President Bush Visit to Africa : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

President Bush is scheduled to be in South Africa this evening and be officially welcomed by President Mbeki tomorrow. Pretoria, the Capital City of SA, is under the US security siege and the Sharton Hotel totally under its control. This visit follows another he made in Senegal, amid widespread protest against the foreign policy of the US, playing the role of a global cop. Former President, Mr. Mandela, has repeatedly refused to meet Pres. Bush and has been critical of him even to this day.

I am aware that four leading advocacy organisations based in Washington have been critical of his visit to the five African countries. Their critique goes to the extent of branding Pres. Bush's aid to Africa as a "cruel hoax."

What, in your opinion, is President Bush intending to achieve when he, all along, had never prioritised Africa in his plans?

-- Anonymous, July 08, 2003


President Bush is the first "Republican" president to ever visit the continent of Africa and he is only one of three U.S. Presidents who have ever visited the Continent. President Bush during his campaign repeatedly made reference to the "Nation of Africa" which is an indication of the level of importance the "CONTINENT" had on his list.

with the surge of oil discovery in West Africa specifically Nigeria, I must question his motives. The Western world seem to be professionals in the repeatedly stripping or rape of African Resources. ie, Gold & Diamonds. I am very suspicious.

With this said, I am very disappointed in the relationship between the African people and African Americans, why aren't we saying more about the state of OUR Motherland? Why aren't we taking trips there? Why aren't we connected? The African Continent has always been low on America's Agenda.

I am also disturbed that the major portion of President Bush's speach in Senegal dealt with "slavery". They (white politicians) constantly want to throw up how they stole and tortured our people instead of dealing with Reparatory issues. That's what this is really about. The West must make amends for what they have done to Our people in America and the Continent.

-- Anonymous, July 08, 2003

Rev. Klass thank you for letting us know what the reception is of President Bush in Senegal and in S.A. we in America are not getting that info. I watch the BBC news in the evening to get news from Africa. I personally cannot figure out what President Bush is trying to accomplish, he has promised aid to African countries, I truly hope he gives it. There are those who think he is doing this to get the african-american vote for his presidential election next year. I don't really believe that for the majority of african-americans did not vote for him the last time and probably will not vote for him again.

Please keep us posted regarding what he says in south africa, and God bless you, it is always good to hear from you!

-- Anonymous, July 08, 2003

As much as I respect and admire Mr. Mandela, he is wrong in his opposition to President Bush, our president. Fortunately our president does not allow public opinion to sway his judgement, contray to his predecessor. It is amazing to me that the majority of black folk are still mired in the 2000 election, opposing President Bush on every issue while the majority of white democrats have long since dropped the issue. While the Church of God leadership embraces and benefits from the iniatives by President Bush, our leadership makes jokes and continues to fight him. At some point, we must recognize that he is our president now . . . and unless a disaster occurs, he will be our president until 2008. I expect that Africans will see his visit differently, but not necessarily better than the reporters traveling with him.

Be Blessed

Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, July 08, 2003

The Economist and WSJ had great articles on Bush and the US role in Liberia. Why do we always doubt the honor of Republicans but never the Democrats? Besides "watermelon and fried chicken" what have the Democrats done for us as a people? And don't give me the tired retoric on the Civil Rights initiatives, Southern Democrats led by Al Gore SR. fought every one of them. Without Republicans pushing and voting for them they would never have passed in the first place. George Bush does not need our votes he has already won without them. I believe he geniunely wants to assist Africa because it is in our best interests. If it is oil, so what, how many of us are willing to stop driving our cars,and using plastics and other oil based products to stop our dependence on oil? What us give up our Benz and Caddie I think not. Bush appointed the two highest ranking African Americans ever in his administration. He did not do it because they were Black and he needed our votes. He did it because they were the best people for the job. Our first "black president" Bill Clinton had no African Americans in his inner circle of decision makers and did nothing besides create commissions to study the problems in Africa. He provided no assistance. President Mandala needs to be quiet and accept assistance when it is offered. He did nothing to help stem the tide of AIDS in his country. It is easy to take pot shots at Bush and wonder what his motives are. Unless you can prove factually that they are not good why criticize. Bush claims to be born again. Perhaps he is allowing his conscience not opinion polls to guide his decision making.

-- Anonymous, July 08, 2003

Bush touches down in SA amid tight security Pretoria's Air Force Base Waterkloof was decidedly chilly, but US President George W Bush received a warm welcome. The US presidential aircraft, Air Force One, touched down at 10.56pm last night. Three vehicles with South African and US special-forces troops raced down the tarmac behind Bush's aircraft, and a helicopter hovered to the east of the runway.

A South African presidential honour guard then marched onto the apron and took up position in front of Air Force One as a red carpet was rolled out.

US ambassador Cameron Hume stepped onto the aircraft first to welcome Bush, his wife Laura, US Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, in keeping with protocol.

