Connect with us

News

The BBC’s latest attempt to play down the UK’s role in slavery | Colonialism

Published

on


In July 2018, Nigerian journalist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani wrote an honest, captivating and illuminating article about how her late great-grandfather’s life as a 19th-century slave trader shaped her life. 

In the expansive essay published by the New Yorker, Nwaubani told intriguing tales about family, Igbo traditions, slavery and colonialism. She explained how her great-grandfather, Nwaubani Ogogo Oriaku, gained wealth and influence during the transatlantic slave trade era by selling other Africans and helping missionaries establish Christianity in Nigeria. 

She also provided an honest and nuanced account of the conflicting feelings many of her relatives have about her great-grandfather’s legacy. 

She told us how her father once declared he could never be ashamed of the infamous slave trader. “Why should I be,” she quoted him as asking, “His business was legitimate at the time. He was respected by everyone around.”

But she also wrote about her relatives who see things differently. She told us about her cousin Chidi, who grew up in England and chose to keep his family’s inglorious past hidden from his British friends. She also wrote about another cousin, Chiomia, who says she asks “God to forgive our ancestors” whenever she watches a film about slavery. 

In the essay, Nwaubani underlined her family’s efforts to break away from its painful and tainted history. She mentioned how in 1992, believing that they are being punished for the crimes of their ancestors, the community her family hails from chose to adopt a new name to reflect their “severance from the atrocities of the past”. She also proudly described in detail a deliverance ceremony her family held in January 2018 to publicly denounce its role in the slave trade. “During the ceremony, I was overwhelmed with relief” Nwaubani reflected, “My family was finally taking a step beyond whispering and worrying.”

According to Nwaubani’s account in the New Yorker, her family resisted the temptation to accept their grandfather as a product of his times, took a strong moral stand on slavery, and made a clean break from his despicable legacy.  

If this essay remained as Nwaubani’s only telling of her family’s story, it could have been her heartfelt contribution to the efforts to honestly document one of the most painful periods in human history. It might have persevered as a strong, insightful and emancipating analysis of the slave trade from an African point of view. More so, in today’s progressive political climate, it could have provided an example as to how families, communities and societies could reflect honestly on the crimes of their ancestors and redeem themselves from the overbearing weight of historical injustices.    

Yet, unfortunately, it has not.

On July 19, just seven weeks after George Floyd’s police killing in Minnesota sparked a global movement for racial justice, Nwaubani chose to tell her great-grandfather’s story once again, this time to the BBC. The new article, titled “My great-grandfather sold slaves”,  has a brand new editorial slant and does not once mention her family’s efforts to reckon with the slaveholder’s legacy.  

This time, the Nigerian journalist describes his grandfather not as someone who “gained power and wealth by selling other Africans across the Atlantic”, but merely as “a businessman” who lived in a time when “the fittest survived and the bravest excelled”.

There is also no mention of the heart-wrenching emotions towards slavery experienced by her family. As a result, there is no sign of the overarching and progressive morality that characterised the New Yorker article.  

Clearly, unlike the original essay published two years ago, the aim of the BBC article is not to chronicle a family’s struggle to come in terms with the abominable deeds of an ancestor, but to offer a defence for that ancestor by stating yesterday’s slave masters should not be judged by today’s moral standards. 

In the BBC article, in a desperate and shocking attempt to glorify a man who traded human beings for a living, Nwaubani even shares an anecdote that paints her great-grandfather as a hero for successfully confronting officials of the British colonial government after they “seized some of his slaves”. 

The BBC article not only tries to whitewash Nwaubani Ogogo Oriaku’s legacy, but also attempts to put the blame for the transatlantic slave trade on Africans. It states that “buying and selling of human beings among the Igbo had been going on long before the Europeans arrived” and implies that the arrival of Europeans merely accelerated an existing and established practice. By doing so, the article clearly intends to play down the United Kingdom’s role in trafficking approximately 11-14 million Africans, many of whom died at sea, or at the hands of angry, hate-filled lynch mobs or cruel slave masters in America. 

In her piece for the BBC, Nwaubani not only gives the impression that slavery was really just an African construct, but she also credits the UK for bringing it to an end. Without the help of the enlightened and compassionate British Empire, Nwaubani opines, the slave trade would have never ended. To top it all, she suggests, were the Igbos enamoured by statues, her grandfather certainly would deserve to have one built in his honour.

