Jul 13, 2010, 2:40 PM
Xenophobic attacks in South Africa have raised serious cause for concern around the world, particularly in Africa, where the actions in that southern African country have rendered more pain physically and emotionally.
The Gambia government, led by a leader with Pan-African spirit and actions, has issued a strong condemnation against such harmful development, not only to the victims but also to the continent and the villains themselves.
The statement of government condemning the xenophobic attacks in South Africa reads:
The Government of The Gambia condemns the shameful and violent xenophobic attacks threatening the lives and properties of black nationals from other countries in South Africa.
These disgraceful and criminal acts against black migrants in South Africa could not have come at a worst time considering the tragic deaths of hundreds of young Africans in the Mediterranean Sea and the killing with impunity of blacks in the West. These racist onslaughts against Africans and people of African descent should have been the main preoccupation of all Africans including South African blacks who had to put up with brutal racist violence until recently.
Tragically, some misguided elements in South Africa have decided to work against the ideals of pan-African unity, liberation, peace, and prosperity that the founding fathers of the OAU and other progressive Africans in the diaspora stood and continue to stand for.
Our South African brothers and sisters should recast their memories, as it is the governments and citizens of those countries whose people they are now targeting today, who supported and fought with them to tear down the infamous apartheid system in South Africa.
The people of South Africa should know that those responsible for the poverty in their country are not the innocent non-South African blacks that they are killing and maiming. The people responsible are those who perpetrated apartheid and still continue to maintain a stranglehold on their economic livelihood. The migrant African shop owners did not deprive any South African from being a shop owner.
South Africans should remember that the world is three days – yesterday, today and tomorrow. Yesterday, during their darkest hour of apartheid, it was the black Africans in Africa and elsewhere, together with good people of conscience in the non-black world who contributed to the liberation struggles and the eventual downfall of apartheid.
Today, one of the main liberation movements in South Africa, the ANC, is in charge, yet non-South African blacks are being violently attacked - for the second time - just for being in South Africa and trying to eke out a living. It is most regrettable, shameful and reprehensible for these South Africans to repay the black race for helping them out of apartheid.
This could not have come at a worse time considering that the current AU Chairperson is a South African national. Tomorrow they may need other Africans to contribute to their socio-economic development in view of the fact that we are living in an interdependent world. They should remember that the South African economy is dependent on intra-African trade. A boycott of South African goods and services tomorrow by other African countries as a result of these shameful xenophobic acts of violence will lead to more unemployment in South Africa than are caused by the few non-South African blacks they are blaming today.
The Government of The Gambia calls on the ANC and the South African Government to take drastic action to end this violence and to take to task all those behind these hideous acts of infamy and as well as put in place a mechanism that will prevent the recurrence of such acts.
Furthermore, the South African government should ensure full compensation for all the victims of this unfortunate and preventable tragedy.
Equally of concern to the Government of The Gambia is the silence or lack of action on the part of the AU on this matter and other issues that should have been a major concern to the AU as a continental organisation, such as the massive loss of African lives in the Mediterranean Sea on a daily basis. The tragic deaths of young Africans on the Mediterranean European coast has prompted the EU leaders to take decisive action when in fact the AU should have taken the lead. If the welfare of Africans, wherever they may be, is not of paramount importance to the AU, then one is left with no choice but to wonder in whose interest the AU exists? Therefore, the Government of The Gambia calls on the AU to summon an emergency summit of the heads of state to address these two alarming situations, i.e. the deaths of non-South African blacks in South Africa and the deaths of young Africans in the Mediterranean Sea. As Africans and as Muslims, the people and the Government of The Gambia cannot be indifferent to what is going on at a time when we are fighting for a peaceful and prosperous Africa so that tomorrow, we the current leaders will bequeath to the African children - our children - a very prosperous, peaceful and dignified united continent.
If the AU’s existence is only to organise regular summits and come up with resolutions that are never implemented whilst the preoccupations and wellbeing of the African masses are not being addressed by the AU, then it is high time that a new continental organisation is created. An organisation that will be interested in the welfare and well being of Africans; an organisation that will unite Africa and Africans to work together as one black family to protect our resources from exploitation by external racist powers; an organisation that will protect every African wherever they may be in the world and defend every black man and woman from the racist onslaughts being perpetrated against them.
It is disheartening to know that the AU has been found wanting in terms of being proactive and taking immediate action when it is most needed to safeguard and defend African interests and dignity. It is also disheartening that the AU has done nothing to stop the violence taking place in Libya even though Libya is a member of the AU. The Government of The Gambia hereby calls on the AU to live up to the expectations of the African people or else disappear into the dustbin of history. It is also high time that African leaders live up to the expectations of the African people and stand united in defence of the collective interest of African people and all people of African descent everywhere in the world. We cannot be indifferent to the mass slaughter of Africans simply because they are black. If Europe, which is ten times smaller than Africa, can come together in defence of European interest which mostly is to the detriment of African livelihood and prosperity, why can’t we as a continent as big as Africa - the richest and wealthiest in terms of mineral and natural resources - come together to defend the interest of every black man and woman against what is happening?
The Government of The Gambia urges African countries to unite and work together as a matter of urgency for the sake of our black people.
Finally, let it be known that if we allow Libya to disintegrate into complete lawlessness and anarchy, the effect will be catastrophic for the entire African continent. Hence the sooner the AU takes leadership in ending the Libyan tragedy, the better for all of us.