The Lingering Effects of European Colonialism in Africa
As tragic as the history of colonial conquest is, its legacy of inequity is alive and well today. We literally live in the aftermath. The nations of United States, Britain, Portugal, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden all participated in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The nations of Europe all benefited from the past centuries of colonialism.
Just as sure as Baumann Bay in Lake Victoria is still named after Dr. Oscar Baumann (1864-1899)...
Baumann as Consul in Zanzibar
Baumann wearing a fez
Baumann, the first colonizer to reach the kingdoms of Burundi and Rwanda, named the bay himself during the so-called Maasai expedition between the years 1892 and 1893. He was a classic colonial chameleon as demonstrated by the portraits above. What does that mean exactly? It means he used disguises to blend it to "his environment" sometimes - even to the extent of appropriating religion and culture.
Not all colonizers employed this tactic on their journeys through Africa. Some of them, like Governor Zinger (who you may recall received quite a warm reception where he went) noted in his book under the heading "Advantages and Disadvantages of Disguises for the Explorer":
My men had suggested that I disguise myself as a Muslim to do my entry to Kong. But as I saw no benefit to that, and since everywhere I had introduced myself as French and as a Christian, I gave no follow-up to this idea.
What serious advantage can one derive from a disguise?
... It is...better to stay what we are. To walk without denying one's religion and nationality is a daring that can only inspire respect from blacks and prove to them our strength.
Baumann was not particularly interested in respect, however. Neither was morality very high on his list.
Oscar Baumann sitting inside a house with two Africans, 1896, Zanzibar, Tanzania
(Source: Weltmuseum Wien)
He would excuse the violence of his 200-member entourage towards natives (such as through flagellation and the torching of entire villages) with these words from his 1894 monograph Through Maasai to the Nile Spring:
"My approach to the natives was always guided by the principle that the strongest hand was the mildest. The impression that the first European creates in new areas often remains crucial for many years to come. Too peaceable attitude is easily understood as anxiety, and gives rise to indigenous pride, ... On the other hand, an energetic demeanor, which does not shy away from strife, ... brings to the natives from the beginning a salutary respect for Europeans, which is the surest guarantee of later peaceful development."
Oskar Baumann, Referendar Heine, Makoa Kivunga, Korn jun. Grain sen .; New Year 1896
(Source: Weltmuseum Wien)
The black African in the photo above is most likely Baumann's personal servant Mhogu Nadim Kiounga.
On their journey to Burundi, the party met and expeditiously crushed an armed group of Tutsis who were defending their land.
In 1888, with geographer Hans Meyer, Baumann explored the Usambara region, with plans of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (it would be Meyer's second attempt). Within a matter of days Baumann and Meyer were captured and held as prisoners. They were released after a large ransom was paid to rebel leader Abushiri ibn Salim al-Harthi.
Buschiri bin Salim, leader of the insurgents, 1888/89
(Source: Weltmuseum Wien)
Abushiri ibn Salim al-Harthi, a wealthy Arab who lived in Tanzania, united Arab traders and local African tribes in a powerful struggle against the German East African trading company with the goal of removing the European colonizers. The Abushiri Rebellion (1888-1889) eventually ended with the capture of al-Harthi. Baumann managed to capture the above photo right before the resistance leader was executed on December 15, 1889.
Baumann's objectives on behalf of the German East African Society included economic prospecting and preparing the way for the land grab by German settlers. His collections of clothing, jewelry, hunting and war items, and musical instruments, were sold to the Court Museum and Museum of Ethnology in Vienna.
Just as sure as the Deutsche Bank Towers in Frankfurt, Germany still stand today...
The founding committee adopted a memorandum in July of 1869 which stated:
"The German flag carries the German name now in all parts of the world; here a further step would have been taken to honor the German name in more distant regions and finally to conquer Germany in the field of financial mediation - appropriate for those who are our fatherland already in the field of civilization, of knowledge and of art. [...] But it is not exclusively German participation that needs to support this company, which should be based on the cosmopolitan standpoint.
