THE articles entitled, “Slavery business must be handled with care”, Times of October 10, 2006 and of December 5 entitled “We must be learn from this Canadian affair” by Cameron Duodu, warns that as the 200th anniversary of abolition of slave trade comes in 2007, and we welcome Africans in Diaspora into Ghana to interact with us on the severed bounds that have separated us from them for over 400 years, we ought to be sure that the information we exchange with them is well researched and accurate.
The question is why is Cameron Doudou worried? Did Atlantic Slavery not begin with the Portuguese as acknowledged by him?
It is very well known and with evidential record that the Trans-Atlantic Slavery, started in West Africa of which Ghana (former Gold Coast or Slave Coast) was involved from the 15th Century. The enslavement of Black African people was started by Portugal in August 1444 when they brutally attacked the West Africa Coast of Mauritania capturing and taking away 235 black slaves to Portugal.
What is slavery? Slaves are people inhumanly captured, sold out and deprived of their human rights anywhere they are taken to. Slaves were alienated and forcefully removed from their birth places, from families and from their culture and sent into exile elsewhere in the world. Their names and identities were eliminated and renamed after their Slave Masters of slave lords. Slaves were resold, bought and passed down through inheritance.
This is the reason why the United Nations World Conference on Slavery in South Africa on August 28, 2001, made a Declaration that the trans-Atlantic Slave trade was an African HOLOCAUST, and A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY.
, the Slavery Historian, says the Portuguese and European motive for capturing the African was purely revenge and that the revenge was predictable upon the fact that the initial Black moors assisted Arabs to invade and conquer Spain and Portugal and Southern France in 711AD. And is it not true that the Moors occupied Spain and Portugal for nearly 800 years i.e. 711-1490, when these countries regained their countries and religious freedom from Arab Muslim rule and occupation?
SLAVE TRADE DEPOPULATED BLACK AFRICA
We should realize that the summary Report of the UNESCO Conference held in Haiti from January 31 to February 4, 1978, acknowledged that factors such as losses during the captive and land journeys across Africa and deaths during the sea crossing in the four centuries of Atlantic slave Trade is put at 210 million human beings. (See New African Magazine, London, March 2000, No. 383 page 8). That today there are about 200 million descendants of African Slaves living throughout the Americas and Caribbean Island. Can these facts and figures be doubted?
Cameron Doudu states that the “Joseph Project” to be launched by Mr. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Minister for Tourism and Diasporan Affairs, to encourage visits to Ghana by Africans in Diaspora will make the subject of slave trade a minefield. One may ask what sort of minefield these historical facts about Trans-Atlantic Slavery would be?
There are clear evidential facts and records that although some chiefs and some Black Africans colluded with Europeans to enslave Africans, their own people, to sell to Europeans, there are no historical facts that the Africans were the architects who built and managed these slave schooner ships and who had business brokerage offices in England, America and European nations. Was it Africans who invited Europeans to come to colonize Africa?
Or course there are valid records that indicated that some of our greedy and misinformed ancestor chiefs and collaborators like Thomas Edward Barter
, Birempong Kodjo, and others of (Portuguese “Cabo Corso”) Cape Coast, assisted the Europeans and Americans in the capture and selling of Africans. So were some Jewish Collaborators who assisted Nazi Germany during World War II, in the capture and killing of Jews in the Holocaust.
The U.N. Human Rights Commission in 2001 classified the Atlantic Slave Trade as a Crime Against Humanity and advocated that those to be held responsible and to be accountable should be the Big Fish Architects of this inhuman killing machines, but not to hold accountable the small cronies who collaborated with them.
And who are the Big Fish Architects of Slavery until its purported abolition in 1807? Were they not the Europeans and the Americans? Who brought the gun powder, ammunitions, liquor, necklaces and mirrors to Africa to exchange them and buy slaves to perpetuate the golden triangle slave trade?
Black African slaves in America fought alongside their white masters against colonial Britain to successfully win independence in 1776, but the Africans were not liberated from their slavery. The Black African slaves again fought with their slave masters in Southern States led by President Abraham Lincoln, against the Northern States and won the Civil War. President Abe Lincoln in recognition of the hard and successful role the Black African Slaves played, declared the Abolition of slavery in the United States in January 1863.
Unfortunately, President Lincoln was assassinated shortly after this so the slavery abolition was not executed by the successor to him.
British cities such as Liverpool and Bristol became major slave trade ports and made colossal riches, (states Dr. Mark Horton
, a historian at Bristol University). Dr. Horton also asserts that some British multi-national corporations such as Lloyds of London, giant shipping Insurance Company, Midland Bank, National West Minister Bank and Barclays Bank, all of Britain, were some of the enormous Atlantic slave Trade beneficiaries.
It is a true fact that the powerful western powers in Europe and North America were economically empowered from the sweat, pain and ingenuity of African slaves during the centuries of chattel slavery and the period of apartheid separation for over 100 years after slavery was purportedly abolished.
THE CANADIAN GOVERNOR’S SADNESS
The extremely moving picture of the Black Canadian Governor-General who was in weeping distress after her recent visit to the Elmina Castle to see the diabolical torture and route her ancestors passed through their enslavement and export outside Ghana, was not surprising at all. Even some of us who lost our relations through the horrifying enslavement reacted likewise when we first visited Elmina Castle to go through the ordeal.
Little wonder that most of our African Diasporans who come to Ghana to see these heinous process their ancestors went through in slavery, do wish to blame us all for these abominations.
But as was explained earlier in this article, some greedy chiefs and collaborators helped Europeans and Americans to execute and perpetuate the Trans-Atlantic slavery.
