I Know You're Busy But...
by David Rambeau
I know you're busy but could you spare a moment to confront the genocide occurring in East Timor. Fr. Norm Thomas - you allowed your friend Al Gore to bogard your religious service recently to send his message to your congregation and through media to Catholics everywhere. It would thus be fair for you to call upon him to use his pulpit to call for protection, relief and justice for the people of East Timor, overwhelmingly Catholic and of African descent, who mirror your congregation.
Mayor Dennis Archer - Den-den - you went to Africa with Clinton and basked in the limelight. You went to the Million Man March and hollered your head off about black unity. The oppression of black people in East Timor provides you with an opportunity to speak out about beyond the safety of symbolic situations to one of critical moral and political importance. Rise to the occasion.
Congressmen John Conyers - You've worked on reparations and on the Haitian crisis. You've defended the President in his time of need. Now people in East Timor, as much as the Haitians, need your voice, your action and your influence with the President to help save them from total destruction. Make the call.
Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick - You have been influenced by the Pan-African doctrines of the Shrine of the Black Madonna. It is time to practice Pan-Africanism by making a statement and lending support to the defense of the people of East Timor who are being so graphically attacked by the Indonesian military and militias.
The Congressional Black Caucus - beyond the parties of the Black Caucus weekend, beyond the workshops, will you collectively take a position on the needs of African people in East Timor?
The Michigan Legislative Black Caucus - your fight against the forces of the Right who took away the vote of your constituents and deposed the elected Detroit School Board is the same force that is supporting the devastation of the people of East Timor.
Nationalist organizations, NBUF nationally, others locally. - You wear the dashikis and the cowrie shells and the mud-cloth, but where is your pan-africanism of awareness and protest against the genocide in East Timor? President Clinton - Ending of military assistance to a fascist, corrupt military is a beginning and twenty plus years overdue. Included should be the expulsion of any Indonesian military trainees in this country.
Democratic Presidential Candidates Bill Bradley, Al Gore - You will be campaigning in Detroit for the black vote. You must go beyond the boiler-plate rhetoric of "gonnas" and stale jokes that inundate presidential politics and deal with the real, in this case the genocide going on in East Timor.
African World Expo - It is time for the leaders of this annual event to come to some awareness that economic outreach and political awareness go hand in hand. Naïve or studied ignorance of the confluence of these forces will leave the business opportunists who attend your conferences ill-prepared for the social tumult found in developing countries. To ignore political oppression in Nigeria, Liberia, Angola, Rwanda and now East Timor in favor of narrowly focused business outreach is to waste one's time and efforts.
Civil Rights Organizations - It is long overdue for an awareness of the global issues of African people. The facile, after-the-fact support for human rights for African people in nations around the world
And to you, the unnamed readers of this article. To suspect that you and your families can stand outside the global tide of history without raising your voice and bending the least effort is in reality to defeat your dreams and your possibilities. The axiom, you will never be free until all people are free applies to East Timor as it has in every case of oppression of helpless people caught in the destructive tides of political history. Make your voices heard. Call the "leaders" listed about and others of your choice and express your desire to have them take a stand on this issue. Email your friends to seek out information about the catastrophe that is on-going in East Timor.
The scenes of children being lifted over razor wire into the U. N. compound, of unarmed men and women being beaten in the streets of Dili, East Timor is to remind one of the scenes of genocide from Rwanda, from Liberia, from Angola. It is unlikely that African people in these nations will be so oppressed and that we here will escape the wrath of evil that afflicts them.
Hence, it is in our interest to make the effort, to oppose the beasts that run rampant there, if only to prepare for the struggle that will ultimately be visited on us…here.