- >>African Holocaust
- >>Slavery in America
- >>Arab Slave Trade
- >>Jewish Slave Trade
- >>Slavery Revolts
- >>Modern Slavery
- >>Mental Slavery
- >>Culture Complex
- >>Rites of Passage
- >>African Agency
- >>Language & Africa
- >>Music and Dance
- >>African Race
- >>Educating a Child
- ANCIENT AFRICA
- >>African Kingdoms
- >>Business & Africans
- >>African Cinema
- >>Art of Revolution
- African Kings and Queens
- African Marriage
- Made In Africa
- White Supremacy
- Business & Africans
- ICC & Africa
- Intellectual Property
- Libation in Africa
- Malcolm on Revolution
- African Fundamentalism
- Capitalism or Socialism
- Facts About Africa
- War and Religion
- Death of African Languages
- Garvey Economics
- Cabral Theory
- NGO and Development
- Garvey Legacy
- Willie Lynch Hoax
- Malcolm OAAU
- Ethics of the Reparations
- Afrocentrism Pseudohistory?
- Marley Film Review
- Abolition and Wilberforce
- Black Panther Critique
- Jews and Slavery
- Gay Rights
- Failure Of African Leadership
- Capitalism or Socialism?
- Female Genital Mutilation
- Failure to Engage
- Libya Invasion
- Dubois: Souls of Black folk
- Slavery in America
- Amilcar Cabral
- Agency and Africa
- Mis-Education of the Child
- African Revolt
- The Flag of African Cinema
- The Politics of Liberation
- White Supremacy
- The Horrors of 500 Years
- Africa and the Rise of Islam
- Why Kwanzaa
- Seen But Never Heard
- African Classical Music
- South Africa: 10 Years On
- Music and Dance in Religion
- White Abolition of Slavery
- A Threat to Black Studies
- Art of Revolution
- African Influence in Barbados
- Origins of Voodoo
- Black Out White Wash
- Ethiopian Slave Trade
- Darfur Report
Until lions tell their tale, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter
– African Proverb
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will
– Frederick Douglass
The most pathetic thing is for a slave who doesn't know that he is a slave
– Malcolm X
Every man is rich in excuses to safeguard his prejudices, his instincts, and his opinions.
– Ancient Egypt
What kind of world do we live in when the views of the oppressed are expressed at the convenience of their oppressors?
– 'Alik Shahadah
We are not Africans because we are born in Africa, we are Africans because Africa is born in us.
– Chester Higgins Jr.
Leave no brother or sister behind the enemy line of poverty.
– Harriet Tubman
If the future doesn't come toward you, you have to go fetch it
– Zulu Proverb
If we do not stop oppression when it is a seed, it will be very hard to stop when it is a tree.
– ' Alik Shahadah
If we stand tall it is because we stand on the shoulders of many ancestors.
– African Proverb
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
– Martin L. King, Jr
The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism
– Wole Soyinka
No longer must the African genius be trapped between bureaucracy and mismanagement
– Alik Shahadah
How can I turn from Africa and live?
– Derek Walcott
For far too long, a majority of Africans have been indifferent to misrepresentations about who they are
– Childo Nwangwu
We cannot have the oppressors telling the oppressed how to rid themselves of the oppressor
– Kwame Ture
It makes no difference what language Africans speak if our first language is not Truth
– Hilary Muhammad
The other ploy is statistical downsize serves to lessen the volume of Africans impacted by enslavement (Holocaust denial). There is also a linguistic tone which takes away the humanity of African people by referring to enslaved people as "slaves" and "black African slaves." It reaffirms Africans as history's slave pool; mere commodities, black bodies without history and higher destiny. This orientalism is evident in most Eurocentric studies by celebrated white historians.
The authentic study of Africa is often masked with political or emotional objectives; whether these objectives are Islamaphobic, anti-African, European supremacy, Afrocentric, "Black" supremacy or a Zionist agenda  Because of the contemporary implications it is a deeply political discourse with no clear "good vs. bad" guys, but competing agendas. It is critical to deal with these agendas in seeking any sort of authentic and balanced understanding of the Maafa.
It is obvious that Afrocentrics and other pro-African groups play binary blame games, while denying African culpability and agency. Their objective is to make Africans the victims, and even when Africans are accountable for horrendous acts, they still place responsibility outside of Africa (it was the foreign religions and culture). But this neglects and tramples African agency, because it reaffirms the child-like canard of African people: incapable, and impressionable. Africans are not impressionable children who get "influenced" by everything that blows into Africa. While this argument often comes in the box of "consciousness," in reality this attitude of "they did this to us" only reaffirms Arab and European superiority; to have so much power to control every last action Africans have ever done. And on both sides of the debate, in an attempt to hold onto that romantic notion of self, jump through hoops to explain away reality. However, we cannot escape that Africans, as full an uninfluenced people, did engage in the African Holocaust; and are fully, although not equally, responsible for their partnering with the Atlantic and Arab slave system. Because there was no opportunity, in the early days of the trade, to suggest that Africans were tricked or bewitched into supplying Europeans (unless we are suggesting African people are a child like race) so those few that agreed to this trade in flesh were active participants.
On the other side, almost every single European-run historical discourse, led by the likes of John Thornton, attempts to reduce the impact, severity and legacy of the African Holocaust. Normalization white-washes slavery into "everyone did it; it is part of world history." "Africans sold Africans to Europeans so they are just as guilty." "Without African involvement they could be no slave trade (Thornton)." And while that may be true, it does not absolve the continued benefits Europeans have gained and continue to gain from enslavement of African people. No other nation still inherits the wealth of their former slaves like the West. If a young girl is sold into prostitution by her own parents, the pimp must still pay for the suffering he caused the young woman. He can't simply say, 'Her parents made a deal with me, so you should stop the blame game.'"
The European controlled slave trade was not some private venture divorced from state and church. That state and church was a representation of "the people." It represented the wealth and security of Western nations. So the vast majority of Western Europeans and their descendants global profited from slavery—a privilege people of European ancestry still enjoy at the expense of African development. And yet some still suggest to avoid discussing slavery to avoid hurting their feelings.
While Africans and Europeans were jointly involved in the Atlantic slave trade it was Europe dominated the connection, vastly enlarged (from a crack to a canyon) the slave trade, and continually turned it to European advantage and to an African disadvantage. Basil Davidson states that within both European and African institutions there were also differences, and these differences, however "minor," created a decisive outcome, which allowed European total domination evolving into colonialism and today's neocolonialism. And with neocolonialism came the proxy puppet African elites who are direct ideological descendant of the African slave trading elite. But the total percentage involvement and profits from that involvement gained by Africans who engaged in selling other Africans is infeasible small. It accounts for maybe 1% of the billable slave hours in the working life of a first generation enslaved African. It accounts for 0% of the billable hours for the many generations of Africans enslaved on European owed plantations, and the years of exploitation after emancipation. How then are we calling it a partnership of equals?
This issue of emphasis creates a peculiarity that seems unique to Africa, but all over the world, in every single conflict you will find weak or greedy members of that community who side with oppression—why is Africa any different? What is true for the African is 100% true for the Jew. So the biggest manipulation is not so much in the facts, but in the weight or emphasis of "they sold each other." Also, most enslaved people in the West were in that state for all of their lives by European process, not African. Those who were captured in Africa were touched by the African component briefly-- and never again in the history of their enslavement. African involvement, while shameful, was was hardly a partnership in Holocaust, beyond the initial capture and sale. And Europeans also have this tradition of underplaying their role in direct capture. But it is a fact in the early days, and especially in the later (peak) days of the slave system, Europeans directly procuring captives. (Bailey 2005)
As unethical as it sounds, no degree of slavery in Africa would have destroyed Africa as a continental political force. When African talent started being exported out of Africa, is when African underdevelopment, from a political-economic and social perspective, became an issue.
as this Diaspora also represent the absolute bottom of every social-economic graph. All of this is necessary to show the backdrop to the attitudes and motives for the "new" focus on Arabs. And when we look at the principle authors of this "new" study we see the hands of people like Bernard Lewis (an ardent orientalist, and Zionist) as the prime authority even Afrocentrics are reading.