The Wa Na's palace built in the 19th Century is a tourist attraction today in the North.
Her Excellency Ms. Michelle Jeans
, the Canadian Governor General’s alleged request the Africans should apologize for the Trans-Atlantic Slavery is inappropriate as most Africans were not responsible for what terribly occurred. At Gwollu, Upper west Region where I come from, at Sankana, and Nzuele in Western Region and other parts. Ghanaians furiously resisted enslavement as our ancestors built slave defense walls and created slave resistance devices to avoid enslavement.
Haiti State, the original home of the Canadian Governor-General, is one of the fierce resistant colonies in the Caribbean. They fought against their slavery and achieved their independence bravely. Even though their French masters forced Haiti to pay over 25,000 billion dollars for their break away, which Haiti, eventually paid, it made that country a slave resistant country but very poor.
Madam Jean’s advise to us is that the slave trade as a tragic story should serve as a reminder and important testimony to unite Africans and Diasporans.
BLACK AFRICAN EMANCIPATION
Our late President Kwame Nkrumah of blessed memory, and President Nnamdi Azikwe, the Owelle of Onisha, Nigeria, were some of the early African leaders who went to study in U.S.A. and met the Black American slaves descendants and interacted with them. These renowned African students later became our political leaders in Africa. Little wonder that Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was one of the first leaders to champion the cause of the Blackman in the world and black emancipation globally.
Dr. Nkrumah obtained the first black independence from colonial rule and made the solemn declaration before independence that, “We prefer Freedom with Danger, to Servitude In Tranquility”, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah declared that “Ghana’s Independence was meaningless unless it was linked with total liberation of Africa”. Can any Blackman or woman come back to Ghana and raise a gun against Nkrumah’s Ghanaians for selling them into slavery?
The late famous people of African descent such as Prof. W.E.B. Dubois, Dr. George Padmore
and Malcom X
, are some of those who came to Ghana because of Kwame Nkrumah’s stand and Ghana’s position and relationship with them; and adopted here as their ancestral home. In fact, late Du-Bois and George Padmore died here as Ghanaians and are buried in Ghana.
This year will therefore not be first time that Africa-Diasporans will come to Ghana on pilgrimage. Ghana and other parts of West Africa are their ancestral homes.
The Minister for Tourism and Diasporan Relations is working very hard to make the year a “Joseph Project” which means that, like the Biblical Joseph who miraculously saved the Pharaoh (King of Egypt) from disaster, Joseph was made a Governor in part of Egypt. Incidentally, Joseph met those brethren that sold him and who were in danger and misery. He discovered them and saved them and they apologized for what they did by selling him.
We Ghanaians, especially we from the hinterland and up north will benefit immensely from the Joseph Project, as our descendant brethren, daughters and relations exported unlawfully abroad during the slavery will come to help us as “Joseph” helped his brethren.
It should be known that the real victims in Ghana of the Trans-Atlantic Slavery, who are of the hinterland and Northern Regions and our land devastated by the Slavery have formed an N.G.O. to pursue Reparations from the beneficiaries of the enslavement of our people. It is the GLOBAL AFRICAN SLAVERY REPARATION FOUNDATION on Ghana.
And who are the beneficiaries? They are the British, their corporate bodies and institutions, the Americans and other Western European countries. We shall pursue those beneficiaries and ensure that political leaders and their authorities and Banks such as Barclays, shall pay us REPARATIONS to salvage our devastated communities and lands.
Our demand for Reparation include the act of paying to us to show that those who enslaved our people, are sorry for the sufferings they caused them and us, just like the “sorry” Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, said he is; but that he will not apologize. Did Germany apologize for the Reparations they paid to the Jews for the Second World War holocaust caused against the Jews?
The Reparation we demand also includes addressing the so-called African $500 billion debt crises plus the psychological damages that have been inflicted on us by slavery.
As reported by German Journalist Thilo Kunzemann, (with Ghanaian Times of November 17, 2006), Pan-Afrianist Dudly Thompson, a Jamaican former Minister of Foreign Affairs, insists that Reparation in not only to pay for murdering their grandfathers and mothers. Reparation really is how to repair the damage done to the Blackman through destroying his society, his own sort of development through slavery and mercantile capitalism. It is not begging for reparation; we are demanding also justice equality, and non-discrimination against the Blackman.
Reparation also means Repatriation of the African slave descendants who wish to come back to us in the continent especially Ghana, for resettlement at the expense of the beneficiaries, being in line with our reparation demands.
To some of us we believe that the Ghana Web report of November 29, 2006, is not disturbing at all. We believe that such reports will unearth the horrendous African holocaust to the world and exposure of all these four centuries hidden truth.
We must all come our now boldly to factually expose loudly what happened to Africans. It was a great honour to Africans globally that our great President traveled to Hull University in Britain to declare open on July 6, 2006, the William Wilberforce institute for Study of Slavery ad Emancipation (WISE). William Wilberforce is the noble Britain fighter who spear-headed the abolition on slavery. This famous Institute, inaugurated by President Kufour is recognized by UNESCO and other famous academic institutions worldwide.
The promotion of “Operation Joseph” in Ghana will also bring us immense benefits like what the Jews are doing to Israel in the Middle East. Will Black Diasporans whose real ancestral homes are in Ghana not come with their resources and expertise to help and assist us on their lands or home?
I believe this will actually happen for the good of Ghanaians and or Black Diasporans. Please let them come. We are prepared to welcome and honour them home when they come.
The Ghanaian Times - Monday, February 26, 2007 Page: 9