Copenhagen: The revolutionary spirits of Patrice Lumumba and Maurice Bishop live in the leadership of Lumumba Di-Aping and Dessima Williams
by Baba Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at
We non-government activists and workers have produced a profound, but imperfect, “Declaration” from our “people’s summit,” known as Klimaforum09. Please review it at www.klimaforum09.com and consider endorsing and forwarding it to your networks. Your support can help us make another powerful statement to the abusers of humans and nature globally – especially the selfish, destructive imperialist and profit-first corporations and politicians in the U.S., U.K., European Union, Japan etc. – that the people of the world will not settle any more for their business as usual.
A hundred thousand march for climate justice
Today (Saturday, Dec. 12), we participated in major marches to demand immediate and sustainable actions for climate justice and reparations. According to the official crowd count, one hundred thousand people braved the elements to walk and carry banners, posters, flags and/or children. Our participants were so diverse: Indigenous youth from Alaska and the upper Canadian provinces; islanders from their now-threatened Tuvalu homeland; my traditionally-attired Massai brethren from Kenya; and a majority of Europeans, young and old.
Lumumba Di-Aping and Dessima Williams: bright, righteous leaders
Speaking of brilliant and welcomed, I am so thrilled to have met with two of our world’s brightest and righteous leaders in government. They come forth, or shall I say have been sent forth, in the revolutionary spirit of Ancestors Partrice Lumumba and Maurice Bishop. Offering much-needed spiritual leadership and superb political clarity at this critical moment in time are Brother Ambassador Lumumba Stanislaus Kaw Di-Aping of Sudan, Afrika, and Sister Ambassador Dessima Williams of Grenada in the Caribbean, the homeland of my son Chioke Bakari’s grandmother, Queen Cecile Louisa Herbert-Malloy.
Though I have major problems with the government of Sudan, Brother Di-Aping is serving as the chief negotiator for the G77, mostly Afrikan and developing nations and the People’s Republic of China. Sister Williams chairs the AOSIS, which stands for the Alliance of Small Island States. Both hail from rich, political traditions.
Brother Lumumba is named after the great Pan African revolutionary and trade union organizer who was elected as the first prime minister of the nation of Congo. As he sought to bring justice and return the world’s most abundant natural resources to his people – after centuries of brutal exploitation, enslavement and robbery by the Europeans, and especially Belgium – Patrice Lumumba was murdered by the combined forces of Belgium, the then outgoing U.S. President Eisenhower and incoming President Kennedy and their CIA and the reactionary military generals like Mobuto Sese Seko.
Sister Williams was part of the New Jewel Movement and ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), led by Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. Brother President Bishop was overthrown, placed under arrest and killed in a 1983 murderous coup led by forces aligned with the U.S. under then-President Ronald Reagan.
After giving a “Peace in the Caribbean” speech a year later at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Sister Williams was viciously forced into a car by six large white men. She was later charged by the INS with being in the U.S. “illegally,” though she had been traveling back and forth for more than a dozen years.
She was also charged with “weapons possession” and jailed based on her carrying “Maurice Bishop’s Spirit Lives” buttons. According to the fascist authorities of the U.S., these “dangerous” buttons had “extremely sharp points on them.”
More than any other government officials at these COP 15 meetings here in Copenhagen, these two profound leaders have stressed the seriousness of the current and developing climate, environmental and economic situation. Both were on point in stating that “the nations of Africa, Asia and the small island states around the world have done the least to produce this (climate) problem … but are already suffering its worst affects … However, we are not going to allow our nations to drown, burn or starve to death!”
And, thus, it is representatives Lumumba and Williams who are placing the most advanced solutions on the negotiating table: “Not one Annex I country (referring to the European Union, U.S. and President Barack Obama, Japan etc.) has come close to offering the measures and amounts needed to adequately address these crises … like lack of drinking water, loss of agricultural land, relocating residents to higher ground and more trauma that will soon affect more countries.
“The proposal of Euro 2.4 billion (approximately, $3.6 billion in U.S. dollars) over the next three years by the EU is an insult! It is too little even for the short term and does not address medium and long-term dynamics … Nor, does it speak to the funding sources,” meaning the EU and U.S. may try to trade current funding for the climate fund.
We are not going to allow our nations to drown, burn or starve to death!
Furthermore, the two cited the figures of 1.5 to 2 C are criminal. “It is asking us to commit suicide! We can’t do that” and won’t allow the Annex I nations to do this to themselves. “The world needs, and the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) confirms, 3 to 4 C! This is our moral, legal and financial responsibility.”
I then pressed them both on more specific monetary demands of Reparations for climate crimes that the grassroots civil society could mobilize around. Brother Di-Aping graciously offered his own figures: “Dear sir, what we need to begin addressing these major crises in the world is around $400 to $450 billion per year, for the next five to six years. This would cover issues of mitigation, adaption, financing, technology transfers, renewable energy to shift our economies, new oversight mechanisms and more. This could come from a mixture of public and private sources.”
He reminded me that this amount is less than “your government” (meaning the U.S.) spends for the financial bailouts and military each year. Long term, Brother Di-Aping concluded that “5 percent of world GNP, especially from Annex I, is needed up to the year 2050 to transform our world from its sick state.” Sho ya right, my good Brother! Asé. Amen.
And so it is. The revolutionary spirits of Lumumba and Bishop are alive here in Copenhagen. We feel such gratitude for the opportunity to participate in this process and to, in a sense, be your true representatives at this monumental event. Please share with us your ideas, suggestions, questions and solutions as we continue our struggles for Reparations and Ma’at for Afrikan and Indigenous nations and people, women and girls, our planet and all our relations.
Baba Jahahara is a veteran justice, community, labor nd environmental organizer, writer and musician. He is a past national co-chairperson of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA) and author of the new book, “Many Paths to Kugichagulia” and the recently-released CD titled “Elevate: Rise Up You Mighty Afrikan People!” Reach Baba Jahahara at firstname.lastname@example.org or FONAMI, P.O. Box 10963, Oakland, CA 94610.