Two stretch limousines pulled up at the red carpet, where Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma - who had flown in from the African Union summit in Maputo only a few hours earlier - stood by in the freezing cold.

She was accompanied by Foreign Affairs chief of protocol Billy Modise and deputy director-general for the Americas and Europe Abdul Minty, Tshwane mayor Smangaliso Mkhatshwa and Waterkloof officer commanding Brigadier-General Rod Penhall.

Bush stepped out of his aircraft at 11.05pm, with his wife holding his right hand. He waved for the cameras before walking down the steps onto the red carpet, where he had a brief conversation with the welcoming party.

He then stepped into a limousine and was whisked away in a 21-vehicle convoy to the Sheraton Hotel in central Pretoria. The road all the way to the hotel was lined with police vehicles, their lights flashing.

Security in and around Waterkloof had been ultra-tight, with the entire area blocked off.

The base was crawling with US Secret Service agents, who searched everything from bags to the steps Bush would be using to alight from Air Force One.

Dozens of reporters, photographers and TV camera people had gathered to record the US president's arrival in South Africa - but in the end they caught only the briefest glimpse of the man.

Courtesy of The Star - By Jeremy Michaels

For More Visit

-- Anonymous, July 09, 2003

Dear Rev. Klaas and Rev. Mwandu,

Thank you very much for your observations about Mr. Bush's visit to Africa. One reason I like this discussion board is because the Internet technology allows us to hear how people from African countries view themselves and how they view America. Unfortunately, the American media is nothing more than a "propaganda" machine when it comes to issues.

Mr. Bush is visiting Africa merely for public relations purposes. He and his predecessor would not apologize to the world for America's complicity in the " Atlantic Slave Trade". Our ancestors were guilty in this crime against humanity. We are guilty also if we don't acknowledge that it was a crime against humanity. It's a sad commentary when a nation cannot say that it "apologizes" for its behaviour. I am certain that some senior diplomats on this board or some lawyers can explain why the US won't apologize. Will it make a case for reparations?

This move is purely a political move by the Republican party to sway more blacks to the Republican party. It is fact that 15% of black people vote Republican. Although I am an Independent, I must confess that I have voted Republican on occasion when the Democratic or Independent candidate appeared weaker. Only 50% of eligible voters in this country actually vote. The other 50% are too lazy to get registered to vote but then again if you live in Florida, your vote may be nullified, Who know's.


-- Anonymous, July 09, 2003

Brother Martin, You said something that needs to be published. Thank you. I couldn't have stated it better. This thing about forgiveness bothers me. Why are so many focused on the idea that our nation needs to apologize for slavery. I don't think apologies are needed or even possible for these reasons: Slavery was legal__the law of the land at that time. The American (US) people, England, France, and many other nations approved of slavery. Today, those same nations do NOT approve of slavery. We cannot apologize for the actions of our nation during that period. We can do what our president did; state the current position of this nation which he did without a doubt and as the leader of this nation he was right to do so. To apologize for history is to change history. Our people at that time had no desire to stop or apologize for enslaving black folk. They enjoyed it and its fruits. George Wallace and Strom repented and could offer apologies for thier behavior, but dead folk don't repent. Its too late, they can and will be judged. We can look back and say they were wrong in the strongest terms; but we can't apologize. For example, must we apologize for Prohibition? When Roe vs Wade is overturned, must we apologize for the millions of unborn dead children? I say no. What we must do is learn from our past and make sure that such things do not happen in the future. We need to listen to God who says, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay." Now if I believe that God so loved me enough to die for me, can I not trust Him to repay the generations that could justify enslaving thier brothers and sisters? Our generation will and is reaping the seeds sown by the Roe vs. Wade decision, but our children's children need not apologize for our sins.

Be Blessed

Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, July 09, 2003

Hello Rev. Paris,

In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention apologized to black people for their failure to speak out against slavery. The Assembly of God church had a " foot washing" ceremony where they apologized to black folk about their past racist deeds. For example, the Church of God in Christ emerged in the early 1900's during the rise of Pentecostal churches because the Assembly of God Church put black people out of them. Now I know why I have alway felt that there was something similar to worshipping in a Church of God in Christ Church and an Assembly of God Church. It is my belief that these denominations were moved by the Spirit of God to do so.

Will someone out there tell me why this nation is so afraid of saying or making a statement apologizing for slavery to black people in America? It is a pitiful commentary on human nature that so much rhetoric and deliberations have to occur before a nation can say we apologize to the human family for our crimes against Africans during the period 1607 to 1865. I recommend that the US make the following apology.

We the people of the United States apologize to all of humanity for our complicity in the Atlantic Slave Trade during the period 1607 to 1865. It was during this period that 100,000 Africans per year from Senegal to Cameroon and parts of central Africa including Angola were forcibly taken from their native land. They were placed in the hulls of ships and forced to lay there on a 3 month journey to America. Many of them were murdered, raped, and tortured, and ultimately thrown into the sea.

