AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE:
First, let us begin by saying thank you. Thank you for demonstrating to and for African people and the world the courage and conviction that must be had to be self-determining in the face of insurmountable odds. Odds that would have crushed others with any less will to be free.
The road you chose for national liberation, which was carved through your first and second Chimurengas (armed liberation wars), cut an enduring path for us all to follow.
At this moment in time, when all the enemies of Africa have attempted to circle their wagons around you and crush your right to land and sovereignty, your leadership and the veterans of your struggle have rallied you to unite.
The words of one of Africa’s greatest patriots are so fitting to your struggle at this time:
“No brutality, mistreatment, or torture has ever forced me to ask for grace, for I prefer to die with my head high, my faith steadfast, and my confidence profound in the destiny of my country, rather than to live in submission and scorn of sacred principles. History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that Brussels, Paris, Washington or the United Nations will teach, but that which they will teach in the countries emancipated from colonialism and its puppets. Africa will write its own history, and it will be, to the north and to the south of the Sahara, a history of glory and dignity.”
--Patrice Lumumba’s last letter, December 1960
Lift the Sanctions Now!
As anti-war, community, political, youth, trade union activists and Pan Africanists along with other people of good conscience of all nationalities inside the U.S. and worldwide, we are declaring our full solidarity with the heroic struggle in Zimbabwe to defend the right to full independence and sovereignty. At the heart of this struggle is the ongoing fight for the control of African land, illegally and brutally stolen beginning in the late 19th century by racist British colonizers led by Cecil Rhodes.
The Lancaster House Agreement--signed by the representatives of the ZANU-ZAPU guerrilla movements and the British government in 1980--promised to legally transfer ownership of the millions of acres of arable land from a handful of very privileged white farmers back to the Zimbabwean people. The British government reneged on this promise while the people of Zimbabwe patiently waited for reparations in the form of land reform to happen. When their patience ran out after waiting 20 years for legal justice, the people had no other recourse but to expropriate the land themselves by any means necessary.
As a result of taking back what is rightfully their birthright: the land, the people of Zimbabwe have had to bear the full brunt of unmitigated ire and disdain on the part of the U.S. and British governments and more recently, the European Union governments. This disdain is reflected in the political demonizing of government leaders, notably President Robert Mugabe, who has defended the Zimbabwean people’s right to the land.
Defending the people’s right to the land, the fruits of their labor and the country’s resources means recognizing the right to self-determination and sovereignty without any imperialist interference. This is President Mugabe’s “crime” in the eyes of the imperialist governments and their media. Behind this demonizing of President Mugabe lies the real crime--the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S., Britain and other Western countries that have resulted in the collective punishment of the Zimbabwean people.
These cruel sanctions for almost a decade have caused massive unemployment, malnourishment, hyperinflation, deeper poverty, lack of health care and fuel, the deterioration of the infrastructure and much more. A recent cholera epidemic that has claimed the lives of thousands could have been prevented if water purification chemicals had not been banned under the sanctions.
These genocidal attacks on the human rights of the people of Zimbabwe are very reminiscent of the sanctions imposed on the Palestinian population in Gaza by the U.S.-backed Zionist state of Israel. Let’s be clear--President Mugabe is not to blame for the economic crisis in Zimbabwe; it is the sanctions.
These economic sanctions along with other austerity measures imposed by the IMF and the World Bank are acts of aggression against the people of Zimbabwe with a goal of igniting political instability and regime change. We unequivocally denounce these sanctions as war crimes and the officials who initiated them as war criminals. Even as a national unity government has been implemented, the sanctions remain in place.
The people of Zimbabwe, like the people of Gaza, Iraq, Somalia and elsewhere, are inspiring examples of resisting all forms of imperialist war and occupation. Millions of people around the world are facing an unprecedented economic crisis, including the U.S., where foreclosures, evictions, layoffs, utility shut-offs, lack of health care, tuition hikes and much more are skyrocketing at an alarming rate.
We face the same enemies at home as do the people of Zimbabwe--the worldwide clique of bankers and bosses who put their greed for profits before meeting people’s needs. Our solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe is not just moral in character but also material in character. Their victory is also our victory.
It is in this spirit of international solidarity that we will continue to work hand in hand with our sisters and brothers in Zimbabwe to demand from the U.S., British and other imperialist governments:
End the Economic Sanctions Now!
Full Land Reform for the Indigenous Zimbabweans!
Respect the Democratically Elected Leadership!
Stop the Demonizing!
Hands Off Zimbabwe!
Sign the Open Letter at http://www.iacenter.org/africa/zimbabweopenletter
Africans Helping Africans
December 12th Movement
Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST)
Friends of Zimbabwe
International Action Center (IAC)
Peoples Video Network
Dr. Molefi Asante, Pan-Africanist professor and author
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor, Pan-African News Wire
Amiri Baraka, playwright & poet
Sharon Black, All-Peoples Congress, Baltimore
Omowale Clay, December 12th Movement
Hillel Cohen, Doctor of Public Health, NY
Heather Cottin, Long Island Troops Out Now Coalition, NY
Chaka Cousins, All African People’s Revolutionary Party
Susan E. Davis, National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981*
Ellie Dorritie, ret., APWU*, WNY
Rachel Duell, prof., NJ
Andrea Egypt, organizer, Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice (MECAWI)*
Sharon Eolis, nurse-practitioner, ret., NY
Leslie Feinberg, Co-founder, Rainbow Flags for Mumia, NY
Sherry Finkelman, UFT L. 2*, NY
Sara Flounders, co-director, IAC
Julie Fry, V-P., Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys*, NY
Michael Gimbel, del., NYC Central Labor Council*
Jerome D. Goldberg, attorney, Detroit, MI
Fred Goldstein, author, “Colossus Feet with Clay: Low Wage Capitalism”
Deirdre Griswold, editor, Workers World
Teresa Gutierrez, coordinator, May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights*, NYC
Dr. Sue Harris, co-director, Peoples Video Network
Imani Henry, Playwright/Performer
Larry Holmes, national organizer, Bail Out the People Movement*
Debbie Johnson, co-founder, Detroit Action Network For Reproductive Rights*
Prof. Dr. Leonard Jefferies, City College CUNY
Stevan Kirschbaum, chair, Grievance Comm., USW L. 8751*, MA
Michael Kramer, I.D.F. veteran, Veterans for Peace, Chap. 021*, NJ
Donna Lazarus, UFT*, NJ
Janet Mayes, Ph.D., NY
Dr. James McIntosh, Committee to Eliminate Media Offensive to African People
Monica Moorehead, Millions For Mumia; editor, “Marxism, Reparations and the Black Freedom Struggle”
Milt Neidenberg, ret., Teamsters L. 840*, NJ
Frank Neisser, CWA L. 1701, ret.*, MA
John Parker, coordinator, IAC, Los Angeles
Viola Plummer, December 12th Movement
Susan Schnur, Transit Union L. 268*, OH
Atty. Malik Zulu Shabazz, New Black Panther Party
David Sole, Pres., UAW L. 2334*, MI
Paul Teitelbaum, IAC, AZ
Jill White, EdD, IL
* For identification purposes only