According to the Federal Agency for Civic Education (FACE) in Bonn, Germany:
After the suppression of resistance in German Southwest Africa (now Namibia), the locals were expropriated and "the German settlers received five million Reichsmark compensation". The claims for compensation of the Africans were mocked by the colonial advocates and the colonial administration.
The German settlers and the colonial companies were favored after the First World War for the damage to life and health by the compensation regulations of the colonial governors. The regulations, noted a lawyer in 1926, were "practically applied without any specific legal basis". The amount of compensation could amount to approximately 6 billion Reichsmarks.
Just as the Arcades du Cinquantenaire, which was built by King Leopold II to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Belgian independence using money from the "Congo Free State", stands today in the Parc du Cinquantenaire...
It was King Leopold himself who built the Cinquantenaire Palace containing some of the museum's collections along with the rest of the "Jubilee" complex when the Belgian government would not pay for it.
Equestrian Statue of King Leopold II by Thomas Vinçotte (1850–1925)
photos by Daderot (via Wikipedia Commons)
The sad reality is that history does not always repeat itself by coincidence or by accident. It was not at all uncommon that the people who make plans to conquer foreign lands updated their playbook with the methods which found the most success in the past.
Francisco Pizarro and other conquistadors studied and employed tactics similar to Cortes, especially at the massacre of Cholula. Just as Cortes called a meeting of the city's leaders and then gave the signal of a shotgun blast for his army to slaughter everyone, Pizarro did the same in multiple sites on his journey.
Just as Columbus sent dogs to hunt the natives of the Caribbean to extinction, French officers thought the past effectiveness of this weapon would ensure them similar successes in their attempts to "lift white morale" and ultimately crush the revolution in Haiti (they were very wrong).
Leopold II was nothing short of another reincarnation of the original colonizer. Both recruited natives to maim other natives (and children) when their hands were not full at the day's end.
It did not matter how much time has elapsed between these cruelties.
It did not matter that the people who committed them were entirely aware of the path they were taking.
And once more, colonial history continues in our time.
While industry leaders preach down to us from their thrones of bones, the blood of the innocent still cries out from under their very soles. Just as the colonial authorities and imperialists of the past excused their insolence with the claim that the savage people were too primitive and mentally incompetent to govern themselves, we have yet another generation of neo-colonial authorities and neo-imperialists who use their past history of insolence to excuse their present obstinacy.
Their argument is that because they have held on to such objects for a longer time than the people who demand their return have, they deserve to hold on to them even longer.
While one museum staff member may not speak for all, there is no doubt that others who have not only chosen to remain silent but have chosen not to engage in any action towards restitution, sit with him. And given the level of detail available on the history of colonialism, coupled with provenance data on stolen artifacts, this is nothing less than a conscious choice.
Nevertheless, the French museum president, Mr. Martin, expresses hope for a future when the work of Africa towards accommodations of their own cultural resources will meet the expectations of Europe and the international community.
So far as I know - perhaps Benin's claim is a sign - no African head of state has really taken matters into its own hands. President Macron says it must be done and he is right. But I hope that there will be an answer in the face, that is to say countries that will say: "Yes, we want to reconstitute part of our heritage".
But when will Africa reach this more appropriate time?
When will such projects catch up to other initiatives of infrastructure and economic development on the continent?
Even when Africa does finally reach that point, will the benchmarks have evolved again?
While these artifacts were in the Palace of Benin or in the tombs of Egypt a long time ago, were they not being preserved for many centuries by their owners under their supreme authority before their infrastructure was compromised and/or before "international" intervention? (Surely, Europe and America had a long way to go in this endeavor themselves.)
