02 August 2009

On Blaming White Folk For Slavery

On Blaming White Folk For Slavery
Written by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Dibia, Nigeria
Monday, 08 December 2008

It takes two parties for there to be a business transaction, a seller and a buyer. Africans sold their people and Arabs and Europeans bought them and used them as slaves.

Most people agree that the trafficking in human beings was wrong; if so, all parties to it were wrong.

White folk were guilty for buying and abusing African slaves; Arabs were guilty for buying and abusing African slaves.

By the same token, the Africans that sold their people into slavery were guilty for doing so.

In a manner of speaking, it is a greater sin to sell ones people than to buy those one considers not ones people. Arabs and whites did not see Africans as their people and one can understand them buying and using them as slaves without feeling guilty. On the other hand, the Africans that sold their people knew that they were selling their people and, as such, were guiltier for doing so!

It takes two to engage in business transactions but Africans somehow come to believe that only white folk are guilty for slavery. Indeed, they do not even blame Arabs for slavery; they only blame Europeans.

Actually, Arabs began buying African slaves before whites did, from around 900 AD, and are still doing so today in Sudan and Mauritania. Europeans got into the act of buying African slaves from around 1500 AD, six hundred years after the Arabs did!

Africans do not blame Arabs, the greater evil participants in the sordid business of enslaving human beings, instead, they blame Europeans. Europeans bought Africans from 1500 to1900AD. And they learned to do so by seeing Arabs using African slaves in their Indian Ocean plantations. When the Portuguese got to Brazil in 1500 they tried to use native Indians to do their plantation work for them and the later either died or fled into the forest. The Portuguese remembered that on their way to India they had seen Arabs using African slaves in their plantations and came back to West Africa to buy African slaves. That is to say that Europeans imitated Arabs in enslaving Africans, yet Africans blame Europeans not the original enslavers, Arabs!

Europeans enslaved Africans for about four hundred years. Arabs enslaved Africans for over one thousand years (900-1900 AD).

Given the length of Arab enslavement of Africans it is astonishing for Africans to blame whites, not Arabs, and for Africans not to blame Africans for their role in selling their people?

I think that what we have here is the original 419 Scamming. Apparently, Africans discovered that European Christians are prone to feeling guilty for their wrongs so they decided to manipulate that guilt feeling by blaming them for their role in slavery.

Apparently, Muslims do not feel guilty for slavery? Certainly, the Arabs that I know do not feel guilty for their role in buying Africans slaves. Therefore, Africans did not see any need to blame Arabs.

For manipulation of guilt to work the person you want to make to feel guilty must be willing to accept the guilt that you are assigning to him.

Apparently, Africans could not assign guilt to Arabs so they did not blame Arabs; they know that Christians are prone to guilt feeling so they blame European Christians and White Americans for buying African slaves hoping that in their accepting guilt they would be manipulated into exonerating Africans role in slavery and paying reparations to Africans! This is disingenuous behavior!

What is going on here is that African scam artists calling themselves scholars are setting white folk up to manipulate them, to relieve them of their money, as Nigerian 419 advance fee scam artists set white folk up to relieve them of their money!

Thus, African criminal leaders who exist to relieve their people of their money ask Europe and North America to pay reparation to Africa for slavery!

The criminals who sold their people into slavery do not feel guilty for their criminal action and further more attempt to make other persons to feel guilty for their behaviors and pay them for it. This is typical sociopathic thinking and behavior, behavior that shows lack of guilt and remorse feeling and heartless exploitation of other persons.

African leaders, apparently, do not feel guilty for selling their people in the past and in the present for robbing their people down.

What is the African leader but a criminal in politics? These criminals that ought to be in jail want other people to pay them reparation! This is the original scamming behavior. Apparently, many Africans have been scam artists for far longer than one thought. One thought that 419 advance fee scamming began in contemporary Nigeria; apparently, it has been a pattern of these people’s behaviors for a long time!

In my view, Europeans and white Americans should pay reparation to black Americans, to ex slaves. But so must Arabs and Africans.

African countries sold their people and should therefore pay reparations to black Americans. At least, five percent of African countries annual budgets ought to be given to blacks in the Diaspora, to make amends for the sin of selling them. This ought to be done for, at least, thirty four years, a generation.

Africans from Africa calling for white folk to pay them reparation for slavery are scam artists and ought not to be listened to or paid. They are criminals who do not feel guilty for selling their people and therefore ought to be punished rather than rewarded for their criminal activities. To pay them for their crime against their own people is treating them like children and make excuses for their criminal acts and in so doing perpetuate their tendency to criminal behavior.

White folk should not let these scam artists to make them feel guilty and allow themselves to be swindled out of their money. These thieves would say that they would use that money to help their people but would instead redirect it to their pockets and squander it in riotous living; not a penny they received from reparation would go to help their people. Who has ever heard of African leaders devoting their lives to helping their people, serving their people? No, they seem to exist to steal from their people.

For the purpose of driving my point that Africans participated in slavery home here is how the slavery business worked in my part of Africa, how some African criminals captured and sold their people and pretend to be innocent persons!

I am from Umuohiagu (where Owerri airport is). Until 1902 when Frederick Lugard stormed the market of Owere (which he mispronounced as Owerri hence the word Owerri) where slaves were sold, our people were routinely selling themselves into slavery.

