Tuesday, March 28, 2017

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: Racial and xenophobic attacks against Africans in India

These attacks on Africans in India are shameful indeed.  I would hope for mobilization and educational efforts by Indian civil society against this kind of violent racism and the scapegoating of Africans, including students.  

Those of us who are part of the Indian diaspora in the United States must also confront anti-black racism within South Asian immigrant communities.  While South Asians in the US are a diverse group with different immigration histories and varying levels of class and educational privilege, many are susceptible to identifying with the rewards of accepting the role of "model minority."  

I am currently undertaking efforts in the Seattle area to convene "Desi" (South Asian) community dialogues.  One significant topic will be the presenting of U.S. race relations so that South Asians in the U.S. can see themselves as part of a longer history and can understand their commonalities with other racialized groups, both for the sake of grounding the necessities and urgencies of solidarity but also to discover and imagine our shared futures.  

Given the ongoing relations that transnational immigrants maintain with their countries of origin and the frequent travel back and forth by many of them, I will emphasize the connection between racism in the United States and racism in India, pointing to the potential complicity in racism, especially by elite South Asians here, and the opportunities for a racial justice politics that embraces the well being of our African and African American brothers and sisters.


From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 9:16 AM
To: dialogue
Subject: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Racial and xenophobic attacks against Africans in India

Dear Friends and Colleagues, 

I would like to bring an incident from India to your notice. You might be aware of the recent racial and xenophobic attacks against Africans in India. Below are a few links which describe the violence.  

Firstly, I feel deeply ashamed by the news of continuing violence against Africans in India. As an Indian citizen, I feel ashamed because the continent of Africa has been so welcoming to me. I have many Nigerian friends and the list includes my own PhD supervisor. I have stayed amidst the Zulus and Pondos in southeastern Africa for almost 9 months now. Not even once, I have faced violence, distrust, or racial abuse from a black person. So on the face of it, I feel terribly ashamed.

However, the situation is way more complex than my first reaction. Last month, Nigerians in Johannesburg were targeted as part of xenophobic attacks. The popular perception is that Nigerians are snatching jobs and other economic avenues from the locales. In other words, racial and xenophobic attacks against Africans are not singularly located in South Asia alone. In fact, these are some of the new challenges that contemporary globalization has pushed us into. The contemporary model of globalization has increased people's mobility manifold. But we have not learned to adopt with its associated changes. At the same time, let's not forget that the number of Indians who traveled to and traded with Africans in the 18th, 19th, and the 20th century is no less than the number of Africans who migrated to South Asia in the same temporal frame. The ongoing violence in India is firstly a denial of history. Secondly, it shows how we are failing to cope with the new conditions of globalization. After all, what is the point of celebrating the new material culture of globality when we are so incapable of dealing with cultural differences in this pluriversal world? 

Best regards, 


On Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 3:22 PM, Okey Iheduru <okeyiheduru@gmail.com> wrote:
Congratulations, Moses! We're all very proud of you. It's still twilight in your career; or as Oga Falola rightly noted, "the comma" in what's already a fabulous career. You're headed for a height that's beyond our imaginations today.

Best wishes :).


On Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 2:00 AM, Assensoh, Akwasi B. <aassenso@indiana.edu> wrote:

Dear Grammarians in our Midst:


I looked at Brother Zeleza's title under his posting: Vice Chancellor,  United States International University-Africa! Of course, it is lofty and impressive!


However, when a female friend -- with a phlosophy (logic) degree -- was a Dean, she often ridiculed titles like "Vice Chancellor"; "Vice President", and "Vice Provost". To her, they meant "Chancellors with Vices"; "Presidents with Vices", and "Provosts with Vices". Therefore, when she was named a "Senior Vice-President and Provost", she always made sure that she inserted a "hypen" (-) between Vice and President, and she made a big deal about it, saying "I have no Vice, because I am a Vice-President, not a Vice President".


As my legendary mentor and admirere, Baba Ijebu of Yaba and Palmgrove (nigeria), would ask the Grammarians in our midst, "Na, which is better: Vice-Chacellor/Vice-President or Vice Chancellor/Vice President?" Seriously, I want to know the correct usage as a historian, with some training in Journalism and Law!


A.B. Assensoh.   

