“Moor Power” : Moors Kings (and Queens) Ruled parts of Europe for almost 700 years, Black History 365

History confirms that the Moors ruled in Europe, primarily Spain and Portugal for almost 700 years. Even though the Moors were African foreigners in a new continent, they influenced European culture, but not many know that the Moors were Eurpoeans of African descent. 

Side note, in the Netherlands they have a controversial celebration during Christmas where the Dutch put soot on their face, a large curly afro, and bright red lipstick to resemble a character named Zwarte Piet. Moreover, the earliest known illustration of Zwarte Piet was done by Amsterdam school teacher Jan Schnekman who depicted the character as a black Moor from Spain. The reason for the controversy derives from the history of blackface that the U.S. was notorious for after the reconstruction era, where it was used heavily in minstrel shows. So, by the Dutch doing this it would be seen as irreverent to the mockery black people endured during that era. 

Moors were usually depicted as being very dark and the word “Moors” was used interchangeable with “Negro” according to the Oxford English Dictionary.  In regards to this, several written works can confirm this description. 16th century English playwrights William Shakespeare used the word Moor as a synonym for African and Christopher Marlowe used Moor and African interchangeably. 

Author and historian Chancellor Williams said “the original Moors, like the original Egyptians, were black Africans”. Furthermore, an Arab chronicler also described Moorish Emperor Yusuf ben – Tachfine as “a brown man with wooly hair”. 

European art depicts Moors with African features and I’m going to use quotes on this because Africa is such a diverse continent that has ethnic groups with an array of features and not a singular one. Having said that, Moors were often depicted having pitch black skin,frizzled hair flat and wide face, flat-nosed, and thick lips. The Drake Jewel, a rare documented piece of jewel from the 16th century, seemed to show a profile of a Black king dominating the profile of a white woman.

Moors have had a significant contribution to the world, because they contributed in areas of mathematics, astronomy, art, cuisine, medicine, and agriculture. This in turn helped develop Europe to move out of the dark ages into the Renaissance. 

Generations of spanish rulers went as far as to abolish the existence of the Moors era from historical records and dismiss the Moors making any impact on their (Spain) land. However, archaeology determined that Moors indeed ruled in Al-Andalus for more than 700 years — from 711 A.D. to 1492.  

You’ve helped enough, we’ll take it from here!

  • The recovery from pain feels more gratifying when done by oneself, but never dismiss the helping hand that gave you the momentum to get through the adversity. – TheRhymeRula

“For Heaven’s sake, please stop the Aid” follows James Shikwati experience working and living in Kenya, and how he doesn’t believe that aid from the Western world brings any benefits to the Africans. The sub-Saharan part of the continent has been receiving aid for the past 40 years which actually has been more damaging than beneficial. Shikwati thinks that the industrial nations should completely terminate all the aid. Even though, they have been receiving billions of dollars that have not changed anything. They still remain poor and find difficulties prospering. The aid weakens the local markets and hinders the spirits of entrepreneurship that are desperately needed for Africa to be seen as a continent with promise. While countries such as Germany & the USA keep providing aid whether it being clothing, food, etc… to the Africans and their governments to use, the money is wasted or not used for the intended purposes. For instance, The Central African Republic’s late tyrant Jean-Bedel Bokassa summed up how the money given to him was spent. “The French government pays for everything in our country. We ask the French for money. We get, and then we waste it.” Shikwati believes that Africa can solve its own problems, and stop looking helpless to the Western world. He first points out that Africa has a vast number of natural resources such as gold, diamonds, and oil. Secondly, Shikwati explains that Africans in this case Kenya need to start trade relations with neighboring countries like Tanzania, Uganda, and buy their food there, instead of relying on the world food program. These types of trades can improve infrastructure while opening national borders that draw Europeans which will make it more accessible for other overseas countries to enter for business.  

