Another kind of racism

2008-10-09 00:00

Enough has been said about European colonisation in Africa. However, there is a conspicuous silence about Arab occupation in Africa. A huge portion of North African lands and resources are exploited for Arab supremacy. Arab occupation ensured the destruction of black civilisation. The enslavement of blacks by Arabs dates back to the pre-Islamic era. Generosity with their petro-dollars serves to conceal this malice. Their marionettes such as Omar al-Bashir are engaged in a brutal ethnic cleansing. He is a scoundrel and The Hague is awaiting him.

The legitimacy of Arab occupation remains unchallenged, despite Arabs incessantly making it known that their hearts are elsewhere, not in Africa. This is proved by their loyalty to their Arab league, whose membership qualification is determined along racial lines. Meanwhile, they openly exterminate indigenous blacks. In recent years, the atrocities that were suffered by Nigerians, Ghanaians and other West Africans in Libya were barely talked about. Arab imperialism has caused misery in Africa. After the advent of Islam, Arab supremacy was entrenched and legitimised through religion. Many Muslims still erroneously consider an Islamic name to be Arabic.

Meanwhile, the Muslim world is playing ostrich. The killing in Darfur, a vast region in western Sudan, is not a case of religious persecution, since the killers and the victims are Muslims. Since Sudan authorities have palpably depicted the killing as ambiguous, it makes the shorthand description of Arabs from Darfur killing black Africans oversimplified. Quite right — there has been intermarriage between tribes and it’s hardly accurate to talk about Arabs killing blacks. The racial element is confusing to foreign eyes, although not to local people, since almost everyone looks black. Of course, the very concept of an Arab is a loose one; with no consistent racial or ethnic meaning. It normally refers to a person whose mother tongue is Arabic. But while shorthand descriptions are simplistic, they’re also essentially right.

The leader of the Janjaweed, whom the Sudanese government entrusted with the initial waves of slaughter in Darfur, is usually said to be Musa Hilal, the chief of an Arab nomadic tribe. His own hostility to non-Arabs long predates the present genocide. A former governor of Darfur was quoted as saying that Hilal was recorded back in 1988 as expressing gratitude for “the necessary weapons and ammunition to exterminate the African tribes in Darfur”.

There has been some debate over whether what is unfolding is genocide. Some perceive genocide as an attempt to exterminate an entire ethnic group, but that was not the meaning intended by Rafael Lemkin, who coined the word; or by the 1948 Genocide Convention. It defined genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”. The acts can include killings, injuries and psychological distress, or simply restrictions on births; indeed, this is arguably too lax a definition. In any case, there is no doubt that in Darfur there has been a systematic effort to kill people and wipe out specific tribes and that amounts to genocide by any accepted definition.

The UN has been similarly ineffectual. At one level, UN agencies have been very effective in providing humanitarian aid; at another, it has been wholly ineffective in challenging the genocide itself. That is partly because Sudan is protected on the Security Council by Russia and especially China, which is a major importer of Sudanese oil. As a result of this collective failure, the situation in the Arab-occupied region has been getting much worse since 2005.

The UN has estimated that if Darfur collapses completely then the death toll there will reach 100 000 a month. Just as worrying, the instability in Darfur has left one wondering what Africans have done to deserve this. The rebels are not seeking independence but simply greater autonomy and a larger share of national resources.

Over 250 000 blacks have died in Darfur, and 2,5 million people have been displaced from their homes. Arab Janjaweed militias, supported by the Sudanese government, have burnt over 800 villages to the ground. The Al-Bashir regime in Sudan is a serial killer. In Darfur, the regime wants to “Arabise” the territory. The highly influential Sudanese “Arab gathering” considers blacks to be “abd” (male slaves) and “kahdim” (female slaves) and advocates their exclusion from Sudanese public life. Sudan is 52% black and 39% Arab. However, religion cuts across these lines as 70% of the population adheres to Islam.

On the other hand, some justifications of denial are economic-driven interests. This is a key reason why Russia opposes an arms embargo on the Sudanese government. It has already sold 12 MIG-29s to Khartoum and remains a major supplier of other arms. Besides being another arms supplier to Khartoum, China is a primary developer of southern Sudan’s oil fields and imports Sudanese oil. China has threatened to veto UN sanctions.

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