Tuesday, July 7, 2009

This Land is your land! Nana Akyea Mensah & Jean sing to welcome President Obama to Africa!



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    "Power concedes nothing without a demand."

    By ruby, June 17 at 10:12 am #

    (Unregistered commenter)

    Great thoughts on Obama Visit.

    Dear Friends,

    I am compliling some of the best quotes by Africans and friends of Africa on the visit. Please feel free to send me quotes you find worjth noting!

    Thanks again! Your usually warm cooperation, for which I am always grateful, is anticipated.

    Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro,


    |Facebook | Nana Akyea Mensah




    Kwesi Pratt was one of the first to raise the alarm about oil and US military bases in Africa. In a 2007 interview he said:

    "Kwesi Pratt: I am very alarmed after reading what is called the Cheney Report. When Bush came to power, he set up a committee chaired by Dick Cheney his Vice President to assess America’s energy requirements up to the year 2015. The Cheney Report actually says that by the year 2015, twenty percent of American oil requirements will be supplied by West Africa and therefore it is important to maintain a foothold in West Africa in order to ensure that oil supplies from West Africa to the United States of America will not be interrupted.

    Consequently, the United States is planning to establish military bases across West Africa including Ghana. And I am very worried that at a time when we are celebrating our national independence we are going to tolerate the establishment of foreign military bases, especially American military bases on our soil. The great Osageyfo Dr. Nkrumah, Malcolm X, Kwame Ture, and all of them emphasized that Africa ought to be free from foreign military bases and weapons of mass destruction. We cannot allow that dream to die.

    That is why, it is important for us to resist all attempts to establish foreign military bases on African soil especially forces of the United States, must be prevented from establishing on African soil. Clearly because they are not on African soil to protect our interests, they are on African soil to facilitate the exploitation of our resources for the benefit of the tiny minority that controls the wealth of the American people and who are sitting on top of this world exploiting the Chicanos, exploiting the African Americans and exploiting all of the other independent and healthy forces in the United States on America. We have to resist all attempts to build U.S. military bases in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa."

    Kwesi Pratt, Jnr

    Interview, Monday, May 07, 2007

    "And so far, in terms of policies, Obama has shown himself to be a willing and enthusiastic supporter of the entrenced elites, what Kwesi Pratt calls the tiny minority that controls the wealth of the American people. Obama has allowed a certain amount of democracy theater in his political manueverings so far. But he has carefully closed off any areas of debate he does not wish to entertain. And President Obama seems to be continuing all the same military imperialist programs initiated by Mr. Bush.

    I have been an enthusiastic supporter of President Obama. I made my own small contributions to his campaign. He is wildly and justifiably popular in Ghana and Africa. This should not blind us to what is going on. And it should not stop us from exercising our democratic responsibility to speak out and say what we see."

    Xcroc, June 3, 2009.


    President Obama Heads to Ghana On First Official Trip to Sub-Saharan Africa
    Posted: 16 July 2009 00:00

    President Obama arrives in Ghana today on his first official trip to sub-Saharan Africa since becoming President. He is expected to meet Ghana"s President John Atta-Mill today and speak to the country"s parliament on Saturday in what is expected to be a major policy address outlining US policy on Africa. Why Ghana? Some say it has to do the recent discovery of oil in Ghana. A quarter of US oil imports are expected to come from West Africa by 2015, according to estimates by National Intelligence Council.[includes rush transcript]


    Kwesi Pratt, Editor of "The Insight", a newspaper based in Accra, Ghana.

    Nii Akuetteh, Independent Africa policy analyst and researcher. He is the former executive director of the Washington DC-based group, Africa Action.

    Rush Transcript

    JUAN GONZALEZ: President Obama arrives in Ghana today on his first official trip to sub-Saharan Africa since becoming president. He is expected to meet Ghana's president John Atta-Mill today and to speak to the country's Parliament on Saturday in what is expected to be a major policy address outlining U.S. policy on Africa. As thousands in Ghana prepare for the arrival of the first African- American president of the United States, people across the continent are asking why Obama chose to visit Ghana and not, for example, his father's homeland of Kenya. When the trip was announced in May, the White House described Ghana as "trusted partner" and praised its sound governance and lasting development. Some commentators concur, pointing to Ghana's relative stability and democratic development. Others say it has more to do with the recent discovery of oil in Ghana and note that a quarter of U.S. oil exports [sic} {imports] are expected to come from west Africa by 2015, according to estimates by the National Intelligence Council.

