Category Archives: Africa

En guise d’adieu à Black History Month 2015

Black History Month s’achève aujourd’hui. Le présent blog est la version revue et augmentée de mon commentaire du 21 courant sur la page Facebook d’Abdoulaye Barry .

Malcolm X (1925-1965) et Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)  furent assassinés à trois ans d’intervalle. Les deux leaders  divergeaient fortement en stratégie et en tactique. A quoi s’ajoutait la différence de foi religieuse ; l’un était musulman, l’autre chrétien.

Washington, DC. 26 mars 1964. Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. et Malcolm X se rencontrent pour la première et la dernière fois.
Washington, DC. 26 mars 1964. Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. et Malcolm X se rencontrent pour la première et la dernière fois.

Malcolm X — Elhadj Malik El Shabbaz

Malcolm était très critique de la non-violence de MLK, Jr. Les deux hommes ne se rencontrèrent qu’une seule fois, et pour quelques minutes, le 26 mars 1964. Juste le temps de d’échanger les salutations d’usage et de poser pour une photo historique. Ils s’étaient rendus à Washington, DC à l’occasion du débat du Sénat sur le projet de loi qui sera adopté et promulgué, le 2 juillet 1964, sous le nom de Civil Rights Act.

D’une importance fondamentale, cette loi interdit la discrimination, dans les lieux publics, basée sur la race, la couleur de peau, la religion, le sexe, ou l’origine nationale. Le Civil Rights Act mit juridiquement fin :

  1. à l’inégalité  d’application des critères d’inscripition des électeurs
  2. à la  ségrégation raciale dans les écoles, les lieux de travail et aux endroits ouvert au public.

Prônant au départ le séparatisme d’avec la majorité blanche, Malcolm finit aussi par dénoncer aussi le caractère hérétique de la secte connue sous le nom de Nation of Islam. Il rejoignit l’Islam orthodoxe et fit son pèlerinage aux Lieux Saints. Il changea de nom pour la deuxième fois ; il avait  décidé de remplacer Malcolm Little, son nom de baptème chrétien, par Malcom X. En 1964, Malcolm X devint Elhadj Malik El Shabbaz, fondateur du parti politique, Organisation de l’Unité Afro-Américaine. On remarque ici la similarité d’appellation avec l’Organisation de l’Unité Africaine, créée en 1963 à Addis Abeba. L’OUA fut le précurseur de l’actuelle Union Africaine. Telli Diallo fut son premier secrétaire général élu.

Boubacar Telli Diallo, 1925-1977
Boubacar Telli Diallo, 1925-1977

La rupture d’avec Nation of Islam coûta la vie à Elhadj Malik El Shabbaz. Expulsé de l’organisation en 1964, il fut assassiné l’année suivante par des adeptes de Nation of Islam. Le tireur principal sera bientôt libéré après avoir purgé 40 ans de prison.

Deux ans avant sa mort, Malcolm X visite l’Afrique à deux reprises. Maya Angelou décrit merveilleusement le passage de Malcolm à Accra en 1963.

[ Lire Maya Angelou. All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes. Chapters 9, 10, 12]

Seule ombre au tableau de la visite, le chapitre 10 dépeint la rencontre impromptue et pénible de Malcolm X et de Muhammad Ali à Accra. Le second prenait le premier pour son idole, et Malcolm adorait Muhammad Ali. Mais après la dénonciation de Nation of Islam et de son chef, Elijah Muhammad, la rupture était consommée entre les deux célébrités…

De gauche à droite, Présidents Modibo Keita, Kwame Nkrumah et Sékou Touré signent la charte de l'Union Ghana-Guinée-Mali, le 29 avril 1961 à Accra.
De gauche à droite, Présidents Modibo Keita, Kwame Nkrumah et Sékou Touré signent la charte de l’Union Ghana-Guinée-Mali, le 29 avril 1961 à Accra.

