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By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
For more than a century Canadians have gone abroad to do “good” in poorer parts of the world. Whether they spurred positive change or simply became foreign agents should be of interest to international non-governmental organizations.
Last week the Globe and Mail reported on the Canadian Christians who set off to proselytize in China in 1891. Focused on their medical achievements, the laudatory story hinted at a darker side of their work. It quoted a missionary who was “critical of the lifestyle most of the missionaries led, with their large houses, many servants and imported comforts which contrasted with the far lower standard of living of their Chinese fellow Christians.”
Of more consequence than their opulence, Canadian missionaries aggressively supported colonial officials, as I discovered researching Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation. By the end of the colonial period 2,500 Canadian missionaries were proselytizing in Africa and Canadian churches raised large sums to support mission stations across the continent.
Four Québec Jesuit fathers left for the Zambezi Mission in southern Africa in 1883. Alphonse Daignault rose through the ranks of the Catholic male congregation to become Prefect Apostolic of Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). Then Superior of the Jesuits’ Zambezi Mission, Daignault backed the British South Africa Company’s invasion of Mashonaland (Zimbabwe) in 1890. With their evangelizing shunned by the Ndebele people, the Jesuits and other foreign missionaries supported the “destruction of [the] Ndebele system.”
Granted a charter from London in 1889, Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company offered white men in Kimberley, South Africa, 3,000 acres of land and mining rights if they joined the Company’s fight to conquer part of today’s Zimbabwe. Daignault offered the invading force chaplaincy services, mobile ambulances and nurses. The British South Africa Company paid the Jesuit nurses’ costs and compensated Daignault’s mission with conquered territory, including a major piece of land on the outskirts of today’s Harare. In A History of Christian Missions in Zimbabwe, C. J. M. Zvobgo writes that the Harare “farm which consisted of 12,000 acres, beautifully surrounded by hills, was given to the Jesuits by the BSA Company in recognition of Fr Alphonse Daignault’s service to the [Company’s] sick.”
The Québec Jesuit leader worked with Rhodes and British officials for years. He also supported the colonial authorities efforts to drive Africans from their traditional economies into wage work. Reflecting the settler community’s attitude in 1897, Daignault told the deputy administrator of the city of Bulawayo in 1897 that the “natives of this country… are but grown-up children” prone to “idleness”. “Men in authority who have the true interests of the natives at heart ought to treat the natives not only as children but are also to do all they can to make them acquire habits of work. As this cannot be obtained by mere moral persuasion, authority must necessarily be used.”
To the north, dozens of Canadian missionaries helped the colonial authority penetrate Ugandan societies in the early 1900s. The preeminent figure was John Forbes who was a bishop and coadjutor vicar apostolic, making him second in charge of over 30 mission posts in Uganda. A 1929 biography of the founder of the White Fathers in Canada describes his “good relations” with British colonial authorities and the “important services Forbes rendered the authorities of the Protectorate.”
In 1918 Forbes participated in a major conference in the colony, organized by Governor Robert Coryndon in the hopes of spurring indigenous wage work. The Vaudreuil, Québec, native wrote home that “it’s a big question. The European planters in our area, who cultivate coffee, cotton and rubber need workers for their exploitation. But the workforce is rare. Our Negroes are happy to eat bananas and with a few bits of cotton or bark for clothes, are not excited to put themselves at the service of the planters and work all day for a meager salary.” British officials subsidized the White Fathers schools as part of a bid to expand the indigenous workforce.
During World War I, Canadian White Fathers Ernest Paradis and Wilfred Sarrazin helped Brigadier General Edward Northey conquer German East Africa. Serving as civilian transport officers, Paradis and Sarrazin focused on organizing African carriers, who were generally press ganged into service. Paradis became Senior Transport Officer for all British forces east of Nyasaland and North of Zambezi in today’s Malawi and Zimbabwe.
By volunteering to join the war, the White Fathers sought “respectability … in the eyes of planters and government officials.” Afterwards, Paradis used his heightened status to gain the colonial administration’s support for the White Fathers’ educational work.
Paradis evangelised in Malawi for several decades. He led the White Fathers campaign to suppress “the Nyau”, a religious belief among the Chewa and Nyanja people that included elaborate dances. In May 1929 Paradis wrote an East Africa article titled Devil Dancers of Terror that claimed Nyau dances were seditious.