From: Paul T. Zeleza <pzeleza@usiu.ac.ke>
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2017 7:59 AM
To: Toyin Falola
Cc: dialogue; Yoruba Affairs; olubomehind@yahoo.com; ololadeololade70@gmail.com; Adeyemi_balogun@yahoo.com; charlesomotayo@yahoo.com; muffyakande@yahoo.com; badebua@yahoo.com; olupayimod@gmail.com; kayodeonipede2004@yahoo.co.uk; raliatsola@yahoo.com; bensonigboin@gmail.com; deity:; babjid74@yahoo.com; tolujudes@gmail.com; fortuneafatakpa@gmail.com; julia.binter@wolfson.ox.ac.uk; josephayodokun@gmail.com; shegunadebayo@gmail.com; ajigbadejube@gmail.com; M Insa Nolte; Olukoya Ogen (koyaogen@gmail.com); moyo.okediji@utexas.edu; Afolabi, Omoniyi; Ademola Dasylva; Aribidesi Usman; Bukola Adeyemi Oyeniyi; Micheal Afolayan; PHILIP_OGUNDEJI OGUNDEJI; akinlabi; Segun Ojewuyi; tunde_babawale@yahoo.com; Adenle, Adewale; Abayomi Ola; ogundimu; agbetuyi; Babatunde; Mosadomi, Tola; Akinloye A Ojo; Akinyemi,Akintunde; tadegbindin@yahoo.com; ogun Ogundiran; dele.jegede@miamioh.edu; mimikofemi; agwale Agwuele; arinpe adejumo; bimbola adelakun; dotunayobade@utexas.edu; Adeleke_Adeeko Adeeko; aaa adesanya; AdeěleěkeĚ AdeěeĚňkoňě; Olasope Oyelaran; kolapo.abimbola@howard.edu; Adeshina Afolayan; SamuelOloruntoba; borgu; nimi; Olajumoke Yacob-Haliso; Oyeniyi, Bukola; Assensoh, Akwasi B.; samson ijaola; bayo; Victor Ekpuk; Olajumoke Yacob-Haliso; Ogungbemi; obasa; adeyemi_bukola_oyeniyi oyeniyi; samadek_2017@yahoo.co.uk; REGISTRAR REGISTRAR; Bisola F; Gbenga Dasylva; Oluwole 2 Dasylva; Ropo Ewenla; kpdasylva@yahoo.com; Gbenga Akosile; orelikesdat@yahoo.com; ayo_olukotun-yahoo.com; M Buba; dele Ashiru; Akinjide OUNTOKUN; Wale Ghazal; Odugbemi Ibrahim; Ochayi Okpeh; sati Fwatshak; odey ODEY; Stephen Akintoye; Saheed Aderinto; kgifesi@austin.rr.com; Emmanuel Babatunde; Vik Bahl; Tade Akin Aina; akandeoj@yahoo.com; dele jegede; Wale Adebanwi; aka; Caroline Tushabe; fallou ngom; DOYIN AGUORU; misschristines@utexas.edu; Chukwuemeka Agbo; ZALANGA SAMUEL; adigunagbaje@yahoo.com; babaadii@yahoo.com; bteboh@umassd.edu; Oladele Balogun; Alexius Amtaika; Bode Ibironke; Ayobami Salami; Bamitale Omole; dijiaina; Ademola Araoye; Egodi Uchendu; Nasong'o_Shadrack; aborah@utexas.edu; Michael Vickers; Martin Shanguhyia; Kenneth Kalu; scot; Tunji Olaopa; Omowunmi Sadik; Nemata Blyden; kolawole adekola; Gaf Oye; Afolayan, Funso; Steiner Ifekwe; Carina Ray; Dawuni, Josephine; Tanure Ojaide; Odia Ofeimun; Uyilawa Usuanlele; Anene Ejikeme; Abimbola Asojo; Pamela Smith; Abdul Bangura; Felicia Ohwovoriole; Saine, Abdoulaye; Jimoh Oriyomi; lekan pearce; Babs Sobanjo; Mukhtar Bunza; Bessie House-Soremekun; Gloria Chuku; MOLEFI K. ASANTE; tunde jaiyeoba; Uzoma Osuala; Chap Kusimba; Philip Akpen; Admin; Abidogun, Jamaine M; Olufunke Adeboye; Chima Korieh; Femi_Osofisan Osofisan; tony agwuele; adjepong@utexas.edu; Jalloh, Alusine; Adejumo, Christopher O; Ashafa Abdullahi; mario.j.azevedo; olatunji oyeshile; ebunoduwole2k2; nikeajayi_52; Abosede George; Yvette M Alex-Assensoh; bridy.4real@gmail.com; folahanolusola@gmail.com; Shennette Garrett-Scott; Vusi Gumede, Prof; Mickie Koster; Sifiso Ndlovu; Udogu; Yemisi Obilade; Yusuf Adedayo Hauwau Evelyn; Bello Maryam; Bolaji Akinyemi; kwame Essien; Osondu, Epaphras

Thank you for this beautiful tribute to Moses.

