Songs we would never hear! Histories we would never know! Art we would never see! Because the European had the capacity to destroy and didn’t have the moral restraint not to.— Maulana Karenga
The word ”’Maafa”’ (also known as the African Holocaust) is derived from a Swahili word meaning disaster, terrible occurrence or great tragedy.
The term today collectively refers to the Pan-African discourse of the 500 hundred years of suffering of people of African heritage through Slavery, imperialism, colonialism, apartheid, rape, oppression, invasions, and exploitation.
The African Holocaust is a pan-African discourse on the global historical and contemporary genocide against the mental and physical health of African people. The effects of this genocide impact all areas of African life: religion, heritage, tradition, culture, agency, self-determination, marriage, identity, rites of passage, and ethics. And finally acts to marginalize Africans from their historical trauma and historical glory. This study does not seek to promote a binary or Manichean history, but moreover a lens for looking at patterns of persecution from within an authentic African centered framework. 
The African Holocaust or Maafa, is a crime against humanity and is recognized as such by scholars, who have documented the primary culpability of mainly, but not limited to, Europeans in the ongoing Holocaust against African people. [note] Slavery corrupted and stripped both the enslaved and the slave master of their humanity and dignity. The African Holocaust has represented an existential threat to the peoplehood and agency of African people for the past 500 Years of world history. Africa is the most exploited continent in the history of humanity; more human victims have been procured from Africa than all the continents of the world combined. The consequences of this drain in human and mineral resources is one of the major factors in the global condition of African people.
However, this history would be incomplete and distorted, without also reflecting on the acquiescence; collaboration, rape, genocide, slavery, corruption, and warfare that Africans, as free agents, as members of nations and native religions, have also engaged in.  Moreover, it would be morally reprehensible to neglect the contemporary trade in Africa and across the globe.
The African Holocaust is the greatest continuing tragedy the world has ever seen. It was also the most impacting social event in the history of humanity. Not only in terms of scale but also in terms of legacy and horror. It is a Holocaust which is constantly denied, mitigated and trivialized.
The Maafa reduced humans with culture and history to a people invisible from historical contribution; mere labor units, commodities to be traded. From this Holocaust/Maafa the modern racial-social hierarchy was born which continues to govern the lives of every living human where race continues to confer (or obstruct) privilege and opportunity.
And because the African Holocaust is rarely treated as a continuous history, worthy of an ongoing discourse, the inter-relations and the agents of this Holocaust escape treatment. It makes it easy to make people see slavery, colonialism, apartheid as divorced from one another. Treating them as isolated studies, often misses the pattern of white supremacy throughout African history. And in the 21st century the legacy of enslavement manifest itself in the social-economic status of Africans globally. Without a doubt Africans (as well as Native Americans and Australians) globally constitute the most oppressed, most exploited, most downtrodden people on the planet; a fact that testifies to the untreated legacy of Slavery, colonialism and apartheid. Not only is this reality in the social-economic spectrum, it is also experienced in the academic and political value the Maafa receives compared to the Jewish genocide. While African people are told to “move on from slavery”, Jewish holocaust is a staple of World history.
The authentic study of Africa is often masked with political or emotional objectives; whether these objectives are Islamaphobic, anti-African, European supremacy, Afrocentric, “Black” supremacy or a Zionist agenda  Because of the contemporary implications, it is a deeply political discourse with no clear “good vs. bad” guys, but competing agendas. It is critical to deal with these agendas in seeking any sort of authentic and balanced understanding of the Maafa.The other ploy, statistical downsizing, serves to lessen the volume of Africans impacted by enslavement (Holocaust denial). There is also a linguistic tone which takes away the humanity of African people by referring to enslaved people as “slaves” and “black African slaves.” It reaffirms Africans as history’s slave pool; mere commodities, black bodies without history and higher destiny. This orientalism is evident in most Eurocentric studies by celebrated white historians on African and Arab slavery. But murderers don’t get off by pleading to the judge that someone else committed an equally bad murder, or that the murder was less severe because the victim’s parents handed them the knife.