Another Canadian missionary engaged in the White Fathers’ efforts to outlaw Nyau customs in Nyasaland. Father Superior David Roy called on colonial officials to criminalize their dances and in 1928 Christians in the Likuni district, which he oversaw, killed two Nyau.
Thomas Buchanan Reginald Westgate was a Canadian missionary who joined the Church Missionary Society in German East Africa in 1902. With the support of the Ontario branch of the Church Mission Society, Westgate remained in Tanzania for over a decade. The Watford, Ontario, born missionary translated parts of the Old Testament into Cigogo, the language spoken by the Gogo nation in the central region of the colony.
Westgate worked with the colonial administration. His son, Wilfrid Westgate, authored a book about his father’s life titled T. B. R. Westgate: A Canadian Missionary on Three Continents. In the biography, Westgate writes: “Governor [Heinrich] Schnee looked upon the mission as an asset to this part of the German colonial empire.” German soldiers protected the Canadian’s mission post when the population rose up in 1905 against the colonial authority.
Dissent was sparked by measures to force Africans to grow cotton for export, and an uprising known as the Maji Maji rebellion swept across the vast colony. It lasted two years. During the rebellion, Westgate coordinated with German Captain von Hirsch. Westgate’s wife, Rita, later wrote, “at times we feared the Germans could not suppress the rising.” The Germans succeeded, however, and the Westgates’ fears did not come to pass.
In The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective, Isabel Hull writes that 15 Europeans and 389 allied African soldiers were killed by the rebels. By contrast, writes Hull, whole areas of the colony were depopulated with 200,000 to 300,000 Tanzanians killed between 1905 and 1907.
Another Ontario native by the name of Marion Wittich (later Marion Keller) felt called to missionary work while working as an Anglican schoolteacher in Parry Sound, Ontario. She set off with her husband to proselytize in Tanzania in 1913. Her husband died in Tanzania and several years later she remarried a man by the name of Otto Keller, a German born US émigré, who the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada sponsored to set up a mission station in western Kenya. In 1914 Otto Keller claimed that “here [Africa] we see the power of the devil in an astonishing form, almost beyond belief. The noise of drunken men and women, fulfilling the lusts of the flesh come to our ears. All seemingly bound and determined to fulfill the cup of their iniquity.” By the time Marion Keller died in 1942, the socially conservative Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada had over 200 branch churches in Kenya.
An official history of the Canadian church attacked the anticolonial movement in Kenya as “a resurgence of primitive animism.” Published in 1958, What God Hath Wrought: A History of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada notes: “Unfortunately, sinister forces were bidding high for the souls of Kenya’s millions. In the 1950s there was to be a resurgence of primitive heathenism which had as its aim the expulsion of the white man from Kenya and the extinction of everything Christian in their land. This was the Mau Mau uprising.” In putting down the uprising the British killed tens of thousands.
In 1893 Torontonians Walter Gowans and Rowland Victor Bingham founded what later became the largest interdenominational Protestant mission on the continent: the Sudan Interior Mission (Though SIM initially focused on modern- day Nigeria, at the time “Sudan” generally referred to the area south of the Sahara and North of the equator from the east to west coast of the continent.) Head of SIM for four decades, Bingham described “facing millions of people in the darkness of their heathenism” and “seeing the people in all their savagery and sin.”
In the 1950s SIM described growing Nigerian nationalism as “dark and threatening”. Adeleye Liagbemi writes that “the nationalist upsurge of the post-Second World War era engendered a new spirit of independence and experimentation; positive, forward-looking, purposeful and militant. The situation sent chills down the spines of some Christian missionary organizations in the country — including the S.I.M.” In response SIM ramped up its literature output, deciding to “take the offensive out of Satan’s hands”, which it felt had “been winning the war of words among the new literates” of Africa.
Official Canada generally supported these Christian activists. Missionary leaders were well-regarded and received sympathetic media coverage. Leading business people financed mission work and Ottawa sometimes looked to missionaries for advice.
Most of the Canadians who proselytized in Africa were “good Christians” who saw themselves as helping to “civilize the dark continent”. While formal colonialism is over and paternalism has been tempered, Canadians supportive of international NGOs should reflect on missionary history.
