AFRICA: The Misunderstood Land

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by dong20, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. dong20

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    There have been a few threads lately which have touched on this directly and indirectly. I received this email a while ago from a friend (sadly I have not seen her in a while) at Uni in Wichita.

    My own experience of Africa is limited having only made a few short (weeks/months) visits there on a few occasions but I am happy to admit these forever changed some of my own preconceptions and reinforced some others. I met some of those people I hold most dear there and felt at home in a way that was as unexpected as it was rewarding. I was supposed to be visiting friends in Moz this Easter but have to work. :mad:

    My friend is not the author and her upbringing in her home country was quite privelged but from her experience as an 'African in the US' over the last 2-3 years she said it resonated with her.

    It's a little trite in parts and obviously I can't vouch for the veracity of some of the statements but I have heard/overheard some similar things expressed here in the UK and in the US.

    Make of it what you will

    *********************************************

    "No, Africa is not a country"; "Yes, we do have cars"; "Not everyone lives in mud huts"; "Yes, Charlize Theron and Dave Matthews are real Africans"...Welcome to a day in the life of an African living in the USA!


    Over the years, an abundance of these and many other shockingly ignorant and bewildering questions have led me to ask myself, why is Africa so grossly misrepresented in the USA?

    When Will Smith returned from filming Ali in 2001, he went on American TV and explained how he felt duped and misinformed when, upon arriving at Jan Smuts's airport, he found that the Africa he had been taught in school and seen on TV was NOTHING like what he had come to experience first hand. Like Smith, many Americans who do finally set foot in Africa, fall head over heals in love with her beauty, hospitality, and splendour, and most continue to return. "A piece of your soul stays in Africa", explains Michael, an Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia.

    As many Africans in the USA will tell you, we often find ourselves going on the defensive, trying to speak up on behalf of a continent which, though burdened by its fair share of turmoil and strife, is by far the most beautiful and spiritual places on earth. We have found ourselves indignantly whipping out photo albums to show them our beautiful lush homes, our hypnotic Jacaranda trees, the awe-inspiring Table Mountain and the majestic Victoria Falls.

    Many Africans find themselves having to explain certain attributes about themselves, as if being African renders them unworthy of these qualities. A close Zimbabwean friend of mine was recently branded a pariah in his workplace after an exchange he had with one of his new African American compendres, "You're from Africa? Wow, I am surprised you speak such good English!" the American quipped. To which my proud friend retorted, "I am surprised you speak proper English too!"

    Another South African acquaintance found he had to prove he is a 'real' African simply because he is white.

    Frustrated by these and many other incidents, I set out on a quest to unravel this mystery and get to the bottom of this misinformation. Surely we cannot lay all blame at the foot of the mass media machine...or can we?

    Over the course of a week, I took to the streets and randomly picked 10 Americans from different walks of life and asked them each 4 simple questions: 1. What 2 words spring to mind when you hear the name Africa? 2. Name 5 African countries 3. Name 2 positive things you associate with Africa 4. Would you ever visit Africa? If not, why? What I unearthed was a vacuous, narrow-minded viewpoint which left me even more baffled than I was going in.

    All 10 of my respondents named AIDS as the word that immediately sprung to mind when they thought of Africa. The other common words were civil war, famine, female genital mutilation, Mandela, slave trade and wild animals.

    When it came to naming countries, the most common were Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Nigeria and Liberia, (sprinkled with a misguided Guyana here and Chile there!). Most struggled to name 10.

    The positive (surely something good has come out of Africa!) they thought, were; the Lion King (I'm serious!), Ancient Egypt, Mt Kilimanjaro, preservation of wildlife, and the beautiful African women. One "enlightened" African American actually said (to my face), that slavery was a positive thing because without it, he'd still be living in Africa "without running water or toilets".

    The majority were nonchalant about visiting Africa, with several saying that despite Africa's strife, they consider a visit to Africa to be a pilgrimage which every black person should make at least once in their lives.