boy with black stain on hand
Girl, Water, Jerrycan, Can, Carrying, Black, Orange

In addition, he was asked about the situation with AIDS in Africa in this case Kenya. He stated that statistics exaggerate the actual amount that was infected in Kenya. Aids seem to be the biggest business in Africa, and it generates a lot of money off its staggering figures. He states that AIDS is a political disease and people should be highly skeptical. Millions of dollars are spent on fighting against AIDS, but all that money is stored away in Kenyan banks and hasn’t been spent. The politicians are so overwhelmed with the amount of money being imported; they then try to be oblivious to what happened to all the money. Furthermore, Malaria is just as much of a problem as Aids, but people rarely ever acknowledge the devastating effects it has on Africans. Spiegel the man interviewing Shikwati brought up how the situation in Africa can correlate to what happened to Germany after World War 2. Shikwati completely debunked his correlation because Germany was already a highly industrial country before the war. It only destroyed the infrastructure, which had to be repaired. Africa on the other hand needs to take steps into modernity. Africans are perceived as beggars and victims from the Western world perspective. To some degree, some Westerners cannot picture an African as a businessman, which hurts the image of Africans. In order for the situation to be resolved foreign aid needs to pull out and see if the Africans can survive without any assistance. There needs to be an agreement on how the aid should be handled. Additionally, the need for monitoring the leaders of the countries receiving the aid is using the money for the needs of the citizens has too consistent. Moreover, jobs are made available by foreign aid organizations, but they are selective when hiring the right people. For example, it’s unacceptable to hire a chauffeur who only speaks his own tribal language. The worker should be bilingual preferably able to speak English and is required to be well mannered. Shikwati says that some of the workers have affluent jobs, but somehow end up driving aid workers around. This amazed Shikwati and he called it as being “just crazy”. Shikwati at the end sums up his argument with a bold statement about the whole situation that’s going on in Africa. He went saying that the only way to end poverty is to end aid to Africa completely. Africa needs to find ways to survive on its own and become independent, and stop crying for help like a child crying for its babysitter. He concludes by saying “Africa should stand on its own two feet”. This emphatic statement challenges African leaders in a country like Kenya to step up and bring change, and not to wait for a hand to feed them.

silhouette of children

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Yasuke, The First Black Samurai of Japan (Black History 365)

Before there was Afro Samurai, the first black samurai was a slave from Mozambique called Yasuke. Even though the former is a fictional character it was the first representation from my understanding of a black man as a samurai in the media, and that was sort of a big deal since all samurai were all ethnically Japanese. Afro was feared for his swordsmanship by those ethnic Japanese characters that were born and raised on the land that cultivated samurai culture. Yasuke had to work to gain respect from the Japanese while Afro already had a reputation that he inherited from his father (the number one headband) who was also a samurai and raised his son the samurai way. I believe this has a connection to nature vs nurture. Afro grew up within the samurai culture in Japan and was trained to become a lethal samurai and a legend of Japan. Conversely, Yasuke was an outsider and had to earn the trust, solidify, and maintain his name and reputation once assimilated into the samurai culture. 

Rwanda Genocide : 100 Days of Slaughter (Black History 365)

Welcome readers to another entry in Black History 365, a series where I explain, educate and explore historical events, unsung black figures in world history, and recount the struggles and triumphs of black people worldwide. In this entry, I will present the horrific events that happened during the Rwanda Genocide in the early 1990’s and the struggles and adversity the country had to endure to recover from the onslaught of deaths between two rival ethnic groups.

How did the genocide start?

Around 85% of Rwandans are Hutu’s but the Tutsi minority dominated the country. In 1959, the Hutus overthrew the Tutsi monarchy and tens of thousands of Tutsis fled to neighboring countries including Uganda. 

Afterward, a group of Tutsis exiles formed a rebel group called the “Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which invaded Rwanda in 1990 and fighting continued until a 1993 peace deal was agreed upon. However, that peace deal was short-lived because on the night of April 6th, 1994 a plane carrying then-president Juvenal Habyarimana and his counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi – both Hutu’s extremists blamed the RPF and immediately started a well – organized campaign of slaughter. The RPF said the plane had been shot down by Hutu’s to provide an excuse for the genocide. 

