This week marks the anniversary of the assassination of Amilcar Cabral, the father of the independence of Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau. To celebrate his life, I have decided to re-post Cabral’s speech given during President Kwame Nkrumah‘s state funerals in Conakry on 13 – 14 May 1972 “The Cancer of Betrayal” which I transcribed to French (“Le Cancer de la Trahison“) and translated to English (“The Cancer of Betrayal”) and published on Afrolegends in 2012. As Cabral states, betrayal has been at the heart of so many issues faced by Africa today: ” … from class struggle, … from contributions to social structures, from the role of party or other instructions, including armed forces…. My idea on this question will allow us to better understand the greatness of Nkrumah’s work, to understand the complexity of problems he had to face so many times alone,… …. we, Africans, firmly believe that the dead continue living by our sides… . Nkrumah will resuscitate each dawn in the hearts and in the determinations of freedom fighters, in the action of all true African patriots.”
In his last public speech in Conakry, at the funeral of the former Ghanaian president Nkrumah, Amilcar Cabral had denounced the cancer of betrayal that eats up African movements. His comments today take a strange resonance in Guinea as in Angola, and Mozambique, where many movements are demanding power which the Portuguese have not yet abandoned.
“… What to say? but we must speak otherwise at this point, if we don’t talk, our hearts may burst. Our tears should not infiltrate the truth. We, freedom fighters, we do not mourn the death of a man, even a man who was a comrade and an exemplary revolutionary, because as President Ahmed Sekou Toure often says ‘what is man in front of the infinite being and transgressing of the people and of humanity?’ We do not mourn the people of Ghana scoffed in its most beautiful realisations, in its most legitimate aspirations. We are not crying for Africa, betrayed. We are mourning, yes, of hatred towards those who were able to betray NKRUMAH to serve the ignoble imperialism … Mr President, Africa by requiring through the voice of the people of the Republic of Guinea, as always fairly represented by President Ahmed Sekou Toure, whom NKRUMAH had put in his right place on the Kilimandjaro’s highest summits of the African revolution, Africa rehabilitates itself and through history. President NKRUMAH, which we honor is primarily the great strategist of the struggle against classic colonialism, he is the one who created what we call African positivism, what he called “positive action”, affirmative action. We pay tribute to the declared enemy of neocolonialism in Africa and elsewhere, the strategist of economic development in his country. Mr President, we praise the freedom fighter of the African people who always gave his full support to national liberation movements, and we want to tell you here that we, in Guinea and Cape Verde islands, even though it is true that the most important factor for the development of our struggle outside our country was the independence of the Republic of Guinea, the heroic ‘no’ of the people of Guinea on 28 September 1958. It is also true that if we went through the struggle regenerated, it was essentially due to the concrete support of Ghana and particularly of President Nkrumah …
Mr. President, we should however in this moment remember that all coins in life have two faces, all realities have positive and negative sides… to all positive action, is opposed a negative action. To what extent is betrayal’s success in Ghana linked to problems of class struggle, from contributions to social structures, from the role of party or other instructions, including armed forces as part of a new independent state. To what level, we shall ask ourselves, is betrayal’s success in Ghana linked to a correct definition of this historical entity and craftsman of history that is the people and their daily work, in defending its own independence conquests? Or to what extent is betrayal’s success not linked to the major problem of the choice of men in the revolution? My idea on this question will allow us to better understand the greatness of Nkrumah’s work, to understand the complexity of problems he had to face so many times alone… problems that will allow us to conclude that, as imperialism exists, an independent state in Africa should be a liberation movement to power or it would not exist. Let no one tell us that Nkrumah died of a cancer to the throat or some other disease; no, Nkrumah has been killed by the cancer of betrayal that we should uproot… by the cancer of betrayal, that we should root out of Africa if we really want to definitely crush the imperialist domination on this continent. But, we, Africans, firmly believe that the dead continue living by our sides, we are a society of dead and living. Nkrumah will resuscitate each dawn in the hearts and in the determinations of freedom fighters, in the action of all true African patriots. Our liberation movement will not forgive those who betrayed Nkrumah, the people of Ghana will not forgive, Africa will not forgive, progressive mankind will not forgive!”
Translated from French by Dr. Y., afrolegends.com (12 October 2012)
French version here Amilcar Cabral – Le Cancer de la Trahison