This essay attempts to place man’s inhumanity to man in the context of a metaphysics that teaches that this world is a dream and that what is done in it has not been done. It says that if, in fact, the world is a dream then Africans did not do harm to those they sold into slavery hence their behavior are to be overlooked, forgiven.
If This World Is A Dream Then I Forgive Africans For Selling Their People
Ozodi Thomas Osuji
My relationship with Africans is an interesting one. It is interesting because even though I am an African I have total contempt for Africans behaviors. I hated Africans behaviors with total passion. If I had my way I would find a way to punish them. Why do I want to punish them?
I want to punish them for their crime of selling their people into slavery. They sold their people to whoever wanted to buy them, to Arabs and later to white men. And, worse, if there were no laws made by the white man today prohibiting slavery Africans, as I know them to be, not as they claim to be, would still be kidnapping their people and selling them into slavery.
They would do so and kind of feel that it makes them powerful to kidnap unsuspecting persons and sell them for monetary gain.
And worse, they do not seem to feel guilty and remorseful for their crimes of selling their people. I have actually not run into Africans who take responsibility for the crime of their ancestors in selling their people to Arabs and to white men (however, I am going to suppose that since I am African and feel bad from what our people did that there are other Africans like me who feel similarly?).
In so far as they recognize that it was a bad thing to sell people they latch unto bleeding hearted white liberals blaming of their fellow whites for slavery. That is correct; despite selling their people African pseudo scholars blame those they sold their people to, white folks, for their crimes against their own people!
I am particularly annoyed when I hear Africans blame other folks for slavery; generally, they blame white folks but do not blame Arabs to whom they sold more Africans and sold to them the longest, for slavery. At such moments I fume; I say out loud: so, you sold your people and blame those you sold them to, eh? You are contemptible; you are worse than animals; you ought to have preferred death to selling your own people. What are you living for, anyway? Do you live to kidnap and sell people and that is good enough reason for living? You ought to be dead. I do not want to hear why you sold your people; you ought not to have done it at all. Get the hell out of my face, you freaking sub-human African garbage!
How can it not be their crime that Aro and Abam roamed around Alaigbo capturing and or tricking Igbos into slavery? How can it be the crime of only the people they sold their people to, white folks? Why is it only white folks who are to be blamed!
As it were, Africans see themselves as children hence irresponsible and nothing is ever their fault and they are never to be blamed for any of their palpable wrong.
Apparently, Africans see white men as adults, who, as such, must take responsibility for what they made little children Africans do, sell their people.
And Africans crimes against their people did not stop at slavery. At some point during slavery human life was so cheapened that Africans routinely sacrificed people to non-existent gods and buried life slaves with their dead so-called African big men. Indeed, the people became so hard hearted that they could not even have pity for children. Igbos used to throw twin children away, throw them into the forest, just like that, unmoved by such children’s cry for care and nurturing! Africans actually became savages and did not know it. It took Christian missionaries to stop the throwing away of twin babies in Igbo land; so much for their vaunted civilization before their encounter with Christianity!
Thus, ape like African scholars blame white folks for slavery! Those who claim to have studied economics tell us that the economic situation led to slavery hence it was no ones fault. The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and Portugal’s decision to settle in Brazil in 1500 and need for massive labor to help her farm Brazil required Portugal to seek out African labor hence slavery.
But why seek African slave labor instead of paid labor; one can see the Portuguese coming to Africa and recruiting labor to be paid for their work in Brazil and elsewhere in the new world?
Apparently, when Portugal (Vasco Digamma, Bartolommeo Dias) was on her way to India in the 1490s she saw Arabs using African slaves at their various Indian Ocean islands such as Zanzibar. The Portuguese learned from their encounter with Arabs that Africans too willingly sell their people and came to West Africa and bought Africans and used them in Brazil.
Thereafter, Africans fell on each other capturing each other like they were capturing flies and selling them to whoever wanted to buy them.
The Delta people of Nigeria (Ijaws, Edos, Yorubas and Efiks) would go inland and buy hinterland Africans, such as Igbos, and transport them to the coast and sell them to Europeans.
Up North Hausa and Bornu folks raided and captured Africans and marched them clear across the Sahara Desert and sold them to Arabs.
This was pretty much what Africans did for over 1000 years before Europeans abolished slavery and taught them to buy other kinds of goods such as palm oil and palm kernel.
If white folk are as civilized as they claim to be, I asked: why did they buy Africans and used them as slaves? I thought about that issue for a long while. I came to the conclusion that it is possible for white folks to have felt that Africans were different from them and thus justify using them as slaves. They could have seen Africans as perhaps subhuman beings and see them as perhaps mules and horses to be used for labor.
Either way at some point white folks must have realized that black folks are like them and at that point could no longer justify using them as slaves.
My attitude to white folk is that initially they probably saw Africans as others, as not like them hence justified using them as slaves or discriminating against them. I can actually understand that behavior for it is a common human behavior.
If you see other people as not like you, as “others”, you can justify using them, even killing them. Simply stated, I can understand white folks not identifying with Africans hence using them as slaves and or discriminating against them. Africans themselves do the same thing. Africans from one tribe often see those from other tribes as different from them and do not identify with them hence justify exploiting them.
This rationalization does not make the behavior right but it does place it within common human stupidity.
Whereas I can understand why stupid white folks used Africans as slaves and discriminated against them I cannot understand why Igbo villages, for example, provoked wars with each other, captured their people and sold them into slavery. I do not understand why Aro came to Igbo villages and tricked the people to go consult their long juju at Arochukwu to settle their cases and those who lost were said to have been swallowed by the gods and were in the meantime sold to Efiks at Calaba or to Ijaws at Bonny, who in turn sold them to white folks.
