…just another strongman…

I often meet people in the West who insist that the Holocaust was the worst atrocity in human history, without question. Yes, it was horrific. But I often wonder, with African atrocities like in the Congo, how horrific were they? The thing Africans don’t have that Jewish people do have is documentation. The Nazis kept meticulous records, took pictures, made films. And that’s really what it comes down to. Holocaust victims count because Hitler counted them. Six million people killed. We can all look at that number and rightly be horrified. But when you read through the history of atrocities against Africans, there are no numbers, only guesses. It’s harder to be horrified by a guess. When Portugal and Belgium were plundering Angola and the Congo, they weren’t counting the black people they slaughtered. How many black people died harvesting rubber in the Congo? In the gold and diamond mines of the Transvaal?

So in Europe and America, yes, Hitler is the Greatest Madman in History, in Africa he’s just another strongman from the history books….. Hitler is not the worst thing a black South African can imagine. Every country thinks their history is the most important, and that’s especially true in the West. But if Black South Africans could go back in time and kill one person, Cecil Rhodes would come up before Hitler. If people in the Congo could go back in time and kill one person, Belgium’s King Leopold would come way before Hitler. If Native Americans could go back in time and kill one person, it would probably be Christopher Columbus or Andrew Jackson.

~ Trevor Noah, Born a Crime, 2016

Notes:

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

  • The word ”’Maafa”’ (also known as the African Holocaust) is derived from a Kiswahili word meaning disaster, terrible occurrence or great tragedy.[1] (http://www.africanholocaust.net/html_ah/holocaustspecial.htm)
  • The term today collectively refers to the 500 hundred years of suffering of people of African heritage through Slavery, imperialism, colonialism, apartheid, rape, oppression, invasions and exploitation.
  • The African Holocaust is a pan-African discourse on the global historical and contemporary genocide against the mental and physical health of African people. The effects of this genocide impacts all areas of African life; religion, heritage, tradition, culture, agency, self-determination, marriage, identity, rites of passage, and ethics. And finally acts to marginalize Africans from their historical trauma and historical glory.
  • Some historians conclude that the total loss in persons removed, those who died on the arduous march to coastal slave marts and those killed in slave raids, exceeded the 65–75 million inhabitants remaining Africa at the trade’s end. Over 10 million died as direct consequences of the Atlantic slave trade alone. But no one knows the exact number.
  • The most comprehensive analysis of shipping records over the course of the slave trade is the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, edited by professors David Eltis and David Richardson. (While the editors are careful to say that all of their figures are estimates, I believe that they are the best estimates that we have, the proverbial “gold standard” in the field of the study of the slave trade.) http://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/how-many-slaves-landed-in-the-us/
  • Between 1525 and 1866, in the entire history of the slave trade to the New World, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World. 10.7 million survived the dreaded Middle Passage, disembarking in North America, the Caribbean and South America.
  • And how many of these 10.7 million Africans were shipped directly to North America? Only about 388,000. That’s right: a tiny percentage.

8-10 million Congolese murdered by Belgian colonalist.

  • Under the reign of terror instituted by King Leopold II of Belgium (who ran the Congo Free State as his personal fief from 1885 to 1908), the population of the Congo was reduced by half — as many as 8 million Africans (perhaps even 10 million, in Hochschild’s opinion) lost their lives. ~ MICHIKO KAKUTANI,  http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/08/30/daily/leopold-book-review.html

Nearly 10 million Native Americans decimated by European expansion

  • 10 million+ Estimated number of Native Americans living in land that is now the United States when European explorers first arrived in the 15th century
  • Less than 300,000 Estimated number of Native Americans living in the United States around 1900
  • http://endgenocide.org/learn/past-genocides/native-americans/
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