Slavery And The Scramble Of Africa.

By the 19th century, European powers confined their imperial ambitions in Africa to the odd coastal outpost from which they could exert their economic and military influence. Europeans activities on the West African coast was centred around the lucrative slave trade.

But between 1562 and 1807, when the slave trade was abolished, European ships took more than 11 million people into slavery from the West African coast, and European traders grew rich on the profits while the population of Africa’s west coast was plundered and severely devastated.
As late as the 1870s, only 10% of the continent was under direct European control, with Cape Colony and Natal (both in modern South Africa) by Britain, Angola by Portugal. And yet by 1900, European nations had. Forcefully added almost 10 million square miles of Africa one-fifth of the land mass of the globe to their overseas colonial possessions. Europeans ruled more than 90% of the African continent.
One of the guise justifications for the so-called scramble for Africa was a desire to stamp out slavery once and for all. Shortly before his death in May 1873 at Ilala in central Africa, the celebrated missionary-explorer David Livingstone had called for a worldwide crusade to defeat the slave trade controlled by Arabs in East Africa, that was laying waste the heart of the continent.
The only way to liberate Africa, believed Livingstone, was to introduce the ‘three Cs’ fallaciously: commerce, Christianity and civilization.

This was a period in human history when Europeans profess their innate superiority over the ‘lesser’ races of the world whom they and Arabs regarded as Africans.
The theory that all the peoples of Europe belonged to one white race which originated in the Caucasus hence the term ‘Caucasian’ was first postulated at the turn of the 19th century by a German professor of ethnology called Johann Blumenbach.
Blumenbach’s colour-coded classification of races – white, brown, yellow, black and red – was later refined by a French ethnologist, Joseph-Arthur Gobineau, to include a complete racial hierarchy with white-skinned people of European origin at the top. Such pseudo-scientific theories were widely accepted at the time and motivated Europeans like Livingstone to feel they had a right to ‘lord’ and a duty to ‘civilize’ Africa.

The Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, convened by Otto von Bismarck to discuss the future and benefit of Africa, had the guised stamping out slavery high on the agenda. The Berlin Act of 1885, signed by the 13 European powers attending the conference, included a resolution to help in suppressing slavery.

In a strategic hoax, the economic objectives of the European colonial powers, such as protecting old markets and exploiting new ones, were far more important.
The Berlin Conference began the process of carving up Africa without the consent of Africa’s tribal chiefs/leaders, paying no attention to local culture or ethnic groups, and leaving people from the same tribe on separate sides of European imposed borders.

Britain for instance was primarily concerned with maintaining its lines of communication with India, hence its interest in Egypt and South Africa. But once these two areas were secure, imperialist adventurers like Cecil Rhodes encouraged the forceful acquisition of further territory with the intention of establishing a Cape-to-Cairo railway solely for British interest aims towards conveying stolen Africa’s human and natural resources to Europe.

Britain interest in the commercial potential of mineral-rich territories like the Transvaal, where gold was discovered in the mid-1880s, and in preventing other European powers, particularly Germany and France, from muscling into areas they considered within their ‘sphere of influence’.As a result, during the last 20 years of the 19th century, Britain annexed Egypt, the Sudan, British East Africa (Kenya and Uganda), British Somaliland, Southern and Northern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe and Zambia), Bechuanaland (Botswana), Orange Free State and the Transvaal (South Africa), Gambia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, British Gold Coast (Ghana) and Nyasaland (Malawi). These countries accounted for more than 50% of Africa’s population.

The other chief colonizers were France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
Germany had only been unified in 1871 and so was a late starter in imperial terms. Its first acquisition in 1884 was German South-West Africa (Namibia), which at the time was peopled by two semi-nomadic tribes, the Herero of the arid central plateau and the Nama of the still more arid steppes to the south.
When the two tribes went to war over cattle grazing, German traders and missionaries persuaded their government to intervene and fill the political vacuum.
A later Herero rebellion in 1904, provoked by the brutality of the German settlers, was put down by General Lothar von Trotha with savage efficiency, and tens of thousands of Herero men, women and children fell victim to his famous ‘Vernichtungsbefehl’ (extermination order).

