Durham, NC NAACP leader speaks out

John Cox hazel_motes52 at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 28 07:01:12 MDT 2001


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NO PALESTINIAN CALLED ME A NIGGER! SUPPORT CHRIS
GATEWOOD!

Chris Gatewood is the outspoken leader of the Durham, North Carolina
branch of the National Asociation Advancement of Colored Peoples. He
recently made "controversial", though truthful and courageous remarks
denouncing the United States government for planning military
retaliation for the Pentagon and World Trade Center attacks, and the
use of Black males as cannon fodder and mercenaries in any front line
attack.

At a September 15th monthly local NAACP meeting, he said that African
Americans should not have to fight in any military action, and that a
violent U.S. counterattack would be wrong. "Black males can no longer
be used as sacrificial lambs at the time of war," he said in his
three-page statement.

"Those black males who make it back home alive from war are likely to
come home and be discriminated against by the [very] people whose
businesses were headquartered in the World Trade Center, racially
abused/profiled by an American police officer, killed on the streets
in their crime-infested neighborhoods", or harmed by Bush
administration policies, he said.

He also said that the U.S. government has oppressed Africans, Middle
Easterners, and other people of color worldwide. Because Bush was
selected president by a "right-wing Supreme Court", he said, the
attacks were *not* "an attack on freedom".

Media reports of the remarks sparked threatening phone calls to the
NAACP offices, according to an NAACP officer, Anita Keith-Foust. It
also caused NAACP national President, Kweisi Mfume, to denounce the
remarks and to apparently silence him from making other such comments
in the future, similar to the fashion former Nation of Islam
spokesperson Malcolm X was silenced by NOI leader Elijah Muhammad in
1963, when he spoke out about the assassination of President John
Kennedy, calling it a case of "chickens coming home to roost"...

What should we make of all this? These comments by Gatewood certainly
echoed my own, and I am sure those of many other Black people. We are
supposed to, as Malcolm X put it over 35 years ago...bark when the
white man says bark, and bite when the white man says bite!" He was
referring to our being used as troops all over the world.  Now we are
supposed to fight and die for a racist corrupt government in yet
another imperialist war, when it is the USA which has clearly brought
on this attack.  We are supposed to fight for a country where we still
have limted social, economic and political rights, and where we are
still subject to death by any racist cop or citizen, where there is
widespread poverty, mass imprisonment of the youth, and massive
unemployment concentrated in the Black community. The obvious question
is what the hell are we fighting for?  To avenge America? To mourn
America? Why, we don't owe this country anything, and what we do owe
them, they don't want! They have killed and enslaved generations of
our people, down to the present day. They have yet to pay reparations
for those crimes they have committed against our people; they refuse
to even discuss the matter at the recent World Conference Against
Racism in Durban, South Africa.

Our fight is *in America* and *with America* for full human rights and
liberation, not in Kabul, Pakistan, Khandahar, islamabad, Algiers, or
hundreds of places we know nothing about and have no beef with their
people. It is this country which is *our* enemy, and which is
depriving us of our human rights. This hypocritical country, which is
bleeding us dry and subjecting us to continued oppression and
servitude in numerous forms. We ain't got this situation straight yet,
and now we are supposed to go galavanting across the globe to fight
for this white racist government. Colin Powell may be a dog for Bush,
but it don't mean the rest of us have to be!

Chris Gatewood just said something that all of us should be saying.
We need an *independent political stance* away from military
intervention, and to say *no you cannot just use Black kids for the
next Vietnam.* However, shamefully, most of the Left, Liberal, and
Black organizations (even so-called "radical", or "nationalist"
groups) did not follow the lead of this courageous man, instead they
mourned with America.

Well, our time of mourning has to be tempered with the cold understand
that we have to look out for *our interest*, not the Pentagon's or
Wall Street's. We regret the thousands of deaths of people who died in
the process at the WTC, but we know it is Washington's fault this
happened. We also know that if this happened in the Middle East by
Israel or the US Army, hardly anybody in this country would say
anything.

Clearly this country is not the "peace-loving, innocent country" that
George W. Bush claims it is. This is the biggest gun runner in the
world, and the biggest instigator of wars. This is a government of
thieves and enslavers, and they have dominated the peoples of color of
the world with military and economic force ever since its creation.
We cannot jump like dogs to defend these people.

It is not the people in the Middle East or Africa who call us nigger,
and keep us oppressed, it is the white government in America. If
anyone on the face of the earth attacks the slavemaster's plantation,
I ain't going to be standing out front growling to stop them from
setting his house on fire. That his problem, and you reap what you
sow. The real terrorists are in the Pentagon, the executive boardrooms
on Wall Street, and in the White House, where they have always
been. Hell, the United States secret intelligence services (CIA,
military intelligence, DEA and others) created the Taliban as a
government and Osama Bin Laden as a terrorist, if that is what he
is. Do we now want to die and kill others over this cynical reality
[?], don't be fooled by right-wing partiotism, which is nothing but
American fascism.

So we should support Chris Gatewood, hold him up as an outspoken
hero. We need to ask why all of the other Black and progressive
organizations have not been as forceful in their comments, and we need
to ask why they are not building an anti-war response to this military
retaliation planned by Bush.

We need to all start to speak the truth to our people, and not curry
favor for jobs or social approval. We need to do things which are
considered unpopular in a hysterical climate, but have to be said and
done nevertheless. George W. Bush is not our friend, Colin Powell is
not our brother. They want to kill us off, either in war, in prison,
or with a policeman's gun.  We face genocide from this government,
always have. Now we need to get organized to build a movement which
can put forth a progressive agenda on how to use military spending, so
that money that they want to squander on war can be used for schools,
hospitals, and to rebuild the inner cities of this countries which
look like bombed out cities already.

Whatever organization you belong to, start to push them to come out
against the war and to actively campaign against war in the Middle
East or anywhere else. We have got to get our kids to say "hell no, we
won't go!" and "no Viet Cong called me a Nigger" just like they did
during the Vietnam war of the 1960's.





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