Sunday, September 20, 2020

Behind the Veil!

Next year marks the bicentenary of the abolition of slavery. For those of you who didn’t stay long in school, it means the 200th year when slave masters decided they had made enough money from poor black souls and would now let them go free. It must have been a tough time when the abolitionists finally won the struggle to prohibit slavery.
As all black people are aware, there are lots of nasty white people out there.

But then, again, there are many nice white people as well. During the slave era, it is the latter who fought hard to bring to an end the greatest crime ever against humanity. Nothing, in terms of sheer scale of loss of life and devastation of societies compares with slavery.

Nothing at all. Tens of millions of Africans were shipped across the Atlantic to the Americas and the Caribbean where they were put to work in plantations. In terrible and backbreaking conditions they produced sugar, cotton, tobacco and rum. These were exported all over the world and made the slave trading countries very rich. Make no mistake about it the nasty whites fought against the abolition of slavery. In America, it was one of the principal causes of the civil war between the Unionists and the Confederates. Whichever way you look at it, slavery was bad beyond description. But we need to be fair in apportioning blame. Although whites created the market, the main traders in slaves were Arabs and some of our people. The Arabs embarked on slave raids themselves or bought slaves from our rulers who thought nothing of selling members of some defeated tribes as spoils of the wars of that time. It was the best of times and the worst of times. For traders and chiefs, business had never been so good. For the slaves it was tough. Of all the slaves shipped across the ocean, only a minority arrived fit enough to work in the plantations. Many perished during the course of the voyage. Others rebelled on arrival and were promptly shot. But with the bicentennial approaching, there is a lot of activity. I am sure there will be huge commemorations and other tributes. The nice whites would be moved with emotion and wring their hands in contrition. I am sure our people will mount big marches and many in the Diaspora will weep as they think of what happened to their forebearers. That is why calls are already being made for reparation payments. I am fully in support of reparations. It is rumoured that negotiations are underway. It is only right that people who benefited from slavery must pay us compensation. But if the whites agree to pay up there is the little problem of how to share the money. To me compensation means money in my pocket. I don’t want to hear that the money has been put in some trust to aid some cause. That would be totally unfair. I want the money right in my bank account. I am sure a lot of our people want to be given their share. Those who studied history will know that a few years ago some banks in Switzerland who profited from the persecution of Jews by the Nazis had to cough up.

Whilst the Jews were being incinerated in those big ovens in Auschwitz, the Nazis were looting them and stashing away their assets in Swiss banks. Well the Jews are sharp people. Considering that Hitler killed six million, you wouldn’t have thought there would be many of them left. But the remaining few made sure they took the banks to task and got compensated. That is what we should do as we approach next year. My head spins at the thought of how much I will get. Initially, I thought it should be a few thousand dollars. But I have since made new calculations and realised that at the minimum every black person should get a million dollars each.

Imagine every single black person on earth getting a million dollars. I just can’t wait for the negotiations to finish. Coming to think of it, I wonder who is doing the negotiations for us. I hope it is not the Nigerians. I mean if that is the case then some of us can just forget it. We will not get a single penny. But what will I do with a million dollars in my bank account? I can’t take my friends for a drink. Actually, none of us can take one another for a drink because we would all be flush with cash. I can’t buy anything nice for my partner. I mean she can buy whatever she wants with her million dollars. I can’t even go to the village to play king amongst all my child hood friends who did not stay long in school. With a million dollars they would have cast off their rags in favour of the latest fashions. They would probably enrol for English lessons because what worth is an African who can’t speak English? In their mid-age they will be signing up for English lessons. As for the blacks in America, I am sure many of them would come home to Africa for a visit. Very few of them would stay because Africa is a rough neighbourhood. But they would be grateful because without Africa they wouldn’t be sitting pretty with a million dollars. As for me, I will leave Africa. Yep, that’s what I would do. I would get on the next plane out. I would leave behind the heat and tribalism and go to a place where I could spend my million dollars at leisure. But there is no point having a million dollars without a woman on whom to splash out.

Since all the African women would be chilling with their million dollars, I would have to look elsewhere. I’ve decided I will go to a Moslem country. Because there are so many of them I haven’t decided which one to go to. But definitely I will end up in one of them. And with a million dollars, I am sure I will find a woman there. I don’t know of anyone who has ever turned down a man with a million dollars. With so much money, they will be throwing themselves at me. I have always wondered what is behind that veil.

Considering that women in those places are not allowed to leave the house without it, surely there must be something magical behind the veil. With a million dollars, and some luck, I will finally find out what is behind the veil, and beyond!

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.