Emancipation 2011: On Blacks Being A Cursed Race

Emancipation 2011: On Blacks Being A Cursed Race

By N Oji Mzilikazi

(Originally published in Montreal Community Contact Volume 21, Number 17)

August 18, 2011

For as long as I can remember, the trials and tribulations of people of African descent; our victimisation, failures, messing-up, misdeeds, missing out on opportunities, manifestations of self-hate et al, was credited to Blacks being biblically cursed.

And we ourselves were never ashamed to voice that opinion.

Internalization of that blasphemous credo is at the heart of our psychological and racial incapacitation, the all too common culture of diminished expectations, our dysfunction, disunity, educational and economical poverty, impotence, lack of inner conviction, will-power and belief in us as a people, our abilities and in our potential.

Consequently, we function as one cursed.

When one consider that after forty-eight years of Independence, Trinidad and Tobago recruited a white Canadian and not a Black “foreigner” to be their chief of police, it exposed the scars of disfigurement in our supposed maturity and enlightenment.

Greater absurdity is seen in the recently commissioned Bill Johnson Opinion Poll, which showed that 60 per cent of Jamaicans believe the country would be better off under British rule.

What a shame the blood of Jamaica’s intellectuals, freedom fighters and martyrs has been subjected to such fickleness born out of multi-level ignorance, and the powerlessness of small economies to effectively deal with the economic turbulence that’s affecting the world.

Since the Bible is said to be the source of our curse, it makes sense ascertaining its veracity.

While the Old Testament deals primarily with Jewish history, in it there are passages that give glimpses of Africa. And more often than not, they are of strength, power and nobility.

The very first/second page of the Bible- Genesis 2:10-13 states that the river that went out of the Garden of Eden encompassed the whole land of Ethiopia. For surety, such a thing infers a blessing and not a curse.

The majority of ills that plague Africa have their roots in European colonisation and their machinations to extract its vast and rich natural resources along with gold and diamonds.

Numbers 12:1-10 records that Aaron, the high priest, Moses right-hand man and elder brother, and Miriam, their sister, was so displeased over Moses’ marrying an Ethiopian that they “bad-talked” her. Incensed over their bias and Moses choice of mate, God afflicted Miriam with leprosy.

(So it’s not today people don’t like Blacks. Anti-Black racism did start yesterday, if you get my drift.)

If there was a curse on Blacks, God wouldn’t have punished not just one of his supposedly chosen people, but the leader of the Israelites sister, over a Black woman.

II Chronicles 14:9 shows the aggression and militancy of Ethiopia. It tells of Ethiopians waging war against Judah, “And came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with a host of a thousand, thousand and three hundred chariots.”

Nahum 3:9 states, “Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite.”

Amos 9:7 reads “Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? Saith the lord.”

Such a phrasing infers equality, so where did this curse of Blacks come from?

There is no supporting evidence, archaeological or otherwise to the claim that the Jews built the pyramids. Still, it is commonly believed and accepted that they did.

For reasons unknown, early Jewish Talmudic/rabbinical scholars erroneously positioned the mark of Cain as well as the Curse of Ham as applicable to Blacks.

Since Christianity arose out of Judaism, a lot of Jewish beliefs made the transition as well. Noah’s curse was thus used to legitimize and justify the enslavement of Africans, the rape of Africa and subsequent dehumanization of Africans.

Genesis 4:15 is clear. The mark of Cain is so that no one would kill him, for “vengeance shall be taken sevenfold” on the person that does. If Blacks bear the mark of Cain, then where is that promised vengeance?

While Genesis 9: 25 records Noah in his rage cursing Canaan, the son of Ham, and prophesying that he shall be a servant of servants unto his brethren, the land of Canaan deemed the promise land of the Jews is not in Africa.

Genesis 12:5-7 “The Canaanite was then in the land and the Lord appeared unto Abram and said, unto thy seed will I gave this land.”

The Middle-East conflict surrounding Israel is primarily among other things, their claims to Canaan.

Cush was one of Ham sons. Cush gave birth to Nimrod. And according to Genesis 10:10, Babel was the beginning of his Kingdom. I’d like to think most adults are familiar with the story of the Tower of Babel. Babel is not in Africa.

History tells of the Sudanese Kingdom of Cush (1000BC-350AD) that conquered Egypt, ruling as its 25th dynasty. Since one of Ham sons was Cush, one could think it was an accidental mix-up. But then, though Ham is the father of Canaan, his children are also the Jebusite, Amorite, Hivite and Arkite- peoples that cannot be historically traced back to Africa.

From where I sit, the African Cush was deliberately used and inferred to further support there being a curse upon Blacks.

