Meaning of “Obama”

Posted by ungaro on 03/11/09

(As the ‘Obama honeymoon’ rolls along obliviously in Europe & European mainstream media …)

In the run-up to the 2008 U.S. presidential election, a continental African friend emailed the following to me. Today, and far into the future, different people will recall the 2008 U.S. election as “historic” for very different reasons.

You just can’t make up stuff like this…

> what is the meaning of o b a m a

>    B [BORN IN]
>    A [AFRICA]

Note to Europe: One year on from the 2008 U.S. election

Posted by ungaro on 27/10/09

Almost a year ago some folks in Europe emailed to “congratulate” me on the individual who now is president of the United States. The present seems like an appropriate time to recap.

This offspring of a U.S. white slaveowner family and a chap from Kenya has no right to give the entire world an impression (as equally false as his relationship to Black America) that unilaterally he actually represents or has any right to speak for/in place of the Black American People.

In November 2008 no one from the Black American People, whose ancestors were enslaved in the United States, was elected president of the United States of America.

I am one of many dissenters yet our voices are not heard. Numbers of people have told me that within the United States, certain others are afraid to openly discuss these matters or to say what more than a few also know and honestly feel. In Black America, and beyond, people’s jobs, livelihoods, and even sense of belonging, are at stake. 

Since the seeds of Obamania began to be carefully planted, voices of criticism, dissent and outrage have been smothered, marginalised and excluded from both U.S. national and international fora. And yet the facade, through exclusionary use of force (economic, political, etc), cannot forever be maintained.

A year on from the 2008 election, Austrialian (i.e. British by ancestry) journalist & commentator John Pilger asserts: “OBAMA IS A CORPORATE MARKETING CREATION”.  And yet (since for some reason for most whites it always has been so hard – usually impossible – to seriously heed or even hear Black American voices and especially those dissenting on the basis of observable social and historical fact), Mr. Pilger still does not comprehend what, in his YouTube video, he derisively terms“identity” politics, in the way he erroneously seems to conceive of historical-cultural “blackness” as it relates to the past, present, judgement and behaviour of Barry/Barack Obama.  

Mr. Obama comes from a family of White slaveowners. His U.S. family and community history definitely are not those of the Black People of the Americas: a People birthed into chattel enslavement and internationally trafficked by the transatlantic slave trade. Just go to U.S. Census records for his U.S. family versus mine or any other Black American. The first “clue” is that, unlike Mr. Obama’s U.S. ancestors (who happened to be White), before 1870, you will not find our enslaved Black American ancestors in any U.S. Census, listed by their own names along with their family and household. The discrepancies go on from there, both further back into the past and forward to the present and into the future.

Perhaps more than anyone, Black Americans’ British Caribbean cousins, now settled in the UK and elsewhere, should readily admit the (obvious) fact that long before there was a United States of America,  BRITAIN transported Black Americans’ African ancestors to British North America, just as they did those whom they deposited in the Caribbean.

It was the British who sexually used and abused our Black (not White) female ancestors – and sold their children. It was the British who historically altered their own longstanding Law of Primogenitureinheritance to the first-born son - so that white men’s children with the Black women (& girls) of their American colonies could never rightfully be recognised by their fathers, their fathers’ families, nor within their own national society. They could inherit neither their own fathers’ property nor, legally, his name. (Reference: The English Virginia House of Burgesses, @ 1662)

These facts include the history of my family and of me. It includes Barack Obama’s family insofar as they were white slaveowners, but when is this ever discussed? And Mr. Obama’s father came from Kenya to the USA on an airplane, in the 20th century.  How does the disparity in these facts not compute?

Thus it is a cruel, certainly amoral, irony that in his Youtube video, John Pilger speaks of the ”phenomenon” of “finally” having a “black” president ”in the Land of Slavery.”  Obama’s family were the slaveowners.

OBAMA HAD SLAVEOWNING KIN – New York Times March 3, 2007

Some of us can only hope that, however currently “unpopular” and unwelcome, these facts and more which  derive from them, finally will be allowed to “bubble” to the surface, not only of media, but of both global and U.S. domestic moral and political consciousness and thought.

Long before the fiasco of 2009′s Nobel Prize for “peace” (apologies to Afghanistan and Iraq), there was this most basic exploitation and co-optation of a history, of the historical, physical and kinship identity of a post-slavery People: a People created as saleable products, using sex and procreation against themselves, as anti-human commercial processes, forever mixed with immeasurable amounts of cowardice, violence, contempt and lust.  In this “black” presidency, whatever scandal may remain to come, this one remains not least, but first.