So why did Nwaubani decide to retell her great-grandfather’s story and offer a defence for him at a time when the Black Live Matters movement’s call for racial justice finally started to be heard across the globe? And why did the BBC decide it has a national responsibility to redeem the wounded pride and fading morality of the British Empire with an article glorifying a 19th-Century Nigerian slave trader at such a momentous time in history?  

Nwaubani’s revised, highly defensive account of her great-grandfather’s life reeks of a desire to protect undue privilege. It is reminiscent of President Donald Trump’s desperate attempts to rewrite history and present slaveholders and mass murderers who shaped the past of the United States as “the most daring and courageous people ever to walk on the face of the Earth“. 

In her collaboration with the BBC, she also attempts to somewhat absolve the UK of its overriding responsibility in advancing the transatlantic slave trade, setting up colonial structures throughout Africa, and perpetrating racist hierarchies globally. 

Because of British slavery and colonialism, the BBC enjoys extensive reach across Africa via TV, radio and online platforms. It is a trusted and popular voice in Africa. However, as Nwaubani’s article clearly demonstrates, even at a time when winds of just and progressive change are blowing across the globe, it is unable to resist an urge to defend the UK’s steadfast refusal to acknowledge its leading role in the centuries-long slave trade. 

It was only in 2015 when then British Prime Minister David Cameron told Jamaicans to “move on” from the “painful legacy of slavery”, while simultaneously lauding the UK’s role in abolishing the slave trade. The current prime minister, Boris Johnson, is also known for his admiration of the British Empire, and repeated attempts to dismiss Britain’s role in slavery.

In this context, it is easy to understand why the BBC decided to publish Nwaubani’s article casting slavery as an African construct when the world’s focus shifted on the UK’s colonial legacy. 

The efforts of the living beneficiaries of the transatlantic slave trade to stem the winds of change, however, are futile. 

The statues of slave traders, men such as Edward Colston, a British merchant who made a fortune from the slave trade in the late 1600s, are being forcibly removed in the US, the UK, and various other European countries. The US is reassessing its brutal past and current policies towards policing, racism and Black lives. So are Hollywood studios. So are major corporations, such as Facebook and Netflix.

So are Africans of all hues.

Nothing the BBC publishes can ever silence the voices that are demanding the UK to have a long overdue reckoning with its brutal history. 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

News

Year of the Overcomer-Prophet Elvis Mbonye

Published

on

The eagerly awaited first fellowship of controversial Prophet Elvis Mbonye left viewers shocked as he declined to issue his now famous prophecies citing a refusal to settle for the new normal. In an on online service watched by thousands, the Prophet said him prophesying would “ be a concession to gathering online, rather than physically” further stating that it is not the will of God that church should meet online!

The Covid-19 SOPs given by the government and Ministry of Health have heavily impacted gatherings and as a result, ministries with large congregations have resorted to online services. The prophet however insists that this is a ploy to diminish the influence of the Kingdom of God.

He however proceeded to give the Prophetic Word of the year , saying “This is the year of the Overcomers” amidst cheers from those present. He also stated that this would not be a “gloomy” year, probably meaning that this would be a good year. Given that many of his prophecies have actually come to pass, should we pay more attention to him? We eagerly await the prophecies this year.

Continue Reading

News

Kabuleta blasts Media over “COFIT” reporting in new rant.

Published

on

Presidential hopeful Joseph Kiiza Kabuleta has expressed dissatisfaction with the media over what he says was”alarmist reporting” over the Covid-19 pandemic which he calls “COFIT” a term we believe is a wordplay between covid and profit, a view held by many that claims that the disease was exaggerated to maximize funding and corruption. Kabuleta has come to be known for his straight shooting style and admirable command of facts and policy, even being touted as the “smartest candidate” in the race.here is the full statement:

MEDIA AND THE COFIT ENTERPRISE

By Joseph Kabuleta

“Don’t look at where you fell, but where you slipped”
AFRICAN PROVERB

We know where the media fell. They fell when they were caught in the crossfire between opposition politicians and trigger-happy security hitmen; when they were unfairly targeted as they went about their noble duty of covering this explosive elective season. Sadly, some journalists are nursing wounds; others weren’t so lucky.
But it’s important for us to understand where they slipped.

If someone is sitting by the roadside sipping on his brew and he sees a gang of people sprinting past him, as if for their lives, it’s understandable if he impulsively joins without asking questions. But if after nine months he is still sprinting, and has still not asked any questions, then there’s something terribly wrong with him.

