- What I like about African men
- I love Black men too, but do they love me back?
- The Radicalization of Ray Richardson: Suspicion Still Surrounds Death of Black Activist TV Producer
- Desmond Tutu is Wrong: The AU Should Quit the International Criminal Court
- Steve Biko and the Quest for Black Power Today
- The Folly of Empire
Op-ed submission by Project 21
How did radical Islam become a legitimate threat in sub-Saharan Africa?
Should we care? Perhaps, because one possible reason stretches beyond the African continent. It may eminate from our own houses of worship.
After the recent shopping mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya by the Muslim terrorist group Al Shabaab, counterterrorism experts fear increased collaboration among the growing ranks of religious radicals in Africa operating across borders in vast, poorly-policed regions.
While terrorism experts are concerned with expanding radicalized Islam, my own leadership role in the Christian community has me preoccupied with how historically Christian areas and formerly majority-Christian countries are now under constant threat from al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and al-Qaeda in the Islam Maghreb.
It’s too soon to declare African Christianity dead, but it’s certainly ailing — and the West is to blame.
Christians went to great lengths to “civilize” Africa, and part and parcel of that process was bringing Christianity to sub-Saharan Africa. But since then, the Church of England and the Episcopal Church in the U.S. ostensibly have abandoned proselytizing in Africa. Most mainstream Western Christian denominations, in fact, now look with disdain on those still adhering to the very same faith churches once taught.
The Episcopal Church, for example, no longer adheres to the doctrine of the Bible as the inspired word of God. The Western evangelical church in particular proclaims an overly-feminized form of Christianity in which men cannot act as men and women assert a theology that gives them dominion over men. This “enlightened” West no longer honors the God-given roles and distinctions between men and women. Actually, it demonizes them. This is why Christianity lost its appeal in, and it’s hold on, Africa.
The Western church no longer builds up men for the Body of Christ. When the church prefers to place women in masculine roles, while discouraging men, the blessings of God vanish and it creates a vacuum. When the Christian ministry becomes an occupation for those liking pretty buildings and beautiful vestments rather than a vocation to serve God, it’s no wonder serious Christians scoff and look elsewhere.
The Christian church in Africa and around the world has left a gap that Islam is filling.
Men clearly need the civilizing influence of women, but they also must remain men. The church is too involved in a feminizing process. Wanting to love and serve God should not be at the expense of God-given manhood. I am an unapologetic Christian, but I know that nothing in Islam requires or expects men to deny their manhood. Islam does quite the opposite — encouraging separate manhood and womanhood.
Almost 100 years ago, English writer and lay theologian G.K. Chesterton said that most men in his day were reduced to Victorian lapdogs when it came to Christianity. What might he say today? There are now Christians who change the word of Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer to “Our Father and Mother who art in heaven” and the nature of Jesus in the Holy Trinity. Is there little wonder why there aren’t more men in church and why men seeking God might turn away from modern Western Christianity?
Why would a man want to be part of a faith in which they are to be seen and never heard? Couple this with the general depiction of Christ as sort of a pansy with well-manicured nails and a perfectly-trimmed beard. It is not is no surprise men are uncomfortable with this, and subsequently are unwilling to become churchmen.
In my lifetime, Ethiopia, one of the most storied Christian nations, took the path of India. Once majority-Christian, it is now divided into Eritrea, which is majority Muslim, and Ethiopia, which may be at least half-Muslim.
If people are genuinely concerned about the spread of Islam and subsequent radicalization, they should consider the Christianity they practice and teach. Pastors no longer proclaim the Gospel, but instead favor of gay marriage or the prevailing populous cause de jure.
Don’t worry about Islam. The imams are doing their job. It’s the pastors and priests who aren’t doing theirs.
Archbishop Council Nedd II, a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network. He is the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Missionary Church in the United States and the Archbishop of Abu Dhabi.
There is a silent conflict blowing between the Africa Union (AU) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). This conflict started after the ICC indicted some untouchables namely heads of states. AU urged its all 34 members to exit ICC. All in attendance agreed with this move except Botswana, that did not see any logic in exiting ICC.
Since independence, African presidents took the role and place of the colonial governors who were above the law. They too decided to be above the law so that they could lord it over their earthlings. And, indeed, they have always done that for decades. Essentially, they became new black colonialists replacing old white ones. To successfully do their things, they made sure that their constitutions clearly stipulate that the president is above law.
This colonial carry over, if anything, is the one that is disturbing African potentates, even after unwillingly consenting to multiparty democracy for those that bother to have it. Due to their newfound infallibility, many African dictators became gods in their own light. Insane and sacrilegious as it may seem and sound, untouchability and sacredness became the symbols and prerogatives of African rulers. Ironically, when such infallible and untouchable rulers appended their signatures to ratify the ICC, they did not know that their licenses to do as pleased would be wound up. They did not know that they wouldn’t have any power whatsoever nor any way they could interfere in ICC business as they just used to do with their judiciaries.
