Current Affairs

Current Affairs




Powell calls Belafonte's criticism unfortunate
Friday, October 11, 2002



POWELL... use of slave reference a throwback to another time

WASHINGTON, USA (AP) -- Secretary of State Colin Powell rebuffed an attack on him by singer Harry Belafonte, who likened the secretary to a house slave who gave up his principles to "come into the house of the master".

In an interview on CNN's Larry King Live Wednesday, Powell said: "If Harry had wanted to attack my politics, that was fine. If he wanted to attack a particular position I hold, that was fine. But to use a slave reference, I think, is unfortunate and is a throwback to another time and another place that I wish Harry had thought twice about using."

BELAFONTE... likened Powell to a house slave

Belafonte, who like Powell is of Jamaican descent, made the comments in an interview aired Tuesday on KFMB-AM, a San Diego radio station.

"There's an old saying, in the days of slavery, there were those slaves who lived on the plantation and there were those slaves that lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master ... exactly the way the master intended to have you," Belafonte said, according to the station's website.

"When Colin Powell dares to suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture," said the singer, best known for The Banana Boat Song.

Belafonte also criticised US Attorney-General John Ashcroft, accusing him of manipulating the justice system and likened his tactics to those of former Senator Joseph McCarthy, who in the 1950s accused many prominent Americans of being communists, often without evidence, ruining many careers.

"Now we find Ashcroft cutting in under the guise of catching terrorists, suspending liberties and rights," Belafonte said in the interview. "To deny those rights, to any citizen, to any people, is to cast a great shame on us and lead us back to another dark period."