Upon arrival in America, many of these Africans were forced to work for over 244 years without compensation. They were beaten, raped, tortured, and sold. Many of their children from age 3 and above were sold while they were working in the fields. We the people of America are sorrowful that this low point in the history of mankind occurred. We beg for God's forgiveness and we ask for forgiveness of the people of the world for this our most heinous crime against humanity. We specifically ask forgiveness from all African-Americans.

I don't expect any type of simple apology from the US because it takes an individual or individuals with lofty morals and values to do so. In my estimation, only an individual like Jesus could do so. He said " Father forgive them for they know not what they do" when he was being killed. So why can't America at a minimum say I am sorry for what it did?


-- Anonymous, July 09, 2003

Rev. Klaas:

You are correct. Prior to President Bush's election he said Africa played no major role in America's plans. Now he has noted Africa's importance.

Unlike others, I place no confidence in any government officials, whether they be Democrat or Republican. There are no great White fathers-Clinton or Bush. They act as to what is expedient.

Clinton promised a lot on his trip to Africa but appropriated no money to fulfill any plans- all talk. Bush has allotted money to Africa although Congress has not yet approved it. During the winter Bush lied on Niger and found no shame. I am not sure he apologized to their government for the known uranium lie and bogus documentation. If 'Newsweek' knew the documents were forged and reported it prior to the war, the White House surely must have known.

Clinton and Bush bemoaned the pains of slavery but offered not a single apology to African Americans. The Bible states before you put down your offering you must make peace with your brother before a gift is accepted by God. What harm could it due to take a load of shame or hurt off of your brother's back? Presidents Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Grant knew of the horrors of slavery and wrote of the toll it would take on this country one day. Modern presidents do not acknowledge the writings of their predecessors on this subject at all.

Africa is important to Bush and America right now, particularly Nigeria. They are the world's 8th largest oil exporter. America is trying to become independent of Saudi oil and Nigeria is not a member of OPEC. Where OPEC gages how much oil it releases, Nigeria will produce as much as necesary to accumulate funds. It is economics- plain and simple.

Secondly, we know of the growing Muslim influence in Africa. If the militant Arab Muslims were to get hold of African wealth, i.e., oils, gems, lands, etc. it would serve their purpose well. As long as there are so many unstable governments on the continent militant Muslim extremists can get a foot in the door.

We need to pray for our people and stop looking to politicians to solve our problems. I am not saying politicians are bad and unredeemable. What I do say is that they look to the interests of their parties and to public opinion.

We as a people, African and African American, must rely on the strength and righteousness of God to get us through this turmoil. It never occurred to me until now the grace that God has given us. He gave us strong minds, bodies, wills and faith to see generations through in America. He gave Africans the same and also beauty, grace, and the wisdom of the ages and beautiful generous bountiful land. God will see us through. God bless.

-- Anonymous, July 09, 2003

In my opinion Rev. Alton Paris is so wrong in his blid patriotism. The fact that apartheid was legislated in Africa, makes it morally acceptable. And the same is true about slave trade! Period! And with regard to President Bush and the Republican Party, I still can't appreciated how African-Americans can belong this party - these are merely sell-outs! Period. African-Americans are a racial minority and must unite as a block in the Democratic Party. Until President Bush show proof of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the American government (and the American people) have done another gross human rights and international law violations in Iraq! Period. Might does not mean right! The fact of the matter is that overwhelming countries in the world are becoming more and more anti-USA, and it has do to with American Foreign Policy, which does not have permanent friends, but only interests. All these governments American topple today, were put in power by the USA. The record is clear! And the American president's visit to southern Africa is nothing more or less than a public relations exercise.

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2003

I am really overwhelmed by your responses to the question and very grateful for your insights.

Meanwhile, President Bush met with President Mbeki yesterday and will meet with President Mogae of Botswana, today. SA is his temporary home until tomorrow morning when he leaves for Uganda.

The meeting of the two Presidents took place amid protests by thousands of people in Cape Town and in Pretoria, in the vicinity of the US embassy.

President Bush proceeded to make the promises of the USD 15 billion, for a period of 5 years, urging the SA government to submit a proposal on how best it will use the funds for awareness, prevent and treatment. Yet, it turns out that the promise has not be sanctioned by the US Congress and the Republicans cannot guarantee full funding of the promise, considering the overwhelming unexpected expenditure incurred for the global war against terror, especially in Iraq.

Exciting outcome: they agree on the approach of "quiet diplomacy" undertaken by SA in relation to Zimbabwe. In fact, President Bush has expressed his confidence on President Mbeki. But, after the meeting, through State Secretay Collin Powell, we learn that the US want President Mugabe out of office. Another proposed "regime change" in Africa, by the US regime.