Ethiopia stole the thunder in this onslaught against ICC. Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was quoted as spewing bile saying, “What the summit decided is that President Kenyatta should not appear until the requests we have made is actually answered.” Again, the AU proved to be fully throwing its weight behind indictees. What the AU did not get is the fact that what they advised Kenyatta to amounts to contempt of the court, something which guarantees an arrest, if not opening new charges against their sacred cow. What makes AU’s calculations difficult to decipher is the role it has played in crises resulting from human rights violation such as genocide that was committed on Dafuris in Sudan. On the one hand, it fully supports Sudanese strong man Omar Bashir saying he should not be prosecuted. On the other hand, the same AU sent its forces to Darfur to stop genocide.
Ghebreyesus added his salvo against ICC saying, “The unfair treatment that we have been subjected to by the ICC is completely unacceptable.” Ghebreyesus did not explain more on how ICC unfairly treated or maltreated Africa. Such lack of explicit and lamenting forced wise people such as Kofi Annan, former UN secretary General to refer to AU’s hanky panky “badge of shame.” Indeed it is a badge of shame which former Archbishop Desmond Tutu reprimanded saying, “Those leaders seeking to skirt the court are effectively looking for a license to kill, maim and oppress their own people without consequence.” Annan and Tutu know our rulers too well. They have worked with them for long. They know how they behave like babies who poop in diapers and start crying while they actually are the ones who created the mess they are in. The reasonable and important thing to do for African rulers is stop thinking backwardly. Stop your gross violations of human rights. Stop behaving like babies by accusing the West of neo-colonialism and still kow tow before it asking for AID to enable you to rule your people. Stop serving two masters, your thirsty opposition of western-originated system of governing and cup-in-hand begging missions to the West. Nobody calls you. You present yourselves. I would applaud the AU‘s move of exiting ICC shall it go in conjunction with stopping begging and doing under-table deals.
I’d urge Kenyatta and William Ruto to pooh pooh AU’s advice for their safety. Shall they heed AU’s malice aforethought to break the law, it is for their peril. The voice of reason says that law is not politics. They need to understand and underscore that the ICC is the court of law, but not the court of politics. We in the legal trade normally agree with a Swahili sage that the law is like a saw. It cuts both sides.
“As for the men in power, they are so anxious to establish the myth of infallibility that they do their utmost to ignore truth,” Boris Pasternak (1890-1960). Will the Truth with a capital “T” ignore them? What a lie one lies to himself thinking all will buy it! Is truly the ICC targeting Africa or vice versa?
“Currently, it is the schools that are majorly responsible for socializing, instilling values, moralizing and instructing Black learners. I believe that in handing near total control over to the education system, we are allowing for the systematic annihilation of our intellectual and therefore future potential. We are inviting people whose best interests it is to keep us ignorant, docile and complacent to have control and dominance over our minds. We are permitting our children to be systematically and purposefully prepared to be “larger” society’s worker ants.
Why do we do this? Because during the civil rights movements we naively and ignorantly fought to assimilate our education along with those who did not want us on their school property let alone in their classrooms. Those who never intended “formal” education be extended to us and furthermore, we put the control of our “mind building” into the hands of people who did not know anything about us and had no interest in learning or sharing any knowledge with us in the first place. We know that this was a huge mistake and now it’s time to rebound from years of mis-education and mind control.”
My sister Rachelle aka Blacklit101, dropped some serious knowledge and enlightenment with her post a few days ago: “Eurocentric Brainwash: The Bain Of Black Existence In North America”. The above paragraphs which are from this post resonated with me as a father of two Black children who is personally involved in their education, particularly as a counter to the mis-education of the dominant culture’s educational system.
Not too long ago I was having a discussion with a friend about the lack of African/Black historical accomplishments and achievements taught to our children in schools. He stated that as a people, we should demand that the educational system teach this history. I asked him why as a people we don’t take the responsibility to do this ourselves!? Why as a people should we again… go with our hand out… and
beg demand that the “white man” teach our children about our history!?
I personally know people of other cultures, who take on this responsibility themselves to teach (and therefore empower) their children about their history, language, religious beliefs, customs, etc. I know of Jews, East Indians, Muslims, even Polish people who send their children to “Saturday” school to learn about their culture.
Not us “negroes”. On Saturdays we sit our children in front of the tel-lie-vision to watch cartoons, watch BET to learn the latest songs and dance moves, or to play videos games all day or go play sports. Then when they fail or lag behind in their academic endeavours, we cry: “it’s racism… the school is racist, the teachers are racist, the educational system is racist…blah, blah blah”. Instead of pointing the finger at ourselves, taking the responsibility for failing as parents… we blame the “white man”. The same “white man” you turned your children over to teach them.
