For those who have so far missed the various signs, clues and symbols, there is a 21st-century Pan African Movement afoot during this Decade of the African Diaspora.
Given the fact that there are hundreds of existing Pan African and African-centered organizations currently operating in North, Central and South America, and literally thousands in Europe and globally, there is a serious need for some agreed upon rules of engagement for those who actually intend to accomplish something lasting and meaningful during this period.
Energy and enthusiasm alone are not enough. At this stage, mother wit, the ability to respect others’ work, the ability to focus and follow through on one’s own responsibilities, etc., are crucial to move us all forward.
Please be clear 21st-century Pan Africanism, particularly as characterized by the development of the African Diaspora Sixth Region and its evolving relations with the African Union’s project of a Union of African States, cannot abide elitism, mutual disrespect, territorial arrogance nor narrow-mindedness in order to accomplish its myriad goals. The elephant in the room is entirely too big for us to waste time on nonsense.
PADU, the Pan African Diaspora Union, a role model organization of organizations (i.e., a partnership of African-centered organizations based on unity without uniformity), offers the following Ma’at principles to be used in organizing the African Diaspora. We can get there together, if we discipline and monitor ourselves. PADU’s recommendations here are taken from SRDC Ma’at (see www.srdcinternational.org), aka, the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus, and it, in turn, is based on a modern interpretation and pragmatic summation of the 42 principles of Ma’at:
(1) From Amilcal Cabral, “Tell no lies, claim no easy victories.”
(2) Practice mutual respect with each other in and out of organizational settings until such practice is perfected and becomes natural.
(3) Acknowledge and constantly remind each other that one’s participation in the struggle to redeem and unify Africa cannot be based on gender, ethnicity, religion or age. Pan African talent does not come in one package.
(4) In all engagements, meetings, projects and interactions, try to do no harm physically and psychically, and always find a way to move forward.
(5) Always resist being arrogant and ill-mannered. Be patient with the diversity of participants, some of whom will lack experience, and others who will always seek the limelight. Remember that the struggle is much too big for anyone or any single organization to complete the journey alone.
(6) Find what you can do best in the struggle forward and do that well, rather than wasting precious energy undermining and obstructing what others are doing. Strongly resist being disrespectful to others in the struggle, but defend well against being disrespected, particularly without just cause.
(7) Learn to accept both accolades and constructive criticism in equal measure. Be honest and truthful to your colleagues.
(8) Always measure/evaluate one’s own worth by the quality and quantity of the Pan African work one has done and is doing; and if one must judge others, use that same standard.
(9) Do not lie on, scandalize, make up or spread false rumors about colleagues and fellow Pan Africanists. Demand compelling evidence of alleged wrongdoing or skullduggery, and if none is presented, disregard any charge as malicious gossip not to be tolerated.
(10) In all things Pan African, conduct oneself with character, courtesy and common sense.
Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.
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