Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Boycott Mel Gibson’s We Were Soldiers

A white Columbia University graduate student, Matt Mayer, announces his plans to resist President Jimmy Carter’s new Selective Service registration program in 1980. After significant media attention including an interview in Rolling Stone magazine, he finds himself at a War Resisters International convocation in 1982, hoping to meet resisters from every spot on the globe.

But no comrades are present from Africa, Latin America, or Asia. The American resister becomes convinced that racism divides those who proclaim a devotion to peace even at the cost of incarceration. He looks for a mentor from the communities of color. He finds one. With forty years in the pacifist trenches.

Bill Sutherland is an African American who refused military service in World War II-when many blacks saw the war as a coveted opportunity to assert their claims to full citizenship.

Influenced as a youth by the strategies of Mahatma Gandhi, Sutherland worked after graduation from Bates College in Maine for the Quaker affiliated American Friends Service Committee. In 1942, Sutherland joined noted activist(and Chicago 7 defendant) Dave Dellinger in the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary as a war resister.

After his release from prison in 1945, Sutherland pedaled around Europe on a bicycle trip. He met African students in London and Paris whose enthusiasm for the possibility of liberation on the African continent sparked an unyielding commitment in Sutherland that he shared with his revolutionary compatriots on “the Dark Continent”..

Matt Mayer and Bill Sutherland have collaborated on a remarkable book, Guns and Gandhi in Africa, which probes the dilemma of advocating nonviolence in the face of a brutality that held people in thrall with pistols, whips, barbed wire, identity passes, and unspeakable horrors.

This work by Mayer and Sutherland is not a biography. Sutherland’s selflessness required that the pages reflect the experiences, philosophies, strategies, and tactics employed by African leaders who shared confidences with the two authors.

A remarkable man, Mr. Sutherland. How many people, living or dead, had prolonged tete-a-tetes with Frantz Fanon, Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Tom Mboya(who was representing an imprisoned Jomo Kenyatta), and Bayard Rustin-at the same meeting?

Ghana was the first African country where Sutherland settled-it was after all the first to achieve independence after World War II. Sutherland observed Nkrumah’s efforts to a build a state via a mass movement and the creation of institutions responsive to the needs of the people.

Mayer and Sutherland returned to Ghana in 1992 . Sutherland’s oldest daughter has remained there since her birth and has become that country’s Deputy Minister in charge of Higher Education. She helps them meet leaders who review Nkrumah’s successes and failures to implement a strategy called Positive Action-an offshoot of the Gandhian movement featuring sit-down strikes, boycotts and noncooperation which lead to Ghana’s independence in 1957.

These civil rights techniques had usefulness after independence-the Ghanaian Minister of Finance provoked President Eisenhower to invest U.S. dollars in the Volta River development project after he was refused a glass of orange juice in then Jim Crow Maryland!

Meyer and Sutherland review Nkrumah’s commitment to Pan-African solidarity. This quest was shared by Sutherland during his over thirty year residence in Tanzania where he discussed Africa’s hope often with Julius Nyerere who was president from 1962 to 1985.

Committed to African liberation, Nyerere offered sanctuary in Tanzania to members of the African National Congress and numerous other rebel groups from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, and Uganda. In 1978, under Nyerere’s leadership, Tanzanian troops entered Uganda, deposing dictator Idi Amin.

Nyerere explained these actions by saying: “when you win, the morale of the African freedom fighters will go up and the morale of their opponents throughout southern Africa will go down. I said that’s what we should do-demonstrate success-which we did.”

The most graphic test of the authors’ nonviolent creed is challenged in their discussions with South African leaders. Interviews with a variety of freedom fighters stress their life long commitment to struggle and social transformation. Yet the choice of violence by some freedom fighters hangs heavy over the discussions and cannot be fully dismissed as futile in the strife that eventually won enfranchisement for the black majority.

Insightful interviews with Kenneth Kaunda, the former President of Zambia and Graca Machel, the widow of the assassinated head of Mozambique(and Nelson Mandela’s present wife) further flesh out the frustrating attempts of Africa’s leaders to find nonviolent solutions to current problems of globalization and debt relief.

Despite a continuing, almost strident insistence on pushing a nonviolent commitment, this book offers a world of privileged conversations with Malcolm X, Gandhi’s granddaughter who remained in South Africa to organize, President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana and a host of other African and Afro-American leaders. Sutherland still sees the world through non-violent eyes. Let us hope his vision is fulfilled.

For information about Guns and Gandhi in Africa, please contact African World Press at www.africanworld.com or call 609-844-9583.

More articles by:
October 18, 2018
Erik Molvar
The Ten Big Lies of Traditional Western Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lockheed and Loaded: How the Maker of Junk Fighters Like the F-22 and F-35 Came to Have Full-Spectrum Dominance Over the Defense Industry
Lawrence Davidson
Israel’s “Psychological Obstacles to Peace”
Brian Platt – Brynn Roth
Black-Eyed Kids and Other Nightmares From the Suburbs
John W. Whitehead
You Want to Make America Great Again? Start by Making America Free Again
Zhivko Illeieff
Why Can’t the Democrats Reach the Millennials?
Steve Kelly
Quiet, Please! The Latest Threat to the Big Wild
Manuel García, Jr.
The Inner Dimensions of Socialist Revolution
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ Over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Adam Parsons
A Global People’s Bailout for the Coming Crash
Binoy Kampmark
The Tyranny of Fashion: Shredding Banksy
Dean Baker
How Big is Big? Trump, the NYT and Foreign Aid
Vern Loomis
The Boofing of America
October 17, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
When Saudi Arabia’s Credibility is Damaged, So is America’s
John Steppling
Before the Law
Frank Stricker
Wages Rising? 
James McEnteer
Larry Summers Trips Out
Muhammad Othman
What You Can Do About the Saudi Atrocities in Yemen
Binoy Kampmark
Agents of Chaos: Trump, the Federal Reserve and Andrew Jackson
David N. Smith
George Orwell’s Message in a Bottle
Karen J. Greenberg
Justice Derailed: From Gitmo to Kavanaugh
John Feffer
Why is the Radical Right Still Winning?
Dan Corjescu
Green Tsunami in Bavaria?
Rohullah Naderi
Why Afghan Girls Are Out of School?
George Ochenski
You Have to Give Respect to Get Any, Mr. Trump
Cesar Chelala
Is China Winning the War for Africa?
Mel Gurtov
Getting Away with Murder
W. T. Whitney
Colombian Lawyer Diego Martinez Needs Solidarity Now
Dean Baker
Nothing to Brag About: Scott Walker’s Economic Record in Wisconsin:
October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail