Slavery

There are a few definitions of slavery, here are some of them, One is taken from Britannica the other from Mirriam-Webster.

“slavery, condition in which one human being was owned by another. A slave was considered by law as property, or chattel, and was deprived of most of the rights ordinarily held by free persons.”

” 1a: the practice of slaveholding
b: the state of a person who is held in forced servitude
c: a situation or practice in which people are entrapped (as by debt) and exploited. 2: submission to a dominating influence slavery to habit 3:DRUDGERY, TOIL”

In none of the definitions is there a reference of skin color, yet anytime you see a picture about slavery it is always of black slaves.

When people see the picture above and out it in the context of slavery, immediately they think that the black man is the slave and the white man is his owner. However they would be wrong. The picture was take by Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje, circa 1888 it is a photograph of a Meccan merchant (right) and his Circassian slave. Entitled, “Vornehmer Kaufmann mit seinem cirkassischen Sklaven’ (Distinguished merchant and his circassian slave)”

The Circassians, are a Northwest Caucasian ethnic group and the indigenous people of the North Caucasus. The picture was taken in 1888 or near to that time. Which is 2 decades after the abolishment of slavery in the USA, and most other western countries.

I don’t want this to become a political blog but I just feel compelled to say that it is bizarre, that the BLM movement is looking for compensation for something which happened more then 400 years ago. You can not hold people in 2021 responsible for what happened 400 years ago. Most of all if you set up a political movement you need to have all the facts, and distort history to further your agenda, because that will not help against racism, it will create racism.

No one in their right mind will deny that the slavery of our black fellow human beings was awful and nothing less than a genocide. However one thing that is always overlooked in the BLM narrative is the fact that the slaves were brought to slaves markets, not by white men but by. fellow Africans

Records from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, directed by historian David Eltis at Emory University, show that the majority of captives brought to the U.S. came from Senegal, Gambia, Congo and eastern Nigeria. Europeans oversaw this brutal traffic in human cargo, but they had many local collaborators. “The organization of the slave trade was structured to have the Europeans stay along the coast lines, relying on African middlemen and merchants to bring the slaves to them,” said Toyin Falola, a Nigerian professor of African studies at the University of Texas at Austin. “The Europeans couldn’t have gone into the interior to get the slaves themselves.”

A slave trader of Gorée, c. 1797

The anguished debate over slavery in the U.S. is often silent on the role that Africans played. That silence is echoed in many African countries, where there is hardly any national discussion or acknowledgment of the issue. From nursery school through university in Nigeria, I was taught about great African cultures and conquerors of times past but not about African involvement in the slave trade. In an attempt to reclaim some of the dignity that we lost during colonialism, Africans have tended to magnify stories of a glorious past of rich traditions and brave achievement, according to professor Toyin Falola.

How slaves were traded in Africa

European buyers tended to remain on the coast
African sellers brought slaves from the interior on foot
Journeys could be as long as 485km (300 miles)
Two captives were typically chained together at the ankle
Columns of captives were tied together by ropes around their necks
10%-15% of captives died on the way

Before African slaves there were Christian slaves and other white slaves, enslaved by the Roman empire. Anyone who has seen the movie “Gladiator” will know the tagline “The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an empire.” although the main character is fictional, the Gladiators were mostly slaves taken from all over the Roman empire including ‘white’ Europe.

After the Romans the Vikings did their share in white slavery.

The Jews have been enslaved many times before that and after that.

Many in the BLM movement are trying to distort the History, by implying that slaves were only black and slave traders were always white. This is factual not true and will do more harm then good to the movement.

And I know that some will imply that I am a racist, even though I am as far removed from racism as you can be. I totally agree with those who want to highlight that there still is inequality between black and white ,because there is. Every human being regardless what race, colour, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, background should have the same rights and opportunities.

But by calling everyone who is white ‘privileged’ you are actually creating racism. Because so many, including me, are not

sources

Jacques Grasset de Saint-Sauveur (France, 1757-1810), Labrousse (France, Bordeaux, active late 18th century) – Image: http://collections.lacma.org/sites/default/files/remote_images/piction/ma-31858248-O3.jpg Gallery: http://collections.lacma.org/node/208516 archive copy

https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-the-slave-traders-were-african-11568991595

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-53444752

https://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/15861.html

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0172495/taglines

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slavery

https://www.britannica.com/topic/slavery-sociology

The not so original Cancel Culture

The buzz word nowadays is ‘Cancel Culture’ the definition of this phenomenon according to WikiPedia is

-Cancel culture (or call-out culture) is a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – whether it be online, on social media, or in person. Those who are subject to this ostracism are said to have been “cancelled”-

However cancel culture is nothing new. It does appear to resurface every once and again. Although the current ‘woke’ generation may think it is a socially very responsible thing to do, it is far from it.

The problem with cancel culture it only cheery picks elements of the truth in order to pursue a political philosophy. It also is more an ideology which is endorsed by both fringes of society, The far and extreme right and also the far and extreme left. You only have to look at the call out for banning of the Teletubbies ,by some far right evangelists in the USA, because it supposedly encouraged homo sexuality- Tinky Winky was allegedly a gay icon.

On the other hand there were calls for the books of Laura Ingalls “Little House on the Prairie” to be banned, by far left socialists, because if allegedly encouraged racism.