There is no escaping African culpability in the "destruction" of Africa. The failure to form unity around spheres of interest when faced with a formidable foe is a failing Africa cannot escape. Greed and corruption continues to adversely poison the hope of Africa, even today. And no degree of historical revision can wash out or dilute aspects of African partnership in the African Holocaust. But we should also balance the exception vs. the rule vs. a phenomena. 
Yes, people did sell their family into slavery, yes kings did invade and use other ethnic groups for a slave pool. But it is inaccurate to highlight this as the African norm (as Dr. Akurang-Parry says). Nor should we confuse a phenomena as the natural way in which African people lived for millennium. We should not make Africa a monolith, and ignore other forms of social inequity and violence in native African communities, which predate any influence of Arabs and Europeans. Africans, like people all over the world have the same human nature, which can be both creative and loving, as well as destructive and inhumane. But it is utterly dishonest to compare the capitalist-driven actions of Western Europeans, with the mainly duress-driven actions of a community being forced to sell their neighbors (or even their own children) into slavery for fear of the entire family being sold. To compare these circumstances as equal is moral reprehensible. What happened in Africa was a Holocaust, and victims were not limited to those being shipped across the Atlantic to European plantations or the salt marshes of Iraq— A large percentage of the trauma was experienced inside of the slaving zones.
MOVE ON FROM SLAVERY
Slavery is a painful subject for both Europeans and Africans. It is natural for any humans to try and escape one's conscience, so Europeans often tell Africans to "Moving on" From slavery. But what does this mean and what action should Africans take to "move on" as British Prime minster Cameron insisted?:
This is what "Moving on from slavery and colonialism" means. Now how do we move on from the very current that is institutional racism (connected to the legacy of slavery), or White supremacy (again connected to slavery) ? How do we move Africa out of the ongoing exploitation by the West? So Moving on means to close down all debate and fracture the African connection to the past. 100% perfect for those who exploited African labor to build the Western empire, 100% perfect to avoid dealing with the current responsiblity of those who profited/profit from African exploitation.
It is strange that no one tells the victims of 9/11 or the Jewish Holocaust to "move on". So anyone who suggest Africans "move on" from the past is guilty of trying to cover up their ancestors role in our destruction. And in criminal law, to cover up a crime is a crime. To block people from accessing their historical database is a crime against their human dignity. So this is why both those who enslaved Africans, and those today who suggest we forget about slavery are partners in the African Holocaust.
It was once believed that the Atlantic slave trade was a largely self-contained phenomenon, it is now acknowledged that this slave trade is part of a much wider picture, which includes traditional African slave systems and the Arab slave trade. At various stages in their history conflicted and complemented each other. There was also an evolution from one type of slavering into another; as happened inside of the African slave system where captives where a casual consequence of national warfare evolved into a reason for warfare.
We must identify the different levels of enslavement in the historical narrative of Africa. Some where client-supplier, others were consequences of the overspill from internal polities clashing. Although the internal African trade became the trade which procured captives for Europeans and also Arabs, it is a distinctive trade with unique features, and moreover distinctive consequences.
Economically the growth that should have been experienced in Africa, from African human resources, was experienced in the West - as opposed to in Africa. The primary African groups involved in procurement for European interest became particularly adept and brutal at the practice of enslavement and through the centuries developed a militaristic culture. Prime groups engaged in this were Oyo, Benin, Igala, Kaabu, Fante Confederacy, Asanteman, Dahomey, the Aro Confederacy and the Imbangala professional war bands. ("Atlantic Warfare", Thornton) One key difference between Africans as agents for Europeans, and the domestic internal slavery was the level of brutality associated with procurement. The gradual abolition of slavery in European colonial empires during the 19th century industrialization era led to the decline of these African empires.
Below is a list of zones of enslavement and types of slavery:
Why do we study the past? To learn from it and set up precedents for curbing patterns which produce inequity. And to reproduce patterns and habits that produce enlightenment and progress for all of the Earth (humanity and nature). Every doctor understands why the epidemiology is critical to modern medicine; prevention and cure rest on successful analysis of the problem.
Almost every incident of conquest involves a stronger technological people subdued and exploiting a "weaker" or less developed technological people. That is the one most profound observation and pattern we can grasp from history. The consequences of that conquest have never stopped, the reverberation is heard around the global in all areas of conflict. Understanding history, as Jared Diamond states, is more often the tool used to interrupt the negative outcome, than to repeat it.
So Europeans did not enslave African people with the Bible in their White hands, or notions of ideological superiority, but because they had to power, born from the technological disparity between the two groups. The collision of advanced political, and technological advancements made them appear "superior." The Bible in the hands of a weak stone age people would have had no sway over the iron producing people of the interiors of Africa. Their Guns, Germs and Steel played the decisive role in the outcome when these two civilizations clashed.
Power protects; sell or be sold, conquer or be conquered. If one village was buying guns and you were not...bad news for you. So had Africans, like the Japanese (11) taken control of the gun manufacturing process, as opposed to exclusively buyers of guns, there would be no way Europeans could sell damp gunpowder and trinkets in exchange for African captives or African resources. But nothing has changed because this is the exact dilemma Africa faces, perceptually dependent on everyone else for final goods (Motherland 2010). And to obtain these good requires an inequitable exchange of the continent's resources with Europe or China for trinkets. So this technological disparity, which pre-dates the arrival of Europeans, still haunts Africa's future.
Slavery today, as slavery then, has the common theme of weak vs. strong, rich vs. poor. (It knows no exceptions) That personality has never altered and every time there is a gross imbalance it is the breeding ground for all forms of exploitation. It then seems a correct approach would be also to deal with the breeding ground of slavery. It is far more than a Black people vs. White people debate. In Cameroon the "weaker" peoples are exploited by the "stronger" people. So this pattern of oppression's commonality needs to be addressed. Garvey clearly articulated this when he said :
All humans are the same: anyone cut with a knife will bleed, anyone left without cultural identity will fit the Willy Lynch theoretical model. The only factor in the degree of impact is culture. This is why some people experience a Holocaust and come out even stronger than they went in. A Holocaust must therefore be looked at comparatively, depending on three key factors: the heat of the fire, duration, and their cultural integrity. Unfortunately where Africans are concern the fire, or nature of the Holocaust, was hot, the duration was long, and African cultural integrity, due to disunity, was weak.
Everyone calls everyone else backward, that is human nature, it has nothing to do with religion, but moreover with people (religion only follows the pre-existing trends like a hand shapes a glove). The more powerful someone is, the more agency they have to make the other feel the pain of otherness. The Ewe were targeted for slavery because the Ewe did not have the culture or religion of the Akan, they became a slave pool because they were the "other"; had weaker gods in the eyes of their captors—slavery was therefore "religiously sanctioned." This has nothing to do with Islam vs. the other, or Christianity vs. the other, or even European vs. the other. This is the history of human nature from time immoral. The other is in parenthesis in the Old Testament; thou shall not kill (members of my own tribe). It was with us in the beginning of humanity, and if not careful will follow us to the grave of humanity.
The Osu caste system in Nigeria and southern Cameroon, can be traced back to an indigenous religious belief system of the Igbo nation. Some Igbo traditionalists hold that the Osus are people historically owned by deities, and are therefore considered to be a 'living sacrifice', an outcaste, untouchable and sub-human. The was true in Ethiopia; the very name Falasha means (foreigners/exiles) was given to Ethiopian Jews by the Emperor Yeshaq in the 15th century.
