Africans in the rich world can achieve a lot for Africa.
Our Black&White initiative has been developed by Africans and locals living in Germany. We advocate that Africans and Europeans see themselves as members of the one human family and build a world in which all people can live in dignity. A world in which we no longer solve all conflicts with war and violence, but only by peaceful means. These are the official values of the UN.
In the past, the majority of Europeans had no chance to meet people from Africa personally. Their knowledge about the living conditions of people in Africa is still very low. Many Europeans do not know that many people in Africa do not have the living conditions that Europeans take for granted, such as running water, free education, secure health care, maternity protection or unemployment benefits and social assistance. Nor do many know that Europe’s development would have been very different without Africa: many fortunes were made during the time of the European slave trade. Industrialisation could never have been achieved in this way without products from the slave plantations in America, such as cotton or sugar cane. Without the agricultural and mineral raw materials from Africa, many factories in Europe would still stand still today. And export surpluses with Africa secure jobs in Europe. Racism is also still an issue: many Europeans still think that Africans can do less than they do, are worth less. Many also do not know that there are people and groups in Africa who stand up for the same goals as they do: peace, democratisation, justice.
If we want to change things, we need democratic majorities. People committed to change. We cannot win over most people for this with words alone. New personal relationships are needed between people from Africa and Europe. That is how trust can be built and people can share in each other’s concerns. We will not win over all Europeans: There are groups of the population who earn directly from wars and the exploitation of raw materials. Their influence is strong in the media and power over what Europeans can know. These must be isolated. There are many who have no idea, but who actually stand up for human rights; for humanistic or religious reasons. We have to win them if we are to win majorities for a fair Africa policy. And we are doing it even for Europeans:
The thesis of the North-South Commission 40 years ago that the survival of the whole of humanity is ultimately at risk if there is no North-South justice is true: Sixty percent of global arms expenditure could meet the basic needs of all people worldwide. That would be a real basis for peace.
Africans in Europe can do a great deal in this respect, building trust through their own circles of acquaintances. They can pass on knowledge about current developments in Africa that is not disseminated here. They can get involved in associations and parties. They can denounce injustices in European foreign policy. To make constructive suggestions for a different Africa policy, to build bridges between those active here and in Africa. And they can meet people from other African countries, with other religions or other ethnic groups in their own country and help together to overcome conflicts in Africa. They can also acquire the knowledge about the problems in their countries that is available here at universities and transfer it back home. Much more money is available for science here than in African countries. And not all science serves only European domination interests; there are also many scientists who stand for the values of human rights.
Let us get down to action. We are building the Black & White community via the Internet and hope to advance what we have said above.