Journal of the People’s Pastor

“Writing The History I’ve Lived, Living The History I Write!”

DARFUR DIARY

" Part VI: Another Memorable Week in the Life of An Activist Pastor "
(My response to Minister Akbar continued...)

 

Now, I want to cite a couple of renowned scholars. Dr. John Henrik Clarke and Dr. Chancellor Williams, both now deceased.

At this point, I played a video from a lecture Dr. Clarke did on “The Rise of Islam.” The lecture was given at the House of the Lord Church in 1980, sponsored by the Timbuktu Learning Center, a component of the African People’s Christian Organization (APCO) of which I am founder and President. Minister Clemson Brown was the videographer. Before I move ahead, I know that I will be on touchy grounds. Dr. Clarke stated, in the DVD presentation, “When you start talking about religions, and to a lesser extent, politics, it is a dangerous business.” So, I’m going to quote these eminent scholars extensively. I want them to make the case.

Significantly, before the day was over, Dr. Clarke’s words were played out before our very eyes.

After Minister Akbar and my presentation, during the questions and answer period, a young man angrily accused me of being anti-Islam. He was extremely agitated as he asserted my anti-Islam and mis-representation of the truth. I responded, “Minister Akbar and I have been friends for over 40 years. I enjoy a positive relationship with all the Muslims that I know. If I were anti-Islam, don’t you think they would have ended our friendship a long time ago? Secondly, your argument is with Drs. Clarke and Williams. I simply quoted from their works. Moreover, neither they nor I spoke against Islam. In fact, we said African people had been faithful to the faith. Our point was and still is, Arabs have used Islam to promote a political agenda, which resulted in the destruction of African civilization, and up to the present, some Arabs are still accused of killing, raping, manipulating, exploiting and enslaving. Where we have been critical of Blacks or African Muslims, they have not been consistently nor widely critical of their Arab Muslim brothers.”

In the video presentation, Dr. Clarke emphasized a distinction between Islam and Arabism. He stated that while Africans had adhered to the spirituality of Islam, Arabs had used the religion to promote a political agenda. While calling the Africans, brother, they had invaded, conquered, exploited, colonized, raped and enslaved African people. Indeed, according to Dr. Clarke, they had really disrupted and destroyed Africa for about 800 years before Europeans, thus making it easier for Europeans to perpetuate the same crimes. Further, according to Dr. Clarke, Arabs had coalesced with Europeans and Asians to commit the aforementioned crimes.

Dr. Chancellor Williams in his book, The Destruction of Black Civilization – Great Issues Of A Race From 4500 B.C. To 2000 A.D. published by the Third World Press, Chicago, IL, elaborates further on Dr. Clarke’s statement. (It is significant to note that these two scholars were dead before the Darfurian crises. Yet what they had to say could have been written today.)

Dr. Williams writes:

“Modern Africans and students of Africa have tended to emphasize the destructive impact of European imperialism in Africa while ignoring the most damaging developments from the Arab impact before the general European take-over in the last quarter of the nineteenth century – a relatively recent period. This point is important. For one of the most remarkable chapters in the history of the Blacks is that dealing with those dauntless leaders and people who, having lost one state after another along with three-fourths of their kinsmen, nevertheless overrode all the forces of destruction and death and began to build – always once again – still another state. From the earliest times, the elimination of these states as independent African sovereignties had been an Asian objective, stepped up by Muslim onslaughts after the Seventh century A.D. So, the re-established black states were still being conquered and Islamized when Europeans began to arrive in greater numbers to impose their rule over both Asians and Africans. The big thing that happened here, to repeat, is generally glossed over, ignored or forgotten. The last being a pretension, since a historical development of this magnitude could hardly be forgotten by serious writers on Africa. For what happened very simply was that European imperialism in Africa checked and replaced Arab imperialism. The Arab screams against Western imperialism are the screams of outrage against Western Caucasians for checking and subduing Eastern Caucasians in the very midst of the Blacks they had conquered. There are still countless thousands of blacks who are naïve enough to believe that the Arabs’ bitter attack on Western colonialism show their common cause with Black Africa.”


Discussing the hordes of Africans “fleeing before the conquering hordes and enslavers as well as famine and death, which were its daily companions, --what about those who found no Promised Land anywhere?” “What they suffered from year to year as they wandered over the Continent is almost beyond both description and belief. In fact, while the story is well known, few writers would want to go into its awful details. Suffice to say at this point that, here now were numerous societies of Africans that were virtually sentenced either to death from starvation or enslavement by Arabs (I am still in the pre-European period) or barbarism and savagery and, in many cases, even cannibalism.”