On the other side, almost every single European-run historical discourse, led by the likes of John Thornton, attempts to reduce the impact, severity and legacy of the African Holocaust. Normalization white-washes slavery into “everyone did it; it is part of world history.” “Africans sold Africans to Europeans so they are just as guilty.” “Without African involvement they could be no slave trade(Thornton).” While that may be true, it does not absolve the continued benefits Europeans have gained and continue to gain from enslavement of African people. No other nation still inherits the wealth of their former slaves like the West. If a young girl is sold into prostitution by her own parents, the pimp must still pay for the suffering he caused the young woman. He can’t simply say, ‘Her parents made a deal with me, so you should stop the blame game.'”It is obvious that Afrocentrics and other pro-African groups play binary blame games, while denying African culpability and agency. Their objective is to make Africans the victims, and even when Africans are accountable for horrendous acts, they still place responsibility outside of Africa (it was the foreign religions and culture). But this neglects and tramples African agency, because it reaffirms the child-like canard of African people: incapable, and impressionable. Africans are not impressionable children who are “influenced” by everything that blows into Africa. While this argument often comes in the box of “consciousness,” in reality this attitude of “they did this to us” only reaffirms Arab and European superiority; to have so much power to control every last action Africans have ever done. And on both sides of the debate, in an attempt to hold onto that romantic notion of self, jump through hoops to explain away reality. However, we cannot escape that Africans, as full and uninfluenced people, did engage in the African Holocaust; and are fully, although not equally, responsible for their partnering with the Atlantic and Arab slave system. Because there was no opportunity, in the early days of the trade, to suggest that Africans were tricked or bewitched into supplying Europeans (unless we are suggesting African people are a child like race) so those few that agreed to this trade in flesh were active participants.
The European controlled slave trade was not some private venture divorced from church and state. That church and state was a representation of “the people.” It represented the wealth and security of Western nations. As such the vast majority of Western Europeans and their descendants globally profited from slavery—a privilege people of European ancestry still enjoy at the expense of African development. And yet some still suggest avoiding discussing slavery as to not hurt their feelings.
While Africans and Europeans were jointly involved in the Atlantic slave trade; it was Europe that dominated the connection, vastly enlarged (from a crack to a canyon) the slave trade, and continually turned it to European advantage and African disadvantage. Basil Davidson states that within both European and African institutions there were also differences, and these differences, however “minor,” created a decisive outcome, which allowed European total domination evolving into colonialism and today’s neocolonialism. And with neocolonialism came the proxy puppet African elites who are direct ideological descendants of the African slave trading elite. But the total percentage of involvement and profits from that involvement gained by Africans engaged in selling other Africans is infinitesimal. It accounts for maybe 1% of the billable slave hours in the working life of a first generation enslaved African. It accounts for 0% of the billable hours for the many generations of Africans enslaved on European owned plantations, and the years of exploitation after emancipation. How then are we calling it a partnership of equals?
[To] see Africans as partners implies equal terms and equal influence on the global and intercontinental processes of the trade…Africans had great influence on the continent itself, but they had no direct influence on the engines behind the trade in the capital firms, the shipping and insurance companies of Europe and America, or the plantation systems in Americas. They did not wield any influence on the building manufacturing centers of the West
As unethical as it sounds, no degree of slavery in Africa would have destroyed Africa as a continental political force. It is when African talent started being exported out of Africa, that African underdevelopment from a political, economic, and social perspective became an issue. This issue of emphasis creates a peculiarity that seems unique to Africa, but all over the world, in every single conflict you will find weak or greedy members of that community who side with oppression—why is Africa any different? What is true for the African is 100% true for the Jew. So the biggest manipulation is not so much in the facts, but in the weight or emphasis of “they sold each other.” Also, most enslaved people in the West were in that state for all of their lives by European process, not African. Those who were captured in Africa were touched by the African component briefly– and never again in the history of their enslavement. African involvement, while shameful, was hardly a partnership in Holocaust, beyond the initial capture and sale. And Europeans also have this tradition of underplaying their role in direct capture. But it is a fact that in the early days, and especially in the later (peak) days of the slave system, Europeans directly procured captives. (Bailey 2005)
|The distant Arab slave trade with its states in Zanzibar have long vanished from the economic-political landscape. But the wealth of Great Britain and France continue uninterrupted. The governments, churches, businesses, royal decree, that funded and approved slavery remain unaltered.140 million Africans in the Western Hemisphere, representing around 14% of the world’s population are the visible consequences of Western Slaving and this is not only a numbers issue,||
as this Diaspora also represent the absolute bottom of every social-economic graph. All of this is necessary to show the backdrop to the attitudes and motives for the “new” focus on Arabs. And when we look at the principle authors of this “new” study we see the hands of people like Bernard Lewis (an ardent orientalist, and Zionist) as the prime authority even Afrocentrics are reading.
