Monthly Archives: October 2014

Congo week begins today


This year BEMA are participating in the seventh annual Congo Week, an initiative held every third week of October where people across the globe gather to commemorate the millions of lives lost in the conflict in the Congo while celebrating the country’s enormous human and natural potential.

The Lost Voices – Congo week panel

Today – 6pm – Arts Lecture room 7

Kick-starting Congo Week, we will be hosting an event in collaboration with the University of Birmingham African Development Forum setting the scene on the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

We will first screen the documentary ‘Crisis in the Congo: Uncovering the Truth’ before hearing from two Congolese activists both based within the UK – Benoit Mussanzi wa Mussangu, Chairman for Centre Resolution Conflicts (CRC) and Francine Mukwaya, a representative of Friends of the Congo.

They will both be presenting some of the critical aspects of the conflict as well as highlighting developments and progress over the years. There will be a chance to ask some questions and get involved in the discussion on what we can do to help the campaign.

Kingdom of the Congo

Room change: Thursday – 6:30pm – Nuffield G17

With JJ Bola.

Join us on for an educative and informative workshop on the Congo, past and present. There will be a presentation workshop on the conflict, in regards to the minerals and how it links with the technological industries and Western imperialist interests.
To celebrate the history and culture, there will be another workshop looking at Congo’s ancient kingdoms, and the lifestyle and culture.
There will also be spoken word poetry!

West Midlands Pan African Students’ Union meeting

Friday – 6pm – Arts Lecture room 7

The West Midlands Pan African Students Union meeting has been postponed until a later date.
Check back for details soon.

The Pan-African Students Union is an organisation made up of students of African descent who seek to educate, mobilise and organise students in order to get engaged in progressive action towards the liberation of African people, at home and abroad.

This is a chance for students in the West Midlands to get involved with the regional branch of PASU and develop new campaigns and directions for it to take this year.
Events held by the West Midlands in the past include a book launch of ‘Pan Africanism and Communism: The Communist International, Africa and the Diaspora, 1919-1939’ with author Hakim Adi, and Congo: From Lumumba to Neo-colonialism.

Open to all self-identifying students of African heritage.



Congo week international

Today – Black Music and Resistance

 Today – 6pm – Arts Building lecture room 5

Black History Month event in collaboration with UoB Hip Hop Society
Black Music and Resistance featuring
Boots Riley of The Coup
and Ciper J.E.W.E.L.S of Moorish Delta 7

Panel event featuring artists speaking on hip hop as a Black art form that has been as to communicate struggles and solidarity across BME communities globally.

The artists will lead a discussion on how hip hop has been used within their communities, what it means to them as Black people, and its importance as a Black cultural form within the Global South.


BEMA stands with Malia Bouattia


BEMA stands with Malia Bouattia

BEMA condemn, unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms, the campaign of racist, sexist and Islamophobic abuse directed towards Malia Bouattia; the NUS Black Students’ Officer.
During the past few days she has been targeted for her principled opposition against Islamophobia during a recent meeting of the NUS National Executive Council and smeared in the national media as well as by members of the EDL.

Malia’s unwavering commitment and dedication to BME liberation is recognised by students across the UK and the role she has played in building and supporting us as BEMA cannot possibly be overstated. Her leadership of the Black Students’ Campaign exemplifies everything we aim and stand for as a liberation group. The abuse she has received in return for this illustrates precisely the importance of what she, the Campaign and we as BEMA have and always will stand for: the complete abolition of racism in all its forms, and the absolute self-determination and liberation of BME people, without compromise.

At this time we reiterate the importance of unity among BME people, against the divisive tactics of those threatened by the prospect of BME people organising ourselves independently.

The fact that the actions of a BME Muslim woman standing against Islamophobia and in defence of the students she represents has led to death and rape threats on social media, and Islamophobic lies perpetuated by mainstream press, makes clear that the real threat posed by such deeply embedded racism and sexism remains ever-present in society and needs to be challenged vigorously.
And the fact that the calculated and politically-motivated attacks by a Left-wing group against the Black Students’ Officer fall during Black History Month of all times – almost 4 weeks removed from the NUS debate concerned – shows, if there was any need for it to be re-affirmed, that ultimately we BME people alone must direct the fight against racism and that we can never afford to have our struggle deferred to or co-opted by any political shade or agenda.

