Europe in Africa.  New Sound Bites, Old Agenda.  

Part 1

This is the 1st of a 4 – part article, on dangerous Western policy & oblivious Africa people.

This article in the Express  & this message received from a member of staff at The African Development Bank, made me realise the urgency of the danger, the African continent faces.  I have long been critic of the Western ‘aid’ agenda, save in emergency disaster situations.

First a Quick Lesson in History to Set the Context.

For me the West’s strategy for the continent is overt & unequivocal neo (new) colonialism consisting of Africans on their own continent, in their own countries, forced into a position, of a sub –  subservience to Western interests.  It’s a 4 – throng approach & it’s happening already.

Punch_Rhodes_Colossus

First, dissimulate & lie about Africans, from the pyramids to brain size, ensure a barrage of self- perpetuating myths, about the backwardness of the people that birthed life, as we know it today.  It is pervasive.  I visited the British museum years back & saw a section titled Egypt & Africa, as if the builders of the pyramids, where other than/ separate from Africans.   Egyptians are Arabized, due to the Jihad & the establishment of a base that culturally assimilated the people, over millennia.  DNA remains overwhelmingly African. We know the Pyramids were built by West & East Africans that settled the area & united into a kingdom, by a Nubian.  Yet, everything is done, by those that know these facts, to dissimulate, distort & neutralise, including prestigious publications, like National Geographic.  Since DNA now proves the truth, the distortion now is, that modern day Egyptians are not descendants of those that built ancient Egypt, also proven to be a lie.  You’d never know this given, films like The Mummy, Gods of Egypt, Moses.

 

Another myth is the promotion of ‘the dark continent’ of little tribes, with spears, eating wild berries, brought together into modern states, by Europeans.  This lie, is advanced constantly, even by academia, that know it to be untrue.   Popular culture promotes this; films, television, media; to fix a delusional sense of superiority of Europe & inferiority of Africans. Did such societies exist? Yes; did they define the continent, in terms of development, No.  We know this from descriptions of the first Europeans (Portuguese) to arrive along the coast of West Africa in the late15th century & later in the 19th century, from descriptions by Mungo Park, exploring the Niger River, in Nigeria, for example.   Ethiopia, Ghana, Benin, Mali, Morocco, (Moors are Black & today the country is very mixed) were established, functional, nation states.   Yet, School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), of world class University of London, up till a few years ago, refused to acknowledge Great Zimbabwe, was built by Zimbabweans.

 

The constant recourse to the brutal human trafficking, in which Africans were kidnapped & sold into a cruel system of generational, torturous enslavement, characterised by lynching & rape, is calculated to demean.  Hence “African slaves”, is referenced casually, as if slave is a race of people, synonymous with Africa.  It helps justify a disregard for Africans’ humanity, the claim to rule over them & the claim to their resources.   Slavery is by no means the history of the continent & in fact Europeans were enslaved by Africans; Moors/ Berbers.  That this is never mentioned, is no mistake.  Presenting a conquering, un- subjugated image, underpins these baseless claims of superiority.  Thus, history has it happened, has no place here. Africans ruled over Europe for centuries; bringing knowledge & development. to Europe.   Casting Morgan Freeman, as the knowledgeable Moor in Robin Hood, with Kevin Costner, was not artistic licence.  Yet, it is another area of historical fact that is frequently distorted, with a preference by Westerners to depict Moors, as Arabs.

 

The fact that Europeans enslaved each other, right up till the 20th century is conveniently forgotten. From the Greeks, to Romans, to the Danes & Vikings, extending to shipping citizens off, to the New World, for criminal offences, Europeans brutally enslaved each other. Let’s not mention Serfs, part of the socio – economic construct at the time, were no more than slaves.   In fact, the Slavic States, are so called, because this was the area, renown for the acquisition of slaves in Europe, before the “discovery of Africa”.   Linked to this, is the well documented fact that the original human trafficking, into the Caribbean sugar plantations, consisted of South Asians & Europeans, whom unable to withstand the harsh environment & inhumane conditions, perished, while African managed to survive.  Thus, steering the course & focus of this shame of humanity, solely onto the African continent.

 

Even the notion of writing not existing pre – introduction by Europeans, is a lie.  From forms of hierographic all over the continent, (not just Egypt), to Tifinagh script, still used in Morocco today, it’s denial, denial, denial.  To underline my point, I once read an exposition on Tifinagh script, attributed wholly to Moors (African ethnic group), thousands of years ago, by a Western scholar, wondering who introduced it to them!!!  Merely the virulence the self – perpetuating myth, I don’t know. What’s clear is the hypothesis, Africans are ‘good – for – nothing.’