How was the genocide carried out?

With a meticulous and strategic organization, lists of government opponents were handed out to militias who went and killed them along with all of their families. Neighbors killed neighbors and some husbands killed their Tutsi wives, saying they would be killed if they refused to submit to their orders. 

At the time, ID cards had people’s ethnic groups on them so militias set up roadblocks where Tutsis were slaughtered on sight with machetes, which most Rwandans kept around the house. Thousands of Tutsis women were taken away and kept as sex slaves. 

Why was it so vicious?

For one Rwanda has always been a tightly controlled society with strongly organized districts up to the top of government. MRND the then-governing party had a youth wing called the Interahamwe, which was turned into a militia to carry out an onslaught of slaughtering. 

Weapons and hit – lists were handed out to local groups, who knew exactly where to find their targets. The Hutu extremists set up a radio (RTLM) and newspaper which circulated with propaganda filled with hostility, urging people to “weed out the cockroaches” meaning to kill the Tutsis. To make the targets easier to capture and eliminate, names of prominent people to be killed were read on the radio. Furthermore, even though surprising, priests and nuns were convicted of killing people, people including some who sought shelter in churches. 

Did anyone try to stop it?

The U.N. and Belgium had forces in Rwanda but the U.N. mission was not given the mandate to stop the killing. Moreover, a year after U.S. troops were killed in Somalia, the U.S. was determined not to get involved in another African conflict. The Belgians and most UN peacekeepers pulled out after 10 Belgian soldiers were killed. France who were allies of the Hutu government and would supply them weapons, sent a special force to evacuate their citizens and later set up a supposedly safe zone but were accused of not doing enough to stop the slayings in that area. Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s current president has accused France of backing those who carried out the massacres, a charge denied by Paris. 

How did it end?

The well-organized RPF, backed by Uganda’s army gradually seized more territory, until July 4th, 1994, when forces marched into the capital of Rwanda, Kigali. Some two million Hutu’s – both civilians and some of those involved in the genocide fled across the border into the Democratic Republic of Congo at the time called Zaire, fearing revenge attacks. Others went to neighbouring Tanzania and Burundi. 

Human rights groups say RPF fighters killed thousands of Hutu civilians as they took power and more after they went into DR Congo to pursue the Interahamwe. The RPF denies this. Meanwhile, in the DR Congo, thousands died from Cholera, while aid groups were accused of letting much of their assistance fall into the hands of the Hutu militias. 

What happened in DR Congo?

The RPF, now in power in Rwanda embraced militia fighting both the Hutu militias and the Congolese army, which was aligned with the Hutu’s. On the other hand, the Rwandan – backed rebel groups eventually marched on DR Congo’s capital, Kinshasa and overthrew the government of Mobutu Sese Seko, installing Laurent Kabila as president. However, the new president’s reluctance to tackle Hutu militias led to a new war that dragged in six countries and led to the creation of numerous armed groups fighting for control of this mineral-rich country. 

An estimated five million people died as a result of the conflict which lasted until 2003, with some armed groups remaining active until now in the new Rwanda’s border. 

Has anyone faced justice?

The International Criminal Court was set up in 2002, long after the Rwandan genocide so those responsbile could not be put to trial. Instead, the UN Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in the Tanzanian town of Arusha to prosecute the ringleaders. A total of 93 people were indicted and after lengthy and expensive trials, dozen of senior officials in the former regime were convicted of genocide – all of them were Hutu’s. 

Within Rwanda, community courts, know as Gacca were created to speed up the prosecution of hundreds of thousands of genocide suspects awaiting trial.

What is Rwanda like now?

President Kagame has been hailed for transforming the tiny, devastated country he took over through policies that encouraged rapid economic growth. He has also tried to turn Rwanda into a technological hub and is very active on Twitter.

