FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What’s Africa Have To Do With The Eventsof September 11?

by Chido Nwangwu

I deliberately raised this question as the caption of this commentary to underscore some points. To be sure, it is not a suggestion of culpability of Africans regarding the September 11 terror but more of a challenge to come to terms with the the interconnectedness of global safety. For example, in Nigeria, which is celebrating its 41st year of political “independence” from Britain today, October 1, Libya’s Muammar Ghaddafi has been funding and financing “centers of Islamic learning” in such places as Zamfara State where the Islamic Sharia law was first formalized in Nigeria (applicable in 10 out of Nigeria’s 36 States), the “graduates”, leadership and “students” have, reportedly, been on the frontline of previous and recent emanations of zealotry and religious violence. Some of the most dreaded and violent groups in Nigeria, Chad, Tanzania-Zanzibar, parts of Northern Africa and the Maghreb region, are said to have been financed from Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Yemen, Zia ul-Haq’s Pakistan, and other “Brother Islamic countries and agencies.” Only a forthnight ago, Jos, one of the central cities in Nigeria with a mixed population of Christians and Muslims, and sizeable Euro-American population saw 700 persons killed, and thousands maimed and houses burnt.

Years-old request and arguments for the retired General Olusegun Obasanjo’s government to be decisive in dealing with the issues regarding terrorists who kill in Allah’s name or Christians who turn Biblical certitudes for ethnic vengeance, according to many Nigeria analysts including the respected Prof. Wole Soyinka have met with fatal reluctance.

First and most, Africans suffered deaths (and an estimated 53 persons missing) from the consequences of the events of the September 11 bombing. Most of those being breadwinners for their families. Those wanton terror and wholesale visitation of murder and mayhem did not only affect Americans but persons from almost 20 countries, including persons thus far known, from four African countries. For those who have forgotten, Osama Bin Laden, the prime suspect for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, was based in the largely Islamic African country of Sudan before leaving in 1996. Also, on August 7,1998, the U.S embassy in the east African country of Kenya was bombed which led to the death of 207 Kenyans, 12 US citizens and left more than 4,000 injured. Within a minute of that sad event, a smaller terrorism blast rocked Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam, killing 11 Africans. Now, should Africans care more or morph September 11 into some nebulous, baseless “fraternity of the oppressed”? I don’t think so!

Second, in the light of September 11, and especially the murderous domestic excesses of these harbingers of death and purveyors of mayhem, it becomes, in my view, a matter of vital national duty that African governments take a more decisive and no-holds-barred approach to choke off the camps and networks of terrorism hiding under the veneer of religiousity and a concoction of bloody and assorted fanaticisms. These trouble makers and merchants of death have caused the deaths of at least 5 million Africans since the end of colonialism in the early 1960s, including one of my enduring personal experience as a survivor inside the zone of limited safety declared by Igbos and other minorities of south eastern Nigeria as defunct Republic of Biafra.

Third, African leaders and Africans abroad ought to unmask and halt those unperturbed villages of radical religio-political zealotry and hate academies for terror training and funding. In so doing, we are acting not only in America’s current best interest but in our continent’s strategic and developmental interests. Although, there are sophiticates among these “armies of god”, the failure of some of those countries’ leaders, Christian and Muslim alike, have made the very poor, uneducated and dispirited willing goons in religious conflicts and fodders for terror machines.

Fourth, Africa and its governments should position their actions and policies around the paradigm that terrorism in the 21st (and in fact during the 20th century) is an issue of domestic consequence. It affects the flow of economic investments, weighing in the measure for or against international capital, and even the value and safety of domestic/internal business. My point? Offering or dealing kid gloves or looking the other way believing the terror machines will relent is wishful thinking. The U.S. must also weigh its own policies and actions which do not excuse but can open a window for some nut to engage in their sick pursuits of lethal zealotry. Sixth, in this quest to make the world relatively safer, it is important to note the views of John L. Esposito, professor of Religion and International Affairs and Director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, Washington D.C. and the author of several books on Islam, including The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?, who has stated that: “While some governments and experts identify Islamic fundamentalism as a major threat to the stability of their societies and to global politics, others point out that it is important to distinguish between authentic populist movements that are willing to participate within the system and rejectionists who seek to topple governments through violent revolution.”

Accordingly, I mush commend Senegal’s democratically-elected Abdoulaye Wade, a member of the Mouride Islamic sect whose wife is a French Christian as an excellent reflection that the issue in Africa cannot be that all Muslims seek for conflicts or are terrorists. No. Such reductionism is not only foolish but untenable. I was in Senegal on assignment regarding former President Bill Clinton’s visit in April 1998 to parts of Africa, and I’m aware of the fact that, although, Senegal’s population is 90% Muslim, Islamic fundamentalism is not common. Wade challenged the continent a few days ago that “beyond verbal declarations, African countries should engage in direct actions in the global fight.” Note the key word is “direct actions”. Translation: rid your neighborhood and countries of any support or cover for terrorists. Any wonder, therefore, that when Nigeria’s Obasanjo told U.S. president George W. Bush that he’d join the battle against terrorism, many Nigerians wondered if their president should not start from his own backyard. That is, putting it politely.

Now, do you still wonder what has Africa to do with September 11 terror? CP

Chido Nwangwu, adviser to the Mayor of Houston on Africa business, serves as Founder & Publisher of the Houston-based USAfrica The Newspaper and the first U.S.-based, African-owned newspaper to be published on the internet; The Black Business Journal, and NigeriaCentral.com. He is the recipient of the HABJ Journalism Excellence Award, 1997, and has appeared as an analyst on CNN, VOA, local tv and radio stations in the U.S. and Africa.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
Jeffrey St. Clair
Night of the Hollow Men: Notes From the Democratic Convention
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail