October is heritage month, and as with all the others, as far as I can remember, I have been told how hard life was for our ancestors. Every October, I am reminded how we were “kidnapped” from Africa from our “great” civilisations and how we eventually “fought” and “won” our freedom. Why must we keep propagating these lies?
First of all, the vast majority of the stories told to us about our ancestors being “torn away” from our African motherland are false. Most of us don't seem to like the truth, which is that our own ancestors sold us out for trinkets. How many times have we heard that from our leaders during their Heroes' Day speeches?
Then we are told that the “evil” Europeans got rich at our expense. This is another lie! Both the Europeans and our ancestors were willingly engaged in the morally acceptable business known as slavery. The fact that the Europeans made the most out of the opportunity and we didn't, should not be seen as an indictment against the Europeans, but against us.
Our “great” African civilisations that the Europeans “destroyed” seem fanciful to me. Why is it that whenever the Europeans, Asians and others boast about their great civilisations of the past, they never fail to show them up all the time? They make movies glorifying their past.
How is it that when we talk about our “great” past, we make movies and presentations depicting us as simpletons in Africa or the West waiting for our slave masters to free us? If we don't have any great civilisation of the past to show, why do we keep claiming that we do?
Why do we also claim that the slave revolts that we had in the 19th century were major reasons that forced Britain to end slavery, when nothing could be further from the truth? While it may be true that they were contributing factors, their roles in the ending of slavery were minor, compared to the real reasons, which had little to do with morality.
The truth is, if the economics of slavery were beneficial, there is every reason to believe that slavery would exist right to this day. Britain was accustomed to slave revolts. Does anyone really believe that the mighty British Empire could be brought to its knees by any revolt of our ancestors? Talk about magnifying the insignificant!
I think we should rename the celebrations in October. Stop calling the month “heritage month”. Call it propaganda month — the month of lies!
Michael A Dingwall