While most African Americans quietly accept insulting policies from the Obama Administration, like eliminating affirmative-action, many Africans loudly reject destructive policies emanating from the White House of the first American president of acknowledged African ancestry.
This criticism by Africans, rarely reported in U.S. media, is particularly harsh regarding the escalation of American military activities across their vast continent.
These escalations contradict Obama’s professions of positive changes in American policies that raised African expectations of more books not bombs.
Affiong L. Affiong, a Nigerian-born activist once imprisoned in her homeland for opposing human rights violations there, feels President Barack Obama (son of a Kenyan father) has not been good for Africa.
“I think Obama is the classic case of neo-colonialism,” said Affiong, during a recent interview in London. She is co-founder of the Moyo wa Taifa Pan Afrikan Women’s Solidarity Network. She splits her work life between London and Ghana.
American military activities on the African continent have escalated steadily under the Obama administration, which has authorized assaults against terrorists suspected of links to al Qaeda, enlarged the U.S. military command in Africa (AFRICOM) and joined the British and the French in overthrowing Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi this year.
President Obama justified America’s billion-dollar-plus involvement in the assault against oil-rich Libya on humanitarian grounds, claiming that bombing prevented Gaddafi from massacring his opponents.
Yet the Libyan rebels Obama and NATO supports — including some rebel leaders with long-standing al Qaeda links — have themselves engaged in a horrific racist massacre of Black Libyans and African migrant workers in that country, all without strong condemnation from the White House, which has made no effort to end those atrocities.
“Yesterday it was slavery, then colonialism and now the dictators Obama, [British Prime Minister David] Cameroon and [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy are attempting to colonize Africa again,” said Made’ Gueu.
Gueu is a member of an organization opposed to the French removal this year of the elected president of the Ivory Coast in West Africa, a move backed by the Obama administration.
Many Africans and others see escalations in American military activity as a projection of Western power directed toward securing tighter dominance over Africa’s vast mineral wealth.
African critics reject contentions by the U.S. and its European allies that military escalation promotes democracy.
“Africa is the new battle ground in a war over resources between the West and China,” a member of the African Peoples Socialist Party said during an early November protest at the American Embassy in London.
At the end of October the American news service Associated Press released an article detailing increased U.S. military activities across the African continent supposedly designed to “fight militants.”
Those activities, the article stated, include supplying military equipment, providing intelligence and expending “tens of millions of dollars” — dollars the White House claims are not available for targeted initiatives for decreasing historic high rates of unemployment and mortgage foreclosures among Blacks.
That article referenced $45-million in military equipment sent to Uganda and Burundi to support their forces in Somalia plus $24-million to Kenya, which invaded southern Somalia near the end of October.
Kenyan officials said their incursion in Somalia is to end murderous cross-border raids by the Al-Shabaab militia, an organization in Somalia that U.S. officials link to al Qaeda.
Duale Yusuf, an activist from Somalia, denounced destructive U.S. foreign policy in Somalia during that November protest outside the American Embassy in London.
“There is a Guantanamo Bay prison in Mogadishu where thousands of Somalis are being tortured. American drones are killing people in Somalia. We don’t need drones, we need peace, like in America and Britain,” said Yusuf, criticizing the latest upsurge in American military activity in his homeland in the Horn of Africa.
“We tell Obama to remove the CIA from Mogadishu where they are torturing people. We are not terrorists in Somalia. We want schools, and hospitals like in the U.S. and Britain,” Yusuf said about his homeland wrecked by twenty years of civil war following the over-throw of an American-aligned dictator in 1991.
The opinions about Obama Administration African policies expressed by activists like Affiong Affiong mirror sentiments expressed recently in an article co-authored by Bill Fletcher, the immediate past president of the Afro-American lobbying/policy group Trans Africa Forum.
Fletcher wrote: “…there is something very wrong in Obama’s foreign policy” criticizing U.S. military aggression in regions ranging from Africa to Afghanistan and beyond under President Obama.
Fletcher’s article pointedly criticized the lack of “outcry” from black Americans about Obama Administration foreign policy, noting that historically blacks “regularly criticize and openly oppose interventionist activities by the USA…”
Fletcher blames this “relative silence” on the paralysis stalking the African-American body politic stemming from a misplaced belief that criticizing Obama is “somehow disloyal.”
Similar to Fletcher’s criticism, some Africans are critical of their leaders.
The Ghana-based Coalition Against Foreign Military Intervention In Africa, a group Alliong works with, criticizes Africa’s leaders and the African Union for failing to “represent the people of Africa” against the resurgent domination efforts by America, Britain, France and other industrialized nations to monopolize Africa’s resources.
“To date, the performance of most African leaders has been nothing less than shameful,” stated a Coalition position paper, stressing an “indisputable” track record of European/American alliances in “staging coups [and] decimating economies [to] control African resources and its people.”
Linn Washington Jr. is a graduate of the Yale Law Journalism Program.