An Open Letter to Faure Gnassingbé

F2FA March 17, 2018

Dear President Faure Gnassingbé, I am not a citizen of Togo, but I am the descendant of people who were forcibly taken from the African continent. Many of my ancestors could have very well been taken from Togo. It is for this reason that I address you as a member of the African diaspora who is concerned about what I see taking place in my ancestral homeland. What especially troubles me about what is happening in Africa is the fact that our ancestors fought so hard to achieve their liberation, but now their sacrifices are being wasted because of greedy and selfish leadership.

As a people we have endured tremendous suffering for the past five centuries. Our ancestors were forcibly taken from Africa in chains and brought to the Americas where they were enslaved. Our ancestors were forced to labor without pay, all while enduring beatings, torture, and rape. We did not passively accept that enslavement and we fought back. There were revolts against slavery throughout the Americas. After slavery was abolished we continued to endure hardships such as colonialism in the West Indies and Jim Crow in the United States, and we continued to fight back.

Not long after slavery was abolished the scramble for Africa began. The people of Africa were violently conquered and subjugated by the colonial powers of Europe. Under colonial rule Africans endured much of the same beatings and tortures that we endured here in the Americas. One of the worst examples of the abuses that Africans endured was in Namibia where the German colonizers committed genocide against the people there. Africans did not passively accept being oppressed under colonial rule. They fought colonialism and overcame it.

I recount this history to remind you President Gnassingbé that we African people are not a passive people who accept oppression without resisting. The people of Togo have certainly demonstrated this. You have responded to the peaceful demands of the Togolese people with violent force, but the people of Togo will not be silenced. They have endured a dictatorship that has lasted fifty years and do not intend to endure this dictatorship for much longer.

President Gnassingbé you must understand that in the past more powerful men than you have tried to suppress African people and have failed. African people confronted Europe’s most powerful empires, such as the British and French empires, and won our independence from them. You may use violent force to murder and suppress the people of Togo, but that is nothing new for us. The United States and South Africa both used violent force against African people to maintain Jim Crow and apartheid. That use of violent force failed for both of them and it will fail for you as well.

During the days of slavery and colonialism we were made to believe that we were a primitive and savage people with no history. We were made to believe that it was Europeans that brought civilization to us. Those of us that have taken the time and effort to study our history know that this is not true. We know that Africans have produced great civilizations, but the pride that we have in our past accomplishments is tainted by the fact that Africa today does not truly reflect what we as African people are capable of achieving.

President Gnassingbé it is leaders like yourself that are responsible for this and it is for this reason that I write this letter to inform you that your regime has not only caused terrible suffering for the people of Togo, but it is also a betrayal of the sacrifices of our ancestors because our ancestors did not fight so that men such as yourself could continue to oppress Africans as the colonial masters of the past did. But we are a resilient people, and as I pointed out, we have overcome great obstacles in the past. President Gnassingbé history will remember you as being one of those obstacles that tried, but ultimately failed to keep African people suppressed.

Submitted By : Dwayne Wong

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: March 16, 2018


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