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By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
There are several Black owned businesses that are located throughout the United States. These businesses focus vary in the different types of services which they provide, and many of them rank high just as their counterpart owned businesses by White Americans. There are some cities that stand out among the rest for being the cities with the highest percentage of Black-Owned Businesses.
1. Baltimore, Maryland: Baltimore, Maryland is by no surprise at the top of the list for the city with the most owned African-American businesses. Despite the recent riots there are over 35 percent Black-owned businesses in the area.
2. Atlanta, Georgia: It comes as no surprise that Atlanta, Georgia made the list. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the south with newly Black owned businesses popping up almost every day. It made second on the list with 31 percent of the businesses owned by African Americans.
3. Washington, DC: Washington, DC scored 3rd on the list with 28 percent of their businesses owned by African-Americans. With some of the top HBCU schools in the area, this actually comes as no surprise.
4. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Regardless of what many people think, there are Black people located in the mid-west, and many of them own their own businesses. There are 22 percent businesses in the area owned by African-Americans; this made Milwaukee top the list at number 4.
5. Kansas City, Missouri: Kansas City is second in the Midwest and scored 5 on the list, but there are over 13 percent businesses in the area that are owned and operated by African-Americans.
Other cities that made the list but did not make the top 5 are:
- Denver, Colorado-4.3%
- Seattle Washington-3.7%
- Albuquerque, New Mexico – 2.1%
- Mesa, Arizona – 2.1%
- Tucson, Arizona – 1.8%
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By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
By Richard B. Muhammad and Raychelle Muhammad, Final Call Staffers
Libya’s suffering and slavery didn’t just happen
When CNN released video footage of a live slave auction in Libya, captured by journalist Nima Elbagir, shockwaves were sent around the world.
Starting the bidding at $400 each, buyers purchased 12 African migrants at an undisclosed location outside the capital city of Tripoli in a matter of minutes.
How is it possible for open slave market to exist in the year 2017?
The roots of the slavery, suffering and misery in Libya goes back to the purposeful, targeted destruction of the government of Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi.
While President Barack Obama and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, declared their assault on the North Africa leader was about protecting the Libyan people and standing for what is right, Libya has gone all-wrong with no solution in sight.
Raymond A. Winbush, a professor and director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University, noted that by President Barack Obama’s own admission, the worst mistake of his presidency was how he handled Libya.
With three different feuding governments, Libya has never been more unstable. This instability left the door wide open for today’s widespread corruption, human rights abuses, and the slave trade, said Dr. Winbush.
Dr. Winbush told The Final Call that Libya once boasted the highest standard of living in Africa as Col. Gadhafi redistributed oil revenues back to his people. Libya is now in utter chaos. Racism and slavery are running rampant and these are crimes Col. Gadhafi would have never permitted, he said.
Dr. Winbush also noted that the end of Col. Gadhafi’s reign was accompanied by the birth of the international terrorist organization ISIS.
Gerald Perreira, the chairperson of the Black Consciousness Movement Guyana and Organization for the Victory of the People, drew attention to CNN and its role in offering an “expose:” “The world we find ourselves in is complex and full of contradictions. It is easy to fall for rudimentary textbook propaganda based on simplistic dichotomies, such as ‘the good guys versus the bad guys.’ If we are not aware of the complexities and nuances facing us, we can fall for this type of propaganda, whose sole aim is to keep us apart and destroy any type of unity that could strengthen our ability to defeat the enemy,” he wrote in a piece titled “Deceptive Intelligence: CNN breaks story on Slave Trade in Libya; French Government Voices Concern for African Migrants.”
“When examining and assessing the latest information fed us by one of imperialism’s mouthpieces, CNN, there are important things for us, as revolutionary Pan-Africanists, to keep in mind. The first thing to note is the clear hypocrisy and insincerity which is nowhere more stark than CNN’s recent expose of ‘Libyan crimes against humanity’ and French President, Emmanuel Macron’s call for a special meeting of the UN Security Council to demand immediate action against this heinous ‘Libyan’ crime,” he wrote.
Mr. Perreira warned against giving too much credence to CNN and Western media without a critical analysis of their roles and their corporate, imperialist agendas. Lies “can come in the guise of the imperialists and White Supremacists themselves, or their mouthpieces such as CNN, BBC, Fox News or any of the mainstream corporate media outlets. We should never forget their role as cheerleaders and purveyors of the fake news that laid the groundwork for the invasion and destruction of the Libyan Jamahiriya. Therefore, let us ask ourselves the burning question, why are they providing us with this information, and why now? Why are the imperialists suddenly feigning concern for the plight of Africans?” he asks.
