Date: 25th March 2021
REPARATIONS FOR EUROPEAN AND ARAB ROLE IN SLAVERY IS RACIAL JUSTICE
Fellow Africans, people of African descent all over the world,
Today as we celebrate the 6th African History Month conference ,we turn back to the slings of time to remember and honour our ancestors who endured slavery before the Europeans came ,when Africa encountered its first slavers ;the Arabs in early 7BC And lasted for over 14 centuries yet this is not taught in African History.
The African slave trade is the most tragic and disturbing episodes in human history, what our ancestors went through should never be forgotten.
On this day we honour those who endured the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade which began in 1444 AD the Portuguese brought a large group of enslaved Africans to Europe and 82 years later (1526) the Spanish explorers brought enslaved Africans to settlements that would become the United States.
It is estimated that possibly as many as 11 million Africans were transported across the Atlantic,95 % of whom went to South and Central America, mainly to Portuguese, Spanish and French possessions while only 5% ended up in the United States.
However a minimum of 28 million Africans were enslaved in the Muslim Middle East but the Arab slavery was lethal and targeted mostly African women thus it made Africa too weak such that it could not defend itself during European slavery and colonization. The Arab slavery unquestionably checked the population growth of Africa ,was marred by excessive poaching of the reproductive potential of harvested areas, placed tremendous pressure on gender and marital relationships, caused greater economic decline which negatively impacted Africa during the three critical centuries of European expansion to global domination.
Since at least 80% of Africans captured from East, North and Southern Africa by the Muslim slave traders were calculated to have died before reaching the slave markets, it is believed that the death toll from 1400 years of Arab and Muslim slave raids in Africa could have been as high as 112 million.
I speak today to millions of people of African descent in Iraq, India, Iran, Yemen, Syria, UAE who as a result of Arab enslavement continue to endure systemic racism and human rights violations in the Arab world.
The Arab slavers did not only march their African captives to Arabia but also sometimes sold them to European slavers. It is imperative to note that the European slavery was encouraged by the Arab Slavery
Whereas in modern times the popular image of African slavery springs from a vision of a tormented male suffering under the lash of unceasing labour on some ‘’New world sugar plantation the real face of servitude finds its focus in forced migrations of millions of girls and young women across Sahara and the Horn of Africa captured into institutions of Islamic concubinage
While in European ‘’New World’’ the measure of a man’s stature was mapped out and calibrated on the physical dimensions of empire built upon sinews of forced masculine labour, in the Islamic orient wealth was a reflection of prestige, young girls were seen as the vessel of male hubris, themats of male pleasure ground and malleable material to be shaped to the masters will.
Thus ,African women slaves in the Arab world were often turned into concubines living harems, and rarely wives, their children becoming free.
A large number of male slaves and boys were castrated and turned into eunuchs who kept watch over harems. Castration was extremely brutal operation with a survival rate of 10%.
The combined effect of this resulted in steady demand for slaves throughout the Islamic world and continuing expansion of Islamic regimes in Sub-Saharan Africa made Black Africans a major source .
Therefore invasive wars was a practice of slavery into the economic, political ,demographical, cultural, social and religious life of Africa and persisted for 14 centuries.
There is no doubt that slavery was and still remains the worst crimes against humanity yet the Europeans and the Arabs are yet to own up to these grave atrocities or acknowledge the severity of this African Holocaust.
It baffles me that the Arab slavery began long before the Islamic conquest of Africa but it has remained at relatively low level as compared to the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade and did not become illegal or abolished ,and was maintained till after the colonization of Africa to this day we still hear stories of African women turned into slaves in the Middle East.
On 21st Century the Arab slavery still exists in Mauritania and in Libya after the assassination of Col Muammar Gaddafi.
It is sad to note that Arab slave trade was outlawed in Ethiopia only in 1935 in order to gain international support against Italian invasion.
While European slavers paid a higher price for male slaves than female slaves ,the reverse was true in the case of Arab slavers.
Whereas Europeans profited mainly from male labour, the Arabs saw profit in sexual satisfaction and reproductive potential . Offsprings from the union of Islamic master and female slaves were born free out of respect for the child’s Islamic paternity while any offspring of the Atlantic slave trade were born into slavery but this benign laws of Islam provided very little comfort to enslaved Africans.
In 1600 the population of Black Africa was 50 million which was about 30% of the combined population of Europe, Middle East and North Africa but by 1800 Africa’s population fell to 20% of the total. In 1900 at the end of slave trade the population of Africa had fallen to just over 10% of the total and this led to the collapse of continent’s labour intensive agricultural output.
In contrast the populations of Europe and Asia increased year to year as Africa’s population drastically declined due to excessive poaching by the slavers both Arab and Europeans.
The trauma of slavery cannot be underestimated and today continues to impact people of African descent in the Americas, Middle East ,Europe and all over the world.
On this day I demand that the European, American and the Arab world pay reparations for slavery and call for an end to slavery in Libya, Mauritania and in the Arab world.
Africa will no longer tolerate slavish and hellish living conditions in the Middle East .
I call upon Africans to stop embarking on dangerous journeys to the Middle East or Europe and instead unify to develop Africa utilizing our natural resources.
As if slavery was not enough people of African descent today in 21st century have to endure systematic racism and police brutality in their daily lives.
Today marks one year anniversary since the barbaric slaughter of a 46 year George Floyd by Minneapolis Police but one year later justice still at large and no one has been held accountable for this brutal murder which sent the world into protests and resounding calls for justice for George Floyd.
Police brutality in the United States has continued to claim Black lives and it is disappointing to see that George Floyd story explains the larger African American story of Justice denied and Justice delayed.
As I speak now the families of 12 year old Tamil Rice shot and killed by Police in 2014 and Breonna Tylor an African American medical worker who was shot and killed by Lousville police officers at her home in Kentucky one year ago ,are still crying and calling for justice but no one seems to hear their cry and anguish.
The United States of Africa demands justice for all the victims of police brutality in the United States, in Brazil where every 23 minutes a Black man is killed by police and police brutality against Afro-Brazilians has dramatically escalated as President Jair Bolsonaro regime and other extreme right politicians encourage police violence with ‘’tough on crime discourses and policies.’’
We demand justice for Marielle Franco, a Rio de Janeiro council woman and an outspoken critic of police violence who was killed in 2018.
Because of all men were created equal and so were all men we demand equal respect and recognition of the human rights of the Afro-Brazilians by the Brazilian government.
Because there are no lesser men and lesser women we demand equal human rights for people of African descent in West Papua who each day have to endure Indonesian colonial encroachments into their land , perpetual servitude, racial discrimination and systematic human rights abuses that have denied them their basic human rights to self govern or determine their destiny.
I will not be silent until the world swings into action and bring to an end Black Genocide in West Papua which has killed over 500,000 Papuans since Indonesian occupation of West Papua in 1963.
Finally I would like you to pause and reflect what our ancestors went through during the 400 years of European and 1400 years of Arab slavery.
With the commemoration of the African Holocaust day in honour of our ancestors who endured the hell that slavery rought to Africa, the African History Month has taken an important step towards unearthing the hidden and the downplayed role of the Arabs in slavery and calls for African History to be rewritten to reflect these realities.
Thank you and God bless you.
African History Month