The Bombing in Kenya

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Excerpts of Ayittey, "The Bombing in Kenya on Jim Lehrer NewsHour"

Dr. George Ayittey

November 29, 2002


The terrorist bombing of the Paradise Hotel in Mombasa is the third such satanic act of murder that has been committed on Kenyan soil. The first such incident occurred in 1979 with the terrorist bombing of Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi, in retaliation against Kenya for permitting Israeli commandos to use its air space in their dramatic rescue of Israeli hostages in Entebbe, Uganda. Not a single Arab country condemned the bombing in Nairobi. The implicit message was particularly arrogant and maddening: That black Africa had no right to pursue an independent foreign policy and must kowtow slavishly to the Arab world.

 

The second bombing occurred in August 1998 with the twin-bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which claimed more than 240 African lives. Again, no Arab condemned the bombing; nor send humanitarian relief to the bombing victims.

 

Even more vexing was the callous rape of African hospitality by one of the suspects, Mohammed Saddiq Odeh. A Palestinian, he moved to Mombasa (Kenya) in 1994, set up a fishing business and married a Kenyan woman, Nassim. He readily abandoned her, despite her pregnancy, and fled to Pakistan after the dastardly deed. Some pay-back for African support of the Palestinian cause.

 

The third is the recent bombing in Mombasa, which has enraged many black Africans. Angry black Africans are now asking: What sort of religion would teach its disciples to commit such barbaric and satanic acts of terror against Africans in the name of God?

Some have vowed to renounce their faith in Islam and revert to their own African religion. A few threaten to expel the "Arab infidels" from Africa.

 

Prior to bombings, anti-Arab feelings have long been simmering among black Africans. Crass attempts to impose Arabic names and Islamic law have hit them in the craw. According to the Amazigh (Berber) Cultural Association in America, a new Moroccan law, enacted in November 1996 and referred to as Dahir No. 1.96.97, "imposes Arabic names on an entire citizenry more than half of which is not Arabic." Sudan's benighted attempt to establish an Islamic state provoked a rebellion and war by southern Sudanese blacks.

 

The continued enslavement of black Africans in this day and age by Arabs in Sudan and Mauritania has been a constant source of irritation and outrage. Though slavery of blacks was officially abolished in Mauritania and Sudan in 1980 and 1987 respectively, the heinous practice continues.

 

In Sudan, Arab militias, formed and armed by the Islamic
government of Lt. Gen. Omar Bashir, traffick in slaves: Mostly women and children from the southern Dinka tribe, seized in raids and are either kept by the militias or sold north.

 

In a March 22, 1995, the black Catholic Bishop of south Sudan, Macram Max Gassis, testified before a US Congressional Committee that black people are bought and sold in Sudan, some for as little as $15 and some in slave markets (at Shendi)" (The Washington Times, April 27, 1995; p.A18). The same year, the UN Human Rights Commission finally summoned the courage to issue its fiercest censure resolution, condemning Sudan "for abuses including torture, summary executions and slavery" (The Washington Times, March 11, 1995;p.A8).

 

From the black African historical perspective, the Arabs were no
different from the Europeans. Both groups were invaders, colonizers and slavers, who used their religions -- Christianity and Islam, neither of which is indigenous to Africa -- to convert, oppress, exploit and enslave blacks.

 

While the Europeans organized the West African slave trade, the Arabs managed the East African and trans-Saharan counterparts. From East Africa, over 20 million black slaves were shipped from East Africa to Arabia. Enslaving and slave trading were peculiarly savage in a traffic notable for its barbarity. Villages were razed, the unfit villagers massacred. The enslaved were yoked together, several hundreds in a caravan, and on their long journey to the coast. It is estimated that only one in five of those captured in the interior reached Zanzibar.


Some historians believe the slave trade was more catastrophic in East Africa than in West Africa. Diseases such as smallpox and cholera, introduced by maurading Arab caravans penetrating the interior in search of slaves, decimated entire local populations and were far more devastating than the actual export of slaves to Indian Ocean markets.

 

For the trans-Saharan slave trade, an estimated 9 million captives were shipped to slave markets in Fez, Marrakesh (Morocco); Constantine (Algeria); Tunis (Tunisia), Fezzan, Tripoli (Libya); and Cairo (Egypt).
 

The official Libyan and Arab line on slavery is that: "The Arab
countries are a natural extension to the African continent. The African Arabs, or those who carried the indulgent message of Islam, were the first to effectively oppose slavery as inhumane and unnatural. The claim that Arabs were involved in the trade at all is a mischievous invention of the West, made in order to divide the Arabs from their brothers and sisters who live in the African continent" (New Africa, Nov 1984).


Black Africans know better. If the Europeans had not colonized Africa, the Arabs would have. And for beating them to the punch, the Arabs never forgave the West for that "transgression."


During black struggle for civil rights in the U.S. and independence in Africa in the 1950s and 1960s, Afro-Arab differences and ill-feelings were buried. Black leaders, seduced by the fallacious premise that "The enemy of my enemy must be my friend," made common cause with the Arabs.


In the U.S. many blacks dropped their "European" or "slave" names and adopted Islamic ones. In Africa, black leaders entered into alliances and sought support from Arab states for the liberation struggle against Western colonialism. Grand Afro-Arab solidarity accords were pompously announced. Drooling, grandiloquent speeches announced meretricious Afro-Arab summits. Little came out of them and since independence, black Africans have gradually realized that the Arabs regard them "expendable." The Arabs are just as ready as the French to use them as pawns to achieve their chimerical geopolitical schemes and global religious imperialism/domination.


The first crack in the Afro-Arab solidarity facade came with the 1973 oil embargo, which sent many African economies careening into the doldrums and debt. Arab oil-producing states raked in billions of dollars in profits. Black African leaders looked expectantly to the Arab world for economic assistance but little came, as was also the case with subsequent oil price shocks in the early 1980s.


Discrimination and persecution of blacks in Arab states added more fuel to the fire. In 1988, for example, a group of black political prisoners in Mauritania, including Tene Youssouf Gueye, Lt. Abdoul Ghoudouss Ba, Ibrahim Sarr, Amadou Moctar Sow, and Ly Mamadou Bocar were beaten and tortured to death in prison. Their deaths brought this angry reaction from Kwaku O. Sarpong: Abuse of black people by Arabs, especially Syrians and Lebanese, has been ignored for too long. The painful fact is that this abuse occurs under our noses in African towns and cities where they have come to enjoy our hospitality. It is high time Arabs were made officially aware of this and reminded of the black solidarity they have enjoyed for years in their conflict with Israel.


In the late 1970s, it was an open secret in New York that Arab
diplomats never invited their black counterparts to their receptions. (West Africa (March 7, 1988).

Another African, Aloysius Juryit of Nigeria, was bitter: "Events in the Sudan and Mauritania (to mention only a few) have shown that the worst racists are Arabs, especially when it comes to dealing with blacks" (New African, March 1990, p.6).


The twin bombings in East Africa blew the lid off anti-Arab rage. Said an irate Nigerian medical doctor, Segun Toyin Dawodu: "Why on an African soil? Damn the stupid imbeciles. The OAU and other African Organizations should condemn this unprovoked atrocities against black people. All Arabs and Egyptians should immediately be rebuked without mincing words and there should be a blanket ban on issuance of visa for entry into any African country by these bigots.(naijanet@esosoft.com, August 8).


If the Islamic terrorists thought they could count on black Africans for sympathy, while using them as cannon fodder for their cause, they have terribly miscalculated. They only succeeded in shattering the crucible of Afro-Arab solidarity and purchasing an excess supply of black African wrath in the bargain.

 

 

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