Note: I'm catching up on back articles, so the following post is in reference to a June 2021 article. A dedication to Glen Ford follows. He died a month after the publication he co-founded distributed it.
Over the years I've come across references and copies of Walter Rodney's work, particularly How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. I wasn't a student of his work; nor was I familiar with the circumstances surrounding his death.
Rodney's native Guyana was preparing to officialize his death an assassination at the time of the linked report below. I can only imagine the pain and financial strain placed on his widow when benefits from his life insurance were never honored for her and their three children, who were only infants in 1980. I once heard an interview of Betty Shabazz recounting the financial strain on her household of five following Malcolm X's assassination.
In regard to Rodney, I was surprised at the extent of Guyana's attempt to redeem his name, legacy, and works. It comes more than 40 years after his death, but I hope it provides his family some sense of validation and resolution.
However, I believe it's only gloss if Guyana approves the following motions absent an acknowledgement of the findings from the Walter Rodney Commission on Inquiry. The Commission attributes Sgt. Gregory Smith, an electronics expert, with delivering a lethal bomb to Rodney by way of his unknowing brother. The officer, a member of Guyana's military, fled to a country with protection from potential extradition. The Commission alleges that he acted as a state agent.
Pleeease provide an update on these motions when available and, ideally, a response from the Rodney family.
Motions will include:
A comment on "Walter Rodney’s Death Records to be Amended and Children’s Books Placed in Schools" (D. Chabrol)
Glen Ford was the co-founder of Black Agenda Report, which republished the article my above post is based on. He died from lung cancer a month later.
The Green Party shared a Facebook post from The Black Alliance for Peace on July 28, 2021. It was then that I found out about the death of the journalist and activist. "Wow. Was just on Black Agenda Report yesterday," I wrote. "Most familiar with Ford from BAR (and the Black is Back Coalition) over the last 10 years. My condolences. Will miss his words and wisdom."
Weeks before, I found an old .mp3 player with BAR podcasts from my 2012 commutes home from work. It was prior to Black Agenda Report, however, that I first came across Ford's name and work with The Black Commentator. (Their editorial cartoons were classic, by the way). It turns out Ford was its co-publisher until 2006.
BAR can go from a series that alleges ethnic instigations by Paul Kagame prior to the Rwandan genocide, to critiques on AFRICOM and U.S. foreign policy. It is international affairs and U.S. foreign policy that I've found little coverage in Black print media since I began reading it at age 18.
BAR also introduced me to the concept of neoliberalism (which I'm still trying to grasp) and some of the most-fire columns from whom would turn out to be Danny Haiphong.
In 2014, the publication allowed me to follow the Renisha McBride murder trial by running original coverage from Thandisizwe Chimurenga. And though I didn't follow Jill Stein's presidential campaigns. I did recognize Ajamu Baraka, her 2016 running mate, from BAR columns.
Glen Ford was 71.
Jubalyn ExWilliams lives in Pennsylvania (United States). You can find her writings and commentaries, including "Public Intellectuals in Politics, II," at landturn.com/blog.
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