SLAVERY WAS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT BLACKS

white-slavesMuch attention and condemnation has been directed towards the tragedy of the African slave trade, which took place between the 16th and the 19th centuries. However, another equally despicable trade in humans was taking place around the same time in the Mediterranean.  It is estimated that up to 1.25 million Europeans were enslaved by the so-called Barbary corsairs, and their lives were just as pitiful as their African counterparts. They have come to be known as the white slaves of Barbary.

Slavery is one of the oldest trades known to man. We can first find records of the slave trade dating back to The Code of Hammurabi in Babylon in the 18th century BCE. People from virtually every major culture, civilization, and religious background have made slaves of their own and enslaved other peoples. However, comparatively little attention has been given to the prolific slave trade that was carried out by pirates, or corsairs, along the Barbary coast.

Anyone traveling in the Mediterranean at the time faced the real prospect of being captured by the Corsairs and taken to Barbary Coast cities and being sold as slaves.

However, not content with attacking ships and sailors, the corsairs also sometimes raided coastal settlements in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, England, Ireland, and even as far away as the Netherlands and Iceland.  They landed on unguarded beaches, and crept up on villages in the dark to capture their victims.  Almost all the inhabitants of the village of Baltimore, in Ireland, were taken in this way in 1631.  (Ancient Origins)

The Barbary slave trade (White Slave trade) flourished on the Barbary Coast of North Africa between the 15th and 19th centuries. This area is modern-day Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and western Libya. European slaves were captured by Barbary pirates in raids on ships and coastal towns from Italy to Spain, Portugal, France, England, the Netherlands, Ireland and Iceland.

Men, women, and children were captured, to such a devastating extent that vast numbers of seacoast towns were abandoned. During the 13th and 14th centuries, Christian pirates, primarily from Catalonia and Sicily posed a constant threat to merchants. But the Barbary corsairs became menaces with the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century.

Slaves in Barbary could be black, brown or white, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish or Muslim. And the corsairs were not only Muslim, there were English privateers and Dutch captains.

galley-slaves-barbary-corsairsMany slaves died on the ships during the long voyage back to North Africa due to disease or lack of food and water. Those who survived were taken to slave markets where they would stand for hours while buyers inspected them before they were sold at auction.

Men were assigned to hard manual labor in quarries or for heavy construction, while women were used for housework or in sexual servitude. At night the slaves were put into prisons called ‘bagnios’ that were often hot and overcrowded.

The worst fate for a Barbary slave was being assigned to man the oars of galleys. Rowers were shackled where they sat, and never allowed to leave. Sleeping, eating, defecation and urination took place at the seat. Overseers would crack the whip over the bare backs of any slaves considered not to be working hard enough.

Europeans sometimes attempted to buy their people out of slavery, but no real system emerged before around 1640. Corsair activity began to diminish in the latter part of the 17th century, as the more powerful European navies forced pirates to cease attacking their shipping. In the 19th century, the United States of America and some European nations began to fight back more fervently against the Barbary pirates.

Algiers was frequently bombarded by the French, Spanish and Americans. After an Anglo-Dutch raid in 1816 on Algiers, the corsairs were forced to agree to terms which included a cessation of the practice of enslaving Christians, although slave trading of non-Europeans was allowed to continue.

“One of the things that both the public and many scholars have tended to take as given is that slavery was always racial in nature,” said historian Robert Davis, author of Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy. “But that is not true,” he added.

In comments which may stoke controversy, Davis claims that white slavery had been minimized or ignored because academics preferred to treat Europeans as evil colonialists rather than as victims. (Ancient Origins)

slavesThe notion that slavery is or was an attrition of humanity remains a subject matter that is moot to different scholars. Indeed the term ‘slavery’ has and still is a word that connotes deep resentment for many as it conjures a picture of tortuous pain and suffering against the refusal of those enslaved to wishes forced upon them.

In the period of the Barbary trade, people were captured and forced to work and were made to suffer inhumane circumstances. Muslims, Africans as well as other mercenaries were involved in this business It was purely economic by those involved and not always attached to a racist umbilical cord. Indeed many of the great cities, monuments and wonders of the world were built by’ slave labor’. And not all ‘slaves’ were treated inhumanely either.

