The scourge of islamic slavery and violence

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Photo Reporting: SlaveryThe scourge of islamic slavery and violence

The scourge of islamic slavery and violence in africa


In the wake of the unwholesome killing of Prof. Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor in Kenya by deranged Islamic terrorists, coupled with certain personal reflections on the religious scene back home, it has become necessary for some of us to rejoin the fight against the increasing scourge of religious violence, obscurantism, chicanery, frauds and falsehood the best way the powers-that-be should have been prosecuting it in the first place: advocating and deepening scientific and rational education and knowledge against the primitive, substantive beliefs sponsored and advocated by religious superstition of all kinds; be they in origin African, Judeo-Christian, Islamic and Asian types such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism.

The brutal murder in Woolwich of Fusilier Lee Rigby who I knew personally as a nice customer by two deranged converts to Islam of Nigerian origins is equally catalytic in setting my thoughts running again.

Besides, I have been re-invigorated by the writings of Francis Kwarteng which reflect exactly what I was writing on the premier Ghanaian forum, Okyeame, in the 1990s. I was a lone ranger then, with most people hardly conscious of what I was disturbing their peace with but everything I had been warning against is unfolding before our very eyes: the invasion of the religious charlatans in Ghana, the Chinese and the T-thing being some of my main pre-occupation.

T-thing?? Tribalism! The Ethnic Imbroglio! Still on that big time and had stockpiled some heavy arsenal awaiting to deliver some devastating strikes when those deranged Islamic loonies struck on my left flank, thus necessitating re-opening activities on this front too. Thanks for reinforcement from this unexpected source and the increased consciousness and awareness of fellow Africans since the 1990s about the nefarious activities of these religious charlatans and snake oil sellers, I hope this offensive against an equally dangerous enemy shall make greater inroads in halting their onslaught on us who are sane, scientific and rational in our thoughts and world view.

We cannot sit down and allow those whose cosmogony and cosmology have not evolved beyond the Weberian primitive, substantive rationalisation of primitive man to rule our world anymore. We must prefer they quote either the Bible or the Qur’an and call us fools rather than be like them, idiots and morons who in spite of the “plenty, plenty education” they have had and all subjects of learning, from A to Z - Archeology to Zoology - which negate their world views, they still cling to a soteriological understanding of those two contradictory and contradiction filled books, adamantly propounding their inerrancy and their solutions to our myriad of problems which they sanctioned and helped to be created in the first place.

I am therefore taking to the field again, beginning with a revised version of something I had written far back in the mid-1990s, in response to I-man, no other a person than Dr Nii Moi Thompson, and then others on a Sudanese forum. I was engaged in exchanges with them on the subject of Muslims/Arabs enslaving Africans and the roots of the conflict in Southern Sudan respectively. That was before Darfur blew out.

Dealing with Arabic/Muslim history of slavery in Africa and Islamic fundamentalism may be just dilemmas of a way of life sanctioned in the Qur’an for Arabs and Muslims, but they brought horrendous calamities – massive destruction, death in huge numbers and untold suffering - to we black Africans in particular and non-Muslims in the past and must not be allowed to continue to be so today. Islamic fundamentalism today must be confronted not only by force of arms but by scientific education, scholarly expositions and rational arguments based on empirical evidence and socio-economic interventions to confront the conditions and deal with the mentality, the beliefs and the socio-economic factors that fuel it.

My image of the Islamic world once dominated by the Arabs, Arabised and other Muslim rulers stretched from Moorish Spain (Granada), through North Africa down to the sudanic and sahel belt of Africa and crossing the Red Sea to Arabia itself and covering Asia Minor then through Pakistan to Islamic India, Indonesia to the Philippines! The skeletons of African slaves could be found in all those places, not only in Saudi Arabia nor under the Sahara Desert.

The answer to an often asked question why there is not very glaring presence of black Africans in the Arab world outside Africa as in the Americas is that a high number of the male slaves were castrated (eunuchs), thereby prohibiting them from procreation. The female slaves had issues with their fair-skinned masters, thereby blurring the colour line. Our level of ignorance about these things is simply phenomenal!

When I mentioned on Okyeame in the 1990s that Jesus was not the first and only person said to be born by a virgin in the annals of religious history, it caused an uproar, with not a SINGLE PERSON among the platoon of PhDs and graduates on the forum able to corroborate what I wrote! I was stunned and in total disbelief at how deep our ignorance ran!

Today, one can simply type “virgin birth” into Google and read all about virgin birth myths in history, so there is no excuse for our continual ignorance any more. But this topic is not about Christian myths borrowed from earlier religions; it is about the ravages Islam has been causing too in Africa for time immemorial. Nonetheless, the soul-searching and purview shall be situated within the debilitating Christian and African contexts too. Yes, in spite of whatever “enlightenment,” “civilisation” and what not both religions brought to Africa, it was high time we take stock: at what and whose expense and to whose benefit?