    Honestly, I was hurt! I felt as if they had insulted my family. I wanted to tell each one of them how sad and misguided they were...how disappointing it was that they saw the world through such short-sighted lenses. How infuriating it was that people in Africa strive to emulate the American culture and idolize American celebrities, yet they in turn could not look past a biased news report, documentary or "Save the Children" food drive, complete with fly infested, snotty nosed, malnutritioned babies. But then something dawned on me...WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY IS IT TO REPRESENT AFRICA? I realized that as long as we allow other people to tell our stories and comment on our issues, we shall forever be branded and placed into a box which best suits them. I cannot be angry at these people, it's not their fault. Because too few of us have stepped forward and tried to tell our positive, inspiring and diverse stories we have been relegated to the notions and opinions of someone! else.

    Once I realized that I had the power to change the negative perception of Africa, I felt positive and empowered, and hopeful that one day the world would come to view Africa, and Africans as the multi-dimensional and majestic people that they are.

    If you feel the same way I do, please pass on this email to as many colleagues, friends, family, workmates as possible. You will have done a service to this beautiful continent.

    LONG LIVE AFRICA!!


    ***********************************************************
     
  2. Dr Rock

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    I spent a lot my early childhood in kenya, so i have some idea of what she's talking about. certainly, i remember the people being a lot friendlier, more polite and a WHOLE lot less self-absorbed than the majority i've grown used to in the UK and US. most of the folks where we lived were kikuyu tribespeople (none of whom, as far as i can recall, lived in a mud hut or carried a spear around with them...) and mombasa was not visibly or socially different from any number of european or american cities that i've spent time in. granted, kenya has always been more stable and prosperous than a lot of african nations, but i doubt most europeans or americans would even be aware of that.

    certainly, there's a distressing proportion of third-world shitholes, civil war and human disasters - mostly in western and central africa - but it's inexcusably ignorant to tar the entire continent with the same brush.
     
  3. dong20

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    That was my experience, and interestingly it was one of several things that were such pleasant surprises, I've spent most of my time in Moz, Zim and Zambia but have a stepson at school in Gabs. It was his 17th birthday last week and I was hoping to go see him, his uncle and my nephew this Easter and pal (a crazy Scot) who runs a bar in Maputo but I have some prior commitments next week I need to honour.

    I've not been to Kenya but I don't doubt what you say. Maputo is relatively functional and Moz is not far in front of almost 2 decades of civil war. There is a sense of optimism there that was inspiring and even the traffic cops smile as they rip you off:biggrin1: A lot of Zim farmers are setting up business there these days as a fall back from you know who's increasingly insane tendencies.

    In a brief stay in Harare last Autumn it was clear how desperate things were getting, especially since nearly all the private markets seemed to have been bulldozed (along with many peoples only source of income). Though even now there is still little or no sense of personal danger in town (Harare was always safe even at night) which surprised me a little given what's happening.

    Indeed. It's distressing and the region looks it will take a long long time to recover. It's easy to blame colonial legacy but I think that's only a part of the problem and too easily used as an excuse for covering obscene corruption and abuses of power. 'Big Man' government still has legs.

    Sounds like your childhood was more interesting than mine.
     
  4. solong

    solong New Member

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    I'd like to give you my impression of Africa, and then be corrected by someone who knows better. So this isn't a big-shot telling you what to think about a country he's never been to, OK?

    To me, Africa is a continent which is host to many nations, as well as tribes. The African tribes, for some reason, get all the press, but they are totally minor in their influence, and their cultures are, for want of a better characteristic, "Sticks and Feathers." So if we want to preserve such wonderful cultures, it should not be hard to do. Ship them to ancient African
    exhibits around the world and let them entertain Zoo visitors, year around. They can even have, say, special days, on which they can hunt the tame giraffes, and the tame hippopotamuses, and the caged lions. "Pin the tail on the tiger" could be a popular and profitable hunt, for which Zoo operators could charge extra, and then we could all have a picnic lunch, even sharing our pot lunch with the natives.

    I also see Africa as having more advanced cultures in which people actually try to get educated, try to learn new things, and want to build stuff, like skyscrapers and bridges. As I recall, the first successful heart transplants came from Johannesburg, So. Africa. It was NOT the United States. THey figured it out. But "They" were not black doctors. They were white doctors.

