Amilcar Cabral

Anonymous soldiers for the United Nations

First Published:1969
Source: Amilcar Cabral, Revolution in Guinea, stage 1, London, 1974, pp
Translated: Richard Handyside
Transcription/Markup: Steve Palmer
Copyleft: Copyright stage 1 .

Extracts from a declaration to the Fourth Commission of the UN General Assembly, December 12, 1962

The UN resolution on decolonialisation has created a new situation for our struggle. Having been condemned, the colonial system, whose immediate and total elimination is demanded by this resolution, is now an international crime. We have thus obtained a legal basis for demanding the elimination of the colonial yoke in our country and for using all necessary means to destroy that yoke. But this applies not only to us. On the basis of the resolution, the United Nations and the anti-colonialist states and organizations-all the forces of peace in the world-can and must take concrete action against the Portuguese state. Illegally and against the interests of civilisation, the Portuguese state is continuing to perpetrate both in our country and in other African countries the 'crime of colonialisation', thus en­dangering international peace and security.

We are certain that the Portuguese government cannot persist with impunity in committing an international crime. We are also certain that the United Nations has at its disposal all the means necessary to conceive and carry out concrete and effective measures both to make the principles of the Charter be respected and to impose international legality in our countries and to defend the interests of peace and of civilisation.

We are not here to ask the UN to send troops to free our countries from the Portuguese colonial yoke. Perhaps we could ask for it, but we do not think it necessary, for we are confident that we will be able to free our countries. We invoke only one right: the right to obtain collaboration and concrete assistance from the UN in order to hasten the liberation of our countries from the colonial yoke and thus to lessen the human and material losses which a long struggle can cause.

Our struggle has lost its strictly national character and has moved onto an international level. The struggle taking place in our country today is the struggle of progress against misery and suffering, of freedom against oppression. While it is true that the victims of this struggle are none other than the children of our people, it is nevertheless true that each of our comrades who dies under torture or falls under the fire of the Portuguese colonialist machine-guns identifies himself, through the hopes and certainties which we all carry in our hearts and minds, with all men who love peace

We are not just fighting for the realisation of our aspirations to freedom and national independence. We are fighting-.---and will fight until final victory-so that the resolutions and the Charter of the United Nations will be respected. In the prisons, in the towns and in the countryside of our land the battle is being fought today between the UN, which demands the elimination of the colonial system of domination of peoples, and the armed forces of the Portuguese govern­ment, which wishes to perpetuate this system against the legitimate rights of our people.

Who are we in fact, waging this struggle against the Portuguese colonialists in particularly difficult conditions?

When in Elizabethville or in the Congo bush a soldier of Indian, Ethiopian or other nationality falls under the fire of the enemy, he is one more victim who has given his life for the cause of the UN. He dies for a just ideal, since he believes that the UN resolutions on the Congo were aimed at achieving unity, peace and progress for the Congolese people in the independence which they reconquered and to which they have a right,

To have its resolutions respected, the UN has mobilised soldiers, pilots, administrators, technicians and experts of all sorts, and is spending enormous sums each day.

When in our country a comrade dies under police torture, is assassinated in prison, is burned alive or falls under the bul­lets of Portuguese guns, for which cause is he giving his life?

He is giving it for the liberation of our people from the colonial yoke, and hence for the UN. In fighting and dying for the liberation of our countries we are giving our lives, in the present context of international legality, for the ideal which the UN itself has defined in its Charter, in its resolu­tions, and in particular in its resolution on decolonialisation.

For us, the only difference between the Indian soldier, the Italian pilot or the Swedish administrator who dies in the Congo and our comrade who dies in Guinea or the Cabo Verde Islands is that by acting in our country for the same ideal we are simply anonymous soldiers for the UN.

The names of our comrades who have fallen victims of the Portuguese colonialists are not on the files of the UN. We have never been paid or equipped by the UN, nor do we have any budget assigned to cover the ever-increasing costs of our struggle. But in the uneven struggle which we are forced to wage we are nonetheless at the service of the UN, defending its prestige and the respect owed by all govern­ments to the resolutions of an international character which it has adopted

* the complete text of this Party programme is given in the appendix
** Rafael Barbosa was released by the Portuguese authorities in August 1969, after nearly eight years of imprisonment without trial. Ed.