October 9, 2017
Baltimore, MD— According to a journalistic investigation by the news outlet Foreign Policy (FP) the FBI’s counterterroism division has identified a new threat—black identity extremists (BIE). The FBI’s assessment is that BIE’s “perception of police brutality against African Americans have spurred retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement”. In response to this report the interim NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson has released the following statement:
“In a time when white supremacists are marching down city streets with loaded weapons and tiki torches— organizing rallies of terror around the country – it comes as a great shock that the FBI would decide to target black identity groups protesting police brutality and their right to exist free of harm as a threat.
“Sadly, this report comes as no surprise from an organization that has a history of targeting black civil rights groups and leaders, including wiretapping Martin Luther King Jr. and others fighting for civil rights in the 1960s.
“We do have a real threat in the United States and it’s the rise of right-wing extremists, white nationalists and white supremacists, who have been emboldened by this administration. In light of this report, the NAACP is resolved to double down on our efforts to advance the rights of black Americans and people of color across this country. We remain steadfast and immovable in our fight for justice and equality – and we are not afraid.”
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Ethiopia is one of the Africa countries expecting strong growth. Photo: Petterik Wiggers/Wall Street Journal.The news last month from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding sub-Saharan African growth has investors breathing a sigh of relief.
The IMF expects sub-Saharan Africa to grow by 3.4 percent in 2018, up from the 2.6 percent in 2017. Although such figures create optimism, they do not match the higher growth numbers in previous years.
Between 2004 and 2011, for example, sub-Saharan Africa grew 6.2 percent, with a peak growth of 7.6 percent in 2007 and a low of 4.1 percent in 2009 due to the 2008 global financial crisis.
The average growth between 2012 and 2015 was 4.5 percent, and growth has trended downward since then.
The rebound in 2018, according to the IMF, is not an indication of strong momentum in growth going into 2019.
One-third of the countries will grow 5 percent or more in 2018—largely in the eastern and western regions of Africa—however, combined with a decline of per capita incomes in 12 countries which house 40 percent of the region’s population (~400 million people), according to the IMF’s report.
This piece looks at the countries offering the best opportunities in 2018, with a strong consideration for the challenges in 2019. That qualification for 2019 underlines the economic and political uncertainty that will be created by a few elections in the coming 18-24 months.
Expected growth of 1.9 percent and 1.1 percent in Nigeria and South Africa respectively will bump up against elections in both countries in 2019, which has some investors skittish about the coming year.
The election of Nana Akufo-Addo in 2016 excited many investors. Getting an administration in place and making some economic changes, however, took some time, thus 2017 receives mixed reviews. But all indicators point to a strong 2018 with growth expected at 8.9 percent.
Oil production is expected to pick up in the country to match the current $60-plus thinking on Brent prices in 2018.
Kosmos plans to resume drilling on Ghana’s TEN project in early 2018. Energy growth, including gas-to-power, will be the focus in 2018 which will further help Ghana strengthen local aspirations with consumer products and light industrialization.
Any forward movement on the “Made in Ghana” policy launched in 2016 would be helpful for a country that would love to manage its imports and build up local content.
Agri-business is also an exciting focus for this country, with many investors viewing Ghana as a key player in agriculture for the continent going forward. Education also always remains an interest in what is considered West Africa’s education hub.
Ethiopia is expected to grow 8.5 percent in 2018. To many investors, such high growth in Ethiopia is not anything necessarily new in recent times and has not always bred investment opportunity.
The positive from Ethiopia in 2018 may simply boil down to a three things: (1) the amount of consumers continues to grow (thus why Ethiopia has the largest mobile operator); (2) consumers are spending more; and (3) investments have been tried and proven (compared to pre-2012).
Investors will find a ready partner for manufacturing and light industry as the model has been tested and proven beneficial for both investors and the country.
Agri-business will also be a focus for investors as local content for packaged goods and food is big for the government’s tight management of imports in relation to the Ethiopian currency.
Non-food related goods, including pharmaceutical products and household products (i.e., toothpaste, detergent), still require more investment for similar currency reasons and to address local consumer demand.