Moses, congratulations on your well deserved accolades! We are all proud of you, keep up the great work.

Best regards,

Paul Tiyambe Zeleza
Vice Chancellor
United States International University-Africa
P.O. Box 14684-00800, Nairobi, Kenya
+254 20 360-6411

Latest Book Publication: The Transformation of Global Higher Education, 1945-2015 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, August 2016) http://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9781137578570

On 24 Mar 2017, at 13:37, Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu<mailto:toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu>> wrote:


I thought we use a comma in a sentence because we have more to say, and we detour via semicolons, colons, dashes, brackets, and other punctuations before we get to the king of them all, the period. And if you misuse one, as in failing to recognize that a semicolon is the husband of a comma, on top of it with a longer orgasm, but declimbed to become the heir to a period, do not blame me if Farooq, the friend of Moses, hammer you on the head. And please do not say that because English is a foreign language, semicolon can replace a colon. Not so, as one lives in the village and the other in the city, meeting once in a while to quickly depart.
Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, this is no more than a comma, as more words will pour in a deluge (I need not add rain or flood to a deluge!) as foretold by that Prophet, whose name I cannot remember at this time. Moses was surprised at his news, as he put it on his Facebook that one of his admirers sent to me.
 Since I got into this profession, holding an endowed chair has been my ultimate goal. It is the highest institutional academic recognition and I dreamed of one day attaining that height. Glory be to God; that dream has come true. Although I aspired to it, I did not think that it would come this soon, making it even sweeter. Moses Ochonu
As an aside, I am not on Facebook, perhaps because I don't know what a face is doing in the company of a book! An Eyebook, yes, but one is yet to be created. And even when some friends created one for me, I asked it to be taken down. And my son works for Facebook in London! Thank you all for supporting his daily bread. But Moses forgot to add, even as huge achievements, that he has declined offers from Columbia and Yale! Unknown to him, whenever those searches commence, names are solicited, as universities must do, that his name, from our own end, is always there. Always there!
I predicted it would happen: for him, for Clapperton, for Ibhawoh, for Nimi, for Wale, for Chika, for Ugo, the Nwokeji Of Ugoland in Oakland country. Ibhawoh's own came at the speed of light, becoming a national figure. I have one or two other names to add, and one name to delete as I play God with the future of His own creation.
I have the unusual privilege, a few of which I share with Salah Hassan and Paul Zeleza, of compiling names for all the biggest awards. Some get it, some miss it, but I keep re-nominating, adding more lines, more evidence, more arguments. I have even spent hours without end to promote deserving people like Ama Ata Aidoo, thinking that if we failed with Ngugi we should move to another person. One missed what I once nominated him for, and I am completing a book on him just to re nominate him! This is our own Victor Ekpuk who has missed the MacArthur genius award for reasons that baffle me.
The story of Moses is about to begin; what he sees as the end, I see as the beginning. So, I can only compose a comma on his sweet achievement, my own sweeter dreams!
It is no secret that I admire Moses, and that I see him as ten times more talented than me in terms of the ability to conceptualize and complicate, not to talk of his refined use of language. I don't have his language, not even close. He is a better historian than me. Even all my graduate students in the last ten years know that I see him as my intellectual superior. I have invited him to Austin to speak to my seminar; and to Nigeria to give a Keynote. I have visited him, and I enjoyed a good meal at his place in Nashville. He once invited me to his campus to engage in a stimulating dialogue, pairing me with Mamdou Diouf. What a great conversation! I have sold him where it is possible to, recently inviting him to give a talk at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.
We sometimes disagree on intellectual grounds, as I occasionally initiate debates in private email messages different from those on Dialogue where I don't want anyone to accuse me of corrupting my role as a moderator. Even my occasional intervention to ask people to stop talking is greeted with "Am I using your mouth?" All what I can do is to say "No sir!" I am an incurable Pan-Africanist, and Moses, Farooq Kperogi, Akin Ogundiran, Augustine Agwuele and a new breed of African intellectuals do not always see things my way. It is precisely because they differ, for creating alternative paradigms, that I actually worship them. A scholar who operates only in the company of those who always agree with him is a mediocre. We flourish because we have critics. Once in a while, one of them will be angry and send me a rude private message; but I will smile, saying that the future of Africa that I imagine does not leave me with the luxury of a fight. Conflict requires two people for it to work—I know of those who engage in conflicts with me, but I do not know of any human being that I engage in conflict with.
