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23.08.2011 03:58 Age: 7 yrs
Category: engl Karibik Allgemein / Politik

Obama Rejects Plea for Marcus Garvey's Pardon

var linkwithin_site_id = 254404; In June2007 after reading Dreams from my Father,I donated money to Barack Obama's presidential campaign. It was the first timein my life that I had donated money to a political campaign. I had also readthe platform of Senator John McCain and thought I had made an informed choice by voting  forBarack Obama. I didn't vote for Obama because he was the Black candidate.Rather, I thought Obama was the better candidate based on the concepts heoutlined in The Audacity of Hope, histhorough understanding of Western political science, and his knowledge ofcentral figures of African-American philosophy, including Marcus Garvey's. Iwas also impressed by the synthesis of ideas in Dreams that led Obama to conclude, "Our sense of wholenesswould have to arise from something more fine than the bloodlines we'dinherited" (204), and invocation of Marcus Garvey's famous quote, "Riseup ye mighty race" (199).

I wastherefore quite surprised to read the in the JamaicaObserver that the Obama administration had "flatly rejected requestfor a presidential pardon for Jamaica's first national hero, the RightHonorable Marcus Garvey" on the grounds that it would be "a waste oftime and resources" since Garvey had been "dead for ages." In addition,Miguel Lorne, head of the Marcus Garvey-founded People's Political Party, wasdismayed by the tone of the reply:  "Thelanguage used in the reply is most disdainful. It makes you wonder if Obamaactually read the request. "
WhetherMr. Obama read the request or not is immaterial. President Obama is responsiblefor the statements from anyone in his administration. And this statement istotally at odds with the image that candidate Obama projected in Dreams as a lover of justice who soughtto emulate "the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, Du Bois and Mandela"(220). For if Mr. Obama wasn't merely posturing, then surely he must be awareof Martin Luther King's statement about justice: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." 

Justiceis the basis of the pleafor exoneration of Marcus Garvey that I and 1275 others have signed. Wecontend that Marcus Garvey was wrongly arrested by the FBI under theadministration of J. Edgar Hoover, who began his career by "surveilling,infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting" the UNIA , and from which COINTELPRO saw its genesis. MarcusGarvey was the first victim of Hoover's program and it has become abundantlyclear even from H. CON. RES.24, introduced by Representative Charles Rangel, that "the caseagainst Marcus Garvey was politically motivated, the charges unsubstantiated,and his conviction unjust."
When aninjustice is done to a leader, the wound festers in the community and manifestsas uncontrollable rage. The false imprisonment of Marcus Garvey is a gangrenouswound in the African-American and Pan African body politic that PresidentBarack Obama, as a self-acknowledged inheritor of the legacy of Marcus Garvey,now has the opportunity to heal.
Now I realize that President Barack Obama cannot right all the historical wrongs doneagainst African-Americans. That would be impossible. And as far as domesticpolicy is concerned, an American president does not wield as much power as manyof his counterparts in other democratic nations. But a presidential pardon isthe one area that cannot be questioned or rescinded by Congress.
PresidentBarack Obama has before him a unique opportunity with the exoneration of MarcusGarvey to change the consciousness of a generation by outlining some of the valuesthat Marcus Garvey espoused: industry, self-reliance, and unity. The Obamaadministration with its intimate knowledge of the details of the casesurrounding the wrongful imprisonment of Marcus Garvey can perform ahistorically redemptive act. But it will take courage. And courage, as Maya Angelou reminds us, "Is the mostimportant of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice anyother virtue consistently."
MarcusGarvey has joined the ancestors. The governments of this world can no longerharm or hurt him. So this plea for Marcus Garvey's exoneration is for us toshow our magnanimity and gratitude. By honoring Marcus Garvey, we honorourselves.
 Ironically, SenatorJohn McCain has sponsored a bill to pardon Jack Johnson who was imprisonednearly a century ago because of his "romantic ties with a white woman." Apparently,Sen. McCain does not think that it's "a waste of time and resources" topardon Jack Johnson, a man who has been "dead for ages."
Maybe Ishould have voted for Senator McCain.


“We are petitioning President Barack Obama to clear the name of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, a national hero of Jamaica.”