There is no escaping African culpability in the “destruction” of Africa. The failure to form unity around spheres of interest when faced with a formidable foe is a failing Africa cannot escape. Greed and corruption continues to adversely poison the hope of Africa, even today. And no degree of historical revision can wash out or dilute aspects of African partnership in the African Holocaust. But we should also balance the exception vs. the rule vs. a phenomena. 
Yes, people did sell their family into slavery, yes kings did invade and use other ethnic groups for a slave pool. But it is inaccurate to highlight this as the African norm (as Dr. Akurang-Parry says). Nor should we confuse a phenomena as the natural way in which African people lived for millennium. We should not make Africa a monolith, and ignore other forms of social inequity and violence in native African communities, which predate any influence of Arabs and Europeans. Africans, like people all over the world have the same human nature, which can be both creative and loving, as well as destructive and inhumane. But it is utterly dishonest to compare the capitalist-driven actions of Western Europeans, with the mainly duress-driven actions of a community being forced to sell their neighbors (or even their own children) into slavery for fear of the entire family being sold. To compare these circumstances as equal is moral reprehensible. What happened in Africa was a Holocaust, and victims were not limited to those being shipped across the Atlantic to European plantations or the salt marshes of Iraq— A large percentage of the trauma was experienced inside of the slaving zones.
MOVE ON FROM SLAVERY
Slavery is a painful subject for both Europeans and Africans. It is natural for any humans to try and escape one’s conscience, so Europeans often tell Africans to “Moving on” From slavery. But what does this mean and what action should Africans take to “move on” as British Prime minister Cameron insisted?:
- Don’t bring it up in polite White society
- Do not use it as a political tool to remind Europeans of their sordid history
- Lick your wounds in private
- Do not include it in your educational system
- Do not lobby around it for reparations
- Do not write books about it
- Close down the African Holocaust Society Website
- And do not allow your children to discuss it
This is what “Moving on from slavery and colonialism” means. Now how do we move on from the very current that is institutional racism (connected to the legacy of slavery), or White supremacy (again connected to slavery) ? How do we move Africa out of the ongoing exploitation by the West? So Moving on means to close down all debate and fracture the African connection to the past. 100% perfect for those who exploited African labor to build the Western empire, 100% perfect to avoid dealing with the current responsiblity of those who profited/profit from African exploitation.
It is strange that no one tells the victims of 9/11 or the Jewish Holocaust to “move on”. So anyone who suggest Africans “move on” from the past is guilty of trying to cover up their ancestors role in our destruction. And in criminal law, to cover up a crime is a crime. To block people from accessing their historical database is a crime against their human dignity. So this is why both those who enslaved Africans, and those today who suggest we forget about slavery are partners in the African Holocaust.
It was once believed that the Atlantic slave trade was a largely self-contained phenomenon, it is now acknowledged that this slave trade is part of a much wider picture, which includes traditional African slave systems and the Arab slave trade. At various stages in their history conflicted and complemented each other. There was also an evolution from one type of slavering into another; as happened inside of the African slave system where captives where a casual consequence of national warfare evolved into a reason for warfare.
We must identify the different levels of enslavement in the historical narrative of Africa. Some where client-supplier, others were consequences of the overspill from internal polities clashing. Although the internal African trade became the trade which procured captives for Europeans and also Arabs, it is a distinctive trade with unique features, and moreover distinctive consequences.