    AMY GOODMAN: Well, today we host a discussion on President Obama's visit to Ghana and his administration's Africa policy with two leading analysts. Kwesi Pratt is a veteran Ghanaian journalist, editor of Insight newspaper, joining us on the line from the capital city of Accra in Ghana. And from Washington, D.C., we're joined by independent African policy analyst and former executive director of Africa Action, Nii Akuetteh, who also hails from Ghana. We welcome you both to "Democracy Now!" Let's begin with Kwesi Pratt in Accra. Can you talk about the preparations for and the expectations for the Obama family's visit to Ghana?

    KWESI PRATT:First of all, the expectations are very high. There are many people on the streets who believe that the Obama visit will resolve all the colonization and political problems of Ghana. The preparation is quite intense. Ten thousand police men and women have been mobilized to provide protection to Obama. And many of these [unintelligible] have lined the route from the airport to where he's likely to stay and the sole functions have been closed down until Sunday. So there's a lot of enthusiasm and the expectations are very high and the security preparations are unprecedented.

    AMY GOODMAN: Why do you think, and why are people saying in Ghana, that President Obama chose Ghana as the first sub-Saharan African nation to visit as the first African- American president?

    KWESI PRATT: The official reason has been given of Ghana's fledgling democracy, that the United States of America has a lot of confidence in Ghana's fledgling democracy. But all of us know that the main interest is oil. If you read the Cheney report, the Cheney report states very clearly that by 2015 American oil imports will move from 11% to 25%. The Cheney report also makes a recommendation for the establishment of military bases in order to protect American interests and American oil. For me these are the two key reasons why the United States and Obama are interested in this. It has nothing to do with democracy, but the preservation of American interests.

    JUAN GONZALEZ: Kwesi Pratt, just before President Obama was elected in November, the Bush administration finally created or established AFRICOM, the military command center for African of the United States military. But most of the countries in Africa refused to allow the U.S. to set it up in Africa itself. Only Liberia indicated a willingness to do so. Could you talk about what has been the reaction to the United States government, especially during the Bush administration, beginning to establish a military command in the continent?

    KWESI PRATT: I think the reaction has been largely negative. In Ghana, [unintelligible] against the establishment of any U.S. facility in Ghana, in any parts of Ghana. We do know that the Nigerian government has said it will not allow the establishment of any U.S. military facility in Nigeria or anywhere in west Africa. I think that as a result of this agitation, the U.S. administrations, including the Bush administration, have had to go easy on the drive to establish some military presence in Africa. In Ghana, I do not think there's any possibility of establishing such a presence, because it will be resisted and the resistance will be [unintelligible].

    AMY GOODMAN: And Nii Akuetteh, I wanted to get your response to President Obama's choice as Ghana. You have lived in the United States for decades, but you were born and Ghana.

    NII AKUETTEH: Yes, thank you very much for inviting me. Kwesi, it's good to hear you. I think that President Obama, it seems to me, picked Ghana for a number of different motives. I take Kwesi's point that the oil that has been discovered in Ghana is an attraction and the fact that the U.S. will be importing a lot more oil from west Africa within the next few years, that there are any number of studies saying that the United States should make sure that it protects that oil. Currently, a lot of the oil comes from Nigeria and we know that in southeastern Nigeria, where the oil is, there is a lot of agitation, even including some violence because oil companies from Shell to Chevron have been behaving in a predatory manner. Therefore, the oil is an issue, and the establishment of AFRICOM, where twisting arms of African governments to agree to host AFRICOM, has also been going on. I do support Kwesi. He's been leading the fight in Ghana to make sure that it doesn't come. But I will say that the democracy issue was also part of the calculation. Given my particular bias as an activist in Washington trying to make sure that the United States does the right thing in Africa, I mean, of course we need a lot of allies including media outlets like "Democracy Now!" So I think the democracy factor is one small factor and it is up to us in Washington and around the United States to make sure that it becomes bigger in the calculations of Mr. Obama. So it is up to us to push him. And because he himself has said it, and his staff in the White House also did say that democracy and governance in Ghana is the reason they chose Ghana, our strategy here in Washington is, okay, we will hold them to their words. We will make sure that any agreement they sign, U.S. policy, U.S. aid projects, put the priority on democracy and strengthening civil society. The president gave a very good speech, I thought, in Moscow a couple of days ago and talked about democracy as an instrument whereby countries commit progress, whereby they can admit their imperfections and work on those. He pointed out in the United States itself, when it was started, black people did not have any rights. He could not have been elected, but democracy made it easier for him to have been elected. We are going to hold him to his words. We are going to push him. As much as we think he has potential as an American president, it is our job, it is civil society's job, to make sure that his policies on Africa are driven by democratic ideals and not the long U.S. habit of supporting dictatorships across Africa, that he would not do that.