“In both Egypt and Rome, slaves were actually treated quite well if they behaved. They were provided food, shelter, clothing and protection in return for them service. Additionally, in ancient Greece, a slave could actually work his or her way out of servitude and become a property, and even business, owner. In fact, the Greeks had a far different view of slaves and slavery. You weren’t automatically a lesser person just because you were a slave. And capitol crimes such as murder were handled differently. If a person murdered another, the murderer was sentenced to seven years of indentured servitude to the family of the victim. This isn’t to say that the murderer might not meet with an untimely demise, but slavery, in general, has had a very long existence and encompassed a multitude of both cultures and races.’ Scruffy Nerfherder

Regardless of which side of the spectrum you stand, restricting freedom, forcing labor, working under inhumane conditions and declaring that you ‘own’ a person just by the very nature of ‘buying’ them as you would a pound of meat, is wrong. Similarly employing persons under similar conditions is equally wrong, no matter how much you try and cloak it with so called ‘incentives’. This article attempted to show that slavery did not start with or end in Africa.  Indeed slavery is as old as humanity. Denying persons of their humanity is denying the person’s  existence.
Eckhart Tolle was quoted to say.. “Dogmas are collective conceptual prisons. And the strange thing is that people love their prison cells because they give them a sense of security and a false sense of ‘I know.’ Nothing has inflicted more suffering on humanity than its dogmas.”
The dogma that drives humanity to slavery is a tumor that is still very much malignant. There are treatments but it rears its ugly head frequently. Historians highlight what they deem necessary but knowing our history will make us aware of both the past and that history always has a way of repeating itself. It is for us to monitor, check, account and evade.

Sources: Thanks NeoMakeba for original post / Ancient Origins

JAMAICA DESERVES BETTER THAN THIS Madam PM and Mr. Holness

 

  Today we draw attention to the tragic news that 18 babies died as a result of infections at the place of their birth- the Hospitals. The alarming thing about this is not just the deaths, but the callous and cold approach of both parties to this news.

With officials of the ministry alluding that this type of death happens worldwide and we are no more worse than even the US, is criminal in thinking. A death is a crime here like everywhere and whilst aligning the deaths with first world countries seem to ‘soften’ the blow, what they forget to tell the grieving families is that in those countries, unlike Jamaica, families have recourse, both legal and financial.
A country that cannot take care of its most vulnerable is not a country, but can be compared to a barbaric animal. The public discourse of both Andrew and Portia is just that , two animals barking at each other to see who can get the dead bone.
Stop it. Stop this nonsense NOW. Jamaica is better than this. Politics  will never be the saviour of our country. It starts with a collective effort on both houses to understand we failed our people, yet again, and political squabble will not fix it. 
The Ministry of Health is like the Syria of today- politically torn, mercilessly destroyed by political bombs and collateral blood flows daily from both sides, JLP and PNP. 
JAMAICA is filthy and our garbage fills our streets. But do our hospitals have to compete with the streets? Shame. Shame on us to destroy 18 vulnerable lives and equate them to professional liabilities. Shame on us to use politics and professional cronyism to cover a menu of institutional backwardness and medicority.  
The babies are already dead. How many more will die? How many will it take to convince you both that Jamaicans deserve the same medical conditions and services that every politician can afford to have by flying abroad when they fall sick, abandoning the medical services here that they claim is very good?
No Portia and Andrew. Most Jamaicans cannot fly at will to Florida. Yes, there are the odd times when sadly death by institutional abnormality occurs. But Madam Prime Minister and Opposition leader Holness, that is the exception rather than the rule. And when that happens Madam and Sir, there is no attempt to bamboozle the grieved from compensation. Rather the institution is forced to make restitution and correct the inconsistencies, ensuring it never happens again. 
There is also accountability Madam PM and Opposition leader. Someone must be held accountable as in the end an institution is run by people and it is the people , not an institution that took the professional oath to deliver the very best medical service to its customers. If you both allow this tragedy to go unpunished, then frankly you are both not governing this country. In fact you are both aiding in killing this country.  
Over to you both. The people are watching, with our voting pens in hand. It is not a threat. We are simply just tired and sick of the continued standard of mediocrity to which both political parties seem to salivate and govern this blessed island. 

FIRST JAMAICAN AUTHOR TO WIN MAN BOOKER PRIZE OF £50,000.

  

(Thanks, Kesha Brown for original post)  

Jamaican author Marlon James has won the Man Booker Prize for his novel inspired by the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the 1970s.

Michael Wood, chair of the judges, described A Brief History of Seven Killings as the “most exciting” book on the shortlist.

