There is not a single race in the world that has been subjected to the incredible human atrocities like the ones inflicted on the Black race by non-black races. This has been done particularly through the SLAVE TRADE and COLONIALISM holocausts. The Slave Trade atrocities systematically took place for more than 500 years during which the fate of the Blackman was thrown into a culture of servitude and psychological devastation.
Then, as if to add insult to injury came COLONIALISM that, nonetheless, should pass as the baptism of the SLAVE TRADE holocaust. In the move described in history books as the “Scramble for Africa” by Europeans which took place from 1880 to 1900, in November 1884 the Prime Minister of Germany, Otto von Bismarck, supported by France, called together an international conference in Berlin to discuss disputes regarding partitioning of Africa among European powers. By that time Africa was not part of the international community. Neither were Africans considered part of the human race other than that they were part of the fauna or wild life of Africa and that, the continent was uninhabited by human beings. The powers had been engaged in seizing, by force or by fraud, areas of the African continent which had not been grabbed by another European power.
By 1900 European powers had subdivided among themselves the African continent, though Ethiopia managed to preserve her independence. Since human rights did not include Africans, what European powers did to Africa and Africans, after seizing Africa what they thought about Africans and the degree of inhumanity with the powers treated Africans economically, physically, spiritually, socially, and psychologically, is preserved in history books. Those actions will, certainly, forever remain acting as the GREATEST SHAME to Europeans who professed to be the most civilized powers and had come to Africa to civilize Africans.
What the African has learnt from SLAVE TRADE and COLONIALISM for the present and future generations should not pass without a yearly COMMEMORATION. On behalf of human rights and dignity the said COMMEMORATION should and shall also act as the mirror to the Whiteman’s past derailed integrity.
The too long exploitations of the Black Race by the White Race have manufactured a coin of inhumanity in Africa with two sides. One side of that coin is marked SLAVE TRADE and the other side is marked COLONIALISM.
On the other hand, racism has polarized world politics between the Black Race and the White Race whereby, generally speaking, the White Race has been playing the role of the predator and the Black Race has been the prey. In the planet earth the White Race is the majority while the Black Race is the minority. The minority stands out as a threatened human species.
The natural home of the Black Race is Africa. In the past that home has been given ugly and discriminatory appellations by the White Race. Africa has been called the Dark Continent. It has also been described as the Lost Continent, with a grave and generalized claim that Africa has contributed nothing to human civilization which. Unfortunately that claim, nonetheless, puts a blind eye to historical facts going back even to the BC times. .
Up to this age, there is not a single day in a year put aside by the Black Race for the Commemoration of those atrocities. That omission, of course, has had negative consequences. It has produced a devastating psychological disease to the Black Race. In law practice silence spells out admission of guilty and speaking spells out defensive stand. The omission of any COMMEMORATION whatsoever on these atrocities is an acceptance by the Black Race that what has been done to that race is acceptable. The Slave Trade in particular is highlighted by the following quotations:
- Every tusk, piece and scrap in the possession of an Arab trader has been steeped and dyed in blood. Every pound weight has cost the life of a man, woman, or child, for every five pound a hut has been burnt; for every two tusks a whole village has been destroyed, every twenty tusks have been obtained at the price of a district with all its people, villages, and plantations. It is simply incredible that, because ivory is required… populations, tribes, and nations should be utterly destroyed. (Henry M Stanley. 1895)
- It is believed that Christopher Columbus may have been a member of the Portuguese expedition that in 1482 built Elmina Castle, which later became a slave fort. Certainly he was aware of the great profits to be realized from direct sea trade with lands beyond the European continent.
3.It has been estimated that some 10,000,000 Africans came to the Americas via the Slave Trade. It is likely that a similar number died from wars induced by the Slave Trade
- Since most European nations were themselves competing for the monopoly of the lucrative Trade in human flesh, there was no cry of indignation from the world community. The Catholic Church sanctioned slavery as the ships, teeming with their black cargoes, were blessed by the Pope and high officials of the church as they embarked on their voyage to the Spanish colonies in the Caribbean and Americas. Moral, social, economic, or political sanctions were not imposed against those who violated every cardinal law and right of human decency as they engaged in the slave trade….