    JUAN GONZALEZ: Nii Akuetteh, what you think are the prospects for Ghana being able to avoid the worst aspects of what happened with the oil boom in Nigeria? The huge disparities in wealth? The endemic corruption that Nigeria is so noted for? Do you see the current government in Ghana making any steps to avoid those kinds of problems?

    NII AKUETTEH: I do see a few signs, but it is nowhere near what we need. You are right, that is such a grave danger. I have friends, Kwesi among them, and others, that point out the problem with Nigeria is not so much that Nigerians are a lot different from Ghanaians, but the fact that when there is a lot of wealth, then you get greed surfacing. Ghana compared to Nigeria has been relatively poor. Now that we are told that we have oil, our hope is that civil society will hold the government accountable. The fact that Ghana has begun a tradition of peaceful, democratic transition, is a good sign, but it is not sufficient. We have to work to strengthen civil society, to strengthen democracy because a number of experts keep saying that when third-world countries find oil and other natural resources, it is a resource case. I don't buy it. I think that is bunk. The problem is, if the country has strong democracy, you can have all the wealth it has and still be able to handle. I mean, the United States is fantastically endowed with a lot of resources, from gold to oil, you name it. But because the democracy here, while not perfect, it is pretty strong and there is strong civil society in the U.S. They make sure that the abuses connected with resource extraction are held down. So the problem is not that the resources occur, the problem is that we need to strengthen democracy and politicians do not want to strengthen democracy because they like the power they enjoy. It is up to journalists, it is up to civil society, it is up to activists to strengthen it. And frankly, the fact that you have courageous people, no matter how they are abused, like Kwesi, who will keep fighting the good fight. For me, it's a good sign, but we need more of them. Of course, the African diaspora here in the U.S., in the west and in Europe, also have a big responsibility to make sure that their governments and corporations that are based in the west do not behave badly in Africa. It is our job to make sure oil does not become a curse in Ghana.

    AMY GOODMAN: We're going to break and then come back. We want to get the full schedule of President Obama in Ghana. He'll be addressing the Ghanaian Parliament tomorrow. And also, talk about U.S.'s rival for African natural resources. Number 2 France has been replaced by China. We'll talk about Beijing's expansion in Africa. Stay with us.

    [music break]

    AMY GOODMAN: This is "Democracy Now!," democracynow.org, the War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman with Juan Gonzalez. Kwesi Pratt, speaking to you in the capital of Ghana, which is preparing for the first African- American President of the United States in his first trip to Sub-Saharan Africa, what is the schedule for this weekend?

    KWESI PRATT: He will be arriving today in the evening. He will be a having a short discussion with the president of Ghana[unintelligible]. Tomorrow morning, he will have breakfast with the president of Ghana and three former presidents and vice presidents in the castle [unintelligible]. And from there, he will go to a local clinic for an inspection. He will then fly to the central capital and with meet with the chiefs and people [unintelligible]. Then he will spend some inspecting [unintelligible]. He is also scheduled to deliver an important foreign-policy speech [unintelligible] in an international conference. Basically these are the things he'll be doing.

    JUAN GONAZALEZ: Kwesi Pratt, on another matter, in the G-8 summit, one of the things President Obama was able to get the European leaders to agree on was increasing sharply agricultural aid to less-developed countries. Any sense on your part whether this will have any major impact on Ghana or other countries in Africa?

    KWESI PRATT: [unintelligible] What we need in the developing world, is not gifts and not aid. What we need must be fair trade. If we could get equitable prices for our products and so on, we could make it on our own. In fact if the World Bank and [unintelligible] stop insisting on the subsidies of agriculture, we could then make it. The problem with African agriculture, and agriculture generally in the third world, is while the developing countries through the execution insist that [unintelligible] they keep subsidizing the products. The end result is that are products are priced much higher than products from Europe and North America and so on. So, what I think we need to look at is institutional changes to change the global trading system to remove the conditions that are imposed by the World Bank and the IMF and if that is done we can stand on their own. There is no reason for the poverty we receive in Africa. Africa is one of the most resourceful countries on the continent. [unintelligible] Some estimates say, Africa has about forty percent of the world's resources. And therefore there's no reason why Africa should continue to be poor.