While Zephaniah 2:9 states, “Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword.” And Isaiah 20:3-5 tells of Isaiah walking naked and barefoot upon Egypt and Ethiopia, and that the King of Assyria shall carry away Ethiopians and Egyptians captives; “young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered,” they in no way shape or form infer a curse.

Furthermore, Assyria was a kingdom in Iraq, so there is no correlation to European enslavement of Africans.

Contrary to what is advocated and believed, there is no biblical evidence of a curse placed on Blacks.

Such was the belief that Blacks were the descendants of Ham/Canaan, that in 1903, the British offered Jews a parcel of land in British East Africa (in what is today Kenya) to be their homeland.

In 2005, Four Haitians won a Québec Human Rights Tribunal decision against Centre Maraicher Eugene Guinois Jr. Inc., Québec’s largest lettuce producing company.

In nothing other than damage control for their multi-million dollar business, the Gazette despatched reporter Jeff Heinrich to their farm to state their case.

In Heinrich’s June 6th column, he stated that the Guinoises are defiant, Eugene the clan patriarch is prone to make off-colour jokes and he calls Blacks the descendants of Cain.

In July 2009, Israeli television Channel 9 convened a panel to discuss if the Torah ever revoked the curse of Ham. For based upon the curse, Obama’s ascension to the White House was akin to a slave becoming a king, and the “supposed reason” many Jews do not like and trust Obama.

As demonstrated, the ideology of Blacks being cursed still has traction with a great many. When people feel that way about us, it would be delusional to believe they would ever have our interest at heart.

In E.V. Rieu’s translation of Homer’s “Iliad,” there is a line that says, “Zeus left for Ocean Stream to join the worthy Ethiopians at a banquet and all the gods went with him.”

Even if one considers the Iliad solely as an imaginary work or a compilation of myths, the acknowledgment of Ethiopia in that vein is verily a peep into the esteem into which Africa was held.

If Africans were inconsequential as history has repainted the race, why then would the chief God of the Greeks take his entire cabinet to visit the Ethiopians?

According to Greek and Roman epics surrounding the Trojan War, Troy called upon Ethiopia to help them repel the Greeks. Memnon, described as black as ebony and an African warrior-king, brought endless troops to defend Troy.

Memnon met his end at the hand of Achilles.

Virgil, Ovid, Strabo and Hesiod are just a few of the well-known poets/literary writers of the ancient world who spoke effusively of Memnon.

Those that define you will confine you. When exploitation of a people/person is the goal, anything that aids in the process like brute force, isolation, drug addiction or denying access to education are employed.

Africa was never cursed nor the intellectually and culturally dark continent it has historically been portrayed it to be. Its only curse, and that of people of African descent, is in our inability to recognise that there is no curse and act accordingly.

To Be Continued.

Emancipation 2011: Renewed Songs of Liberation

Emancipation 2011: Renewed Songs of Liberation

By N Oji Mzilikazi

(Originally published in Montreal Community Contact Volume 21, Number 16)

August 4, 2011

Since December 2009, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent. Yet leadership didn’t see it fit to capitalize, plan special events for this year or even gear regular events like Black History Month or Emancipation celebrations towards it.

Not even our literary organization, poets/authors, playwrights or the Black Theatre Workshop saw it fit to produce works or a play in its observance. Talk about political somnambulism.

Emancipation celebration is relegated to a Montreal City Hall affair where cliquish and impotent Black leadership will sit passively and be lectured by the mealy mouth and forked-tongue politician, who by virtue of his father surviving 30 months in Auschwitz theoretically empathize but in practice regurgitate City Hall’s racial profiling status quo, and stay silent on its obstruction to bringing cases of racial profiling before the courts and penchant for fighting judgements against police officers.

Bright and early Emancipation morning – August 1st, I opened a bottle of Chivas Regal, poured drinks for my ancestors-the spirits, observed silence, genuflected and glorified as much revolutionary heroes as I could remember, then threw flowers into the St Lawrence Seaway in LaSalle while reciting The Last Poets, “For The Millions,” part of which goes:

For the millions of Africans chained to the slave ships/

For the millions of scars on their backs and face, by the bullwhip/

For the millions who jumped overboard/

For the blood that poured/

On the shores of North America, South America, Central America, and Europe/

And each ripple in the ocean is a grave/

For an African who refused to be a slave/

For the millions/

For the millions who cut the cane, picked the cotton/

Whose names have been forgotten/

Whose flesh has rotten with the trees they hung us from/

Cut out our tongues/ Cut off our hands if we play the drums/

For the millions…

Next year please God, I will invite others to join me in that type of Emancipation observation.

I couldn’t help but remember the betrayers, those who sold the race out for “roti and rum,” and those who sold their souls and community for a bowl of government porridge.

I paid homage to those who refuse to lose; the nameless and faceless who continue to fight, strive and build so children not yet born would be able to take their place and stand upright in the sunlight.

