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Afro-Canadian MPs and African Diplomats Have a Disappointing Record on Darfur by Justin Laku

12/12/2005 2:32 pm

If the Afro-Canadian Members of Parliament do not care about the genocide in Darfur, why should the Canadian government care about Darfur? Canada sent 1,400 troops to Bosnia because Canadians of European decent play a big role in Canadian government and politics today. Today, Africans do have a voice in Canada's Parliament, but most have chosen to be quiet on issues affecting Africa. Bloc Quebecois MP Maka Kotto, a Canadian-African of Cameroonian decent, has chosen to keep quiet instead of supporting Independent MP David Kilgour in the fight against the genocide in Darfur, in Congo, and hunger in Niger, Mali and Ethiopia.
Why is Maka Kotto so silent on Africans' problems? Why are Senator Donald Oliver, MPs Jean Augustine, Hedy Fry, Marlene Jennings, Rahim Jaffer and Deepak Obhrai silent in the issue of Darfur? Thanks to Gurmant Grewal and Bhupinder S. Liddar for their continued support of Africans: you are true sons of Africa, may God bless you. It is a shame on our African MPs.

Additionally and most important is the silence of the African diplomatic corps (with exception of some embassies). I think when Europeans come to Africa as diplomats they are very vocal in the press in the countryside, with the people, but our OWN African diplomats as a unit are very silent except for photo opportunities during Independence Day celebrations and parties; leaving their children in Canada when their term has ended. Therefore, I'd like to see the Dean and the African Heads of Missions in Canada form a coalition to ensure that the government of Canada plays its part in peacekeeping in Darfur and to push their weight collectively to answer all of Africa's concerns.

In 2003, I wrote a letter to Jean Augustine in reference to rape victims in the Sudan and asking how she could assist. I received no formal reply from her office until now. How many times has Ms. Augustine written to the prime minister about the suffering women of Darfur? Not a single letter, that I know of. Last May I wrote an open letter to all MPs regarding genocide in Darfur. I received no responses from any of the Afro-Canadian MPs. So why should the world care about Africans and the Caribbean if black senators and MPs are not concerned about Africa?

It's too early to know how much the newly appointed governor general will do for the victims of the rape in Darfur, peace in the South Sudan, genocide in Congo, and hunger in Niger, Mali and Ethiopia. I do hope she will not turn her back on Africa and Caribbean. Can she make injustice visible?

Justin Laku
President & Founder of the group Canadian Friends of Sudan
Ottawa, ON.

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