The revolution in Egypt was not televised, it happened via the social network … twitter … texting … and so on.
By Yussuf J. Simmonds
Sentinel Managing Editor
In gauging the reaction to the events in Egypt as they relate to Blacks in America and to Black Africa, it is important to understand a bit of geography, a little history and culture, and a whole lot about the continent of Africa–especially North Africa, which consists mostly of people whose culture is predominantly Arab.
(A few years ago, while discussing race and culture as it related to Egypt, historian and attorney Legrand Clegg, on a television show, was told by the commentator that many professors of Egyptology would disagree with him for stating, in his series, “When Blacks ruled the World,” that the original Arab in Egypt was Black. The commentator further stated, “you go to Egypt now and you don’t see any/many Black people.” Clegg immediately responded, “When you come to America now, you don’t see any Red Indians either.”)
That was a profound statement because many people in Egypt, and throughout the world, do not realize, or just simply ignore the geographical fact that Egypt is indeed a part or Africa. So, the recent events in Egypt do have an effect on the people on the continent–especially those who are under the same type of dictatorial rule.
Scholars, politicians, diplomats and others are presently scurrying to understand what has happened, and to some extent, some are prodding–with the assisting of technology–for the same thing to happen in other countries in the region, the Southwest region of Asia, known as the Middle East. However, it is mostly Black Americans and Black Africans who are studying the events as they relate to the African continent.
Referring to the renown scholar, Frantz Fanon, Dr. Maulana Karenga wrote in his recent column titled, ‘Reading Revolution into Revolt: Cautionary Notes on North Africa,’ that “… Fanon teaches us, we see it as a moral obligation to sanction and support all struggles of the oppressed for liberation and the good, decent and dignity-affirming life all humans desire and deserve …”
The chair of the NAACP National Board of Directors, Roslyn M. Brock issued the following statement, “We encourage the peaceful and thoughtful participation of all Egyptian people to help build a future that is free and fair for all. The NAACP affirms the imaginative, principled and constructive dialogue among the diversity of communities. We are convinced that the Egyptian people can produce a hopeful prospect for a robust and resilient Egypt that will provide leadership and partnership for other efforts of democracy and opportunity throughout the region, the African continent, and the world.”
Black Americans in general, as standing with the people of Egypt who are calling for greater democracy, transparency, and accountability in their country. And like some of the injustices that Black Americans fought for–and some for which they are still fighting–they applaud and support democratically inspired civic engagement throughout the world in which the people of each nation advocate for equality, justice and opportunity for all of its citizens.
“The NAACP calls on the Egyptian government to cooperate with the democratic will of its people and to collaborate on a peaceful transition of power to facilitate free and fair elections,” stated Reverend Dr. David Emmanuel Goatley, Chair of the NAACP Board’s International Affairs Committee. “We urge those with access to various forms of power to use their influence to advance peace and prosperity, and refrain from the abuses that result in injury, loss of life, and destruction. We further encourage Egyptian citizens to continue their struggle toward building a country that is stronger and better through ensuring civil and human rights for all of its’ citizens, residents, and neighbors under a representative democratic government.”
It is of paramount importance that Black Americans, in solidarity with Egypt and other African nations, seize this as an opportunity for greater freedom on the continent; for as the “dominoes have begun to fall” starting in Tunisia and Egypt–both on the continent of Africa–so too will the rest of the dictators and tyrants.
For as Dr. Karenga wrote in another part of his article, ” … we, as an oppressed, struggling and freedom-cherishing people have played and must continue to play in the unfolding history of the world.”