A wrong debate: whose interests are they really? Africans or somebody else!

Democratic Republic of CongoAt the hype of the recent crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with M23 temporarily occupying Goma before withdrawing, the world has witnessed many initiatives to bring the escalating conflict down. Among them there have been calls from certain stakeholders of the issues at hand. The Association of Concerned African Scholars was one of them. It wrote the following petition [extracts only] to the US president asking for action on a number of areas: 

The ACAS petition calls for President Obama to “…to lead the international community in taking forceful action to seek to end the human rights violations that are being committed and to press all involved parties to ensure the protection of civilians.”  ACAS also calls on Obama to:

– Press the Security Council to ensure protection of civilians from further abuse and ensure support for the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUC) so that it has adequate resources and mandate to fulfill its protection role.

– Support a Security Council resolution requiring Rwanda and Uganda to immediately withdraw any support to the M23 armed group.

– Publicly recommend to the UN Security Council that officials within the Rwandan Ministry of Defense be added to the list of designated individuals targeted by the UNSC Sanctions Committee.

– Mandate the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to fully implement the Sec 1502 disclosure requirement of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requiring U.S. companies to disclose any products they manufacture using conflict minerals sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo or contiguous countries.

– Press the Congolese government to stop violations being committed by the Congolese army as well as entering into alliances with armed groups, and fully implement the Public Law 109-456: The DRC Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006 (Obama Law).

– End the waiver of Child Soldier sanctions on the Congolese Government and extend the sanctions to include nations that support guerrilla movements like M23 that recruit child soldiers.”

To read the full text of the petition, please click here.

This is one of the voices which were calling for change in the handling of issues pertaining to the Democratic Republic of Congo. But there are views also critical of the spirit of for example above petition. And among those critics are Keith Harmon Snow, investigative journalist who has extensively worked on issues related to the Great lakes region. I reproduce here too the exchange he had with ACAS that he published on his facebook pages:

Concerned African Scholars: Congo
Keith harmon Snow <keith.harmon.snow@gmail.com>
Feb 5, 2013
to immanuel.wallerstein.
Dear Immanuel Wallerstein:
I see that you are an adviser for the Assoc. of Concerned African Scholars. I also see that the ACAS petitioned Obama in December.

Please note that your treatise on European Universalism is something I recommend widely and cite often. Thus I come to you with the highest respect for your knowledge and achievements.

The December Congo petition to Obama was very disappointing. First of it, it has no teeth whatsoever, and will only be used to further the imperial aims of the US government and its partners and surrogates. Not only is the Dodd-Frank Act designed to serve corporate interests, it is further meant to be a smokescreen for these powerful interests.

To what extent you have explored the politics of genocide — either generally or specific to Central Africa and/or Sudan and/or Ethiopia?

You will note that my communication is blunt. It is also sincere, as I am sincere.

Your December 2012 ACAS petition to Obama stated that “According to the International Rescue Committee, with more than 5 million killed in this disordered nation in the last 14 years, the conflicts there are the world’s deadliest documented conflict since WW II, yet it has not had the attention it needs.”

This is egregious disinformation. First, the IRC is an intelligence conduit organization, not a genuine NGO. Second, how can there be only 5 million dead in Congo, in December 2012, when monthly mortality rates are cited at 10,000 a month, or 1000 a day in the Kivus, for some of these months, “in the last 14 years”? Third, fourteen years? 2012 minus 14 equals 1998: The conflict in Congo did not begin in 1998: It began in 1996.

Are you aware of these manipulations of fact and reality?

Please have a look at this link, where the Introductory text will take you all of two minutes to read, and then please view the promotional video we have created for our documentary film project on the Politics of Genocide in Central Africa.

http://www.consciousbeingalliance.com/2012/12/le-deluge-the-deluge/

I hope you will open up a sincere and frank dialog with me.

I worked as a genocide investigator for the United Nations in Ethiopia (2006), and alongside MONUC troops in Congo (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007), at the ICTR (2001, 2011), and I have testified as an expert on genocide at four asylum hearings in the USA, and as an expert on genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity at the highest court in Spain in support of the war crimes indictments against the top Rwandan officials. I have experience in 42 countries, 17 in Africa. I am persona non grata in Ethiopia and Rwanda, and I am banned from Smith College, Mt. Holyoke and Hampshire Colleges for no reason at all.