    To me, Africa represents some of the smartest, and also some of the dumbest people on the face of the earth. The slavers were all black, not white. And it was black slavers who took captive black people to the ports for shipment around the world.

    Most of the world bought slaves. America was a small market, not a large market, and also relatively late in that trade. Also, nations like France, Spain, Portugal, and muslim nations who purchased slaves, would use them and them kill them all after they were done with the project. That way, they could wipe their slates clean, and today, you never hear about it again. The only nation EVER to actually "FREE" a slave was America, and apparently, that was a very good deed. Proof? No good deed goes unpunished.

    Long before that, the "underground railroad," of which my great grandparents were an integral part, helped thousands of southern blacks get north and establish lives for themselves and their families.

    There were a few English shipping companies that transported slaves, but by far the vast majority of sailing ships were owned by the Arabs-- muslims. It's so ironic that today, the alternative religion amongst blacks is... ISLAM! I guess they feel like they should pay homage to their former abusers and killers. Their modern generation today doesn't even know what cruelty means. They haven't a clue to their real heritage and who was REALLY responsible. But were they to dig into the lading records of the 16th, 17th, 18th centuries, the actual records themselves will explain it. They have been lied to, big-time, by their "foremen." Guess who those foremen answer to?

    So Africans, when you talk about how wonderful Africa is, I'm sure you're not confining yourselves to one or two ethnic groups, but many. Nor do you talk strictly about backward black African tribes living for the moment, but also great cities living for the future and trying to establish themselves for posterity, which includes both black and white people.

    I read the biography of a proud black man in Haiti whose family were slavers that he could trace back to the middle 16oo's. This was in a colorful "Travel" magazine in a doctor's office. I will never forget how he taught that all the great slavers were black. it was only black men who could trick backward African tribes into warfare. They would get one tribe to sneak up on another, take them captive, and then get paid by the head. They would transport them in cages to ports, like Johannesburg. There was no records then except the bill of lading. It became a big business, and some whole tribes participated in taking captive other tribes in their region, thus becoming the biggest tribe. Blacks doublecrossing blacks. As they say, "Crawdads in a bucket." But... that's their own saying, not mine.

    There's just nothing more wrong than common wisdom, is there?

    I don't see Africa as a country, but just a continent. But then there's a lot I don't know and would like to be corrected.
     
  5. D_alex8

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    This reminds me of a mind-boggling conversation I had with a woman in a Welsh nightclub. For some reason I can no longer recall, everyone was discussing which continent they were born in. After guessing that I might have been born in Europe, North America and Australasia, she shook her head in confusion and asked me to tell her.

    "Africa," I stated.

    "But you're white," she retorted.

    "Yes... and you're black and from Wales."

    "Yeah, but that's different," she observed. :rolleyes:

    I would never refer to myself as African, only ever as German ... it was merely a haphazard coincidence that my parents were living in Egypt due to work when I was born. However, to encounter someone for whom that mere fact was mentally unprocessable says much for the notion of many people's expectations of Africa ruling the fixed image of the continent that they have.

    However, I don't think the stereotype is purely a Western one. I've never been anywhere south of Mauritania in Africa, and my experiences are confined to the Arab nations. But the same stereotypes of the southern part of the continent being a collection of backward, war-torn nations rife with illness and famine are no less common in North Africa. By way of a single, trite example, cartoons featuring cannibals or implying a connection between southern Africans and monkeys could be found on all-too-regular a basis in the major daily newspapers in Egyptian, Moroccan or Tunisian cities.

    One might argue that, in order for so-called 'civilized' nations (and peoples) to assert their rhetoric of just how "advanced" they are, they will always need an 'opposite' against which to measure themselves. And thus the stereotype of imagined Africa continues to prevail over the reality of experiential Africa.
     
  6. Dr. Dilznick

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    Africa is perhaps the most resourceful continent on the planet. But our European and Asian "allies" have a stranglehold on the continent economically and politically. It's to their benefit that there's famine, a weak infrastructure, and monarch-like military regimes (that are financed by European & Asian dollars).
     
