Journal of the People’s Pastor

“Writing The History I’ve Lived, Living The History I Write!”


Darfur Diary: Part VII – My Journey To Chad, Central Africa
“A Day of Uncertainty”

Saturday, March 24, 2007 (Part A)

I was up at 5:30 am feeling surprisingly well. After finishing my journal entries, I went to breakfast. Yahya joined me later. He reported that he had been up all night. The airplane never felt the ground. In the light of the drastic development, we formulated our plans for the week:

First, we needed to secure reservations at a hotel. Our reservations at the Nevella ends today, really last night. We thought we would have departed.

We needed to meet President Deby. Yahya said the protocol officer had promised to come by the hotel this morning. We needed to complete travel arrangements for Abeche. Then, I came up with the idea to drive to Abeche. Yahya paused, pondering the idea. I continued, “It would be a chance to see the country.” We would return to N’djamena for a Wednesday night flight home. Yahya nodded agreement, and then counted up the cost. He calculated it would be less expensive. We agreed to explore the idea further later.

We needed to fix meeting times with other rebel leaders, once we were in Abeche. We needed to visit the refugee camp. This time we will not need to do any paperwork.

I needed to call home.

After we finished breakfast, we continued an interesting conversation. Yahya was in a talkative mood. As we surveyed the scene, the whiteness and poverty, he asked if I thought the poor blacks in the USA would ever launch and all out revolution? “No!” I said. “There are too many vents to siphon off the steam of discontent. And, the power elite has learned how to keep things in check. The closest we came to a revolution, or all out urban warfare, was during the 60ties. Cities across America exploded with violence. Then there are opportunities for improvement.” He said that one of the reasons there is lack of progress, even while immigrants are prospering, is that African Americans know little or next to nothing about import/export. A lot of money could be made just importing things. He related his own experience, at the same time, he emphasized the game was fixed by the people in power.

He referred to a conversation he had with a Sudan official regarding the Darfurian refugee camp. The official said he wanted the camps to remain till their children had the PhDs and Master degrees, in a word, until their children had the education and the skills, then they could abolish the camps. Yahya emphasized the point, “Once there is an elite structure, well-educated, while the majority remain ignorant or uneducated, they will be the only one who can run the country. Thus, they can turn the government over to whomever. They know they are the only ones who can run the country.” This is what had happened in many African countries. They are supposed to be free, yet other nationalities control and really own everything. It was a fascinating discussion. Yahya recalled the plea of the rebel leader Ibrahim. He said, “Send us some books, any kind, even Chinese.”

Then we grabbed a cab and headed for the airline office. We arrived at 9:30. It was closed. While we waited looking around and reflecting on a statement which I made, “In African, there is something for everybody, but the Africans.” We saw Asians, French, and Italians moving about with arrogance and distain, ordering, directing and lording it over Africans in every way.

Yahya pointed to the street that has a square, thriving streets with crowds of people. Even this early, stores were open, with promise of greater activity to come. Across the street was a huge crane digging up the ground. He said, “The Taiwanese and French bought the square, up to several blocks away, for 60 million dollars. Later they put it on the market for 600 millions. The government tried to buy it back, but the duo refused to sell it. The government threatened, the duo threatened back. They threatened to have the capitalist countries flex their muscles. The government backed down. The duo offered to sell the square for 1 billion dollars.

Looking up and down the street, Yahya said, “They own the streets, everything on both sides of the streets, and look, (pointing to the big rig - its name is CATSP, an English company) most Chadian can’t even read English.”

It is true all across Africa, Indians own Kenya, I’m told. Chinese have great influence in Africa and will gain more. They encourage their people to go abroad and start businesses. Then the government will give them support. The cheapest things in Africa are clothes, made by Chinese of course. Food, hotel and cars are very expensive. I remembered the Chinese support of Sudan, surely for investment reasons. “Yes,” I said, “And don’t forget the Arabs.” The Arabs have been the most subtle, treacherous, deceptive, and cruelest of our enemies. They kill us softly with their game. When it is convenient they boast about their Africanness and Islamic religion. But, their true colors shine through when their interest is challenged by Africans. All the Arabs stick together. Africans are divided. Arabs claim that since some Africans are their brothers and share Islam, there should be togetherness. (Interpreted, let us have our way.) Thus, African Muslims are divided; support for Arabs, into which most fit, with relatively few supporting their own African brothers and sisters.

To be continued…

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On June 19–20, 2008, in honor of Juneteenth, The Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA) will host its Annual Emancipation Day Celebration. At 12noon on the 20th there will be an Unveiling & Dedication of a Plaque marking the stop on the Underground Railroad at the Old Bridge Street Church, which served as a safe house for runner away slaves. Many invited guest speakers. A Luncheon (invitation only) will follow with Dr. Adelaide Sanford as the keynote speaker. At 7pm, there will be a musical concert, free to the public, at the House of the Lord Church featuring The House of the Lord Anointed Voices, the renowned singer, Minister Lawrence Craig, Bishop Nathaniel Townsley & The Gospel Jubilee and many others. Dinner will start at 5pm (No cost with reservation). Contact Peggy Iman Washington, the Program Coordinator, @ (718) 596-1991 or (718) 797-2184.

On Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 2pm the 30th Annual Randolph Evans Memorial Scholarship Awards Ceremony and Reception will be held at the House of the Lord Church. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke will be the keynote speaker.

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