The 680-page epic was “full of surprises” as well as being “very violent” and “full of swearing”. James was announced the £50,000 winner on Tuesday night at London’s Guildhall. He is the first Jamaican author to win the Man Booker Prize. Receiving the award, he said a huge part of the novel had been inspired by reggae music.
“The reggae singers Bob Marley and Peter Tosh were the first to recognise that the voice coming out our mouths was a legitimate voice for fiction and poetry.” 
He admitted it was “so surreal” to win and dedicated the award to his late father who had shaped his “literary sensibilities”.
Set across three decades, the novel uses the true story of the attempt on the life of reggae star Marley to explore the turbulent world of Jamaican gangs and politics. Wood said the judges had come to a unanimous decision in less than two hours.
He praised the book’s “many voices” – it contains more than 75 characters – which “went from Jamaican slang to Biblical heights”.
He said: “One of the pleasures of reading it is that you turn the page and you’re not quite sure who the next narrator will be.” But he acknowledged that some of the content might be too much for some readers.
“Someone said to me they like to give Booker winners to their mother to read, but this might be a little difficult.” Wood admitted his own mother wouldn’t have got beyond the first few pages on the basis of the swearing.
“A lot of it is very very funny,” he added. “It is not an easy read. It is a big book. There is some tough stuff and there is a lot of swearing but it is not a difficult book to approach.”
In his novel’s acknowledgements, Marlon James himself thanks his family but adds: “This time around maybe my mother should stay away from part four of the book”. 
Thanks NeoMakeba 

IS CRIME PREVENTING SOME JAMAICANS FROM RETURNING HOME?

   Many of us Jamaicans who live in Diaspora plan to one day, return home to Jamaica, either buy or build our “dream homes” and settle down to a more peaceful lifestyle. But is nostalgia enough to ignore the reality of the high crime rate back home? 

In 2014, a 75-year-old returned resident, Robert Campbell was shot near his two-storey home in St Elizabeth. Campbell had returned to Jamaica in late 1990s after spending approximately 50 years working in the USA. 
In 2010, in Comfort Castle, Portland, 84-year-old George Passley, a retired bus conductor from the UK died in a house fire. Eight days later, Mavis White, an 80-year-old widow who also returned from Britain, died in a house fire a mile from Mr. Passley’s. 
In 2009, 55-year-old Anthony Budal was brutally murdered in Lucky Hill, St Mary, shot nine times, several days before he was due to return to the UK. 
Since her husband’s death, Audrey from South London, said she has searched for answers, but all her efforts have failed – despite having spent thousands of pounds travelling back and forth to Jamaica.

She is critical of the police’s handling of the investigation, which has left her disheartened. “I will go through all the necessary channels and avenues to get justice, and ensure that my husband is not dealt with like a piece of meat,” said Budal, who has set up a fund in her late husband’s honour.
In 2009, 1,170 returning residents, mostly retirees settled back in Jamaica.Back in 1994, almost 2,600 retired Jamaicans returned home. The number of returnees dropped more than half by the early 2000s. It has remained relatively flat every since, even though the number of Jamaicans at retirement age abroad has risen substantially. About two million Jamaicans live abroad, nearly as many as the 2.7 million who live on the island. 
Robert DeSouza is a Jamaican immigrant whose Trans-Continental Express Shippers of Queens, N.Y., specializes in moving Jamaicans. He handles about 50 moves to Jamaica a year, he says, down from over 200 a year in the 1990s. The robbers are “targeting returned residents,” Mr. DeSouza says. 
Another threat to returning residents: Distant relatives, barely known to retirees, sometimes see returned residents as bank accounts to tap. Ethlyn Hyman-Dixon, a 69-year-old returnee from England, was stabbed to death in 2008 by a nephew. Boxer Trevor Berbick, the last man to beat Muhammad Ali in the ring, was hacked to death in Portland by a nephew, later convicted of the murder. Mr. Berbick was 54. 
Percival LaTouche, president of the Association of Resettlement of Returning Residents (ARRR), states that that returning residents are ostensibly marked for death; as many as 300 have been murdered in little more than a decade.
And hundreds are robbed on their way from the airports, but not all of them report these incidents to the Police, he said. 

The Jamaican police are only able to make arrests in 45 percent of all homicides annually, and they only convict perpetrators in seven percent of the homicide cases. This leads both the public and police to doubt the effectiveness of the criminal justice system leading to vigilantism, which only exacerbates the cycle of violence. 
Based on their past experiences, most civilians fear that at best, the authorities cannot protect them from organized criminal elements, and at worst, are colluding with criminals, leading citizens to avoid giving evidence or witness testimonies. With this backdrop, do Jamaicans living abroad prefer to “stay put” in the cold?
Thanks Neo

Next time someone says, “But Africans sold themselves into slavery!”, send this article to them

This article was taken from Uhuru Solidarity Movement, and it debunks the white washed argument that Africans were guilty of slavery more so than their oppressors.