  7. faceking

    faceking Active Member

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    I'm impressed... usually we are riddled with leftist media Western socio-economic guilt.... good to see you pint out that the loot of African economic flowthru comes from Asia (for the most part).
     
  8. dong20

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    Indeed, although those same corrupt oppressive regimes are the ones dealing out most of the misery on the ground, we in the west are complicit in propping them up and/or turning a blind eye to it when it's in our financial or political advantage:

    Liberia
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-5743049,00.html

    DRC
    http://www.africawithin.com/lumumba/murder_of_lumumba.htm
    Given it's history in the Congo the Belgian government should hang it's head in shame.

    Angola
    http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Blum/Angola_KH.html

    Of course the list goes on....this is not meant as a pop at the CIA/US, many western nations, and more recently to name but one asian nation, China have blood on their hands. I came across this recently, I knew that this situation existed but although it's a little out of date and very lengthy this document makes scary reading. I doubt the situation has improved: http://www.american.edu/TED/oauwaste.htm

    I wonder that the game is almost up for us and that has to be starting point for improving the situation. Assuming of course Global Warming and uncontrolled deforestation doesn't completely decimate the entire sub-sahara region before then.
     
  9. solong

    solong New Member

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    By the way:

    Did you hear that Global warming actually stopped in 1998? Oh, yeah. And the reason is that the sun's solar flare activity has died down. It didn't have anything at all to do with man-made HFCS's and CO2, etc. The common wisdom is always 100% wrong. Read this for just ONE of many confirmations.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/04/09/do0907.xml
     
  10. dong20

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    I meant to use the phrase climate change which I believe is undeniable, whether it's short term or long term, man made or not who knows for certain. But I do believe it's undeniable. As to the article, yeah it's a good point and I'd read similar and hope that it's correct but most 'confirmations' are a re-hash of one organisation's opinion.

    However, to me the key argument it uses to debunk global warming destroys some of it's own credibility, namely; saying the existence of global warming cannot be inferred by short term trends, well I'd say that 1998-date is an even shorter term from which one can infer it's non-existence.

    Have you heard of Global Dimming?...no-one believed that either but its pretty much accepted now: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_dimming It's interesting that in some regions it's decreasing, ironically due to reductions in particulate pollutants. One possible side effect of this dimming was the suppression of global warming during the late 80's and 90's!

    I don't think this is a clear cut issue, but the main problem as I see it is if we decide that global warming is a political fiction and we're wrong....:eek: As a species we are very very far from being as smart as we like to think we are.

    The many claims and counter claims just underscore this... but and this is the real kicker...should we be playing Russian Roulette with our planet???
     
  11. Dr Rock

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    who lives in the east 'neath the willow tree? Sex
    christ, you're a prize cunt
     
  12. dreamer20

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    Hello solong.

    You are such a card. Many nations freed slaves and, as in the U.S.A , it usually took a bloodly conflict or two before the slaves attained their freedom.

    The thrust for full emancipation of the enslaved Africans began with the successful revolt of the slaves in the French colony of Saint-Dominigue in 1791 during the French revolution. They renamed this land Haiti. In 1794 the French government emancipated all slaves and admitted them to full citizenship. This measure was revoked by Napoleon Bonoparte in 1802. Emancipation nevertheless remained permanent in Haiti, which won its independence under black leadership in 1804. In the year 1848 the French slaves were once more emancipated by the government.

    The British Empire emancipated all slaves on August 1, 1834.

    The European powers caused at least 10 million Africans to be forcibly brought to the Americas between the dates of 1530 and 1870. They needed their slave labor to build cities , establish plantations and exploit mineral wealth in the New World.

    It seems that no sooner had slavery been abolished that the European powers seized control of Africa, circa the 19th century, to exploit its mineral wealth and people once again. The colonizers, especially in South Africa ,did not give the indigenous Africans social, political or economic power but designed a system to keep them in menial jobs and give the whites a greater status. e.g. Sir Cecil Rhodes who founded Rhodesia.

    lol dreamer20
     
  13. solong

    solong New Member

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    Nice going, but untrue. The reason that Haiti remained isn't because the French allowed them their freedom. Please check it out now. Napoleon was on his way to New Orleans to blockade the port and launch an attack on American soil, to take back New Orleans. He was hampered by a furious winter storm, decided to winter in Haiti, and his soldiers caught a contagious disease while there, over 30,000 died. Not only that, but the Haitians were running geurilla sorties on the troops, burniong them out, killing then in their sleep, everything they could think of.

