Don't ignore Africans' role in slave trade

Published: Wednesday | December 4, 2013 Comments 0

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I watched this week's Profile with Ian Boyne, which featured Dr Donna McFarlane, and I found it as edifying and inspiring, as all the previous interviews of this wonderful show.

I particularly enjoyed the riveting historical information regarding our African ancestors and their courage and resilience in the face of the horrific cruelty that is European slavery and colonialism.

However, her interview also left many doubts and questions in my mind, and her stance in relation to these events is one where I notice that many of Jamaica's historians seem to concur almost exactly. I find this to be most curious.

The most glaring omission from Dr McFarlane's interview is the role that African societies played in supplying slaves to Europe and maintaining the slave trade. It must always be remembered that Africa is just as guilty in perpetuating slavery as Europe and the Americas. It was larger African tribal groups who preyed on smaller ones by killing and capturing people to be sold to Europeans.

Africans, too, participated in the slave trade to make a profit off human flesh and exchanged lives for weapons to carry on their senseless wars.

Africa is not a black, backward country. It is a continent peopled with cultures steeped in unique traditions and it possesses a proud history. But neither is it an Atlantis.

I agree that we must all be proud of our African ancestry. However, we must also be aware of the less-talked-about brutality and cruelty that Africans had inflicted on the enslaved, and who are just as responsible for the Caribbean's underdevelopment as the Europeans.

KEMAR CUMMINGS

cummingskemar@gmail.com

Northern Territories, Australia

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