When we first went into lockdown in March, it was probably the best course of action because we didn’t know the full extent of the Cofit threat. But in the first 90 days, it was clear to all and sundry that it was never going to rank among Uganda’s top health challenges. And that’s not my opinion.

The Daily Monitor on July 15th quoted Dr Baterana Byarugaba, the Mulago Hospital Executive Director, describing the Cofit strain in the country as a mild form of flu which does not require hospital admission since it can be treated at home or in lower health facilities.
“l told Ugandans right from the beginning that the type of coronavirus we expect in Uganda is the mild one. It can be treated at health centre II, III, IV or the district hospital,” the top Medic said.

I read the story with glorious delight supposing that finally common sense, (or should I say science sense) would inform our decisions as a nation. But it’s difficult to know where science stops and politics starts. It’s become clear over the months that Cofit is not just a virus that causes respiratory problems, it’s a lot more than that; it’s a weapon in the hands of politicians that gives them power beyond their wildest dreams. In America, for instance, Democrat Congressman Jim Clyburn said Cofit is a “tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our (leftist) vision” while actress and activist Jane Fonda said that Cofit was “God’s gift to the left.”

Our media could have taken the side of poor Ugandans by showing the immense suffering and death from preventable sicknesses that resulted from the harsh Cofit measures; they could have highlighted the plight of businesses permanently closed and workers rendered redundant and sent back to villages. They could have wondered why truck drivers were testing negative in Kenya and positive in Uganda, or wondered why Cofit deaths only started after Prophet Museveni showed us a macabre lineup of coffins in his address, or why every celebrity who dies since then is ruled as Cofit (no autopsy required)

They could have told us that according to Worldometer, Cofit has a 0.28% mortality rate (or a 99.72 survival rate) and that it doesn’t rank anywhere in the Top 10 of Uganda’s health challenges; they could have told us that a child dies of malaria every two minutes (and Uganda accounts for 3% of the world’s malaria fatalities), which means that more Ugandans die from mosquitoes in ten days than Cofit has (allegedly) killed in the nine months it’s been on our lips.

Ugandans (especially of my age) have lived through real pandemics. As a young man growing up in the early 90s, nobody had to remind me that AIDS was real. Goodness me, I knew it was! And I didn’t need police to force me to wear protection, I knew the consequences. The fact that we are constantly being reminded that ‘Cofit is real’ tells a story of its own.

The media could have asked why Uganda, with one of the lowest Cofit cases or deaths, still holds on to a 9:00pm curfew when Kenya moved to 11:00pm in September, as did South Africa and several countries. The media could have told us that Malawi, Burundi, Tanzania and, recently, Ghana all held successful elections with full blown campaigns in 2020, and we aren’t hearing people dropping dead from Cofit in any of those countries. May be they should have tried to find out if people are dropping dead in Tanzania which altogether ignored all Cofit measures and went on to acquire middle-income status while Ugandans were still in lockdown.

They could have told us about the asymptomatic Cofit patients who were filmed dancing the night away in hospital wards, or of people suffering from other diseases who dare not go to hospital because they fear to be given a fake Cofit label and held for two weeks against their will.

The media could have told us that Cofit deaths across the world have been grossly inflated. Minnesota lawmakers say Cofit deaths could have been inflated by 40% after examining death certificates (according to The Washington Examiner) while Fox News reported that in Colorado 45% of Cofit corpses “were also found to have bullet wounds”.

They could have told us that 22 European countries, all of which had tens of thousands of Cofit deaths, opened their schools in the fall, and there has not been any reported spikes in cases as a result. They could have told us that more people have been killed by security men enforcing Cofit measures than by the virus itself.

Well, they could have…but they didn’t. And that’s where they slipped.

Instead they chose to go down the path of alarmist reporting and in so doing became, inadvertently or otherwise, enablers of Uganda’s trillion-shilling Cofit enterprise. Like Squealer in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the media used flowery language to drum up fear by keeping people’s eyes transfixed on swelling numbers while the thieves carried their loot and stashed it away, and loan money was distributed among family members or used in regime prolongation.

The recent joint television news bulletin, and the adverts that followed, were the peak of hysterical reporting. “Zuukuka Tusaanawo” (wake up, we are perishing) screamed an advert featuring top media personalities. What a load of……(fill in appropriate word).

Remember, all the tyranny we have witnessed in this season has been done in the name of Cofit, and such sensationalist reporting justifies it; it gives dictators like Museveni the perfect pseudo-moralistic cover to unleash their most despotic fantasies while actually pretending that it’s for the good of the people. Unfortunately, the terror has now spread to the very media people whose hyperbole enabled it in the first place. There is such a thing as the law of cause and consequence, after all.