These are just 2 examples of the more current cancel culture phenomenon. As I said this however is nothing new. Back in the 1920’s there was a call for the banning of some movies because they went against the moral values of the wider society. Especially when there was nudity involved

A still of Annette Kellermann from A Daughter of the Gods (1916).

What many people nowadays don’t realize is that the first movie to win a best picture Oscar (the 1927 silent film “Wings”) had both male AND female nudity. In 1922, after several risqué films and a series of off-screen scandals involving Hollywood stars, the studios enlisted Presbyterian elder Will H. Hays to rehabilitate Hollywood’s image. Initially it started of with a list of 36 self-imposed “Don’ts and Be Carefuls,”

But soon that was no longer enough and the Hays code was introduced in 1934 and lasted for 34 years. The Hays Code was so strict that even the display of cleavage was controversial. There were some exemptions like in documentaries and comedies where some nudity was involved. Like the 1963 comedy “Promises! Promises!” starring Jayne Mansfield

We may not have the Hays code anymore but nowadays we have the “Community Standards” set by Social Media platforms such as Facebook, where it is possible toe get porn sent you via anonymous sources as spam and there seems to be no rule for that, however posting a topless picture of a wife or girlfriend on the beach is seen as totally offensive, but it is never explained who is offended by it. Or in my case where I was banned for posting a meme of Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler and his daughter actress Liv Tyler.

So far these examples have been relatively harmless but social media is becoming more and more the source for many of these cancel culture events. People just are not interested in educating themselves with all the facts. I totally condemn all racism, and I mean all racism. No one in their right mind will deny that there was slavery but slogans like “White Privilege” or “Black lives matters” will not help fight racism, in fact it will do the opposite. Of course we need to look at the history of slavery, but we need to look at all the history.

It is true that white slave traders went to Africa where they got slaves, but it mostly wasn’t them who captured the slaves. That was mainly done by other Africans often from other tribes.

This is a front cover of a London news paper a printed in 7 December 1889, of Tippu Tip, or Tippu Tib an Afro-Arab slave trader, ivory trader, explorer, plantation owner and governor. He worked for a succession of the sultans of Zanzibar. Tippu Tip traded in slaves for Zanzibar’s clove plantations. As part of the large and lucrative ivory trade, he led many trading expeditions into Central Africa, constructing profitable trading posts deep into the region. He bought the ivory from local suppliers and resold it for a profit at coastal ports.

Although he owned thousands of slaves and sold them for a profit , I haven’t heard anyone ask for him to be cancelled. He is not the only African slave traders there were many.

As for the aforementioned the banning or cancelling books like “the little house on the prairie” or a series of books of Dr Seuss really is nothing different then the 21st century version of book burning.

On April 8, 1933, he Main Office for Press and Propaganda of the German Student Union (DSt) proclaimed a nationwide “Action against the Un-German Spirit” Yes indeed the student union, supposedly educated people who actively encouraged fellow students and citizens to destroy books.

Of course the subject of History itself is under scrutiny and has been already cancelled in many schools.

We should all learn from the mistakes in history. We should also respect our differences and embrace them. But not by cancelling it but by debate and education. and especially education in History.

If we give in to these extreme philosophies on each side of the political spectrum we will make the same mistakes again. My biggest fear is that , and I mean this sincerely and genuinely, if we look at everything from just one side we will be contributing to a genocide we have never seen before.

The Dutch slave trade

EnslavedAfricansinHoldofSlaveShip1827

I am immensely proud of my country but like most other nations on earth it does have several black pages in its history books.

Like other European maritime nations, the Dutch were quick to involve themselves in the transtlantic slave trade. Between 1596 and 1829, the Dutch transported about half a million Africans across the Atlantic. Large numbers were taken to the small islands of Curaçao and St. Eustatius, in the Caribbean. Most of the Africans landed there, however, were subsequently trans-shipped to Spanish colonies. The two islands were thus staging posts for the re-sale and dispatch of Africans who survived the Middle Passage to other American slave colonies.

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Dutch involvement in the Atlantic slave trade covers the 17th-19th centuries. Initially the Dutch shipped slaves to northern Brazil, and during the second half of the 17th century they had a controlling interest in the trade to the Spanish colonies. Today’s Suriname and Guyana became prominent markets in the 18th century. Between 1612 and 1872, the Dutch operated from some 10 fortresses along the Gold Coast (now Ghana), from which slaves were shipped across the Atlantic.

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The trade declined between 1780 and 1815. The Dutch part in the Atlantic slave trade is estimated at 5-7 percent, or some 550,000-600,000 Africans.

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The abolition of slavery in British Guyana in 1834 caused an upheaval among people who had little hope of release in the neighbouring district of Nickerie in Surinam. The Dutch authorities reinforced the garrison and took precautionary measures. Even so, rebellion erupted in 1837. Unrest spread to sugar, coffee and tobacco plantations elsewhere in Surinam and some people attempted to escape.

Protests were not unusual on plantations in the West Indies colonies, and they were brutally suppressed. Already in the 18th century small communities had formed in the forests of Surinam of people who had escaped and who regularly raided nearby plantations. While those who had rebelled at Nickerie in 1837 were severely punished, others were rewarded for remaining obedient. This medal was given to George of Leasowes plantation ‘for his proven loyalty to legitimate authority during the disturbances among the slaves in Nickerie’

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On 1 July 1863, slavery was abolished in the former Dutch colonies of Suriname and the Dutch Antilles. This ended  a period of around 200 years of slavery in these colonies