The Francophone Africa show will continue into 2018 led by Cote d’Ivoire. The country is expected to maintain its 7 percent-plus growth in 2018 and 2019.
Power generation is improving, with increasing interest from private investors and development institutions, and accompanies West Africa’s second largest port, a modern airport, and a relatively strong road network.
The growth, however, may be outpacing other vital sectors, including the real estate and financial sectors. Housing and office space is in demand for a growing middle class and to support growing international businesses in the country.
The financial sector still requires some restructuring and offers opportunity for private investors with an appetite for smaller sized investments that are capable of producing strong returns.
Senegal is the other pivotal country in the Francophone story. The opportunity in the country is widespread and underpinned by 7 percent grow in 2018. Energy and transport infrastructure are still a vital focus for the country.
The story here is not new as Senegal knows its economic hub reputation for West Africa depends on its ability to support business in the region with basic infrastructural requirements.
Other exciting opportunities largely flow from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which are more the story in Senegal versus some other West African giants.
The government is doing a lot to support entrepreneurship in industrialization, manufacturing and agriculture in the country to boost SMEs. The ongoing complaint, ironically (for this article), remains the same with a lack of operational and financial partners.
Those concerned about a Senegalese election in 2019 can probably find solace in the strong performance of President Macky Sall’s ruling coalition in the 2017 legislative election.
The next three – Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mozambique
Picking one of the above three to finish out a top five is hard. Burkina Faso is on the right track with 6.5 percent growth expected in 2018 to follow up what appears to be 6.4 percent growth in 2017.
Extractive industries and public investment, especially in infrastructure, have largely driven these growth numbers. But the government recognizes the challenges with a large concentration of its growth dependent on its own spending.
Thus current spending allocated for 2017 and 2018 significantly focus on entrepreneurship and boosting the business landscape for SMEs, particularly as it confronts extremism in the country.
Pulling in foreign investors has not been easy and makes the growth story a more cautious one.
Kenya remains the ‘beast of the east’ but is still settling its presidential election. Many investors expect a big 2018 for the country when the dust settles (hoping the dust settles before 2018). The business environment is familiar to investors and it is the economic and financial hub for East Africa.
The country’s airline has refinanced; the financial sector has finally digested an interest rate cap; and foreign investors had to sit still during a 2017 slow down – they will want to release the pent-up capital and energy.
The excitement is nevertheless cautious, as any political situation (as seen in 2017) can cause a complete slowdown.
Mozambique is quietly getting back on track after a debt fiasco…yes the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is still investigating the fallout. That said, President Filipe Nyusi is doing his part to clean up the country’s image.
The gas story is getting back on track for LNG. Investors are returning to the country with Kibo Capital making the latest investment in the country’s consumer goods space. Other investors are lurking around agri-business, logistics and warehousing which is great news after the last 18-24 months.
A strong turnaround would touch the Lusophone hearts in Africa (including yours truly).
Zimbabwe makes the list because there are many investors who have been excited by this country for years. The economic collapse in 2008 and subsequent economic hiccups have kept many investors away.
Playing politics is not fun for investors but you can bet that there will be investors closely watching how the political situation plays out in Zimbabwe.
Any economic opening with clear investment rules and laws, followed by an improved legal system and enforcement would excite anyone looking at the country. That said, there is a significant amount of work necessary to create a favorable environment to attract capital.
Kurt Davis Jr. is an investment banker with private equity experience in emerging economies focusing on the natural resources and energy sectors. He earned a law degree in tax and commercial law at the University of Virginia’s School of Law and a master’s of business administration in finance, entrepreneurship and operations from the University of Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Post Views: 742
If you truly knew what the N-word meant to our ancestors, you’d NEVER use it. It was used and still can be used to make us hate ourselves
A few years ago, I read slave narratives to explore the lives of black agricultural workers after the end of the Civil War. The narratives came from the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration, a program that employed researchers from 1936 to 1938 to interview former enslaved people, producing more than 2,300 narratives that, thankfully, reside online and are fully searchable.
Those whom the law defined as property recounted various unique human experiences — their daily horrors and monotonies, how they freed themselves or learned of their emancipation, the surge of exhilaration upon securing freedom, and how they endured life on the edges of a white supremacist society in the decades thereafter.