However European quest to stamp out Slavery was entirely hollowed. Once it became known that slavery was alive and well in the Congo, which was run as a personal fiefdom of Leopold, King of Belgium, an international anti-slavery conference was held in Brussels in 1889-1890. The man who exposed the existence of slavery in Leopold’s Congo was a French missionary to Africa called Cardinal Charles Lavigerie. During a sermon at St Sulpice in Paris in 1888, Lavigerie told his audience and describing the horrors of the Congo slave trade: villages surrounded and burnt; men captured and yoked together; women and children penned like cattle in the slave markets.

The upshot of the Brussels conference was that Leopold cynically agreed to stamp out Arab slavery in return for the right to tax imports. He thereby overturned one of the key resolutions of the Act of Berlin, which had guaranteed free trade for the region.
But while Leopold made all the right noises, his agents in the Congo used forced labour (slaves in all but name) to extract rubber, his single most profitable export. By 1902, rubber sales had risen 15 times in eight years, and were valued at 41 million francs (£1.64 million).

By taking the women of Congolese villages hostage, Leopold had turned the men into forced labourers. The system was inhumane and harsh. Many hostages were starved to death and many male forced labourers were worked to death.
More people were killed as rebellions were brutally crushed. Demographers today estimate that the population of the Congo fell roughly by half over the 40-year period beginning in around 1880.

The truth behind the Congo’s rubber trade legalized robbery enforced by violence was finally exposed by Edmond Morel, an Anglo-French ex-shipping clerk, who wrote a series of accusatory articles in ‘The Speaker’ in 1900.
By arguing that Leopold’s illegal state monopoly was robbing other European merchants, Morel was able to enlist the support of businessmen. A British consul, Roger Casement, was sent to investigate, and the publication of his damning report in 1904 was, for Leopold, the beginning of the end.

In 1908, in return for £3.8 million, Leopold handed over control of the Congo to the Belgian state. But even then, the forced labour system continued. It took a different form during World War One, when tens of thousands of Congolese were conscripted as porters for the Belgian army.
The forced labour system significantly changed only in the early 1920s, when Belgian colonial authorities realized the population was dropping so rapidly that they soon might have no labour force left.
The signatories of the General Act of the Brussels Conference of 1889-1890 had no intention to put an end to the traffic of African slaves. But by the Convention of St-Germain-en-Laye in 1919, they agreed towards the complete suppression of slavery in all its forms and of the slave trade by land and sea. In September 1926, the International Slavery Convention was signed at Geneva under the auspices of the League of Nations ‘to find a means of giving practical effect throughout the world to such intentions’.

It defined a slave as a ‘person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised’, and undertook ‘to bring about, progressively and as soon as possible, the complete abolition of slavery in all its forms’.
But this was never applied against the practice of forced labour in colonial Africa, for example, requiring a village to provide men to work on roads and other public works. Under all the colonial powers, forced labour of one kind or another remained in place into the 1940s, and the imposition of taxes forced people into low-paid mining, industry or agribusiness jobs when they might otherwise have remained farmers.
The first practical consequence of the convention was that Ethiopia became the last African state to abolish slavery in 1932. All colonial regimes had long since done the same. Yet even today slavery is not unknown in Africa, particularly in countries such as the Sudan and Mauritania where law and order are often absent due to Arab and islamic Influence nor have the colonists ever really gone away. White(euro/arab) owned businesses still dominate the mining of Africa’s most valuable natural resources particularly gold, diamonds, oil and gas and in the eyes of many the continent has never stopped being plundered through different forms of guise.

Ejike Iloduba.
-Pan African researcher, writer and founder of Pan African Liberation Movement[PALM].


Africa, Christianity And Slavery.

