Congresswoman McKinney (D-GA) delivered this speech on June 21
at First African Presbyterian Church, Lithonia, Georgia.
afternoon, we are here to discuss Zimbabwe. What we can
do for Zimbabwe and what Zimbabwe can do for us.
As a larger discussion, however, we ought to
include what we can do for ourselves and for others. And
what we have failed to do.
Let us not forget Alberta
Spruill and Ousmane
Zongo, an African American and an African killed by the unique
circumstances that unite blacks and Africans in this country.
Ousmane Zongo follows in the footsteps of Amadou
Diallo, a young unarmed African man shot 19 times by racism
in America. Sadly, Diallo wasn’t the first African whose
American dream was shattered by the true state of black America
and Ousmane won’t be the last. Ousmane just happened to
be a black man in an America too quick to kill any black man.
Mrs. Spruill died because the NY Police Department
had authorities that had been given it by the Ashcroft Justice
Department; authorities it didn’t deserve. The NYPD decided
to use those new authorities, not in the corporate suites of Wall
Street and Madison Avenue, where corporate criminals rip billions
of dollars off working class, tax-paying Americans, but instead
invaded the home of Mrs. Alberta Spruill, a grandmother, who at
the time was dressing for work when the NYPD busted through her
door. Literally frightened to death, Mrs. Spruill had a
heart attack and died. The police Chief later said, "I’m
NYPD had disturbed the wrong lady, at the wrong home, at the wrong
address. Mrs. Spruill follows a long line of black mothers
and grandmothers who bury their husbands and sons in racist America
- and then they are buried.
This past Thursday, we celebrated Juneteenth.
And in fact, Georgia hosts the longest running Juneteenth celebration
in our country. As you know, Juneteenth is celebrated every
June 19th, because that is when the slaves realized that they
January to June 1865 – the twilight of legal
slavery in our country.
We share something with those blacks who had
been freed but didn’t know it. The blacks in Africa and
the blacks in America. And those blacks of 1865. And
hence, we’ve remained slaves far longer than should be.
And neither of us has strategized effectively to stay free.
As a result, I suggest that we could easily be in the twilight
of our freedom. Both here at home and on the Continent.
Here at home, suffering the oppressions of
unchecked racism we are unable to help – and in some cases unwilling
– to help our brothers and sisters in Africa. On the Continent,
our brothers and sisters help themselves but sadly not their people
and not us.
we have come today to speak about Zimbabwe. And what prompts
that discussion? Headlines that inform us that Zimbabwe
is coming apart. Some would
have us believe that we become heated over Zimbabwe because of
the country’s human rights abuse, democracy well over the line
toward autocracy, rampant corruption, and black racism.
But ultimately, the question is the land. Zimbabwe has embarked
upon a long-promised and well-overdue land reform.
But President Mugabe has known full well that
the question of Zimbabwean independence, even at its dawn, was
hinged on the question of the ownership of the land. For
the question remains unanswered by those who claim title to the
land of how they actually got that land. And if they are
not willing to answer that question, then how can their title
to the land be legally valid?
But that is not just a Zimbabwe issue.
That is an African issue. For Africa was not a barren land
devoid of people. Africa was for Africans until the Europeans
came along. And then Africa became theirs and basically
remains theirs to this day.
African Americans have a lot of nerve getting upset about Africans’
failure to secure their own land when we have had and continue
to have an unprecedented and un-halted loss of land right here
in America – and never really secured the 40 acres nor the mule
that we were due for slavery, yet reparations were paid to slaveholders
who lost their slaves due to freedom.
I am certain that this exchange will be good
and healthy and we all will benefit from the information.
But at the end of the day, what will we accomplish and what are
we willing to fight for? And what are we willing to risk
Is Zimbabwe willing to risk severing its relationship
Cohen since Cohen has failed so miserably to prevent Zimbabwe
hysteria from reaching America?
And why didn’t Zimbabwe use its alliances and
friendships with blacks in the US and in England to explain its
cause and have the tough questions asked of "candidate"
Blair and his New Labour Party?
Since 1998, three million people have died
in Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1994, one million Rwandans
died because the US wanted "regime change" in Central
Africa. During the period in-between, Jonas
Savimbi romped across the Angolan landscape with American-supplied
landmines, making Angola the amputee capital of the world because
the US wanted a friend in power in oil-rich Angola. At the
same time, the world’s attention focused like a laser on the chopped-off
hands of little boys and 12-year-old raped little girls in Sierra
Leone because Madeleine
Albright tried to sneak Foday
Sankoh, the leader of the so-called rebels who were committing
these atrocities, into the democratically elected government so
he could be in charge of diamonds – to ensure cheap access to
Sierra Leone’s diamonds. Cheap in dollars maybe, but costly
in black blood.
Kabila’s last words to me were that
he told Susan Rice that he would never betray Congo. And
now Laurent Kabila is dead. He followed in the footsteps
from Patrice Lumumba to Laurent Kabila to Amadou Diallo to Ousmane
Zongo. Our black men are under attack. But the source
of the attack was not from home. The source of the attack
was Washington, DC and a refusal to recognize the rights of black
people whether here or abroad.
now have a "government" that is consolidating power
and taking away our very rights to organize and fight back.
And while we numb ourselves with Hummers and Mercedes, and mortgages
that we could lose tomorrow, our America is becoming a Republic
in which we can’t even be sure that our votes will be counted.
It is imperative that we stop the madness in the USA; and
I guarantee you that then it will stop in Africa. But, as
I said earlier, I believe we are at the twilight of our freedom.
When police in Benton Harbor, Michigan or New
York City can pull a trigger at a black man first and think about
the consequences later, when we have more young black men in prison
than in college, when an 1860s South Carolina anti-lynching law
intended to protect blacks is now used to prosecute blacks who
get into fights with whites, when an entire town - Tulia Texas
- can indict its black men wrongfully of criminal acts on the
word of a white man, when parts of the Voting Rights Act expire
in 2007 and that issue is nowhere on our agenda, our failure to
adequately address problems that affect us here at home is evident.
And how can we save Zimbabwe when we haven’t yet taken the necessary
steps to save ourselves?
In George Bush’s New World Order, all roads
lead to Washington, DC. And it is only in Washington, DC
that we can effectively deal with our problems and those that
plague Africa. The Bush cabal is planning regime change
operations all over the world. They’re currently threating
Iran and Syria; rattling sabers at North Korea and China.
They’re unhappy with Russia and Germany. But if we don’t
organize ourselves carefully in this country, and reach across
the oceans to our African brothers and sisters, and they reach
back, this could truly be the twilight of our freedoms.
comments are welcome.
the Contact Us page for E-mail
to the home page