Colin Powell Jeered in Africa for Treating Africans as Equals

September 8, 2002

by Mary Mostert - Banner of Liberty

Media reports on Secretary of State Colin Powell seem more determined to find--or worse--create an aura of controversy between the Bush Administration and Secretary of State Colin Powell than they are to actually REPORT what Powell is saying. The New York Times speculation in July that Powell “...was considering resigning....” because the Bush Administration withheld $34 million from the United Nations “family planning” global agenda which seeks to finance both voluntary and involuntary abortions in Third-World countries, have been picked up, expanded on and added to, in spite of Powell’s firm statements that he has no intention of resigning.

Greta Van Susteran of Fox News, for example, began an interview with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich with “They’re all smiles in public, but rumors have it some major disagreements in the White House have put the General’s job on shaky ground.” Gingrich’s response, that “Washington’s a city where, if there isn’t a crisis, you have to find some kind of news to fill the whole day” of course was not considered “news.”

In fact, Powell’s blunt denial of any plan to resign was not widely reported.

On the closing day of the World Summit in Johannesburg, Powell was booed and jeered by uncontrolled non-governmental delegates (NGOs) while delivering a message of remarkable U.S. change in policy toward Africa and its problems, which seem to get worse every year in spite of billions of US Aid poured into it over the past 20 years. In fact, $750 million in US Aid has gone into South Africa alone since Nelson Mandela took over in 1994.

Yet according to the BBC, America’s Secretary of State “brought howls of protest” when he said Zimbabwe had brought its population to the “...brink of starvation with its controversial land reform policies.” He got a similar response when he criticized Zambia, which also has its hand out to the world because of a food crisis, for rejecting genetically modified corn that Americans eat every day.

He said: "In the face of famine, several governments in southern Africa have prevented critical U.S. food assistance from being distributed by rejecting biotech corn which has been eaten safely around the world since 1995."

More jeers greeted Powell’s comment on America’s actions pertaining to Global Warming, "We are committed not just to rhetoric and to various goals, we are committed to a one billion dollar program to develop and deploy advanced technologies to mitigate greenhouse-gas emissions." These jeers, I might add, came in a city with heavily polluted air visible before the city is seen from the air. Most of that pollution comes from its all-black suburbs, especially Soweto. While none of the protestors complained about the pollution in Johannesburg, they were quick to shout “shame on Bush” while unfurling a banner that read “Betrayed by governments” at Powell.

On the plane headed to Johannesburg, Powell briefed the media traveling with him on the Bush plan for the summit, saying, “Sustainable development is aid, it’s education, it’s the environment, it’s trading, it’s opening up economies, it is good governance, it is the rule of law, it is ending corruption.” He also reminded them of “an additional five billion dollars a year” the Bush Administration will provide for “those countries that are in need but that have also demonstrated a willingness to put in place the rule of law, good governance, educating their youngsters, and taking care of their resources and ending corruption. That’s the right way to go about it.”

What the protestors didn’t want to hear, and the message that has not been reported by the media so far, is a message of responsibility, which Powell outlined to the media in the airplane taking him to the World Summit in South Africa. In effect, the message Powell delivered from America and its president is that incompetent dictators in Africa like Mugabe will no longer have unlimited U.S. dollars to build their mansions while their economies are mismanaged, their educational systems collapse, their most productive citizens are killed or their farms stolen and millions of their people starve or die of AIDS. (In 2001 (2.2 million people in Africa died of AIDS, while 3.5 million new infections were reported.)

This is a major policy development, which was, wisely, announced by America’s first black Secretary of State: Africa will be treated as an equal. Black mismanagement, black civil rights and human rights violations against white minority groups and black corruption will no longer be subsidized with U.S. tax dollars in Africa in the guise of humanitarian aid.

No wonder the protestors jeered! They got the point and realize their free gravy train is in jeopardy. It’s too bad that the world’s media missed it.

To comment:

Links: - Estimated AIDS deaths among Adults & Children in Africa


Mary Mostert was writing professionally on political issues as a teen-ager in Memphis, Tennessee in the 1940s. In the 1960s, she wrote a weekly column for the Rochester Times Union, a Gannett paper and was one of 52 American women who attended the 17 Nation Disarmament Conference in Geneva, Switzerland to ban testing of nuclear bombs in the atmosphere. She was a licensed building contractor for 29 years, as she raised her six children. She served an 18 month mission as Public Affairs Director for the Africa Area for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1990-91. In the 1990s she wrote a book, Coming Home, Families Can Stop the Unraveling of America, edited the Reagan Monthly Monitor and talk show host Michael Reagan’s Information Interchange for seven years. She now operates the website, Banner of Liberty.

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