Because we are having a really good discussion here (and I thank James for his contributions to the discussion) – I thought I would throw this one in as indicative of what Africans think of the Gates article. This one is from Modern Ghana by Paul I. Adujie. I haven’t been able to pull up reactions from Nigeria yet.
It is with considerable agitation, and extreme irritation, with which I read Henry Louis Gates’ pedestrian essay on slave trade and reparations, published in The New York Times, titled Ending The Slavery Blame-Game.
Louis Gates is obviously seeking relevance and redemption after his arrogant altercations with a Cambridge police officer in 2009. Louis Gates it will be recalled, engaged in a shouting match in belligerent, intransigent and cantankerous manner, as he prevented a police officer from carrying out legitimate police work. At that time, it was pointed out by some, that Louis Gates was merely engaged in racial racketeering, as he accused the police officer of racism without basis. An accusation and serious charge of racism against a fine police officer, which was not based on the facts and the evidences.
Perhaps it is Henry Louis Gates’ calling card and nature, to make sundry conclusions while shirking away from the intellectual dexterity required to sift through facts and evidences, and engage in empirical analysis, particularly so, for anyone with pretension to academic credentials, and with desire to be taken seriously. In the all important matter of slave trade, slavery and overdue reparations, Gates has come with a claptrap and a hack job to absolve, exculpate and exonerate his historical tormentors?
Louis Gates lazily, engaged in this silly pretensions to rewrite and revise the well settled history of the profound evil of slavery, the worst evil, in human history, and yet, Gates offered obfuscations and parroting of recycled garbage, and sought to cover all these with his happenstance of being a Harvard University employee!
Gates’ inane contribution to revisionists efforts at retelling of the horrors and brutalities of slave trade is shameful. Gates writes about the slave trade as some sorts of friendly business transactions between willing seller and equally willing buyer, as would seller and buyer of pork barrels or barrels of sweet crude or commodities at the New York or Chicago Stock Exchanges; in which merchants of equal statuses seal deals with warm and endearing handshakes, with scheduled caviar and cocktails to follow.
Gates’ flimsy portrayals of Africans as conspiring, conniving and colluding collaborators, with those who came from thousands of miles to far away Africa, to kidnap, snatch and bundles and brutalize Africans into slavery, is an effort, which is worse than useless on the part of Gates. Gates’ melodramatic lies failed to inform his readers of Oba Ovoramwen of Benin, a king of the Bini Kingdom who was dethroned and exiled outside of his domain, because he opposed Europeans horrors and brutalities and oppression in his kingdom. And there were many others like Oba Ovaramwen and the Mau Mau, during slavery and colonialism, who opposed Europeans, and paid with their lives or were jailed by Europeans! Gates obviously have not read a single page about Belgian Congo and King Leopold? Read the rest of this entry »