As Historian Richard Pankhurst said during a press conference at the British Council offices in Addis Ababa on behalf of The Association for the Return of the Maqdala Ethiopian Treasures (Afromet):
"If, as it is claimed, the British library and such-like institutions looked after Ethiopia's manuscripts and other property at a time when this was difficult to in Ethiopia, our reply is simple:
Thank you very much for looking after our treasure so carefully. Now please return them to their rightful owners.
The national library and the Ethiopian Studies faculty in the University of Addis Ababa are quite competent to look after these treasures."
Even as Africa does its best with what is available (what was left) to their use, has it been enough for them? After all their labors throughout the colonial era, have their labors ever been nearly enough for western satisfaction, gratification, and indulgence?
I would propose another question...
How can we separate one aspect of a society from the other and pray for its overall success?
To those who hold on to this colonial mindset...
You separated a continent from its culture and then you claim it is your culture now.
You separated a continent from its history and then you say it does not matter anymore.
You separated a continent from its resources and then you leave it with nothing.
Is not your own culture and history of exploitation clearly characterized by your collections of ours? (To part with what is not yours is to experience for yourselves what it is like to have nothing. The tables would turn.)
Is not denial in the face of truth your first amendment of free expression and the way that you honor your fifth commandment for your ancestors?
Is not the refusal to deal justly with a diplomatic partner your consistent foreign policy?
Effectively, the western world is repeating history right before our eyes.
They have separated the continent again.
They have made admissions of guilt, but they have not yet admitted to their continued complicity.
THEIR INACTION IS ALREADY NEOCOLONIALISM.
They resolve to invite their African friends to another round of "finders keepers", knowing that there are no more moves that can be made on the other side within the rules of the game...knowing that they are really THE ONLY player in the game. (There are no winners here, either. The games they play just do not know an end.)
By saying they would rather things continue the way they are, they are saying they believe they are in the right. By saying they are right, they are really saying they are STILL right. And two wrongs don't right either wrong.
They say to get over the past.
They say things are different now and that they are more interested in the modern progression of the continent.
But how can we guarantee that [cliche warning] things will be different this time, when things have only continued the way they have been since the Berlin Conference of 1884 when Africans were denied the right to self-determination and an "international commission" made decisions on their own behalf claiming Africans were the beneficiaries of their own destruction?
How can we now accept an invitation to watch the new "African Conference of 2018" from the outside and sign this new "Treaty of Africa" when neocolonial corporate expansion is already a reality across the continent?
Even if we were to somehow forget about the process that enabled some countries to be in a more ideal position than others, we cannot ignore the effects of that situation as it presently exists. People are suffering. People are dying.
Rather than give the man back his pond and giving him a fishing rod to go with it, they would prefer to loan the man what already belongs to him or watch him starve.
We feel that the injustice committed by the British at Maqdala, like other injustices of the past, must be repaired; and that this can be effected only by full restitution to Ethiopia of all cultural objects unjustly looted from the country. We feel, in the words of a British lover of justice, that nothing is truly settled until it is settled justly.
This is not only just. It is justice.
2,000 years of history takes another 2,000 years to make.
2,000 years of cultural resources will take another 2,000 years to make.
Calls for restitution have also been made by members of other communities that have had their historical heritage stolen and placed on display. Indigenous Australian activist Rodney Kelly has made calls on behalf of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia.
Line-up of objects collected on the German Sepik River Expeditions in Papa New Guinea,
Photo by Gisela Simrock in 1961
The Museum der Weltkulturen (Museum of the World's Cultures) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany was founded in 1904 by the citizens of Frankfurt. It holds a collection of 67,000 ethnographic artifacts from Oceania, Africa, South East Asia as well as from North, South and Central America. It also has a picture archive of some 120,000 historical and contemporary ethnographic photos and films as well as 50,000 books.
Here is what the former director of the museum, Clémentine Deliss, said in 2014 about the process of decolonizing museums in Germany, which has the largest number of ethnographic museums in the world today:
I consider the ethnographic museum a highly contentious monument. It is a controversial museum: on the one hand the collection is inherently part of German history, yet it doesn't actually belong to Germany. It's merely taken care of by the museum. The question is then, how can this collection be placed in the forefront of new debates about the post-colonial condition today?...
