With khutzpah (impudence, and gall) to spare…Yes! Oppong will make us citizens. The land for allor we.
A review of Carl Patrick Burrowes’ Between The Gola Forest And The Salty Sea
By Keith Neville Asumuyaya Best
What, in the world is going on with today’s children of 15th century European ancestry (parentage, living around that time)? Their forebears (great, great, great) grandparents disembarked (got off) Pedro de Cintra’s ship, along the West Coast of Africa those many centuries ago, to explore what would come to be called the interior of Africa.
Those early European forebears arrived here with the hope of finding gold… and find it they would; eventually, that is, but much later than expected…or hoped. When that time finally arrived, and the gold was found, the western world, (Europe and America) began transforming (making over) their cities (highways, freeways, bridges, etc.,) with West African ‘gold!’ It was too good to be true; so, the centuries spent waiting for that auspicious (wonderful) day — while doing a brisk part-time trade in salt, kola, spice, ivory, iron-ore and other minerals, between the West African Coast and Europe — slipped into oblivion, (forgetfulness, nothingness) after the first consignment of the cargo was shipped and delivery was made and recorded.
Today, centuries later, a much younger age-group — that dates back to some of those older members of that gold-seeking group — seems trapped in a time-warp; and having lost track of time, have been reported gallivanting around the globe, with their heads in the sky, acting “enlightened.” They claim that their pioneering fore-fathers, and the colonialists who followed in their tracks, left Africa in a better situation than they (Europeans invaders) found it, after ravaging the Continent for centuries, beginning in the 15th century for starters, and later.
But before going beyond this point of our review of Dr. Carl Burrowes’ book, we take the liberty — with the approval of our readers, of course — to place a little ‘aside,’ (getting off the main topic for a minute or two) between these paragraphs. Our ‘aside’ has to do with the Liberian Constitution; and, as Liberia’s Standard-Bearer, the Constitution rests on President Oppong Weah’s shoulders.
Here is the question we find it necessary to ask: what’s going on with President Oppong Weah? Oppong lost no time cutting his political teeth after he became president, by proposing that certain words in the Liberian Constitution were racist, and should be removed. That meant, that it was wrong to include in Liberia’s Constitution, a caveat, (warning, demand) that he and others found odious (repulsive, bordering on hate): words that discriminate and deny non-negroes the right to either own land or become Liberian citizens, or both.
President Weah steps in
So the question that is begged becomes: “why, decide to undo something that — up to this point — has withstood the test of time, given the stark realities as to why that momentous (historic, earth-shattering) step, was taken in the first place?” There is a reason for this question, as we will find out later in this article. For now, however we will just stick with President Weah visiting a few countries recently. What he said to the leaders he visited in private, we could not guess and would not bother to ask. Our question about the visits was simply rhetorical (a question that neither needs nor takes an answer).
On the other hand, there are developments taking place that affect this country and people — that almost everyone is asking about; yet, no one, including the president, has said anything, no matter how much asking the electorate has done. So why anyone would want to ask another question — knowing that no answer will be forthcoming, is again, the sixty-four dollar question.
Begging these Europeans to come back… to “discover” Africa all over again
But, to get back to the topic above, someone did ask: “whether the president was trying to get our Europeans to come and “discover” Africa all over again? …To that, we have to say an emphatic, “no.” What would be the point? The Europeans are here already — ‘back to the Madison,’ as the songwriter puts it — trying to steal — and, if not, claim whatever they can get their hands on. You name it and they are coming after it. Any and every time History positions Africa ahead of Europe and the rest of the world, when it comes to originality (uniqueness, creativeness, unusualness) as relates to culture: learning, music, art, dance) — when no skill, style or flair is copied or modernized, but is authentic, actual and true — that would be Africa — and it enrages the competition!
It is only fair to point out that Oppong was born only the other day and did not get the chance to be taught civics, and learn as much about his country and people as he otherwise would have! The school system neither bothered to insist, nor allow the teaching of civics beyond a certain point, as we recently learned from the Daily Observer newspaper. By then, most Liberians had turned against different divisions of their people and their history, no thanks to a needless and unexplained civil war. Providentially, Oppong, had found his niche, (position, slot) and his mission: serious football, and became a superstar. (Thank God for football — and Thank God for Oppong).
