Born in 1940, Wangari Maathai is a Kenyan ecologist and environmental activist who founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, causing the media to depict her as a latter-day Johnny Appleseed who has planted millions of trees in Africa. (The Green Belt Movement has been responsible for the planting of more than 10 million trees to prevent soil erosion and provide a source of firewood.)
As a member of the Green Belt Movement, Maathai has led sub-Saharan African women in provoking sometimes-violent clashes with police. Though casting herself as a hero of the downtrodden, she has demonstrated against peasants’ economic interests. When Kenyan autocratic leader Daniel arap Moi wanted to revive the nation’s dead economy by building the world’s largest skyscraper in the capital, her riotous actions dried up investment. Later, she led a protest to prevent “small-scale farming” on African forestland and called farmers “invaders” who were guilty of “rape.” In 1992, she and the women in her Green Belt Movement foreshadowed contemporary Western antiwar demonstrators by staging a public strip-in.
In 2004 she won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in “human rights” and “reversing deforestation across Africa.”
When Maathai was awarded her Nobel Prize, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan paid her a glowing tribute:
“Renowned and admired throughout her native Kenya and across Africa for her pioneering struggle against deforestation and for women’s rights and democracy, Ms. Maathai has also played an important role at UN conferences such as the Earth Summit, making an imprint on the global quest for sustainable development.... Selfless and steadfast, Ms. Maathai has been a champion of the environment, of women, of Africa, and of anyone concerned about our future security.”
Maathai is also an anti-white, anti-Western crusader for international socialism. She charges that “some sadistic [white] scientists” created the AIDS virus “to punish blacks” and, ultimately, “to wipe out the black race.” Maathai continues:
“Some say that AIDS came from the monkeys, and I doubt that, because we have been living with monkeys [since] time immemorial; others say it was a curse from God, but I say it cannot be that.... Us black people are dying more than any other people in this planet. It’s true that there are some people who create agents to wipe out other people.”
“Why is the rest of the world just watching,” Maathai asks, “doing nothing while Africans are being wiped out? The rest of the world has abandoned us.”
There is, of course, a very real genocide throughout sub-Saharan Africa, as Muslim Arabs murder indigenous black Christians and animists, 100,000 in Darfur alone. The repeated rape of young black boys by Arabs is now commonplace. These scenes first played out during the genocide in Rwanda, which began early in the Clinton administration, and have been seen all over the sub-continent for a decade. Maathai addressed this brutality at the World Women’s Conference in Beijing in 1995, where she blamed it on Western capitalists. She claims that Western governments laid the groundwork for present slaughter during the Cold War. “The carnage goes on in Somalia, Rwanda, Liberia and in the streets of many cities,” she says. “People of Africa continue to be sacrificed so that some factories may stay open, earn capital and save jobs.”
Thus in Maathai’s view, Arab genocide is the fault of wealthy whites.
Maathai has courted global socialism through her long association with the United Nations’ environmentalist agenda. She was a member of the Commission on Global Governance (CGG), founded in 1992 at the suggestion of former West German Chancellor and socialist Willy Brandt. Maathai worked on the CGG alongside Maurice Strong, Jimmy Carter, and Robert McNamara. The group’s manifesto, “Our Global Neighborhood,” calls for a dramatic reordering of the world’s political power – and redistribution of the world’s wealth.
Most importantly, the CGG’s proposals would phase out America’s veto in the Security Council. At the same time, the CGG would increase UN authority over member nations, declaring, “All member-states of the UN that have not already done so should accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the World Court.” It asks the UN to prevail upon member governments to enact proposals made by wide NGOs – such as the Green Belt Movement. “Our Global Neighborhood” also suggested creating a 10,000-man “UN Volunteer Force” to be deployed at the UN’s approval on infinite peacekeeping missions everywhere (except Iraq).
Maathai currently acts as a commissioner for the Earth Charter, along with the aforementioned Maurice Strong, Mikhail Gorbachev and Steven Rockefeller. She is also on the Earth Charter’s Steering Committee. In addition to calling for sharing the “benefits of development . . . equitably,” the Earth Charter calls on international bodies to “Promote the equitable distribution of wealth within nations and among nations.” Another Charter provision would disarm the entire world and use the money previously allocated for national defense to restore the environment. Additionally, the Earth Charter worries about the “unprecedented rise in human population,” and demands “universal access to health care.”
Maathai earned her biology degree from Mount St. Scholastica College in Kansas and a Master’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh. She later returned to Kenya and worked in veterinary medical research at the University of Nairobi, eventually earning a Ph.D. there and becoming head of the veterinary medicine faculty.
In 1997 Maathai ran for the presidency of Kenya, though unbeknownst to her, her party withdrew her candidacy just days before the election; that same year, she was defeated for a seat in Parliament. Maathai was eventually elected to Parliament in 2002. Since 2003 she has been Kenya’s Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife. Also in 2003, she founded the Mazingira Green Party of Kenya.
As a member of the Green Belt Movement, Maathai has led sub-Saharan African women in provoking sometimes-violent clashes with police. Presented as a hero of the downtrodden, she has demonstrated against peasants’ economic interests. When Kenyan autocratic leader Daniel arap Moi wanted to revive the nation’s dead economy by building the world’s largest skyscraper in the capital, her riotous actions dried up investment. Later, she led a protest to prevent “small-scale farming” on African forestland and called farmers “invaders” who were guilty of “rape.” In 1992, she and the women in her Green Belt Movement foreshadowed contemporary Western antiwar demonstrators by staging a public strip-in.
Maathai is a member of Green Cross International's honorary board, along with such notables as David Suzuki, Ted Turner, and Robert Redford.
This profile is adapted from the article "Nobel Hates Whitey," written by Ben Johnson and published by FrontPageMagazine.com on October 13, 2004.