 

I once watched a documentary in which it was stated that during the First World War, 180K soldiers died from the ‘commonwealth,’ ironic this should be the pronoun, for a system of exploitation.  60K civilians & balance of 160K soldiers from British Isles.  This means more died from ‘the colonies’ including Africa.  Yet you’d never know this, as the constant exclusion of people of colour, particularly Africans from references to this war.  In other words foreigners helped win the Great War.  There is a monument, to animals, on one of the most prestigious roads in Europe; Park Lane, there is none of any prominence to the many people of colour, particularly Africans & Africans in diaspora that died fighting Europe’s wars.  (There’s a non -descript obelisk somewhere, to all those from the ‘commonwealth’, though Australia gets a grand one at Green Park.  I wonder why??).

 

Nowhere is the suggestion & portrayal of Africans as ‘losers’ more pervasive than the lie that Africans have never been other than a lesser specie of humanity conquered & abused by every race on the planet, thereby cementing their status as ‘bottom of the pile.’ Yet the fact. like every other here, is this.  Ethiopians defeated the Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, Arabs & more lately Italy as they attempted to extend their empires in Africa.  It was to Ethiopia (Abyssinia) that Alexandra’s wife was fleeing with her son, upon his murder.  It was to King Negus of Ethiopia, Mohammed, sent his family from Arabia, during the Jihad, for protection.  The second war with Italy, ending with the defeat of Ethiopia, was only accomplished, after the use of mustard gas in 1936.  Ethiopia’s kingdom has extended into modern day Saudi Arabia. Morocco’s extended into Europe, pre- Arab migration, Kanem -Bornu from Nigeria to modern day Libya.  Empires won & lost, reflective of world history.  Sudan warded off centuries of Arab attempts of invasion, until the C17th defeat, yet Western interpretation, of this history fact, is Arab slave raids.

 

This all- encompassing, distorted representation of Africa, while advancing the egoistical, self – righteous agenda, of those that actively promote it, has the opposite effect on those at which it is aimed.  It is calculated & deliberate.  From the Economist front page in 2000 of Africa the Hopeless Continent, to constant media portrayal of war, famine & ‘aid,’ everyone the world over has arrived at a perception of Africans, as dirty, disese ridden, backward, less able slave, sub – species, consequently to be discountenanced, & unworthy of empathetic respect, as equals.   Watching a debate on the 2000 Economist report, on News Night (UK), the depth of the delusion created by this self – perpetuating myth of Africa, dawned on me.  The journalist had no idea of the continent’s history at all and was put down effectively, by the ‘African’, with whom he was being interviewed, on points of fact.  It was obvious (I knew this anyway) that no research had been done, before publication, as you’d expect from this  supposedly incisive, analytical publication.  It was enough to simply regurgitate the distortion, the lies, the misrepresentation, so fixed in the psyche of almost everyone.

 

It is the partition of Africa in 1884, stemming from the Conference of Brussels & the accompanying brutal wars on Africa, by Europe, that has produced a mishmash of ‘countries’ with no central identity, nor cultural narrative, with which to form cohesive nations.  Worse, missionaries taught a distorted view of Christianity. Jesus Christ whose only description of his appearance, is in the Revelation of John, the last chapter of the Bible, is of a man with ‘bronze feet & woolly hair’ in a long white robe, is clearly not Caucasian.  This cultural appropriation of Jesus, is furthered by the lie, Europeans brought Christianity to Africa. This myth is easily discredited by biblical accounts, showing Christianity was first preached to Jews & then to the Ethiopian eunuch.  It is historically validated that Christianity got to Europe years later, through Paul.

 

Today this distorted historical discourse on Africa is ubiquitous, sadly, also among Africans themselves.  Herein lies the foundations, of the mental/ emotional & psychological warfare, on which the superstructure of inferiority, is engendered amongst Africans.   A people’s history, is an integral part their identity.  A poor self- worth, a lowered self- esteem, is ripe for the acceptance of the West’s neo – colonial agenda.  The teaching of history in African countries must change, from that of taught by colonial masters. To ensure the future prospects of this young continent, recalibrating the education system, to enable emerging generations, secure their place in the global ecosystem, as equals, is an urgency that must be addressed.  Integral to this, is that archaeological & historical events must be brought to life & rigorously taught, to throw off the shackles of the non- achieving ‘dark continent.’

 

Part 2 – my experiences of UK international development.  What lessons to be learnt?

 

 

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About Ms. Funmi Ade. MPhil, MSc, BA (Hons), FIC, MCIPS, CPPM, D7307.

All things enterprise, learning, development & women.
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