    So it's actually YOU, and not me, who needs to check up on the real facts of the case.

    Andf yes, I am absolutely correct about America being the only nation to ever emancipate the slaves. All other of your so-called "freeings" were not by governmental writ, nor were they enforced. So they do not qualify. CHeck that out, too, and stop blowing off again until you learn better.
     
  14. dreamer20

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    I never said that the French allowed the Haitians to be free. They seized the power from them as you well know.

    Every August 1 we celebrate Emancipation day in my former British colony of New Providence.



    lol dreamer20
     
  15. dong20

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    First, any emancipation of slaves whether by government writ or not is valid.

    Well actually you're not correct. The emancipation ACT (i.e. enforced by Act of Parliament based on the Emancipation Bill, Thomas Buxton and approved by parliament 28 August 1833) came into force on 1 Aug 1834. Unless my understanding of my own government is woeful then that did constitute a government 'writ' and was enforced. While one could argue that all that happened in 1834 all that was a change in terms of conditions. The only slaves immediately freed without condition in 1834 were those under 6 years old, unless you figure they don't count?

    There was a transitional period of initially six years when 'freed' slaves were still 'bound' to their former owners (now considered employers) and various restrictions were placed on the employers about treatment. They were required to provide moral (what a joke) and religious education for example.

    Full emancipation is generally accepted as being 1 August 1838 two years ahead of that defined in the 1834 Act. Colonies had to pass their own Abolition or Emancipation Acts, for example the Bahamas doing so in 1834 and before the Emancipation Act from Britain was implemented the Bahamas had passed their own Abolition Act in February 1834.

    Globally, Spain followed in 1948, Suriname and Holland in 1862 USA wef 1 Jan 1863, Puerto Rico 1873, Cuba 1886 and so on. The Emancipation proclomation issued in 1862 (22nd September) was preceeded by at least nine months in the district itself.

    Interestingly, while former President James Madison believed slavery was evil and should be abolished but still considered them as 'property' and after his retirement he suggested that abolition should be gradual and with the agreement of both slave and master.

    He suggested that freed slaves should be permanenty segregated thereafter, based primarily on his expectation of how they (and the whites) may 'react' if they were integrated and how he perceived their behaviour at the time he suggested it....."To be consistent with existing and probably unalterable prejudices in the United States, the freed blacks ought to be permanently removed beyond the region occupied by, or allotted to, a white population"
    He also suggested free 'repatriation' to Africa. What an enlightened man he was.

    I'm not trying in any way to diminish the US role in slave emancipation nor give a history lecture but with respect, the US was late to that party and doesn't hold the moral high ground here simply because there is NO moral high ground on this issue.
     
  16. dong20

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    Been there, not the same but I've had a few bizarre conversations where someone's preconceptions are absolutely impervious to even such a simple thing as reality!!

    Did she explain how it was different or had you chewed off your own leg in frustration already?

    Absolutely, and over many years of travel in a very real sense the culture I have most changed my own view of, and often for the worse is my own.
     
  17. solong

    solong New Member

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    Dong, I think you are right, at least to the degree that they teach in history class, so I will acceed to what you have said.

    Now the business about Napoleon is baloney, and the belief that the French freed slaves in 1802 or so is wrong. But I do agree that the French did pass a law. However, there's more to it. By that time the French Navy had been clobbered and France was short of ships, so-- if my info is correct, they converted ships into Navy vessels for Napoleon to take to America, start the war, thinking that America was now weakened and could not defend the Spanish Territory any longer. They lost many of those vessels in winter seas.

    This loss of freighters also meant they had to hire British ships. Britain was off and on at war with the French anyway, and most requests were refused, except for foreign registries. So when Trinidad slave trade were drying up, Britain realized that the days of slavery were over, and they started filling in with tens of thousands of indentures! And since they couldn't even buy a slave on a good day, they also couldn't sell them, either. The women weren't having babies, only to see them taken away and sold, and the cruelty was more than the slaves could bear.