When you speak about a monument to colonial violence, I would argue that one major dimension of this monument is the volume, the bulk, the sheer physical presence of all these things- stored in highly specialized and hermetic reserves, in depots. If you were to try to repatriate this huge bulk of objects, it would take a long, long time. So the deconstruction of this monument to colonial violence has to happen in my opinion along a number of different routes.
The solution she implemented for her museum was to conduct internal research on the objects "and reframing, rethinking and reinterpreting them." Her idea was to develop a "museum university" for "emancipatory education".
The ‘post-ethnographic museum’ engages with a reflexive, critical and creative understanding of its own institutional history and status...The museum, which is located in Europe in a country with a colonial past, has to be open to interpretations that come from different parts of the world and that challenge the geopolitical rigidity of ethnicity or of the colonial demarcation of cultures from the past...
When asked about her opinion on restitution, this was her answer:
It's very complicated. One important way of dealing with the problem of restitution is by building organic links to institutions in those countries. By inviting artists and also by setting up a young curators programme which we have been running since one year, we can open up the storage spaces and allow curators from different source communities to work with the collection.
It is actually not as complicated as they think.
The British Museum holds on to some 800 items from the colonial expedition against Benin. But they claim all their items were bought legally after they were stolen illegally. In 2000, a spokesperson for the museum went as far as to say:
"It is our policy never to acquire anything with a shady past."
They still maintain this argument against calls for repatriation even though in regards to artifacts from the invasion of Benin, THEY KNOW IT IS A LIE.
Students at Cambridge University's Jesus College rallied to remove a cockrel statuette from a campus dining hall. The statue, one of many dedicated to the queen mothers of Benin, came down but until now, there is no word on when it will arrive.
While these big institutions are still beating around the bush, a good man has already returned artifacts his grandfather stole to the original owners.
Here is a man who understands that this cultural preservation thing is bigger than who makes deeper pants pockets and who has the wider profit margins.
Bell with mallets, 18th Century
Fate Bird, 18th-19th Century
The small artifacts he returned were a bird of prophecy and a bell with a clapper similar to those shown here. These, however, are still resting in the World Museum of Vienna, Austria.
Historical artifacts are much more than wood, stone, and paper for the countries that they represent. In African cultural tradition, their stories were recorded through these artifacts just like anywhere else in the world. Not only do they preserve a nation's cultural history, but they also help to drive a nations' tourism revenue in the process.
People travel to England every day to see "Big Ben." People travel to France every day to see the "Eiffel Tower." People travel to Italy every day and visit the "Leaning Tower of Pisa." People travel to the United States every day and visit the "Statue of Liberty." People travel to Brazil every day and visit "Christ the Redeemer." And in recent years, people have started traveling to Senegal every day to visit the "African Renaissance Monument."
It is no wonder then that a national landmark of Ethiopia, the great 4th-century Obelisk of Axum, was taken to Rome by the Italian prime minister Benito Mussolini in 1937 as part of his revenge for Italy's humiliating defeat by the Ethiopians. Likewise, when it was restored to its original location in 2005, another victory was won. It was originally erected as a royal grave marker, but now it embodies the indomitable resilience of Ancient Abyssinia - 'The Land of Origins'.
Among the countless treasures of the land, there is still a significant economic value in these objects alone.
Brass sculpture of a rooster stolen during the British Punitive Expedition in Benin City
(Source: Weltmuseum Wien - World Museum Vienna)
With all the controversy over colonial artifacts, why has the west not offered outright to have them appraised and then to buy them from the course communities accordingly?
Why would they negotiate on merely "loaning" them out "long term"?
While the Ethiopians have asked for the return of their treasures, the V & A Museum planned a display called Maqdala 1868 to run from April 5, 2018 to July 2019.