“Muammar Qaddafi and the Revolutionary Committees Movement of the Al Fateh Revolution had a monumental task on their hands: to conscientize and reposition the Libyan people for a significant role in the revolutionary Pan-African project for a United States of Africa. This is a battle for all African revolutionaries. In Sub-Saharan African countries, where almost the entire population comprises Black Africans, we face the same battle. Here in the Caribbean, it is no different. So, when Qaddafi urged his people to look towards a United States of Africa and a revolutionary Pan-African perspective, he had to face Libyans who rejected this program in favor of Libya and the entire North African region joining the Barcelona Project, a Mediterranean-European alliance, whose aim is to take North Africa out of Africa,” Mr. Perreira continued.
“Prejudice against dark-skinned Africans exists all over planet earth. Even in countries where the population is almost 100 percent Black African, we have to contend with ‘shadism,’ a hangover from colonialism and plantation culture, where Africans with lighter skin shades are held in higher esteem than Africans with darker skin shades. However, to say that ‘Arab Libyans’ are selling ‘Africans’ is overly simplistic and deliberately misleading. There is a hidden agenda here—beware. The objective is to ignite hostilities between so-called Arab-Africans and so-called Sub-Saharan-Africans. There is a debate amongst Africans about who is an African. On the one hand, there are those who limit the definition of African to Black Africans in the Sub-Saharan region of the continent. On the other hand, there are those of us who believe that Africa is one, and we will resist any attempt by the imperialists to redefine and further balkanize Africa,” he continued. “Rather than becoming part of the European Community, North Africans promoting the Barcelona Project would be better off seeking out their African roots. This is what Muammar Qaddafi told all Libyans.”
The writer lived in Libya and is a Gadhafi loyalist. Mr. Perreira pointed out how the forces of U.S.-European Union imperialism had fought to take down Col. Gadhafi and his government since its establishment in 1969. In 2011, Col Gadhafi was on the brink of unifying the African continent and was poised to receive the UN Human Rights Award, he wrote in an article published on Modern Ghana online.
But the Obama administration, on the advice and counsel of Secretary Clinton and others, along with British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Saudi Arabia King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, and Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani launched an all-out assault against Col. Gadhafi which ended in his execution on Oct. 20, 2011.
President Obama’s ‘regret’
In an interview with The Atlantic published in April 2016, President Obama discussed the U.S. “intervention” in Libya which he said was carefully planned to stop Col. Gadhafi from invading Benghazi, where there was an uprising. President Obama, along with Vice President Joe Biden and then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, initially wanted no part in the conflict, according to the article. It was Secretary Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, and others who won Mr. Obama over. But he expressed remorse for how Libya was handled and turned out—but not that Col. Gadhafi was killed.
The effort, which cost the U.S. $1 billion, was an epic failure. Publicly, Mr. Obama said, “Libya is a mess.” Privately, the article said, he called Libya a “sh*t show.”
“When I go back and I ask myself what went wrong, there’s room for criticism, because I had more faith in the Europeans, given Libya’s proximity, being invested in the follow-up,” President Obama said to The Atlantic. “If we’re going to do something, obviously we’ve got to be up front, and nobody else is sharing in the spotlight.”
The former president’s admission of error does nothing to solve the problem. Complicating matters, Italy’s government has made deals with Libya’s coast guard, tribes, and warlords to prevent refugees from entering Libya and continuing their journeys into Europe.
And while Western nations were able to collude on how to deal with Libya and Col. Gadhafi, they have not come together to deal with the horrors of Libya today. Did the Western nations fear what was happening in Libya and an awakening of a broader African identity and possible political and economic reality?
Mr. Perreira offers a compelling answer: “The North Atlantic Tribes Organization (NATO) deeply fear this type of awakening and the unity of purpose and action it could lead to in this oil rich and wealthiest region of the world. Minister Farrakhan said many years ago, reflecting on periods of unity in our history, ‘we did it before and we can do it again.’ Muammar Qaddafi’s persistent struggle to forge a United States of Africa was starting to pay off. He was on the verge of creating an African currency that would have shifted the global economic imbalance, preparing the way for Africa to take its rightful place in the world. … Fear of this emerging African unity, especially between countries in the north and south of the continent, prompted France to orchestrate (Cote D’Ivoire leader Laurent Gbagbo’s) removal from power at the same time as the NATO led invasion of Libya. Genuine African unity, resulting in anything more than talk, will always be opposed, no matter what the cost, by the forces of White Supremacy.”