Par contre, Malcolm eut droit aux honneurs officiels et protocolaires de la part des ambassadeurs des pays suivants : Chine, Yugoslavie, Mali, Cuba, Algerie, Egypte et Guinée.
Dans ce dernier cas, il s’agissait de feu Abdoulaye Diallo, leader syndicaliste, et premier ambassadeur de Guinée à Accra. Du reste, il fut par la suite surnommé Abdoulaye ‘Ghana’. Il avait le titre officiel de ministre-résident, et il participait aux séances du gouvernement ghanéen. Son équivalent Ghanéen à Conakry avait les mêmes prérogatives durant l’Union Ghana-Guinée (1959-1963), qui devint Union Ghana-Guinée-Mali en 1961, et qui fut dissoute avec la création de l’OUA en 1963.

En mission en Chine, les ministres Abdoulaye Diallo et Mamadou Sow avec Président Mao Zedong
En mission en Chine, les ministres Abdoulaye “Ghana” Diallo et Mamadou Sow (fusillé au Camp Boiro), à droite, avec Président Mao Zedong. (Source. Archives de la famille Mamadou Sow)

Maya Angelou — qui faillit épouser un Sheikh Ali, un Pullo Malien — conduisait la voiture qui ramenait Malcolm X à l’aéroport. Durant le trajet, il la sermonna gentiment mais fermement en lui rappelant que la place des Noirs Américains était aux USA, non sur le continent d’origine….

Martin Luther King, Jr.

De son côté, sans renoncer à la non-violence, MLK avait fait une révision fondamentale de sa position politique. Ayant obtenu le ralliement de Maya Angelou, il lui déclara, sans autre précision : “J’ai besoin de personnes énergiques et intelligentes comme toi, car je prépare quelque chose de radical.” En 1967 il dénonça la guerre du Vietnam dans son discours magistral intitulé « Beyond Vietnam ».

[Lire Beyond Vietnam. Time to Break Silence]

En conséquence, il fut rejeté et isolé par la plupart des autres leaders noirs, par ex. Thurgood Marshall de la Cour Suprême, et bien sûr, par la Maison Blanche.

Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final YearEt l’acharnement d’Edgar Hoover, chef du FBI, contre lui s’accentua. Les dirigeants noirs lui reprochaient d’avoir dénoncé si ouvertement et profondément la politique du président Lyndon Johnson et l’engagement militaire américain en Asie du Sud-Est (Viet-Nam, Laos, Cambodge). On disait à Dr. King qu’il aurait dû être “reconnaissant” au signataire du Civil Rights Act (1964) et du Voting Rights Act (1965).…

De gauche à droite : Ambassdeur Marof Achkar (représentant permanent de la Guinée à l'ONU), Ambassadeur Américain James Loeb à Conakry, Harry Bellafonte, Ambassadeur Karim Bangoura de Guinée à Washington DC, Rev. M.L King, Jr. in New York City, circa 1966. Les deux ambassadeurs Guinéens (Achkar et Bangoura) furent assassinés au Camp Boiro in 1971.
De gauche à droite : Ambassadeur Marof Achkar (représentant permanent de la Guinée à l’ONU), Ambassadeur Américain James Loeb à Conakry, Harry Bellafonte, Ambassadeur Karim Bangoura de Guinée à Washington DC, Rev. M.L King, Jr. in New York City, circa 1966. Les deux ambassadeurs Guinéens (Achkar et Bangoura) furent assassinés au Camp Boiro in 1971.

Mais la vision de MLK dépassait les considérations personnelles. Elle se plaçait au niveau national et universel. Il fut abattu à Memphis le 4 avril 1968, anniversaire, jour pour jour, de “Beyond Vietnam”, selon la remarquable biographie intitulée Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year, publiée en 2014 par Tavis Smiley et David Ritz.

Tierno S. Bah

Beyond Vietnam. Time to Break Silence

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen:

I need not pause to say how very delighted I am to be here tonight, and how very delighted I am to see you expressing your concern about the issues that will be discussed tonight by turning out in such large numbers. I also want to say that I consider it a great honor to share this program with Dr. Bennett, Dr. Commager, and Rabbi Heschel, and some of the distinguished leaders and personalities of our nation. And of course it’s always good to come back to Riverside church. Over the last eight years, I have had the privilege of preaching here almost every year in that period, and it is always a rich and rewarding experience to come to this great church and this great pulpit.