Maqdala 1868 marks the beginning of what we hope will be an ongoing dialogue about the history of these objects and their place in our national collection today.
They will acknowledge what they did.
They will even talk about it. In fact, they have been talking about it from the moment all of the loot landed on Britain's doorstep 150 years ago. The same museum (which was established by Queen Victoria anyways) identifies that
Prime Minister, William Gladstone condemned the taking of treasures from Maqdala, particularly the gold crown and chalice, and ‘deeply lamented, for the sake of the country, and for the sake of all concerned, that these articles … were thought fit to be brought away by a British army.’ He urged that they ‘be held only until they could be restored.’
Even Queen Victoria herself authorized the return of a royal Kebra Nagast (translated "Glory of Kings") manuscript containing an important historical record when Emperor Yohannes IV requested it on August 10, 1872 - just 4 years after the siege.
Today, the institutions of Europe and the United States will do whatever they can in an effort to legitimize their claim of fair ownership. But they will not return what they took.
Because they know there is more value in keeping these forever than all the money in the world can buy in a moment of time!
People travel to see these monuments for the simple reason that they are the only ones of their kind.
Busts of a king and queen made by the bronzecasting guild of Benin City mainly for tourists using the same skills that created the older bronzes, 2005/2006
(Source: Weltmuseum Wien)
Boat Composition by Workshop Omodamwen, 2006
Likewise, people travel to see those unique historical artifacts from everywhere else in select museums for the very reason that there is nowhere else on Earth where they can still be found (What was left when they were done?). Some exceptions include the items above, which were only made recently but honor an ancient tradition.
If any of those massive iconic structures were toppled tomorrow, what would be the economic toll on the country of loss? What would be the economic profit on the next country?
Therefore, if the Mona Lisa was removed again from the Louvre or if any other work of art was displaced from any of the museums in Europe, the verdict would be unequivocally the same: A great crime has been committed. Return to us immediately what has been stolen or face the consequences. And you will still pay for your crime when you do. Offer to loan it back and see how that works out for you in the end.
Money is temporary while culture is constantly represented in these waymarks of a physical timeline. This property is an essential part of what gives Africa's real-life vibranium its power.
Chadwick Boseman, who played the role of Black Panther, stated himself that Klaue was the real villain and that he can identify with Killmonger's character.
On the other hand, producer Nate Moore, who was instrumental in bringing black Marvel characters to the big screen including Black Panther, said that Erik Killmonger was right in his goals but wrong in his methods. He is suggesting that in his view, Killmonger was truly a villian. He did use violence to meet his objectives. As Erik rightfully said, when faced with a choice between submission or death, what choice did his ancestors have?
"Burn It All."
In the fictional work, T'Challa tells Killmonger "you have become like one of them". The CIA operative, working from the background of an agency that has historically been the farthest thing from an ally of African people, also said on more than one occasion "he is one of ours." But what did he mean by that? Did he mean that Killmonger's methods were all aligned with the agency's schemes for destabilizing and toppling governments or was he merely reaching with speculations as to which side Killmonger was playing at? Was that line a nod to the old adage "it takes one to know one?"
The fact is that in reality, ACTUAL colonizers ACTUALLY accomplished the full extent of what Killmonger had only attempted in his scheme and so much more! They executed rulers and claimed their kingdoms through force. They fought wars to suppress rebellions. They toppled the wealthy nations of the world to gain wealth and spread it amongst themselves alone while their victims were left to suffer for generations.
Killmonger was not the first to do it. He believed the only way to the power that others had achieved was by following in their footsteps. He believed that apart from how a model nation like Wakanda came to be and survived through eons of careful preservation, the only foreseeable way to heal the modern world was to even the score.
"Welcome ceremony for Governor Bryon - the Asante chiefs in Kumase"
August 7, 1905
(Source: Basel Mission Archives)
This is what the Ashanti Kingdom looked like some years after the British deposed their king and queen.
