Sunday, May 13, 2012

Slavery & Colonialism in Africa: Is The Blame Balanced?

An African Slave dealer with his White customer
We think this trade must go on. That is the verdict of our oracle and the priests. They say that your country, however great, can never stop a trade ordained by God himself. - The King of Bonny (in present Nigeria), in response to the UK Parliament Slave Trade Act, 1807.
Today, I just wondered if anyone who hates Whites (or the West) because of slavery and colonialism in Africa also hates Blacks (the slaves' ancestors) for selling their own kinsmen. Selling once' own family is what I find to be worse cruelty. It must have greatly influenced the way slaves were treated on the other side the oceans.

I do not condone slavery in anyway but what is terribly disgusting were some of our own ancestors' acts; they sold their own family, killed twins, dehumanized women, created and maintained caste systems, manipulated our societies and killed so many of their own people without prosecution including by human sacrifice. Appalling!

But none of us today is asking any questions or demanding any restitution from our governments or local traditional rulers and domains. Isn't this the reason things has not changed for the better? African leaders and their cohorts continue to do some of the same cruelty today including incessant killing, incarcerations, encouraging and using of violence against oppositions, denial of freedom, forced labour and poverty, and adding even newer ones like violence against gay people as well as high fraud and professionally inefficient and mismanaged governments. Dictatorship!

Must we continue to turn a blind eye to our own failings and blame others for just about every one of them? Why are we not demanding restitution from our own too? This is the same tradition that is today fueling things like homophobia and mismanagement while both the oppressors and their accomplice blame the West for a crime they are once again perpetuating. How much cruel can a people be; Africa?

A fair Africa will never come until the people of it begin to truthfully accept responsibility and our own failures each and directly stand up to the culprits who are found amongst us in all circumstances. Colonialism lasted because Africans connived with the invading Whites and manipulated their own people for gifts as ridiculous trivial as mirrors and many other favours of high office.

It is time for Africa to wake up! The pits of our failures is dug with our own hands. Yet, progress, freedom, fairness are within our own grasp.

But for how long? Wake up! Arise; take responsibility and challenge the evils within you if you must overcome. Or our descendants will continue to live in unfair society and blinded by the lies of blame for the outsider

Image taken from Negroartist


Anonymous said...

Having come across your blog I thought I should leave a comment.

One needs to understand in greater depth the truth about slavery.
The stories of Blacks selling their own is a not really the truth. The situation was that the didnt have a choice regardless. Slave Masters used force and violence from the very begining. In a situation like that you will always find people who are willing to sell their souls in the hope they will be saved. The truth is that many many regional monarchs rejected slavery and were either killed by the British or removed via a plots. The British would then replace the monarch with somebody they could control...pretty much what still goes on today lol.

Godwyns Onwuchekwa said...

Actually, your point may not be true. Taken into consideration and having come myself from a slave-dealing lineage, from the very stories I heard handed down in family as well as pairing and comparing them with traditions and cultures, that side you are believing is a propaganda invented to paint the other side black. Selling slaves was a rather kind way of doing away with 'outcastes' which was the sub citizens of early African tradition. In fact, slave trade was going on before the foreign dealers arrived. In Arochukwu where my family originates, there were 3 classes of citizens;
1. The free and real class,
2. The Outcaste, who also used as sacrifice to gods (Ibini Ukpabi)
3. The slaves

This history is being lost cos no one has really written them up properly. Whites did not instigate slave trading, it existed before they arrived.

You can agree that this is true when you look at the destruction of twins. So if someone was considered useless or a curse on the family, they are sold out to rich Palm oil, grain or fish dealers who needed servants for their vast business.

Anonymous said...

I understand the slave trade existed since the beginning of time and blacks have suffered under the hands of many different slave masters (namely islamic berber tribesmen, romans etc etc), however I hope you agree that it was the west that propagated the commercial slave trade which we have come to know.
I too have monarch traders in my lineage. The information passed down indicates that although slaves were kept before the Europeans arrived, they were not treated in such an appalling manner. Slaves were kept as the spoils of war with other tribes and were used for labour (akin to modern day househelp with less privileges). Servants or hard labour is different to being treated like a sub human race.

The notion that somehow blacks should be blamed for slavery is a dangerous road to take. Make no mistake, Africans didn't really have much of a choice. There were over 15 million slaves transported across the seas and less than 5 million actually made it. Now could we have sold all of them?

The gospel is that many were kidnapped in raids by locals and foreigners, some were sold and some were fooled into leaving their habitat. Check history you will see that many Monarchs were enraged when they found out the real nature of the White version of slavery, this is evident in the tactics of the British who had to constantly move from one coastal village to another (badagry, ekpe and so one before Ghana allowed them to settle in the gold coast)playing divide and conquer and regime change.

I agree the Truth is out there, but we should in no way allow the blame to rest any way near our shores, if so we might as well also agree that we were Godless savages before they came to save us.

Godwyns Onwuchekwa said...

It seems you missed the point of my article. I disagree with your sentence that; "but we should in no way allow the blame to rest any way near our shores". Thats irresponsibility. All culprits should receive blame and take their responsibility for their misdeeds.

But putting you proper on the way of my article is to remind you that I was pointing out the imbalance of blame since both sides played a role and thus should take responsibility.

Second correction, it was a lie that the slaves of the early times before the trans-national were not put into hard labour. Slavery is same no matter what you call and how you chose to describe it. The crux of the matter is that someone is treated unfavourably; including hard labour, degrading treatments, denial of basic freedom (respect and rights), punishment of all types, denial of prosecution and fair trial, being sacrificed to gods and killed in barbaric manners; the list can go on.

Its rather dangerous to indulge the impunity that our African fore-bearers perpetrated in the hope tha such would make Whites the scapegoat; thats dishonesty.

This attitude you are upholding is still the reason Africa is largely struggling behind. Slavery still exists in Africa today even including with hard labour and continue to prosper. Our governments are useless but we all prefer to blame 'Whites' instead of demanding accountability and blaming our own 'rulers' so they can change. Its the same result someone gets for his life when s/he chose to just blame others for all his woes. There is a degree of what you can do while the opponent continues in their way to make life for you.

I personally knew slaves; with the last of them passing away in as recent as 1996. Although free most of his life, he told me and others what it meant to be a slave even though he was lucky not to have been a trans-national commodity. Before he was finally sold to his last buyer, he was goaded and saw his fellow slaves die of mistreatment and punishments. And this happened in the last century... although slave trade was supposedly-abolished world-wide.

The most dangerous thing in life is to indulge evil in the name of saving reputation or blackmailing your enemy. I am not exonerating the Whites but simply saying that Blacks hold the same shameful record and that both were complicit in the dehumanizing treatment many of our own fellow men and women faced. I am ashamed of it; I hate it that I come from a lineage that even considered it worthwhile buying and keeping people as lower class. But yet, I am glad that my lineage corrected that hence I was able to meet many real slaves and still know and relate to their descendants.

Evil is evil no matter what colour. Slavery continues in Africa... gay and lesbian people are largely treated as so, mobbed and killed and raped at will. Its black doing it to black and its awful. Every evil is inspired by a belief that one is better than and above another. Its dangerous.

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