SENTINEL 7-29-2010
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Brutalizing Michael's Brothers?

Are angry Africans attacking?

by Firpo Carr

July 29, 2010

No, Michael Joseph Jackson's biological brothers-Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Randy-are all fine. And Mother Africa (including Botswana, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Uganda; all frequent visitors to my Web site) has nothing but love for the Jacksons.

MJ's own inimitable love for his brothers expanded to those he still considered his spiritual ones, namely, the "entire of association of [spiritual] brothers in the world" (1 Pet 5:9)-that is, Jehovah's Witnesses.

However, the same cannot apparently be said for Africa's Eritrean officials. The word is they have no love for JW families. One human rights specialist asks: "Why are there 2- and 3-year-olds in prison right now? Why are there 75-year-olds in prison?"

These realities, incomprehensibly, plunge Black-On-Black crime to a new mind-numbing low. And as the sole Sentinel International column (published in 32 languages at www.firpocarr.com), America's most influential Black newspaper is speaking out.  

Why Persecuted?: Essentially, Eritrean Witnesses are imprisoned and otherwise persecuted for two reasons: (1) they refuse to kill their fellowman; (2) they meet in small groups to study the Bible.

"While known the world over as a group of devoted preachers," states one reporter close to the situation, "Jehovah's Witnesses in Eritrea have been the target of a brutal and protracted government-sponsored campaign of terror. All Witnesses have been stripped of their citizenship and the rights that go with it, apparently with the intent of breaking their faith or of wiping them out as a presence in that country."

When interviewed in his New York office, Philip Brumley, general counsel for Jehovah's Witnesses, reportedly said: "There is a misunderstanding about who we are. If the government would understand who we are, we are confident that this mistreatment will end."

Outside Sources: Reportedly, a December 2005 report by Amnesty International on religious persecution in Eritrea states: "The detention of individuals solely because of their religious beliefs is part of the general denial of the rights to freedom of expression and association in Eritrea, as well as other grave violations of basic human rights."

It then continues: "These violations of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion are contrary to international law, as well as the Constitution of Eritrea." Jonah Fisher, a former BBC correspondent living in Asmara, reportedly spotlighted the government's "repression of religion" according to a BBC report published in 2004. Fisher quotes yet another journalist who is said to have witnessed firsthand human rights violations. "All of these things are just happening repeatedly over and over ... [to] ... Jehovah's Witnesses."

Nazi Communists?: The Witnesses date back to the 1940s in Eritrea. But since 1995, more than 250 families had fled the country. Over 100 have lost jobs, and at least 38 were denied business licenses. Some 37 families have been expelled from homes.

Paulos Eyassu, Negede Teklemariam, and Isaac Mogos-all JWs-have been imprisoned since 1994, "isolated from families and community, despite the fact that the maximum penalty for conscientious objection under Eritrean law is three years." Though Eritrean officials reportedly profess communism, these disturbing moves smack of Nazi tactics.

Cuba, Carr, & the Kremlin: Must I boast about my knowledge of Africans, communism, and Nazis? (1 Cor 1:31; compare Philippians 3:5-11) When I visited Cuba, Fidel Castro had me on national TV; I was an honored guest of the communist Soviet government; I wrote the best-selling book, Germany's Black Holocaust: 1890-1945; I was the spokesman for the son of the legendary Patrice Lumumba as we appeared before the distinguished Los Angeles City Council.

Since 1993 I've written four volumes on African American Witnesses, and was invited to coauthor an article in the prestigious, authoritative two-volume encyclopedia set, African American Religious Cultures (2009). Finally, my work has been recognized by Legacy, "Africa's leading magazine on social issues." 

As the leading authority on African American JWs, I am stunned and outraged by the allegations. My Abyssinian (Ethiopian and Eritrean) friends have been shocked into silence. Randy Jackson and I talked of traveling to countries hostile to the Witnesses to explain the innocuous nature of their message. We just might start with Eritrea.

Can you imagine Michael's children-or any children-imprisoned for simply reading the Bible? For starters, join me in contacting the Embassy Of Eritrea, 1708 New Hampshire Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC, 20009-2502, (202) 319-1991. The brutality must stop. Please, save the children. Peace and blessings. Amen.

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