Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pan-Africanism and the Arabs of Africa

Recently I have been listening to a lot of Algerian rai music. I think Algeria has my favorite music of any African country although I like Malian music a lot as well. This brings me to the point that the Arabs and Berbers despite being White are African peoples and African is a continental, not a racial identity. More Arabs live in Africa than live in Asia and Arabic is the most widely spoken language on the African continent. One of the great Pan-African leaders of the 1950s and 1960s was Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt. The Pan-Africanist Casablanca group formed in 1961 originally included Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and the Provisional Revolutionary Government of Algeria (Algeria won its independence only in 1962) as well as Ghana, Guinea, and Mali. Thus out of its seven members four were predominantly Arab. Pan-Africanists like Frantz Fanon have always stressed that there is a single African continent and that both Black Africans in the south and White Africans in the north belong to it. Indeed Algeria along with Congo was one of the two great issues that occupied the Casablanca group and its constituent members. The Casablanca group went so far as to give membership to the provisional government formed by the Algerian independence movement. Both Black African and Arab African states have shown solidarity in their opposition to European colonialism, South African apartheid, and the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. I have written quite a bit recently here on Western Sahara which is an Arab inhabited territory whose liberation has been championed mainly by African states. In fact the provisional revolutionary government of the territory, the SADR (Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic) is a full member of the African Union. A future united Africa can not exclude its northernmost states. The Arabs and Berbers are an integral part of the African continent and the fate of countries like Egypt and Tunisia is just as important to real Pan-Africanists as Togo or Gabon.

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