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Affiong Southey advocates
The Afrikan Option
Replacing illusions with institutions
July/August 2005 Issue No. 23
In the promotion brochure issued by the Caribbean Historical Society to advertise the featured speaker, for its 23rd African Liberation Day Dinner, Sister Affiong Southey is described as a political scientist and lawyer by profession. She was also identified as a Nigerian-born activist who works as an international advocate and organizer; whose principal focus is Afrikan Liberation.
Unlike most Afrikan and Commonwealth attorneys-at-law, Affiong Southey is not prepared to lead her people down the illusionary path that makes them believe the British legal system is designed to protect their right to justice.
She is committed to her belief that the British legal system which has been imposed on the people of the Commonwealth stunts the growth of those states, Afrikan states in particular.
She is unapologetic about her criticism of the political leaders of those states who have failed to make the appropriate changes at the end of their colonial bondage. Sister Affiong reminded us that during the colonial period the people were alienated from the legal system. Their only affiliation was as a result of being a victim of the system.
She is disturbed that the Colonial legal system was left intact by those leaders who professed to have achieved independence for their country and their people.
"The symbols and substance of Colonialism have remained with us," she claims, and she is appalled that most of our people still resort to the Privy Council as our final Court of Appeal.
Instead of using her formal training as a lawyer to practice in Courts of the Commonwealth, Sister Affiong has chosen to utilize her professional expertise to advocate changes in the legal, political and economic system on an international level, while engaged in struggle for Afrikan liberation.
One of her more high profile projects was Jubilee 2000 which sought debt cancellation for developing nations on an international level from the G8 nations which own the IMF, the World Bank and The Paris Club.
The objective of the debt cancellation was to bring relief to nations whose economy were being destroyed and their people pauperized by the harsh economic conditions agreed on to secure the loan, and the equally drastic measures to ensure regular payments.
Haiti and Jamaica were two of the countries in the Caribbean that benefited from the Jubilee 2000 lobby. There were also countries on the Afrikan continent and other parts of the world, which sought relief via the project.
An advocate of the philosophy of Kwame N'krumah: Sister Affiong is determined to ensure that Afrikan people globally recognize that they must convert their present legal system from being a facilitator of the very spirit of colonialism which manipulate our economies for the benefit of others to a legal system which would protect the right of all Afrikans to determine their own economic and political policies.
Unreasonable and irrational economic conditions create social disorder and open the door for unjust legal systems to flourish. This is a fact, which is manifested, in the high percentage of Afrikan men in prisons throughout the world.
She has discovered that while in her country Nigeria, the prison populations are mostly based on class, in America and England race is the dominant factor. In fact the problem in England has become so terrible as it relates to prison space that the government is now utilising old Battle Ships as floating jails.
Sister Affiong also expressed her concerns on the negative effect of Western religion and the media on Afrikan civilizations on the Afrikan Continent and in the diaspora.
She condemned the continued efforts by practitioners of Western Religion to destroy Afrikan spirituality by describing it as being demonic. She said that even on the continent this false and unjust position is advocated.
Another equally disturbing factor that Sister Affiong is determined to address is the biased role of the Western media. The media promotes an anti-Afrikan position in most of its news, commentaries, documentaries and entertainment programming.
She says the anti-Afrikan position, which the media has maintained throughout its existence is a deliberate position designed to promote white supremacy against black inferiority. Therefore, it is only natural that they would promote Europe as a symbol of power and development.
Their movies even when shot in Afrika, portray Afrikans in a negative manner-a good example is the Tarzan series. Hollywood is a manifestation of the desperate attempt to keep the concept of white supremacy alive.
Western movies and television programmes transmit negative images of Afrikans on the continent to the Caribbean and vice versa. The continental Afrikan is portrayed as a jungle savage while those in America are inhabitants of ghettos plagued with drugs and guns. Those of us who live in the Caribbean are supposed to be just sitting on beaches waiting on white tourists to view our singing, drumming and dancing.
Communication and information will play a vital role in correcting distorted opinions of Afrika and her Diaspora. This is the view of Sister Affiong, who informs us that in Nigeria there is a newspaper culture among the people. There are many newspapers, most of which are owned by nationals.
Because the focus of most of those publications is locally influenced a visitor to Nigeria would be exposed to the various ethnic groups through their type of publications. There are also those, which project a nationalistic profile, which afford the readers a general view of the entire social, political and cultural fabric of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Sister Affiong advocates that Afrikan people universally have to establish new institutions and strengthen those that exist. Pan Afrikan Networks that are people based have to be established to refocus our educational system; our media must project conscious programmes.
She strongly advocated the establishment of community and Internet radios and gave an example of a community radio station in London called Galaxy which caters for positive and Afrikan conscious programming.
Art and culture are also identified by Sister Affiong as playing an integral role in Afrikan Liberation. She sees the need to refocus our cultural institutions, and developing for a for cultural exchange.
Politics and economics have been two of our weakest links in the chain of Afrikan liberation. As a consequence of those weaknesses, she has seen the need for progressive politics. This, she says, would create a harmonious atmosphere for trade between the continent and the diaspora.
She views it as paramount for the people to lobby their various governments both on the continent and the Diaspora to establish air and sea transport services to accommodate trade between our people. These links would allow us to harness the enormous resources, both human and natural existing on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
In dispelling the myth that Continental Afrikans are not the same as those in the diaspora: Sister Affiong's popular slogan is: "Your history cannot be told without me because I am part of your history, and my history cannot be told without you, because you are part of my history". In simple language, the slave ship that brought us here left a blood link in Afrika, which will never be broken.
Sister Affiong Southey remains committed to the principles of Afrikan liberation. She is aware of the need to be sincere in serving her people and not allowing alien institutions to impose their ideology on her or to engage in any acts of betrayal against her people. She stands illuminated by the lights of Afrikan liberation.
Copyright © 2005 The Afrikan Option