Author: changabula

What the British did to Africa [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-3-3 08:15:34 |Display all floors
Mau Mau veterans to sue over British 'atrocities'

By Anthony Mitchell in Meru, Kenya
Published: 26 September 2006

Ten Kenyans detained during the Mau Mau independence uprising 50 years ago are seeking compensation in British courts for alleged atrocities.

One of the men, Mucheke Kioru, says he was tortured, starved and beaten while in a British-run detention camp, where he was held for smuggling food and weapons for rebels.

British officials said the Government would contest the case vigorously. Lawyers say that if the claim is successful it will open the floodgates to thousands who claim they also suffered.

"My life was ruined," Mr Kioru said, recalling the day, as a 23-year-old labourer, when he was rounded up and detained for four years without charge during Operation Anvil in 1954, a brutal military offensive launched by Britain to crush the Mau Mau uprising. He said he was forced to stand neck high in water for days at a time; had raw sewage pumped into his body - contracting typhoid as a result - and was severely beaten. He was left in constant pain and suffering frequent nightmares. The British also confiscated his family's farm, he said.

Kenya's Human Rights Commission believes 90,000 Kenyans were executed, tortured or maimed during the crackdown and 160,000 were detained in appalling conditions.

"This was a dark period in British history," said Martyn Day, a British human rights lawyer hired by the Kenyan Human Rights Commission to represent the Mau Mau veterans.

He believes the case could also have implications for the US over its role in Iraq, Afghanistan and the treatment of prisoners at the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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  1. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/article1757278.ece
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Post time 2007-3-3 11:06:28 |Display all floors

Reply #9 changabula's post

The European wars in Africa against each other vying for political gains went on into the 1960's .

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Post time 2007-3-3 12:27:14 |Display all floors
The European wars in Africa against each other vying for political gains went on into the 1960's


Correct if only you re referring to the Cold War.  And it went into the 80s..But the main belligerents were Africans themselves and its not so much country on country, as it took the form of civil wars.  Multi country conflicts, eg. some seven countries fought it out in Democratic Republic Of Congo in the 1990s were strictly African affairs.

During the Cold War, Europeans, which included the Soviet Union, only provided funding and arms, maybe advisers from Cuba and North Korea.  China has been a big player behind the scenes too, especially in Congo, now the DRC.

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Post time 2007-3-12 05:04:56 |Display all floors
Demonizing African Culture in the Name of Christianity
by Michael Baffoe

"It is the same ship that brought the Bible which also carried guns and alcohol to Africa."

This is the popular saying in some parts of Africa, a response to the claim that the missionaries who came to Africa were on a humanitarian "civilizing" mission, bringing salvation to the "primitive" tribes and "lost souls". We however know from all the available evidence on the activities of the "missionaries" that they were just the forerunners who paved the way for the colonial conquest and subsequent rape of the African continent.

In many parts of Africa, nation states which accepted the culture of the missionaries, called Christianity, without a fight were left with little disruption of their traditional and cultural values. This was the beginning of the system called Indirect Rule introduced first by the British under its governor Lord Lugard in Northern Nigeria. In return for the agreement to allow the British colonialists to carry on their imperialist activities and maintain "law and order" the Northern Nigerian Hausa and Fulani chiefs were allowed to keep their traditional institutions, their culture and even their Islamic religion. The situation was however different in other parts of Africa where the people resisted the introduction of colonial rule.

The Asantes in Ghana fought the British at every turn and even defeated the British in a brutal war in 1826 in which the British Commander Charles McCarthy was killed. In these areas the colonialists used the missionaries on strong "civilizing" missions. The Presbyterian Missionaries were the worst offenders. In the areas that they settled they sought to divide the population by creating separate living communities called "Christian Quarters", for those who converted to Christianity. These were the "civilized, clean souls" who were not expected to mix with the "uncivilized heathen ones". This practice divided family units and the divisions have endured till now to the extent that children were separated from their parents, wives from husbands and so on because parts of certain family units would not convert to Christianity.

There is abundant evidence to show that the introduction and imposition of this European colonial culture was a direct extension of European capitalist expansion. The Christian missionary activities was just a guise for European commercial activities. They were the most ambitious ideological agents of the British Empire, bearing with them the fanatical zeal to reconstruct the native world in the name of God and Great Britain. The British "Christian" missionary, David Livingstone who is portrayed as the most dedicated missionary with a passionate vision for the "Dark Continent" (Africa) summed up their intentions in a speech at Oxford University in 1864. He argued that:

"Sending the Gospel to the heathens of Africa must include more than is implied in the usual practice of a missionary, namely, a man going about with a Bible under his arms. The promotion of commerce ought to be specially attended to as this, more than anything else, makes the heathen tribes depend on commercial intercourse among civilized nations."

"I go back to Africa to, open a new path to commerce. Do you carry on the work I have started?"

Passionate vision indeed!!

Even in modern times, the policies and practices of financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the foreign and economic policies of most Western nations towards Africa have not diverted from the vision of David Livingstone.