According to the UN Sub-Commission: Caste systems exist in pockets in some African countries. It is found in parts of Sahelian Africa, particularly in certain West African communities, and among populations in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. Although significantly different in nature and scope, there are some common features between the caste systems of Africa and South Asia. Stigma is often attached to this problem, and as a consequence "low caste" communities in Africa suffer various forms of social exclusion and discrimination, particularly with regard to employment, political representation and inter-caste marriages. 
In some slave trading African societies, East, North and West, the conquest in the temporal was a mirror of a divine conquest. Zulu means "The people of the sky" vs. other people who are less "chosen" and because of that status were subject to a vicious campaign. "The Other" is a human problem, fanned by ignorance and binary accusations. And their is no global "other", all are "your other" defined by each society. From the outside, the group accused of being "the other" is, more often than not, all the same subjective group.
The historical record must not be washed away, we must call the name of those who engaged in the apex of the trade to account for their historical genocide. But at the same time, balance must caution anyone of perceptually blaming Europeans and Arabs, while skipping the internal complexities, weakness and failures still plaguing African communities. Because it does not bring a complete solution to the roots of slavery and inequity; the roots of war and hate.
Slavery was not invented by Europeans or Arabs, Christians or Muslims, Romans or Persians, Slavery is the business of human societies. Some of those people engaging in slavery identified as Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Akan, Nigerian, British, Indian, and Chinese. Some existed in 500 BCE some in the 21st century. Almost all advanced societies, with capacity engaged in some form of bondage. So race, geography, religion, ethnicity and time are of no consideration in people’s propensity to engage in slavery.
The act of murder, torture, enslavement, and persecution is equal regardless of who, when or where. Killing 6 Jewish civilians is no different from killing 6 Palestinian civilians: The distinctive act of murder is equal. It does not become equal if that murder goes from 6 to 6 million. It is that act of "murder" multiplied by 6 million. Torturing someone, dehumanizing them, taking them from their home (kidnapping), raping them all constitute separate instances of human rights violation. And human rights is human rights regardless of if we are discussing 2011 or 1011, it has generally never been acceptable in human society to torture and rape another human being.
Now the act of taking an African from their home by force and violence is a crime, and in that crime a minority of Africans played a major role. However, that is one set of crimes and each incident re-occurred over the centuries destabilizing local communities’ development potential.
And without the assistance of any Africans we then come to storing Africans in dungeons and subjecting them to all manner of unspeakable horrors, including rape, in places like Goree or El Mina. On board the ships, Africans were fed alive, as a form of terrorism, to man-eating sharks. All of this constitutes yet another set of human rights violations. Loading and packaging human beings on a ship like sardines and subjecting them to living and breathing in their own urine and excrement is another set of crimes against humanity (again a crime exclusive to Europe in the Atlantic system). Taking them and selling them off like chattel is yet another crime, dehumanizing them and enslaving them on the plantation is yet another set of crimes against humanity. To disrupt the culture, names, language and religion of those captive people is yet another crime against humanity. To exploit to build the empires of the West for over 300 years; torture, persecute dehumanize them is yet another crime. To finally release them from their Holocaust to be subjects and victims of all forms of racism up until the 60’s is yet another crime. And finally to continue to enjoy the fruits of that legacy, deny and oppress them into the contemporary moment is yet another crime against humanity. And still we see every generation of African inheriting the terrible legacy of self-hate and potential inhibition created at that instance 500 Years ago in Africa.
Numbers (Quantity) and Duration and Nature (Quality of oppression) are three unique factors in the African Holocaust. There is no statute of limitation if the institutions that profited from slavery are today still in existence rich and better off for that terrible trade in flesh. It is only when we understand the African Holocaust in these terms that we realize what is unique about it. There are no comparisons in human history.
CAPITALISM AND SLAVERY
Often the emotion view of slavery sees racism as the principle motive for the Atlantic Slave Trade. However, the mere existence of a capitalist ideology will by default create degrees of servitude. Capitalism looks at numbers and has no moral consideration. It has a relentless dedication to reduce liabilities and increase profits. The numerical capitalist heaven is zero-expense. Slavery was capitalisms best system for achieving a number as close as possible to zero. In this cold calculation slavery was inevitable once new territories were found and sugar cane and other products added to the markets of Europe.
It has been often argued, by some scholars, that slavery did not end for moral reasons. There was no new awakening in the capitalist heart for the inequities which besieged the African slave. The profitability diminished and new alternatives such as sharecropping had brighter lights. It is in the shifting economics of industrialization that slavery as a system began to lose its shine. Again capitalism looked at the numbers and found that between; feeding, clothing and sheltering Africans, as well as quelling rebellions – it was far cheaper to end slavery. And with the rise of Western consumerism all of those ex-slaves became the new clients of their former slave masters.
Beyond corn fields, and cracking whips slavery has a dark and fastidious legacy which is rarely examined holistically. And this legacy goes a long way to explaining the social condition which constitutes an African crises across the globe. Most notable of this is the global racist perception and value of African people. It explains the fragmentation of all areas of people relationships (family, business, humanity) between African people. It explains the inferiority complex which no Jewish person inherited from being in the Nazi death camps. Because in the camps of Poland and Germany Jews were still persecuted as a human being (a member, though hated, of humanity - not a sub-human or beast). They died in the gas chambers with a knowledge of self, of Torah, of history and culture. In the Americas the African was exploited for over 400 years as a common beast, denied from history and humanity. The African in slavery died without ever even knowing he or she was a full member of the human race. This Jewish sense of identity goes a long way to explaining why Jewish people today are able to draw strength from their tragedy while the African-Diaspora still continue to be victims of their Holocaust.
The Jewish nightmare resonates so much that they have shared their pain beyond their cultural group: The image of suffering is iconized in the Jewish holocaust. We can see a film such as "Freedom Writers" where mischievous "ethnic minority" teens are told a Jewish story as an example of "real" suffering." Why would African-Americans with the most tragic history in America (equaled only by the Native American Holocaust) need to look to European Jews for a story of tragedy? The answer is simple African-Americans are not agents of these stories which impose themselves at the expense of the African narrative. Even in South Africa (which has no history of Nazi extermination) you will find a Jewish holocaust museum in every major city. Thats not the fault of any Jew, and we must respect their dedication to their holocaust study. But where is the African Holocaust museums? Where is the great monuments built to honor the millions of Africans whose bodies lie at the bottom of the Atlantic? Where is the Pan-African centers for teaching the legacy of Du Bois, Garvey and Malcolm? That speaks only to a mental defect which is the greatest legacy of our African Holocaust.
SLAVERY AS AN EXCUSE FOR EVERYTHING
Many, especially non-Africans have accused some African people of using slavery as an excuse for everything negative. But to be fair there is a lot to be blamed for slavery, its legacy is very real. So while this issue is very true the African must look at this world as a race.
Personal Note: So there is a race, you have to run it or not run it. That is the only options available. Be part of this civilization or be a victim of this civilization. If you opt out—as many have—sitting down means the Chinese come and own your country, taking everything colonialism left behind which most African leaders still squander. So you can sit down if you want, but do not complain when your water and oil are owned by multinationals. Now it is 100% that we come from the legacy of slavery, that comes as default, you still (with this disadvantage) have to run the same race with the Europeans, Arabs, Turks, Indians and Chinese. Everyone except the Europeans have some sort of handicap. Maybe the Arabs are entering the race with a broken arm, maybe the Chinese only a broken finger, maybe Africans are the most damaged in the race with no arms at all and myopic vision— but you still must find a way of running that race and being victorious. That is what life handed you. You cannot sit it out and say mental slavery made me late for the start, or the legacy of slavery slowed me down. That might well explain your handicap, but it is of no consequences to the finish line. In short the world does not care about losers and if Africans do not find a way the legacy of slavery will be extended until the Sun consumes the Earth. Its a choice, run or make excuses.
