Yesterday, i was appalled by a comment a black co-worker made as we discussed and remembered the abolition of slavery. She said:
I am sick and tired of people complaining about white people and digging up the past all the time. This was something that happened so long ago, just get over it! ‘They’ are even lucky to be in a country so well off. It would have been far worse living in ‘poor Africa or Suriname’.
Hold up. Wait a minute. Stop. Push the breaks and Freeze!
They are ‘lucky‘ to be here instead of ‘poor Africa or Suriname‘? My dear, have you forgotten how we got here in the first place? Brutally captivated, separated from our families, transported like animals only to be brutalized, violated and abused to build up the ‘developed world’. With no rights, no freedom and no mercy, only suffering. But boy, were we lucky!
Have you forgotten how this country we are ‘lucky’ to live in was built? How it came to be so great? Where all the Gold and Silver, and Diamonds were stolen from? Was it not on the backs of our people? Was it not from ‘poor Africa and Suriname’?
I was born and raised in Europe and I feel no hatred towards anyone. What annoys me is the ignorance. Not ignorance from the western world, because the one sided way Africa is being projected here has taken care of keeping ‘us’ blind to all the realities about this continent. No, my annoyance is towards the ignorance of the black communities. But i might get into that some other time.
Africa was Rich!
The people living in these countries were doing just fine! They had everything they needed from their own lands. Africa was a trade partner with Arabia and China, way before the Europeans. Take Ghana for instance. Between the ninth and thirteenth centuries, it traded in gold, salt and copper. It was like a medieval European empire, with a collection of powerful local rulers, controlled by one king or emperor. Ghana was highly advanced and prosperous. Or look at the Aksum empire (now Ethiopia), it was the 3rd largest African empire at 1.25 million sq km. In the sixth century, the kingdom of Aksum (Axum) was doing what many elsewhere had been doing: pursuing trade and empire. Its exports of ivory, glass crystal, brass and copper items, among other things, had brought prosperity to the kingdom.
THEN after slavery
The ‘first world countries’ flourished, developed, and reaped the fruits of our labour, and the wealth of our countries. Leaving our countries plundered and destroyed, robbed of our riches, undeveloped and torn, with a people who were hundreds of years behind on modern developments. The countries that suffered under the Trans Atlantic slave trade were left to build the land from the ground up with nothing. Confusion, Hatred, Pain, Suffering. Generations of good knowledge and skills had been demolished. Everything they had was gone, everything they knew had changed.
Yes, this happened a long time ago, but the effects thereof are still very real for the countries that suffered by it. So no, i will not get over it, because we are still living it. Every day.
We can not speak of the poverty and under-development of Africa and disregard the history behind it. We should not belitlle the hundreds of years this continent was set back on modern developments. For far too long, Africa has been the face of failure, pity, shame, violence, sickness and despair. It might be in vain, but i still believe that Africa can rise again and will say, look at where we came from? And that should be the face of Africa.
Click here to read more about Africa’s history before slavery.
Property of blackanddixi