Help us do slave ship research: On & Offline

Posted by ungaro on 21/08/09

We could use your help here! which has DATA coming from here: Deepogon is an interesting social network site which focuses on statistical research of all kinds. Europe in the Americas wishes to explore ways to use their formats and access to the slave ship research, as well as other pertinent forms of data. For slavery descendants (like this writer), is a life-changing research opportunity and effort. But we don’t know its mission with regard to grassroots, public research engagement, which is least available and most needed (on three shores of the Atlantic: Americas, Africa and Europe). So, though Europe in the Amercas is not directly related to either of those sites or projects, I do use them for the research. So, if you’re truly motivated to assist, please contact this blog. Namaste.

De Tocqueville: No Native Americans & “dangers” of the Blacks – Ch. 18, Democracy in America

“The Present and Probable Future Condition of the Three Races Which Inhabit the Territory of the United States.” That is the rarely discussed chapter 18 of de Tocqueville’s famous – and much-touted – Democracy in America. The three races to whom he refers are Native American Indians, Black Americans (Afrodescendants and Africans trafficked to this part of North America), and Europeans. Yet there is nothing democratic, and a lot that is both frightening and shocking, about the extraordinarily derogatory way French visitor de Tocqueville writes about Black Americans, and also about American Indians. I know of no political or academic commentator who has published a detailed critque of what de Tocqueville wrote in the 1830s about the people – my people – who were both forcibly bred, and enslaved, in the U.S. (and earlier when the U.S. still was a highly profitable British colony).  The section on Native Americans: “The Present And Probable Future Condition Of The Indian Tribes Which Inhabit The Territory Possessed By The Union” – “The Spaniards were unable to exterminate the Indian race by those unparalleled atrocities which brand them with indelible shame, nor did they even succeed in wholly depriving it of its rights; but the Americans of the United States have accomplished this twofold purpose with singular felicity; tranquilly, legally, philanthropically, without shedding blood, and without violating a single great principle of morality in the eyes of the world. It is impossible to destroy men with more respect for the laws of humanity.” Then he writes about Black Americans. “Situation of the Black Population in the United States and Dangers with which Its Presence threatens the White.” That is the section’s title. The Frenchman wrote: “The most formidable of all the ills which threaten the future existence of the Union arises from the presence of a black population upon its territory; and in contemplating the cause of the present embarrassments or of the future dangers of the United States, the observer is invariably led to consider this as a primary fact.” How do Europeans discuss de Tocqueville today, and other social interpreters with views similar to these? Or do we just continue as though none of this history (nor the Blacks or American Indians) ever existed?? When it comes to Europe’s history in the Americas & its bearing on human rights in the Americas, what are Europe’s trans-Atlantic policies today? Or does she have any?

Go see 3 June Antillean film debut ALIKER! (Paris, Marseille, etc)

FYI: JUNE is Caribbean American Heritage Month in the USA. And a thoughtful, and relevant, note from those busy souls of CM98: The début in Paris & elsewhere in France of Antillean filmmaker Guy Deslauriers’ ALIKER, Wednesday, 3 June. Go check it out and support it!! The flick has an official site (aka Selon S. Flainville of CM98, “Le film ALIKER du réalisateur Guy DESLAURIERS sort en salles le mercredi 03 juin,  allez y en masse et faites passer le message autour de vous et de vos proches… Merci d’y aller afin de contribuer à l’émergence du cinéma Antillais en France [emphasis added]. Amicalement, Suzy”  

What more need we add? OK, cinema addresses! Paris: Espace st Michel, Place St Michel, 75005; MK2 Parnasse, 11, rue Chaplain, 75006, or Publicis Elysées, 129, champs Elysées; in the banlieue: Arcueil, Le Jean Vilar; Bagnolet, Le Cinhoche or Vitry/Seine, 3 cinés Robespierre. And Province: Marseille – Le Prado, Nantes – Le Katorza, and Tournefeuille (Toulouse) - Cinéma Utopia.

According to the film’s official site, fans may meet filmmaker Guy Deslauriers at these locations:

Espace St Michel (5è) les 3 et 8 juin à 19h50
Bagnolet (Cin’hoche) le 5 juin à 20h
Vitry sur Seine (3 Robespierre) le 5 juin à 20h
Arcueil (le Jean Vilar) le 6 juin à 20h30

Go for it. Learn and enjoy for all of us, then send word back by posting your comments here reviewing the film! Cheers; peace. 

Excerpt: Déclaration du Comité Marche du 23 Mai (France)

Louisiane, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane, Haiti, Saint Lucie, etc.

Louisiane, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane, Haiti, Saint Lucie, etc.

