5 June, 2020
By Professor Ade Ojeniyi, MD, PHD, DVM, Cert. Internatl Health, D. Ac.
I am pretty sure that all of us here have heard the term RACISM. But then what exactly is RACISM? One of the dictionaries of the English language, Collins English Dictionary defines racism as a hostile attitude or behaviour to members of other “races” based on a belief in the innate superiority of one’s own race. Racism can be expressed and/or practised on the basis of religion, external physical characteristics or geographical abode.
Now let me dwell on one of the three areas mentioned above – that of external characteristics. As we are all aware, the second World War unleashed by the German Nazis focused its hatred of, and the ultimate goal of exterminating Jews, Homosexuals, Handicapped, Mentally ill and Gypsies as all these people were classified by the Nazis as belonging to an inferior race. Many centuries before then, however, the most extensive form of racism was played out in Africa by Europeans who regarded Africans as being inferior to them purely on the basis of their external physical characteristics – their dark skin colour. They did not consider Africans as human beings, and therefore they were regarded purely as commercial objects for selling and buying in market places after which they were shipped in their millions out of the continent as slaves. This most demeaning treatment that humans have ever undergone was initiated by Europeans in 1441 and lasted for nearly 400 years. None of us can be in doubt that when the term Racism is used, it almost always exclusively refers to the wanton savagery meted to Africans by Europeans who established institutional oppression of peoples in the geographical areas that they invaded outside their own continent of Europe. This wholesome dehumanization of Africans and the oppressed peoples’ struggles against this most vicious crime against humanity may be illustrated by the tribulations and ultimate triumph of Nelson Madiba Mandela and others of South Africa whose only offence was their protest against the opprobrious oppression of their peoples by those who invaded their country and subjected his peoples to most ferocious brutality in their own country. Mandela along with other African nationalists tried to teach African children that they were in no way whatsoever inferior to Europeans. They campaigned for the dignity of their peoples, but the tyranny of the oppressors answered the Africans’ peaceful protests with rains of bullets. Madiba Mandela was all too aware that there was no easy walk to freedom, and it was precisely this theme that he dealt with in his speech on 21st August 1953
Madiba Mandela was incarcerated for decades for protesting against the real terrorists in his country – the apartheid regime who systematically committed unpardonable crimes against humanity.
Another African nationalist Stephen Bantu Biko, otherwise known as Steve Biko was savagely murdered in September 1977 for daring to agitate against the brutal apartheid system that the Europeans institutionalized in South Africa. What went wrong in South Africa was plain for everyone to see. Invaders from Europe took over the lands of the peoples, and banished their hosts to remote infertile areas, denied them fundamental human rights and excluded them from reaping from the vast resources of their own country.
Africans, with their philosophy of life, never wished to throw out the invaders from their continent despite the abhorrent tyranny to which they were subjected by Europeans. All they asked for were simple fundamental human rights, civil rights, freedom of movement in their own country, freedom of speech, freedom of gathering, freedom to live where they pleased in their own country, equal opportunity and access to education, health, social services and to the resources of their nation.
Apparently these were too much to ask for, and the oppressive regimes mowed the protesting Africans down with machine guns. This was not confined to South Africa alone. Zimbabwe was another example of an apartheid system which robbed Africans of their lands in their own country, where the few Europeans took over all the fertile areas of land and banished Africans to infertile land areas. Any attempt by succeeding African rulers to correct injustices was met with outright condemnation by western countries who mounted clandestine operations to destabilize the continent with weapons supplied to dissident groups and to traitors of the Africans’ cause for justice and freedom.
The tragedy for Africa is that the western world had always found it easy to recruit a few ignorant, selfish and greedy Africans to execute their diabolical plans by supplying weapons to these traitors. In this way, it will be Africans killing Africans while their sponsors remain behind the screen fuelling the Africans-on-Africans violence. After all, as long as the pot of unrest is kept boiling, the resources of the country can be drained away and the flow of weapons into the continent is maintained while the resources that the continent needs so badly for development are sucked away leaving the continent and her peoples in abject poverty.
It was not only in South Africa that institutionalized apartheid was in operation, the United States of America had precisely the same apartheid system, the only difference being that in South Africa, it was called apartheid but in America it was called segregation, but the practice and the net result were precisely the same.
Dr. Martin Luther King Junior said that humanity could no longer be tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism. The key to the protection of any minority is to put core civil and political beyond the reach of temporary majorities by guaranteeing them fundamental human rights. The complete reverse of this was the case in South Africa where the minority invaders of Europe terrorized the peoples of their host country. What an irony !
Let me just round up my brief talk here by stating that I really pity those people who discriminate against Africans in one form or another whether hidden or manifest, those who practice segregation, those that practice apartheid in some form or another or maltreat Africans, and regard Africans
as belonging to an inferior race.
Why, you may aptly ask.
My reason is very simple indeed. It is only in the hallucinatory minds of such people that races exist. As a matter of scientific fact, there are no races, there is only one race: THE HUMAN RACE. Let me say it here and now, loud and clear that all human beings are members of the same species, members of the same race. The only difference between all of us is so superficial. Skin colour that Europeans have used so tenaciously in justifying their savage treatments of Africans can only be explained on the basis of their extreme ignorance because the more intense sun a human being faces the more Melanin he or she desperately needs in the skin for protection from the ultra-violet rays of the sun. That is precisely why the Africans have survived for millions of years in the intense sunshine in Africa – the Origin of All Human Beings.