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African Union Flag, via source flickr.com/bestpay

On 25 May 1963, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the thirty-two governments of the African continent founded the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), unifying peace efforts and tranquil planning for the people of Africa. This event is celebrated annually as Africa Day for the liberation of African people. The disbandment of tyranny and injustice. Freedom for the people and the country.

The goals of the Organisation of African Unity included:

  • Achieve greater unity and solidarity between African countries and the peoples of Africa;
  • Defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States;
  • Accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent;
  • Promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples;
  • Encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • Promote peace, security, and stability on the continent.

Although this day of liberation has been celebrated for nearly 50 years, there are still challenges for unification, yet the continuing promotion of peace, reform and economic growth remain strong with the continent.

Justice. Freedom. Equality. Ideal thoughts on a torn continent. The Arab Spring movement has shaped independence for northern African countries. Harmful leaders reigned as damaged economies and currencies grew weak.  The shout of change from injustice and cruel leadership. The lastest installment for protest against corruption, an Arab Spring.

Tunisia

Following the violent death of street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi, The aftermath of political pressure from its people was fueled by rage and aggressive protesting for change. The removal of Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali became essential for Tunisian civilians. His lack of concern for the people resulted in mass protest and revolt.  The constant pressure on Tunisia’s political party resulted in Ali’s abandonment of Tunisia. In June 2011, Ali was charged with manslaughter, money laundering and drug trafficking while fleeing the country. Ali’s rule came under fire when he ordered Tunisian troops to disband protest organizations with violent tactics, resulting with injuries and deaths of protestors. Ali is currently serving 35 years in prison.

Protesters in Tunisia. Source:flickr.com/marcovdz

Libya

Civilians from Libya observed Tunisian efforts of revolt and protest. Human Rights, political corruption and innocent deaths began the powder keg explosion of Libya’s people. Seen on an international scale, Muammar Gaddafi stood firm on combating protest with violent methods mostly involving women and children captured by military forces. Airstrike bombardments and military warfare were used to harm civilians who protested his rule. The U.N. suspended his government operations and intervened with U.S. support as civilians protested the Libyan leader with anti-military warfare. The result from constant pressure and Libyan civilian supporters pushed resistance soldiers and combatants to overthrow Gaddafi’s rule. During an escape attempt, Gaddafi was captured by rebel forces and killed in the streets during the Battle of Sirte.

A rebel stands guard as another places a Kingdom of Libya flag at a state security building during a protest against Muammar Gaddafi in Benghazi (BQR Network, Flickr)

Mustafa Abdel Jalil now presides as the leader of the Libyan people. On September 2011, Jalil addressed the nation stating:

So the Libyan people return dignified and honored by their action and courage. We need unity, rejecting fear and envy with no retaliation or justice.

Mustafa Abdel Jalil

Nelson Mandela

Long before the Arab Spring, there was a movement in Africa that swept the nation and emerged victorious. Nelson Mandela, President, Militant Activist and hero of the people. Laws were in effect to prohibited marriage of different races.  Governments began to place civilians inside “Homelands,” an independent country denouncing civilians of citizenship in South Africa requiring a passport to cross neighboring states. Apartheid was born. Liberation would soon follow.

Nelson Mandela (Festival Karsh Ottawa, Flickr)

Mandela travelled frequently, spreading the word of change to South Africans. The Sharpeville Massacre emerged as 5,000 Africans marched to a local police station and offered themselves for arrest after failing to present passports when leaving the “Homeland” areas. The officers rallied and opened fire fearing the mob would attack. After fleeing the event, Mandela was later arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison as the government banned the African National Congress (ANC) and labeled the party as a terrorist group. While imprisoned, Mandela acquired a Bachelor’s Degree and continued his involvement in anti-apartheid regimes. President F.W. de Klerk reversed the ban on anti-apartheid organizations as this placed Mandela available for prison release. Mandela had returned to the ANC and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 with F.W. de Klerk “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.” Mandela secured the presidency of South Africa after the assassination of ANC leader Chris Hani, followed with fear of the leader’s safety Mandela stated:

I am reaching out to every single South African, black and white, from the very depths of my being. A white man, full of prejudice and hate, came to our country and committed a deed so foul that our whole nation now teeters on the brink of disaster. A white woman, of Afrikaner origin, risked her life so that we may know, and bring to justice, this assassin. The cold-blooded murder of Chris Hani has sent shock waves throughout the country and the world. Now is the time for all South Africans to stand together against those who, from any quarter, wish to destroy what Chris Hani gave his life for…the freedom of all of us.

Nelson Mandela

Liberation and equality are needed in order for the continent’s survival. We honor this day for the liberated efforts of countrymen and women who fight against corrupt government and practice. The time is now and Africa’s days are far brighter than before. It remains the people walking Africa’s plateau who hold power and ability for change.