Welcome Home Dr. Rice, Secretary Powell, Secretary Paige!!!
Paul L. Adujie
New York, United States
As I write this, I was humming an American song, "this land is your land!" and this song applies aptly to all of you, our prominent African daughter and sons, particularly, at this time of your state visits to our continent! Africa is your land! Our land is your land, this land, is your land!
Some have argued and may continue to argue, that people of African descent living outside of Africa are too far removed and as such, they have no spiritual, cultural, material or physical connections to the continent, principally due to the well known vagaries and the checkered history of the forced dispersals of our peoples, that are now scattered all over the world.
This may be so, for some, but, I sincerely believe that all of you are keenly interested in our continent and all the peoples in Africa, as well as the multiplicities of issues and the many challenges that Africa have faced and still faces; We are one! The "them" and "us" posturing must stop! It is in our best interests, that the "divide" is jettisoned.
Dr. Rice has the eyes and ears of the president of the United States, literarily so, per second, in view of her prominent position, her unique qualifications, experience and expertise, and so does the Honorable State Colin Powell who is world famous as gallant a soldier, former National Security Adviser and then Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff before becoming the US Secretary Of State; And then, we have the Honorable Secretary of Education Paige is a renowned educator, administrator and an extraordinary high achiever as well.
Dr. Rice, Secretary Powell and Secretary Paige are African Americans who are spectacularly qualified, and they all occupy special and unique positions at the highest level of the American government, and they are the first persons of African descent to have ever attained these outstanding positions, and it is even more wonderful that they have are arrived at this level during the same administration of President Bush and equally, this has occurred during the same term of Mr. Bush’s presidency!
There is strength in numbers, that is, having these very high profile Bush’s administration official means very much or ought to mean very much in public policy formulations and implementations as it affect or impact African Americans, Africans in the motherland and peoples of African descent, whether they be Aborigines in Australia, Blacks in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad or Antigua and Brazil etc
I am certain and confident that Dr. Rice, Secretary Powell and Secretary Paige understand that they are the eyes and ears of all Americans, but that they are more particularly so or ought to be more particularly so to African Americans, peoples of African descent and Africans in the motherland! Dr. Rice, Secretary Powell and Secretary Paige are epitomes of achievements and accomplishments, and they reflect or ought to reflect our aspirations, hopes and our sense of collective success and progress of people of African descent in America in particular, and in the entire world in general; It is my strong belief therefore, that their presence, their abilities, their clout, the extraordinary respect that they both enjoy and prestige of their office, should or to translate to a more informed and beneficial policies by the United States government towards all peoples of African descent worldwide and all Africans in the motherland! I believe in the axiom, that, to whom much is given, so much is in turn expected!
Therefore, the high profile positions of these African daughter and sons in the current American government, African Americans, peoples of African descent and Africans in the motherland should fare better, or ought to fare better, it was an American, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives of t he United States, the late Speaker Thomas O’Neil (Speaker Tip O’Neil) who once said that "all politics are local" I believe therefore that African Americans, Peoples of African descent in the Caribbean and elsewhere and the Africans in the motherland should all be or ought to be "local" to Dr. Rice, Secretary Powell and Secretary Paige!
I was literarily ecstatic upon their appointments! We must never forget how long we have come, and how far it remains for us to go! We must never let others forget how far we have trekked, an arduous and unpleasant great trek! When we forget, if we forget, and or let others forget, we are soon part of the problem, we are soon in complicity in the plights and predicaments of our peoples! When it all said and done, whatever we individually accomplish or achieve and attain as individuals, we are still carrying the badges of deprivation of our peoples, and many others still may use the abject conditions of our peoples everywhere on earth to measure us individually, and value our persons or devalue us, based on those parameter! And look down on us! It is like having millions of dollars while your mother and your siblings are in the homeless shelter because of their abject poverty! You will still have and enjoy your well-deserved millions of dollars, no one will take that from you, but, those who become aware that your mother and siblings are Homeless will have the same respect and regard for you!
Anyone who is rich, but does not care that his mother and siblings are homeless need to reexamine that.
The late Justice Thurgood Marshal in addressing this phenomenon, once stated that a snake will remain a snake regardless of its color, it is venomous! I sincerely believe that we should lift our people up, especially when we are high profile and prominent members of society, as undoubtedly are, Dr. Rice, Secretary Powell and Secretary Paige, When we use our prestige, our achievements and accomplishments to lift up our peoples, when we take delight in the outcomes of our efforts and as we then becomes the proverbial catalyst for change, with our individual successes, without leaving our peoples behind.
