Why Are We So Quiet About The “Triangle of Death” in The Horn of Africa?

August 2, 2011  |  

by L. N. Rock

I’ve been wondering why are Black Americans are so quiet about the “Triangle of Death in the horn of Africa”.

With 11.3 million people in need of help across the drought stricken regions of East Africa, I have been wondering:  shouldn’t Black America just do something?

To better understand my question, I want you to know a bit about me. I grew up in segregated Boston, Massachusetts back in the early 70’s. I was a high school and college stude activist. I’m a black male graduate of the University of Massachusetts, College of Public and Community Service. I hold both an undergraduate and Masters of Education degree. I say all that to say… I guess I’m part of what W. E. B.Dubois called “The Talented Tenth.” No I’m not part of the “elite” who Dr. Dubois argued could pull the rest of the black population up by its bootstraps, but I am part of the educated black male class of Black America who has always been willing and able to change America and change the world. I’m an old school black brother who has never been afraid of organizing and demonstrating (even today).

Back in the day, I would go to demonstrations at the Boston Commons to stop the Vietnam war, stop apartheid, and raising money for Biafra. Even though Boston was/is a segregated town, we knew how to organize and demonstrate.

Back in the 70’s, we had our own issues at home but we also provided voice for the voiceless in both America and Africa. But that was then and this is now. Today I find it interesting that few if any African-American political leaders have staged demonstrations or held hunger strikes, like package Gregory and others would do back in the day.

African American indifference to the tens of thousands of Somalis who are dying in the world’s worst famine in decades is amazing and disappointing. There is no excuse for us saying ‘we didn’t know,’ because there are regular media reports regarding exhausted, rail-thin women stumbling into refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia with dead babies and bleeding feet, having left weaker family members behind along the way. This should be of more concern to so-called African American leaders.

There is also a haunting silence from the diaspora about the plight of the Somalian women and children. As an African American I don’t understand how so many African Americans or black Americans, if you will, continue to look away from mother Africa. I don’t get how African Americans can look away from the cataclysmic Triangle of Death in the horn of Africa, to which we are nothing less than boringly indifferent.

This is nothing new, black Americans have looked away from the murderous civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and genocide in other parts of Africa.
I also don’t get why black Americans are identifying less and less with mother Africa? Is it self hatred towards Africa? If it is not self hatred, when will the 21st Century “Talented Tenth” become concerned about Africa again?

Clearly those exhausted, rail-thin women stumbling into refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia with dead babies and bleeding feet don’t have time for the talented tenth, but the talented tenth sure could make some time for the.

L. N. Rock is a management consultant, Democratic strategist, and 2008 Democractic National Convention blogger. He blogs as African American Pundit.

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  • It is quite obvious that traditional methods of farming are a problem. The famine will continue to blight parts of East Africa if changes are not made. The problem is not the lack of water but the dependency on rain water. They need systems which are able to capitalise on water from a variety of land areas and not just one land area. If we gave aid …1984, 1988,1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2011…. and they are still are having problems now, can we not see that there has to be another way forward? Surly helping them to build better infrastructures and irrigation systems is the way forward? If they can manage to do this in Egypt and parts of Syria, why then can these techniques not be used by the people of East Africa. To make famine a history in Africa, they not only need money, help and support, but they need the knowledge of irrigation techniques that are working in other parts of Africa. We cannot have one without the other. I send money, but am not confident that it will have a long term reach. I know it will only fix the problem now. I can only hope that the governments of the world realise that such problems can be averted and find a way to have build a better way forward. We forget too quickly once they are 'fed' – we need to continue the work so that it has a long term benefit for generations to come and so famine can be a past and not a future.

  • harlemqueen

    God bless you!

  • Daniel F. Oldjira

    Thanks – A TREE WITHOUT ROOTS IS JUST A DEAD PIECE OF WOOD — Keep your feet firmly rooted to the ground , its easy to get carried away by success, greats dont let it get to their head .

  • kimberly

    atlanta post, if y'all let that racist beatrice front like a negro and say that ignorant ish – y'all can can allow my comment.

  • kimberly

    we don't know what's going on right in our own backyard, another continent might as well be another universe. As a nation (black people, regardless of nationality) we are so disconnected and mired in personal struggle, we tend to over look the obvious which is, we all have the same struggles. all of us. When we work to correct some of the bigger ones (education, opportunity, community) then we can see the forest for the trees and look to help our kin elsewhere.

  • kimberly

    you're white aren't you? pathetic

  • Macaroni

    Why should this indifference by blacks for their own surprise anyone? Black on black crime in America is rampant – they ignore the plight of their "brothers" at best and flat out kill them at worst.

  • Thanks Rock. This is a question the entire African Diaspora needs to answer. What are you personally doing and what do you suggest I can do from Sweden?