Historical records and evidence shows that Islam and Christianity played an important role in enslaving Africans. The Arab-controlled Trans-Saharan slave trade, which was underpinned by Islam, helped to institutionalize slave trading on the continent.
And during the age of exploration, European Christians who approached the continent via the north witnessed caravans loaded with Africans en-route to the Middle East which lead them to assume that African enslavement was inherent in the continent. As long as the European explorers were concern, the bible was not only regarded as infallible, it was also their primary reference book. The answers to explain differences in ethnicity, culture, and slavery were found in Genesis 9: 24-27, which appeared to suggest that the differences were as a result of sin.

In this passage, Africans were fallaciously said to be the descendants of Ham, the son of Noah, who was cursed by his father after looking at his naked form. Moreover, in Genesis 10, the Table of Nations describes the origins of the different races and reveals that one of the descendants of Ham is Cush, and that the Cushites were people associated with the Nile region of North Africa.

In time, the European connection between sin, slavery, skin colour and beliefs would condemn Africans in totality. In the bible, physical or spiritual slavery is often a consequence of sinful actions, while darkness or blackness(skin colour) is associated with evil. Therefore Africans were considered heathens and evils, bereft of Christianity.
Scholars now suggest that Christianity had reached Africa by the early second century AD and that the Christian communities in North Africa were among the earliest in the world.

But Europeans refused to acknowledge African Christianity as genuine, because it appeared irreconcilable with the continent’s cultural context.
The emergence of colonies in the Americas and the need to find labourers saw Europeans turn their attention towards Africa, with some arguing that the Transatlantic Slave Trade would enable Africans, especially the enforced African muslims to come into contact with Christianity and civilisation in the Americas – albeit as slaves.
It was even argued that the favourable trade winds from Africa to the Americas were evidence of a providential design.

Religion was also a driving force for slavery in the Americas. Once enslaved, Africans were taken to their places of labour, where they were subjected to various processes to make them more compliant to slavery. Christianitsation was part of this process.
Ironically, although evangelisation was one of the justifications for enslaving Africans, very little missionary work took place during the early years. Basically, religion was just in the way of a money-making, because it took enslaved Africans away from their home. It also taught them potentially subversive ideas and made it hard to justify their cruel mistreatment by fellow Christians.

Nonetheless, some clergy tried to push the idea that it was possible to be a ‘good slave and Christian’, using St Paul’s ‘Epistles’ as justification, which called for slaves to ‘obey their masters’ and his writings that appeared to suggest it was commendable for enslaved Christians to suffer at the hands of cruel masters (1 Peter 2: 18-25).

Meanwhile all evangelicals were interested in the physical as well as spiritual condition of enslaved Africans rather than the abolition, freedom and repatriation of enslaved Africans back home.
But practical or rather charadious evangelical abolition work began with the Anglican Granville Sharp in the mid 1760s, when he fought for the freedom of a young African, Jonathan Strong. Sharp rose to national prominence during the landmark Somerset Case of 1772, which determined the status of slavery in Britain.
Sharp would later join up with the Quakers to establish the first recognized anti-slavery movement in Britain, in 1787. By this time, other Anglicans such as Thomas Clarkson had entered the fray.

Its laudable to note that there were no single Christian or Muslim saint with regards to slavery. It can be argued that both evil and inhumane characteristics co-existed within both religion, denomination and individuals alike, demonstrating the idiosyncrasies, aims and inconsistencies of the white race.

For instance, the Quakers have been described as the ‘good guys’, yet their links to slavery included the infamous David and Alexander of Barclays Bank fame, Francis Baring of Barings Bank and the Quaker merchant Robert King who was Olaudah Equiano’s last owner. Even at the height of their anti-slavery activity and end of slavery, many Quaker meeting houses refused to accept Africans into their congregations.
This was also the situation with the other denominations.

The Church of England had links to slavery through United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG) missionary organizations, which had plantations in Barbados. The bishop of Exeter personally owned slaves.
Anglicans involved in slavery often poured their ill-gotten gains into church coffers. And in cities with strong links to the slave trade, such as Bristol, the church bells were peeled when Wilberforce’s anti-slave trade bills were defeated in parliament.

