Sam Omatseye

I noticed with pleasure the autumn of a Belgian chief’s statue. King Leopold instituted what has been recognized by some historians, in addition to political philosophers like Hannah Arendt, because the African Holocaust. They used African labour to complement their decadence. It was a precursor to the Jewish tragedy. The West denied this by erecting the statue for a person {that a} historian described as “a giant minded man in an insignificant kingdom.” He shipped Africans to Belgium and paraded them like museum items for fellow nationals to view. Joseph Conrad wrote The Coronary heart of Darkness to doc white savagery within the Congo in what he described because the “merry dance of dying and commerce.”

But, that novella painted Africans as savages, cannibals and belonging to the “evening of first ages.” It’s one other little pesky western monument that ought to go down and deleted from what is known as “the western canon” of literature.

As Achebe famous, it’s a racist work. Western critics proceed studying it as if blind. They hail it as a piece that skewers the malignancy of commerce and hypocrisy, they usually learn it so selectively. It’s the type of thoughts that accuses us of oversimplification for attacking Leopold and Cecil Rhodes, who additionally fomented the holocaust in southern Africa. However how can we tackle males like Jefferson, who turned a black slave right into a mom?  Washington stored slaves even when he set them free after his dying. Will we convey their monuments down?

I consider Winston Churchill, too, who helped save the world from Hitler however didn’t wish to finish colonialism, known as Ghandi “a half-naked kaffir,” and advised Roosevelt, “I didn’t change into the Queen’s first minister to preside over the dissolution of the British Empire.” Some did nicely, their statues ought to stay with notes of what they did fallacious. “No man’s advantage is full,” wrote Playwright Bertolt Brecht.

In the identical vogue, as we combat for such justice, we can not neglect our function in slavery. Or else, we will be waging a hypocritical battle. Some historians mentioned Africa had a practice of slavery however our slaves had rights. Nonsense. We performed a job in promoting Africans to the Europeans.

Who had been the Ijebus who offered weapons so fellow Yoruba may kill themselves? Historian I. A. Akinjogbin warned in opposition to romanticising our previous by denying our function. Males like Kosoko did it.

Niger Delta was a scorching mattress of it, a factor I explored in my novel, Crocodile Lady, now being learn in colleges. If we personal up, then we are able to maintain them accountable. Issues fell aside due to the white intruder, and the correction lies within the hand that dedicated fallacious: the West.

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