Where is the truth? Where is the justice? Please visit the link and watch the short video.

blessings
————————————————–
Immanuel Wallerstein
Feb 11 (10 days ago)
to me
Feb. 11, 2013

Dear Mr. Snow,

The statement of ACAS was drawn up by persons who know more about the situation in great detail than I. It was, if I remember correctly, voted without dissent after much discussion. I don’t think ACAS intended or intends to be a structure furthering imperial ends of the U.S. or anyone else.

What I am unclear on is what you want ACAS to do that is very different from what they have done.

However, since you raise such strong objection to the statement, I shall send it on to the others on the ACAS board and see what they have to say about your criticisms.

Yours/Immanuel Wallerstein

Prof. Immanuel Wallerstein
Dept. of Sociology
Yale University
P.O. Box 208265
New Haven, CT 06520-8265
USA

Tel: (1) (203) 432-3334
Fax: (1) (203) 432-6976
E: immanuel.wallerstein@yale.edu
————————————————-
keith harmon Snow <keith.harmon.snow@gmail.com>

Feb 11 (10 days ago)

to Immanuel
Dear Mr Wallerstein:

The statement of ACAS was drawn up by persons who kn ow more about the situation in great detail than I.

Probably Emira Woods and Horace Campbell? Who formulated it? Where did the “facts” used to “inform” the ACAS members come from? IS ACAS connected to any of the following or did any of the following provide inputs for consideration in formulating this policy?

ENOUGH? International Crises Group? Raise Hope for Congo?

It was, if I remember correctly, voted without dissent after much discussion.

People who are unfamiliar with issues or who are not informed about reality are easily swayed by advocates who hold some position or other. I wonder what “facts” were introduced as information? Certainly, such a non-committal and pointless exercise will be easily approved by people who might otherwise have some interests to protect. On the other hand, people are quick to compromise to the point of meaninglessness in the fear of achieving nothing at all.

I have no idea what the situation is here. I can only asses based on the ACAS statement that I have contacted you about.

>>>>I don’t think ACAS intended or intends to be a structure furthering imperial ends of the U.S. or anyone else.

Yes, perhaps we both understand the (deeper) nature of good intentions. Perhaps you have seen or read the book by Micheal Maren, whose title comes to mind in reply to your comment? (The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity).

That said, it is very clear that there are some ACAS individuals whose interests would come into conflict or threat if any serious position by the ACAS is taken. I am certain you are aware of the distribution of power and the manifestation of “interests” in your own organization, in general, and I would be happy to spell it out as pertains to the Great Lakes in particular.

>>>>>>What I am unclear on is what you want ACAS to do that is very different from what they have done.

Well, is that my responsibility? It really has nothing to do with what I would want ACAS to do, as I am not a member and probably will be quickly maligned by some of those who are. I am merely asking, rather imploring, that you take this problem seriously. Like any problem, one would hope that you would make a serious inquiry and investigation.

Contrary to the rather whitewashed IRC statistics, there are at least 10 million people dead in Congo since 1996. In addition, we have millions of refugees and IDPs in Congo alone, and millions more in Rwanda and Uganda. Burundi is an additional problem area.

I would be happy to help formulate a meaningful policy or approach. However, I am not writing for that reason.

We know which companies are involved in the conflagration. For example, the Dodd-Frank bill will not touch most or any of the main interlocutors operating on the ground in DRC or with direct interests in the ground operations in DRC. These include, for example, the corporations Banro Corporation; Moto Gold; Mettalurg; Heritage Oil & Gas. Nor will the bill have any impact on governments or government agencies, such as, the GTZ, USAID, or DFID.

Nor will the bill have any impact on AFRICOM operations: AFRICOM has been constructing a military base in Kisangani, using a French mercenary for their contracted construction firm. AFRICOM’s position is actually STRENGTHENED by the Dodd-Frank bill, not weakened by it. The bloodletting and plunder is directly facilitated by AFRICOM.