I cannot understand why Igbos could sell their fellow Igbos and kind of feel that it was okay to do so. I find it very difficult to forgive them for that crime.
Thus, since I was a child I have looked at Igbos and Africans in general as criminals and essentially wanted nothing to do with them.
My usual response to Africans was: oh, watch out, they are born criminals; they are slave sellers; they are amoral folk who kidnap their brothers and sisters and sell them into slavery and do not feel bad about their heinous actions. This was my God honest reaction to Africans. I treated Africans as one treats criminals! I wanted them arrested and punished. My perspective was that until Africans are punished for slavery my soul would not rest. The least that we must extract from Africans, I felt, is payment to Africans in the new world and in Arabia. I wanted African countries to pay, at least, ten percent of their annual budgets to blacks in Arabia and the Americas for however long slavery lasted (1000 years?) to teach Africans not to be cruel, callous and monstrous folks whose attitude to morality is very cavalier.
See, in the present instead of working their black asses off to develop their people their leaders loot their people’s treasuries and spend their people’s moneys on their selves, not on their people. Africans, I believed are a criminal people and until we exorcise criminality from their dark souls I would not rest.
(Not too long ago some white scientists wanted to perform some kind of study to find out if black folks inherited a genetic tendency to criminality; initially, I was thrilled by the prospect of finding out if Africans were born criminals. However, upon reflection it occurred to me that it is a case of the kettle calling the pot black. Who has done more criminal things, blacks or whites? Was it not whites who killed Indians and stole their lands; was it not whites who enslaved Africans; was it not the white ruling class who live in million dollars mansions while average white folk are homeless? White folks are not in any kind of position to call other people criminals. Their study would not be legitimate. Let them first remove the plank in their eyes before they try removing the grain of sand in other people’s eyes. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.)
Lately, I have gradually bought into a religious philosophy (Hinduism) that sees this world as a dream. If the world is a dream then it follows that what we do on earth does not matter. If it is true that our earth life is a dream, a dream we willingly enter and play roles willingly then no one is a criminal. What is done in dreams have not been done in reality.
If the world is a dream it follows that Africans who sold their people did so in dreams and what was done in dreams in reality has not been done. Since dreams are not reality then what Africans did are to be overlooked (in Christological language, forgiven).
If what we do on earth is dream activity then I forgive Africans for selling their people. But if, in fact, the world is real and folks consciously harm other people I want Africans punished for selling their people.
In my perception, many Africans are superficial and less thoughtful persons; generally, they are extroverted and seldom introverted and introspective. They do not like to look deep into themselves and examine their behavior; they seldom ask themselves why they did what they did.
Instead, such Africans like to look outside them and see what other people did to harm them but not what they did to make other people do to them what was done to them. They like to point two accusatory fingers at other people refusing to see the three pointing right back at them reminding them that though other folks contribute to their problems that they also did contribute to their issues, actually more than external others.
Many Africans, apparently, are afraid to look inside themselves probably because they are afraid that when they look inside they would see blackness, evil. They would see monsters who sold their people and feel guilt and suicidal. They would have such self-contempt that they would like to kill themselves.
On the other hand, if the world is a dream then when they look inside they would see that what they did, sell their people, and currently exploit and steal from their people, was done in a dream and in fact have not been done hence they do not need to feel guilty. They would see that they are not evil after all and still accept themselves as good.
A course in miracles says that when folks look inside, instead of the Satan they expect to see they see Christ as their real self. Christ is love so they learn that their real self is love and that even their seeming past evil behaviors were done with the consent of those they were evil towards hence it was a wash; they recognize that they are still good. In other words, despite the seeming crime of selling their people, Africans are still good people and are still loving people and deserve to be loved.
But to get to this point they must look inside and stop denying responsibility for their past and present actions; they must in the present stop selling their people (when their leaders do not give a damn about their people’s welfare, when all they know how to do is stealing from them they are selling their people down the river into a different form of slavery).
Africans must learn that they are love and love all Africans hence work their freaking black asses off for their people’s good.
If this world is a dream and what was done in it has not been done then I forgive Africans. By the same token, I forgive white folks for their own role in slavery.
Since as we do to other folks we do to ourselves I forgive my ancestors, the Osuji-Njokus for their part in slavery (they dominated their people with iron fits; they had numerous slaves). In forgiving all people their past evils I forgive me my past evils.
Jesus told the woman caught in adultery: woman, your sin is forgiven you but go home and sin no more. In effect, we forgive our past seeming evils and in the present sin no more; in the present we must love all people and not sell any one down the river for our gain.
If what was done in the past has not been done for the past had never existed since it existed as a dream then I would no longer feel guilty whenever I see an African American. In the past whenever I saw an African-American guilt overwhelmed my conscience; I felt that my African ancestors sold his ancestors hence caused the white man to abuse him in the manner that white slave masters abused him; I felt personally responsible for the suffering of African Americans; it was as if the sins of Africa were on my shoulders.
Since obviously what is going on in my relationship with Africans is my sense of guilt, my feeling that we did wrong, if, in fact, we did not do wrong and I did not do wrong then I would no longer feel guilty and project my guilt to Africans and hate them as a result.
In effect, I am innocent and all people are innocent! In the present what we can all do is consciously love one another for even when we attack each other we are unconsciously calling on each other to forgive hence love us.
As A course in miracles says: we always live in the presence of love (that is, in union which is God) but block its awareness by seeking separation. So, why not remove the veil across the face of Christ and see Christ?
Christ is the son of God and when we acknowledge him in us we acknowledge his father in us. Love all (that is, unify with all) and you are innocent; hate any one (that is, separate from any one) and you feel guilty.
Ozodi Thomas Osuji
May 28, 2012