Great read and please make your comments and feel free to share.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following except from pages 47-50 of Overturning the Culture of Violence, written by Penny Hess, Chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Committee and printed by Burning Spear Publications, debunks the cynical and anti-black argument that “Africans enslaved themselves.” This argument points to the presence of Africans who collaborated with the European slave masters and “sold” Africans to them in order to shift the responsibility for the slave trade off the shoulders of the European colonial slave master and onto the backs of the colonized and enslaved African.

Today, as the voice of the enslaved African community asserts itself in the world and lifts up the demand for reparations, the blame-shifting “African collaborator” argument can be seen gaining traction in universities and bourgeois historical publications, not as an historical argument but as a political defense against the legitimacy of the reparations demand. As an organization of white people working under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party to organize white people in solidarity with the African struggle for liberation and reparations, we in the Uhuru Solidarity Movement find it timely to publish this excerpt here:

HUMAN BONDAGE: Page 47-50, Overturning the Culture of Violence

The terrible impact that slavery has had on the continent of Africa cannot be calculated: the destruction of magnificent civilizations, the break-up of family and kinship circles, the massive depopulation, forced impoverishment, famine and starvation, the ravishing of an environment which had been so conducive to human civilization for millennia. From open, educated, prosperous and democratic societies, African people now lived in sheer terror, never knowing when their village or town would be raided for human loot by these white invaders.

Some North American people cynically place the blame for the enslavement of African people on the shoulders of African collaborators who participated in the kidnapping of their own people. Impacted by the social destruction wreaked by invading Europeans, a tiny minority of the conquered people did find their own survival by participating in this treachery.

The setting up of collaborators among the colonized population has been a successful tool of domination in every instance of European colonialism around the world. Africa is no exception. Europeans attack societies in Africa, Asia, or the Americas, destroying their traditional economies and long-standing social relationships. A unilateral colonial economy, which starves the people and creates the dependency on the colonial power, is militarily enforced.

The European invader gets richer and richer through his bloodsucking relationship, and offers resources, guns and special status to a minority sector of the oppressed population. The selected “elite” or the colony can themselves become enslaved or carry out the will of white power. If they take any stand independent of the colonizer as have, say, Panama’s Noriega or Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in today’s world, white power spares them none of its wrath.

This plan has worked well over the centuries. A few people in every colony have participated in the devious imperialist schemes of slavery, genocide, torture and exploitation of their own people, a collaboration which benefits no one more than the European or North American “mother” country.

The statement that “Africans enslaved their own people” separates out African people from other colonial subjects, all of whom have had their share of betrayal among their ranks. It is a statement of imperialism’s historic need to mobilize public opinion against African people.

Like the general white attitude toward the government-imposed drugs and dependent drug economy in today’s African communities, this statement lets the parasitic colonial economic system off the hook. It is an anti-black expression of unity with the oppression of African people, saying, “They did it to themselves.” Meanwhile all white people everywhere still benefit from the parasitic economic system which has as its foundation the enslavement and continued exploitation of African people.

Most Africans resisted enslavement with all of their energy. Rebellions on slave ships were common. According to one source, “Many deaths on slave journeys across the Atlantic derived from violence, brawls, and above all, rebellions. There was probably at least one insurrection every eight to ten journeys.”

For example, Africans successfully rebelled in 1532 aboard the Portuguese slave ship the Misericordia. The 109 Africans on board “rose and murdered all the crew except for the pilot and two seaman. Those survivors escaped in a longboat. But the Misericordia was never heard of again.”

Slave ship owners often three Africans off the ships just to collect the insurance money. One famous case was that of a ship owned by William Gregson and George Case (both former mayors of Liverpool, England). The captain threw 133 Africans into the sea because if Africans were to die naturally, the owners would lose money, but if the African people were “thrown alive into the sea,” supposedly for the safety of the crew, “it would be the loss of the underwriters.”

So many African people died en route that it has been said that sharks followed slave ships all the way from Africa to the Americas.

Africans who survived the notoriously brutal middle passage, as the Atlantic crossing was known, reached the Americas barely alive. If they were too ill, they were left to die on the shore. They were sold like animals on public auction blocks, naked or in rags, weakened and emaciated, having survived the months below deck with disease and malnutrition, not to mention the emotional ravage of such an experience. Many Africans committed suicide to avoid enslavement, a practice otherwise unknown in African culture.

White buyers came to the market for slaves, “feeling the Africans’ limbs and bodies much as butchers handled calves. The slaves were often asked, as they had been told to do before leaving Africa, to show their tongues and teeth, or to stretch their arms.”

In the Americas, Africans were “broken in” by submitting them to inhuman terror in an attempt to crush out any resistance. The “breaking” process was psychological as well as physical, and included being forced to learn a version of a European language and to take a European name, something many Africans militantly resisted.