    This then FORCED the French to gradually give up their slaves, because like Trinidad, they couldn't get enough slave children anymore. Britain then put the pressure on France to give up their slaves, and at the threat of invasion, France finally did so. So France's "Emancipation" wasn't really out of the generosity and goodness of their heart. It was forced upon them by the British, and if you remember your history in the 1830's, France didn't ahve a choice in the matter. So why not credit the British, since that is who demanded it, and since those slaves would come from Brit provinces on Brit shipping anyway, and since the Brits were not going to appease the French any longer, the slaves slowly trickled to a stop in French markets.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_the_British_and_French_Caribbean

    Now I realize this isn't the whole story by a long shot. It is just one aspect of it, but since I can tell that you are honest, you aren't bullshitting anybody, and you'd like to know more, then here's my 2 cents on that. I have a lot more, but I think that synops it pretty well. The Wickipedia article tells a portion of this story, too.

    Now regarding Haiti slaves, why not let the Haitians tell their own story? They can tell you about Napoleon and yellow fever, and the mountain black people who were raiding his camps and decimating his diseased army. They really cleaned his clock!

    So in truth, a genuine Emancipation Proclaimation was ONLY issued by the United States of America by president Lincoln. And the reason was NOT because slaves were expensive, they weren't having kids, and they were making trouble everywhere they were taken. They were emancipated HERE, and only because Americans hated the idea of slavery, and wanted to abolish it.

    Now granted, it didn't work very well, for a long, long time. But on the other hand, tens of thousands of blacks were given their options, and because they liked-- yes, even sometimes LOVED their masters, who gave them their freedom, they continued working until they died. They were happy. Most owners, small farms at least, got along swell with their slaves, and vice-versa. George Washington Carver was a slave, and was sent to school by his master because he was a genius. Slavery in America wasn't at all the same thing as slavery in the colonies or French Haiti, or the Spanish or Portuguese colonies. It was a totally different atmosphere.
     
  18. dong20

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    Thanks, history is seldom absolutely clear cut but dates generally provide some reference points.

    Well yes..and no, I side stepped it because it's so open to conjecture, certainly there is a theory that Naploeon seriously wanted to try and 'take' the US and needed Haiti to do so via Lousiana, as is a one that he merely wanted to use French Lousiana to consolidate the French hold on what is now Haiti, I believe the latter but who can say for sure what his true intent was.

    The Haitian revolution started in August 1791, fueled partly no doubt by the French Revolution's recognition of the Rights of Man but as much by French treatment of slaves which was applalling by even the standards of that day. Though it was not for freedom they fought but for a day to tend their own crops, the French Commissioner Sonthonax 'freed' the slaves and this was recognised in French in February 1794. Although that was not his orginal intention.

    General Toussaint Louverture was a key figure in this tale. After switching sides in 1794 to side with the French (a year before he had sided with British and Spanish) he presented himself as the saviour of Haiti on behalf of the French. Later, despite the later efforts of the French to eliminate him the US and Britain certainly treated him as head of state and he later promulgated a constituion which declared him Governor for Life so one can guess at his true motives. It didn't really matter, Haiti was heading for independence....

    Of course the US and Britain etc (as no doubt did Napoloen) knew he was a fake and fell over themselves to trade with Toussaint, primarily to keep the French out of the picture but also to contain slave rebellion.

    The whole situation, militarily and politically was so complicated and fluid it makes my head spin. Certainly Jefferson armed Toussaint to fight against Napoloen, the US needed the trade with Haiti and hated the French presence in Lousiana and without a French hold on Haiti then Lousiana was of no practical use the the French. They were also probably concerned about the impact an independent Haiti would have on the region, at least until 1800 when France and America ended their 'war'.

    Agreed, although rather off topic the Haiti history is interesting reading, I didn't fully realise how significant it was. We all received a sound kicking here.

    As a 'proclaimation', I concede, but as a piece of legislation intended to end slavery in those colonies under it's jurisdiction I have to disagree.

