Letters Readers’ views
Letting off the Arab slave traders I read with great interest the article “Freeing ourselves from domination” (NA, July) by Onyekachi Wambu. As a professor of African and African-American Studies for over 25 years, it is refreshing to hear the comments on slavery.
Indeed, Wambu reminds us not to give a free pass to the Arabs, who also were heavily involved in the trafficking of Africans as slaves. All too often it is France, Portugal, England, the Dutch, Spain, and the United States who have been indicted for their participation in the Atlantic Slave Trade.
Even as an academic involved in the research and teaching of this subject, I find it impossible to comprehend it all – this selling and merchandising of Africans across the Atlantic.
In the 15th to 19th centuries, it was human flesh. Today, China, India, Japan, and others come in search of the continent’s precious metals, petroleum, and lumber.
And a s we saw in April, in Côte d’Ivoire, one “former” colonial master never really left the continent. It appears that the few Pan-Africanists around the world will have to demonstrate to others the need for Wambu’s 1st August “Day of Silence”.
rofessor Zelbert Moore, State University of New York, USA
Africa, what next? I sometimes wonder what life would be as an African if colonisation hadn’t taken place, and if there was no struggle for freedom. If there was no scramble for Africa, would we have continued to be as weak as our colonisers thought we were?
I don’t dwell in the past. Really I don’t, but I can’t help wondering where we as Africans would be if the roles were to be swapped.
I have no doubt that Africa can step up its game when the time is right, but when will the time be right? Everyone is talking about change, but no one is willing to deliver it. Isn’t it just so ironic?
Have you noticed that our politicians come into parliament with the “I shall satisfy myself and my tribe” idea? It’s such a shallow attitude, to say the least; but then again this only applies to those who actually think about others.
I shudder to think what goes through the minds of those who only think of themselves. Before the period of colonisation, the leaders were all about the people; where has that ideological thinking gone? Why don’t our leaders of today think the way their forefathers thought? At what point did we start “losing” it?
What I am trying to say is exactly how different would our lives be if we were the explorers, and the colonisers? If we had the greatest empires, and were the ones with power.
They say time heals all wounds but it seems it will take more than time to heal the wounds of Africa.
heresia Anyango Kyalo
Mubarak’s example The historical trial of the former Egyptian strongman, Hosni Mubarak, caged and on a hospital bed, is a strong warning to African leaders that things are changing fast and leaving them behind. Power belongs to the people and they can take it away from the jaws of a heartless leader no matter how long he has reigned. It is revolution time in Africa and Egypt has set the pace.
ilvester M. George,
Creationism vs Evolutionism With all due respect to Professor Felix Konotey-Ahulu (“Charles Darwin and his apostles have got it all wrong,” NA, Aug/ Sept), the quasi-rationalistic debate on “evolutionism” and “creationism” is not only naïve; it is a throwback to 18th and
Stone Town in Zanzibar, a monument to the Arab slave trade. As many as 50,000 slaves passed through Stone Town each year, and while waiting to be sold, they were kept in dungeons and pits by the Arab slavers
19th century providentialism and eschatological debates in Europe.
The fundamental basis of Prof KonoteyAhulu and Carl Wieland’s thesis – a mixture of providentialism and rationalistic immanence – had already been rubbished by Ludwig Wittgenstein.
It is impossible and completely illogical to suggest that provables like “genetics”, or even the usual reductionist idea of “physics” or “scientific explanation” can be a basis for proving or disproving “unproved and unprovables” like “God”.
Prof Konotey-Ahulu correctly describes “genes” as “information” but proceeded to ontologise the same “in-formation”. However, one cannot insist on separating epistemology and ontology and simultaneously insist on fusing them when it suits one’s argument.
For example, the same Egypt that the professor used to prop up his weak argument about the link between “Africa” and “Christianity” was also the place that wiped the Egyptian inventor of “monotheism” – Akhenaton – out of the conventional history of Ancient Egypt and restored polytheism during the reign of Tutankhamun.
The holy scriptures of Judaism and “Christianity” bear this persistent rebellion out. From the “golden calf ” incident on Mount Sinai to King Solomon’s polygamous polytheisms to “Babylon the great”; the dominant current in the Semitic Scriptures is a constant resistance to monotheism and its “unifying” promises.
My point is mainly that the professor’s arguments do not make much sense in the light of the fact that the teaching of the Bible or the concept of “God” does not belong in the same category as the mechanics of “genetics” or observational science in its applied form.
On the other hand, Ancient Egypt should not be used to rationalise the mass Christianisation of Africans by colonialists from the 16th century onwards.
Festus Ikeotuonye University College, Dublin, Ireland
4 | November 2011 | New African