It is regrettable that the first extended report by a Post reporter on the activities of the District's delegate to the Congress as elected chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (Aug. 6) comes as part of a blatant effort to discredit the delegate by distorting the purpose of his attendance at the annual meeting of the Organization of African Unity in Libya.
Three years ago, I appealed to Yasser Arafat to abandon the use of violence and recognize the right of Israel to exist in his quest for justice and a homeland for the Palestinians. Ever since, certain reporters, completely ignoring my life-long commitment to nonviolence and peace through reconciliation, have hypocritically attempted to label me as a "supporter of terrorists."
My attendance at the OAU summit meeting this year was seized by The Post's reporter in an obvious attempt to perpetuate that contrived negative image. He deliberately distorted both my purpose for attending and the source of the invitation; he reported that I had been invited to Libya by Col. Muammar Qaddafi, when he knew from the OAU mission in New York that the invitation came from the OAU and was signed by the OAU chairman, Daniel arap Moi, president of Kenya. Reporters at The Post ought to know by now that no amount of innuendo or attack upon my integrity will dissuade me from my commitment to seek peace through nonviolent communication anywhere in the world.
I applaud the efforts of the OAU to find nonviolent solutions not only to the shameful political, economic and social repression that goes on in South Africa and Namibia, but also to the potentially explosive disputes in the Horn of Africa and in the Western Sahara. I firmly believe that it is in the best interest of the American people and the interest of world peace that the OAU be encouraged in its efforts to find peace with justice on the continent of Africa through nonviolent dialogue.
The Post reporters assigned to cover my activities in this regard ought to understand what most informed observers know -- namely, that the nonviolent resolution of the South Africa and Namibia questions serves our nation's vital interest in retaining access to various strategic minerals we require from that part of the world and to sea routes around the Cape of Good Hope. They ought to know and report that the peaceful resolution of the disputes on the Horn of Africa is in the vital interest of the U.S. economically as well as militarily.
Finally, let me say that when Polish Americans stop being concerned about the plight of their people in Poland; when Irish Americans stop being concerned about developments in Ireland; when Italian Americans lose all interest in our relations with Italy; when American Jews abandon their concern for the citizens of Israel; when Arab Americans drop their legitimate concern for the plight of the Palestinians; and when Anglo Americans lose interest in our relations with England--maybe then might I be tempted to abandon my heartfelt concern for the plight of my black brothers and sisters in Africa.
I believe that both our vital national interests and the interests of world peace are inextricably bound to the quest of black people on the continent of Africa for peace with equity through nonviolent dialogue.