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join you in this meeting because I’m in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” And that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

And some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: “Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King?” “Why are you joining the voices of dissent?” “Peace and civil rights don’t mix,” they say. “Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people,” they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.

In the light of such tragic misunderstanding, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church — the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate — leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.

I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia. Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they must play in the successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reasons to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.

Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the National Liberation Front, but rather to my fellow Americans.

Since I am a preacher by calling, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor — both black and white — through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. And so we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. And so we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

For those who ask the question, “Aren’t you a civil rights leader?” and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: “To save the soul of America.” We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself until the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath —
America will be!

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be — are — are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 19541; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Peace Prize was also a commission, a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for “the brotherhood of man.” This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I’m speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men — for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the One who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this One? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?

And finally, as I try to explain for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the ideologies of the Liberation Front, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1954 — in 1945 rather — after a combined French and Japanese occupation and before the communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony. Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not ready for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination and a government that had been established not by China — for whom the Vietnamese have no great love — but by clearly indigenous forces that included some communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.

For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam. Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of their reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.

After the French were defeated, it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva Agreement. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators, our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly rooted out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords, and refused even to discuss reunification with the North. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by United States’ influence and then by increasing numbers of United States troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem’s methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictators seemed to offer no real change, especially in terms of their need for land and peace.

The only change came from America, as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received the regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move on or be destroyed by our bombs.

So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.

What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?

We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing — in the crushing of the nation’s only non-Communist revolutionary political force, the unified Buddhist Church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men.

Now there is little left to build on, save bitterness. Soon, the only solid — solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call “fortified hamlets.” The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these. Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These, too, are our brothers.

Perhaps a more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies. What of the National Liberation Front, that strangely anonymous group we call “VC” or “communists”? What must they think of the United States of America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem, which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the South? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of “aggression from the North” as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings, even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.

How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent communist, and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam, and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will not have a part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them, the only party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again, and then shore it up upon the power of new violence?

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.

So, too, with Hanoi. In the North, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French Commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which could have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again. When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered.

Also, it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva Agreement concerning foreign troops. They remind us that they did not begin to send troops in large numbers and even supplies into the South until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.

Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the North. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor, weak nation more than eight hundred — rather, eight thousand miles away from its shores.

At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called “enemy,” I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak of the — for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words, and I quote:

Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism (unquote).

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.

I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do [immediately] to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:

  • Number one: End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.
  • Number two: Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.
  • Three: Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.
  • Four: Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and any future Vietnam government.
  • Five: Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Agreement.

Part of our ongoing — Part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We must provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country, if necessary. Meanwhile — Meanwhile, we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices and our lives if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative method of protest possible.

As we counsel young men concerning military service, we must clarify for them our nation’s role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is a path now chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. Moreover, I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.

Now there is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter that struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing.

The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality…and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing “clergy and laymen concerned” committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala — Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end, unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.

And so, such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957, a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years, we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which has now justified the presence of U.S. military advisors in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counterrevolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Cambodia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru.

It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin…we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and, through their misguided passions, urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not engage in a negative anticommunism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity, and injustice, which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.”2 We in the West must support these revolutions.

It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores, and thereby speed the day when “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.”3

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing — embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate — ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: “Let us love one another, for love is God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.” “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.”4 Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.

We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. And history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says:

Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word (unquote).

We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood — it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. Omar Khayyam is right: “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on.”

We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message — of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:

Once to every man and nation comes a moment to decide,
In the strife of truth and Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God’s new Messiah offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever ‘twixt that darkness and that light.
Though the cause of evil prosper, yet ‘tis truth alone is strong
Though her portions be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.

