from Umoja: The Early Years by Gwiyato Nemera (2038)
Asmera PubNet, mufaro.asmerapub.umj/history/umoja-general/nemera/UTEY/6.3
Umoja’s first CEO, Kirabo Mukadamu, made his first official visit to the United States in April 2019. Ten years before, he had left Los Angeles as an angry, despised, twice-convicted criminal; now he returned as an international hero welcomed with parades and speeches.
The afternoon of his arrival, before a multitude of shining faces, Kirabo was met by a delegation from the Nation of Islam.
They said to Kirabo, “How can you turn your back on African heritage, and embrace Western cultural ideals, when those very ideals killed and enslaved your ancestors, and have kept their descendants oppressed and subjugated for over four hundred years? When Africa is finally freeing herself of the legacy of Western imperialism, how can you lead her along a path that only leads to more of the same? You are a traitor to your people.”
In his quiet, powerful voice, Kirabo said to them, “You have not lived in Africa. You have not seen how disease, hunger, and despair are more powerful oppressors than Western imperialism ever could be. You have clean, running water, electricity at the touch of a switch, public health…all products of the Western cultural ideals you despise. You take these things for granted. You assume that they are the common property of humankind, no matter what culture first produced them. Africa simply wants to claim her share of the common property.”
They said to Kirabo, “Umoja wants to run Africa like a corporation. You destroy the cultures and the traditions of generations. You replace them with emptiness and deny them their right to exist. Are not all cultures equally valid?”
Kirabo smiled. “That is not the traditional African view.” Onlookers laughed. “Umoja means Unity. Common Unity. Comm-Unity. A new community and a new culture. Africa’s old cultures and traditions have passed away. They died of hunger, poverty, disease, and war. They were murdered by hatred, greed, and indifference, both inside and outside Africa.
“Our new Umoja—our Community—is a new culture born in the death throes of the old. To build our Umoja, we take what is best from all the cultures of humankind. Personal freedom, social responsibility, the equality of all humans, respect for tradition, submission to the will of God.” Kirabo faced the Nation of Islam spokesman with open arms. “Come to Africa, and help us build this new culture, this new community. Help us create new traditions and breathe life back into old ones. All are welcome, all are needed.” Kirabo cocked his head, as if listening to something very far and very faint. “Hear the call. Join the Kurudi, the Return to Africa. You will come as strangers; you will remain as daughters and sons.”
The next day, Kirabo met with the leaders of the Nation of Islam. And later that year, the Nation of Islam began its historic exodus to Africa….
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