I can say that in my household, my wife and I have taken the responsibility to teach our children about African, African-Canadian, African-Caribbean and African-American history and culture. For example, when we went to Nova Scotia for vacation this summer, my wife and I took them to the Black Cultural Center to expose them to African-Canadian history. We then went to patronize a restaurant in the community and also attended one of the historically black Baptist church that Sunday. We do regular African/Black history lessons and read books by and about African/Black people. My son has been to Jamaica to visit family twice and we are planning to take him and our daughter there next spring to visit their great grandmother before she passes on… God willing. Every morning on the way to school, my son and I go through this ritual… it’s our daily mantra:
Me: Where were you born?
Me: What is your heritage?
Me: Where are you ancestors from?
Me: Who you gonna marry?
Him: A smart, beautiful Black woman like mommy
Be forewarned! I became aware of this movement within the USA to challenge and ban books by and about African Americans. Check it out here. I have most of these books in my personal library, so my son and daughter will have access to them as they grow older. I am not aware that any of these books are apart of the Canadian educational system. However, I have no expectation that they would be. I have every expectation that my children will read everyone of them at home.
Piggybacking on my recent article “Eurocentric Brainwash: The Bain Of Black Existence In North America” I want to extend further thought on this topic.
Recently a feminist blogger, who shall remain nameless, published a critique on a chart topping pop song and displayed much angst about the supposed critical analysis of over indulgent Hip Hop and stereotypical Black High society.
Why has this gotten under my skin you ask? Because Black People do not enjoy or aspire to be blog fodder for people who have nothing to add to the advancement of Black People in North America other than opinion.
I have never considered myself a feminist, in fact, those who know me know that I am more of a Womanist than a feminist and it always grabs my attention when women who never extended an open invitation for Black Women at the table of sisterhood and solidarity suddenly jump on the bandwagon of cultural cohesion and race equality. It appears that it’s only a valid discussion when they have attention or something to garner for their interests.
Here’s my issue, we know that the feminist movement was designed to combat the oppression of females by males but; Black males haven’t systematically oppressed me and therefore I don’t see the value in misaligning myself with people who may in fact be working to oppress my brethren in the same ways that Black Women have been oppressed.
Call me old fashioned ladies but, in my version of a perfect world, I would be able to be at home every day raising, educating and supporting my children. My husband would come home to a hot meal promptly at 6pm and my full time job would be playing my traditional gender role as a wife, mother and woman of the community. Yes, people will argue that my backward thinking is foolish and obviously I have gained benefit from the feminist movement because in theory, I now have the “right” to be considered socially and politically equal to men BUT my “rights” to be considered socially and politically equal to those of white women have remained widely unchanged.
As you’ve likely deduced, my issue isn’t that the blogger came to the defense of Hip Hop and stereotypical Black High society (does this even exists other than at Snoop Lion’s house?) Many of us on the Black community have been asking some Hip Hop artists to try and be more socially responsible for a while now but that’s a whole other article! (Mostly because they have a vast platform and far reaching audience so, what better way of streaming social consciousness to young Black people?)
A public outcry of racism from a white looking Latina feminist supposedly depicted in a song is really what insults me. Black People and Black rappers aren’t one in the same. Black people are so much more than our musical contribution to globalized society. We are worth much more than a writer using us as a podium to further his or her own agenda of recognition or to advance their own status as a “freedom fighter” when they haven’t really done the work.
In terms of Black People, for eurocentrism, racism, imperialism and all the “isms” to unfurl, it will be on the backs, shoulders and consciousness of Black People. It is our duty to cohesively build communal and supportive systems of our own reckoning and of our own design. In order for white supremacy to end its reign, we must first detach ourselves from the belief that it’s a valid ideology in the first place. We must abandon the thought that it’s ok for others to come to our aid and rescue as it’s not in their best interests to do that for, we outnumber them. We are not a minority. This is not the work of a feminist, this is the work of Black Men and Black Women and Black Children to deconstruct together.
When it comes to social commentary, I’m pretty liberal but when it involves the pulling of the proverbial “race card” by a non-Black someone who appears white and I’m sure has received the privilege that comes along with that reality, I must call foul. Being overly “politically correct” on our behalf isn’t necessary. We do not need you for that. You aren’t Black so, who are you to define what Blacks define as racist? Isn’t that in itself an act of racism; Thinking that Blacks are inferior to you and cannot possibly formulate these conclusions for themselves? I’m a Black light skinned Sister, and I actually know what I’m talking about.
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.