From 1441 to 1888, a period 450 years, more than 29 million black Africans were terrorized and kidnapped from their virgin homelands and transported across the different oceans as slaves in a carefully planned operation. It was meticulous, discreet and handled by players who knew what would exactly follow. Though the exact number of victims will never be known, the degree of savage cruelty endured, and the consequences the barbaric trade left for Africa will never go away. Unfortunately today Africans themselves have forgotten the human plunder and mass atrocities against black Africans.
The owners of transatlantic ships made a fortune. Slavery created and then relied on a large support network of shipping services, ports, and finance and insurance companies. New industries were created, processing the raw materials harvested or extracted by slaves in the Americas. Along the west coast of Africa, from the Cameroons in the south to Senegal in the north, Invaders built ‘Doors Of No Return’ at Goree Island (Senegal), Bagamoyo and Zanzibar (Tanzania), Island of Mozambique, and hundreds others around Africa’s coast. These forts were no different from abattoirs for butchering Africans.
Africans were often treated like beasts during the crossing. Because a small crew had to control so many, cruel measures such as iron muzzles and whippings were used to control slaves. Over the centuries, at least three million persons died in the Atlantic crossing alone. This meant that the living were often chained to the dead until the corpses were thrown overboard. And then suddenly as the Africans got to understand the scale by looking at the petit materials exchanged for their children, the slave traders needed a new source of income.
By 1870, just about 10% of the continent was under direct European control, with Algeria held by France, the Cape Colony and Natal (both in today’s liberated South Africa) by Britain, and Angola by Portugal. And yet by 1900, European nations had added almost 10 million square miles of Africa – one-fifth of the land mass of the globe – to their overseas colonial possessions. Invaders ruled more than 90% of the African continent.
Blame it all on the Arabs!
One of the chief justifications for this so-called ‘scramble for Africa’ was a fake desire to stamp out slavery. The Invaders and Americans, the sole beneficiaries of the barbaric abuse of Africans, had to find somebody to blame. In May 1873 at Ilala in central Africa, celebrated colonial mastermind David Livingstone opened the blame phase by claiming slave trade had to be stopped because the Arabs inhumanely treated Africans. Livingstone even had a better formula of how to “liberate” Africa using the ‘three Cs’: commerce, Christianity and civilization. It is from this chemistry of “Cs” that Africa has ended up inhuman economic ghost it is today.
In a New York Times Op-Ed (22nd April 2010), author Henry Louis Gates Jr wrote: “While we are all familiar with the role played by the United States and the European colonial powers … there is very little discussion of the role Africans themselves played. And that role, it turns out, was a considerable one, especially for the slave-trading kingdoms of western and central Africa.”
The slave trader’s descendants are telling us ‘we had nothing to do with your demise’, blame it on yourselves. Why do Africans have to accept this state of affairs? Why do Africans in the first place teach this kind of twisted history to their descendants? If the “slave-trading kingdoms” as author Henry Louis Gates Jr calls them, were to blame, then why were Kings like Kabalega of Buganda banished? Why were tens of thousands of Mau Mau Kenyans slaughtered? Here is why; the next phase of the European orchestrated genocide was in the making; colonialism!
In Uganda, the 1900 Buganda agreement stated that the British laws imposed on Uganda would not be applicable over Buganda “in so far as they may in any particular conflict with the terms of this Agreement in which case the terms of this Agreement will constitute a special exception”. The Baganda were blinded to believe that their Kingdom was superior to all the others, and above all, Uganda. The strategy had worked!
By 1960 Buganda had outlived its usefulness. Six years later, Kabaka Mutesa II was deposed as Kabaka, and deported out of Uganda by the Northerners headed by Milton Obote. The north was the new poster boy as they had the guns because they were the army. The Kabaka died a lonely death in 1969 at a flat in London. Obote would also later learn that he was only a pawn on a much bigger chess board. At a Commonwealth summit in Singapore held from January 14 to 22, 1971, British Prime Minister Edward Heath stated that “those who are condemning the British sale of arms to South Africa, some of them will not go back to their countries.” The British had clearly orchestrated the coup against Obote and replaced with Idi Amin, one of the most barbaric criminals who they viewed as “someone we could do business with”.
In Algeria, nearly 2million Algerian Muslim Arabs were tortured and massacred as they fought to kick out their colonial master France who pumped Algerian oil out of their country like it was a gas station in Paris. Independence leaders were assassinated and more controllable brands were installed, only to also be thrown out in similar fashion. The same script took place across all Africa.
Moving further afield, the same anti-people forces silenced the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. It really isn’t that surprising a thing to expect the power-givers and takers to kill someone who threatened their authority and had the power to organize millions to protest it. Tens of millions joined his campaign against poverty wages and ruthless working conditions. Dr King fought against unending wars. It is his power to organize protests that threatened UNCLE SAM’s interests as they were profiting from the wars. When the human cargo was loaded onto the ships, the slave traders took off the ballast they’d brought from England. The pebbles are still scattered all over the shores of Bunce Island, in Sierra Leone.
Vultures fighting for Rotting Congo
Today, the immediate exploitation of “success” against the M23, by combined force of all sorts of armies, has been to voice concern against the disarmament of the FDLR by the neo-colonialist. The little-known “Kanyarwanda war” was the first public display of anti-Tutsi sentiment in post-independence Zaire. It lasted from 1963 to 1966 and resulted in large-scale massacres orchestrated by the politicians installed in Kinshasa. The war focus was the newly created “provincette” of North Kivu, one of the three entities that once formed Kivu province.