The four leading advocacy organisations I referred to are Africa Action, 50 Years is Enough, TransAfrica Forum and the Foreign Policy in Focus.

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2003

By Dana Milbank and Emily Wax Washington Post Staff Writers Thursday, July 10, 2003; Page A18

PRETORIA, South Africa, July 9 -- President Bush received a cool reception today in the capital of Africa's largest economic power, as opinion leaders here and across the continent complained about his policies on Iraq, AIDS and the International Criminal Court.

Bush has come to this long-struggling region with the promise of billions of dollars for development, disease-fighting and counter- terrorism efforts, and he carries the prestige of making only the third sub-Saharan Africa tour by a U.S. president. But Africans have responded with anti-Bush demonstrations, diplomatic snubs and critical media coverage.

South Africa's revered former president, Nelson Mandela, who sharply criticized Bush on Iraq and once said Bush "cannot think properly," arranged to be out of the country while Bush is here.

The country's dominant political party, the African National Congress, led a 2,000-person march to the U.S. Embassy today in protest of Bush's visit. Hundreds more marched in Cape Town. President Thabo Mbeki left the country after a half-day with Bush to attend the 52-nation African Union meeting in Mozambique.

At a news conference today, Bush and Mbeki emphasized their common ground while avoiding differences on such contentious issues as Zimbabwe's leadership, AIDS and Iraq. Mbeki told Bush in a luncheon toast that "we would not but receive you as a friend and an honored guest," adding: "We're greatly strengthened, Mr. President, by the knowledge that we have you as our partner and friend."

When reporters quizzed Bush and Mbeki about their differences over Zimbabwe -- Bush has been highly critical of President Robert Mugabe while Mbeki has sought to negotiate with the authoritarian ruler to end violence there -- Bush said the reporters were trying to "create tensions which don't exist."

The Bush administration has called on African states to pressure Mugabe's oppressive government to install political reforms; Mbeki has resisted doing so. "We share the same objectives. The president is the most involved," Bush said, adding that he had no intention of "second-guessing his tactics." Still, while calling Mbeki an "honest broker," Bush said he would continue "to speak out" on the subject.

Mbeki avoided any mention of AIDS, an epidemic ravaging his country, in his opening statement outlining his discussions with Bush. A senior Bush aide said the two leaders did not discuss the war in Iraq, the administration's move last week to cut off military funding for South Africa because of its refusal to exempt U.S. citizens from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court or Mbeki's widely reported statements disputing the cause of AIDS.

Bush was Mbeki's guest at a luncheon for about 250 people, where he dined on ostrich consomme and lamb, and he toured the assembly line at a Ford Motor Co. plant, where he sought to emphasize the company's work against AIDS during a discussion with employees. Bush had intended to go to a South African military base, but that was dropped in favor of the visit to the Ford plant. The Star, a South African newspaper, quoted South African government sources as saying the Americans were "too embarrassed" to proceed with the visit to the base, because in recent days the administration cut military aid to South Africa and other countries that did not agree to exempt U.S. citizens from prosecution before an International Criminal Court.

An administration official said Bush "simply decided he wanted to go to the Ford plant." Senegal and Botswana agreed to the exemptions, provoking some grumbling here that Bush bought their support with military aid and a presidential visit.

Despite Mbeki's cordial embrace of Bush, his African National Congress is protesting the president's visit. According to the Sowetan, a South African newspaper, a number of members of parliament and other politicians "snubbed invites" from Mbeki to lunch with Bush.

The reception for Bush in Africa is not as overtly hostile as those he has received in such places as Germany, where tens of thousands filled the streets to protest what they called his unilateralist and militaristic policies. At the same time, however, the reception contrasted markedly with the large and adoring crowds that greeted former president Bill Clinton five years ago; some still have photos of Clinton in their homes.

In Uganda, where Bush will go briefly on Friday, people say they are proud and happy to have an American president visit. But they see Bush's interest in Africa as simply part of his war against terrorism. Already, commentators in newspapers and on the radio in Uganda have accused him of not caring about Africans.

"Sure, Bush is coming to visit our AIDS clinic -- and he will be here for a whole four hours," said Wafula Oguttu, editor in chief of The Monitor, Uganda's well-regarded independent newspaper. "But we all know it all has to do with fighting terrorism. His AIDS money is trying to buy Africa. That is what everyone is saying." Sitting in the busy newsroom in the capital city of Kampala, Oguttu said Africans were also greeting Bush with suspicion because he acted "tyrannically" in defying the will of other nations by going to war in Iraq.

In Nairobi, which was scheduled to be part of Bush's trip before it was postponed in January, Kenyans said they were angry that Bush was not going to visit the African victims of terrorist attacks in last year's bombing of a Mombasa hotel or the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in 1998.

