The Mission of the African Intellectual
Filmmaker and Human Rights Activist
"We are acting in behalf of nobody except the love and consciousness we feel for our people," Sembene Ousmane.
Nowadays, Africa is ruined by conflicts which have a negative impact on its development. In an African continent where the civilian people languish in poverty and illiteracy, it is scandalous to realize that all the huge natural resources available (oil, diamond, wood, cocoa, coffee, etc...), only helped making people kill each other, in conflicts which resulted in thousands of refugees and displaced persons, thousands of hectares of land and forest made uncultivated by the pollution caused by landmines which have killed and mutilated thousands of people.
Now, the dialectical relationship between armed conflicts and the violation of human rights is obvious: the infringements of human rights and violations of the standards of performance of the Legal Status, of Democracy and Good Governance inevitably lead to armed conflicts and symmetrically, the armed conflicts correspond to a total revocation of human rights.
This situation which makes of Africa a down-and-out and marginalized continent deeply shattered and traumatized me. My shaken up, torn and tossed mind was tormented by a nagging question; how to give stronger faith and more substance to the ”Never Ever Let This Happen Again”? At first, one must feel sorry thanks to the sense of belonging to a group, a camp. According to Gramsci's word one must be an "Organic Intellectual". Can one be an African intellectual (just) by making it their aim to suffer as little as possible, by turning one’s back on what the majority is doing? Certainly not. Of course, suffering is not an end in itself. It is not about an absurd masochism, but about an option of identity, about an initiatory and active immersion among one’s own people. After awareness, reached through substantial compassion, the intellectual has to understand and make it clear for the others. The third task of the African intellectual involves denouncing, not systematically using abusive language, but naming the evil, and, like that child in the tale of Andersen, proclaiming loud and openly what everyone knows and keeps silent. After having denounced, it is necessary to announce, that is present an alternative, a project compatible with the reality into which we put ourselves. It’s not a bogus prophetism; it’s not an excuse either. It is the simmering expectations. Finally, the last requirement the intellectual should force himself/herself to make, is to transform.
It is that imperative that explains my determined choice and my irreversible commitment to work alongside African patriots, to pull the African continent out of its medieval condition and secure it as far as Human Rights are concerned in the 21st century. Then, Video Advocacy appeared to me as a miraculous weapon which, by reflecting and carrying over the Human Rights’ mirror, works on the collective subconscious and acts as a catalyst for the emergence and anchoring of Human Rights knowledge.