But his critics say he does not tolerate dissent and several opponents have met unexplained deaths, both in the country and abroad.

The genocide is still a hugely sensitive issue in Rwanda, and it is illegal to talk about ethnicity.

The government says this is to prevent hate speech and more bloodshed but some say it prevents true reconciliation.

Charges of stirring up ethnic hatred have been leveled against some of Mr. Kagame’s critics, which they say is a way of sidelining them.

He won a third term in office in the most recent election in 2017 with 98.63% of the vote.

  • Leave a like and comment if you’d like to chime in. Also give my page a follow so you stay up to date with my future posts. As always peace and keep it real.

Africa Day 2020

Welcome readers,

I’m sure every American is aware today is Memorial Day which is an important day to honor the American soldiers that served and died for this country, but today is also a day some people might not be aware of and that’s Africa Day. Africa Day is an annual celebratory day where Africans, people of the African Diaspora (Caribbeans and African Americans) celebrate and acknowledge the successes of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU now the AU) from its creation on May 25, 1963, in the fight against colonialism and apartheid, as well as the progress that Africa has made. On the other hand, people of African descent reflect on the daily challenges the continent is going through, what it has gone through, and how to move forward when outside forces always try to invade and divide the unity of the Africans. This all eventually will help people of African descent and Africans to help improve the future of Africans case in point singer Akon who is Senegalese has a project called “Akon Lighting Africa”. This project provides solar energy and electricity in Africa. As a Somali American I am glad to know my culture and appreciate and also acknowledge my fellow African brothers and sisters wherever they are in the world. So if you’re a person of African descent no matter where you are in the world and appreciate the contributions African people have done and given to the world, then drop a comment and give this post a like. Also give my page a follow so you can stay up to date for future post.

I got royalty in my DNA

  • The place where civilization began is neglected of DNA research that is much needed.

Let’s keep it real, no one wants to be excluded in something that they should be a part of. 54gene a recently established African genomics company in 2019 by Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong has come to the forefront of advancing and revolutionizing the African global genomics market. However, there is still a problem . Over 80% of the genetic material used by pharmaceutical research are from European descent, and this is where 54gene can fix that, and fast. First of all, there is a glaring issue here because this exclusion of DNA samples from Africa will hinder any new developments or breakthroughs for cures and treatments. Keep in mind if you don’t already know that Africans and people of African descent are genetically more diverse than any other part in the world populations, but they seem to use the European DNA as the default. For instance, Nigeria alone has 500 unique ethnic groups whose genetics span has been conserved for over a millennia. With that said, 54gene has the potential to collect 4,000 samples by the end of the year and 200,000 samples by 2020, most of the DNA data samples deriving from Nigeria and will eventually expand outward to other African nations. So there’s a lot of potential with 54gene taking initiative in gaining control and monitoring African DNA through setting up bio banks in for immediate research. Furthermore, I feel there could be some cons with all the benefits 54gene can bring, because on the flip side there is the chance that manipulation from European forces can arise. Reason being, Africa has to deal with it’s long and uncomfortable history of biomedical colonialism which resulted in foreign entities taking the continent over for it’s biological resources and all resources for that fact. And all of this was and still is done with no recompense, as usual. In addition, it goes to say this will demoralize the progression of establishing adequate biobanks. There’s no guarantee that all discoveries using African DNA will result in life saving medications/cures, but I believe that 54gene has their ambitions heading in the right directions. I’m glad a company like 54gene exists and has the potential to unlock new found discoveries that will enable African nations to flourish with improved health care provisions. The company is still young, but will grow to become a powerhouse in diverse genetic studies. As Kendrick Lamar once said “I got loyalty got royalty inside my DNA” and that is what Africans and people of African descent possess and it should not be neglected in further studies. That’s all I have to say for now, thank you for reading and as always peace and keep it real.

Source article – https://www.wired.com/story/the-massive-overlooked-potential-of-african-dna/

Illustration of DNA strand in panAfrican colors

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