Crucial Conference! – Facing Reality
Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2002
by David Comissiong
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A MAJOR AFRICAN Diaspora “World Conference” will be held in Barbados during the month of October.
At present, literally hundreds of black activists from the continent of Africa, the United States, Canada, Britain, Latin America, Europe and the Caribbean are making preparations to journey to Barbados for the official Africans and African Descendants’ NGO follow-up conference to last year’s United Nations World Conference Against Racism.
The United Nations world conference, which was held in Durban, South Africa, ended with 168 governments committing themselves to the Durban Programme of Action, aimed at eradicating racism and racial inequalities.
In spite of all the deliberately negative propaganda put out by the Western media about the World Conference Against Racism, the fact is that this conference represents a major step forward for the people of Africa and the African diaspora, in their quest for justice and material development.
The amazing solidarity and political will demonstrated by the governments and non-government organisations (NGOs) of Africa, the Caribbean and other areas of the African diaspora, prevailed against the initial intransigence of the European governments of the so-called “Western world” and forced them to conceded that poverty and marginalisation which the African world is experiencing today can be traced right back to the systems of slavery and colonialism that Europe imposed upon Africa and her scattered sons and daughters.
Upon this central admission of historical guilt and responsibility was built a Programme of Action which purports to deal with such matters as – the HIV and health care crisis; youth development programmes; educational initiatives; business and economic development for black communities; reparations; racial profiling and other abuses of the criminal justice system; the negative impact of globalisation; the development of culturally sensitive media systems, and the list goes on.
The hundreds of representatives of black organisations who will be coming to Barbados in October, will develop a collective strategy to ensure that the Durban Programme of Action is implemented. The Barbados conference will also see the establishment of a permanent global Pan African coalition or institution.
Primary responsibility for the organising of this historic conference has been given to a newly-formed Barbadian organisation called the Congress Against Racism (Barbados) Inc., and made up of the Barbadian NGO delegates who participated in the Durban World Conference.
The president of the Congress Against Racism (B’dos) Inc. is the Rev. Aaron “Buddy” Larrier. Other members of the committee of management are Glenroy Straughn, Ras Iral Talma, Phillip Knight, Keturah Babb, Leroy Campbell and Marvene Holder.
The local organisers are however working in tandem with international organising committees in every major region of the African world.
Indeed, Rev. Larrier and I recently visited Britain to meet with and consult the British organisers – the Forum of African and African Descendants Against Racism, led by Ms Esther Standford, a barrier-at-law of Barbadian parentage.
We were able to visit three cities during our tour – London, Liverpool and Birmingham – and to hold meetings with a large variety of “black” and mainstream British organisations.
Larrier and I also spoke at three town-hall meetings and broadcast the message of the Barbados conference on such radio stations as the BBC – London; Radio Merseyside; Voice of Africa; Galaxy Community Station andIrie FM.
There is a palpable sense of excitement in the black community of Britain about our October conference. Britain is still to be cured of the disease of racism! In fact, the British Director of Public Prosecutions recently publicly admitted that Britain is a thoroughly racist society; infested with “institutionalised racism”.
Our brothers and sisters in Britain are therefore welcoming the opportunity to come to Barbados to build an international coalition to assist them in their struggle.
Reproduced from: Rastafari Speaks
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