Academic journal article African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies : AJCJS

EDITORIAL: THEIR AMERICANS: WHY DO WE LOVE 'EM SO?i

Academic journal article African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies : AJCJS

EDITORIAL: THEIR AMERICANS: WHY DO WE LOVE 'EM SO?i

Article excerpt

America! We Love You! But why? Africans came before Columbus to fraternize with Native Americans (Sertima, 1976). But since 1492 we have been terrorized along with the natives. Transportation, Auction, Plantation, Revolution, Emancipation, Liberation, and still we love you, America! Did you put voodoo on us or are your adorable Hollywood monsters so irresistible?

I went to a conference on 'Their America' with a determination to address the second half of the organizers' charge, the half that was not about why America is hated but without spelling it out in terms of love for America; that half of the coin of hatred appears to be the side of love too shy to be named but no less passionate than the side of hate. Their America is also ours to dream, to love, to seek, to save!

Why do we love this God's own country of theirs? Is it because our African ancestors before us slaved for this country, as Bob Marley queried? We built the cabin and we planted the corn. Yet they look at us with a scorn while they eat up all our corn. Bob Marley went on to chant that we have to chase the crazy baldheads out of town because they return hatred for our love, telling us about the God above; but mostly we respond with unrequited love and yet the dominant message of Bob and all Rasta is the message of love. Love and Peace. The philosophy of One Love. In fact, Peter Tosh initially refused to play at a peace concert organized by ghetto youths and warring gangs. He reasoned that he would only play if they changed the name to One Love Concert during which Bob Marley made the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition to shake hands on stage. On his turn, Peter Tosh spent about 45 minutes of his time on stage to lecture against the 'shitstem' that could not develop the country because it could not develop the people. Then he launched into his rebel chant, you can't blame the youths when you teach them that robbers, killers and rapists were very great men (Campbell, 1993). Why do people of African descent appear so loving given what they have been through? Is it because one of our ancestors was the first to fall defending the principle that all people are created equal and endowed by their creator with equal reason to choose their own form of government and to pursue greater happiness for all, especially when our people were mostly under the misery of chattel slavery? No wonder some fought for the divine rights of a king while many fought for the revolution even without any promise of freedom either way.

Even while brother Crispus Attuck fell in the attack of Boston, an estimated 100 million African ancestors were being destroyed in the middle passage alone, according to the great W.E.B. Du Bois (1970) and the Trans Atlantic Slavery Gallery, Liverpool Maritime Museum, U.K. They were said to be insured 'goods' for which the merchants could claim damages only when the 'goods' were damaged at sea (Agozino, 2004). So our people were used as flotsam and jetsam, cast overboard when the food and drink rations ran low, when rampant diseases ran amok, when it took the fancy of lecherous captains and crew and especially when our people fought back but were overpowered. This year, 2007, we mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the evil trade and yet the issue of reparations is scarcely raised.

Do we love America so because only about 5% of stolen Africans were landed on its soil, according to Cornel West, to be reproduced cheaply like animal husbandry? Or do we simply love America so because our flesh and blood struggled to survive the terrorism of the capture, the holocaust of the middle passage, the hell of the plantations, the meanness in the big house, the bloody backlash of emancipation, the degrading and deadly convict lease chain gangs, the lynch mobs, Jim Crowism, and thousands of body bags from Uncle Sam's foreign wars and domestic battles? Even when some mock that tens of thousands of the natives were killed but only a thousand, 'a lousy thousand' of theirs were lost in Iraq at the time of the conference in 2004, Africans caution that among their dead are ours too, that we would prefer to see an end to the killing, the return of the troops home and the allowing of others to make their own choices, trusting that they would choose a government of their own people, by their people and for their people without seeing this as foreign imposition to be resisted, just like you are supposed to do even when you do not always succeed in that goal yourselves. …

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