The U.K. Teaches Tariq Nasheed a Lesson About Modern Pan-Africanism

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I saw recently that Tariq Nasheed was apparently barred from entering the United Kingdom for the premier of his most recent film, Hidden Colors 5. This especially caught my attention because Tariq is one of the people supporting the American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) movement that Yvette Carnell and Antonio Moore founded. Tariq’s support for ADOS was accompanied by a video he recorded on “modern Pan-Africanism.”

Start around the 55 minute mark

What Tariq and others in the ADOS movement seem not to understand is that white supremacy is a global system and a global system can only be countered by a global system. As Thomas Sankara informed us: “ You have to counter a system with a system, an organization with an organization…” Perhaps Tariq understands this more clearly now that he was prevented from entering the U.K. The reason given for denying him entry is that he is not conducive for the good of the public. My assumption is that some of the officials in the U.K. do not like Tariq’s pro-Black political positions. It certainly would not be the first time the U.K. has done something like this. One of the coordinators for Africans Rising (a Pan-African organization that I’ve been working with) was similarly barred from entering the U.K.

This story also caught my attention because in May when Chatham House invited dictator Faure Gnassingbé, I wrote an article about the U.K.’s hypocritical treatment of African people. How can a nation which boasts about freedom and democracy support such a brutal dictatorship? This is something that the U.K. does often.

For those who are not aware, Faure is currently the president of the oldest neo-colonial military regime in Africa. Britain has no problem with a dictator like Faure because Faure happily oppresses his own people for the benefit of Western nations. The reason why I mention Faure is to draw the contrast between Tariq, who is not welcomed in the U.K., and Faure, who is a personal associate of Tony Blair.

The “Pan-Africanists” that have joined or expressed support for the ADOS movement seem to have little interest in involving themselves in the struggle to end neo-colonialism in Africa. The people like Tariq, Dynast Amir, and others who frame Pan-Africanism in terms of citizenship are essentially saying that they want citizenship from these neo-colonial states. The fact is that the liberation of Africa is currently more important than citizenship for Africans in the diaspora, but Tariq and others do not want to engage in the struggle for African liberation.

This is why in the video above Tariq complains about things like the right to abode and dual citizenship. He has little to say about the revolutionary struggle that is being fought in Togo or anywhere else in Africa for that matter, but Tariq does find the time to complain about “anchor baby negroes.” Tariq has little understanding of modern Pan-Africanism because he is not involved in the grassroots Pan-African struggle. Tariq seems to think that the neo-colonial African states which don’t care about their own citizens will find some reason to care about African Americans. That is like expecting the members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to put forward a revolutionary agenda to advance Africa. If you look for Pan-Africanism in the wrong places then you will come to the wrong conclusion like Tariq did in the video above.

Anyone who is trying to frame Pan-Africanism as a discussion about citizenship is confused about what is happening in Africa. Ghana celebrating the year of return is a nice gesture, but President Nana Akufo-Addo is the same man who intervened in Togo on the side of the dictatorship. We also should not forget that Togolese protesters were arrested in Ghana in 2017. President Addo is not Kwame Nkrumah. So the question is that if President Addo can’t be bothered to support the Togolese masses and Togo is right next door to Ghana, why would any reasonable person expect that President Addo would truly care about the struggles of African Americans? There is no revolutionary Pan-Africanism from the government of Ghana, but it would be a mistake to assume that revolutionary Pan-Africanism does not exist in Africa simply because neo-colonial governments do not practice it. But Tariq and others who think like him do not make the effort to unite and work with the Pan-Africanists who are fighting neo-colonialism in Africa. They merely complain about the lack of Pan-Africanism coming from African governments, which would be no different than Africans complaining about the lack of Pan-Africanism coming from African American politicians.

At the 1:01:10 mark in the video above, Tariq complains that Pan-Africanism has been one-sided and that African countries need to reach out to African Americans. Tariq only says this because he is ignorant of the Pan-African struggles being fought elsewhere around the world. African dictators will not reach out to African Americans, nor will they offer anything tangible for African Americans. This is why Pan-Africanism must operate at the grassroots level. So my hope is that perhaps now Tariq will finally get “on code” in the global struggle for African liberation, rather than complaining about the fact that neo-colonial governments in Africa do not assist African Americans. The same U.K. which banned Tariq is supporting neo-colonialism in Africa.

Dwayne is the author of several books on the history and experiences of African people, both on the continent and in the diaspora. His books are available through Amazon. You can also follow Dwayne on Facebook and Twitter.

Dwayne Wong (Omowale) is a Guyanese born Pan-Africanist, author, and law student.

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