Barbara Lee speaking on November 23rd, 2008, with lifelong peace and justice activists Phil Donahue, Danny Glover, and Tom Hayden.
KPFA Evening News Anchor Anthont Fest: Earlier this week, Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee was amed co-chair of the Congressional Sudan Caucus. The press release announcing her new co-chairmanship said she was concerned with the ongoing human calamity in a number of Sudanese border areas. But some Africa activists fear that Barbara Lee may be unintentionally making way for another oil war in Africa. KPFA’s Ann Garrison asked Milton Allimadi, Ugandan American Editor of the New York City-based Black Star News what he’d like to say to Congresswoman Barbara Lee.
Milton Allimadi, no Member of the U.S. House of Representatives has a stronger anti-war voting record than Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who is also the only member of the House to vote California's Ninth District Congresswoman Barbara Lee
against the Patriot Act after 09/11, when she said, "Let us not become the evil that we abhor." What would you like to say to her about Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, after the week that she was named co-chair of the Sudan Congressional Caucus and Uganda declared its readiness to join South Sudan in a war Sudan?
Milton Allimadi: Well, I would point out to the Congresswoman that, normally, when there's the threat of war, most countries would offer mediation and say 'we'll try to arrange a ceasfire, to end the conflict.' It's unusual for a country to say 'I'm willing to team up with one country and join in the fighting,' except if that leader is General Yoweri Museveni in Uganda. People are familiar with his preference for militarism and warfare. That's why he's been in power in Uganda for 26 years.
I would urge the Congresswoman to look at the headlines. The big stories right now in Uganda are civil society has risen up. They're fighting for the restoration of democracy and the rule of law, and to end police and military brutality.
South Sudan had occupied the oil city of Heglig, recently, and I believe that South Sudan might have been convinced by Uganda that Uganda would support it militarily if a full scale war broke out, Milton Allimadi, Editor of the Black Star News
and I wouldn't be surprised if the Ugandans also gave South Sudan the assurance that the United States would also become involved on the support of the South Sudanese side, as well as the Ugandans. But, in fact, it was Ambassador Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, and the State Department that urged South Sudan to withdraw. So, I believe that, especially now, during this election season, here in the United States, I don't think there's any appetite for a new war. So I would urge the Congresswoman to look more toward helping South Sudan strengthen a new democratic environment, so that it can be able to defend its government institutions, and to help its people, and to develop that country.
And when it comes to Uganda, I would urge her to side with the people of Uganda, who are struggling for the restoration of democracy rather than siding with a dictator who always seems to prefer war over dialogue.
That was Ugandan American Black Star News Editor Milton Allimadi. For Pacifica
, and AfrobeatRadio
, I'm Ann Garrison.