"It is true Bush is going to spend a sum of money . . . surpassing any his predecessors committed to Africa, and yet he will never be liked on this continent," read an editorial in The Nation, Kenya's influential daily. "In Kenya especially, America has become a dirty word. . . . Africans respect power, of course. But there is something they respect more. Wisdom. They are not sure what they are seeing in the White House represents anything close to that."

Even in Senegal, a West African country not known for anti- Americanism, about 50 demonstrators objected to Bush's visit before his arrival Monday with signs saying "Bush butcher" and "Receiving Bush is like making a pact with the devil." As the Bush motorcade traveled into the capital, Dakar, from the airport on Tuesday, hundreds of people lined the streets -- but they stood still, staring, not cheering.

Much of the criticism is the consequence of a post-Sept. 11 world in which security makes it difficult for Bush to interact with the masses. In Uganda, for example, local farmers are annoyed with Bush because they have been asked by municipal authorities in Entebbe to cut their trees for security reasons.

Other criticism comes from the nature of Bush's fast-paced sprint through Africa. Sitting in a cafe in downtown Kampala, Agnes Tiisa, a station manager at Mama FM, a popular women's radio station, complained that Bush was "going to come here for only four hours, praise AIDS and not help with any of our real problems. People feel he is using us to get reelected in his own country. We Africans care about spending time."

Wax reported from Kampala.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company"

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2003

I apologize. The above article was taken from the 'Washington Post.'

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2003

Recent events involving African protests and dissent regarding President Bush's African tour illustrate the irrationality of global politics. In the late 1990s two American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were attacked with lethal precision by Al Queda leaving many indigenous African personnel dead. Around the same time a pharmaceutical company in Sudan was "identified" by intelligence data as a front for chemical and germ warfare agents leading a hawkish- Democratic President (WJC) to send aerial attacks to a remote city outside of Khartoum. The mid 1990s witnessed one of the most henious civil wars since the Khymer Rouge Holocaust in Cambodia in 1976-78. The deaths of over 500,000 Burundi and Rwandan men women and children was considered NOT sufficient for the WJC Administration to take preemptive actions. The common denominator during these three crises in Africa was the ineptitude of not just WJC but Koffi Annan, the UN and Nelson Mandela. Yet, despite unmitigated death and suffering of black Africans during this period these gentlemen were treated with great exculpatory treatment by black Africans and black Americancs. Ironically, another US President (GWB) who is only trying to take decisive measures against AIDS to save lives on the continent, is viewed as persona non grata in the minds of the African elite. Nelson Mandela's peculiar "absence" during Bush's visit to SA was inexcusable, petty and profoundly disrespectful to President Thabo Mbeki. His derelict anti-Bush speech and now conduct illustrates a clear sign of his own diminished global influence. To elevate politics above the fundamental interests of your beloved country, particularly given SA's structural needs, is selfish and an act of betrayl towards those whom you confess to care for and love. QED

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2003

Amen & AMEN. The same can be said for the leadership of another organization that I am familiar with.

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2003

Are we also going to ask the Muslims and other Africans who sold us into slavery to apologize? According to friends I have from Africa they are the ones who sold us. Let's get real, there were no white folks running through the jungles of Africa collecting slaves all by them selves. They had help from the same Muslims and other Africans who continue to enslave their fellow Africans. We need to stop being hypocrites about these issues and examine all of the facts. Are we also going to ask the slave owners who were of African Descent in this country? Yes that is correct some of us also owned slaves and had plantations. In case you are a white liberal that is feeling guilty I forgive you, get over it and stop trying to tell me how bad you are, accept forgiveness and move on. The vast majoprity of whites in this country did not own slave so why does the entire country need to apologize. Some of the religious organizations need to apologize because they endorsed slavery and taught it was acceptable. By the way the Assembly of God was birthed out of the COGIC church, not the other way around. The AOG ministers were all ordained by Bishop Mason. One other thing if we get reparations will we stop complaining about what happened? If so I say pay them. Maybe then our race can stop wandering in the desert and enter into the promised land. If we are going to continue crying victim and bemoaning our past we do not need them and we will continue to wander around the mountain in the wilderness because we have the "grasshoper" mentality and will not take the promised greatness that is ours. Bro. Bill has made another great factual statement. Let's stop thinking with our emotions and examine the facts.

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2003

I contend that we were captured and sold as slaves because we were so easy to catch. In fact we captured our enemies (our black brothers) and sold them to the traders so that we could take thier stuff (women and property, etc.). Then when the traders came for more and we didn't have any captives, they took us. In other words this garbage about apologies for slavery is just that garbage. Get real and get over it.

