While Haiti weeps, whither black solidarity? – Part 2
Although his catholic leanings were signified by a plastic doll of Mary with the baby Jesus and a pealing silver colored cross that were suspended with a time-corroded rope he had manufactured from the torn clothing that belonged to his mother which dangled by the rear view mirror of the car, he was ready to turn protestant or Anglican and have often had the fleeting thoughts of entering a mosque if that would win for him more passengers, luck or more money. It was only the razor-bladed tattoo on his chest, cut there and infused with gun-powder to stop the bleeding by an old Leogane woman for protection which he had carried since childhood and has also observed on many of his West African comrades, that gave him an unshakable assurance over many of his life encounters.
But the August 2021 catastrophic earthquake had changed all that, and since demolished any link in him between whatever type of faith and any form of protection. He now believed he could only count on his black color, broad nostrils, kinky hair and his other racial characteristics despised by the world but which he shared with other blacks for protection, the way the Arabs of Libya have protected Arabs from other countries who also were migrants to Libya and have offered them tranquility and protection but rejected him, Louise, and other black migrants, displaying them to the world as they squatted as undocumented aliens. With the white man in America, Malcom X had observed this phenomenon, when he said that it hardly took the white man from European countries any time at all and effort with or without document to integrate and be accepted as an American, compared to Black people from the African continent or elsewhere visiting America who it took ages to be integrated to share in the American dream, and in most cases were never welcomed at all.
Louise wondered why black people do not do the same, by integrating black migrants into their various countries in record time without documents. Where were the Black Lives Matter Movement, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Black American Churches, Blacks in the Democratic Party, Blacks in strategic positions in the United Nations, and the many Black organizations in the United States, when those clansmen on horseback, and faithful descendants of slave-owners posing as Texas state-troopers, or their colleagues and officials of Homeland security attacked the desperate black migrants of Haiti?
And where were the Black Movements in America when the Haitians were forcefully deported back to Haiti with several government sponsored flights to perish under the catastrophic mess brought by the August earthquake, without adequate aid to rebuild their infrastructures, reconstruct their poor agriculturally-based economy, equip their hospitals or to effectively assist the millions of injured people, and rebuild their crumbled homes? It cannot be forgotten how the present incumbent president of the United States, Joseph Biden knelt before the black masses of the Black Lives Matter Movement to secure their decisive and significant votes that made him the current president.
For his protection and the protection of documented and undocumented black people all over the world, it has now become a necessity for the recognition of a single black nation existing in the spirit of every black person, despite the many countries in Africa and worldwide which we share individually with other colors? How can black people use their collective black color to protect themselves in this Diasporas and in their African homeland? If the Arab countries were retarded by inertia where were the black countries in Africa who constituted the majority of members of the African Union in expressing their solidarity with Haiti and through their human and material capacity assist the black people of Haiti devastated from the earthquake of the August? Something is definitely wrong with an African Union in which nations, and even the Zionist State of Israel sit a observers to their proceedings, yet has no significant active black representation from the diverse countries of the African Diasporas.
The great insight, scholarship and passionate concern for the protection of his oppressed people and humanity, after the American civil war when black people were victims of pogroms and lynchings by white people, led W.E.B. DuBios to the conclusion in his book The Souls of Black Folk, that the problem of the twentieth century was the problem of the color-line. Had DuBois further witnessed the genocide and the continued victimization of Black people by the Apartheid regime in South Africa or the racist foundation of the police in America and Europe in the selective killings of black men such as George Floyd or the present flogging of black migrants from earthquake-stricken Haiti by Texas state troopers, clansmen white nationalist and descendants of former slave-owners in his own country, he would have extended his conclusion, that the problem of racism or the color-line is not only to be confined to the twentieth century but has become a central problem threatening the survival of humanity, and the need to find how black lives can be protected by black people.
Black people must develop the imperative of perceiving themselves as members of a single black nation, protecting each other, as Marcus Garvey had instructed in the motto of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) with one aim and destiny, despite our diverse citizenship from different countries from where our collective and nationally distilled resolve becomes the guide to our actions in our diverse countries or localities.
Onwubiko is Professor and head, Department of Biochemistry, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.