One of the painful destructive legacies unleashed by the Christian missionary adventurers was the perversion of the natural names of Africans. Every African name has a meaning and a significance. For example children born in Ghana carry names of the day on which they were born. We do not carry family names. The surnames reflect the significance of the circumstances in which the child is born. Parents name children after people who have done significant things in their lives. To keep the good name of such persons parents honour them by naming a child after that person. For example I was born on a Friday. My first name is therefore Kofi. I was named after my grandfather whom my father really admired. Baffoe is therefore my grandfather's name. Also spelt as Baffour in some areas my name means an adventurer, a fighter. My sister is called Afua (female Friday born). Her surname is Maanu which means she is the third female born in the family. Therefore anybody from Ghana looking at my sister's name: Afua Maanu knows exactly what it means. I have a Nigerian friend whose parents were so happy that they had a son that they named him Olu Gbenga, meaning "God has elevated me". And there is my Ugandan friend from East Africa who is named Muhumuza (one who brought relief). His sister is called Nankunda Katangaza: (the little one who amazes)

However our Christian invaders decided that those names were heathen, primitive, uncivilized. At baptism, (another cultural imposition) the civilized parents are expected to give Christian names to their children. I was therefore called Michael instead of Kofi. This signified that I had been transformed from paganism to a new civilized life. I do not even know what Michael means. My Nigerian friend was christened Thomas instead of Olu Gbenga and my Ugandan friend is Gabriel instead of the beautiful Muhumuza.

Many Africans who have arrived in Canada have had to fight uphill battles with the immigration department on their names. They do not understand why family members do not bear the same names. I have two brothers but they do not carry my father's name because we have nothing designated as family name.

There is now a cultural revolution going on in most parts of Africa. Many people are shedding their Christian names for the natural meaningful names given to them at birth. For me I would still carry my Christian name, Michael. At least it will continuously remind me that once upon a time I came into contact with a bunch of strange people who sought to civilize me by just changing my name!

  1. http://www.crusadewatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=53&Itemid=36
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Post time 2007-3-12 05:10:51 |Display all floors
Egypt       
       
In Egypt British rule had important political and economic effects. The main interest of the British in Egypt was to keep control of the trade route that ran through Egypt to the Red Sea and then on to India.

Egyptians were also an important market for British industries to sell to. On the whole, the rich and powerful ruling classes in Egypt accepted British rule. They often sent their children to be educated in Britain. They became lawyers and administrators on behalf of the British.

The British did not try to interfere with the Islamic beliefs of the vast majority of Egyptians. In fact, British governors actually provided subsidies to help with the building of mosques. Even so, many Egyptians resented British rule. By the early 1900s there was a small but growing movement for independence in Egypt.

  1. http://www.learningcurve.gov.uk/empire/g2/cs3/background.htm
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Post time 2007-3-12 05:12:14 |Display all floors
West Africa               

In West Africa the impact of British rule was more dramatic. The British had been heavily involved in the West African slave trade in the 1700s. The trade was abolished in the early 1800s and the British put a lot of effort into trying to wipe out slavery and the slave trade in all of Africa. This changed Britain's relations with West Africa. British merchants and traders developed close links with the rulers of the many different nations on the West Coast of Africa, such as the rulers of Benin, Dahomey and Asante. These nations provided Britain with gold, luxury foods and many other goods.

Throughout the 1800s British traders and politicians became increasingly involved with the leaders of these nations. They made alliances and helped out some nations in their wars with others. By the 1880s West Africa was dominated by Britain. Local chieftains ruled their own peoples using their own customs. However, they paid taxes to Britain.

As in Egypt, the families of chieftains often gained from British rule. They adopted the English language and British clothes. They were educated in Britain. They took up some posts in the civil service in West Africa, although the senior posts were always taken by British officials. For ordinary West Africans, British rule brought major changes to their everyday lives. The British brought in a system of owning, buying and selling land, which meant many Africans had to pay rent. This meant that instead of growing crops for food, they had to grow crops to sell (to pay the rent). These were usually crops like rubber or cocoa. They also found that their traditional crafts were sometimes destroyed by competition from goods produced in British factories.

  1. http://www.learningcurve.gov.uk/empire/g2/cs3/background.htm
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Post time 2007-3-12 05:13:40 |Display all floors
South Africa               

In South Africa there was a complex mix of peoples - British, Boers (descendants of Dutch settlers from the 1600s) and native African peoples like the Xhosa, the Zulu and the Matabele. The British wanted to control South Africa because it was one of the trade routes to India. However, when gold and diamonds were discovered in the 1860s-1880s their interest in the region increased. This brought them into conflict with the Boers. The Boers disliked British rule. They wanted a simple farming life. British rule made their country increasingly a country of industry and business. The Boers also felt that the native Africans were inferior and should be treated as slaves. The British insisted that Africans should have rights. Despite this, they fought several wars with African peoples in the 1870s and effectively broke the power of the Zulus.

Tensions between Boers and British led to the Boer War of 1899-1902. This was an extremely bloody and brutal war, which the British eventually won. However, the peace terms were generous. By 1910 the Boers ruled a South Africa that was virtually independent from Britain. This did little to help the native Africans. They had few rights under the British. They got the lowest paid and most dangerous jobs in the mines. However, when South Africa ruled itself they were even worse off. The white South Africans passed a range of laws that discriminated against them. The black African majority would not enjoy full rights in South Africa until the 1990s.

  1. http://www.learningcurve.gov.uk/empire/g2/cs3/background.htm
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