Post submission by Jessica Ann Mitchell
The recent Troy Davis case sparked a firestorm of digital outcries. Online protests were launched along with online petitions. Amnesty International collected over 630,000 signatures in support of Davis. Twitter and Facebook were both taken over by hashtags and updates. Millions of people were discussing the case and educating others about it. The Davis case truly became an online phenomenon.
Over 40,000 people tuned into Democracy Now’s live stream of the vigil held outside of the Georgia prison that was holding Davis. For many, this was the first time they’d even heard of Democracy Now, a progressive independent source of news. The live stream went viral on Twitter and Amy Goodman was trending worldwide.
During this time period, Davis supporters became a complete digital community in their own right. Many were desperately hoping for Davis to live. Unfortunately, our requests and pleas were denied. This was truly a heartbreaking moment for us all. However, not more than 24 hours after the death of Troy Davis, digital activism naysayers were on the prowl. These naysayers had a clear message, “Digital activism doesn’t work.” The main reason they believe it doesn’t work is because with all of our prayers and protesting, Troy Davis was still killed by the state of Georgia.
Though Davis’ death is a heartbreaking fact, we cannot allow ourselves to sulk in the negativity of, “I told you so,” and “I knew it wouldn’t work.” Truth be told, the reason that Troy Davis died is because Georgia is still a predominantly racist and oppressive state. As a Georgia girl, I know what its like to live in the backwoods of the KKK’s resting den.
However, saying that digital activism doesn’t work is an outright lie founded in lethargic negativity and ignorance of the power of ordinary people. Public support through online petitions and social media outreach played a vital role in making members of the public aware of the injustices occurring. Even though Davis was executed, that doesn’t mean that all of our efforts have gone to waste.
Now the racial discrepancies surrounding the death penalty in the U.S. are becoming more widely addressed. It could even lead to a movement to abolish the death penalty. This case will forever shed light on the prison industrial complex and the death of black men within it. The death penalty debate is now facing a rebirth. Especially after the world witnessed what was essentially a lynching.
In these cases, yes, our voting rights play a vital role in making societal changes. However, before we can vote to make these changes, we must find a means to inform and reach members of the public. The digital era has afforded us the opportunity to distribute this information rapidly.
Digital outcries, protests and petitions are a highly effective means for change. Organizations like ColorOfChange.org have already proved that with their ability to garner public support (much of it digital) in support of the Jena 6, ending Glenn Beck’s televised hate mongering and pressuring the state of Georgia to free Genarlow Wilson. Another organization, Change.org was vital in sustaining a digital campaign that resulted in clemency for a young African American mother convicted of a felony for sending her children to a school outside of their district.
Countless blogs, news articles, Tweets, and Facebook updates by millions of ordinary people around the world also supported these digital campaigns for justice. So you see, digital activism does work. Sometimes when things don’t go the way we want them to go, it’s easy to allow negativity to take control. However, it takes true power and strength to continue pushing on for justice. We have to push for our humanity, “…by any means necessary,” as Malcolm X once stated. Right now the digital era provides a means that presents us with a plethora of opportunities.
In the 1960s, when a small group of students in North Carolina began sit-ins in all white restaurants and a young Baptist preacher was gathering people for marches, it was understood that civil rights wouldn’t magically appear the next day. What they were doing was a start. When things didn’t change immediately there were naysayers saying, “It will never work,” and “It’s a waste of time.” I’m glad they kept marching instead of succumbing to unproductive negativity.
In 2011, it is time for us to uphold this legacy. With the help of countless organizations and ordinary people the struggle for human rights and freedom continues… And its going digital.
Jessica Ann Mitchell is the founder of Lamzu Media a collective of Black media outlets. Mitchell specializes in multicultural communications with a Master of Arts in Pan African Studies and a Master of Science in Public Relations. You can visit her personal blog at OurLegaci.com. She can be contacted at info@OurLegaci.com.
Before being booted out of power, Libyan tyrant, Muammar Gadaffi, lived a deceptive life by sleeping in the tent as symbol of simplicity and likeness with common Libyans. Before falling from grace, no common citizen had ever peeped in the mansions of his children despite being built and kept by the taxes of the common man and woman. Common people were not allowed to get close to these highly guarded villas, Gadaffi’s children used to either live in or use in summer.
Gadaffi’s deception is a typical replica of the lives of the relatives of African presidents. Though they rub shoulders with common people during campaigns, once they ascend to power, they deny the hoi polloi access even to the state houses under the pretext of security. Is the security concern or fear of opening their secrets, especially the high life they live?
Libyans did not know the guy they use to refer to as a beloved leader, lived in a manmade paradise whilst the majority lived in penury! So too, Libyans did not know that Gadaffi’s children lived like billionaires, despite doing nothing except allocating themselves some unconstitutional positions thanks to their father’s presidency. Indeed, Libyans did not know that Gadaffi was travelling on the extra and utra luxurious jet full of expensive gadgets. His was well and more furnished than that of the president of the richest nation on earth, Air Force One, US presidential jet.
One thing is obvious. Libyans knew Gadaffi robbed money he used to squander in many African countries in the name of spreading Islam through unification of Africa and buying leverage from destitute African rulers. Libyans knew this too well. Those who tried to stand in his way saw the gallows. Those who supported this megalomia are now heading for gallows, shall the new regime decided so. While Gadaffi did all this to and for Africa, he did not regard himself an “African”. When cornered the vulture cries the wolf. Gadaffi was an Arab, till Arab League abandoned him at the very moment of need. He was quoted as thus in March: “From today I am not an Arab but an African.” This racist remarks came after Gadaffi threatened Europe that he would deludge it with “ignorant Africans” running away from poverty.