And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when “justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” 5

Notes
1 King stated “1954.” That year was notable for the Civil Rights Movement in the USSC’s  Brown v. Board of Education ruling. However, given the statement’s discursive thrust, King may have meant to say “1964” — the year he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Alternatively, as noted by Steve Goldberg, King may have identified 1954’s “burden of responsibility” as the year he became a minister.
2 Isaiah 9:2/Matthew 4:16
3 Isaiah 40:4
4 1 John 4:7-8, 12
5 Amos 5:24
External Link: http://www.thekingcenter.org/
Audio Source: Linked directly to: http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php
Research Note: This transcript rechecked for errors and subsequently revised on 10/3/2010.

The movie Timbuktu deserves an Oscar

Give the movie “Timbuktu” an Oscar Now

The Academy Award-nominated film Timbuktu explores the war within Islam. It deserves an Oscar.

It’s that time of year again: The Oscars are approaching. To be honest, I usually don’t pay much attention. Most entertainment awards these days seem to be dull and bloated exercises in self-congratulation.

Christian Caryl
Christian Caryl

Yet there’s no denying that the prizes they hand out at these events still have the power to turn the spotlight of publicity on important works. This year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a chance to make a statement. They can do it by honoring the latest film by Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako.

His movie, Timbuktu, is nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Sissako’s film clearly faces tough competition; several of the others it’s up against have received lots of attention and good reviews. I don’t doubt that they’re also entirely worthy.

But here’s why I think Timbuktu deserves the nod. It dares to tackle one of the most urgent topics of our time, yet it’s also a magnificent work of art. It celebrates the force of love and the resilience of humanity even as it delves deep into the nature of evil. It’s been a while since I saw a film that pulls off a comparable feat.

I may be biased. In 2013 I had the great privilege to take a trip to the legendary city in northern Mali that gives the film its title. I arrived not long after a combined force of French and Malian troops had put an end to Timbuktu’s 10-month occupation by a group of radical Islamists, allied with Tuareg separatists, who had imposed their own harsh version of sharia on the city’s residents — virtually all of whom are themselves Muslims. The local people told me countless tales of how the jihadis — many of them foreigners who couldn’t even communicate in the local languages — made their lives miserable.

Salvage and evacuation of the Timbuktu manuscripts (Prince Claus Fund)
Salvage and evacuation of the Timbuktu manuscripts (Prince Claus Fund)

The occupiers’ ultraconservative brand of Islam went so far, indeed, that they ended up destroying the ancient tombs of Sufi saints and burning precious ancient manuscripts they deemed to be insufficiently pure. Everywhere I went in the city I noticed the eerie calling cards of the occupation — the billboards and signs where the jihadis had carefully blotted out every human image. No one had gotten around to restoring them yet. (They also float throughout the background of the film.)

Sissako bases Timbuktu on these real events, yet he transmutes them into a story that transcends the headlines. The film doesn’t show us how the radical Islamists have managed to establish control over the city; their presence is already given, a looming and inescapable fact. “Football is forbidden,” one young holy warrior intones through a bullhorn. “Music is forbidden.” Forbidden, as a matter of fact, is “any old thing” — a telling comment on the modern-day Salafi Islamists who claim they’re trying to yank society back to a primal and “uncorrupted” version of their religion.

In fact, Sissako implies, these jihadis are thoroughly modern radicals who are reinventing Islam to serve their own twisted purposes. Their tyrannical strictures run directly counter to the city’s long-standing religious traditions, which are shaped by its position squarely on the cultural dividing line between black Africa and the desert cultures of the Sahara. Sissako hones the point with scenes in which a local imam disputes the new rulers’ idiosyncratic worldview — as when they invade his mosque carrying guns and wearing shoes.
— You cause harm to Islam and Muslims, he tells them quietly. Where’s God in all this?

Timbuktians, of course, try to go on doing what they do. A woman in the market has already submitted to the imposition of an all-enveloping hijab, but she draws the line at donning gloves as well. (Quite reasonably, since she makes her living selling fish.) Elusive musicians confound the vice and virtue squad with a lovely tune that praises Allah: “Should we arrest them?” a bewildered trooper asks his commander. In one particularly haunting scene, boys on a dusty field evade the ban on soccer by playing an exuberant game with an imagined ball. Life has a way of asserting its own imperatives.