Saturday was France’s observation of the 23 May 2009, for the ancestors – the victims of France’s colonial slave trade.  Excerpt of the “Déclaration du Comité Marche du 23 Mai”:

“De l’inacceptable guerre des mémoires déclenchée par Dieudonné, à la création du Conseil représentatif des associations noires de France (CRAN) au lendemain des violences urbaines, nous assistons incontestablement à la racialisation d’une crise sociétale sans précédent due à l’échec de l’intégration des descendants de colonisés et d’esclaves dans la République.

Terre d’immigration, la France souffre d’une profonde crise identitaire, subissant plus qu’elle ne les assimile ses diversités ethniques, culturelles et religieuses. Les migrants originaires de ses ex-colonies, même quand ils sont français, sont victimes, de par leur couleur de peau non blanche, de discriminations dans l’attribution d’emploi et de logement, entraînant leur précarisation et leur exclusion.

Aux humiliations constantes, au rejet insupportable, et aux réponses jugées insuffisantes et peu efficaces de l’Etat, la réaction de ces migrants, aujourd’hui, est violente. Leur colère longtemps contenue, explose sur cette terre qui était censée les accueillir comme il se doit, eu égard aux souffrances endurées par les leurs durant la période esclavagiste et coloniale. La crise de nature raciale qui en découle, secoue la République en remettant en question ses valeurs fondatrices: liberté, égalité et fraternité.

De façon surprenante, ceux que l’on attendait le moins, les Antillais, français pour certains depuis 1793, furent les premiers à interpeller la France sur leur difficulté à s’insérer dans la République et à se sentir pleinement citoyens, du fait de profonds ressentiments à l’égard de la France pour son passé esclavagiste et colonialiste. Voulant en 1998 célébrer le cent cinquantenaire de l’abolition de l’esclavage dans les colonies françaises, nos gouvernants proposèrent généreusement comme ciment citoyen aux Antillais, Guyanais et Réunionnais, le mythe de fondation: «Tous nés en 1848». (“We all were born in 1848.”)

Quelle ne fut la surprise du gouvernement Jospin quand à l’appel de 300 associations d’originaires des départements d’outre-mer (DOM), 40’000 manifestants battirent le pavé de Paris, le 23 mai 1998, en rejetant ce mythe réducteur et en s’affirmant filles et fils d’esclaves…

Afro-Colombian women: most vulnerable population in war

From the IACHR report on the situation of Afro-Colombian women in the armed conflict in Colombia.  IACHR – the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights.

“The IACHR was able to verify that the situation of Afro-Colombian women living on the Pacific coast is particularly precarious and alarming. Both State authorities and non-State sources confirmed that the Afro-Colombian population has been subjected to a history of discrimination, exclusion, invisibility and social disadvantage, both economic and geographic.  The armed conflict has worsened this situation, since the armed actors profit from these disadvantages in their struggle to control territories and resources. In the particular case of Afro-Colombian women, their condition as women adds another factor of discrimination and vulnerability to their lives and exposes them to greater abuses by the actors of the conflict:

“We women have been trampled over in our territory and anywhere by the different groups, the legal and illegal armed groups, who kidnap us, kill, rape and humiliate us … leaving as a consequence of these actions the deterioration of the social fabric around us. Therefore, there is no doubt that the armed conflict has harmed black women’s feelings, their ancestral legitimacy, their creativity to form and generate life, their cultural identity and their love for their territory.”

The United Nations Rapporteur, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Mesa de Trabajo Mujer y Conflicto Armado have identified Afro-Colombian women as a particularly vulnerable group to violence and the consequences of the conflict on the civilian population, such as forced displacement.In its last report, the High Commissioner for Human Rights specifically stated that:

The security, particularly of rural, indigenous and Afro-Colombian women and girls and of those that are organized, displaced, confined or are returnees, has deteriorated as a result of the armed conflict and the use of sexual violence and social control by the illegal armed groups.

Welcome! Europe in the Americas

Posted by ungaro on 18/05/09

As European Parliament June elections approach, we welcome you to Europe in the Americas, a blog about Europe and her longstanding, enduring, yet little-known, scarcely acknowledged, & regularly denied ties with the people, history, structure and struggles of the Americas.  This includes current events such as the 15 May 2009 referendum in Curaçao, as well as political and social movement in Martinique and Guadeloupe. Thank you to for freely sharing this platform. My name is Marian Douglas-Ungaro. I live in Europe and the U.S. My family and I, who are people of African, European and American Indian descent, are natives of the U.S. and, thus, of the Americas. I am the initiator of this blog, and its sole author. Please do contact me if you’d like to share something you’ve researched, or know, or discovered, about the interactions of Europe & the Americas: whether Europe’s earlier colonial or her continuing presence in the Americas. Here’s to the remainder of 2009. Happy Spring! The best for every one of us!

Europe in the Americas rss

Europe & the Americas: Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow more.