Namibia, Obama & Drones

Milton-Blake-photo-by-Eddie-Grant (1)

By Norman (Otis) Richmond aka Jalali Norman (Otis) Richmond


Kwame Ture aka  Stokely Carmichael once opined, that technology can be used for justice or injustice.

The government of Namibia and President Barack Hussein Obama are examples of how technology is being used in the 21st century. These two governments’ positions are diametrically opposed.

The Namibian government will deploy as many as eight drones to support the army’s effort to combat poaching of elephants and rhino in remote national parks beyond the reach of its police force.

The Environment and Tourism Minister Uskekua Heruga was quoted by the Toronto Star. Says Heruga  “The southwest African country’s anti-poaching unit started three of the unmanned craft about two months ago in national parks and conservancies and will assess how effective they have been in the coming six months.”

There are as many as 25,000 elephants, 1,750 black rhinos and 470 white rhinos in Namibia  according to


President Obama is the fourth president to win the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1906 Theodore Roosevelt won the award; Woodrow Wilson won it in 1919; Jimmy Carter won in 2002 and president Obama captured it in 2009.The Nobel Peace Prize winner President Obama on the other hand has used drones for other reasons. Mumia Abu-Jamal has come out strong against president Obama’s use ofdrones. Says Abu–Jamal: “The lures of war have been almost impossible to resist. For despite the covet prize. Peace, true peace, has been elusive during his tour of duty in the White House.”

Jamal continues: “Technology especially drone tech has made war almost easy. Thus, US drones have bombed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somali, Yemen and Pakistan According to an article in AlterNet the US has launched some 94,000drone air strikes in the areas noted. 94,000. How many people have been killed in collateral damage? We don’t know and we don’t care. A good round number? Bout a million. A million. Let’s call them collateral damage.”

News from Namibia is as scarce as hen’s teeth in the mainstream media. Even the so-called progressive media has not done its job covering this Southern African nation state. I was first made aware on Namibia many moons ago. However, Walter Rodney’s, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa opened my eyes to an event in African history that needs more attention. Rodney pointed out how the German ruling class received their experience in genocide. They practiced on the Herero people in what was then called South West Africa.

The Herero and Namaque Genocide was a campaign was against the Herero and Nama people. It is considered to have been the first genocide of the 20th century. It took place between 1904 and 1907 during the Herero Wars. In total, 24,000–100,000 Herero and 10,000 Nama died.

The Los Angeles based film maker Charles Burnett’s 2007 “Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation” is a great place to start in understanding the contribution that this country has made for the liberation of Africa and Africans. The film features Danny Glover and Carl Lumbly who plays Nujoma.

The film is based loosely on the memoirs of Namibia’s first president Sam Nujoma. who was the former leader of the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO). Burnett’s script was written based on Nujoma.’s autobiography Where Others Wavered and was a government-commissioned celebration of liberation.

Danny Glover and Carl Lumbly also worked with Burnett on his film To Sleep with Anger. The film was screened in Toronto and was selected as an opening-night selection for the 2008 New York African Film Festival.

Martin Luther King Jr. always maintained, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” While I completely believe this I have a serious problem with president Obama using drones on Africans in Somali and Libya. Namibia and President Obama are currently using drones for different reasons. I am a firm believer in humanity’s right to use technology for the benefit of the people of the world. President Obama as commander and chief of the US Army is on the wrong side of the question of drones.

Norman (Otis) Richmond, aka Jalali, was born in Arcadia, Louisiana, and grew up in Los Angeles. He left Los Angles after refusing to fight in Vietnam because he felt that, like the Vietnamese, Africans in the United States were colonial subjects.

Richmond is currently working as a producer/host of Saturday Morning Live on Radio Regent ( He can also be heard on Diasporic Music on Uhuru Radio (

His column Diasporic Music appears monthly in The Burning Spear newspaper.

 NB: this text is copyrighted, and only limited excerpting with full attribution is permitted. For licensing and reproduction permissions, please contact Norman Otis Richmond at


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