This achievement, as much as Moses would like to think of it as his, belongs to us all, the fulfilment of my own dream for Africans and Africa. And because this is a dream comes true, our register must respect the registrar of language.
Age gives me the privilege to offer a sermon, the register that I just mentioned. Here is one. It is so sweet to sleep and have sweet dreams. In some cases, the dream is so sweet that you wish you never woke up, interrupting it! Someone once wisely counselled, however, that no matter how sweet your dreams may be, if you do not wake up and pursue them vigorously, they will remain just that – dreams! – nothing concrete at all to show for the dream. Waking up years later with the taste of ashes in the mouth because time was spent dreaming, no time was spent working, no dream life to show for it.
A sermon must have its application. Our brother, colleague, and friend Moses did not make that mistake. From his days at Bayero University, Kano, where he obtained his BA History, he showed his acumen for dream-making and achievement. For the entire duration of his studies there, he held the Bayero University Scholarship for Outstanding Academic Performance, eventually also scooping up the Michael Crowder Prize for the Best Student on Modern African History and the Best Graduating Student in the Department of History of the class of 1997. His department did not hesitate to offer him an immediate graduate assistantship the same year. With such stellar early achievements, no future political detractors can ever say Moses did not graduate from the Department of History at Bayero!
An application must become motivational. Having started so well, it is no wonder that his career became studded with one starry achievement after the other. Obtaining subsequent degrees in African History from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, he was appointed assistant professor at Vanderbilt in 2004, becoming associate professor in 2011 and then professor in 2015. He has published three books, with two others forthcoming, numerous articles in refereed journals and chapters in books, and is a sought after keynote speaker and guest lecturer. His research in this time received various recognitions including various grants and fellowships. Many would have rested on their laurels at this point but Moses wanted the Chair, and never relented for one day. He knew what he wanted when he stepped into the American academy: the almighty endowed Chair!
A motivation must turn into a testimony. Professor Moses Ochonu is indeed deserving of this most recent and highest recognition of his university. He has established for himself the distinguished reputation of being one of the leading scholars of northern and middle belt Nigeria today, joining the ranks of the like of Smith, Adeleye, Mahdi, Usman, to mention but a few since I am just in the comma mood. His important 2014 book, Colonialism by Proxy: Hausa Imperial Agents and Middle Belt Consciousness in Nigeria, the finalist for the prestigious ASA Herskovits Prize for the Best Scholarly Book in African Studies in any Discipline in 2015, subverts the accepted understandings of the mechanics of indirect rule in British colonial Africa, and especially in northern Nigeria. He argues there that it was "subcolonialism" and not indirect rule that dictated British policy because the Hausa-Fulani overlords of the non-Muslim people of the middle belt negotiated their domination of these populations by recourse to claims of superior authority conferred on them by the Jihads of the early 1800s. His fine and sophisticated analysis of these dynamics are major contribution to the corpus of Nigerian history, setting him apart and above his peers.
A testimony goes with a confessional. Moses is passionate about Nigeria, and this is evident in his continuous and numerous commentaries about Nigerian affairs. He is deeply engaged in puzzling the challenges and proposing the solutions for the country's progress. We know him here on the USA Africa Dialogue Series forum, as a voice that brings gravitas to any conversation he is engaged in, nuancing his analysis with uncommon insight, an eye for the fine points, and an attempt at objectivity on many divisive topics. On Facebook, he has already reached the limit of the number of friends that he can accept because thousands are so keen to read what he has to say on the various issues of the day! His essays have appeared in major Nigerian newspapers in print and online and his provocative article "The Shattering of the Buhari Mythology" in African Arguments was voted by readers as the 2016 Best Article of the Year. He is not a Nigerian academic that observes and comments about the country from a distance; no, he takes time out to visit, navigating pot-holed roads, locating the latest and best chicken suya spots in Abuja, and even taking time to appreciate Big Brother Nigeria on TV!
A confession ends in a blessing. This March, Moses already celebrated his birthday, and the news of his appointment to the Cornelius Vandebilt Chair must be perhaps the best birthday gift he has ever had. We celebrate with him, and wish him bigger dreams, above all.
This is a comma in the long sentences that I need to write on Moses, the intellectual messiah of our time, just one of the commas before I reach the end with a period.

Toyin Falola
Department of History
The University of Texas at Austin
104 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712-0220
512 475 7224
512 475 7222 (fax)

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