See [Mental Slavery]
When we really understand slavery, it is more than a ball and chains 150 years ago. More than the film Roots, of lives on a plantation exposed to inhumanities. The most violent product of chattel slavery is mental slavery. It expresses itself by creating, among other things, dependency and an inferiority-complex. It infects every concept from notions of beauty, values, and even the preference of "renting" over the prospect of "buying." Many Africans, especially in the Diaspora, continue to wear their wealth on the outside (shoes, clothing, cars) while other groups wear their money on the inside (educational development) first. Mental slavery, also impacts African discernment. Because failure to know oneself also means failure to identify self-interest it is often in this confused state the offense of oppression cannot be located in the minds of the mental slaves. It is no wonder they are given to attack the seat of their own liberation for minutia issues.
Investment in education was futile in slavery and still this legacy continues. Mental slavery also impacts most of all value of self, value in seeing African stories. How else can we explains why the Jewish story in film and print is everywhere in the world despite Jews only being a World population less than the city of Lagos. And why is it the story of Africa (more than 1 billion people) is rarely told, and when it is told it is at the hands of European agents. Some Africans are so mentally confused that they are active agents of whitewashing and escaping from slavery, they will state "I am sick of hearing about slavery the past is the past." The African voice, the African woman and man, the African relationships and African films and media have no value in the minds of those who have no value of self. And this pervasive legacy washes not only this contemporary African generation, but future generations waiting to be born. [500 Years Later] and [Motherland]. See [Mental Slavery]
No one traveled all the way into the Congo Basin to procure Africans because of some deep hatred of African people. Slavery has a sociological factor and will always prefer to enslave someone not related to the community (any definable group with shared self-interest). When this logic is expand out it explains slavery of the "other." if I am Fulani then the other is Mandingo, If I am English then the other maybe Irish. The more different the better. Any perceived notion of difference became the ideological backdrop to what would become modern racism. "They are not as advanced as us", "They do not believe in the same god as us." "They are deserving of enslavement."
From surf to sultan was a feature of both the native African systems as well as Arab systems of slavery. Mazrui, Hunwick both make the argument that Arab slavery, unlike the European counterpart, used enslaved people's in their armies and thus created a large powerful military who could one day capture power. What made the European trade in enslaved Africans particular was it deliberately targeted Africans, for most of its duration. And part of the legacy of this was the natural association of Africans as inferior: Slavery in the West was by virtue of your skin color, and while religion usually override this in the Arab system (being Muslim and Africa might save you from being enslaved: for example Somalia was not supply zone -- as part of the Islamic world Somalis were at least nominally protected by the religious tenet that free Muslims cannot be enslaved. Although sometimes the conquering group would just saw the target Muslim group they were guilty of shirk ( شرك širk) thus taking them outside of Islamic protection), in the West no mitigating factor could override race.
So much so that a European could parent children with enslaved African women and still could imposed the most horrendous crimes upon his own offspring without consideration and mercy: whipping them, torturing them, selling them for profit. So corrupt and vile was the systems of slavery that it poisoned natural parental bonds, where a slave master could rape his own daughter and go to church on Sunday without seeing the gross immorality.
The dilemma on the continent was either you sell your neighbor or they would be forced to come and sell you. Because of disunity, the European was able to exploit every social weakness to procure more victims. Indigenous systems had ways of dealing with prisoners and these systems became corrupt to a point where all crimes became punishable by enslavement. In Atlantic Africa during two cycles created a dangerous loop.
The entire Diaspora population was in free-servitude and therefore it is economically and socially impossible to compare the few African slavers verses the national project of Western Europe, and the Americas. Jewish historian William Rubinstein, "Of these 10 million estimated dead blacks [sic], possibly 6 million were killed by other blacks in African tribal wars and raiding parties aimed at securing slaves for transport to America " This is the tone taken to discuss the African Holocaust, the same Rubistein takes a completely different objection to any tone which diminishes or subtracts from the reality or the humanity of the victims of the Jewish Holocaust.
As the trade progressed the items traded with Africa were of no sustainable value. While Europe’s wealth increase African merchants toyed with silly trinkets, images of a white god, inferior cloth, cheap alcohol, damp gunpowder, old pots and pans and all forms of assorted garbage not generally fit for European consumption. If Europe and Africa began their ill-fated relationship as near equals, the influx of European goods, particularly of firearms and alcohol, slowly disrupted the equilibrium of West African cultures. To Europe the enslaved workforce brought power and wealth, but to Africa the so-called trade only brought more efficient means to capture their neighbors and alcohol to corrode societies.
Most European reports of slavery throughout Africa in the 1600s and beyond are not reliable sources because they often conflated various forms of servitude as equal to chattel slavery. And this also was a problem with the entire history of Africa from a Western point of view in all areas; religion, culture, economic and even warfare (Thornton). Africa made sense exclusively in terms already observed in the European worldview--even if they were totally different. So slavery had no nuance, it was slavery as Europeans practiced it. Warfare as Europeans practiced it, religion lost all nuance-- it was just black paganism.
Many enslaved people were employed in high government office with virtually no restrictions on their native language, religion etc. Naturally, it suits the people who profited from slavery to make the world think that slavery was the fault of Africans, and that slavery was good for Africa and natural to Africans.
The most brutal phase of enslavement came into play when enslaved people started to become transported outside of their local zones to distant locations (inside of Africa or outside of Africa). This happened as greater centralized African and later Arab powers came to the table. They had the power to seek captives in distant slave pools, and the lust to source free labor to expand their national objectives. The transportation over long distances increase mortality. The rise of larger civilizations meant specialization became more frequent, the dedicated solider, the merchant, and the professional slaver.
New research reveals that up until the 15th century, most of the world was still under band and tribal groupings. (Diamond, 2005) Africa was no different, as a majority of the continent, like the majority of most continents, were not in organized states. Only states have use for slavery, it is not a feature of hunter gather society which does not have the specialization to accommodate captives. Tribal groupings also rarely have slavery. It would therefore be safe to say African slavery was confined to states, and kingdoms. It was not an ubiquitous reality.
Note: upward mobility in the different forms of slavery practiced in Africa and the world. The problem with using any one feature to differentiate one type of slavery from another is this: how widespread was upward mobility in Africa? Was it unique? Because we know there was no hope of upward anything in the Atlantic system, one of the most rigid immoral slave systems the world had ever seen. But even the Arab slave trade had upward mobility. But so did Rome, unfortunately those not so lucky suffered the terrible varient for of slavery. So we need to be careful using any one feature as the definitive guide to which slavery was worst.
In the centuries of death that surrounded slavery some suggest that a few kings got rich or life in Africa was so horrid that being brought to slave plantations was a progressive life style change. (See African Kingdoms for Africa prior to slavery)
We must also realize the percentage of Africans in a state of slavery might have meant that 40% of all Africans alive were enslaved at any given period in the last 300 years. In short this means that African, by a landmark, are the most enslaved people in the history of humanity; by any and all definitions of slavery. It is estimated that by the height of the Transatlantic slave trade the population of Africa unlike the rest of the World had stagnated by 50%.. See How Europe underdeveloped Africa. "Walter Rodney"
Because if 12 million arrived how many generations from that 12 million were subjected to slavery? 140 million Africans in the Western Hemisphere, most of them the direct consequence of the Atlantic Slave Trade. So now consider 350 years of slavery how many African generations were enslaved, how many people died via that horrid process of enslavement? These are the new questions which must be attached to the old study of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
SOURCES ON DEATH TOLL FROM SLAVERY
Everyone with a PhD and not, has had a crack at the numbers lost to the Atlantic Slave system. In American Holocaust (1992), David Stannard estimates that some 30 to 60 million Africans died being enslaved. He claims a 50% mortality rate among new slaves while being gathered and held in Africa, a 10% mortality among the survivors while crossing the ocean, and another 50% mortality rate in the first "seasoning" phase of slave labor. Overall, he estimates a 75-80% mortality rate in transit.