As I pored over the narratives, I was struck less by their experiences, as heartrending as they were, than by how their experiences sculpted their self-perceptions. The best explanation of what I gleaned, what social scientists called internalized oppression, describes the psychological trauma that ensues when a person from a stigmatized group believes those negative stigmas.
White folk indoctrinated them into accepting their supposed inferiority. These narratives illustrate the success of this campaign of mental terrorism, and no word conveyed the depth of this internalized oppression more than “nigger.” Now, whenever I hear the epithet, a visual and emotional representation of the heinous process by which a people — my people — were induced to think they were less than trespasses into my thoughts. After years of habitual use of “nigger,” I banished it from my speech to honor the humanity that many never saw in themselves.
The internalized oppression revealed itself in various ways. Sometimes the former enslaved people clearly, perhaps subconsciously, considered themselves subhuman, just like how their former owners regarded them. Jim Allen, for example, dubbed himself his master’s “pet nigger boy” and a “stray” and thought himself privileged because he could sleep on the floor beside his master’s bed. That he likened himself to a fortunate mangy mutt or frisky feline crushed me. The word laid bare a worldview that held black folk as a lower order of being, as when Irene Robertson claimed her former master Mr. Sanders was mean, in part, because “he beat his wife like he beat a nigger woman.”
“Nigger” also signaled antipathy toward fellow black folk. After the end of slavery, Mattie Mooreman went north to Wisconsin with a white family for whom she worked. Members of the family wanted her to go to the circus to watch a black boy’s performance. She told her interviewer, “Guess they thought it would be a treat to me to see another niggah. I told ’em, ‘Law, don’t you think I see lots, lots more than I wants, every day when I is at home?’ ” But read how she talks about the family’s baby, whom she constantly watched over, fearing, irrationally, someone would kidnap him: “No matter what time they come home they’d find me there. ‘Why don’t you go in your bedroom and lie down?’ they’d ask me. ‘No,’ I’d tell ’em, ‘somebody might come in, and they would have to get that baby over my dead body.” Her eyes fixated on the white baby, but she saw too many niggers.
A barrage of dispiriting uses of the word bloodied me as I combed through the narratives. “The Ku Klux kept the niggers scared.” “The Ku Klux did a whole lot to keep the niggers away from the polls. …” Slaves owned by “nice” masters are repeatedly called “free niggers.” “Niggers ain’t got no sense. Put ’em in authority and they gits so uppity.” “I’se just a poor old nigger waitin’ for Jesus to come and take me to heaven.” Slave traders are called “nigger traders.” Defiant enslaved people required the service of a “niggerbreaker.” “Nigger dogs” aided the recapture of those who escaped.
Perhaps more depressing, ironically, was that circumstances sometimes led them to opt against calling a black person a nigger. William Porter stated that “some of the Tennessee niggers was called free niggers. There was a colored man in Pulaski, Tennessee, who owned slaves.” A black man who kept others in bondage — he’s a “colored man,” yet those who were owned were “niggers.” I instantly thought of a moment from the O.J.: Made in America documentary when a white woman who saw black people talking to Simpson uttered, “Look at those niggers sitting with O.J.” Simpson delights in hearing this because she “knew I wasn’t black. She saw me as O.J.” Porter’s outlook matched that of both the racist white woman and the unspeakably racially deranged O.J.
Since reading those narratives, I’ve noticed this mindset when perusing the remarks of freed people in other contexts. For example, before the trial of Rufus Martin, a black man who stood accused of the 1903 murder of Charles Swackhammer, a woman whom the Fort Worth Star-Telegram referred to as an “old negress who occupied a front seat in the court room” bellowed:
It’s the white people that is to blame. They know that they got to make niggahs work or they ain’t no good and they know as long as they ‘low niggah men to loaf aroun’ low down saloons they ain’t goin’ to work. This man come from a good niggah fam’ly — one of the best I knows of, but the p’lice ‘lowed him to loaf aroun’ without workin’, and to drink and gamble, till he just got to be no good and thought he didn’t have to work. The p’lice ought to raid them low down niggah saloons every day and every night till they make every blessed one of the niggah toughs go to work or else send ’em all to the county road. Them saloons is what makes bad niggahs and the white folks is to blame for it, ’cause they let ’em run.