But, he is not experienced in legal matters, and his perspective, for some time, will be shaped by those around him most. An order, restricting a certain class of people from repeating an evil they did in the past, is what the constitutional clause tries to do. Intolerance, bigotry, sound bad — and must operate hatefully, as well. Those are what people have been practicing all over the world, since the beginning of time! And that is what the people of Liberia and West Africa had to go through over the last few centuries. That’s what the rest of the Continent had to go through with colonialism, as well.
Searching for answers
Oppong — should have been wondering — more importantly, he should have been asking, whether there hadn’t been something compelling, that caused those all-Caucasian (white) American Colonization Society (ACS) members to place a “racist” caveat (warning, demand) in the Liberian Constitution, that was necessary for that time? And now it is especially necessary for this time, now that George Weah nah kahn — the man that weah peopoh, and the European peopoh, been waiting for? It was exactly for this time and purpose, that the caveat was applied. But does the story end there? Do you change the Constitution without finding out if it worked at all, as the American Colonization Society hoped? Take a look: Today, the Lebanese, the Indians, and now, the Chinese, the Fulanese and the Americans are all right back here, in one form or the other without becoming citizens or owning any land; and are calling the shots as they always did. So where are we, today? And the Europeans are here too –already — ‘back but to playing a different game; one that we will come to later, when the review resumes in earnest. Now what does President George Oppong Weah have to say?
In hindsight it was a small gang of white men who—for the first time in the history of man’s existence—decided to call something wicked and evil by name — and used themselves as an example (case in point) to make it eternal, (forever, till the end of man’s existence) preventing the same type of people (and others like them) with guns, money and power — in command of these and other material and psychological advantages, to return in one form or the other, to again visit the worst forms of inhumanity upon another group much weaker than these predators. The aim was to try to keep from committing, the same crime against humanity, with such predominance, (controlling power) and impunity (no way to punish) that people like these — who carry out such heinous (gruesome, monstrous) crimes, commit.
It turned out to be the very same U.S. gentlemen — whose nation is said to have received the larger portion of the Western World’s so-called “slave-trade,” benefits “(global imprisonment) that went ahead and brought back to the Liberian shores, those that had survived that captivity and wanted to return to the place they knew as home! And it would take the same bunch of old men to order in words that sounded like: “never again will people from anywhere in the world, hold so much financial, political or social power, over Liberians, by becoming citizens or owners of land on Liberian soil; no white people, including ourselves, nor our children’s children, for generations yet unborn…
Here is how struggle to denigrate Africa and Africans it was going down some time ago: according to an article that appeared in the Thurs. Sept. 21, 2017, edition of the New Democrat.
“Racism Is Behind Outlandish Theories About Africa’s Ancient Architecture.”
“Some of the most impressive buildings and cities ever made by humans can be found in Africa: the ruined city of Great Zimbabwe, Mapungubwe in South Africa, Kenya’s Gedi Ruins, and Meroe in The Sudan. Perhaps the most awe-inspiring of these are the last remaining of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid of Giza, in Egypt.
This should come as no surprise. Africa has an extensive archaeological record, extending as far back as 3.3 million years ago, when the first-ever stone tool was made in what is today, Kenya. The Continent’s cultural complexity and diversity is well established; it is home to the world’s oldest known pieces of art. And, of course, it is the birthplace of modern human’s ancient ancestors, Homo Sapiens.
Despite all this evidence, some people still refuse to believe that anyone from Africa (or anywhere in what is today considered the developing world could possibly have created or constructed the Giza Pyramids or other ancient masterpieces. Instead, they credit ancient astronauts, extraterrestrials, or time travelers, as the real builders. One of the reasons for this favorite pastime is that it perpetuates and gives air to the racist notion that only Europeans (white people) ever were and ever will be capable of such architectural feats.”
So, for them, it pays to continue feeding their ignorance and stupidity, fueled by hubris, (over-bearing pride and insolence).” But, instead of burying Africa’s noble past, it would be “the dead corpse of colonialism” that would be interred (buried) in Colonialism’s hole it had built during its ignominious (humiliating, shameful) 400-year run, kidnapping humans, or pretending to buy them, secreting them away as animals, packing and caging them over seemingly, interminable (never-ending) humiliation and misery — and, ironically, almost grateful to the Creator for reaching their destinations safely — since many would be kept and would die captive — and better yet, The Almighty be praised, for a soothing breath of fresh and sweet, God-given air, that it took no one to give, and no man could take away! (Part11 continues next Wednesday)