Economically the growth that should have been experienced in Africa, from African human resources, was experienced in the West – as opposed to in Africa. The primary African groups involved in procurement for European interest became particularly adept and brutal at the practice of enslavement and through the centuries developed a militaristic culture. Prime groups engaged in this were Oyo, Benin, Igala, Kaabu, Fante Confederacy, Asanteman, Dahomey, the Aro Confederacy and the Imbangala professional war bands. (“Atlantic Warfare”, Thornton) One key difference between Africans as agents for Europeans, and the domestic internal slavery was the level of brutality associated with procurement. The gradual abolition of slavery in European colonial empires during the 19th century industrialization era led to the decline of these African empires.
Below is a list of zones of enslavement and types of slavery:
Why do we study the past? To learn from it and set up precedents for curbing patterns which produce inequity. And to reproduce patterns and habits that produce enlightenment and progress for all of the Earth (humanity and nature). Every doctor understands why the epidemiology is critical to modern medicine; prevention and cure rest on successful analysis of the problem.
|Slavery is not wrong because slavery is wrong. Slavery is wrong because of another higher human consideration — human rights. Where human rights in our modern era are intolerant to the systems of oppression slavery perpetuated. It is the immorality of slavery, the contempt for humanity that is the focus of our issue with slavery and all its enduring side effects, one being aspects of modern racism. The history of interactions among disparate peoples is what shaped the modern world through conquest, epidemics, and genocide.|
Almost every incident of conquest involves a stronger technological people subdued and exploiting a “weaker” or less developed technological people. That is the one most profound observation and pattern we can grasp from history. The consequences of that conquest have never stopped, the reverberation is heard around the global in all areas of conflict. Understanding history, as Jared Diamond states, is more often the tool used to interrupt the negative outcome, than to repeat it.
So Europeans did not enslave African people with the Bible in their White hands, or notions of ideological superiority, but because they had to power, born from the technological disparity between the two groups. The collision of advanced political, and technological advancements made them appear “superior.” The Bible in the hands of a weak stone age people would have had no sway over the iron producing people of the interiors of Africa. Their Guns, Germs and Steel played the decisive role in the outcome when these two civilizations clashed.
Power protects; sell or be sold, conquer or be conquered. If one village was buying guns and you were not…bad news for you. So had Africans, like the Japanese (11) taken control of the gun manufacturing process, as opposed to exclusively buyers of guns, there would be no way Europeans could sell damp gunpowder and trinkets in exchange for African captives or African resources. But nothing has changed because this is the exact dilemma Africa faces, perceptually dependent on everyone else for final goods (Motherland 2010). And to obtain these good requires an inequitable exchange of the continent’s resources with Europe or China for trinkets. So this technological disparity, which pre-dates the arrival of Europeans, still haunts Africa’s future.
Slavery today, as slavery then, has the common theme of weak vs. strong, rich vs. poor. (It knows no exceptions) That personality has never altered and every time there is a gross imbalance it is the breeding ground for all forms of exploitation. It then seems a correct approach would be also to deal with the breeding ground of slavery. It is far more than a Black people vs. White people debate. In Cameroon the “weaker” peoples are exploited by the “stronger” people. So this pattern of oppression’s commonality needs to be addressed. Garvey clearly articulated this when he said :
All humans are the same: anyone cut with a knife will bleed, anyone left without cultural identity will fit the Willy Lynch theoretical model. The only factor in the degree of impact is culture. This is why some people experience a Holocaust and come out even stronger than they went in. A Holocaust must therefore be looked at comparatively, depending on three key factors: the heat of the fire, duration, and their cultural integrity. Unfortunately where Africans are concern the fire, or nature of the Holocaust, was hot, the duration was long, and African cultural integrity, due to disunity, was weak.
Everyone calls everyone else backward, that is human nature, it has nothing to do with religion, but moreover with people (religion only follows the pre-existing trends like a hand shapes a glove). The more powerful someone is, the more agency they have to make the other feel the pain of otherness. The Ewe were targeted for slavery because the Ewe did not have the culture or religion of the Akan, they became a slave pool because they were the “other”; had weaker gods in the eyes of their captors—slavery was therefore “religiously sanctioned.” This has nothing to do with Islam vs. the other, or Christianity vs. the other, or even European vs. the other. This is the history of human nature from time immoral. The other is in parenthesis in the Old Testament; thou shall not kill (members of my own tribe). It was with us in the beginning of humanity, and if not careful will follow us to the grave of humanity.
