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The Ancestral Call - Why Africa Must Embrace Its Dispersed Children

The Ancestral Call - Why Africa Must Embrace Its Dispersed Children

What compelled this move? The Beninese government spoke of ‘deep wounds’ and the yearning for descendants to ‘reconnect with their roots.’ You see, the slave trade did not just banish bodies, it severed souls from their ancestral trees. For centuries, a void has echoed, a perpetual disconnection from identity, from belonging.

The winds of change are stirring across the Atlantic, carrying with them an ancient and overdue reckoning. In the small nation of Benin, a spark has been lit - a bold proposal to grant citizenship to the descendants of those brutally torn from African shores centuries ago. It is a cry from the depths of history, a summons for the scattered African family to return home.

For too long, we African nations have turned a blind eye to the gaping wound inflicted by the transatlantic slave trade. We have worn blinders to the diaspora, the millions of faces dispersed like seeds disseminating on the winds of oppression. Benin's act shatters this willful amnesia. It says to us - remember, repair, reclaim the lost.

What compelled this move? The Beninese government spoke of ‘deep wounds’ and the yearning for descendants to ‘reconnect with their roots.’ You see, the slave trade did not just banish bodies, it severed souls from their ancestral trees. For centuries, a void has echoed, a perpetual disconnection from identity, from belonging.

Should this proposal pass, Benin would join a small vanguard of nations permitting citizenship to extend past the first filial generation. Liberia. Sierra Leone. A handful of others cracking open the doors of reunion. But Benin's gesture carries exceptional gravity given its pivotal role in the brutalities of the slave trade - the very wound it now aims to salve.

For the African diaspora, the implications of such an offering resonate like a spiritual homecoming. To earn that coveted Benin passport, that tangible tether, would be to symbolically reverse the cruel dislocation of centuries past. It would finally give form to that ache of unrootedness so many have endured, generation after generation.

Beyond the immense cultural significance, there are practical benefits too. That Benin passport could unlock an escape from the creeping bigotries and hostilities burgeoning in the West. It promises a refuge rooted in ancestral ties. It grants access to the strengthening Economic Community of West African States, where Benin's citizenship confers rights to residency and free movement across 14 other nations.

More than just documents, these pathways to citizenship represent a profound moral redress. They are Africa's overdue recognition of its global family, an outstretched embrace to those torn away by rapacious greed. In this act of repair, Benin follows the ancient call - to gather unto itself its scattered branches and make itself whole again.

My fellow African brothers and sisters across this continent, we must follow Benin's lead and answer this ancestral rally cry. We inherit the debts of our brutal history. We cannot heal the gashes of the past, but we can summon our dispersed children back into the ancient fold through the salve of citizenship. Only then can we begin to repair the lacerations of stolen souls and bodies. Only then can we make good on the Call echoing from our fraught dominion - to gather all dispersed Africans home at last.
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