One of the most common conceptions and facts about Christianity was that it turned Africans into servile slaves. A more accurate reading suggests that Africans were enforced to accept Christianity and incorporate some aspect in keeping with their traditional belief systems.
Other Africans withstood centuries of slavery and missionary influence to practice traditional beliefs that thrived despite attempts by the respective authorities to stamp them out.

Meanwhile adherents of African traditional faced restrictions on their ability to practice their African tradition openly. When Nonconformist missionaries stepped up attempts to evangelize Africans during the late 18th century, it was noted that African traditionalist still held on to their tradition as opposed to Christianity.

The Africans who where enforced to Christianity identified closely with the bible’s fallacious take on freedom, equality and justice, especially in drawing parallels between their own situation and that of the Hebrew people in Exodus. Indeed, such was the potency of this Old Testament story that many clergymen were instructed to avoid it in their bible lessons.

But for Africans it demonstrated that God was on the side of the oppressed and would send a Moses to free them. It was ironic to note that for the religiously enslaved Africans, the two continent of the Americas represented the biblical Egypt or Babylon a place from which to escape, whilst for the persecuted European Christians it was seen as the Promised Land.

Finally the relationship between the Christian Church, Islam and the slave trade reveals both shocking complicity and enlightened Africans. The question now is, how should Africans come to terms with this brutal and inhumane facet of its history?

By Ejike Iloduba.
-Pan African researcher, writer and founder of Pan African Liberation Movement[PALM].

UNITED STATE OF AMERICA’S EXECUTIVE ORDER.EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to seize all means of transportation, including personal cars, trucks or vehicles of any kind and total control over all highways, seaports, and waterways.EXECUTIVE ORDER 10999 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has broad powers in every aspect of the nation. General Frank Salzedo, chief of FEMA’s Civil Security Division stated in a 1983 conference that he saw FEMA’s role as a “new frontier in the protection of individual and governmental leaders from assassination, and of civil and military installations from sabotage and/or attack, as well as prevention of dissident groups from gaining access to U.S. opinion, or a global audience in times of crisis.” FEMA’s powers were consolidated by President Carter to incorporate the National Security Act of 1947 allows for the strategic relocation of industries, services, government and other essential economic activities, and to rationalize the requirements for manpower, resources and production facilities. 1950 Defense Production Act gives the President sweeping powers over all aspects of the economy. Act of August 29, 1916 authorizes the Secretary of the Army, in time of war, to take possession of any transportation system for transporting troops, material, or any other purpose related to the emergency. International Emergency Economic Powers Act enables the President to seize the property of a foreign country or national. These powers were transferred to FEMA in a sweeping consolidation in 1979 by Ejike Iloduba.