For what it’s worth, I prayed the Most High will continue to give them strength, bless and shine his grace and face upon them.

Years of governmental/municipal administrations funding or sponsoring events relating to Black History Month and Emancipation have not resulted or contributed towards the breakdown of racism or racial barriers in the society.

People of African descent face not just more of the same hurdles, but additional racism from other ethnics- latter day immigrants.

The economics of the times has reduced the size of the pie. Our efforts to eat are thus made more difficult, and it has nothing to do with not being qualified.

Many among us are. Our problems are exacerbated by our proclivity to disregard studying the politics and rules of the game- both written and unwritten, understanding how the system works and operates, and the unwillingness to recognise each other as brothers and sisters and to build alliances.

It is of cardinal importance to know the rules of every game. When you know the rules of the game your fouls can then be deliberate rather than originating out of ignorance which in no way shape or form mitigates. As goes the clichéd expressions: “Ignorance of the law is no excuse,” “If you don’t know ask somebody.”

Others don’t care about our different hues, different views or if we came here by boat or birth. Being a person of African descent pretty much ensures we are thrown into the same pool regardless of our educational level or social status.

Statistics Canada June 2011 report on hate crime is clear. Blacks continued to be the most commonly targeted racial group. Blacks account for about 38 per cent of all incidents. But who cares? Certainly not John Public, our Federal and Provincial governments, municipal administrations and more importantly we ourselves.

If that wasn’t the case, past leadership would’ve made sure resources and personnel were in place to document all cases of racial hate and racial bias. (The 24-hr phone line to report those incidents as well as those of police abuse would still be up and running.)

Our august organizations would’ve formed alliances with those in other provinces to combat the constant nature and surge of anti-Black racism, and be in the governments’ face for meaningful action to take place.

Instead, racial hate against Blacks is taken for granted and no one except its victims gets hot under the collar. In feeling they have no Black organization to turn to and be their advocate, victims feel betrayed.

Jews have succeeded in making hate against them the most grievous of sin. Consequently, Municipal and or Federal/Provincial government officials will always wade in to prove they are a friend of the community.

In August 2010, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews pledged almost $90,000 to six Toronto Jewish groups to combat hate crimes.

Look at the political landscape both here and in America. The election of Obama to the White House created an upswing in anti-Black sentiment.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), response to the debt crisis was, “My first choice was to do something important for the country. But my second obligation is to my party” and prevent the president getting reelected.”

The sole goal of the Republican Party and Tea baggers is to destroy Obama’s presidency. We as a people stand alone and it would be delusional to think otherwise. It is imperative we politically organize.

The commonality of shared experience and being stereotyped demand bonds of unity. It’s the only way to effectively confront any and all who seek to negate our humanity as well as to excise self-oppressing and self-defeating behaviours.

Would that when we encounter each other we acknowledge the other. We do say “bonjour” to strangers- from bus drivers to salespersons. You don’t have to verbally say hi. You can simply make eye-contact and nod your head. That which separates us is not greater than that which unites.

Would that when sisters take public transport they stop being afraid to sit next to the brothers. So what if the brother is going to try and chat you up? Have you lost the verbal skill of thrust and parry that deflects and deflates unwanted lyrics?

Sitting next to others whose body language is they wished you sat elsewhere is worse than the chat from a brother. Furthermore, a brother will quicker come to your rescue than anyone else.

Knowing how others feel about being next to you and fear of the brothers, have you running to sit in single seats. While you might be mentally comfortable in your aloneness, as strangers in a strange land faced with common obstacles being strangers to each other speaks to a self-hate. Isn’t it time we break down the artificial divide?

All around us other ethnics are building or serving monopolies. (Seems to me there is at least one Asian business in place at every metro station. We would be foolish to think individual entrepreneurship is at work.) Still we continue being careless with our money or give little thought as to converting our dollars into a weapon.

Money is not just something to spend. Money is a tool. Money is a weapon. Money has the power to institute change. Given the well-documented high level of consumerism by Blacks, if we make our money our politics we can enrich the community, force change and take a huge bite out of racism and discrimination.

For starters, support community businesses. Understand that their higher cost is not price gouging but rather a reflection of the higher price they pay for their goods. We cannot hit up Black businesses for donations etc. when we aren’t contributors to their financial success. One cannot withdraw money from the bank without first making a deposit.

At the same time Black owned business have to make sure their employees do not display aggressive and nasty attitudes. Good service attracts repeated business and new customers. Unsatisfactory service does the opposite.

Do not shop in places where salespersons do not care to serve us or pretend we are invisible. Avoid doing business with large chains that do not hire us. Seek out Black salespersons or other ethnics. Chances are their salary is tied to commissions. Giving them your business might just allow them to receive a better salary.