That Martin sported a reddish mustache, light hair and skin so bright he could pass for white almost certainly colored her perception that Martin came from a “good niggah fam’ly.”
Black folk rescued the word from the smoldering debris of a virulently racist land, reclaimed it and renovated the slur into a celebration of black comradery — defenders of contemporary usage of “nigger” repeat this. When this tale collides with reality, however, it shatters as a misreading of history — the current use of the word is owed less to white folk calling black folk “nigger” and more to black folk who thought they were niggers and said so. Black people have hurled the infamous word for nearly as long as white folk have. It exists within black speech now because it existed within black speech then. The uncomfortable truth must be confronted: Absent the internalized oppression of those who called white men and women their masters, “nigger” would probably not be a part of black folk’s lexicon. We black folk are reclaiming it not from bigoted white folk but from our ancestors, who, sadly, deemed their blackness a badge of inferiority.
I seek not to usher the word to the gallows. I harbor no aims to kill it. I can still bump a Young Thug track or chortle at a Dave Chappelle routine. “Nigger” does not bar my enjoyment of popular culture. My soul, though, winces whenever I hear it. The decision for black people to include it in their vocabulary, nonetheless, remains personal, and I reject the criticism of black folk who continue to wield it.
I write only to summon the words of former enslaved people from beyond the grave to express that “nigger” is haunted by the ghosts of hate and the more spiritually chilling ghosts of self-hate.
Brando Simeo Starkey is an associate editor at The Undefeated and the author of In Defense of Uncle Tom: Why Blacks Must Police Racial Loyalty. He crawled through a river of books and came out brilliant on the other side.Post Views: 605
Toveet Radcliffe Was the First African-American Woman to Die in the Israeli Military; Her Death Was Ruled a Suicide But Her Family Isn’t Buying It
In America, we’ve become painfully used to the idea that to the police, the Jeff Sessions-led justice Department and, in many cases, the military, black lives don’t matter. Donald Trump’s handling of the death of Army Sgt. LaDavid Johnson; the White House’s silence on the killing of Army 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III by a white supremacist; the deafening silence about racism at the U.S. Air Force Academy, are just a few examples in the last year.
It is often worse for black women in the armed forces, who are victims of racial and sexual violence. Consider the case of LaVena Johnson, who, at 19 years old, was found dead of a gunshot wound in a tent in Balad, Iraq. Yet despite her body being found with a broken nose, a black eye, loose teeth and corrosive chemicals found on her genitals, the Army determined her death was a suicide. Where else in the world are black women’s bodies, even when dedicated to the protection of a nation, so degraded or devalued? Apparently, the Israeli government isn’t far behind America.
Feb. 21 will mark the three-year anniversary of 19-year-old Corporal Toveet Radcliffe’s death, the first African-American woman to die in the Israeli Defense Forces. Radcliffe was found dead at Palmachim Airbase just south of Tel Aviv, Israel, from a gunshot wound to the head. In early February, the IDF ruled that Radcliffe’s case will not be reopened. Investigators ruled that the gunshot that went through her forehead and came out the back was a result of an accidental or intentional suicide. However, Radcliffe’s family and members of the African Hebrew Israelite community aren’t so sure.
Toveet Radcliffe was born in Israel, to African-American parents who moved to there to practice as Hebrew Israelites, an Afrocentric form of Old Testament Judaism. She grew up happy and popular in the southern Israeli city of Dimona, where about 10 percent of the population are Hebrew Israelites, and she was known for her beauty and gregarious personality.
Despite being born in Israel, Radcliffe was not a practicing Hebrew Israelite nor was she an Israeli citizen. In fact, Hebrew Israelites are not automatically granted Israeli citizenship; the Israeli government had tried to kick them out of the country for years (part of a larger problem of the Israeli government discrimination against African and African-American Jews) until eventually granting them a tenuous residency status. Hebrew Israelites often live as second-class citizens, denied public education and state health care because their practice of Judaism isn’t “orthodox.”