In "The Atlantic Slave Trade and the Holocaust" (Is the Holocaust Unique, A. Greebaum, ed., 1996), Seymour Drescher estimates that 21M were enslaved, 1700-1850, of which 7M remained in slavery inside Africa. 4M died "as a direct result of enslavement". Of the 12M shipped to America, 15%, or 2M more, died in the Middle Passage and seasoning year.
Three large regions of Atlantic Africa were the major contributors to the slave trade: Upper Guinea, including the modern countries of Senegal, Mali, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia; Lower Guinea, including the southern portions of Eastern Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria; and West Central Africa, which encompassed mostly the western portions of the DRC and Angola. The procurement area constitutes 15 percent of Africa’s total area, all on the Atlantic side of the continent.
Jan Rogozinski, A Brief History of the Caribbean (1994): "[A]s many as eight million Africans may have died in order to bring four million slaves to the Caribbean islands."
Rummel estimates a total death toll of 17,267,000 African slaves (1451-1870)
Fredric Wertham claims that 150,000,000 Africans died of the slave trade. Looking at all the speculations on demographic impact on Africa we can estimate that at bear minimum 35% of those enslaved in Africa died before reaching the slave ships. Between these extreme possibilities the most likely mortality rate is 62%.
In terms of absolute numbers, the lowest possible is 6 million. If we assume the absolute worst, a death toll as high as 60 million is at the very edge of possibility (including indirect death, epidemiological exposure, etc.; however, the likeliest number of deaths would fall somewhere from 15 to 20 million.[ref]
If 5 million slaves were shipped in the 18th Century (the busiest century, see Hugh Thomas, above), then the 18th Century death toll could be around 8.1 million. (=5/11*17.8)
REVOLT AND REBELLION
and that was the Songhay Empire. We saw Malik Sy in the 16th Century as well, and men like Abdul Qadeer and Cherno Sulayman Kaba, these men who waged resistance in what is known as Futa Toro and Futa Jalon. Also the campaigns of Nasr al-Din's [Nasser Uddin] (Tubenan movement) anti-slavery and Western imposition galvanized Africans in the region in the late 17th century.
Probably about one in ten slaving voyages experienced major rebellions, of which the attempts to control increased the costs of a slave voyage to the point where far fewer slaves entered the traffic than would have been the case without resistance. In addition, vessels from some regions on the coast appear to have been more prone to experience slave uprisings than those from other regions. So the Africans did not acquiesce colonialism, nor did they acquiesce towards slavery, they fought at every point. The image of Europeans as the liberators of African (as if Africans just waited by the river watching the clouds go by) is part of the take-away from Africans as agents. And in fact when the slaves were landing in the Western hemisphere in Bahia Brazil you saw the emergence of jihad movements. You saw the emergence of men like Muhammad Sambo who led a two-month jihad in the Louisiana territories in North America. Men like Nat Turner and other men who refused to submit to slavery. The Haitian Revolution as well. Men like Macantow. So The Africans never acquiesce to slavery in fact we can say this year that the whole concept of freedom that the American thirteen colonies had, they got that concept of freedom and liberty from the African resistance movement that took place in the Western Hemisphere."
What did the Slave Master learn from Bahia et al? That it was critical to separate the African (the one who just arrived with a memory of home) from the conditioned slave (the one born into enslavement). Teaching the conditioned slave to hate anything African, anyone who remembers another home is dangerous to the designs of slavery.
Drapetomania was a supposed mental illness described by American physician Samuel A. Cartwright in 1851 that caused African slaves to flee captivity. So ingrained was the notion of Africans only purpose being in the capacity as slaves, it was seen as unnatural and a sickness that would cause them to want to escape slavery. And today we must ask what has really changed? Africans in America seeking to rename their children in the African traditions, or seek African ways of life, African religions, or African culture, are seen as "confused." See African Revolt
In popular circles there is a "Who sold us into slavery?" debate that has been raging for years. It however has done little to advance a pure understanding of the African reality. It has always been used to divide African loyalty, and foster further distrust in Pan-African communities: by targeting certain countries, ethnic groups or religious groups. If African people are to heal and come to terms, and hence grow and reach a higher potential, it is impossible to avoid this issue for it will stymie Pan-African development. Understanding this notion of "Selling out" is critical aspect of the African Holocaust.
Now who did the "selling out" is not a binary Diaspora vs Continental issue. The "selling out" personality was on the boats that carried Africans to the New World, it was on the plantations, it followed its way into current leadership in Africa and the America's: It lives in the heart of all those who try to fragment Africans by location, tribe and religion. It creates distrust and suspicion around great works, and leads Africans into nothingness rather than glory. It tries to suggest patterns of "selling out" to create distrust to further the political agenda of certain groups: "Oh it was the Christians that sold us out." But the historical record clears both Islam and Christianity as the primary agent involved in "selling out" Africans to the Atlantic or even Arab slave trade. So what we are left with is the 100% agency of African people: Africans as free people, uninfluenced doing Holocaust.
Ethnic groups who may have engaged in selling other groups, at later stages as the system got out of control, may have themselves been taken to the New World. So there is zero point in binary Diaspora vs Continent blame games. It is impossible to point to West Africa and say "they sold us out". It was a human personality that betrayed truth and justice when under duress, there is a more worrying and insidious human personality of greed and myopic ambition that has found its way through history into the current African leadership, that sells it resources and condemns its people to poverty to service Western designs, which reward this betrayal with trinkets.
First they came for the communists,
Who sold Africa out is the personality of greed and selfishness, and moreover disunity. The failure of African people to purge the "devil" within. It is not the people of Ghana, or the people of Nigeria, The Muslims, or the Christian converts, that was the sole culprit, because this generalization does not account for the traitors on the plantations of Louisiana. It does not account for the overseers who made deals to usurp African rebellion. And it goes soft in dealing with the flaws inside of ATR that were the biggest justification for enslavement. It also generalizes targeted African groups who remained in Africa but were equal victims of enslavement.
A lot of research has revealed that Africans as a group were suitable for enslavement due to physical endurance; resistance to disease, the advantages of procuring large numbers from slave pools. But there was something more profound than that, that made Africans ripe for enslavement. A failure of people of Africa to form defenses around spheres of interest. And that started, for what ever reason, because of a failure to understand continental interest above national interest. And this is tied hard and fast to notions of identity. Through no fault of African people in antiquity, since they had no reason then to have a Pan-African identity. However it is certainly an ongoing issue in Africa today, where blame can be laid squarely with contemporary Africans and no one else.
Had Europeans come to Africa and met with a united people who mastered space technology, nuclear weaponry, vacationed on the moon, and drove cars running on air, two things would have happened. A. there would be no perception of inferiority b. They would have been no opportunity for their designs on African flesh.
What Africans are still not getting, is, never let "internal" squabbles or confusions around difference (religious, ethnic, political, etc), allow a foreign aggression or agendas in Africa: Some term this divide and conquer, but steps to counter it are fleeting, especially when those that advocate unity are also busy causing disunity. So still the lessons of history have not be learned The failure to have a clear hierarchy of agendas allowed the African Holocaust. The African Holocaust affected all Africans, and required all Africans to close ranks around this issue. However. the issue of a pan-African concern was secondary, or non-existent to a "tribal" concern. The myopic acceptance of partnerships with Europe to rid one of a local enemy still work then and now in African politics. And even with hindsight this pattern of divide and rule is stated, but not fully understood. Africans will always have to deal with each other and conflict is inevitable, but in the hierarchy of interest, defense of the Motherland today must reign supreme.