    AMY GOODMAN: Nii Akuetteh, lets put the question of the G8 summit to you, particularly the leaders pledging twelve billions of dollars for the food initiative?

    NII AKUETTEH: I think this is the case where the cliché, "where the devil is in the details" is really important. Agricultural trade, as Kwesi hinted, has been really detrimental for Africa. We know that the western countries subsidize their agriculture and dump on the price resources in Africa under the guise of food aid. So, whenever we hear food aid, our ears should peck up, we should become more vigilant. So we have to read very carefully what it is that is in this package, what it is that is being promised. The other problem with any promises from the G-8 is that there are all kinds of shenanigans. Sometimes the repackage old money include new money. Whether it is old or new, they hardly deliver what it is they promise. They just read out fancy announcements for the sake of, Amy, people like you, the press, to say, we are doing so much to help Africa. When it comes to actually delivering what they promise, that's a problem. The third problem is that there's the problem, the question of genetically modified food. And whether multinational corporations are going to s control going things like seeds that African farmers plant. So, I think it is important to take that agreement from the G-8 to put it under the microscope to examine it very, very carefully, and to have a lot of strong dialogue about changes that it would need. And finally, I also understand what they promised is less than what Africa needs and I understand their $3 billion short. What we have there, you really cannot pronounce on it until you look at all the details. If the details are not right, it could do more harm than good.

    AMY GOODMAN: Kwesi Pratt, we want to thank you for joining us from Akra. We will continue to cover the president's trip next week on "democracy now!" Kwesi Pratt, editor of "The Insight" newspaper in Akra Ghana" and, Nii, we'd like you to stay with us as we turn to the issue of China's economic expansion across Africa

    July 10, 2009

    Source: http://www.democracynow.org



    Well, I'll hear it, sir: yet you must not think to
    fob off our disgrace with a tale: but, an 't please...

    - First Citizen, "Coriolanus" I,1,85

    This Land Is Your Land!

    On this special occasion of the vist to Ghana by the first black president of USA, this song is dedicated to the audacity of hope that catapulted him to power. I dedicate it also to honour the late Nana Akyea Mensah of Apedwa, and all the victims of human sacrifice, ritual murder, extra-judicial killings and political disappearances, water-boarding, torture, our young people who perish on the Mediterranean seas in search of imaginary El Doradoes, those who could not make it because of death by thirst on the Sahara, those who end up detention centres for illegal immigrants, and children who die starving; may the gods forgive me if I forgot the slaves! In the desperate hope that we can make some difference for tomorrows victims!

    Please join me in singing to welcome our brother!
    Nana Akyea Mensah Sings
    This land is your land.mp3
    2840K Play Download

    This Land Is Your Land!

    As I go walking on that ribbon of highway,
    I saw above me an endless sky way,
    I saw below me that golden valley,
    This land was made for you and me!

    This land is your land, This land is my land,
    From Sharm el-Sheikh to the Atlantic Ocean,
    From Madagascar to the Straight of Gibraltar,
    This land was made for you and me!

    I have roamed and rambled,
    And I followed my footsteps,
    Through the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts,
    And all around me, a voice was sounding,
    This land was made for you and me!

    In the squares of the city, under the shadows of the steeple,
    At the relief office, I saw my people.
    As they stood there hungry, I stood there whistling.
    This land was made for you and me!

    A great high wall there tried to stop me,
    A great big sign there said private property,
    But on the other side, it didn't say nothing!
    That side was made for you and me!

    Nobody living can ever stop me!
    As I go walking on freedom's high way,
    Nobody living can make me turn back!
    This land was made for you and me!

    This land is my land this land is your land!
    From California to the New York island,
    From Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters,
    This land was made for you and me!


    It looks like Obama is marching in zombie lockstep with Bush policy in Somalia and Honduras. It also looks like a Great Leap Backward to the days of US suported military coups in Latin America, and despots propped up by US aid in Africa. In both cases the United States provides the military training and the weapons.

    follow me over the cliff

    Follow me!

