Hama Tuma, Ethiopian author, poet and journalist, has been active in the political and human rights struggle in Ethiopia and Africa since the sixties. His satirical essays under the general title of African Absurdities have gained support from many quarters. Some of his books (English and Amharic) have been translated to French, Italian and Hebrew.
The Other Afrik - Italy - Libya - Racism
Of Gaddafi and Arab racism towards Blacks
Friday 3 September 2010 / by Hama Tuma, for the other afrik / 5 opinions
"We don’t know what will happen, what will be the reaction of the white and Christian Europeans faced with this influx of starving and ignorant Africans," Col Gaddafi said in Rome, August 30, 2010.
Arab racism towards Africans has for long been a taboo subject, considering that it is politically incorrect to voice out the obvious: That Arabs, who are mostly Muslims, are racists to boot and consider Africans, Muslim or Christian, as inferior.
Reference is made to the book of Genesis and the three sons of Noah – Ham, Japheth and Shem. Arabs claim that “the accursed Ham was the progenitor of the black race; that Japheth begat the full-faced, small eyed Europeans, and that Shem fathered the handsome Arabs with beautiful face and hair.”
Arab philosophers carefully tilled the ground in order to make racism towards Africans and all Blacks by their kin a proud cultural heritage. Ibn Sina (Avicenna 980–1037), Arab’s most famous and influential philosopher/scientist in Islam, described Blacks as “people who are by their very nature slaves.” He wrote: “All African women are prostitutes, and the whole race of African men is abeed (slave) stock.” He finally equates black people with “rats plaguing the earth.”
Ibn Khaldum, an Arab historian who is revered especially by Algerians, stated that “Blacks are characterized by levity and excitability and great emotionalism,” adding that “they are every where described as stupid.”
Al-Dimashqi, often described as a pseudo Arab scientist, wrote: “the Equator is inhabited by communities of blacks who may be numbered among the savage beasts. Their complexion and hair are burnt and they are physically and morally abnormal. Their brains almost boil from the sun’s heat…”
Ibn al-Faqih al-Hamadhani said of Black people: “…the zanj (the blacks) are overdone until they are burned, so that the child comes out between black, murky, malodorous, stinking, and crinkly-haired, with uneven limbs, deficient minds, and depraved passions...”
Colonel Gaddafi of Libya has continued in this tradition albeit masquerading as a Pan-Africanist amid his relentless attempts to Arabize Africa since the early 70s.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Gaddafi may not be an honorable man but he certainly confirms his desperation after he paid two hundred Italian female models 70 to 80 Euros each to listen to his lecture on how "Islam should become the religion of Europe" and accept his infamous Green Book as gifts. Making use of the time he had bought, Gaddafi lectured the models for an hour on the "freedoms" enjoyed by women in Libya.
The question is: Where does one find free women in Libya? "Maybe he is referring to the majority forced to wrap themselves up like burritos in black covering dresses in the stifling heat?", suggested an American woman of African descent. "Or maybe he is referring to the majority of women beaten as a matter of routine by the males until they regurgitate a mixture of blood, flesh and bones" suggests another. Indeed, his son Seif al Islam’s questionable behavior in both Geneva and Paris, questions Gaddafi’s invitation. "Or maybe his men are out of fresh punching bags?".
And then again, Gaddafi may be called a realist in that he knew very well that not many people would voluntarily come to his lectures unless they got paid. For the vain dictator that he is, this is a commendable foresight and grasp of the cruel reality of his cheap worth especially when compared to other dictators who relish and wallow in their own lies and propaganda.
It is all a matter of perspective and having a modem of respect for the truth, for numbers, for the people and Africa as a whole. For all his claims to the contrary, Gaddafi has no respect for Africa or Africans. This is not just manifested by how very inhumanely he treats African workers and asylum seekers, nor by his self declaration as the King of All African tribes, but mainly by his deeply ingrained chauvinism and pretension to be an African Messiah. No wonder he refers to Africans as starved and ignorant and violates the rights of Black Africans in Libya. Wait a minute. I should simply say Africans instead of Black Africans, as north Africans hardly consider themselves as Africans anyway.
