Seminar marks GUSS' celebration of Ghana's Independence
The Ghana Union in Stockholm organised a seminar to mark the 57th anniversary of Ghana's Independence. The event took place at Kista and even though the attendance was poor, those who made it listened to, and took part in, some interesting discussions.
Union member, Mr. Baba Ibrahim-Nabigah, spoke on the multi-ethnic and multi-religious situation in Africa. He argued that African countries have had different religions that have co-existed peacefully for a long time. But today, outside influences are utilising these traditional differences to achieve their goals at the expense of these African countries. They are able to do this by playing on the economic and political weaknesses of these states. This becomes easier in a situation where leaders of these states are more concerned with their personal wellbeing than the strengthening of the economies of the countries they lead. He said the only way to improve the situation and limit the influence of outside forces is to improve our economies.
Mr. Anthony Turkson spoke on the dangers of a uni-power world where the only power is the USA. He said imperialism was still a reality in today's world and mentioned the ruined states of Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya as the outcomes. He said we are still living in times of global insecurity where a huge accidental war is likely. He identified EU, USA and NATO as the three powers that can be identifed in today's world and said that NATO should have been disbanded after the end of the cold war. He said the EU was really not a democratic organisation.
He added that when foreign powers intervene in the affairs of a country, things get worse. The USA alone has had more than 700 interventions in the affairs of other countries. According to him, Africa has become a besieged continent as a consequence of the foreign military bases there. Africans are finding it difficult to get out of the trap because the governments there are not popular democracies where the rulers work hand in hand with the people. As a result, they do not have the support of the people.
The guest speaker for the day was Ms Margaret Garding who talked on a wide range of issues concerning the African Diaspora and the situation of Africans in Sweden. She talked extensively about the African Union's Global Diaspora Summit Declaration of 2012 and explained some of its main provisions. Having attended the conference in her native South Africa, Ms Garding was well versed in the provisions of the declaration. Among these are inter-governmental cooperation among the signatory governments, a development of an African Union volunteer programe, and the establishment of a database of skilled Africans outside the continent. Others include the organisation of regional networks, an AU passport for diaspora Africans and cooperation between AU and diaspora Africans in matters of culture, science and other fields. Ms Garding said the diaspora Africas in the USA were doing more than those in the rest of the world and urged us to also do as much.
She then turned to the problems of diaspora Africans in Sweden and pointed out that there is still a lot of racial discrimination against us and our children. The negative presentations of Africans in the Swedish media seem to define who we are. She referred to a study which reported that second generation African immigrants and the Roma are the most discriminated against in all aspects of life in Sweden. Some of the forms this discrimination takes can be seen in the fact that many Africans are overqualified for the jobs they do and find it more difficult to establish their own businesses. African women are the most harassed in universities and job places and African parents are the most likely to have their children taken away from them. On what we can do in such a situation, Ms Garding advised that we must engage ourselves more, embrace the opportunities here, form networks to help each other and simply fight back in rejecting discrimination on every front.
The three speakers then took the stage to answer questions from the audience. Many interesting issues were discussed across the subject areas with contributions from the audience. Many agreed with the suggestion that our children who get good education here but fail to get appropriate jobs can migrate to other countries in Europe or North America where their talents will be more appreciated.
The African network in Sweden attended the seminar and filmed the proceedings which will be streamed on their website (www.ac55network.com). Representatives from Ria money transfer were there to advertise their activities.
Light refreshments were served and the discussions continued in small groups while these were been consumed. The union president, Suberu Salam, also addressed the gathering. Union Vice-President of the Union, Mariama Mahama, who also chaired the occasion, presented flowers to the guest speaker, Ms Margeret Garding, in appreciation for her illuminating presentation.