The Dodd Frank bill does not address individuals such as Walter Kansteiner (director of Moto Gold and other interests in columbium tantalite {coltan}); the German embassy and its special relations with Karl Heinz Albers; the Belgian war profiteer Philippe De Moerloose who is the number one agent of profit and destruction behind the western puppet (alias Kabila) in Kinshasa, and who also profiteers through President Paul Kagame in Rwanda; or Israeli diamond and mining magnate Dan Gertler. Etc. & etc. & etc.

The Dodd Frank also ENABLES the profiteering of the misery industry — so-called NGOS e.g. like CARE, Save the Children, Doctors Without Borders, Refugees International and UNICEF.

The warfare and plunder in the Great Lakes is all about profits. We need to create markets, its economics 101, and the creation of refugees and IDPs are such markets. These institutions prey on suffering under the very epistemologies predicated on the European Universalism you have elucidated.

Similarly, INTERPOL has the authority and the means to arrest the top 40 war criminals from Rwanda indicted by the Spanish Court for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Congo. INTERPOL merely needs to serve the warrants. This would change the balance of power in Central Africa in favor of the people.

Finally, ACAS could make some effort to address the propaganda that inculcates the ignorance and arrogance seen everywhere as relates to the Great Lakes (Sudan, Somalia, Mali, etc.), with attention to the active participation in and facilitation of genocide against Hutu people from the Great Lakes, and against Congolese of several ethnic groups, and against the Acholi people in Uganda. For example, at present the Rwandan government has policies in place which are directed at the forced sterilization of Hutu males.

There are many reasonable avenues for serious engagement.

Thank you for your serious consideration.

sincerely
keith harmon Snow
—————————————————
<keith.harmon.snow@gmail.com>

February 20, 2013
11:42 PM (8 hours ago)
to Immanuel
Well, sir, are you done?
—————————————————

Immanuel Wallerstein
February 21, 2013
3:02 AM (5 hours ago)

to me
dear mr. snow,

my impression is that the group wishes to stand by its original statement as essentially correct. if there are any errors in fact, they seem minor (e.g. 1996 vs. 1998). acas stands against u.s. military intervention and is well aware of the ambiguous role of international ngo’s. perhaps it would be more useful if you concentrated your energy fighting the “bad guys” rather than those who are essentially on the same side, if differing in some details of appreciation of the situation.

yours/immanuel wallerstein
————————————————————-
Feb 21, 2013 at 8:37 AM
Hello,

That is a profoundly disappointing response and conclusion from a man who has ostensibly taken such a strong stand against imperialism. If you were not so insulated by your peer status you would perhaps have read some of these articles — shunned by the mainstream African Scholars in academia.

The ACAS statement — and the reply you share from others — is quite in line with typical academic positioning vis-a-vis Africa and the power structure that is responsible for deracination — and is nothing less than support for and complicity in genocide and war crimes in Central Africa.

I have published over and over and over the names of the “bad guys”. It is quite clear that the ACAS members only seek to further their status and protect their interests. Yet you appear blind to these interests.

It was Frantz Fanon who said: At the decisive moment the intellectuals will abandon the struggle.”

And James Baldwin who said: “It is the very innocence that constitutes the crime.”

Well, for the ACAS the decisive moment was some time ago. I think it’s the notion that “we are the good guys” that really rankles me — exemplary of the presumption of innocence elemental to the epistemology (ies) of whiteness.

keith harmon snow

 

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4 responses to “A wrong debate: whose interests are they really? Africans or somebody else!

  1. There are many Africans who have of being African only the color of their skin, the rest of their personality being something else.

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  2. The point of the article is to highlight the fact that the debate is between two sides which are not Africans. The question which arises is this: “where are African voices discussing their affairs?” And this is the usual paradox when the continent’s interests appear wrongly to be better understood and or interpreted by non-Africans.

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    • Someone obviously misses the point: The Association of Concerned African Scholars has plenty of Africans involved in it. This makes no difference at all. They are the very problem. The question you ask: “Where are African voices discussing their problems” suggests that I have wasted my (white privileged time) challenging the imperialist stance of this ACAS. So, you do it then.

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  3. These two statements are drawn from the original letter to Obama and (like several others where the >>> is retained) they should have “>>>>>>” in front of them as:

    >>>>>The statement of ACAS was drawn up by persons who kn ow more about the situation in great detail than I.
    >>>>>It was, if I remember correctly, voted without dissent after much discussion.

    thank you
    keith harmon snow

    Like

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