Abam and Abriba (Igbo clans) and other such folk roamed our villages capturing children and women and marching them to the Coast and selling them to white men.

Our people organized themselves into age mate groups, from about age fourteen up. These age mates acted as militia and paraded the village looking for slave kidnappers. They walked with children to the village stream and walked women to their farms to protect them from been kidnapped by slavers who lurked in the bushes kidnapping their fellow Igbos and selling them to white men!

Slaves were sold at Owere market and from there marched to Igwe Ocha ( Port Harcourt) and then to Bonny where they were sold to the Portuguese, and later to other Europeans.

In our town an Aro priest was stationed; he urged the town folk to bring their conflicts to him to settle for them. Those who lost their cases were told to appeal them to Arochukwu itself. There, they were put through a tunnel and if they did not come out it was said that the Long Juju of Arochukwu had found them guilty and taken them. In actual fact, they were marched to the other end of the tunnel and sold to Efik slavers who marched them to Calaba and sold them to white men.

Lugard, a young captain in the British army, hired by the Royal Niger Company, heard about these nefarious activities and in 1902 used his mostly Hausa soldiers, called West African Frontier Army, to storm and destroy the so-called Arochukwu Oracle and thereafter marched through Igbo villages including destroying the slave market at Owere and thereafter decided to make Owerri the headquarters of his Owerri province and marched through my village (in his words, “pacifying the savages of the lower Niger”…see his Memoir, The Dual Mandate).

The point here is that Africans were selling their people to whites. Whites did not go into interior Africa to go buy Africans. They stayed at the coast and arranged with coastal Africans, in the case of Igbos, Efiks, Ijaws, to go inside the interior and capture and or buy and bring Africans to be sold to them.

The Aro arranged with the Efik (around 1600 AD) to bring Igbo slaves to them to be sold to whites, and used their phony religion to enact their evil; they employed the Abam and Abriba as mercenaries to carry out their nefarious business of capturing and selling their people.

Would any rational person say that what Africans did was right? Of course it was evil. By the same token, whites and Arabs committed evil in buying and enslaving Africans. If we must blame whites for their enslavement of our people in the Americas, and we must, we must also blame our people for selling their people to whites. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. I am not exonerating any one. It seems to me that Africans, Arabs and Europeans were all culprit in selling and enslaving our people.

Africans did not only sell their people to Arabs and whites but to themselves. In Alaigbo we had what was called Ohu. Here, poor folk sold themselves to rich folk for a period of time until they could pay off the money the buyers paid for them, which was almost always never, making them perpetual ohus (indentured servants).

We also had osus (slaves). Osus were folk sold to high priests and used for the high priests farm work. Later, the osu phenomenon was perverted into the belief that osus were god’s slaves. Many osus are still in Alaigbo; they are no longer osu though they are not allowed to interact with Dialas (freeborn).

Africans, Arabs and Europeans were equally guilty in enslaving Africans. All of them ought to make amends for their crime against humanity. It is not the case that only white folk were guilty for this criminal behavior.

If folk are going to pay reparations it must be Africans in Africa, Arabs and whites, all of them making payments to the blacks in the Diaspora, not to African scam artists calling themselves politicians, trying to make white folk feel guilty and give them money, money that they would squander in foolish living and not use it to help their people.


I must admit that one of my goals is to get Africans to feel guilty for their heinous crime of selling their people and make amends for it. I am sick and tired of Africans not feeling guilty for their part in selling their people and, instead, pointing accusatory fingers at white folks. One is not excusing white folk’s role in buying and abusing Africans; one is just not willing to accuse one party in a criminal transaction and not the other.

If the world allows Africans to continue not feeling guilty and remorse for their criminal behavior in selling their people, Africans would keep on not feeling guilty and remorse for their present antisocial behaviors when they steal from their peoples national treasuries. The world would be reinforcing criminality in Africans hence they remain criminals who steal from their people rather than serve them.

To produce good governance in Africa we must make Africans start feeling guilty, depressed, for their antisocial and criminal behaviors.


I tend to be misunderstood. Thus some Africans see me as hating Africans. I do not hate Africans; I am interested in the truth. The truth requires us to accept that Europeans, Arabs and Africans did wrong in selling and buying slaves. All three parties ought to be made to pay a price for their evil, so as to prevent them from engaging in further evil.

I know that Africans self esteems are fragile. They were recently colonized by Europeans and, therefore, feel inferior to whites. Therefore men of goodwill are motivated to protect Africans fragile egos by telling them that they were innocent persons that white folk exploited.

This seeming understanding of Africans and making excuses for them is condescending behavior. It is treating Africans as if they are children. It perpetuates their tendency to be childish.

We must start treating Africans as if they are adults, for they are adults! This entails telling Africans that they were guilty in selling their people.

Guilt feeling makes folk depressed. To avoid depression folk deny guilt and in doing so become paranoid.

As any mental health professional knows, Africans tend to be more paranoid than depressed.

William Meissner pointed out that paranoid persons tend to be less emotionally developed than depressed persons.

If what it takes to make Africans to become adults is to make them depressed, so be it.

What concerns me is stating the truth, as I see it. As I see it, Africans participated in selling their people and, therefore, were as culpable as those who bought them. The seller and buyer of slaves must make amends for their criminal behaviors.