- For a period of two centuries, European interest in Africa was confined to coastal trading forts and posts from which Slaves could be secured for export to America. With the division of the new lands between Spain and Portugal by the Pope in 1493, Spain was unable to establish a fort on the African continent. She received most of the New World and Portugal was granted Brazil…
- As reflected in the race to build forts, from the end of the sixteenth century and until the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Slave Trade was dominated by the Dutch, the French, and the English. The Danes and the Swedes also participated, but on a much smaller scale…
- With the establishment of a permanent trading post, each of the European nations attempted to control the trade by negotiating exclusive trading rights with local rulers and chieftains…
- None escaped the horrors of the Middle Passage, in which crew and captives alike were reduced to brutish state, exposed to disease and death. The cruelty and inhumanity of the Trade were described in a report to the British House of Commons: The Negroes were chained to each other hand and foot, and stowed so close that they were not allowed above a foot and a half for each in breadth. Thus rammed… like herring in a barrel, they contracted… fatal disorders; so that they who came to inspect them in the morning had… to pick up dead Slaves out of their rows and to unchain them from the bodies of their wretched fellow-sufferers.
The lonesome soul cries out for that distant home that was yesterday, is today, and will forever be, and sighs Africa, Oh my Africa! For out of Africa and cascading down corridors of time have come earthshaking ideas, beautiful things, resources, riches, and people… People of other nations and cultures have either been fascinated and enlivened or disturbed by the power of the richly hued Africa… And while generations have believed that black ethnicity and ethno-history were lost, the glorious past like a sleeping giant has only been lying dormant. But now the great giant stirs, and today we stand on the threshold of a great renaissance. The ancestors are awakening… Now is the time for rebirth… The struggle to survive produces creative ingenuity.
John R Kinard, Louise Daniel Hutchinson, Out of Africa Smithsonian Institute Press, Washington, 1979
The threshold of the COMMEMORATION OF THE SLAVE TRADE and COLONIALISM is to launch an era of sensitivity and awareness to the Black Race that, at whatever cost, something like that should not have happened and should never happen again. That awareness shall be presented through a YERALY INTERNATIONAL DEMONSTRATIONS of highlighting the atrocities.
The day of the COMMEMORATION should be preceded by a WEEK of taking stock of why that had happened and the omissions which, if they had been addressed, would have prevented the holocausts. The COMMEMORATION should be expressed through social activities such as drama, lectures, films, documentaries, religious expressions, thanksgiving – all educative and reflective of any human atrocity, human degradation and shame to human dignity. That presentation psychologically sets the Black Race responsible in taking strong stands against any form of exploitation and humiliation from outside and from within.
Launching the commemoration
There is not and there has never been a single forum in the world for addressing the fate of the Black Race. THER CENTRE FOR AFRICAN AESTHETICS, a registered Non-governmental body, is playing the role of the spirit of African Renaissance. It is out to offer the missing forum.
The necessity of launching the first COMMEMORATION in Kenya is the birth of that international awareness. Kenya takes that initiative as representative of the world of the Black Race. The COMMEMORATION is proposed to take place in May MAY 2014 at a date to be announced by the organizers during the mention of the launch. The launching of the project will be preceded by wide publicity in print and electronic media houses, geared at acting as ambassadors in calling the world of the Black Race to fill in that staggering void of having no YERALY COMMEMORATION for the SLAVE TRADE and COLONIALISM holocausts.
Special Feature films
The Center for African Aesthetics (CAA) has a plan to produce two special feature films; one for the SLAVE TRADE and the second one for COLONIALISM. The two films will act as the catalyst for the historic launch.
Stakeholders in the Commemoration
The launch of a COMMEMORATION of such colossal enormity obviously calls bringing on board all humanly hearted individual persons, noble institutions, companies, government hands, universal well-wishers and philanthropists in contributing both materially and spiritually to this most noble and historic Commemoration.