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The following article is from the Secular Humanist Bulletin, Volume 18, Number 1.

AAH, Ethiopian Humanists  Lead California Events

On January 19 and January 20, African Americans for Humanism Executive Director Norm R. Allen, Jr., and Ethiopian Humanist Organization President Gebregeorgis Yohannes led a commemoration in California of the 41st anniversary of the assassination of Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.

The first event was hosted on Saturday by the San Francisco Public Library and held at the main branch. Yohannes discussed Lumumba and gave a brief history of the Congo and Western imperialism in Africa. Allen gave a talk titled “Great Humanists of African Descent and Twelve Years of African Americans for Humanism.” He discussed such humanists as W.E.B. Du Bois, A. Philip Randolph, and James Farmer and talked about the educational aims of AAH. After the speeches, there was a film showing of Paul Robeson—Here I Stand, an excellent biography of the talented athlete, scholar, actor, humanitarian, and activist.

The second event was held on Sunday and hosted by the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library for Social Research in Oakland. Pier Sabdor Diabankouezi, a Congolese drummer and singer, started the commemoration. Allen discussed humanism and humanist groups in Africa, and humanist efforts to combat faith healing, “psychic” hotlines, and superstition directed toward people of African descent.

Lumumba was assassinated on January 17, 1961, just six months after his election. The Central Intelligence Agency, the government of Belgium, and other Africans were culpable in the events that led to his death at the age of thirty-six.

Mobutu Sese Seko eventually came to power in the nation that came to be called Zaire. Mobutu was a bloody dictator and kelptocrat (he reportedly hoarded between $3 billion and $5 billion). He forged close alliances with Louis Farrakhan and Pat Robertson, who criticized the State Department for not allowing Mobutu to come into the United States. The minister also opposed government sanctions against Mobutu. Not surprisingly, Robertson headed the African Development Corporation in Zaire, in which he held a diamond mining venture.       

According to Yohannes: “Lumumba embodies the aspirations of all Africans to freedom. He died very young. His crime: nothing but to make the Congo independent, to make all of Africa independent.”

Yohannes and Allen had lengthy discussions on humanism and Africa. They have plans to meet with other African humanist leaders and to spread humanist ideals throughout the African continent. Yohannes firmly believes that, with enough Western support, there could be a humanist group in every African nation within ten years. (See box on previous page for a list of current groups.)

The future of organized humanism in Africa has never looked brighter.

Examining Black History

On January 18, Allen delivered a videotaped discussion comparing and contrasting the ideas of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X at CFI International in Amherst, New York. Allen pointed out that both religious leaders were deeply influenced by humanist thinkers and humanist ideals. Due largely to major differences in their personal histories, they took divergent paths in their struggles for freedom, justice, and equality, though they agreed on some major issues. Allen concluded that, despite their differences, many regard both of them as genuine heroes and martyrs, without experiencing any cognitive dissonance. They regard both leaders as two sides of the same coin of African American experience.

Allen is available for lectures or media appearances on these and other topics. For more information, contact him at nallen@centerforinquiry.net or (716) 636-7571 ext. 326.




Secular humanist and freethought societies in Africa are listed below. For information about how you can support the growth of humanism in Africa, contact Norm R. Allen, Jr., by phone at (716) 636-7571 ext. 326 or by e-mail at nallen@centerforinquiry.net.

Ethiopian Humanist Organization, President Gebregeorgis Yohannes, P.O. Box 2560, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (or P.O. Box 21365, Oakland, California, 94620, (415) 557-4554.) Gorgorewos1@excite.com. (Also see African Humanist Alliance Web site.

Age of Reason International, Fio Fortunate Kwabena, Commonwealth Hall C28, University of Ghana Legon, Ghana, kwabenafio2000@yahoo.co.uk.

Healthy Environment and Earth Building (HEEB), Executive Director Loryd Papa-fio, Box 3075 Mamprobi, Accra, Ghana.