Chaos breeds refugee crisis
Since 2014, over 600,000 people have migrated to Italy including an all-time high of 180,000 refugees in 2016 alone. Although this action has left migrants vulnerable to being sold into slavery, Italy’s interior minister Marco Minniti stands behind their policy.
The International Organization for Migration, a United Nations agency, has been reporting the rape, violence, extortion, and enslavement of refugees for months.
The IOM exposed the problem and yet no one was apparently listening. Migrants were being swindled by human traffickers they had paid to transport them off the African continent. Survivors said instead they were enslaved, starved, and abused by their captors.
“The latest reports of ‘slave markets’ for migrants can be added to a long list of outrages [in Libya],” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s head of operation and emergencies. “The situation is dire. The more IOM engages inside Libya, the more we learn that it is a vale of tears for all too many migrants.”
All Africa reported that many families of migrants captured by militia and smugglers have been extorted. If they can’t pay the ransoms, then the prisoners are sold. Often the new owners will try to extort the families as well. If at some point the captors can neither collect on nor sell a prisoner, or if the prisoner falls ill, the prisoner is killed.
The CNN footage has garnered much attention and condemnation from the UN, African leadership, and people around the globe. Shortly after the story aired, a massive, and at times violent protest in Paris outside the Libyan embassy ensued. Similar demonstrations were held at Libyan embassies in several African capitol cities including Bamako, Mali and Conakry, Guinea.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate investigation into the matter and prosecution of all guilty parties.
France called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the problem. President Emmanuel Macron condemned human trafficking as a “crime against humanity” via Twitter on Nov. 22. He has since met with head of the African Union, Alpha Conde.
But are France’s hands clean? “The destruction of this most prosperous and just African country was led by France, who now dares to call for a special meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the crimes committed against African migrants ‘by Libyans.’ This is devil-speak,” said writer Perreira. “The same devil who, in the words of the Honorable Minister Farrakhan, ‘unleashed the demons’ that are now committing these and other heinous crimes, is trying to sow more discord by talking about ‘Libyan crimes.’ Where was CNN and the French government when these same gangs of demons were committing the atrocities described above?”
Libyans have vowed to cooperate with the UN probe while also conducting investigations of their own. But West African political leaders have heavily criticized the Libyan slave trade and are taking action on behalf of exploited migrants from the region. Both President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou and the foreign minister of Burkina Faso, Alpha Berry, summoned the Libyan ambassador to meet to address the issue.
President Issoufou has demanded that the International Court of Justice investigate Libya. The matter of the slave trade in Libya has been added to the agenda of the next African Union meeting in Ivory Coast on Nov. 29 and Nov. 30.
Looking to the future
Where do we go from here? The answer to that question is multi-layered with many moving parts. Minister Abdul Akbar Muhammad, the international representative of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam told The Final Call that those who have bought and sold slaves must be held accountable.
All authorities, who include the AU, the UN, the U.S., international human rights organizations, and all three divisions of the Libyan government, must step in to chastise and isolate the offenders, he said.
Mr. Muhammad also observed that the fractured Libyan government model is nothing shy of a “basket case.” And with the government being a product of a military coup, Libya should be kicked out of the UN as well as the AU, he argued.
The United States must now be involved in the solution as both the creator of the problem as well as the home of the media outlet that filmed and aired the footage of the inhumane practice, Min. Akbar Muhammad said. CNN’s reporting has culpability in the world’s perception of this crisis and their investigative team is a witness against the perpetrators, he continued.
Mr. Muhammad also said Blacks in the U.S. and other members of the African Diaspora must become voices for the victims by petitioning their governments and human rights organizations to act swiftly against slave trafficking.
Perhaps the most important action that the 54 members of the African Union must take, Mr. Muhammad said, is to immediately begin to invest in building their economies, creating business and employment opportunities, and improving the quality of and access to education so that young people will no longer have to risk their lives migrating to Europe.Post Views: 443