Sissako doesn’t flinch from the darker side of the story. The scene in which the town’s rulers submit two accused adulterers to death by stoning is hard to watch. In another, a young woman weeps, and sings, as she endures a vicious lashing imposed for the crime of music. (Mali has an unbelievably rich musical heritage, and it’s reflected in the movie’s lush but unobtrusive soundtrack.) The film culminates in an execution that takes an unexpected and heartbreaking turn. I don’t want to spoil the moment, but suffice it to say that human beings are at times so eager to reclaim their own freedom that they’re willing to embrace death in the process.

Samba Geladio Jeegi by Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté

One of the great strengths of Timbuktu is its insistence on showing the jihadis as human beings rather than caricatures. They’re arrogant and brutal, make no mistake, but Sissako wants us to see how they, too, become tangled up in their own unforgiving ideology. Among themselves, the same young fighters who lecture the locals on the ills of soccer lapse into gossip about Real Madrid. A commander ducks behind a sand dune for a smoke. Needless to say, none of this absolves them of their crimes. As Sissako told an interviewer:

“To portray a jihadist as simply a bad guy, who does not in any way resemble me, who’s completely different, that’s not completely true.”

Timbuktu packs a powerful punch; its images and dialogue linger in the mind. That has a lot to do with the fact that it’s a film that comes from inside the world that it describes. Sissako comes from Mauritania, which has a long border with Mali; both countries have majority Muslim populations and similar ethnic complexities. The “West,” as such, is almost completely absent from the film (except for one brief throwaway scene near the beginning involving a bewildered European hostage).

As a result, Sissako reveals, with almost unbearable intimacy, that the current turmoil plaguing the Muslim world is, indeed, as much a war within Islam as it is anything else. For this reason his film should be required viewing for those who want the West to declare a generational civilizational war on the Islamic world. And it’s for this same reason that the Academy has a chance to send a powerful signal by giving a prize to this film.

I’ve written a lot about politics here, for good reason, but ultimately Timbuktu is simply a magnificent movie. If you want to see it, be sure to pick a theater with a big screen and a great sound system. I guarantee that you’ll be swept away.

Christian Caryl
Foreign Policy / Reuters

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Ebola’s Toll Could Have Been Much Worse

Body temperature check with the no-contact thermometer in Monrovia
Body temperature check with the no-contact thermometer in Monrovia

Pesident Barack Obama isn’t declaring that Africa’s Ebola crisis is over. But he’s making clear that he believes that the spread of the virus, which public health workers once feared could infect hundreds of thousands, has been largely stopped in its tracks.

— Our focus now is getting to zero. Every case is an ember that could light a fire, Obama said at a celebratory news conference Wednesday praising the U.S. troops and doctors who had traveled to Africa to help fight the disease, while announcing plans to scale back America’s presence in West Africa by withdrawing all but 100 of the 3,000 troops who had been sent there to stem the outbreak.

— We’re shifting from fighting the epidemic to extinguishing it, the President added.

The size of the outbreak in West Africa in the summer of 2014 caused an international panic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projected 550,000 Ebola cases in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, and said that the count would be much higher if the disease spread to Nigeria.
The World Health Organization declared an emergency.
The World Bank estimated the outbreak could cost West African GDPs $32.6 billion by the end of 2015, a potentially devastating blow to the region’s fragile economies.
And there were concerns the epidemic could become a pandemic if it escaped West Africa and made its way to Europe, Asia, or the United States.

“Bodies lying in the street… gangs threatening to burn down hospitals. I believe this disease has the potential to be a national security risk for many nations.,” Ken Isaacs, the vice president of program and government relations for the aid organization Samaritan’s Purse told lawmakers in August 2014. Obama’s ambassador to Nigeria, Jeffrey Hawkins, warned of an “apocalyptic urban outbreak.”

In response, the Obama administration committed $6.2 billion to combat the disease in West Africa and to prepare American medical facilities to treat Ebola. The president also sent 3,000 U.S. military personnel to West Africa to build medical facilities and coordinate international aid efforts.
By April 2015, only 100 troops would remain, Obama said Wednesday.

