Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA): –By Austen AKHAGBEME:
It was Joseph Conrad’s Novella, titled: HEART OF DARKNESS , that first arose my innocent and uncultivated mind to the ills of colonialism and the average white man’s perception of the black man, shortly before my undergraduate days.
Even though it was a great and riveting read that equally exposed the lies of the white man’s messianic roles and mission to Africa, I never got over the colonialists’ description of the Black man and his labour as a mere machinery.
Not until I got into the University and came across Walter Rodney’s book: HOW EUROPE UNDERDEVELOPED AFRICA as a tacit ‘response’ to Lord Lugard’s fallacious book, THE DUAL MANDATE IN BRITISH TROPICAL AFRICA, that I became comforted. I was later to understand, in a broader way, as a student of political science, how that the very continent of Africa itself, was maliciously divided( on a round table in Berlin) among the colonizing powers themselves, like a piece of pizza. And the inhabitants, too, were periodically and inhumanly rounded up as commodities to be exported overseas.
The recent gruesome, broad day murder of George Floyd by the heartless white supremacist cop, and the ensuing violent protest all over the United States of America, helped to bring back those age long memories I read from the English- Polish writer, Joseph Conrad.
When will the colour of our skin be less important like the colours of our eyes in America, a self acclaimed and widely proclaimed custodian of human liberties freedom and civility? What will the African-American do to live peacefully among his white neighbours in a nation where his cherished ancestry and ancestors were ferried away to dwell in against their wish and aspiration? When will the Black man’s life matters in America and Europe?
Why these questions appears rhetorically unanswered, attention should be drawn to the speed and spontaneity of response being witnessed in the ongoing saga. These laid credence to the fact that the average African American has suffered in silence over time while seething with discontent, waiting to exhale in violence at the minutest opportunity.
But most interestingly, is the oneness, humanism and the colour-blind dispassion of the protest as one of a collective humanity against a common unwanted enemy of hate, racism and violence.
The wide world condemnation of this dastardly act is equally a pointer that the World has come of age to accept and treat such barbarism as normal under the guise of racial supremacy.
Before now, the incidence of racial discrimination and police molestation against the blacks by the white population in America was alarmingly frightening. Resulting to self help would have further portrayed the blacks as a lawless bunch which is why the George Floyd’s incidence should be leveraged upon to bring the required constitutional change in Laws that will bring about permanent peace to every American citizen as far as racial discrimination is concerned.
This “Heart of Whiteness ” call America and her white dominated leadership should live up to the expectation of those who looks up to them as bastion of hope, democracy and people’s right; and not to allow the labour and genuine efforts of Martin Luther king and his civil rights contemporaries to be in vain. Then and only then can we all avenge the gruesome and painful murder of George Floyd.o
- Austen Akhagbeme is a Columnist with Blank NEWS Online