon in a vehicle despite police instruction for him to cease pursuing Trayvon, who was on foot.
George then exited his vehicle and confronted Trayvon physically, took out a weapon that he had and shot Trayvon in the heart, killing him almost instantly. George was a neighbourhood watch coordinator for the gated community where Trayvon was at that time.
Abayomi added that, this case would have not been brought to trial without the protests of Florida’s community. The government had no intention of prosecuting George, and it took 6 weeks before any legal proceedings and consequently an arrest was made. The trial started on the 10th of June 2013 ending on the 13th of July 2013. A jury acquitted George of second-degree murder and manslaughter.
The judgement has stirred mass protests around the USA, involving all levels society including celebrities like Jay-Z and Beyonce, with many defying the “racial murder”. Others have asserted that Trayvon’s murder is modern day lynching, and some a “hate crime”. Abayomi cites a compelling aspect, the fact that a Black President is in the White House has not changed the systems that have stereotyped and oppressed African Americans.
Emphasising that “Africans” are all peoples of African descent, Joseph asserts that if Trayvon had been a young “white” male, the outcome of this case would have been completely different. But the American criminal justice system is plagued by a profiling system that automatically classifies “black” men as armed and dangerous criminals.
Joseph also points out that it is paramount for Africans worldwide to stand together in matters like this. He points out that no African leader has actually spoken out against the unjust verdict George received; no African nation is actually holding any protests like the African Americans in the USA are.
Joseph however exerts that Africa would need to put her “house in order” first before effectively coordinating the responses that need Africans around the globe to give concerted efforts. When the motherland is in order, she can then enforce strategies that enable her offspring in the Diaspora – in Europe, USA, Australian and Asia – to become coordinated in a similar order.
The discussion examines other matters like how the murder of Trayvon has been categorised as “racist”, when in actual fact George is a Hispanic. The default racist murders are between “white” and “blacks”.
The guests bring out the fact that, as a hangover from slavery, there are ethnic groups deemed as honorary whites - who are not fully European descent but receive additional privileges. There are however some Hispanic groups who have given themselves an identity where they view themselves as whites.
The discourse examines a number of other dynamics, like the greater context of the oppression of African people across the world, including activities of neocolonialism that continue occur on the motherland. It concludes with a focus on the value placed on African life, in any nation, around the world.
It is the lack of value that strongly determines how Africans on the motherland and around the world have been discriminated century after century. It is this lack of value that also determines the foreign and domestic policies against Africans by nations around the world.
The same aspect has also influenced the non-transformation of systems and policies against African people in America, and around the world. Unfortunately, many Africans on the motherland too perceive African life as one that has little self-worth, thereby participate in self-discrimination.
Kudakwashe concludes the programme with biblical perspectives addressing the ideal processes for warfare, adapting these from the likes of biblical warriors like King David, and Gideon. These begin by, we as Africans enquiring of the Lord if we are to fight against a specific struggle.
The processes respond to the questions: Shall we fight? How shall we fight? And Who should go up to fight? She adds that the army of the Lord is an army for restoration, and the healing of the nations – unlike many world armies who bring devastation instead. These are attributes Christians learn from Jesus, she asserts.
Heart of Africa is broadcasted every Wednesday. It is dedicated to examining matters that affect Africa from a Pan-African Christian perspective, as we envisage the revival of the African dream.
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