After Dr. Williams underscored the terrible factors, i.e. invasions, conquest, famine, implacable land, etc. he then pointed out the results. He wrote, “There were several consequences of the greatest historical importance which are generally not sufficiently stressed. The first was that both the Saharan transformation and the steady incursion of Asians pressured more and more Blacks back into the interior to concentrate in the already limited survival areas where just to subsist was a daily struggle. The second important result was the widespread amalgamation of the races. For the weaker, more submissive blacks remained in Asian-occupied territory to become slave laborers and slave soldiers, and to witness a ruthless sexual traffic in Black women that gave rise to a new breed of Afro-Asians. These were classed as Caucasians or Asians. They themselves bitterly objected to being identified with the race of their mothers--Africans. When these later became known as Egyptians in Egypt, Moors in Morocco and Mauritanians or Carthaginians in Carthage (Tunis) great care was taken to distinguish them from Africans in daily intercourse, in paintings and in documentary literature. This “New Breed,” half-African, was to join with their Asian fathers and forefathers in the wars and enslaving raids against the blacks that went on century after century until all North Africa was eventually taken.”

Further, Dr Williams informed us how Africans were conquered and colonized. On page 57-58 of his book he states, “The techniques of penetration and dominance were varied. Some came as peaceful traders and, doubtless, trade was all that was intended by many. Africans were always eager traders. The main attraction of foreign traders was that they brought in many new kinds of commodities. These traders had little or no trouble in gaining costal footholds as trading posts. The land was not sold, but leased. However, the Blacks had what the world wanted most: gold, diamonds, ivory, copper, iron, ore and, themselves.

The ‘trading posts” soon became strong fortifications around which villages and towns sprang up, as settlers from Asia poured in and armed forces became organized. The Africans watched these developments with increasing apprehension, for the “traders” were often armed with superior and different types of weapons of war and spent much time in training recruits, including Africans. Indeed, in some areas a definite pattern emerged: an all-African army under Asian officers (a pattern to be followed later by the Europeans.)

And finally, he highlights what happened to these Blacks who embraced, in some instances forced to do so, foreign religions. Or in my opinion, religious with African roots now in the hands or foreigners.

He writes, “But what happened in the process of converting the blacks to Islam and Christianity was the supreme triumph of the white world over the black. Millions of Africans became non-Africans. Africans who were neither Muslims nor Christians were classed as “pagans” and therefore required to disavow their whole culture and to regard practically all African institutions as “backward” or savage. The blacks in their own right became non-persons—members of a race of nobodies, and so hopeless that self-realization as personalities, even in a subordinate status, could only be achieved by becoming Muslims or Christians. Indeed, in order to destroy completely not only their African heritage but also their very African identity psychologically, they were forced to change their names to Arabic and Christian names. Henceforth, if these black Emils, Johns, Muhammads, Samuels, and Abdullah’s happened to achieve greatness in some field, the assumption would be that it was Caucasian achievement, unless a special effort was made to identify the race of the persons in question. Blacks at home in Africa and blacks scattered over the world bore the names of their enslavers and oppressors—the ultimate in self-effacement that promoted a self-hatred which made pride in race difficult. That these psychological shackles still handicap not only the rebirth of modern African states but also blacks everywhere should be obvious to all.

So, to sum up what Drs. Clarke and Williams and many other scholars have written that Arabs’ crime in Africa is an undisputable, historical fact. And, as we have seen, the same thing to some extent is happening today.

To conclude, if there are allegations that Arab states or governments, in this instance, Sudan, is acting as it has acted in the past., is it not logical to assume the allegations are true.? Surely, all would have to agree there would be nothing unusual about the government’s behavior if the allegations were true.

Upcoming Events
Attend the Timbuktu Learning Center’s weekly Thursday night forums 7pm to 9pm held at the House of the Lord Church.

Hold the date – The National Religious Leaders Concerned About Darfur (NRLAA) will sponsor its first Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, October 18, 2007, from 6pm to 8pm at the House of the Lord Church, located at 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.

Attend NRLAA’s monthly forum focusing on Africa the 2nd Saturday from 12pm to 2pm.
Organizing Meetings regarding Darfur every Thursday - 12noon @ the House of the Lord Church
Keep abreast of our Darfurian activities by checking our web page @ www.holnj.org.
For further Information on all events, contact The House of the Lord Church @ (718) 596-1991.