Saturday, November 10, 2007

Writing our own HIStory

The recent commemoration of the end of the African holocaust (which Europeans prefer to call the Slave Trade) once again starkly demonstrates the level to which the west continues to concoct and embellish history in order to continue its perpetual self-glorification and Black debasement. It also clearly demonstrates how dependable we Africans still are on our oppressors for information about ourselves and importantly about our history.

That BBC and the other western media spent inordinate amount of time on white-washing the most appalling atrocity ever committed against a people. In its desperation to lessen the enormity of the greatest crime ever, the BBC told (insulted is a better word) us that slavery is age-old long and it was not confine to Africa alone. As usual the BBC, the mouthpiece of British imperialism, invited ‘experts’ to come on air in order to further dirty our brains and to confuse us further. Africans were further insulted when allusions were made to the existence of what western media continue to call slavery in Sudan and Mauritania in present days. Give me a break!

It is as though these western journalists do not understand their own language! How else do we explain these deliberate attempts to confuse the word ‘slavery’ with words like ‘servant’,’ ‘househelp,’ ‘maid,’ and the rest of the words that are abundant in the English language to describe someone who helps with the domestic chores?

Like many Africans, yours sincerely had occasions to stay with relations when I was growing up. I was about ten years when my youngest aunt got a teaching appointment. Auntie Titi had grown up with mother and was like an elder sister to us. My mother had sponsored her throughout her education and her taking care of me was her way of saying ‘thank you.’ My mother had treated her the way she will her own child, and it’d never had occurred to Auntie Titi to treat me with anything but the best affections; I was like a brother to her. It would simply be preposterous to call Auntie Titi my mother's 'servant,' as it'd be outrageous to call me her 'houseboy.'

When the Europeans vandalized their ways into our lives, they met a highly sophisticated social system the likes of which did not exist in their societies. The highly sophisticated family system of Africa is totally unfathomable to these aliens who have been brought up on a strict diet of monetarism and materialism. To them, any relationship, including filial, should have monetary underpinnings. Anything else is barbaric.

In my essay, ‘On Slavery’ (which should be available on the internet), I gave some of the qualitative as well as the quantitative differences between ancient slavery and the slavery practiced on Africans by European slave masters for upward of four hundred years.

Principal among these are the facts that the European-imposed slavery in Africa was the first recorded history of slavery that is solely motivated by commercial concerns. Earlier slaves were unfortunate victims of wars; what we call prisoner of wars in modern times. Their capture and treatment are well regulated according to customs and conventions. They are unfortunate victims of wars, no more and no less. They are accorded every dignity and are treated as humanely as possible. And they are certainly no one's property. For them manumission is possible and is well practiced. This is not so with the African carted away into slavery by the Europeans.

The Trans Atlantic slavery was the first that totally stripped its victims of every vestiges of humanity. What this means was that the Africans enslaved by European slave merchants were no longer considered part of the human family; they became the personal properties of their owners. They are shorn of all rights that allow us to call ourselves human beings. Just like the cattle, African slaves became chattel properties – to be used and abused without compensation or consideration and without recourse to legal remedies.

These were among the reasons European slave masters could start breeding their slaves the way one breeds animals. That also explains why the slave masters could have incestuous relationship with their own offspring without any compunction.

It is well documented that many leading Jews collaborated with the Nazis, yet no westerner dare to suggest that the Jews were culpable in the Jewish holocaust. It is a crime now in Europe to deny to holocaust; a leading European historian was jailed for doubting that the Jewish holocaust occurred. Why is it then that it is only we Africans who are still being insulted by these shameless offspring of our oppressors?

The genius of the West lies in its ability to sell itself positively. And westerners spare no effort in selling themselves; that explains why they take marketing so seriously at their institutions of learning. That also explains why every Western nation spends good money in setting up media outlets. It was Steve Bantu Biko who made the very important observation that: ‘the most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. Psychologists have also recognized you can get a man to do your will if you control his mind.

It appears that it is only those of us in Africa who are still slumbering and are unconscious of the values of communication and propaganda. We still very stupidly rely on our oppressors to give us the image of ourselves. Our elite still feel very giddy when they consume the distorted images about themselves they read in the western media. Many of them still consider the BBC an objective purveyor of news. They fail to ask themselves why one of the world leading imperialist nations would spend good money setting up a broadcasting outlet to broadcast ‘OBJECTIVE’ news!

When fed up with Western news distortion that portrays them as merciless blood-thirsty fiends, the Arabs launched their aljazeera media outlets to portray themselves in their own image. Today the aljazeera TV is giving both the CNN and the BBC world good running for their money. And the Arabs now have an outlet that portrays them in the ways they want to be portrayed.

For years, nay centuries, American multinationals super exploited Latin American natural and human resources with American media cheerfully praising the US as champions of freedom and Human Rights, when the reality and the facts speaks otherwise. That was until Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez got fed up with the mindless distortions of his country’s and region’s realities. He started his own TV Sud to portray Latin America in the images of its inhabitants, and not the through the jaundiced lenses of American media houses. Whither thou Africa?

Westerners and their local acolytes would want us to continue to believe the bare-faced, jejune lies that Europe and the US are interested in our betterment and have been helping us. They fail to answer the question as to what all their so-called help have done for us in over six hundred years of our relationship with them! In what tangible ways have we benefited since the Europeans forced their ways into our lives? Everyone with an iota of brain knows that the arguments that colonialism was an altruistic, almost charitable enterprise undertaken by noble and righteous pioneers of civilization, is nothing but a criminal lie. Why should we in Africa accept that colonialism was for our benefit when no European nation colonized by the Nazis will accept that it benefited from the Germans violent invasion?

Our elders say that until the Lions learn to write history, every tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. How true! We Africans owe it to the memories and the souls of our ancestors to ensure that the embalmers of western history do not get away with their attempt to lessen the enormity of their crimes against us. We should reject any attempt to whitewash our holocaust with every fiber of our being.

1 comment:

Aissata said...

I found you by accident, I was searching for the quote"Until lions learn to write, hunters will write their history for them" and I came across your very interesting blog. I agree with evrything you stated!
I'm an artist/ painter, originally from the Islands of Sao Tome and Principe, living in NY. I'm fully aware of hoe our history has been distorted...Until we take charge we will keep on beind ridiculed and disrespected by our opresssors!
Keep on doing your thing my brother!
Aissata ( Until lions learn to write, hunters will write their history for them)

Wise saying:

" Never use both feet to test the depth of the sea." - African proverb