AFRICAN IDENTITY IN ATLANTIC AFRICA
The viewpoint that “Africans” enslaved “Africans” is obfuscating if not troubling. The deployment of “African” in African history tends to coalesce into obscurantist constructions of identities that allow scholars, for instance, to subtly call into question the humanity of “all” Africans. Whenever Asante rulers sold non-Asantes into slavery, they did not construct it in terms of Africans selling fellow Africans. They saw the victims for what they were, for instance, as Akuapems, without categorizing them as fellow Africans. Equally, when Christian Scandinavians and Russians sold war captives to the Islamic people of the Abbasid Empire, they didn’t think that they were placing fellow Europeans into slavery. This lazy categorizing homogenizes Africans and has become a part of the methodology of African history; not surprisingly, the Western media’s cottage industry on Africa has tapped into it to frame Africans in inchoate generalities allowing the media to describe local crisis in one African state as “African” problem – Dr. Akurang-Parry, Ending the Slavery Blame, Ghana Web
When we study the dilemma which created a supply of slaves for the Western markets we see that the primary process was warring Africans. While some historians consider these merely "Slave Raids" it can be shown that casualties would have been experienced on both sides and thus making such activities more akin to warfare. Even if that warfare was against a "weaker" nation who served as a target group for procuring captives. The long standing temptation is to paint all these groups as African fighting Africans. However, in this historical period there was no African identity. People in 15th century Africa never heard of "Black people" as an identity. While they had knowledge of self from an internal perspective, that knowledge of self lacked a relationship to other African groups in the broader sense, especially when confronted with the arrival of Europeans. And that is key because being proud to be Zulu, for example, but seeing a Xhosa as different is a narrow understanding of 'self.' And this failure made it easy for identities, whether ethnic or national, to be used as a opportunity for exploitation. And this is not unique to Africa, the same thing happened everywhere the European went in his expansion where he met different ethnic groups.
Perhaps this is also the largest factor which added the European interest in Africa, lack of a singular identity. The Aro Confederacy and the Imbangala cult, all had strict conceptions of what made an individual eligible for enslavement. Among such criteria were constructions of gender, definitions of criminal behavior (which expanded and corrupted as demand increased), and conventions for dealing with prisoners of war. The Serer for example had a policy of not keeping their enemies as slaves, so they killed them. (Martin Klein) While in other communities various regulations govern their POW. All of this was never static as duress increased from the consequences of the Atlantic slave machine.
How did you become enslaved? Especially in the beginning people would have been debt slaves, or religious violators, people who were political rivals, or general undesirables (Nehusi). But as the trade progressed that internal supply pool from within ones nation was limited. The best source of new captives were prisoners of war; bought, traded or procured directly by violent warfare.
The ethnic groups that were most frequently transported across the Atlantic came from a relatively small ethnic pool. 
Groups most active in procuring captives where:
Modern Slavery is fundamentally an economic phenomenon. Throughout history, slavery has existed where it has been economically worthwhile to those in power. The principal example in modern times is the U.S. South. It is preposterous and a historical denial to say that slavery did not significantly build the West. Obviously the likes of John Thornton are self-serving and protecting the wealth of the West by denying and spinning the contributions gained from slavery. There was not only direct monetary reward from holding slaves to do work on a plantation. Enslaved people also allowed their captors "free hands" to pursue activities which further enriched the West.
and the institutional practices surrounding slavery display a sophistication that rivals modern-day law and business. (100 trillion dollars, based on 222,505,049 hours of forced labor between 1619 and 1865, with a compounded interest of 6% (and that is only for the USA),
The currency used in the African economic system of was the Okpoho (anillas are penannular armlets, mostly in bronze or copper). The word comes from the Igbo language known to in Spanish as Manillas.
Masters profited from reproduction as well as production. Southern planters encouraged slaves to have large families because U.S. slaves lived long enough -- unlike those elsewhere in the New World -- to generate more revenue than cost over their lifetimes. But researchers have found little evidence of slave breeding; instead, masters encouraged slaves to live in nuclear or extended families for stability. Lest one think sentimentality triumphed on the Southern plantation, one need only recall the willingness of most masters to sell if the bottom line was attractive enough.
See Also: Ideology versus the tyranny of paradigm : historians and the impact of the Atlantic slave trade on African societies. (J E Inikori)
Slavery's long shadow also could fall over some of Europe's oldest financial houses, which were leading financiers of the antebellum cotton trade. Lloyd's of London, the giant insurance marketplace, could become a target because member brokerages are believed to have insured ships that brought slaves from Africa to the USA and cotton from the South to mills in New England and Britain.
The United States owes African-Americans over $100 trillion in reparations, based on 222,505,049 hours of forced labor between 1619 and 1865, with a compounded interest of 6%. Africans in America today have been enduring struggles of discrimination, lynchings, indentured servitude, high imprisonment rates from disproportionate bias sentencing, sold to the highest sugar cane and sharecropper plantation owners and the historical impact that slavery had on African American even today, that lost of wealth in inheritance, land, pay, history, culture, family names.
When it comes to the Jews the flexibility of justice twist and turns to explain why Jews deserve compensation but Africans do not. Laws are used to obfuscate and blur issues. Broken analogues are made "If we paid everyone for every wrong in history where would it end?" There is however no statute of limitations on an ongoing Holocaust which impacts Africans the world over. It is not a historical event like when Rome sacked Greece; confined to ancient history. After the WW2, until now, Germany is sentenced to pay reparations even to grandchildren of the victims of the Jewish Holocaust.
As Boyce Watkins in response to Henry Louis Gates controversial remarks: "If a young girl is sold into prostitution by her own parents, the pimp must still pay for the suffering he caused the young woman. He can't simply say, "Her parents made a deal with me, so you should stop the blame game...I am not sure why Gates has gone out of his way to assuage white guilt in America. I hope that's not the price a Black man must pay in order to write an op-ed in the New York Times."
Also, most enslaved people in the West were in that state for all of their lives by European process, not African. Those who were captured in Africa were touched by the African component briefly-- and never again in the history of their enslavement. African involvement, while shameful, was was hardly a partnership in Holocaust, beyond the initial capture and sale.
And while the institutions of Arabia and Zanzibar that have profited from slavery have long vanished from our era, those in Europe still remain. They therefore have inherited both the profit and the lost of their trade in human flesh. And the victims of this horror are exclusively African. Therefore those victims have the right to forgive those whom they chose and bring charges against those they deem key persecutors of crimes against humanity.
It is not appropriate for the principle culprit to point fingers and say "I didn't act alone." Each will be judged according to the level of crime and the profits they derived from the crime. It is actually even part of European law; no court gives a lesser sentence to each individual because they happen to act in a group. Africans can therefore (without suggestion or help from Whites) deal with those African nations and kings who profited from slavery as they see fit.
REPARATIONS MEANS REPAIR
Reparations means repair. And that repair has to last every subsequent generation to come. When you go and buy a BMW with the "reparations check" what will that repair? Apart from BMW USA sales? So repair means things like University education -- for free, for those willing (a critical component in repair to engage a persons own healing processes).
After all this time the general public still frames the debate in terms of a personal cash windfall, a check in the post. We (Africans) do it because we sometimes do not realize repair, the Holocaust and lack of full conscious means a corruption of the holistic understanding of repair and healing. The institutions destroyed by slavery must be rebuilt so that the people, for every generation to come, can rebuild themselves and their self worth.