Look at their expressions. Think about how these people feel and what the loss of genuine leadership meant to them. Herbert Bryan held the office of Gold Coast governor for three separate terms during the years 1904, 1910, and 1912. But there is a whole list of European governors in Ghana stretching four centuries.
What is interesting is that even while colonizers conquered civilized communities, people who inherited the privileges of the system established by their ancestors in purely colonial form somehow managed to find a way to continue that colonialism in other forms while maintaining a claim to their own moral, intellectual, and physical superiority. Colonialism is, however, an open admission that one's original environment was inadequate and that one is more satisfied outside of that environment than within it.
Imperialism is basically another level of colonialism. It is the part of colonialism that merely claims the access to what belongs to the other party. Yet, even with all of its arrogance, it is still an attempt to compensate for an empire's own shortcomings. It says "Hey, you have something more, something better than I do. It is something I need in order to improve my quality of life and I am so desperate for this thing that I will leave the insufficiency of my own "supreme" space and enter that more valuable place (the place where more of this value exists) to obtain it." The historical record is clear about how imperial powers took this a step further. Through their actions, they would assert: "Not only that, but life itself is not as valuable as this thing is to me. I am willing to risk yours and mine if I could only take this thing from you without the ability to enjoy it for myself afterwards. I am willing to die on the battlefield in the attempt."
Claims to White supremacy on the basis of physical potency have long been debunked and continue to be both paralyzed and disabled today. This is not just on the part of sheer studies either, but even by the undoing of the very colonial mindset itself. Those who once swore by archaic racial philosophies would never keep up with the lowest standard of scholarship in our time.
This image, showing six steps in human evolution, was published in the 1965 Time-Life book Early Man. The original mural was drawn by Rudolph Zallinger, a Russian-born graduate of the Yale School of Fine Arts, and took more than four years to complete.
(Source: Yale Alumni Magazine)
The person of a colonizer mentality figures that they must always hold the top rung on the ladder of life, and in so doing, they must be supreme at everything. No one else must dominate in any way. So it follows that while they must be the best at civilization, they must also lead at representing the best of savagery. This paradox is seen even in the dichotomy of good and evil - God and the Devil - in religious contexts represented by depictions of different beings in the likeness of the same race (although not always).
It is also seen in the ever popular illustration known as "The March of Progress" or "Road to Homo Sapiens", which appears to depict a linear evolution of the primate species. While there is now a widely accepted scientific understanding that all human (homo sapien) life originated in Africa from a population with a typical negro phenotype that consisted of an especially dark complexion, this 100% European 1965 fantasy still presents itself to us both in academia and in pop culture. Evidently, the modern mind of melanated mankind is still colonized.
Thus it is, that even in places where a community "of color" has triumphed over racism from without, it is still challenged by colorism from within. Those who mirror the imprint of the colonizer, whether in complexion or in methodology, more often assume a role as the new "model savage" when there is no one left among the colonial ilk to enforce that distinction outright. That is the reinforcement effect that colorism has today. That is the lingering aftershock of colonialism on the global psyche, which can be felt in lands as far apart as India is from Brazil.
Again, a change is on the way.
Our world is messed up. Colonialism messed it up. (Colonialism, among other things.)
The parts of the world that did the colonizing sees the world as being quite alright.
While Okoye summed up Wakanda's foreign policy with
Wakanda survived for so long by only fighing when absolutely necessary.
N'Jobu believed that Wakanda had a responsibility to do more
"I observed for as long as I could. Their leaders have been assassinated. Communities flooded with drugs and weapons. They are overly policed and incarcerated. All over the planet, our people suffer..."
Killmonger himself understood this.
He understood this growing up on the rough streets of Oakland, California as Erik Stevens. He studied his history and celebrated those moments when the oppressed challenged the system of oppression, even to jump from ships, "'cause they knew death was better than bondage." He was well aware of the militancy of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. After all, there was a poster of an enthroned Huey P. Newton hanging on the wall of his apartment.
