If your daily commute has been more hectic than usual, just know that it’s not without reason. This week, President Joe Biden (D) hosted African Union Chair Macky Sall and 49 African heads of state during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit between Dec. 13 and Dec. 15.
Administration officials described these talks as an opportunity to build on shared priorities with African leaders. As our front-page story this week explains, however, some people remain skeptical about the American government’s sincerity.
All we have to do is take a walk down memory lane to understand why. Examples of U.S. meddling in African affairs include, but aren’t limited to: the 1961 assassination of Congo Prime Minister Patrice Lamumba, the overthrow of Ghana President Kwame Nkrumah in 1966 and the game of musical chairs the U.S. played with Liberian presidential leadership throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
One can even take it to 2011 when NATO, of which the U.S. is a member, destabilized Libya. An even more recent example involves the ongoing attempts to keep Ethiopia immersed in ethnic squabbles and foreign dependency.
That’s why now’s as good a time as any to tap into our collective African consciousness and question our level of involvement in African affairs. It starts with scrutinizing our sources of news about the African continent. We can then dig deeper and draw parallels between our situation in the United States and what Africans on the continent experience daily.
Doing so requires that we read extensively and engage in lively discussions about domestic events that align with the downfall of our African freedom fighters. Around the time the U.S. got rid of Nkrumah, Lumumba and others, the FBI assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and other prominent Black leaders.
Since then, our African consciousness in the United States has been at an all-time low, though there has been a Pan-African renaissance recently.
However, that shouldn’t stop at touring African countries and watching “The Women King” or “Wakanda Forever.” Let’s take the next couple of days to learn the truth about the U.S. -Africa relations. Let’s then organize to hold American and African leaders accountable to us and our counterparts on the African continent.
In all of this, we must remember what Marcus Garvey told us decades ago: “Africa for the Africans, those at home, and those abroad.”