November 23, 2012
News, Announcements, and Analysis from ACAS
The Association of Concerned Africa Scholars salutes the life of a great fighter for freedom, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. We send our condolences to his family and to the people of South Africa. He stood unflinchingly for the achievement of fairness, equality and a social peace predicated on justice. He inspired us all with his courage and steadfast dedication to freedom for all, and we are honored to have been associated with the causes to which he dedicated his life. Hamba gatle, Madiba.
The ACAS annual business meeting will be at 6:30 on Thursday, Nov. 21 at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore. Check African Studies Association program for room information.
The ACAS-sponsored panel is “Foreign Capital Flows into African Agriculture: Implications and Alternatives,” chaired by Jeanne Koopman. Friday, Nov. 22 from 2:45 pm-4:30 pm.
A second ACAS-related panel is “Security and the Military in Africa,” chaired by David Wiley. Friday, Nov. 22 from 10:00 am – 11:45 am.
We are saddened by the passing of South African scholar Ben Magubane. Many ACAS members knew and worked with Ben as both a scholar and activist, particularly during his many years in the United States. His daughter, Zine Magubane, wrote this obituary. Also, this hour-long interview with Magubane by Cape Town historian Sean Field is available on the African Activist Archive website. Magubane discusses his activism in the United States (at 41:28 and 45:02). Magubane also recalls his impoverished childhood in and around Durban, his initial university studies, scholarship to the United States, and work and life at the University of Zambia, where he was close to Oliver (OR) Tambo and Jack Simons.
ACAS member Carl LeVan has posted on his blog, “Momentum Builds Against Drones in Africa,” which provides valuable reporting on the broad debate about the use of drones. LeVan also highlights a January 17 letter to President Obama from 33 organizations, including the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars, that opposes the use of drone strikes in targeting militants in Africa, arguing that “current and future military operations will harm U.S. and African interests and communities.”
Today, 221 academics and scholars of Africa in the United States sent a petition to President Obama to take action to protect civilians in the conflict zone of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The petition was released by the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars (ACAS), since 1977 a national organization of professors and other specialists on Africa.
The press release quoted Noah Zerbe, political scientist at Humboldt State University and co-chairperson of ACAS: “According to the International Rescue Committee, with more than 5 million killed in this disordered nation in the last 14 years, the conflicts there are the world’s deadliest documented conflict since WW II, yet it has not had the attention it needs.”
The scholars are calling on President Obama to take bilateral actions and actions through the United Nations to protect civilians in the conflict zone of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Specifically, the petition calls on the President to use U.S. influence at the UN to provide the MONUC forces with the mandate and resources to protect civilians, to sanction Rwanda and Uganda for any support to militias there, to use the SEC to enforce the Dodd-Frank Act on conflict minerals, and to fully implement the “Obama Act” of 2006 on the Congolese Army for their contributions to the disorder.
Scholars who would like to join ACAS in policy-oriented research and action on this issue and other issues concerning the U.S. military role in Africa may contact David Wiley (firstname.lastname@example.org), chair of the ACAS Demilitarization Task Force.