Tribal And Traditional Scarification Amongst The African People.Scarification in Africa has been a practice for centuries, and while it is a dying art today, it still tells a story of tradition and belonging for the wearer. The skin is pricked and cut, sometimes hundreds of times, to form stunning patterns of scar tissue, raised off the skin like braille. And it is a story of sorts, read by fellow countrymen, telling the tale of you and your ancestors, showing that you belong to a genetic line that stretches past human memory. It is mostly practiced by many groups in West Africa, as well as in Ethiopia and elsewhere in Africa. In order to create a raised effect, clay or ash is often packed into the wound, or different substances like citrus juice are used on it to irritate the wound and prolong healing. The more raised and puffy a scar is, the longer it has taken to heal and probably the more pain the wearer was in during the healing process. It is often done on children and on young women, depending on the tribe involved.The principal reason for scarification is tribal. It tells us about the person who bears the scars, such as which tribe they belong to and the region they come from, as long as we know how to“read”them.Driven by inter-tribal conflicts, the tribal dimension of these scars became widespread in west Africa during the eighteenth century. These indelible markings enabled warriors to distinguish members of their own tribe and so avoid killing them. As they didn’t wear uniforms or hats, the scars were the only way of telling friends from enemies. The scarifications also enabled them to sort corpses after a battle, so as to give members of their tribe the correct traditional funeral rites.The scarifications also helped most tribes in west Africa to avoid the yoke of slavery, because the slave-traders viewed unscarred faces as a sign of good health, and so did not seize tribesmen with facial scars. This is why people without facial scars are considered by their fellow countrymen today to be the descendants of slaves, immigrants or refugees.Tribal scarification is usually done before a child reaches adolescence, and children generally have the same scarifications as their father’s tribe.In north-western Benin, the Daassaba tribe’s scarifications run across each cheek, from the nostrils to under the chin. Other tribes are denoted by more or fewer scarifications across the temples, the forehead or the nose.Some types of scarification are used to distinguish those who believe in certain gods. For example, in southern Benin, followers of Ogou, the God of Iron, have large, often bloated, cross-shaped scars on several parts of their bodies.Others scarify their bodies and those of their descendants in honour of the gods to thank them for favours. Take, for example, the Abikou children (from Abimeaning to be born and kou meaning death, giving an overall meaning of“child destined to die”) of southern Benin and Nigeria. Women who have had several premature miscarriages can appeal to the gods to help them carry their child to term. Should their child be born without problems, the history of their dead siblings is forever cut into their face in the form of a small horizontal line in the middle of the left cheek. In cases where it is a witch-doctor’s skill, rather than the intervention of a god, that has helped the woman to give birth, the child is scarified with the witch-doctor’s tribal marks, and is called a Yoombo (purchased child).Many inhabitants of the town of Ouidah in southern Benin still practise the so-called“two-times-five”scarification, which consists of small pairs of vertical scars in the centre of each cheek, another between the eyes and two more on the temples. Legend recounts that this scarification was first performed in 1717 by King Kpasse when threatened by a rebellion led by Ghézo and his warriors. Heavily outnumbered, Kpasse fled into a python-infestedforest. The snakes did not attack the king: instead they helped him to counter-attack and force his enemies to surrender. Henceforth, all Kpasse’s descendents have born the same scarifications and have held pythons to be sacred, honouring them at numerous festivals, and severely punishing anyone who kills one.Meanwhile, some tribes in north-western Benin, north-eastern Togo and south western negeria are so proud of their scarifications that they copy them onto the walls of their houses. Just like the road signs we encounter when we arrive at a settlement, these interior and exterior decorations show us who the inhabitants are.In south eastern Nigeria facial scarifications can be used to tell us about the family history of an individual, but the “reading” does not stop there: many men and women have scarifications on their face, shoulder and hands which give us more personal information about them. “Ichi” scarifications amongst the Igbo people of west Africa are found on their faces only which is a sign of bravery and the scarification can only wear by warriors.In the Atacora district of north-western Benin, young women ask to be scarified with puuwari (from waama puuku meaning belly and warii meaning writing)when they are in love, so that all their relatives know that they intend to marry. Puuwari scarifications cover the chest and the belly with rows of small vertical and horizontal scars, and take a long time to do. Once completed, they tell the girl’s mother that she is ready for marriage.In the Bétamaribè tribe, young brides are subjected to a further ritual: before they become pregnant for the first time, they scarify their buttocks with vertical scars to ensure a lack of birth complications.Currently scarification is becoming increasingly rare in Africa. In Nigeria, Togo, and Benin, it has almost disappeared in urban areas, due to the reaction of the western and arab imperial religious bodies who viewed it as satanic, evil, demonic, animist and barbarous, forbade it and even punished those who practiced it with hell fire.The hygienic problems associated with scarification are obvious. Many campaigns are underway to inform villagers about the risks of infection, in particular with the surge of HIV AID endemic in the continent and tetanus. The scarifiers, who view their practice as sacred, obstinately refuse to start using disposable blades or to sterilize their knives.Finally the combined effect of these three factors namely christianity, islam and westernization is gradually driving out this ancient ritual, to the rage of our elders, who are powerless to stop it. For we Africans, scarification is something to be proud of, it demonstrates a person’s pride in belonging to a tribe or a family.Ejike Iloduba.@Pan African Liberation Movement[PALM].