The Osu caste system in Nigeria and southern Cameroon, can be traced back to an indigenous religious belief system of the Igbo nation. Some Igbo traditionalists hold that the Osus are people historically owned by deities, and are therefore considered to be a ‘living sacrifice’, an outcaste, untouchable and sub-human. The was true in Ethiopia; the very name Falasha means (foreigners/exiles) was given to Ethiopian Jews by the Emperor Yeshaq in the 15th century.
According to the UN Sub-Commission: Caste systems exist in pockets in some African countries. It is found in parts of Sahelian Africa, particularly in certain West African communities, and among populations in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. Although significantly different in nature and scope, there are some common features between the caste systems of Africa and South Asia. Stigma is often attached to this problem, and as a consequence “low caste” communities in Africa suffer various forms of social exclusion and discrimination, particularly with regard to employment, political representation and inter-caste marriages. 
In some slave trading African societies, East, North and West, the conquest in the temporal was a mirror of a divine conquest. Zulu means “The people of the sky” vs. other people who are less “chosen” and because of that status were subject to a vicious campaign. “The Other” is a human problem, fanned by ignorance and binary accusations. And their is no global “other”, all are “your other” defined by each society. From the outside, the group accused of being “the other” is, more often than not, all the same subjective group.
The historical record must not be washed away, we must call the name of those who engaged in the apex of the trade to account for their historical genocide. But at the same time, balance must caution anyone of perceptually blaming Europeans and Arabs, while skipping the internal complexities, weakness and failures still plaguing African communities. Because it does not bring a complete solution to the roots of slavery and inequity; the roots of war and hate.
Slavery was not invented by Europeans or Arabs, Christians or Muslims, Romans or Persians, Slavery is the business of human societies. Some of those people engaging in slavery identified as Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Akan, Nigerian, British, Indian, and Chinese. Some existed in 500 BCE some in the 21st century. Almost all advanced societies, with capacity engaged in some form of bondage. So race, geography, religion, ethnicity and time are of no consideration in people’s propensity to engage in slavery.
The act of murder, torture, enslavement, and persecution is equal regardless of who, when or where. Killing 6 Jewish civilians is no different from killing 6 Palestinian civilians: The distinctive act of murder is equal. It does not become equal if that murder goes from 6 to 6 million. It is that act of “murder” multiplied by 6 million. Torturing someone, dehumanizing them, taking them from their home (kidnapping), raping them all constitute separate instances of human rights violation. And human rights is human rights regardless of if we are discussing 2011 or 1011, it has generally never been acceptable in human society to torture and rape another human being.
Now the act of taking an African from their home by force and violence is a crime, and in that crime a minority of Africans played a major role. However, that is one set of crimes and each incident re-occurred over the centuries destabilizing local communities’ development potential.
And without the assistance of any Africans we then come to storing Africans in dungeons and subjecting them to all manner of unspeakable horrors, including rape, in places like Goree or El Mina. On board the ships, Africans were fed alive, as a form of terrorism, to man-eating sharks. All of this constitutes yet another set of human rights violations. Loading and packaging human beings on a ship like sardines and subjecting them to living and breathing in their own urine and excrement is another set of crimes against humanity (again a crime exclusive to Europe in the Atlantic system). Taking them and selling them off like chattel is yet another crime, dehumanizing them and enslaving them on the plantation is yet another set of crimes against humanity. To disrupt the culture, names, language and religion of those captive people is yet another crime against humanity. To exploit to build the empires of the West for over 300 years; torture, persecute dehumanize them is yet another crime. To finally release them from their Holocaust to be subjects and victims of all forms of racism up until the 60’s is yet another crime. And finally to continue to enjoy the fruits of that legacy, deny and oppress them into the contemporary moment is yet another crime against humanity. And still we see every generation of African inheriting the terrible legacy of self-hate and potential inhibition created at that instance 500 Years ago in Africa.
Numbers (Quantity) and Duration and Nature (Quality of oppression) are three unique factors in the African Holocaust. There is no statute of limitation if the institutions that profited from slavery are today still in existence rich and better off for that terrible trade in flesh. It is only when we understand the African Holocaust in these terms that we realize what is unique about it. There are no comparisons in human history.