Under the domination of their white slave masters, African people of all ages were branded, women on the breasts. Africans were whipped until they were deeply scarred, and their ears or ear lobes were cut off. People were slashed in the face, and their hands and feet were cut off to prevent them from running away. Men were castrated; women were raped. Women’s babies were cut out of their bellies for “punishment” and any man, woman or child could be forced to wear iron collars on their necks for life.

Under such brutal conditions, normal human relationships between men and woman or parents and children were interrupted and nearly impossible. Mothers were forced to work the full nine months of pregnancy, often giving birth in the field. They were then forced to abandon their children, as they had to keep on working or nurse the children of the slave master.

READ MORE by purchasing Overturning the Culture of Violence, by Penny Hess, Chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Committee at burningspearmarketplace.com.

THE UNSUNG HERO OF THE 1968 OLYMPIC GAMES…..

  
Peter George Norman (pictured left) was an Australian track athlete best known for winning the silver medal in the 200 metres at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. His time of 20.06 seconds still stands as the Australian 200 metres record. He is also known for his support of John Carlos and Tommie Smith when they made their famous raised-fist gesture at the 1968 Olympics medal ceremony.

On the podium, during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, Smith and Carlos famously joined in a Black Power salute. Norman wore a badge on the podium in support of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR). 
Australia’s Olympic authorities reprimanded him for his gesture and the Australian media ostracised him. Despite Norman running qualifying times for the 100 m five times and 200 m 13 times during 1971-72, the Australian Olympic track team did not send him, or any other male sprinters, to the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, the first modern Olympics since 1896 where no Australian sprinters participated.
Norman kept running, but in 1985 contracted gangrene after tearing his Achilles tendon during a charity race, which nearly led to his leg being amputated. Depression, heavy drinking and pain killer addiction followed.
Norman quit athletics after the decision not to field a track & field men’s team in the 1972 Olympics and took up Australian rules football. He died of a heart attack on 3 October 2006 in Melbourne at the age of 64.
US Track and Field Federationproclaimed 9 October 2006, the date of his funeral, as Peter Norman Day. Thirty-eight years after the three made history, both Smith and Carlos gave eulogies and were pallbearers at Norman’s funeral.
An airbrush mural of the trio on podium was painted in 2000 in the inner-city suburb of Newtown in Sydney. The monochrome tribute, captioned “THREE PROUD PEOPLE MEXICO 68,” was under threat of demolition in 2010 to make way for a rail tunnel but is now listed as an item of heritage significance. 
Thanks Maxine Tomlinson/ NeoMakeba  

THE JAMAICAN WRITER WHO “GREW UP AS A BOY” 

  
 Lady Colin Campbell, known as Georgie Campbell (17 August 1949), is a Jamaican-born British writer. Campbell was born in Jamaica, one of four children of Michael and Gloria Ziadie. The Ziadie family are descendants of six Maronite Catholic brothers who emigrated from Lebanon in the early 20th century. The family were Lebanese Eastern Orthodox Christians.

“I grew up in a wealthy upper-class household in Jamaica, which was run along militaristic lines by my mother, Gloria,” Campbell said. “We always knew that there was something wrong with Mummy, but I didn’t realise she suffered from any kind of psychological disorder until I was talking with my therapist years later. ‘You’re describing a classic narcissist,’ he told me.”

Born with a fused labia, Campbell was registered as a boy and brought up as male, though she is genetically female. She was bullied by classmates and her parents. She sought help at age 13 by secretly contacting her mother’s gynecologist, who was sympathetic. When her parents discovered what she had done, they had her hospitalised, and injected with male hormones for three weeks. Campbell refused to live as a boy; and her father told her the only solution was for her to commit suicide by taking rat poison. 

She was not able to have corrective surgery until she was 21, when her grandmother discovered what had occurred and gave her the $5,000 she needed. Campbell legally changed her name to Georgia Arianna and received a new birth certificate. 

Campbell is  well-known for her books on royals, including biographies on Diana, Princess of Wales and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Her 1992 book, Diana in Private: The Princess Nobody Knows, detailed information about the Diana’s struggle with bulimia and affair with James Hewitt. Campbell was “dismissed as a fantasist” but later vindicated when the information was corroborated. Diana in Private appeared on the The New York Times Best Seller list in 1992.

“ I am grateful to my mother for some things. Her malevolent neglect meant that we learned how to be independent, and we all learned how to be very in tune with reality. We had to be – it was our only way of surviving. The other good thing was that, through her, I learned how to fight. People muck you around in life, and Gloria taught me to never give up,” she said.