For the first time, Africans who goofed thinking Gadaffi was an African, got their message clearly and bruntly. Despite this insult, African rulers did not hate or love him except his petrodollars. Either they ignored him or he outsmarted them, when he invited them to yum-yum and whiffs of money in his home town of Sirte in the name of African Unification. Gadaffi’s extravagance in the name of Africa and Islam is costing Africa dearly. The new regime has openly shown hatred to African countries as its quid pro quo for supporting Gadaffi.
In essence, just like other African potantates, Gadaffi was a good swindler and hypocrite. He was able to extravagate billions of dollars building many mosques whilst he kept idols as opposed to Islam he served. How could Gadaffi be a good, even a normal Muslim whilst his house was full of idols glorifying him as oppsed to Islam? How would he be able to steal money to buy golden idols like Nebuchadnezzar and at the same time remain a Muslim? How would he be a Muslim by surrounding himself with women as opposed to Islamic code that does not allow women and men to mix?
The irony is AU and Muslims that used to benefit from Gadaffi’s charity were not ready to tell him the truth. How would they cut the hand that used to feed them even if it was dirty? Muslims can defend themselves that they did not know Gadaffi was keeping idols. What of this open secret of being accompanied by lady bodyguards?Another irony is the fact that when Gadaffi was overpowered, the same blind Muslim leaders were heard inspiring their fellowers to pray for him. It was too late and this is hypocrisy for the other side of beneficiaries of looted money.
After all, Gadaffi will remember AU for one thing, it did not abandon him at the time of need when the whole world was against him. Why didn’t AU recognize National Transitional Council of Libya? The answer is simple that most of African rulers were on Gadaffi’s payroll and they are like Gadaffi waiting for what happened to him, to happen to them. Therefore they woud not support the same weapon that is directed to them.
What do you think of the rulers of Algeria, Burkinafaso, Chad, Congo, DRC, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Morocco, Mauritania, Rwanda, Togo, Sudan Kaskazini, Uganda and Zimbabwe? Can presidents of aforelisted countries laugh at Gadaffi or avoid what befell him if their citizenry decided to get rid of dictators? If they do, well, it will be madness of its kind.
Gadaffi’s true self reveals the true self of African rulers who live more posh lives than those financing them. The presidents of rich countries do not have as many bodyguards or long motorcades as African tyrants have. African rulers lack vision and good plans. They only know how to exploit and rob their hoi polloi.
It is sad for people like Gadaffi to accuse the West for the miseries of African people who are suffering, while they are the authors of all these miseries. Libyans reached at the point where they could go without salaries while Gadaffi and his dynasty were extravagating!
Although Gadaffi liked to be referred to as beloved leader, he was but a common thug who hijacked his people for over four decades. His African counterparts should brace themselves for what happened to Gadaffi. The time for turning all stone is coming. Who will survive it in Africa? How many African tyrants have allowed their offices to be a family business where their wives, children and friends robs the way they deem fit? The end is approaching. Those with ears should heed this.
- Canadian Senator Talks Race Relations
- The Economist: How To Build A Religion
- Black Yoda: Straw (Colored) Man Arguments
- Truthdig: The Rev. Jeremiah Wright Recalls Obama’s Fall From Grace
- Breaking Brown: barack obama doesn’t like black people (and that includes troy davis)
- “To All” – A message from Troy Anthony Davis
“Today I do not honor terrorism, reinforce fear or plot revenge. No. I pause today to commit to less violence and more peace. I choose today to be a part of the healing instead of part of the destruction. I remember today that peace begins within and love is an action.”
One of the illusions that Europeans and Arabs alike have successfully perpetrated for over a century, is that the northern part of Africa is not apart of the African continent. I have had discussions and arguments with so-called “highly educated people”… those with more than one grouping of letters behind their names, who are not aware that Egypt for example is in Africa. This includes Black People! This propaganda is so deep-rooted that Egypt is seen to be in the Middle East, while the countries to it’s west, namely Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and The Western Sahara, are termed The Maghreb.
When one studies the history of the region and the Arab/Muslim conquest and migration into the northern, as well as parts of east Africa, the fact is that Arab aggression, oppression, exploitation and depopulation of black Africans and their resources occurred long before the Christian Europeans arrived. Even today, chattel slavery of black Africans by brown and white Arabs is still practised in countries such as Niger, Sudan and Mauritania.
It’s no wonder then that the so-called “Jasmine Revolutions” sweeping across the Muslim states of north Africa, which in reality are African revolutions to free the people from decades of state oppression and exploitation, does not include those Africans with black skin. It brings to mind the French and American Revolutions for freedom from the state oppression at the time, both of which did not include freeing those with black skin. History once again repeating itself.
The fact is that in Libya, black migrant workers, as well as black Libyans, are victims of thefts, beatings, imprisonment and lynchings by their “light-skinned” African brothers. Read this disturbing article in the New York Times, one of many I’ve read on this subject in the past couple months.
Black people in North America are quick to sympathize (
be used) and take to the streets, to protest against the oppression of (brown) Palestinians by the (white)Israelis, or demonstrate against (white) American aggression in (brown) Iraq and Afghanistan. However I hear no condemnations from our “brown” brothers and sisters, nor do I see our “brown” comrades in arms here… nor anywhere in the world for that matter… take to the streets against the oppression and murder of black Africans, by their own kind. I have always stated that I would rather be the victim of American rather than Arab or Persian imperialism. In an Arab/Muslim dominated world, I would most certainly be considered and treated as an “abeed”… a slave… simply because of my black skin, regardless if I was a Muslim.
An Arabic proverb (warning): “Me against my brother; my brother and me against my cousin; Me, my brother, and my cousin against the stranger”.