    In Honduras, the leader of the coup:
    … General Vasquez attended the School of the Americas and … a good part of the Honduran military were trained there and in its successor, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC).
    … the U.S. has a military base in Honduras, gives the Honduran military a few million dollars each year, and … most of the military equipment used against the people was from the U.S.
    … a group that openly supported the coup, “Paz and Democracia” (Peace and Democracy), received money from the USAID. (Eva Golinger reported that the USAID pumps more than 50 million dollars into the country each year.)
    … the immediate response from Washington was tepid and non-committal. … Dan Restrepo, the presidential advisor for Latin American affairs, said the administration was waiting to see how things would play out. (The response has been stronger since then, but still seems to lack the strength other America nations have put forward in their demands.)
    This is most unfortunate for the Obama administration, or for any US government and ongoing relations with Latin America. Like Africa, most people in Latin America want the military back in the barracks, and want democratic governments. A coup is not democracy. Supporting, or even tolerating a coup is a US blow against democracy. Eva Golinger writes: Yes, I know Fox News is not the best way to judge the political scene in the US, but this video clip is a hint into the way US media is now beginning to portray the coup events in... More...

    Nana Akyea's food for thought:


    TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, Jan. 30, 2009 – The commander of U.S. Southern Command arrived here yesterday to reaffirm the United States’ strategic partnership with Honduras and praise the solid bilateral and interagency cooperation that is delivering tangible success.
    Declaring an “excellent state of cooperation between our two militaries,” [Navy Adm. James G.] Stavridis lauded tremendous progress within Honduras’ 11,000-member military.
    “The future of national security is the interagency, all working together,” he said.
    Stavridis Praises U.S.-Honduran Cooperation in Confronting Mutual Threats, Defense Link"

    Nana Akyea Mensah's Corner: "US Military Base In Ghana: From 'Baloney!' To 'What’s In It For Us'? Part Two." by Nana Akyea Mensah, the Odikro...

    Brotha 2 Brother: Advice for President Obama on his trip to Ghana

    Tolu Olorunda | Posted July 6, 2009 11:19 PM


    President Obama is expected to make an historic visit to Ghana this weekend. His trip to the West African country will be the culmination of a busy week in which he is scheduled to touch base in Russia, then on to Italy for the G8 meetings.

    As expected, news of the president's decision has already generated mild hostility between some neighboring countries, including his ancestral home Kenya, which feel snubbed by the popular Western leader. But the cantankerous disputes are irrelevant when faced with the bigger picture looming over our horizon. More...

    Nana Akyea Mensah's Corner: AU Adopts Nkrumah's Birthday As Event For Entire Continent

    Nana Akyea Mensah's Corner: AU Adopts Nkrumah's Birthday As Event For Entire Continent


    AU Adopts Nkrumah's Birthday As Event For Entire Continent

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    AU Adopts Nkrumah's Birthday As Event For Entire Continent
    Dr Kwame Nkrumah
    Dr Kwame Nkrumah
    The African Union (AU) has adopted the centenary birthday celebration of the founder and first President of the Republic of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, as a continental event.

    In a resolution passed at the end of the 13th Ordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte, the African heads of state “unanimously agreed to celebrate Dr Nkrumah’s centenary birthday and put it on the AU’s calendar of Special Events”.

    A Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwah, told the Daily Graphic on his return from Libya, that the leaders also accepted Ghana’s invitation to join President John Evans Atta Mills and Ghanaians to celebrate the anniversary on September 21, 2009.

    “At the summit, President Mills invited his colleague heads of state to join Ghana to mark the centenary of Dr Nkrumah, whose pioneering role in the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) is unmatched” he said.

    Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwah said President Mills, in addressing his peers at the summit, lauded the role of Dr Nkrumah and recalled how passionate he was in ensuring that not only Ghana but the African continent as a whole gained independence.

    He said leader after leader took turns to praise Dr Nkumah’s visionary leadership, and expressed their willingness to participate in the celebration.

    Without any objection, President Mills’ colleagues at the AU summit agreed with him and passed a unanimous resolution to celebrate his centenary birthday and put it on the AU calendar of Special Events.

    Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwah said the summit consequently tasked the Executive Council of Foreign Ministers to draw a programme for the celebration.

    In a related development, some prominent sons of Africa have agreed to join President Mills to welcome the US President, Barack Obama.

    They are the leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farakhan, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, and the Chairman of the African Union, Jean Ping.