CHICAGO (FinalCall.com)–Momentum and support is increasing for efforts by a collective of Black leaders to inform the public about the effects the Iraq war will have on the Black community.
The Black Mobilization Committee Against the War has conducted several successful teach-in forums on the contradictions, concerns and impact of American foreign policies emerging from the invasion of Iraq. At the first meeting, organizers were only expecting 20 people but 200 showed up; 300 people attended the second forum.
“We realized that we had tapped into a reservoir of discontent,” attorney Lewis Meyers told The Final Call.
It all began six weeks ago, during a conversation between attorney Meyers and four Black women. They were discussing the high numbers of Black people reportedly opposed to the war in Iraq, specifically a poll conducted by the New York Times that indicated 80 percent of Black people were against the invasion of Iraq. Despite this apparent high consensus of disapproval, attorney Meyers observed that Black people have not been active or vocal in anti-war demonstrations.
“There was a conspicuous and visible lack of Black participation in the demonstrations. Black people know all too well America’s history of racism, militarism and colonization. Black people know the reality of America’s actions in the Middle East and Iraq,” the attorney explained. “Yet, they do not have the information to support what they viscerally know is right.”
Thus, the mobilization effort was born, operating with a two-part strategy. First, the committee wants to educate people about why they were right to oppose the war. Then, the committee works to inform and teach people what they could and should do.
Its official position is that the war is not over. It has just started. Members maintain that it is the beginning of American occupation in that region, in the same way that Africa and the Diaspora had been colonized and occupied.
“They are moving into the region that we historically call Northeast Africa, which holds Biblical value to Christians and Muslims. This also concerns the preservation of our religious antiquity,” said Rev. Al Sampson, whose Fernwood Methodist Church sponsored the second forum.
The war in Iraq marks a resurgence of the “insane policy of colonization” by the U.S., United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal, all countries that carved up Africa for their interests in the past, he said.
“They are just returning (dressed) in suits, with computers and satellites in the sky. But it’s the same pathology and we have to inform our people about the geo-political landscape in the world and how it affects them,” the reverend explained.
“It is lawlessness at its best. It is White supremacy at its best,” attorney Meyers said. “It’s absolutely embarrassing to me, as a lawyer, that people sit silently while America violates international law and the UN Charter, and imposes their values, morals and politics on people of color in the world.”
Committee members will dedicate themselves to mobilization efforts for the next 60 days. They have formulated booklets and position papers as teaching tools, and they plan on speaking throughout Chicago, conducting workshops, symposiums and forums to explain the reasons that compel opposition to this war effort.
“We will have an informed electorate comprised of academics, labor leaders, clergy, students, lawyers, media and grassroots activists that will present a unified, historic curriculum about foreign policy issues that will change the face of America,” Rev. Sampson said.