The evidence of Arab prosecution of slavery in Africa [and continuing prosecution of slavery in the Sudan and Mauritania] is so overwhelming and pervasive that few Africans were unaffected by it, for better or for worse, in those days of woes. We Africans do not and must not therefore need any European or Arab defining for us what slavery means. We must define that ourselves!

Some like to argue that slavery in Africa and the Islamic World was not chattel slavery as evolved in the New World and it was much milder with slaves even having rights and much power (e.g., the eunuchs, the castrated men, used in the harems and in governance in some Islamic polities). For me, slavery is slavery and our forefathers knew that.

That was why some went to very elaborate extents in assimilating slaves, with rituals blotting out their backgrounds, preventing their memories being passed on to off-springs, and revelation can draw severe penalties. Such measures were to lessen the stigma and trauma of being enslaved, and hence prevent slave revolts, escapes, etc. It was not for the love of the slaves that Africans and Arabs treated slaves "nicely," after enslavement. It was out of necessity.

Whites in the Americas, having separated the Africans 1000 of miles from their homes, felt no need to be "nice" to their slaves. But, there were nice masters in the Americas too, especially in Brazil where the Portuguese did not have the One-Drop-of-Black-Blood-You-are-Black rule, and so took African women as wives, with their off-springs inheriting them. Of course, some of these off-springs became notorious as the major slave factors along the W. African coastline down to Angola but that is another story.

Yes! The total assimilation of slaves in Africa meant lessening of the pains of enslavement, but total assimilation meant “social death." No remembrance of your past, as attempt was made to wipe out everything about your past. New name, new tribal marks, etc.

As for the slave armies some talk about, they are among the worst things to have ever happened to Africa. The havoc the inherited colonial mercenary and oppressive armies, with roots in ex-slaves - following on the heels of African and Muslim potentates - have been wrecking on us is there for all to see. These are issues, e.g. the slave origins of Africa’s colonial armies, we are yet to take up for discussion in Africa. They cannot be left to only French Marxists in particular who have produced the greatest research output on the subject in a language many of us do not have command over.

As a matter of fact, the capturing process of slaves is anything but nice. It was usually horrendous, when it were raids. Whole villages razed down and those not considered fit for taking away like the old and kids killed. That was to make sure those taken away knew they had nothing to return to even if they escaped. But of course, much of the slaves came from tithes paid by vassal states, or from ambushing trade routes and paths to farms to kidnap unsuspecting innocent wayfarers.

Commercial activities between neighbours in farm produce and other manufactures in much of Africa became hazardous business. Gradually, all forms of such activities almost died down, being restricted to the subsistence level only in many areas. Some on the escape always have to depend on the providence of nature to survive, roaming about stark naked, or only with some rag or bark of a tree to cover their private parts! Yet, these were people who once lived in towns with thriving production, commerce and exchange comparable to anywhere in Arabia and Europe.

Without settled life-style, production and exchange, no society could ever hope to become specialised and increase its productive capabilities and productivity. What was left of those activities in the C19th, in the more powerful and secured African states very much responsible for destroying such activities in other areas, European colonisation came to destroy. We are thus in an induced state of backwardness, a situation generated by Arab intrusion into Africa, followed by the Europeans and ably assisted by some African collaborators to the mayhem that was unleashed on Africa.

The "Rwandas", with either the French and Belgiums or the English, Arabs, etc. lending supporting background, and the resurgent Islamic violence have been occurring on the African continent for millennia. It was long over-due for Black Africans to be courageous, admit their role in the continuing carnage and put a stop to it once and forever by turning our back on the past, rejecting it and forging a New Vision for Africa. We can no longer afford to pretend as the Belgium paratrooper who informed "New African" of why they remained inactive in the face of the ensuing massacres in Rwanda: "We are told to ignore it all and to act as if we could not see or hear anything," (New African, Dec., 1990). That serves their interests only, as even the Hutu leaders have since then learnt, hopefully.

Their re-arming, by the same people who did so in the past but deserted them when it served them to do so, is not the solution, even though I actually sympathise with them. The Tutsis were parties to the African Holocaust, and they should know that Nemesis often catches up with one. My hope then that they had become wiser has not been fully justified with the situation in Eastern Congo where the Bamulenge Tutsis continue to cause havoc with Rwandan support. They are just unrepentant as the Arab/Muslim slavers!

The same state of affairs apply in Ghana and much of sub-Saharan African where scions of slavers today still hold in contempt and prejudice those their ancestors once raided to fill the cargo hold of European slavers and chain gangs of the Arabs, the root of the ethnocentric jibes that continue to bedevil us. I have started dealing with that elsewhere in series.

Source: Andy C.Y. Kwawukume © Sept. 2013



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