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“You came to our land, tricked my Dad with hard liquor and a mirror and seized my brother into slavery. Today you do everything to pit my brother against me - Che, V.; 2006


Over time, peoples of various tribes and nations the world over were separated from their families, neighbours, friends etc. This separation was either wilful or forceful. Looking at the Irish for example, the mass exodus to the New World was fuelled by desire to seek greener pasture - thus a wilful separation. Today, the world over, Irish descendants celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with pomp and flare. This is a heritage the Irish are proud of, irrespective of their present day nationalities. Other ethnic peoples migrated as well, mostly wilfully.


However, the peoples of Mother Africa were forced to separate. Choice was not an option. This forceful separation that has been coined - The Slave Trade, scattered the peoples of Africa across parts of Europe and the Americas. Why are ethnic Africans or the descendants of Africa NOT proud of their heritage?


There are two vantage points from which one can dissect the above and try to get a clear understanding. First, the nature of the separation (brutality and shame), and secondly, modern day forces (an invisible hand and allegations of deceit) set to pit the peoples of Africa against each other.


Once bitten, twice shy’ could give a glimpse into the feeling that most Antilleans and African-Americans have about Africa. While the savage brutality and inhumane practices of the Holocaust have been widely documented and fed to the world, the Slave Trade has not. The advanced publicity of the Holocaust has earned most Israelis (mainly Jews), the pity (and hence remuneration) of the world and thus, they have a vested interest in relating to their ethnic (and religious) heritage. It is not surprising that almost every Jew has a relative that was burned alive in a concentration camp. On the part of Africans, the Slave Trade has been painted as something to be ashamed of. Yet, if one dared compare the horrors of these two dark periods in human history, Hitler and his gang of SS henchmen would look like playboys in the light of the Slave Trade. Thus, the shame that accompanied the horror of the Slave Trade has led many ethnic Africans to shy away from their heritage. Identifying oneself as a victim of the Slave Trade does not gain you sympathy (talk less of remuneration), instead you get ridiculed.


On the other front, the deceit that is purported to have taken place during the Slave Trade has helped make things worse. Telling an African-American that his forefather was ‘sold’ into slavery by his own people sows seeds of hate and distrust. The Africans who are said to have aided the slave traders had NO CHOICE. This is same for the Jews that helped ‘feed’ other Jews into burning furnaces. Why would world media today try to lay blame on Africans for ‘selling’ their fellow countrymen into slavery? Answer - a quest to maintain the balance of power - wealth. If all peoples of African heritage pooled their wealth and other resources together, they would wield unimaginable power. To throw more light into this, let’s go back four decades. 1968 in the USA. If Dr. King’s last speech is anything to go by (and I strongly believe this reason why this became his last speech), the American Negro at that time collectively was wealthier (30 billion USD annually) than all the nations in the world with the exception of 9. This was a time when major sports were not dominated by African-American athletes. This was a time when the entertainment industry had very few, if any African-Americans. This was a time when African-Americans were hardly even free, mad less making the most of their entrepreneurial talent in the land of opportunity. Yet, they collectively wielded more financial power than the state budget of Canada. Fast-track these stats by 4 decades; to a period where African-Americans dominate all Major sporting disciplines (and hence pay grade) except Ice hockey (as a result of the temperature of the hockey rings), to a period where African-Americans make up a substantial part of the entertainment industry; to a period where African-Americans have taken their freedom and let loose their entrepreneurial talent; and last but not least, to a period where an African-American has the wit and courage to become President of the free world. Once again, factor in all peoples of African descent across Europe and the Caribbean AND the peoples in present day Africa. The thought of all these peoples pooling their financial resources is a frightening one. The amounts in questions are terrifying to those who benefit from the status quo. It is thus not surprising that the benefactors of the status quo will do everything possible to stop the peoples of African descent from working together. Divide and conquer is an old technique as old as battle itself. In so far as the ethnic African in the US believes that his forefathers were ‘sold’ into slavery by the ethnic African in Ghana, cooperation becomes a far-fetched thought. Unfortunately, this technique is working. This can explain why there is discord between ethnic Africans that bear different modern day nationalities.


Is it possible for all peoples of African descent to pool their resources together and be proud of their heritage? Maybe! The more interesting question is: is it possible for the benefactors of the status quo to let the peoples of African descent to pool their resources together? I do not have an answer to this question. What I know for sure is that ALL dynasties have an end. In the 1600s, the thought of ending the Slave Trade would have been laughable at best, but it (Slave Trade) was abolished at some point. While a great many may see such optimism as unrealistic, I will call on such pessimists to take a mental flight back in time. Numerous are the circumstances that were believed to be impossible to revert or change, yet they did. I am a staunch believer in the power of TIME. I call you all to join me. Whenever the mind believes in anything, then such is possible.


*Valentine Che is a Freelance Journalist & Civil Rights Advocate. He may be reached on

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