Ghana

Kofi Annan, Who Redefined the U.N., Dies at 80

Kofi Annan, the first black African to lead the United Nations, has died at age 80.  He served as Secretary-General at a time when worries about the Cold War were replaced by threats of global terrorism, his efforts to combat those threats and secure a more peaceful world brought him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for his extraordinary humanitarian work to revitalize the international body, and his efforts against the HIV/Aids pandemic.

“He provided people everywhere with a space for dialogue, a place for problem-solving and a path to a better world. In these turbulent and trying times, he never stopped working to give life to the values of the United Nations Charter. His legacy will remain a true inspiration for all of us.”  — United Nations

Annan, who was born in Ghana in 1938, served as the seventh UN Secretary-General, from 1997 to 2006, and was the first to rise from within the ranks of the United Nations staff.

Annan was descended from tribal chiefs on both sides of his family. After studying in Ghana and at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, he joined the United Nations in 1962 as a low-ranking officer with the World Health Organization in Geneva.  On taking the helm as Secretary-General in 1997, Annan became a high-profile figure who championed human rights and urged the United Nations to protect civilians if their own governments turned on them.

In February 2012, the United Nations appointed Annan the UN and Arab League joint special envoy to Syria. Only six months later, he quit, citing increasing militarization in Syria and “the clear lack of unity” at the UN Security Council.

He was the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation,  an independent, not-for profit organization that works to promote better global governance and strengthen the capacities of people and countries to achieve a fairer, more peaceful world. It was founded and legally incorporated in Switzerland in 2007.  He had also been a member of The Elders, a humanitarian group of a dozen leaders and activists of worldwide stature formed by Nelson Mandela and in 2013, Annan became its chairman.

Kofi’s legacy will also live on in the work of the United Nations, the institution he led so ably as secretary-general from 1997 to 2006. As the current secretary-general Antonio Guterres said so warmly in his own tribute, in many ways Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He was the consummate diplomat, listening with respect and attentiveness to all interlocutors but firm in his commitment to the UN’s values.

“He was the consummate diplomat, listening with respect and attentiveness to all interlocutors but firm in his commitment to the UN’s values.”

Never was this more apparent than in the period around the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Kofi was adamantly opposed to what he viewed as an illegal act of military aggression, and rightly fearful of the consequences of invasion and occupation not just in Iraq but across the wider Middle East. He maintained this opposition despite sustained and often personal attacks from the administration of then-US president George W Bush, which persisted for many years afterwards.

I know that Kofi took no pleasure in being right about the wisdom of invading Iraq. He was never motivated by vindictiveness. Instead, he was profoundly distressed by the war’s disastrous aftermath, the sectarian bloodletting that so scarred Iraq, the systemic violation of human rights and the rise of ever more vicious strains of extremism.

Yet thanks to his determination and refusal to compromise his independence, the UN retained its integrity and is still in a position today to work for peace and justice in Iraq and across the Middle East.

After a long life exposed to some of the worst aspects of humanity, one might easily have expected Kofi Annan to lapse into despondency or fatalism. Yet the opposite was true; he constantly declared himself to be an optimist, however challenging the environment in which he was working.

“Annan embodied the mission of the United Nations.” “His integrity, persistence, optimism, and sense of our common humanity always informed his outreach to the community of nations,”Former US President, Barak Obama

Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo on Saturday August 18, 2018, hailed the late former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as a consummate international diplomat who had brought immense pride to his country.  He ordered Ghana’s national flag to be flown at half-mast across the country and in all of the country’s diplomatic missions from Monday for the entire week.

 

 “To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.”  — Kofi Annan

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African-Americans resettle in Africa

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Ghana is the first African country to officially open its doors to people of African descent from all over the world. 

In Prampram, a town just an hour’s drive east of Ghana’s capital Accra, many holiday houses line the shores of the South Atlantic Ocean. One of them belongs to Jerome Thompson. Located only 500 meters from the waterMr. Thompson, a native of Maryland in the United States, retired to Ghana 11 years ago. He first visited the West African country on a tour in 2000. “I fell in love with Ghana and its people,” he recalled, during an interview with Africa Renewal. “It was good seeing black people, my people, in charge of the country (Ghana).” 

“I was so ready to turn my back on the United States,” he says, adding: “We did so much for the US, yet they don’t want to see us as first-class citizens.” 

Currently, there are around 200 million people in the Americas identifying themselves as of African descent, according to the United Nations. Millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the African continent, and in most cases they experience racism and discrimination.

To promote the respect for and protection of their human rights, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2015–2024 as the “The International Decade for the People of African Descent”, to be marked annually on 25 March.

Right of Abode

Ghana, from whose shores the majority of 15 million Africans passed into slavery, has invited its descendants in the diaspora to return home.  The country has had a long history, from the days of its first president, Kwame Nkrumah, of encouraging the return of persons of African descent to help with the continent’s development.

Read the full article by:  Efam Dovi From Africa Renewal

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YES, BUT THEY DON’T LIKE US!?

One of the first things many African-Americans will say when confronted with the idea of moving to Africa is, “Africans don’t like us.” Top that with the a third-world images America has bombarded into our psyche of Africa with starving children, grass huts and barren lands with rebels riding shotgun in old dirty jeeps, makes most African-Americans consider every other country before the motherland — but they should be well aware by now of the manipulative trickery and deceit of our government and consider even if Africans don’t like us, it would still be better among them then what we are tolerating here.

One of the most successful tactics of British soldiers to plant fear was to show “images of dead bodies and ruined houses” to threatened the people.  — Virginia Woolf

The American and UK media outlets are going out of their way to covertly insinuate and convince Black people of the impoverished conditions of Africa, a continent 3 times the size of America and the richest land on this planet, would be a detrimental move and that blacks would be far better off staying here or moving to another European country than going back to Africa.

And yes, they are playing both ends against the middle, spreading lies to Africans about us like they spread lies to us about them but as in an old African Proverb, but rather than trying to have that conversation about race with them that they don’t want to hear, we should have a talk with our brothers and sisters in Africa. I urge you to remember that is the “hunter” (white man) speaking when it reads, “Until the Lion tells his story, the Hunter will forever be glorified.”

Witness recently when President Obama visited Kenya, the only footage shown was of Obama visiting the undeveloped rural villages and impoverished back towns (the same conditions can be found in America with the right cameras) but they never showed the luxury accommodations where the president resided during his stay. However as you can see in the photos below, Kenya’s Downtowns and cities are un-paralleled in beauty and modernization to any place in the US.

No you can’t go over there “slapping five’s” any more than you could in any European country, especially Canada, America’s twin, who houses blacks in the same invisibly segregated sections and classes we are far too accustomed to here. –DVB

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Whether as descendants of the victims of the transatlantic slave trade or as more recent migrants, they constitute some of the poorest and most marginalized groups. Studies and findings by international and national bodies demonstrate that people of African descent still have limited access to quality education, health services, housing and social security.

In many cases, their situation remains largely invisible, and insufficient recognition and respect has been given to the efforts of people of African descent to seek redress for their present condition. They all too often experience discrimination in their access to justice, and face alarmingly high rates of police violence, together with racial profiling.

Furthermore, their degree of political participation is often low, both in voting and in occupying political positions.

In addition, people of African descent can suffer from multiple, aggravated or intersecting forms of discrimination based on other related grounds, such as age, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, social origin, property, disability, birth, or other status.

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The promotion and protection of human rights of people of African descent has been a priority concern for the United Nations. See full UN.org article

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 18 November 2014 – PDF