Wednesday, October 17, 2018

George Monibot on the True Legacy of Christopher Columbus

About 15 years ago, I remember someone asking me “Max, I didn’t know you were a historian?”   And I replied “I didn’t know either.”

I grew up not liking history, or so I thought.  The history I was taught in school didn’t make sense to me – didn’t explain to me why things are as they are.

The history I was taught in school wasn’t useful to me.

All these years later, I’ve written hundreds of articles requiring thousands of hours of historical research, and I can more clearly see and understand why things really are as they are.

Some people fear history, because they’re unsure what they will find.  Some see history as liberating and vindicating, while others may see it as an indictment of who they are…the legacy of ancestors rather forgotten.

This is all understandable, however history has already happened and I believe its best understood as uncensored neutral information that may satisfy old curiosities and shed light on current ideology, economics and social structures.

Part of the research my book project Beyond Oppression: Colonization and the Language of Heroes is a book I’m reading, entitled Columbus and Other Cannibals.  Written by an American Indian named Jack Forbes, who taught at UC Davis, this book tells a very different history of the United States than what I was taught in high school.  And the same can be said for the video below by author George Monibot, entitled “The True Legacy of Christopher Columbus:”

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Loss of Language Equals the Loss of Identity, Feeling, Imagination and Memory

For all the languages that once existed in what is today The United States, how many are taught in schools - how many have been lost?

A new article speaks to the loss of American Indian languages  In the article, Rosalyn R. La Pierre writes that losing language "can be considered as extreme as the extinction of a plant or an animal. Once a language is gone, the traditional knowledge it carries also gets erased from society."

The article can be found here, and what follows is one of the videos embedded into the piece:

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Africa Remains Colonized

Is the European colonization of Africa a thing of the past?  The easy answer is: yes.  However, the more complex and more honest answer is: no.

Officially, the colonizing forces of France left Africa decades ago.  And yet, the French government continues to hold absolute control over the currency and financial affairs of many African nations.

A common US/UK/EU justification for ongoing intervention and control over Africa is that Western nations are helping improve the economic, political and social conditions of nations in need.  One can speculate on the veracity of this, yet even so: can US/UK/EU domination of Africa truly be seen as consensual, sustainable or beneficial in the long term?

Will France, the US/UK and other European nations ever release their grip on Africa – and specifically, how can Africa gain true independence from France’s financial gerrymandering?

14 African states once occupied by France, including Niger and Ivory Coast, are still today tethered to the CFA Franc, which unlike the dollar or euro, cannot be converted into other currencies.  And as such, these 14 nations are excluded from the International Foreign Exchange Market (FOREX), which is the largest market for options in the world.

Furthermore, the “Central Bank of each of these African countries is in fact compelled to maintain at least 50 percent (it was 65 percent until 2005) of its foreign exchange reserves in an "operations account" controlled by the French Treasury. Moreover, each Central Bank is required to maintain a foreign exchange cover of at least of 20 percent of its liabilities.”

From an article entitled “Torpedoing Africa, and then complaining about 'migration'” by Lorenzo Kamel:

It could be claimed that the countries that operate with these currencies might freely leave the arrangement at any time. In truth, dozens of African leaders, from Silvanus Olympio in Togo to Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, have tried in recent decades to replace these tools of monetary and financial control with a new common African currency. Almost all of them - with the possible exception of Malian President Modibo Keïta (1915-77) - have been killed or overthrown the very moment in which their attempts were close to succeeding.

A year ago when I decided to begin research for my book Beyond Oppression: Colonization and the Language of Heroes, I was thinking about how to write a cohesive narrative speaking to the colonization of American Indians, and Africans.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that in addition to a critical analysis on how colonial history has almost entirely been told, at least in writing, by Europeans, I would have to spend time exploring and dissecting how the legacy colonization permeates and echoes into socioeconomic constructs present today, with a particular focus on modern day prisons mirroring old world slave plantations, and how the Indian reservation system keeps native people perpetually dispossessed. 

Never ending dispossession – perhaps this has to do with something Kenyan writer and intellectual Ngugi wa Thiong’o says in his book Decolonising the Mind.  It’s a concept that he calls the “cultural bomb” that brings down flaming hell on an occupied population, saying that imperial powers and colonizers use cultural bombs “to annihilate a people’s belief in their names, in their languages, in their environment, in their heritage of struggle, in their unity, in their capacities and ultimately in themselves.”  And that this teaches the [vanquished] indigenous population to “see their past as one wasteland of non-achievement,” resulting in making “them want to distance themselves from that wasteland.”  The cultural bomb deeply instills self-hate in every aspect of the original culture, so that they “want to identify with that which is furthest removed” from their original culture, likely to have been thousands of years old. 

The culture bomb, Thiong’o says, also “plants serious doubts about the moral righteousness of struggle,” and thus making ideas “of triumph or victory” to be perceived “as remote, ridiculous dreams.”  Ultimately the culture bomb achieves the goal of “despair, despondency and a collective death-wish” within the enslaved and/or colonized population.

But language can sometimes be a tricky thing.  It’s not that all words are malleable and subjective, yet as a culture evolves, so does its language, as does the implication of certain words.  And the presence or absence of particular key word, like colonization, has strong implications – sometimes political and financial, or even more far reaching. 

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a group of 15-member member states in the West Africa region, “with a mandate of promoting economic integration in all fields of activity of the constituting countries.”  Thus far ECOWAS has not been successful in creating its own currency.

At The African Exponent, Takudzwa Hillary Chiwanza writes “Colonialism has now disappeared from the continent but some of its problems are still haunting the continent and have to be addressed.”  ECOWAS has been in existence since 1995, and with more time it may provide a path toward deeper African autonomy and financial independence.