When his father N'Jobu met him with "No tears for me, son?" he wiped a tear from his eye as he responded with
"People die every day. That's just part of life around here."
Killmonger knew that the the suffering of the present was not at all isolated from the suffering of the past. And Killmonger could not stand to face his own past. Its effect on his soul was too much to bear and like the African American of today, he must have said to himself "No more. I'm tired of these slave stories. All they are ever going to talk about in our African American History class is slavery. I don't have to accept that. Why should I, when I can just take the required U.S. History and get on with my "education"? Who would I want to watch a series about the subjugation of my people? Why does everything have to be so political? Why can't we just get over it already? And while we're at it, what does a Black Panther movie have to do with slavery anyways? Every time black people get together...'another woe is us'.
You know what?
You can go ahead and burn all that
The world's going to start over. I'MA BURN IT ALL."
His plan was not simply to dismantle the system, but to destroy it altogether.
He was ready to do whatever he thought it would take to free himself and to ensure that no one else would have to endure the curse that was the blackness of our history. If he did not have his way, he would lash out at the world by some other means. His rage would find expression in toxic masculinity, domestic abuse, and criminal culture. His rage was real and it would eventually consume him while others would say he was only pretending to be a victim of circumstance. His rage soon made him a threat to the entire universe - this was the day the negro changed his mind. All authority was game until he would be the only one left to command his own destiny.
"It's time they know the truth about us! We're warriors! The world's gonna start over, and this time, we're on top!
The sun will never set on the Wakandan empire."
Head and shoulders of child in front of display of objects from Benin City on a table. Objects are a bronze plaque with three figures and the heads of two Europeans in the background, two cow hide and felt appliqué fans, a bronze staff of office; a bronze spear and an elephant tusk (horn),
taken in Benin, 1897-1905
(Source: British Museum)
Killmonger has been misquoted* as calling himself "Black Hitler" at one point in the film. If you listen closely to Killmonger's lines, he never made this reference. His actual words are in the quote above. But let's say that he did...
We know Hitler was terribly wrong. But if Killmonger was wrong, what about the colonizers of the past?
And were they alone? Was there not an entire wave of empires on her coattails?
Were their leaders any different in their objectives?
Did they all not preach his philosophy on race? Some of them were his closest companions. They were accomplices together.
They all wanted to take what everyone else had and kill anyone who resisted them. They may have had different methods, they may have identified themselves in different ways, but the goal was the same - their own supremacy.
Were they wrong, then?
For how they attempted to sever the connection between Africa and its heritage forever? For how they tortured people and found new ways to abuse them when the nightmare was yet fading away? For how they refused to recompense the race but paid every last cent to every last racist?
How about now? Are they still wrong for it today?
The truth is that there's not just a meager few in our society who would be inclined to agree with the century-old sentiments of the British colonial army officer Frederick Selous, which follow.
No. There are many.
This is evident in the fact that there is no majority for the restoration of Africa's natural resources. There is no majority for the repatriation of Africa's cultural resources. There is no majority for the reparation of Africa's human resources.
The savages will discover the uselessness of rebelling against the white man, and as time goes on will become more reconciled to the ways of their conquerors...From the black man's point of view the white man is probably not necessary as a factor in the prosperity of the country. He could get along very well without him. Unfortunately we cannot manage without the black man; he is absolutely necessary for the development of the country on the white man's lines. But a sulky, rebellious black man, only held in subjection by fear, is both a useless and dangerous personality...
Now between those who are in management (over "the system" or "the establishment" or whatever we like to call it today) hoping for this "development" to continue and those who are under subjection hoping for this "prosperity" to end...
Whose fear is really the most useless in our world?
Whose fear is really the most dangerous?
*article updated 4/16/19 to highlight the fact that Killmonger never actually said he was "Black Hitler".