Again we are gathering in this ongoing campaign to stop the senseless violence of Boko Haram, not just in Nigeria, but in Cameroon, Chad and Niger, and to say stop Africa’s other wars, like in the Congo, that has killed millions over the past eight to 10 years.
Boko Haram, we are here to say no to your genocide, mass murders, ethnic and religious cleansing, rape and destruction.
Boko Haram, you are saying, with your murders and destruction, yes to foreign ideas such as enslavement, colonialism and oppression, and no to human rights, freedom and flourishing of African people.
Boko Haram, listen to the great leaders of Africa such as Nyerere, Nzingha, Asante Waa, Nkrumah, Lumumba, Nasser and Gaddafi. You are working against what they wanted for Africa: unity, equality, peace, harmony, justice and development
Boko Haram, listen to the great leaders of the African Diaspora like Paul Cuffee, Nana and Gabriel Prosser, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Dessalines, Christophe, Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Anna Julia Cooper, Bishop Henry McNeil Turner, Marcus and Amy Garvey, W. E. B. Dubois, Martin Luther King and that great son of Africa, Malcolm X, who told us to “Wake Up, Stand Up, and Clean Up.” Because, Boko Haram, you are walking upside down in darkness. As our ancient ancestors taught us, it is wrong.
Boko Haram, you are acting like thugs and zombies, as Fela would say.
Boko Haram, where are your weapons from? Which permanent members of the U.N. Security Council continues to make Africa and the world less and less secure everyday? How did you get your weapons? Did you get them off the bodies of Africa’s friends or enemies? Or did you buy them from Africa’s friends or enemies?
What are we saying to you, Boko Haram? Get on the right side of history. Stop collaborating in the oppression of your people. Stop being a co-conspirator of death and destruction in Africa.
And to those who are in cohorts with them, you too will be exposed and punished. So will those individuals and governments pursuing permanent wars rather than permanent peace. Those who are engaging in complacency and appeasement, we say, now, stand up and do the right thing.
To those gathered here and listening, an encouraging reminder: an African proverb says, “We do kindness because it is a beautiful thing.” Let’s continue to unite to combat wrong and evil and bring beauty and goodness to our community and the world.
Dr. Segun Shabaka is chair of the New York chapter of the National Association of Kawaida Organizations. His statement was delivered at the Boko Haram press conference held on the steps of City Hall.