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Extinction Rebellion: new International Solidarity Network as activists in Ghana declare Pan Afrikan Climate Emergency

  • “The impact of the climate catastrophe is part of our daily life. This is why this event is important” Mawuse Yao Agorkor, activist in Accra, Ghana
  • Extinction Rebellion UK initiates new International Solidarity Network to utilise its global reach to support existing resistance in the majority world, working closely with activists in West Papua, Bangladesh, Mongolia and the Caribbean
  • The climate and ecological emergency is here, and it affects all of us. Time for us to come together to respond to the emergency. Extinction or Rebellion?

This Wednesday (27 February) in Accra, Ghanaian Extinction Rebellion activists will hold an event calling for action on the Climate and Ecological Emergency in Afrika, in solidarity with those in the global south and the entire world.

The news comes as as Extinction Rebellion establishes an International Solidarity network with the aim of supporting activists on the frontlines of the global climate and ecological crisis.

The impact of the climate catastrophe is part of our daily life. This is why this event is important,” says Mawuse Yao Agorkor, an activist with SMERJAPIC-WA (Stop the Maangamizi (‘Maangamizi’ means the continuum of crimes of genocide and ecocide in the Kiswahili Afrikan language) and Extinction Rebellion Joint Action Provisional Interconnexions Council for West Africa – Extinction Rebellion in Ghana). “We have excessive plastic pollution in our seas, the devastation of either flooding or drought plus wastewater with toxic chemicals polluting our drinking water and deforestation.”

What: International call – Declare a Pan Afrikan Climate Emergency

When: 11am – 1pm (local time), Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Where: The Osekan Rock Oceanic Retreat, Accra, Ghana

Featuring music and talks, the event in Accra will be co-chaired by the Chief of the Kwashiman township of Accra, Nii Awuley Ahiaku VI, who is also representative of the Global Afrikan Family Reunion International Council (GAFRIC), plus musician and environmental justice artist/activist Yasmeen Helwani who is the co-founder of the Asase Yaa Mother Earth Festival in Accra (Kwashiman).

Speaking will be Numo Akwaa Mensah III, the Ga Community Chief Priest of the Seas representing Accra Community Regeneration for Sustainable Development Action Forum (HEDZOLESAFO-ACORSDAF). This will be followed by poems from the youth and student movement for Afrikan Unity and teenage Extinction Rebellion Friends of Greta Schools. Teenagers from Planet Repairs Youth Positive Action and singer/activists will also join the event.  [1 – see notes for full event details]

Mawuse added: “Extraction activities are devastating our land and our government is not acting to protect it. They attend Climate Summits and sign treaties but subsequently do nothing. We are calling for our government to tell the truth about the climate emergency and to take urgent action to reduce climate emissions to net-zero by 2025.

“Our resistance to neo-colonialist expansion in Ghana is essential. We are now part of a growing international movement willing to work collaboratively to save our planet and ourselves.”

International Solidarity Network

Extinction Rebellion’s International Solidarity Network is intended to make use of the fast growing global reach of the Extinction Rebellion movement for change, in the face of the climate and ecological emergency, to support the existing resistance in the majority world.

We are proud to be working with SMERJAPIC-WA and their activists in Ghana,” commented Jamie Kelsey-Fry, contributing editor of New Internationalist and member of the Extinction Rebellion International Solidarity Network team in the UK. “Climate breakdown is going to herald a new age of internationalist solidarity. It is fundamental to Extinction Rebellion that the frontline cultures of resistance in the global south are recognised, supported and seen as leaders in developing ways by which human culture evolves away from the insanity of neo-colonialism and neoliberalism.”

As well as in Ghana, the International Solidarity Network is also working closely with indigenous activists in West Papua, Bangladesh, Mongolia and the Caribbean, with actions planned from now until our International Rebellion on 15 April. XR will support the emergency coalition of countries that began to coalesce in COP-24 in Katowice, Poland.

Farhana Yamin, former UN negotiator, climate change lawyer & part of the Extinction Rebellion Internationalist Solidarity Network said: “At this pivotal moment in time, we must shine a light on the lived experience of climate breakdown, challenge neocolonialism in all its forms and take action here in the minority world to confront the devastation caused by unaccountable extractive industries. The rebellion has to be global to take on corrupt and powerful elites everywhere.”

H.E. Hilda Heine – President of the Marshall Islands and current Chair of the 48 vulnerable countries called the Climate Vulnerable Forum – said at COP24 “We are bearing the torch for those vulnerable to climate change. We represent a number of nations, like my own, that face extinction. Species of all kinds also face existential risk.”

Also speaking at COP24, H.E. Mohamed Nasheed, former President of Maldives and co-founder of the CVF and the Chair of the 42 countries in the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) added. “We are not prepared to die. We have no intention of becoming climate change’s first victim. We will do whatever it takes to survive.”

Extinction Rebellion begins in Afrika

The first Extinction Rebellion action on the Afrikan continent was held in November 2018 in front of a church in Accra, Ghana, with dozens of activists carrying Extinction Rebellion placards informing churchgoers about the global climate resistance being born in the UK.