Gaddafi, in his recent visit to Rome, went as far as warning Europeans to beware of the starving and ignorant barbarians: "We don’t know if Europe will remain an advanced and united continent or if it will be destroyed, as happened with the barbarian invasions." The desert prisons of Libya, some of which are just containers for goods, are filled with African asylum seekers.
Algerians refer to Blacks as Kahlusha, while Black Africans are spat upon in many Algerian cities to the amusement of children who are encouraged in some areas to hoot at dark skinned people. The same is true in Morocco and Tunisia. Mauritania’s minority berber people consider themselves as Arab, and still have the slave system solidly in place as was the case in Southern Sudan where the "natives" were compared to "haiwanin" (animals) by the self declared Arab North. The irony is that the same so called Arab Sudanese and Mauritanians are themselves considered as abeed or slaves in Saudi Arabia.
The claim that Muslims cannot be racist is debunked in the Holy Land of Muslims itself where Africans on the Hajj pilgrimage are victimized by Arab racism and contempt.
Lebanon has time and again shown its ugly racism towards Africans in its vile treatment of domestic workers from Ethiopia and other African countries. This crude racism was in evidence when an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed just off Beirut and the Lebanese authorities ignored the Ethiopian victims and their relatives and focused on the few Lebanese who were aboard.
Even Arab Sudanese were called Nubian monkeys by the Lebanese police at one time. Egypt, itself an African country calling itself Arab, discriminates against Nubians and all Black people.
Anwar Sadat, a former Egyptian president, was not happy when he heard a film on his life would have an African American actor portraying him, and the late Hassan II of Morocco was never amused by a reference to his black ancestry.
Arabs think they are superior and exhibit racism towards Africans. This is the undeniable truth. White skinned Arabs, including the black skinned ones (Sudan for example), consider themselves superior by virtue of their self declared Arab identity.
Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia hoodwinked Gaddafi and got Libyan aid during the struggle against Mengistu by assuring Gaddafi that Ethiopians are Arabs, that his father is a Yemenite, and that Ethiopia under Meles will join the Arab League.
Over the years Libya has been accused of racism and of officially provoking the beating and killing of African migrants. Gaddafi’s pan-African pretensions have always appeared shoddy and hollow as a consequence and his recent statement in Europe— calling Africans ignorant and barbarian invaders— has nailed his coffin as an Arab racist.
Gaddafi has brutally deported thousands of Africans. Saudi Arabia is doing the same every week. The degenerate Sheikhs and princes (who drink alcohol and maintain harems) have hypocritically been subjecting blacks to cruel punishment on flimsy charges of drinking alcohol, adultery and what have you.
An Ethiopian woman was hanged in public in Riyadh a few years back while Saudi women who beat up and throw acid at the faces of African domestic workers have never been charged or tried.
How many black skinned Libyans, Omanis, Saudis, Algerians and Moroccans hold high positions of government in their own respective countries?
There was a time early in his reign when the young colonel was somewhat funny with his proposal of unity to all and sundry, with Sicily excepted, his female bodyguards, his tent palace, and his air of a true Bedouin lost in oil and a modern century. But that time has passed.
Gaddafi the racist has for long been also Gaddafi the dictator, killing off his opponents both inside and outside his country, financing the likes of Fode Sankoh in Sierra Leone and meddling in the domestic affairs of other countries like Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Liberia, etc.
During his Rome visit, Gaddafi asked the EU for 5 billion Euros to block Black Africans from Invading Europe and turning the continent into "another Africa", which for him is a continent of starving and ignorant black barbarians.
Contrarily, he told Europeans to open their doors to rich non-African Libyans and promised the paid Italian female models that he can find them Libyan husbands so that they can be free like Libyan women.
We can still take all this as funny but his alliance with Berlusconi has not augured well for Africans. Gaddafi is not funny. He is a pathetic racist Arab who should be shunned by all of Africa.
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