Africans have been fighting slavery since early ADs. Lourenço da Silva Mendouça, the First world Abolitionist, was a Prince from the royal family of Ndongo Kingdom in Angola. He had successfully convinced authorities to end slavery in Europe. What Nafafé discovered is that in 1684, Mendonça went to the Vatican, where he accused the nations involved in the trans Atlantic slave trade of crimes against humanity. It was not just a petition, it became court cases, undertaken by Black Africans and supported through highly organized international solidarity.
Why the Vatican? It was Pope VI who had issued Papal Bull that authorized Spain and Portugal to colonize and enslave Africa, America and the Natives in 1493 AD. Muhammed Ali was on Mike Douglas Show with Sly of The Family Stone as co-host when he complained about Slavery. One of the guests, Rep. Wayne L. Hays, claimed the African Chiefs were paid. What he did not say is that the slave raiders went back, captured the Chiefs and sold them into the plantations as the other slaves. https://youtu.be/uxrHEGNu6o4
Nafafé explained that “It has never been previously established by historians that Mendonça was an African, which is really incredible – that in the 1600s you had this African man who traveled all over Europe to mobilize an activist movement for the liberation not only of Black Africans, but also of Indigenous people in the Americas … People always think that the legal abolitionist movement started in Britain, in the late 18th century, but Mendonça really forces us to review our positions on this.”
https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2021/3/10/how-portugal-silenced-centuries-of-violence-and-trauma. Well before 300 AD, Africans had been fighting the Muslim Caliphate from Ghana to Songhai Empires. The Zanj fought and conquered the Abbāsid caliphal empire. Their fight for Freedom and Rebellions led to the Zanj superior power in Mesopotamia that ruled Basra in Iraq into Iran from 869 to 883 AD. It took all combined forces of Arab states before Arabs were later able to overcome them.
Bookman, another captured African leader of Maroon and Vodou Houngan, fought for Freedom in Haiti for Independence from France. The wrong notion that freedom for people only exists within the Western Activists is astounding. It is well known in the Diaspora that the Chiefs that sold African slaves were later captured by the same raiders and sold in countries other slaves were. Researchers and genes tracers confirmed many of the slaves in the Americas came from the lines of Kings and Chiefs that sold slaves and were sold into slavery themselves.
Many African Americans like the Zanj conqueror of Basra, are aware and proud of their royal blood from Africa. Yet some blame new African immigrants not the raided Chiefs, for selling them out; knowing pretty well that their sellers were also captured about the same time after they were. The African Chiefs that sold Africans into the Diaspora suffered the same fate when the slave raiders brought them into the Diaspora. Stop blaming all Africans at home, many rebeled against slave trade sacrificing their lives like Bookman, at home and abroad.
When the African sellers arrived at the plantations, their subjects and fellow African slaves that got there earlier recognized them. Some ridiculed the new arrivals and others welcomed them with hostility. The hostility remained today within African American communities, disrespecting one another and hostile to recent African immigrants. Some African Americans still blame the captured and free Africans that escaped slavery, rebelled and fought against slavery.
Muhamed Ali was right, when Sly Stone tried to distract him while answering Rep. Wayne Hays questions, he said: Black people spend so much time attacking one another, some of us become a distraction from the real goal of keeping our energy on the Prize. As the inhumanity of man to man became more vicious, free Africans at home rebelled and ran away as those on the slave ships and in the Diaspora. Indeed, France got reverse reparation from Haiti.
Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka was at Cambridge Library Colloquium with Prof. Louis Gate of Harvard University talking about Black on Blacks angers from Nigeria/Ghana to South Africa/other Africans. Prof. Gates raised the issue of recent Africans immigrants. More than forty years after Mohamed Ali and Wayne Hays tangled on the Mike Douglas Show. Prof. Gates, like some African Americans, still thinks the African immigrants that sold them, follow them to America to share their quota. It was embarrassing for all Africans at home and in the Diaspora that the issue is still alive at Harvard of all places.
Quota is dead in America. It was threatened by American white students in courts, not recent African immigrants. Indeed, the United States Supreme Court finally nailed it. Though replaced by Affirmative Action, that was also replaced by Diversity for all ethnic groups. The diversity is being threatened by Asians in Court suing that they were cheated in Admission to Harvard; not by the African students. No other ethnic group in America attacks their own from old countries. The Irish created special admission for their recent Irish immigrants just as the Italians, Polish, Ukrainians Americans welcome their recent immigrants.
Africans must find better ways to reconcile their differences at home and in the Diaspora. Black on Black crimes must decrease below the level of White on White, Asians on Asians or Natives on Native crimes. People victimize their own at a greater proportion than they victimize others. But Africans have suffered in the hands of others more than any other continent. It is true that the Chiefs sold their own for guns and mirrors to capture more slaves, it does not justify liberty of worst mean spirited habits by individuals to lynch, slash and burn slaves for any or no reason.
Indeed, Yoruba tradition cautions that the way a child was born, so was a slave. Bi a se bi Omo ni a se bi Eru. The cry for reparations must be understood as making amends for past injustices, not to displace or favor anyone. Those that have gained from past injustices against Africans and continue to exploit the people and the Continent must look for humane ways to make their profit and pay Africans reparations appropriately to those that are due. Unlike France that demanded and got reparations from its colonies from Haiti to Africa.
Despite all the wars Africans fought against the Muslims and Christians coming as explorers and missionaries, sent into the Dark Continent for 500 years, the only miracle is that Africans have not been eliminated from the surface of the Earth. They are strong and resilient. We do not need anymore enemies within. Today we are lured, not forced into slave ships anymore. Most of the new Africans use life savings to buy tickets on Boeing 707 like the looters and their families.
Farouk Martins Aresa @oomoaresa
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