Be Blessed

Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, July 11, 2003

Yes. An apology is due. An apology is due because of relegating a human being to 3/5ths of a man. To exact labor and use a person and treat them as an animal, an apology is due. To deny a person his dreams, an apology is due. For killing and torturing babies, an apology is due. For taking land and money and taxes from free black persons an apology is due. For raping women and forcing them to bare a stranger's child an apology is due. For raping married women and having a husband raise his master's child an apology is due. For a government of the land of the free and the home of the brave, and in site of the White House, to hold slaves for sale and to use them in the building of a nation, an apology is due. To force families to abandon one another and flee to other countries an apology is due. To deny education to tax paying citizens an apology is due. For states to use free labor an apology is due. To make folk kill themselves (and sometimes their families) an apology is due. To force men and women to buy their wives, husbands, children mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers an apology is due. To hunt folk down with dogs especially bred to kill slaves an apology is due. To do all of this and much more and say it is the will of God an apology is due. To bomb little girls in church buildings an apology is due. For killing people asking for the right to vote an apology is due. YES. AN APOLOGY IS DUE TO THE SURVIVORS.

-- Anonymous, July 11, 2003

Veageanece is mine, saith the Lord. I will repay. Can you trust Him to repay your enemies.

-- Anonymous, July 11, 2003

The problem with any type of official mea culpa is the awkward position it will present for those who "demand a public apology". This is why even the beloved first "Black President" NEVER gave it serious thought despite the creation of his so-called blue ribbon White House Committee on Race chaired by the eminent historian John Hope Franklin.

Many of us will never accept an apology about the Middle Passage and all of its attendant collateral damage because we are extremely distrustful about the sincerity of the statement. The easy part is to draft a Declaration of Fault about the TransAtlantic Slave Trade. The part that we as black folks steadfastly resist is replying by saying "I forgive You". But, herein lies the problem. Many of us are more Faustian than we like to believe. Once someone apologizes it is only courteous and customary to accept not reject the apology. Rejecting an apology will allow others to conclude that you are a cold, callous, selfish curmudgeon, conduct clearly unbecoming of those who especially profess to be Christian. Yet, practically every so-called black spokesperson will resist saying "I forgive you" because it will be percieved as closing this vile and ugly chapter of our past and letting the white @#*&^%#$@@*$% (pardon my French) off the hook.

The cottage-industry of victimology, which inundate, National and stalte legislative bodies, prestigious US universities and think- tanks, will no longer have any real intellectual and moral foundation leading to diminished prestige, status and real incomes. The "legacy of slavery" thesis justifies the victimology industry. Ironically, the "legacy of slavery" thesis actually enslaves both blacks and whites because it is the albatross which will never be untied around our individual and collective necks. Perhaps a re-reading of St. John 8:34-36 is long overdue.

The only logical conclusion therefore is an official apology coming from the Bush White House is nothing more than an exercise in futility. The vast majority of my black American family members and friends will choose to reject the overture in order to not be associated with the accusation that forgiving whitey signals racial betrayal. In the final analysis, the politics of racial confrontation is all that really matters. Few have the political courage to hold fast to the theology of redemption. The Gospel message of Christ as Redemer and Liberator is lost amidst rancorous racial rhetoric. QED

-- Anonymous, July 12, 2003

A simple apology from the American government will suffice for me. How much does it take to say...I am sorry. I was wrong. My behavior was not that of one nation under God.

Interestingly, St. George, in Philadelphia asked the various Methodist denominations to come to St. George's for a reconciliation service. They acknowledged the wrongs done by the Methodists church towards Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, and other Philadelphia blacks. They issued a simple apology on behalf of the church. Of course, they did not commit the act that caused the walk-out, and we cannot actually accept the apology for the hurts done to Richard and the rest, but it was a recognition of wrong inflicted on one brother to another brother. When you left the service you were actually freed because you recognized the humanity of the other. We were brothers and sisters again, not owing one another a thing. Sometimes something as simple as "I am sorry" can go along way.

-- Anonymous, July 14, 2003

Sister Mary,

I couldn't have stated my reasons for an apology better than you did in your previous post about the reasons to apologize. The fact of the matter is that too many of us African-Americans have become so accustomed to being treated like dirt that we have grown to accept it. Some of us don't even have enough self-love to think that yes this nation needs to apologize today for its crimes against humanity against our ancestors in this country.

I say every European, Carribean, African, and all other countries involved in the TransAtlantic Slave trade which began in 1440 should apologize to us. I say the catholic church should open up its Vatican files and confess its sins against our African ancestors because it is the right thing to do.


-- Anonymous, July 14, 2003

I know that African Americans were offered an apology by West Africans. Gates makes some mention of it in his PBS documentary. If memory serves well, the Vatican may have issued one as well. I am not sure. I know someone on this board knows.