    To quote from the article you linked to:
    "The first announcement from Whitehall in England that slaves would be totally freed by 1840 was made in 1833. In the meantime, slaves on plantations were expected to remain were they were and work as "apprentices" for the next six years. On 1st of August 1834, a unarmed group of mainly elderly negroes being addressed by the Governor at Government House about the new laws, began chanting: "Pas de six ans. Point de six ans" ("Not six years. No six years"), drowning out the voice of the Governor. Peaceful protests continued until a resolution to abolish apprenticeship was passed and de facto freedom was achieved. Full emancipation for all was finally legally granted ahead of schedule on 1st August, 1838, making Trinidad the first British colony with slaves to completely abolish slavery."

    However, the freeing of slaves in Haiti was well before I had realised so perhaps we can both agree to have been wrong on this point?

    It's nice to think that slavery was abolished (anywhere) on purely moral grounds but I think we both know that not the whole truth. America cannot take credit for being the only nation to free/emancipate slaves because it wasn't, it continued an already established movement.

    The same thing happened in the British colonies but that was because they had no choice not out of loyalty or affection, except yes, perhaps in rare instances. No doubt some slaves were 'treated' better than others but they were still slaves. Prisoners develop relationships with guards but they are still prisoners. Some become so institutionalised they cannot function in free society anymore and reoffend to return to prison, does that mean they love their captors?

    Those are some seriously rose tinted spectacles you have here, slavery is slavery in the same way you can't be a little bit dead. You and I don't know what the 'atmosphere' was, we weren't there and it wasn't just about physical brutality.

    It's a complex issue indeed.
     
  19. solong

    solong New Member

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    Thanks for the interesting facts and dialog, Dong!

    You know, the reason i like to discuss issues here, is because I like to talk to guys who aren't posturing and trying to turn things into a semantic pissing contest or an intellectual banter to see who can one-up whom.

    Something else that I appreciate is someone who will take the thread they started to a genuine extension and will not back down, but neither will they always insist they are right. I also appreciate the fact that you are not in the least dismissive, and you didn't call my letter "nuts." I've noticed that people who are dismissive, let everybody know they are totally out of their depth. You didn't toss in the towel. You stayed right in there!

    Besides having a big dick, you also got balls! I finally can appreciate someone who deserves both!

    Winston Churchill once said something like this: A lie can travel around the earth while the truth is still putting on it's pants. Most people believe the lie and never get around to the truth. I see you are not like that.

    You are right about the fact that frankly, neither one of us were there, but even if we were, it would still be a personal opinion. So I prefer not having been there and reading lots of accounts. Then from those accounts, I put them all up un my "crunch shelf" and I consider the reports from all angles. I've gotten fairly adept at weeding out the political reports, which frankly represent about 99.99% of all our history. But the one thing I pay the most attention to are personal letters, diaries, and confirmations of human nature in the reasons something was or was not done.

    Now I'm sure that for now you and I will disagree in a minor sense about the spirit of the American Emancipation, but that doesn't bother me a bit! You are a man after my own heart and I appreciate your interest.

    I really thank you for an interesting discussion.
     
  20. dong20

    Gold Member

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    I gave up pissing contents in my teens but I know what you mean, I like a good heated argument as much as anyone but prefer to be 100% sure of my ground, This topic is very open to different interperations and between the dates and so on there are no absolute rights and wrongs.

    I did a bit of background reading about Haiti but still feel I know very little and I tried to marshal my thoughts into a sensible argument. I try not to be dismissive unless someone just spouts a tirade of rubbish or onscenities which may show they don't know the subject or can't separate emotion from reasoning or both..I know its not easy sometimes though:smile:


    As you say its unlikely two people will see something like this the exact same way but 'agreeing to disagree' is much harder then just disagreeing.

    I started this thread partly because I feel Africa is so badly misrepresented and frighteningly complex, partly in response to some comments in another thread but mostly because it's close to my heart, I'm no Africa expert by any means but it fascinates me. There is so much more to Africa than slavery but it's something that always comes up...as alluded to in the email that started it!!
     
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