Deteriorating conditions in Cote d'Ivoire, and the growing threat of war impacting surrounding countries, brought dozens of worried and concerned citizens to the Global Information Network Africa Roundtable in New York.
The packed event was moderated by Omoyele Sowore, publisher of SaharaReporters.com. Featured speakers were journalist and political analyst Gnaka Lagoke of the Washington DC-based Africadiplomacy.com and Milton Alllimadi, journalist and publisher of the New York-based Black Star newspaper.
With Ivorian elections in dispute since November, Africans from around the continent confirmed that problems in Ivory Coast would echo in other countries where elections are imminent - such as Uganda, Congo, and Nigeria. Would regional and ethnic loyalties present insurmountable problems? Or was it the interference of the international community which several times changed the rules of the game in that West African country?
A lively and often emotional question and answer session lead by Ivorians who had lived through war and repression, followed the presentations by the panelists. Among those who told of recently suffering the loss of a family member was Ivorian Ambassador of Culture, Mamadou Dahoue.
The group reached a consensus that western media had inadequately covered the crisis and that interference by the former French colonists was much more extensive than had been reported.
Vado Diomande, Ivorian dancer, drummer and director of the Kotchegna dance troup in NYC opened the program with welcoming songs from his region.