Thursday, 31 January 2008
Are You Black? Dont go to Russia!
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
ARE YOU A BLACK MAN? DON'T GO TO RUSSIA!
Met Uri Godnav (not real name as he his on the so called top 40 wanted list of the Russian Regime) at the meeting of the anti fascist movement held in Istanbul Turkey.
I had just made a presentation on the aspiration of the Yoruba in southwest Nigeria towards self-determination. My presentation centred on my involvement with the Odua people’s congress, the betrayal of the genuine aspiration of the Yoruba. A betrayal by political prostitutes who turned a potential revolutionary organisation into an instrument of oppression and a bargaining organ to negotiate spoils of power from corrupt but articulate Yoruba leaders. These leaders have deceived the people into believing that the faith of the estimated 50 million Yoruba in Nigeria, and more than 25 million in Diaspora, lies in a continued forced union and a turn-by-turn looting agreement by the ethnic nationalities that make up the mirage called Nigeria.
Godnav approached me and offered to make possible my visits to the Chechen Republic. At first I was a bit sceptical about going to Chechnya as I vividly recall that one of the reason for my brush with the Germen Government some few years back was a leak by a reputable Yoruba leader to Nigerian security operatives about my alleged involvement with a top ranking Tamil activist and my visit to the Tamil region in Sri lanka.
Visiting Chechen Republic from the United Kingdom is a tough task, my contact assured me I will never get a visa from the Russian embassy in London if I indicate my visit was for onward transition to Chechnya, not bothering to ask if the Chechen Republic do have an embassy he promised that a contact will call my house in London and that our journey to Chechen would be trough unofficial route (can't explain any further here remember the Nigerian NADECO route?) Each time I got ready for the trip something gets in the way, the last one was the reported killing of Aslan Maskhadov by Russian forces. Aslan was seen as the Yassar Arafat of the people of Chechen.
These last Easter Thursday I was just about telling my colleagues at work here in London that I would be having a very well deserved rest in Paris when a call came trough that "the road is clear" and so it was that I finally made my trip to Chechnya, land of Europe's longest-running but most brutal war.
The story of what I saw in Chechnya is for another day. But even when we condemn the terrible terrorist activity going on in Chechnya, the world should not forget and turn a blind eye on the brutal use of power by the Russian govt on the innocent and unharmed women and children of Chechnya. My trip has also espoused me to a bitter truth the state of the self-determination group in Nigeria is nothing but a big joke. Its nothing but an avenue for otherwise jobless lazy local warlords to experiment self determination in a highly disorganised fashion leading to senseless killings and turning terror on the people under the banner of internal fights and struggle over money dolled out by the federal, state and local governments and politicians who find it necessary to control any mad man with a shakabula (Dane gun) or some amount of AK47.
The state of the black man in Moscow.
The final leg of my journey took me to Moscow and meeting members of the African students union was an eye-opener. It is a shame that the Russian government is turning a blind eye on the growing level of attacks on foreign students and residents in Russia. Students of the International University in Moscow are the worst victims. I was shown video evidence of acid attacks and knife cuts. One African student, Nigerian Mukaila Odedina remains paralysed from an attack from right wing thugs in front of a Russian police station in Moscow. Speaking with Mukaila brought tears to my eyes. He is in his final year and would have been a medical doctor in September 2005. Now, he cannot even raise a flight ticket back home. All contact with the Nigerian embassy yielded no result.
It is high time the African union look into the treatment of Africans in Russia; Nigeria in particular should use her position to protest the ill treatment of African nationals and Nigerians in particular. On my part I am liaising with the anti fascist movt in Europe to start a campaign picketing the various Russian embassy in Europe.
People of goodwill should help to save our brothers and sisters in Russia most of whom are the guest of the Russian govt. from further humiliation and dehumanisation.
Kayode Ogundamisi is a commentator on Nigerian and international affairs, he was involved in the Nigerian pro-democracy struggle, Ogundamisi survived a trumped-up charge of treasonable offence against the military government of General Babangida, he was detained in Jos prison in 1991 and released after intensive local and international campaigns against the government charging him and 12 other students before a military tribunal. Ogundamisi was a frontline member of the National Association of Nigerian Student and a former secretary general of the University of Jos Students Union in Nigeria and the O'dua People’s Congress.
Ogundamisi currently shuttles between his base in The United Kingdom and his Country of Birth Nigeria where he runs a programme on self-empowerment. He is the convener of the Liberty Forum UK and his involved in engaging local communities and community and social empowerment.
He graduated with a B.SC in Political Science from University of Jos. The Nigerian Institute of Journalism and a Master’s in Public Administration from the Ogun State University and Masters in International Relations from the London Metropolitan University. He is a volunteer campaigns fellow for the German human rights group IMRV Bremen.
Ogundamisi was appointed by the UK government as a board member of the United Kingdom Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) a position he held for 3 years. Ogundamisi is very active on the social media, with his commentary blog "The Canary" under the twitter handle @ogundamisi and he writes sporadic independent op-ed articles for major Nigerian media outlets.
Ogundamisi is the host of the diaspora community socio political programme “PolitricsWithKO” on Europe’s first ethnic oriented television Channel BEN-TV broadcasting on BSKYB 238 and Startime Africa/Freeview Channel 244.