More than half a year later, the dire predictions have proven to be wildly inaccurate. The number of cases is a fraction of early projections.
The World Bank now estimates West African nations would lose just $500 million in gross domestic product this year.
The total number of cases in the United States stands at just three; all survived. Most of the American troops, meanwhile, found themselves operating treatment centers in areas with few actual Ebola cases.
Many of the facilities largely sat empty.

None of that is to deny the enormous human toll of the outbreak, which is the worst Ebola epidemic in modern history. The CDC estimates that 22,894 cases have resulted in 9,177 deaths, mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.
Horrific as those numbers are, many had feared that they would be even worse.

But the number of Ebola cases is steadily declining across West Africa, especially in Liberia, where the country recorded only four Ebola cases last week, according to the WHO. Martin Friede, who is heading the WHO effort to coordinate the development of an Ebola drug, told NPR that the lack of new patients “is excellent for the countries involved,” but “from a drug research and development perspective, this is not so good.”

Aileen Marty, a professor of infectious diseases at Florida International University who treated patients infected with the virus in Nigeria, said initial coverage of the outbreak was “media hype [that] went a little overboard.”

Still, she said, “sometimes you need it to wake people up.”

Indeed, Ebola’s toll would almost certainly have been far worse if governments around the world hadn’t launched an unprecedented effort to help contain the outbreak. China sent more than 200 aid workers and medical personnel, along with $123 million, to West Africa to combat the disease. The European Union added another $1.3 billion. The Pentagon built 10 clinics across Liberia and trained 1,500 Liberians to treat the disease.

On a more localized level, doctors battling the Ebola outbreak had to find success on a number of fronts.

First, they had to engage in some old fashioned epidemiology: find people infected with the virus, treat them, and then track down people these patients had been in contact with to make sure the bug hadn’t passed.
According to Julie E. Fischer, an associate research professor with the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, these efforts have been successful: Patient zero has been identified as Emile Ouamouno, a 2-year old boy from Guinea.

“It’s getting to the point where every single case has a known origin. There’s no case you can’t track down to a specific exposure,” Fischer said. “When you have this, you know you really got a handle on the epidemic.”

Second, doctors needed to stop the spread of the disease in Nigeria, especially in Lagos, a city of 21 million where half of the population live in slums with poor sanitation. Because the disease is spread by bodily fluids, that was a powder keg that raised the prospect of the disease rapidly infecting huge numbers of impoverished people jammed into areas that lacked access to modern medical facilities. Lagos also contains one of Nigeria’s biggest airports, which meant that infected people could potentially have carried the virus to other continents.

“When I landed in Nigeria, we went nuts,” Marty said. “We made up songs, we did dances on how to avoid Ebola. Where there was Internet, messaging went out through social media. Messages went out through texts. We did campaigns meeting with chiefs of villages.”

By the end of October 2014, the disease had been largely eradicated there. Twenty cases were documented; eight of those patients died.

“If we hadn’t gotten the outbreak under control in Nigeria, with Lagos being a huge hub for transportation, it would have been bad,” she added.

In late October, the United States issued travel bans routing travelers from West Africa through five airports for screening.
In some states, mandatory quarantines for health workers returning from the region were issued (and ignored in the case of Kaci Hickox, a nurse who treated Ebola and who defied a quarantine by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie). All of the Americans who contracted the virus on U.S. soil are alive and well. Of the eight American aid workers, doctors or nurses who caught Ebola in Africa, only one, Martin Salia, has died.

“Because we didn’t have more cases of Ebola in the United States, it’s safe to say the measures we took were correct. The response was appropriate in terms of border control and contact tracing,” Vicky Hausman, director of the consultant group Dalberg’s Global Development Advisors global health practice, told Foreign Policy.

Yet despite all of the positive steps made against Ebola, the World Health Organization issued a grim reminder Wednesday that West Africa is not out of the woods.

It reported that the number of new cases is up in Guinea for the second week in a row.

“Despite improvements in case finding and management, burial practices, and community engagement, the decline in case incidence has stalled,” WHO said in its announcement.