We call upon NUS Officers to stand robustly in defence of Malia against the false accusations levelled against her, and for student officers and BME groups to write in support of her, through whatever medium they may have access to.
We demand acknowledgment of the fact that any insinuation that Malia’s actions were in support of ISIS or in opposition to the Kurdish people is false and defamatory, and that white men dismissing legitimate concerns about Islamophobia as merely due to ‘Stalinist politics’ is action born of the deepest patriarchal racism.

We demand that NUS National Executive Councillor Daniel Cooper is held responsible for his part in engineering this campaign – and given that we are not bound by any party allegiance, and unburdened by sentiment towards any political grouping, BEMA will ensure that those responsible are held fully to account, by any means deemed necessary.

In solidarity,

BEMA committee

See Malia’s statement here


Today – Decolonising the Mind book series launch – Reparations and Resistance


Decolonising the Mind book series launch – Reparations and Resistance
Today – 6pm – Arts Lecture room 6

“Look beyond your plantation labour camp. There are more plantation labour camps with the same coloniser but different colonised”.

As part of Black History Month we will be hosting the Birmingham launch event of the Decolonising the Mind book series, in conversation with Sandew Hira – author of ’20 Questions and Answers about Reparations for Colonialism’.

The book series is about the legacy of colonialism in knowledge production and the social movements that struggle against this legacy.
Decolonising The Mind is a form of resistance against dominant narratives of scientific colonialism.

Sandew Hira is an independent scholar and activist. He is director of the International Institute for Scientific Research, an institute that promotes research into decolonising the mind. He is a visiting lecturer at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname.

The event is in collaboration with the Islamic Human Rights Commission.
Copies of book
’20 Questions and Answers about Reparations for Colonialism’ will be for sale for £5 on the day.

All welcome

Today – Film screening – Hip Hop: The New World Order


Today (Tuesday) – 6pm – Arts room 201
Film screening – Hip Hop: The New World Order

BEMA Black History Month 2014 film screening of the documentary ‘Hip Hop: The New World Order’

The documentary, Hip Hop: The New World Order affirms Hip Hop culture as a powerful vehicle for self-expression by youth around the world, empowering them in the areas of education, economics, politics, entertainment, and new media.

Shot in 8 international cities (Tokyo, Havana, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Rio de Janeiro & Johannesburg) over a span of 3 years (1998-2000), the project embarks on the groundbreaking mission to unearth the practice and business of Hip Hop culture worldwide.
Hip Hop heavyweights Chuck D, Method Man, Questlove (The Roots), and dead prez lend their insight and experience with Hip Hop across the waters. Hip Hop: The New World Order gives a global perspective to the music and culture so often vilified in the media.

The gritty footage shot on digital video uncovers everything from Japanese hip hop fans who spend up to a thousand dollars to chemically transform their hair into dreadlocks, Cuban raperos spitting rhymes in Spanish with the exception of a few English curses and young South Africans who used hip hop as battle music during the final days of apartheid resistance.

Produced and Directed by Muhammida El Muhajir

Free screening, all welcome.



Today – Radicalism and Resistance in Britain, through the ages

 Today – 6pm – Arts Lecture room 6

BEMA Black History Month: Radicalism and Resistance in Britain through the ages
Featuring members of:
British Black Panther Movement
Asian Youth Movement
London Black Revs
Liberation Squad
Birmingham Black Sisters (tbc)

BEMA will be hosting former members of the British Black Panther Movement and the Asian Youth Movement speaking alongside members of London Black Revs and Liberation Squad on their experiences against state racism, how things have (and have not) changed in Britain since,
what we can learn from the movements active in Britain in the past and present,
as well as discussing what what we need to do as BME people in Britain today to carry on that struggle for our communities.

All welcome.


BEMA Black History Month – Struggles of the Black community film screenings: Mangrove 9 & Injustice 7/10/2014


Struggles of the Black community film screenings: Mangrove 9 & Injustice

Tuesday 7th October – 6pm – Arts Building room 201

BEMA Black History Month 2014 continues with a double screening of films that illustrate the struggles and resistance of the Black community in the UK, against racism and police brutality.
The films cover both past (Mangrove 9) and present-day (Injustice) incidents and struggles, and the screenings will be followed by a discussion on what has changed, what hasn’t, and what we as BME people in the UK should be doing now in defence of our communities.

All welcome.

Mangrove 9 (1973): Read the rest of this entry