The crisis in east DR Congo has suddenly taken a different turn as M23 group is defeated militarily. One wonders whose victory this is – Congo’s army (FARDC), Rwandan rebels FDLR, the United Nations or just one of those battles won by the colonialist governors eager for another slice from part of rotting Africa. To have a better understanding of what happened in east DRC in the past 20 months, we should not lose sight of 1994 when the pitched battles of the Interahamwe genocide militia were explained as criminals carrying out isolated mass killings. It was not until the genocide against Tutsis had been stopped that the world understood the scale. The genocide ideology was designed and nurtured by the same neo-colonialists particularly the French and Belgians until its unsuccessful conclusion.
Twenty years on, the FDLR genocide militias have exploited unwarranted sympathy that has been publicized by the very colonialist forces whose primary investment is to use them as political and military mercenaries against a small African nation of Rwanda. As has been the agenda over the past 20 years, the immediate benefit will be another attempt to re-ignite the unfinished genocide.
At the 1971 UN General Assembly as the seeds of genocide ideology were sowing, Rwanda President Gregoire Kayibanda delivered this message: “The Hutu and Tutsis are two nations in a single state… Two nations between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy, which are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, feelings as if they were dwellers of different zones or inhabitants of different planets”.
Ironically, the closest aide of the same President Kayibanda, his wife, was a so called “Tutsi”. She had prepared his briefcase carrying the writing pad in which the same message condemning her was stored. Despite the openly genocide statement, nobody raised a finger, and Kayibanda’s godfathers shook their heads in approval. Their plan was going as designed!
The same colonialists created an occupation army with 22,000 men in uniform and costing $1.4 billion a year, the world’s biggest and most expensive peacekeeping operation. When FDLR trounced on villagers, nobody said anything, but when Tutsis rise up against abuses targeted at them, the same MONUSCO, suddenly has exploding love for “civilians”! What else can this state of affairs be described other than pure double standards at best?
Africa’s unsung heroes
In Zaire, the powers-be eliminated Patrice Lumumba in January 1961 because he wanted total independence of his country. The lives of African liberators Rwagasole of Burundi, Abdel Nasser of Egypt and John Muhima Kale of Uganda were decimated by the same forces that remain determined to keep Africa a victim of colonial horror.
According the Daily Monitor article of Dec. 2nd 2012, from Egypy Kale went to the UN General Assembly and submitted a petition for the UN Trusteeship to prepare Rwanda-Burundi for independence. Kale successfully defended the Rwanda-Burundi independence petition on November 17, 1958 and December 5, 1958, to start the independence programme. Kale was banned by the Belgians from ever stepping in Rwanda. He told the UN that Rwanda had no political borders and its people historically moved to and from within the region. That the Rwanda problem was political borders imposition and rearing Rwandans as labourers for Belgians in Congo. Kale died in a plane crash on August 17, 1960 at Kiev, Ukraine, on his way to Moscow, in the then Soviet Union. UNCLE SAM’s weapon of colonialism refused him a platform. His anti-colonial campaigns linked him close to other Pan Africanists like former Egypt’s President Abdul Nasser Jamal.
The Kenyan Mau Mau independence movement was eviscerated like rats. At the peak of their struggle, in April 1952, on Sir Evelyn Baring orders, 200,000 Kenyans were round up into 150 concentration camps littered around Kenya. The routine was severe beatings and assaults in systemized violence which had been approved at the highest levels of the British Government. In the course of interrogations guards would hang detainees upside down and insert sand and water into their anuses. And when the victims of these heinous sought redress in London court recently, all we could see was a media stampede to sanitise Britain.
Why does the world choose to be shamelessly selective in defining and condemning the minimum norms of human rights? How can we allow the colonialists to take us back to the dark days of African patriots whose demise facilitated unhindered proliferation of undemocratic forces and freelance spread of genocide ideology in the region? Why do these adventurists want to remind us of the barbaric acts of slave trade whose museum in Freetown is a display of what was left from their industrial dividends?
The neo-colonialists have occupied sovereign nations in the name of promoting democracy, but when people of Kenya elect their leaders, the goal posts are moved. The so called democracy is undermined with push for prosecution at the International Criminal Court. When will legitimate vote of a people count? Why should they vote, and then suddenly, the vote doesn’t count! There is no doubt the ICC was designed to target Africa and remains the most demeaning neo-colonialist instrument.
Genocidal forces are now the victims!
The fundamental reason for the poverty and underdevelopment of Africa – and of almost all “third world” countries – is neo-colonialism. The agents of the system will do everything possible to hide their guilt because they don’t want the young generations to learn and know the history. It is the same agents that have kept a lid over the 1994 genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda, a creation of the French establishment, by financing the genocide negationist lobby.
French officers directly commanded the pitched battles against the Rwandese Patriotic Army (RPA) which was single-handedly struggling to stop the genocide. Instead of condemning and silencing the interahamwe guns which were slaughtering children, the interahamwe supporters were commanding the genocide militia to counter the RPA advance! So the French were fighting to save the killers and destroy the dead! The French and Belgians have never hidden their antipathy to the RPF. The French allowed thousands of known genocidaires, to transit the Zone Turquoise, escaping the tightening noose of the RPA.
The killers reinvented themselves as leaders of refugee camps, supported by international aid agencies, under UNHCR auspices. International obligations under the humanitarian law and the Genocide Convention were subjugated to a general desire to save lives. The guilty were fed alongside the thousands of children whose images haunted Western television viewers. The administrative structures that had facilitated the massacres of Tutsis in Rwanda were reproduced in the camps.
A similar explanation is being advanced in an effort to sanitise the FDLR. Their neo-colonial supporters are explaining their existence as a force that has evolved and currently comprises people who were born after the genocide.