-- Anonymous, July 14, 2003

Jazzman and all apology seekers -

You lay out an impressive case for issuing an apology yet no one seems to address the other part of the equation I stress about receiving an apology. Can you or any of your fellow apology seekers state with certainty that you will accept the apology, unconditionally? Are you willing to forgive and forget once the apology is proffered? If you respond by saying yes, case closed. If you have doubts, well, that's my point about those three little but powerful words - 'I forgive you'. QED

-- Anonymous, July 14, 2003

Let's assume that the descendents of every person involved in slavery, and every company that benefited from the slave trade apologized and begged forgiveness, do you think they would be forgiven by those seeking apologies? I don't think so. It seems to me that some of us enjoy being a victim. Folk, we are believers in God. Jeremiah 30:18 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob’s tents, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof. 19 And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. 20 Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them."

Now this is directed to Israel (Jacob). In Jesus, we are sons and daughters of Israel. If God does this for Israel, won't he do it for us? Please show me scriptural references supporting the sons and daughters apologizing for the sins of the fathers. I beleive the Mormon church had some method where they try to get forgiveness for the sins of the ancestors; and some pagan religions may do this. But we are the children of God! We don't do that. You forgive them and move on.

BE Blessed

-- Anonymous, July 14, 2003

Brother Bill:

The only thing I seek from my government is the simple words, "I am sorry." I have the capacity to forgive, and I can truthfully say it will be over. Rev. Paris in his remark after my statement quoted "vengeance is mine saith the Lord." I never sought vengeance I only asked for an apology. If we say that we are one nation under God then we must live by that creed. The bible says that if you have done ought to your brother, before you offer your gifts unto God, go to your brother and reconcile. If your brother rejects your offer you have done your part. I can only speak for me, but sometimes people make some of the most simple things so difficult.

I was privileged to hear of my family through a great uncle in Roanoke, VA. He taught me first hand of the impact slavery and its repercussions had on him. (His mother was a freed slave after the war.)He held no hate towards anyone, but I noticed he was always on guard, as if his family could be swept away from him at anytime. My lasting memory of him was reading his bible faithfully every morning and offering his prayers to God. He fought to protect his family and to keep us under his protective wing. I have never known any man to this very day with such wisdom, power and strength. He believed in God and in doing what was right. I want an apology for his mother, Mary Elizabeth Harris. She suffered many hurts, and somehow through him, I can feel the lash that scarred her. It is too deep for me to express the hurt, but it is there and I feel it. I am sorry to be emotional, but I am a human being, full 100%, not 3/5ths as was once claimed.

-- Anonymous, July 14, 2003

Jer 31:15 This is what the LORD says: “A cry of anguish is heard in Ramah—mourning and weeping unrestrained. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted—for her children are dead.”

This is the sound heard among my black brothers and sisters; crying, weeping, refusing to be comforted because of what was lost in slavery; even our children. There is no doubt we have been shaped by slavery. BUT this is what the Lord says:

"16 But now the LORD says, “Do not weep any longer, for I will reward you. Your children will come back to you from the distant land of the enemy. 17 There is hope for your future,” says the LORD. “Your children will come again to their own land.

Do not weep; I will reward you; Your children will come back; There is hope.

Stop crying for apologies; trust in God.

-- Anonymous, July 14, 2003

I am not crying for anything, and I place my trust in God. Still, I emphatically state Iam due an apology. I love you Rev. Paris, but you will not change my mind. The hypocrisy of the US, to make its claims as it does, as I state again, as one nation under God, makes me say I am due an apology. I am not asking for money or land. I am asking for an acknowledgement of wrong. If not for my ancestors than for what happened during my lifetime. I remember hoses, beatings, dogs turned loose. I remember travelling south in fear, and I remember living in the south in fear in the 80s, and the north ain't no picnic either. All this action against me and mine by a government. I want my apology. Now, I will survive if I don't get it, and in the mean time I do not hate, in fact, I love all people of all creeds. I believe the US is able to live out what it said it is meant to be. Nevertheless, I am due an apology.

-- Anonymous, July 14, 2003

In the 20th chapter of Genesis we read how Abraham lead Abimelech to believe Sarah was his sister. He did so thinking since Abimelech was not God fearing, his life would be in danger if he had nothing to offer.

God had to judge Abimelech and it would have been so much worse, but by the mercy of God he revealed to him in a dream that Sarah was Abraham's wife, and he needed to straighten things out with Abraham.

What does this have to do with this subject? This scripture clearly lets me know God requires that people acknowledge the error of their ways. Even when it is out of ignorance. If we want to be blessed we must do it God's way.

Abimelech not only gave Abraham back his wife, but sheep, oxen, men and women servants. If God requires this from a people that were not His, how much more will he require from ones who say they are a nation Under God.

To be sorry requires action. It is not mearly words. When you realize a wrong, you try to correct it. When you see an error you correct it with action. Yes, today no one is alive who had involvement with slavery, but Jim Crow era, and other misjustices continue to happen as proof that there is no real remorse over what happened.

The stigma of slavery is very close in the minds of people living today. The only way for it to begin to be erased is for the head to ensure equality for all people. I see some accomplishments in this area, but for every accomplishment, there is a block in the road. There is still an underlined prejudice in legislature that works to ensure that blacks do ot rise equal to whites. We've always had to work harder, and we must continue to do so, in order to prove them wrong. Some are succeeding, and others are still running into a planned scheme of resistance.

