In recent years we have seen a new generation of Africans emerging who are bravely confronting dictatorship and authoritarian rule in Africa. These are Africans who are ready to liberate Africa once and for all. The “independence” that was granted to African nations during the decolonization period was little more than a sham. For decades now Africa has been ruled by incompetent politicians who exploit their own people and enrich themselves as they continue to serve the former colonial powers, as well the United States and more recently China. This is what Jamaican economist George Beckford called “constitutional independence,” as opposed to real political independence.
Africans in the diaspora have experienced similar betrayals of our struggles for liberation. The Caribbean experienced the same sham independence that Africa experienced and African Americans are still struggling to assert their basic human rights 50 years after the civil rights movement. All over South America people of African descent face similar struggles regarding human rights abuses and being neglected, with the situation in Brazil being especially alarming. We are still collectively struggling, yet there are too few efforts being made to unify our global struggle for liberation. I would argue that the uprisings that have been taking place in Togo provide us with a great opportunity to start building that unity.
Togo is a great place to start for a number of reasons. The first of which is that for us in the diaspora that country is a mother country for many of us. So many Africans were stolen from Togo that the region of Africa where Togo is located was known as the “Slave Coast.”
Aside from the fact that many of us have roots that can be traced back to Togo, there is also the fact that Togo desperately needs international allies. The protests taking place in Togo have been going on since August of last year, yet there has been very little international coverage for the protests there and there has been virtually no international condemnation of the abuses being inflicted by the dictatorship in Togo. In fact, the West has supported Togo’s dictatorship since its inception and has always turned a blind eye to the abuses so long as the dictatorship serves Western interests. The most recent example of this was when Togo voted in favor of Israel and the United States at the United Nations, and was praised by the Trump administration for doing so.
The Africans in the United States must recognize that they are not only fighting for their own rights, but that they must fight for the rights of the people of Togo and the rest of Africa as well because we are all oppressed and neglected by the same forces. The same government that ignores the suffering and poverty of our people in the United States is the same government that is ignoring the suffering and poverty of our people in Togo and the rest of Africa. Even worse than this, the American government actively supports dictators like Faure Gnassingbé. Malcolm X once described Moise Tshombe of the Congo as being the lowest type of African that was ever born because of his role in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba and the destabilization of the Congo. Faure is that same type of African and the only reason why he has remained in power as long as he has is because foreign countries continue to support him.
We must start thinking of our struggle as a global one that goes beyond national borders, especially since our oppressors do not recognize national borders. Donald Trump denigrates Africa in the same way that he denigrates Haitians and African Americans. So it’s time we start recognizing that we not only share a common African ancestry, but we share the same struggle as well. It is for this reason that I am urging Africans throughout the diaspora to support the struggle being waged in Togo, as well as any other struggle being fought in Africa, and it is also my hope that our brothers and sisters in the motherland will do their part to support our struggles as well.