Instead of the media walking out of pressers and threatening to boycott government functions, let them threaten to stop all Cofit reporting. Museveni himself would come running with chocolate in hand.

If the president extended curfew by just two hours, for instance, he will have put as many as 200,000 Ugandans back to work especially in the hotel, restaurant and entertainment industries; but he doesn’t care, and sadly neither do many middleclass Ugandans who suppose that it’s their moral obligation as responsible citizens of the Global Village to fret over Cofit just because their ‘fellow citizens’ in Europe and America are doing so. Of course they can afford to do that because their corporate jobs have, for the most part, insulated them from the devastation of the government-instituted Cofit measures. They can enjoy working at home, beer in hand, as they listen to CNN and BBC and still expect the full complement of their salaries at the month end, and that makes them feel every bit like ‘their brothers’ overseas.

Such aspirational conformists are more likely to be offended by my stance on Cofit because they haven’t traversed crook and creek of this country and seen the damage reigned on this fragile society; not by the virus, but by the measures supposedly instituted to mitigate it.

You see, perhaps the most enduring damage this regime has done to our society is creating a three-part hierarchy of class and needs. At the zenith are a handful of connected ‘1986 generation’ and their families who feel entitled to all power and wealth. Beneath is a small (and shrinking) middleclass, and at the bottom of the pyramid is a mass of peasants. Every society, to various degrees, is ordered in the same fashion, but what makes Uganda unique is that the megalomaniacs at the top don’t give a nickel about the plight of the middleclass and the middleclass in turn don’t care a bit about the quandary of the peasant. The charlatans at the top will impose punitive taxes on the middleclass, then dip into NSSF coffers at a whim to share out their savings, and no one can stop them.

And the middleclass Ugandan, armed with his medical insurance, and safe in the knowledge that his wife is unlikely to die in child birth (20 Ugandans do EVERY DAY), and his children are very unlikely to die of malaria (20 do EVERY DAY), or from malnutrition (thousands do every year), will go around trumpeting Cofit because it’s more relevant to his status than malnutrition or malaria.

I could just as easily go down that path. I could also close my eyes to mothers failing to get breast milk because they can only afford half a meal a day (black tea with a piece of cassava), and the malnourished babies that emerge as a result; I could close my eyes to the teenage girls that were given out in marriage because schools closed, or those given out to meet family needs; I could ignore the fact that our president is opening 5-star markets in cities which have 1-star referral hospitals; I could also choose to look the other way and enjoy my middleclass lifestyle, but as an aspiring leader, I cannot.

As a leader, my aspiration is to remove the privileged/entitled class, to expand the middleclass (and their income), and to shrink the peasantry; but mostly to blur the lines that separate each category.
It doesn’t bode well for our country if the average Corporate Ugandan knows more about racism in America than about extreme poverty in Teso or Busoga because that disqualifies him/her from the solution to those local problems.

And finally, I have come to the realization that the biggest pandemic afflicting our country is poverty and the virus that causes it is called M7-1986. Vaccination against it is January 14

Continue Reading

News

Muntu Blocked in Kamwenge

Published

on

Alliance for National Transformation presidential candidate Gen. Mugisha Muntu has been blocked from campaigning in Kamwenge according to a statement he released earlier today.Below is the full statement:

STATEMENT
Today in Kamwenge, as we have done since the start of the campaign season, we headed out to speak with the people. We had earlier in the week agreed on the venue with security agencies. No one had anticipated that it would rain as much as it did, making it impossible for us or the people to access.

After identifying an alternative place only 100m away from the original venue, negotiating with the owner and communicating the same to the public, we headed to the second venue only to be stopped by police.

Our policy has always been to do all we can to be reasonable, even in the face of unreasonable action on the part of the state. We engaged the police leadership in a civilized, respectable manner well knowing that they intended to not only frustrate us, but cause us to act in ways that would give them an excuse to cause chaos. This was on top of their intimidating the radio we had booked and duly paid to appear on.

While we are confident that we are on the right side of both the law and reason, we have chosen not to endanger the lives of our supporters or the general public by escalating the situation. We will do everything humanly possible to avoid a single life being lost or blood being shed on account of our campaign.

And yet this truth remains: the regime’s days are numbered.

ChangeYouCanTrust

CountryBeforeSelf

Continue Reading

Trending