CAPITALISM AND SLAVERY
Often the emotion view of slavery sees racism as the principle motive for the Atlantic Slave Trade. However, the mere existence of a capitalist ideology will by default create degrees of servitude. Capitalism looks at numbers and has no moral consideration. It has a relentless dedication to reduce liabilities and increase profits. The numerical capitalist heaven is zero-expense. Slavery was capitalisms best system for achieving a number as close as possible to zero. In this cold calculation slavery was inevitable once new territories were found and sugar cane and other products added to the markets of Europe.
It has been often argued, by some scholars, that slavery did not end for moral reasons. There was no new awakening in the capitalist heart for the inequities which besieged the African slave. The profitability diminished and new alternatives such as sharecropping had brighter lights. It is in the shifting economics of industrialization that slavery as a system began to lose its shine. Again capitalism looked at the numbers and found that between; feeding, clothing and sheltering Africans, as well as quelling rebellions – it was far cheaper to end slavery. And with the rise of Western consumerism all of those ex-slaves became the new clients of their former slave masters.
Beyond corn fields, and cracking whips slavery has a dark and fastidious legacy which is rarely examined holistically. And this legacy goes a long way to explaining the social condition which constitutes an African crises across the globe. Most notable of this is the global racist perception and value of African people. It explains the fragmentation of all areas of people relationships (family, business, humanity) between African people. It explains the inferiority complex which no Jewish person inherited from being in the Nazi death camps. Because in the camps of Poland and Germany Jews were still persecuted as a human being (a member, though hated, of humanity – not a sub-human or beast). They died in the gas chambers with a knowledge of self, of Torah, of history and culture. In the Americas the African was exploited for over 400 years as a common beast, denied from history and humanity. The African in slavery died without ever even knowing he or she was a full member of the human race. This Jewish sense of identity goes a long way to explaining why Jewish people today are able to draw strength from their tragedy while the African-Diaspora still continue to be victims of their Holocaust.
The Jewish nightmare resonates so much that they have shared their pain beyond their cultural group: The image of suffering is iconized in the Jewish holocaust. We can see a film such as “Freedom Writers” where mischievous “ethnic minority” teens are told a Jewish story as an example of “real” suffering.” Why would African-Americans with the most tragic history in America (equaled only by the Native American Holocaust) need to look to European Jews for a story of tragedy? The answer is simple African-Americans are not agents of these stories which impose themselves at the expense of the African narrative. Even in South Africa (which has no history of Nazi extermination) you will find a Jewish holocaust museum in every major city. Thats not the fault of any Jew, and we must respect their dedication to their holocaust study. But where is the African Holocaust museums? Where is the great monuments built to honor the millions of Africans whose bodies lie at the bottom of the Atlantic? Where is the Pan-African centers for teaching the legacy of Du Bois, Garvey and Malcolm? That speaks only to a mental defect which is the greatest legacy of our African Holocaust.
SLAVERY AS AN EXCUSE FOR EVERYTHING
Many, especially non-Africans have accused some African people of using slavery as an excuse for everything negative. But to be fair there is a lot to be blamed for slavery, its legacy is very real. So while this issue is very true the African must look at this world as a race.
Personal Note: So there is a race, you have to run it or not run it. That is the only options available. Be part of this civilization or be a victim of this civilization. If you opt out—as many have—sitting down means the Chinese come and own your country, taking everything colonialism left behind which most African leaders still squander. So you can sit down if you want, but do not complain when your water and oil are owned by multinationals. Now it is 100% that we come from the legacy of slavery, that comes as default, you still (with this disadvantage) have to run the same race with the Europeans, Arabs, Turks, Indians and Chinese. Everyone except the Europeans have some sort of handicap. Maybe the Arabs are entering the race with a broken arm, maybe the Chinese only a broken finger, maybe Africans are the most damaged in the race with no arms at all and myopic vision— but you still must find a way of running that race and being victorious. That is what life handed you. You cannot sit it out and say mental slavery made me late for the start, or the legacy of slavery slowed me down. That might well explain your handicap, but it is of no consequences to the finish line. In short the world does not care about losers and if Africans do not find a way the legacy of slavery will be extended until the Sun consumes the Earth. Its a choice, run or make excuses.