Extinction Rebellion’s presence in Afrika was then formally established on 1 December 2018 by the Vazoba network – who have been campaigning against deforestation, the use of toxic chemical and mining in the region – and represented by the Stop the Maangamizi and Extinction Rebellion Joint Action Provisional Interconnexions Council for West Afrika (SMERJAPIC-WA). [2]

Further events coming up in Accra, Ghana

  • Schools Strike Support Post by XR – Friends of Greta Thunberg Schools Alarm Whistling Exercise (XR-FOGSAWE) – Friday 15 March 2019
  • Easter Resurrection for climate emergency – April
  • International Mothers’ Day Action for climate emergency – 12 May 2019

Note for editors

[1] Wednesday 27th – THE PROGRAMME

Action Name:

‘TSWA OMANYEABA!’  INTERNATIONAL MEDIA OUTREACH LIBATION CALLOUT FOR PAN-AFRIKAN CLIMATE EMERGENCY.

Overall Theme:

OUR GRASSROOTS MUST HAVE GENUINE ‘UBUNTUNKONSO’  PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLES’ INTERNATIONALIST SOLIDARITY TO COMPEL TRUTHFUL ACTION ON CLIMATE EMERGENCY IN AFRIKA NOW!

Convenor:

Stop the Maangamizi and Extinction Rebellion Joint Action Provisional Interconnexions Council for West Afrika (SMERJAPIC-WA).

Date: Wednesday, 27th February 2019.

Venue: Osekan Rock Oceanic Retreat, Accra, Ghana .

Time: 11am – 1pm

Co-Chairpersons:

  • Kwashiman Mantse Nii Awuley Ahiaku VI, Chief of the Kwashiman Township of Accra and Representative of the Global Afrikan Family Reunion International  Council (GAFRIC);
  • Ms. Yasmeen Helwani, Musician, Environmental Justice Artist-Activist and Co-Founding Organiser of the Asase Yaa Mother Earth Festival in Accra.

Programme Outline:

  • Opening song by: Nyoefe and Xolanyo of ABLODEVAVA.
  • Welcome by Kwashiman Mantse Nii Awuley Ahiaku VI.
  • Pan-Afrikan Internationalist Libation Callout for Climate Emergency by Numo Akwaa Mensah III, the Ga Community Chief Priest for the Seas, Honorary Chair of the HEDZOLESAFO Accra Community Regeneration for Sustainable Development Action Forum (HEDZOLESAFO-ACORSDAF) and a Representative of the GAFRIC.
  • Poems by Komla and Aku of the UMOJAFRIKA Youth and Student Movement for Afrikan Unity (UMOJAFRIKA-YASMAU) and the Co-Animating Dynamos of the Extinction Rebellion Friends of Greta Schools Alarm Whistling Exercise (XR-FOGSAWE).
  • Co-Chair’s Opening Remarks by Ms.  Yasmeen Helwani.
  • Youth ‘Akoben’ Sounding for Climate Emergency Declarations in Afrika by Kafui of the EDIKANFO Pan-Afrikan Youth and Student Internationalist Link (EDIKANFO-PAYSIL) and the Planet Repairs Youth Positive Action Campaign (PRYPAC)
  • SMWeCGEC and XR in Getting our Grassroots Pan-Afrikan Internationalist Truthout on the Global Climate Emergency – a special presentation by
  • Mawuse Yao Agorkor of the SMERJAPIC-WA.
  • Questions and Answers.
  • Closing Remarks by Ms. Yasmeen Helwani.
  • Closing song by: Nyoefe and Xolanyo of ABLODEVAVA.

[2] Stop the Maangamizi! https://stopthemaangamizi.com/; Vazoba Network https://panafriindaba.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/vazoba.pdf

[3]

GHANA: AN XR BRIEFING

Status: Republic of Ghana

Proclaimed independent on 6th March 1957 and declared a Republic on 1st July 1960; formerly named Gold Coast; ex-colony of the British Empire but still trapped in Neocolonialism; a member of the Commonwealth, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN)

Location: West Afrika.

Population: Circa 30 million.

Capital City: Accra, originally founded by the indigenous Afrikan Community of the GaDangme.

Extinction Rebellion linked Communities of Resistance Connexions:

  • VAZOBA Afrika and Friends Networking Open Forum, with its main operational base in Accra, Ghana, and linked to various communities throughout the continent and diaspora of Afrika
  • HEDZOLESAFO-ACORSDAF of the Ga Community of Resistance, with its operational base in Accra, Ghana;
  • ABLODEDUNOVISIHA Gbetowo Global Union for Pan-Afrikan Community Regeneration (ABLODEDUNOVISIHA-GGUPACOR) of the Ewe-Fon-Adza Communities of Resistance across the colonially divisive borders of Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria; with its main operational bases in Tanyigbe in the Volta Region of Ghana and Lome, the capital city of Togo;
  • TOTROKUSAFO-KCORSDAF of the Krobo Community of Resistance, with its main operational base in Somanya, in the Eastern Region of Ghana;
  • and the FranceAfrique Decolonizational Communities of Practice (FADCOP), hosted by the Guere Environmental Justice Action Learning International Platform (GEJALIP) of Cote d’Ivoire in exile in Ghana.
  • Communities of Resistance connexions are also being developed through the Pan-Afrikan Internationalist Circle of progressive chiefs and other traditional community leaders called the Global Afrikan Family Reunion International Council (GAFRIC), hosted by the Nana Kobina Nketsia IV Trust, with its operational base at the Omanhenfie, Essikado, in the Western Region of Ghana.