We forgive because many know not what they do, and we forgive, because unforgiveness is an open door to torment.

There is a good reason, however for a statement to be made in writing. When we consider in Ezra the story of the rebuilding of the temple, there were all sorts of opposition. Some were even among the Jews themselves. Complacency (we are familiar with that), fear, greed (they used material for the temple for themselves), and lack of funds (they used it up) All sound very familiar. BUT...this temple was to be built. Even after a new king was in placed, the records were searched, and in WRITING were orders for permition to rebuild, and it was to be taken care of, not at the expense of the Jews. When something is in writing, you can just about take it to the bank.

If this is ever done it writing, it's not to say that immediately things will change, but years from now someone may search the records and find that this agreement in writing has to be honored.

As far as reparations, I don't know how they can repay. If your house has been broken into and everything stolen, some things can be replaced, but those pictures, and momentums are lossed never to be returned. Actions speak louder than words.

I usually just read these post, but thank you for giving me opportunity to voice my opinion.


-- Anonymous, July 15, 2003

Hello Everyone,

Carmen, it's good to hear from you again. In response to Professor Dickens' question, if an apology is offered by the US for slavery. I will accept it but I will not forget about it. As Sister Mary so powerfully stated. If I offend someone, it is my duty to confess and ask for forgiveness. If the offended person does not forgive me then the onus is on that individual. We must forgive others because God has forgiven us.


-- Anonymous, July 16, 2003

Jazzman opines -

"We must forgive others because God has forgiven us." To that I say, Amen. The model prayer states, "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us". However, can we really forgive others if we refuse to forget? Something to think about. QED

-- Anonymous, July 16, 2003


I think we have to know what spirit is prompting the memory. I refuse to forget where God has brought me from. By remembering I am forever grateful and humble.

Sometimes even when we forgive, it's hard to forget. So I have learned to recognize the spirit that wants me to remember. Does it want to stir up strife again? If this is the case it's not God's Spirit. So we speak to that spirit and remind it that we have forgiven, and this is in God's hand.

There is the "Once burnt, twice learnt" saying. Sometimes it pays to remember as not to fall into the same trap. That doesn't mean you haven't forgiven, you are just excersing intellegence.


-- Anonymous, July 16, 2003

God gave us memory for a reason. I liken memory and forgiveness to a scar. Have you ever cut yourself deeply? The accident may have occurred years ago and the cut at the time caused much pain and easily bled. Over time the cut healed. Many years later you still have the scar from that cut, but the pain is gone. You remember the incident but no longer feel the pain.

-- Anonymous, July 16, 2003

Mary I like your analogy regarding a scar. 11 years ago, I had open heart surgery (5 by passes) from diabetes attacking my heart. I have a thick scar down the entire middle of my chest. I call it my victory zipper, for God spared my life and healed me. I also have scars on both of my legs from where they took veins for the by-pass. When people ask about the scars, it provides me an opportunity to share the power of God. I do not have pain anymore. But my scars are a daily reminder of the kindness of God and his incredible mercy.

One of the things that has not been talked about yet, is the transformative power of forgiveness on those who have committed injustices. Forgiveness is a two way street that can provide healing to both parties. One of the problems that I see in america is that many white people have FORGOTTEN about slavery and feel african- american should move on. There has never been an official apology from this country and until we as americans black and white deal with this painful aspect of our history we cannot go on.

I admire the Jews for they remember their holocaust victims, and they have special religious cermonies every year to honor those killed in the holocaust. This year my church participated in a jewish rememberance ceremony.

I live in a state that is 98 percent white, and I have had many opportunities to discuss race relations through my human rights organization. One of the things I have found in young white children, is an outrage that slavery happened. They cry, they mourn. And they ask why?

I grew up in a family and an era where we were told to bleach our skins, the dark relatives were treated like dirt. We as african- africans still battle with bouts of self hatred. There are those who try so hard to pretend everything is alright, they tell us to move on and forget slavery. As a therapist I have worked with many such people, and they share painful stories of a childhood where they were teased because of their dark skin. For them they compensated by negating their african american heritage. Slavery has harmed and damaged all of us, regardless of our color and until we talk about it openly, the wond will fester and never heal.

-- Anonymous, July 16, 2003

Rev. Rogers:

"When people ask about the scars, it provides me an opportunity to share the power of God. I do not have pain anymore. But my scars are a daily reminder of the kindness of God and his incredible mercy."

So beautifully stated. Thanks.

-- Anonymous, July 16, 2003

Mary: Nigeria IS a member of OPEC.

-- Anonymous, August 03, 2003

Thank you Bob. I stand corrected.

-- Anonymous, August 04, 2003

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