Obama is right to tout some notable successes in the fight. But it’s far too soon for him to have a “mission accomplished” moment.

David Francis
Foreign Policy

CAN 2015 : le Ghana balaie la Guinée 3-0

L”équipe nationale de football de Guinée vient d’apprendre à ses dépens qu’il est illusoire de compter sur la chance pour remporter une compétition continentale. Le pays manque d’infrastructures sportives. Avec une économie classée parmi les dix dernières du monde, la Guinée ne peut offrir aux nombreux jeunes talents des possibilités locales d’éclosion et d’épanouissement. Quelques uns parviennent à signer des contrats avec des clubs étrangers et s’exilent. Privée d’un encadrement adéquat, l’équipe nationale est assemblée de manière hétéroclite au dernier moment. Et lorsqu’elle affronte des formations mieux encadrées, elle perd inéluctablement. Dans ce domaine comme dans tous les autres, la politique gouvernementale étale la carence, la mauvaise gouvernance et la faillite des régimes en place depuis des décennies. — T.S. Bah

L’équipe du Ghana s’est qualifiée pour les demi-finales de la Coupe d’Afrique des nations 2015 où elle affrontera la sélection hôte du tournoi, la Guinée équatoriale, le 5 février à Malabo. Les Ghanéens ont balayé 3-0 des Guinéens passés totalement à côté de leur quart de finale.

Le Sily National rêvait de grandeur durant cette Coupe d’Afrique des nations 2015. L’équipe de Guinée s’imaginait un magnifique destin après une campagne éliminatoire héroïque et sa qualification atypique en quart de finale, suite à un tirage au sort. Finalement, la sélection guinéenne quitte cette CAN 2015 sur un non-match, face au Ghana, ce 1er février à Malabo.

En effet, les Guinéens se font cueillir à froid dès la 4e minute. L’attaquant Kwesi Appiah déborde sur la gauche une défense adverse passive. Il passe le ballon à André Ayew qui, après deux secondes de temporisation, talonne. L’ailier Christian Atsu, qui arrive lancé, ouvre le score du plat du pied : 1-0.

CAN quarts de finale. Dominés dans tous les secteurs de jeu

Les Black Stars attaquent ce quart de final pied au plancher. Ils multiplient les interventions musclées, à l’image de Mubarak Wakaso qui bouscule le capitaine Ibrahima Traoré. Les milieux de terrain guinéens ne pèsent pas lourd face à leurs homologues. En pointe, Idrissa Sylla doit se coltiner les défenseurs centraux Jonathan Mensah et John Boye. Bref, les Guinéens sont dominés à chaque ligne.

Impuissants, les joueurs de Michel Dussuyer s’énervent. A la demi-heure de jeu, le gardien de but Naby Yattara bouscule Atsu. Il s’en sort avec un carton jaune…Il sera expulsé dans les arrêts de jeu pour une agression sur l’avant-centre Asamoah Gyan (90e+5).

Juste avant la pause, le défenseur Baïssama Sankoh enfonce son équipe en manquant totalement une passe. Kwesi Appiah jaillit et trompe Yattara : 2-0 (45e). Pour ne rien arranger, Sylla sort sur blessure avant la pause.

Atsu donne le coup de grâce

En deuxième période, le Sily National revient avec un peu plus d’agressivité en attaque. Mais en défense, c’est une toute autre histoire. A la 62e minute, Atsu se joue très facilement de Djibril Tsamir Paye sur le côté droit avant de loger le ballon dans la lucarne opposée avec une superbe frappe enroulée du pied gauche. Yattara est lobé : 3-0.

Difficile d’imaginer que cette même équipe de Guinée avait posé des problèmes à celle du Ghana en éliminatoires de la CAN 2015. Les Maliens, qui avaient été éliminés par tirage au sort, ont vraiment dû regretter de ne pas avoir disputé ce quart de finale à la place des Guinéens.

Les Black Stars, eux, joueront une place en finale face à l’équipe hôte du tournoi, la Guinée équatoriale, le 5 février.

RFI