Personal Message: Now the crime against our ancestors is an open wound. And we cannot rest until there is justice. But there is a justice we can do for self. Do not be dis-empowered, do not be uneducated and do not be economically weak, do not destroy family and do not disunite. Let those who died for Africa know that we escaped the shackles of slavery. But every time we drop out of school, do crime, disrespect our history and our culture we are doing an injustice to their memory. We are confirming the legacy of slavery.
A judicial process was in place throughout most of Africa to preserve the law of the land; resources were such that large expensive industrial complexes were not viable. The Transatlantic Slave system distinguished itself because there was no crime on the part of the victims, simply being of African ethnic origin was the “crime.” Moreover the inhumanity and absolute debasement of the human being and then the subsequent legacy of this system which still exist and still creates privilege and opportunity for the majority of European descendants.
Political blackness is thus not an identity in terms of who a people are; but moreover a social-political consequence of a world which after colonialism and slavery existed in those color terms. Indians are no longer "brown people", Chinese do not respond to being called "yellow." Identity is always geographical and ties the people to their native environment or their core doctrine (Jews of Judaism, Muslims of Islam, Chinese of China). There is no country called Blackia or Blackistan. Hence, the ancestry-nationality model is more respectful and accurate: African-American, African-British, African-Arabian, African-Brazilian, and African-Caribbean.
Part of any examination of Slavery and it's legacy must also look at how language is used to favor European interest and justify slavery. "Black on Black" violence in Africa is a term which is used to say Slavery was self-inflicted. But then the Jewish Holocaust would be "White on White." Words have powerful meanings and a serious effect on historical perception.
Language is a principle factor in understanding the African Holocaust even in how demographics are understood. The highly contested number of people disrupted or lost to European slaving activities is partly locked in definitions. This is why Karenga takes issue with the term "Slave trade", as it has the power to mitigate or mask the reality of a Holocaust. So if we measure "slave trade" we get the European promoted number of 10 million arriving (notice the word arriving to further limit their culpability). However, the minute we change the linguistics to : "Not only was Transatlantic Slavery of demographic significance, in the aggregate population losses but also in the profound changes to settlement patterns, epidemiological exposure and reproductive and social development potential" an entirely new figure emerges. European historians have generally been very skillful at using language to define reality so that African casualties by their hands are very low but the casualties by African or Arab hands are as high as possible.
None of them had principle objections to slavery. Therefore, the challenge which is posed to Islam and Christianity for having a tolerance for slavery is also true for the religions native to Africa. The only true difference between Islam and Christianity and indigenous faith is power. They had more power to destroy and had the added side-effect of carrying the culture of the conquering party: may that party be Arab, European, or another African group (see Songhai and Mali).
And today the old urban legend of religion and oppression is invalid. The new tools of oppression hide themselves in western democracy. And in the Trojan horse of democracy are the soldiers of the free market, globalization and debt. False focus on religion is a death sentence, like worrying about a spider when a lion is about to pounce.
Islam, Christianity, and what became known as Vodun all fell prey to human greed. All were used to enhance the position of the slavers. So in native African faith based societies (Dahomey especially) the rituals which were set-up for purity and celebrating the deities became an opportunity to acquire more captives.
What in the message of Jesus said "Go to African and get as many Africans as you can?", Where in the Qur'an does it say "Where ever you find a Black make him a slave"? Democracy-- right now, is creating new colonies all over creation. However, this does not invalidate the principles of democracy just because of Obama and Bush have abused democracy.
If these mainstream religions are the principle agent of mentally enslaving people why is there the same problems existing in countries that do not have the influence of these faiths? Does Benin have some superiority claim over Ethiopia? But if the argument was correct then we should see this. We should see more agency in Benin than in Islamic-Christian Ethiopia. Because if these Abrahamic faiths, as separate elements, are enslaving people then how do you explain Ethiopia's rich and power history? In treating a prostate cancer it is usually a good idea not to cut out the bladder and leave the prostate. Mis- identifying religion is a detrimental to Africa; it is only convenient for people who do not want to waddle through the complexities of the Africa's problem. And the language of "destruction and domination" is political language, not historical language. The script destroyed oral tradition, the car destroyed the donkey, the CD destroyed the record, and the turntable destroyed the musical instrument. It is no different with culture and religion anywhere.
Many religion or spiritual systems, for hundreds of years, in West Africa practiced, and still practice, Trokosi: The giving of virgin girls to the gods for services or religious atonement. Similar practices were also found in the royal court of the Kingdom of Dahomey (in what is now Benin), in the 18th and 19th centuries. Wives, slaves, and in fact all persons connected with the royal palace of Dahomey were called "ahosi", from "aho" meaning "king", and "si" meaning "dependent" or "subordinate." In traditional Efik societies It is believed that Abassi gave certain tribesmen the ability to heal the sick through necromancy. If the witch doctor was unable to heal the ill person, they were thrown on a fire because it was believed that Abassi did not want them to be healed. Khasso Kingdom (17th to 19the century) like the Bambara Empire to the East, depended heavily on the slave trade for their economy. A family's status in a society was indicated by the number of slaves it owned, leading to wars for the sole purpose of taking more captives.
So we must understand the "flaws" of spirituality and religion are not exclusive to the Abrahamic faiths. And with the coming of Islam many of these harmful practices were destroyed or in some cases augmented. Islam was not selective and some serious aspects of culture were also washed away with its rise. And this must be considered in a holistic understanding in presenting valid arguments regardless of our position on religion and Africa.
More wars are caused over land and resources than God. The largest wars in human history had nothing to do with religion. Even during the crusades (which were supposed to be a Muslim-Christian conflict), the crusaders killed many non-Western Christians. However, far more emphasis has to be placed on greed, wealth disparity, and its effect on the human condition. In the absence of religion, slavery would have taken place. In the absences of democracy and communism, wars would have taken place. If we look at the most ruthless dictators most of them do not kill in the name of religion, (Mao for example said religion was poison). The problem with Mao et al was religion competed with him as a god-head. The biggest wars in history are not really in the name of religion; even the crusades were about Europeans acquisition of trade routes, which Muslims controlled. Outside of Islam and Christianity slavery existed, the largest slavers on the continent were neither Muslim nor Christian. All arguments support that religion is not the primary agent in the oppression of Africa, now or then.
It might not be right, but one thing we need to swallow is that all "advances" and "civilization" is the product of degrees of imperialism and conquest: Take a look at Ethiopian history. Kmt in her brutal conquest of Nubia, and Nubia's conquest of Kemet? Or the bloody Mfecane of Shaka Zulu as he forcible united the Ngoni people. If our primary issue is with conquest, then the only thing to celebrate is hunter-gatherer societies. There is a profit from conquest which every society of technological sophistication has inherited, and we must deal with this. The human challenge is therefore how to advance without exploitation.
Terms like "Islamic Invasion" and "foreign religions" are painted all over African history as if this was the only process by which Christianity and Islam came into Africa. Islam has been a native part of the African landscape for 1418 years, Christianity for 2000 and Judaism for far longer. Yet history paints Christianity in Europe as if it was fundamentally a European institution. Europe Europeanized Christianity just like how they paint Buddhism in China as if its origins where Chinese. So the notion of Christianity being a European project needs to be challenged. They were Churches in Africa long before the Vatican.
Anthropologists seek to extract religion from reality and make Africa the perpetual victim of invading Arabs and Europeans. Afrocentric history on one page vilifies these religions but then on the next page tries to score racial points by claiming the glories of the Islamic and Christian contributions such as Mali, Aksum and Songhai. However, Aksum was not a victim when it chose out of its rights as a sovereign self-determined super-power to accept Christianity as a state religion. Nor was Ancient Ghana when it accepted Islam as the state religion. These were super powers under African influences that made these choices, just as Rome did when it accepted Christianity. And in Africa’s recent history some of the greatest minds of liberation were both Muslim and Christian: Garvey, Malcolm, Martin Luther King, etc.