Major Environmental Justice Issues:

  • Individualistic consumerism mindset and structural violence of Eurocentric Colonialism and Afriphobic racism reinforcing Neocolonialism in continuation of the Maangamizi (Afrikan Holocaust) crimes of Genocide/Ecocide;
  • Eurocentric Coloniality of subjugation, dispossession and oppression of indigenous Afrikan Communities;
  • Systemic underdevelopment and maldevelopment;
  • Colonially predatory foreign extractivism in all spheres of life;
  • Deforestation, undermining forest reserves, wildlife poaching and biodiversity of ecosystems destruction;
  • Environmentally devastating extraction of mineral and other natural resources by foreign transnational corporations;
  • E-Waste importation for dumping in slum areas, plastic pollution, water and air Toxicity;
  • Poor sanitation, engulfing filth, killer floods during the rainy season in which school pupils and other children and vulnerable adults drown;
  • Corruption, state profligacy and ostentatious consumerism;
  • Chemical fertilizers and pesticides misuse in agriculture; sea erosion and water bodies pollution adversely affecting aquaculture; threat of legislation to introduce GMO crops;
  • Reactionary violence by armed gangs of state and non-state actors terrorising Communities of Resistance defenders of human, peoples’ and Mother Earth rights;
  • State, academic, faith, NGO and media conspiracy of silence on Climate Emergency.

The World Bank view 10 years ago:

“… Ghana’s natural resources, upon which so much of the country’s economic activity and the population’s livelihood depend, are being depleted at an alarming rate: More than 50 percent of the original forest area has been converted to agricultural land by clearance for perennial or annual cropping and slash-and-burn cultivation practices. Crop yields have stagnated, and productivity has declined because of rampant soil erosion. Fish, timber, and nontimber forest product stocks are decreasing rapidly. Coastal towns are facing severe water shortages during the dry season. Wildlife populations and biodiversity are in serious decline. Health-related pollution — indoor and outdoor air pollution, and water and sanitation issues — have emerged as serious health threats for the majority of the population.”

(See online the Executive Summary introduction to the 6th September 2006 Report No. 36985-GH, the “Ghana Country Environmental Analysis”, by the Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development Department of the Afrika Region of the World Bank).

http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTRANETENVIRONMENT/3635842-1175696087492/21919456/Ghana_CEA.pdf

Major transnational corporate extractivist perpetrators of ecocide:

  • AngloGold Ashanti with headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Gold Fields Limited of South Africa with headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Newmont Mining Corporation with headquarters in The Greenwood Village, Colorado, USA.
  • Tullow Oil and Gas of Ireland with headquarters in London, United Kingdom.
  • Kosmos Energy with headquarters in Dallas, Texas, USA.
  • Anadarko Petroleum Corporation with headquarters in The Woodlands, Texas, USA.
  • HeidelbergCement with headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany.

XR Action Highlights Done So Far:

  • Extinction Rebellion presence in Ghana: Established by VAZOBA on 1st December 2018 and represented by the Stop the Maangamizi and Extinction Rebellion Joint Action Provisional Interconnexions Council for West Afrika (SMERJAPIC-WA).
  • 5th December 2018 XR Storm at the University of Ghana Celebratory Conference of the 60th Anniversary of the First All-African People’s Conference (AAPC-1@60), Legon, Accra.
  • POSUBANNUFAFIA Outpost Banners flyering action with Stop the Maangamizi and XR banners, logos and stickers in the markets, travel centres and other public gathering spaces in Accra, Tema, Nsawam, Krobo-Odumase and Somanya.
  • The GreenButterfly Flysinging XR for Asase Yaa Mother Earth Performance with the Musical Artist-Activist, Yasmeen Helwani, on Saturday, 22nd December 2018 in the Hillburi Garden, Aburi.
  • Sunday, 23rd December 2018 Stop the Maangamizi and XR for Laudato Si meeting with the Catholic Youth Organisation (CYO) in Accra, resulting in the establishment of the Communion Action Link for Laudato Si (CALLS).
  • Stop the Maangamizi and XR Climate Emergency Challenge to African Academia Encounters at the University of Ghana, Legon.
  • Friday, 18th January 2019 Launch of the Extinction Rebellion Friends of Greta Schools Alarm Whistling Exercise (XR-FOGSAWE) in Accra.