Nevertheless, children can earn citizenship for themselves and their families can become eligible to apply for full citizenship after serving a tour in the armed forces. Radcliffe joined the military in October 2013 and died less than a year into her service—not from terrorists or criminals but from a bullet wound to the head while sitting in a guard booth.
She was found just after midnight, bleeding from a head wound, by the soldier that was to replace her on duty; she was declared dead by a military doctor less than half an hour later.
After almost three years of legal wrangling, Judge Major Meir Vigiser ruled it was “highly likely” that no other person was with Radcliffe when she was shot. Vigiser rejected several experts presented by the Radcliffe family suggesting foul play, instead placing the young woman’s death in her own hands.
About 30 members of the Hebrew Israelite community, all wearing white, sat in the courtroom for over an hour, listening as Judge Vigiser’s ruling. Radcliffe’s mother, Khydijah Gray, refused to attend the final hearing because she doubted that justice would come. While the verdict clearly disappointed the Radcliffe family and its supporters, it did not shock them.
“I am absolutely not surprised. I would have been surprised if they had done the right thing,” Shayarah Baht Yisrael said to The Root.
“I think the whole investigation was flawed from the beginning. And that alone is jail time, as far as I’m concerned. The fact that they tried to sweep it under the rug so quickly, I’m very, very frustrated by that,” added Ketreyah Fouch.
As supporters from the community trailed out of the Bar Lev Base, one young woman told The Root: “Toveet was too good to serve in the Israeli army, in general. Like all of us, we’re just too good to serve in this army.”
Hours after attending the court session, African Hebrew activist Ashriel Ben-Israel uploaded a video to Facebook calling the verdict “a big embarrassment”: “We do not accept it, this decision! We no longer believe any army representative regarding this case,” Ben-Israel bellowed in Hebrew, overcome with emotion. “We will not allow this decision to pass in silence,” he added.
Discrepancies in the IDF’s account of her death disturbed Radcliffe’s family and friends from the start. On January 18, 2016, nearly a year after the fatal incident, the IDF published the results of its internal investigation into Radliffe’s death—essentially suicide. At the most basic level, it is hard to believe that 5-foot, 2-inch Toveet Radcliffe managed to shoot herself through the forehead with an M4 (demonstrated below with a paper replica by her sister).
Given that the Israeli government offered to pay the Radcliffe family a lifelong stipend (for a solider who committed suicide), the questionable investigation (significant physical evidence was never examined), and the dismissal of key witnesses and testimony, Radcliffe’s family sought the truth. The Hebrew Israelite community raised funds for a legal appeal that bore fruit a year later. On March 17, 2017, the president of the IDF Court of Appeals, Major Gen. Doron Feiles, ordered a reinvestigation of Radcliffe’s death. In his decision, Feiles conceded that the IDF had not definitively demonstrated that Radcliffe had committed suicide and had not even bothered to seriously consider any other possible explanation for her death.
“It could be that the IDF felt that Toveet’s life wasn’t of value on the scale of social importance. Maybe in its opinion, she was just a girl from a black community in Dimona, just some unimportant girl,” the community leadership said the day after the Vigiser verdict in a press release. “Taking into account the apathy, arrogance and total lack of transparency on the part of the IDF, it must be seen as suspect No. 1.”
Radcliffe’s case had become a national story in Israel over the last few year; it was featured in several CSI/First-48 style TV investigative shows. Yet despite the historic nature of a black girl with African-American parents dying mysteriously in the IDF, it received little or no coverage in the United States. No major news stories, no #SayHerName hashtags. A Change.org petition to President Barack Obama in 2016 on her behalf couldn’t muster 1,000 signatures.
With the case officially over, members of the Hebrew Israelite community vow that they will continue the fight even if it’s unclear how that will occur. The Israeli government can delay, deny or possibly void the citizenship of community members who push back too hard. Furthermore, with little or no international attention or pressure, ala #BringBackOurGirls, there’s no reason to believe the conservative Benjamin Netanyahu government would even care. That doesn’t mean her case doesn’t matter, it only means that if black lives truly matter across the globe, we must add Toveet Radcliffe’s name to the sadly growing list of black people betrayed, abandoned and possibly killed by their governments.Post Views: 787