This does not mean that the alteration to culture was not destructive at times, but to use these terms are very loaded. In the case of Eurocentric Christianity, it was partners with a holocaust and thus was extremely destructive because its primary modus operand was to enslave and destroy. With all these religions, the problem of undue cultural influence became an issue where to be Islamic or Christian meant taking on the cultural attributes of the dominant practitioners of these faiths, may they be Arab or European. So this is a cultural challenge not serviced by throwing the baby out with the bath water. If Muslims and Christians are sensitive to this they will select African Muslim names, as opposed to Arab names, they will seek out African interpretations, which speak to their reality, and the same for Christianity. But religion is part of human globalize culture and cross-fertilization is an aspect of human history and it is in this context that religion should be looked at in Africa and indeed world history.
Europeans and Arabs did not walk into Africa to enslave Africans because of a deep hatred for dark skinned people: The primary motive was profit. South African apartheid was the same. It was a system, which protected European privilege and opportunities. Race was used as a justification to secure this privilege and most found justification in the Bible, the same Bible that Martin Luther King and Nat Turner used for liberation.
Modern slavery in Africa can be seen as a continuation or outgrowth of slave-trading practices in the past. Africans have stepped into the boots and habits of the retreating colonizers. Forced labor was used to an overwhelming extent in King Leopold's Congo Free State and on Portuguese plantations of Cape Verde and San Tome. But the majority factor is abject poverty, if the poverty is fixed it will automatically fix the slavery.
In Sudan and Mauritania and parts of Mali and Chad the slavery vacated by the abolition of what is called Arab slavery still continue in pockets of the country (explained in the video by Ali Mazrui). It is often cited that the Arab slave trade is still an ongoing activity, especially in places such as Sudan and Mauritania. And this is true, despite it being legally outlawed. But what is not mentioned is slavery goes on all over the world. 27 million people are trapped in some form of modern slavery may it be white sex slaves in Israel and Eastern Europe, Child slavery in Ghana, ritual slavery in South Africa.
PROBLEM IDENTIFYING SLAVERY
Another issue with 21st century slavery is it is easy to lose the word "slavery" in the linguistic technicality of what is and what is not not slavery. The lines are blurred and in some cases it is hard to determine if it is a human rights issue or a labor rights issue: A case of bad labor rights regarding how people are treated by their employers. Does it stop being slavery if someone is paid $1 a week? And what is the definition of paid, as payment can be in exchange for food and board. Then the only consideration is "freedom," but freedom in itself is problematic. Are you free to leave your masters home when you have no family, shelter or security outside of their walls? Clearly people can leave but by doing so they put themselves in greater harm. So again "freedom" is a matter of perspective.
The term Maafa and African Holocaust (from Old French holocauste, via late Latin from Greek holokauston, from holos ‘whole’ + kaustos ‘burned’ (from kaiein ‘burn’) express identical ideas. What is true for one is true for the other. They are interchangeable. But the purpose of these two terms is different, Maafa is the African term to self-describe the African Holocaust. The term African Holocaust is the English term to create an instant understanding of the gravity of what this term means to an English speaking audience who are familiar with the horrors the world "holocaust" invoke. Just like the Jews have Ha-Shoah and Jewish Holocaust. No one owns the word Holocaust, and if someone did, it is certainly not Jewish people, who only started using it in 1942. It is not a Hebrew or Yiddish word, and was not created to describe their historical experience. Like all words in English, meanings and applications change politically. If there is a copyright on words, well why stop with Holocaust?
MODERN SLAVERY TODAY
Today in the Congo the indigenous people are usually victims of their Bantu neighbors, who have replaced the positions once held by Europeans. Ethnic hatred against vulnerable groups such as the so-called Pygmies (Bayaka) is neglected because it is not as sensational as Darfur or Rwanda. But these people are dehumanized and treated as 2nd class citizens by the Bantu Settlers. The uncomfortable reality is an aspect of the African Holocaust has to be 'self-inflicted' horrors which cannot be escaped via the smooth language of evasion.
Sex slavery is a major problem in South Africa. Women seeking refugee status in South Africa from other African countries are trafficked by other refugees. An estimated 1000 Mozambican girls are trafficked to Johannesburg each year and sold as sex slaves or as wives to the Mozambican mine workers. When identified by police in South Africa victims of trafficking are deported as illegal immigrants with no treatment for being victims of sex slavery. Victims are afraid of law enforcement and do not trust the police to assist them. South Africa shares borders with Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland. It has 72 official ports of entry "and a number of unofficial ports of entry where people come in and out without being detected" along it's 5 000km-long land borderline. The problem of porous borders is compounded by the lack of adequately trained employees, resulting in few police officials controlling large portions of the country's coastline.
Religious Slavery ( Trokosi ) in modern Ghana is the continuing tradition of giving of virgin girls to the gods for religious atonement or payment for services. This was part of many ancient religions in this region with some connection to Vodun practices. In West Africa the practice has gone on for at least several hundred years. Similar practices using similar terminology were found in the royal court in the 18th and 19th centuries. Wives, slaves, and in fact all persons connected with the royal palace of Dahomey were called "ahosi", from "aho" meaning "king", and "si" meaning "dependent" or "subordinate."
In Ethiopia, children are trafficked into prostitution, to provide cheap or unpaid labor, and to work as domestic servants or beggars.
The only permanent solution is to eliminate the conditions that perpetuate Modern slavery - poverty. People movements is largely driven by either conflict or poverty, both lead to conditions, which foster modern slavery. Tackling just the visible head, as many NGOs are doing, leaves room for the roots to keep recreating the problem.
NOTES (authors Notes 2014)
I have addressed the issue of bias on numerous occasions. I have written on Arab Slave Trade and many other controversial topics. Detractors come with many arguments, that is just part and parcel of any controversial topic. But it is confusing to me how a European author can be reliable and an African author who has a totally different experience from within the legacy of slavery be unreliable and marginalized. Out of the legacy of slavery the modern Africa has inherited many handicaps, one of those included being excluded from publishing. African scholars struggle with grants and research tools. And all of that shows up in the paucity of authentic African representation. And by authentic I mean not the Africans approved by European/White/mainstream establishments.
I am an African (and have written on that also). My ancestors were dragged out of Africa and exploited on the plantations of the West. It is a very personal story, as I am descended from the African Holocaust. As noted in many articles, history is politics and no matter how neutral someone is claiming they are there is always bias, in some case more scholarly dishonesty than bias. All authors make mistakes, but we must hold high standards in pursuit of discoverable truths. I think that is what it means to be a professional historian/researcher.
As a critical thinker I am conscious of my bias and I write everything with the same critical skills. So if you have a problem with what I wrote on Arab slaver trade you will have a problem here also. I write by reflecting on all available positions and not ignoring uncomfortable facts. My treatment of all topics I write on is generally to remain balanced. Balanced does not mean not-biased. So what people studying any controversial topic must do is not only read what I wrote, but read broad and compare positions and decide based solely on quality of research which position is closer to the truth. No one author, our society can get everything right. But what is wrong with the world is when you go to read about anything African are met by a sea of White historians who still dominant the story of Africans. This is an injustice which I think must be resolved, and the steps to do so means African independent sources, institutions, must contribute equally to the story of Africa and the world. This is the injustice that caused me to start producing work on the story of African people.
Scholarship is not a PhD, or how many times CNN or TED host your opinions. Just like you do not need a PhD to be a good filmmaker or musician, Scholarship is only about the quality of the work. An I would like to be judged by the almost two decades I have dedicated to the African Holocaust topics.
SLAVERY FACT SHEET