Dr. Carol Mae Jamieson, that medical doctor, engineer, Astronaut and an all American of African descent, made this point substantively and symbolically years ago, by volunteering to serve in Africa! And she subsequently demonstrated the axiom and fact that African peoples on the motherland and continent, Africans in Diaspora/all peoples of African descent are on the same boat, albeit, left at different stops or ports by the painful facts of our history (Dr. Jamieson took an Africa artifact/art item into space with herself, on one of her space flights!) Tears welled in my eyes! She gave me joy, glint, and sparkle that I still have! Africans and peoples of African descent should have and maintain a focus on issues affecting peoples of African descent, all over the world and in the motherland, and we should also insist that others pay adequate attention to such issues that affect our people world-over!
The Civil Rights struggles by African Americans have benefited everyone in America and elsewhere in the world! The talent, creativity and the indomitable nature and ingenuity of African Americans have changed America for good! And this permeates all aspects of life, from science, to arts, sports and even in entertainment, all these are in the open, for all-the world to see!
African Americans have world-renowned famous surgeons such as Dr. Ben Carson, Dr. Keith Black and Lawyers such as Mr. Johnnie Cochran and Astronauts such as Dr. Carol Jamieson and uncountable sportsmen and women and a plethora of entertainers! I am awed by the outstanding contributions that African Americans have made in creating America! I am awed by it all! African Americans triumphant over every obstacles and impediments!
Many an immigrant, particularly those of African descent should ask and ponder what life in America would have been without the fights and struggle of African Americans? What would have happened to an immigrant like me in America? Were it not for the fact that my battles were fought with the blood, tears and sweat, of African Americans, on my behalf by African Americans! Before I ever set foot in America! Was it not for African Americans who sought my rights and continue to seek my rights, in the African American demand and agitations for Civil Rights for all persons in America? What would have become of me and our people who arrive in America? The struggle must continue, we must remain alert to new battles!
However, the US policy that boycotted the anti Racism Conference in Durban South Africa about two years ago, was a bad policy, it is a case in point, where I had thought or Supposed and imagined that the US posture should have been affected positively by the presence of our African Americans in government.
Another recent example was the University of Michigan Affirmative Action litigation, which saw the White House supporting the plaintiffs in the US Supreme Court with a view of dismantling Affirmative Action Policies and Programs, and thankfully, the US Supreme majority ruled in favor of the continuation of the Affirmative Action Policies, intended to redress historical injustices!
It is my view that, the White House was needlessly involved in support of the plaintiffs in that suit! There was no need for the White House to have so vigorously supported the plaintiffs! It amounted to a presidential endorsement of inequalities! All these, while we have our sister and brothers in this administration!
People of African descent and motherland Africans should not thirst during your watch, or while you are a major keeper at the store of goodies! While you are a major player at the table, why should our people continue to eat Crump or remain starving? When our daughter and sons are in charge of the Apple trees, why should we not have the freshest of Apples this time? It was refreshing to watch Dr. Rice a few days ago state the US good reasons for trying to stem the tide of death and suffering in Liberia and perhaps other parts of Africa!
On the part of the Africans, there needs to be a change in the way that we do business! I think it was Ambassador Andrew Young, the former Mayor of Atlanta, who recently said that, Africans need to consult our African American brethrens extensively, before, during and after the visits of American presidents to the different countries in Africa, and correspondingly, do same, when African leaders plan to visit, are visiting and after such visits to the presidency of the United States!
African Americans know how America and American government operates more than anyone else! African Americans for better and mostly, for worse, have borne the full effects of American government policies for hundreds of years! African Americans therefore remain the experts and authority and best predictor/forecaster of American government policy nuances as regards peoples of African descent and Africans in the motherland!
The benefits of this informed knowledge are not quantifiable! African Americans are offering Africans a free service, which a paid consultant will charge millions of dollars to provide and yet the Africans in that case might even get less! In my hometown, it is said that the most brilliant visitor or stranger does not see as clearly as the occupant or resident of a place, the nuances are always liable to be missed by the visitor or stranger! Cultures, they say, are not easily translated to the atom levels! No matter how hard one may try! African Americans know America and American government more than the Africans from the motherland!
Africans in the motherland, African Americans and all other peoples of African descent everywhere on God’s earth, must become cohesive and organized, seeking each other’s interests permanently! Looking at the big picture, I see that we are in the same proverbial Boat! Our interests are intertwined and inter-connected! There is just no other way! We Are All That We Have! We must do more for each other and Love one another more!
Welcome Home To Nigeria! Welcome to Africa!! My Sister and Brothers!!!
This Land Is Your Land, Africa is your land, Welcome Home!
Paul I. Adujie is a Nigerian Lawyer and an Information Technology Professional.