The Peace Association of Secular Humanism (PASH), President Arkoh Larbi George, Bethel A/G, Box 11181, Accra-North, Ghana.

The Rational Centre, Chairman Hope N. Tawiah, P.O. Box 01132, Osu-Accra, Ghana.

Seidu Abulai Wanzam/Ibrahim Fuseini, Secular Humanists of Ghana, Mirihca Hotel, P.O. Box 739, Tamale/N/R, Ghana.

Secular Humanists of Nairobi, Terry Kantai, P.O. Box 60198, Nairobi, Kenya.

Fundashon pa Skol Humanista na Papiamentu, President Frank Arion, Vessuviustraat 2, Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles.

Benin City Secular Humanists, Nkeonye Otakpor, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, University of Benin, P.M.B. 1154, Benin City, Nigeria, osafelixy2k@yahoo.com.

National Institute of Academic Research and Technological Development, President Ernest Johnson, Jr., P.O. Box 142, Okpala-ABA, Imo State, Nigeria.

The Nigerian Humanist Movement/Center for Inquiry-Nigeria, P.O. Box 25269, Mapo, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, Phone 234-2-2318420, nskepticleo@yahoo.com or nhmigwe@usa.net.

Nigerian Students Freethinkers Association (NSFA), c/o Balogun T. Sola/Secretary, 31, Ikorodu Club Avenue, Aga-Titun, Ikorodu, Lagos, Nigeria, nfreethinkersassociation@yahoo.com.

Secular Humanists of Edo State, Martin Ezeani, c/o Dr. B.A. Okolo, Department of Linguistics, University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria.

Secular Humanists of Nigeria, Terry Adewale, Box 4483, Ikeja-Lagos, Nigeria, Fax 234-01-4960096, mushin@gacom.net.

Scientific Humanists of Nigeria, Mr. Iyke Joe, Department of Science and Technology, Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, Nigeria.

Secular Humanists of Osun State, Sulaiman Sanni, Room 104 Fajuyi Hall, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ili-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.

South African Secular Humanists, Stephen Langtry, P.O. Box 44477, Claremont, 7735, South Africa, stephen@asiza.com.

Sisi Kwa Sisi (Swahili for "all of us" or "together as one"), President Nsajigwa I-G Mwasokwa, Box 2869, Mbeya, Tanzania, or P.O. Box 12969, Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania, nsajigwa_sisikwasisi@yahoo.com or sisikwasisi@hotmail.com.

Bukalasa Agricultural College Freethought Association, P.O. Box 174, Wobulenzi, Uganda, dssekitooteko@yahoo.co.uk.

Humanist Friendship Association, M.J. Collins, "Reason in Action," P.O. Box 3056, Kampala, Uganda.

Secular Humanists of Uganda, S. Kizito Kitaka, P.O. Box 1952, Kampala, Kololo, Wampewoclose 5B, Uganda.

The Uganda Humanists Association (UHASS0), President Ssekitooteko Deogratiasi, P.O. Box 4427, Kampala, Uganda, dssekitooleko@yahoo.co.uk.

Alex Y. Attipoe (formerly of the Rational Centre), Box 56, TUC, Accra, Ghana.

Ohukioudozie Charles, Humanities Unit, University of Nigeria, Nsukka Campus, Nsukka, Nigeria.

P.O. Megwa, Secretary, Nigerian Society for the Advancement of Knowledge and Understanding (NSAKU), P.M.B. 1117, Owerri, Nigeria.

Emmanuel Kofi Mensah, (former founder and president of the now-defunct Action for Humanism, Nigeria's first major organized humanist group), National Service Secretariat, P.O. Box 20, Ada Foah, G/A Region, Ghana, kofi_tsa@yahoo.com.

R.A. Udeajah, Department of Mass Communications, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria.

Franz Vanderpuye (formerly of the Rational Centre), c/o Joe Bradford Nyinah, Graphic Communications Group (Ltd.), P.O. Box 742, Accra, Ghana, vdpuye@ghanaweb.com.


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