If you visit New York City and you do not get a picture with the Statue of Liberty, did you even visit New York? This copper colossus was a gift to the American people from the French, for sharing enlightenment values such as liberty and equality and for defeating the British to become an independent state.
The French King, Louis XVI sent troops and materiel to assist the Americans in their war of independence. Many French people volunteered to fight in this war. This was likely in response to a realization that “Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere”. French fighting men were crucial in the fight for independence. Before they arrived, the Americans had suffered a long string of embarrassing defeats. The turning point was European help that came in the form of French fighting men and supplies form the Dutch and the Spaniards.
So, what did the French gain? The French king Louis XVI was looking to upend the British, just for ego’s sake. The Spaniards were awarded the land that is now the state of Florida.
The French people however, after helping the Americans fight off a Monarch, realized, they were also subject to the tyranny of an absolute monarchy. The French people in helping the Americans gain independence, indirectly, helped themselves gain independence.
And maybe too, if Africans stand in solidarity with African Americans, they may just then be able to fight off oppression back home in Africa. An African proverb holds “Turmoil is like a Baobab tree, no one person can put their arms around it”. Maybe in staying ‘woke’ to the oppression that afflicts our brothers and sisters in America, we may also, just maybe, begin to recognize and cast off our own affliction.
We must stand with African Americans. Ama mnangoja Mzungu awaambie?