Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Evils of Colonialism

Slave shackle

The photo above was taken in about 1907, and shows a British sailor sawing the shackle off the leg of an African slave.

Where was that slave bound before he was freed by the British?

In 1907 there was no longer any market for slaves among white people anywhere in the world. In fact, there was probably no market at all for slaves except in black Africa or among the Arabs. In all likelihood that slave was going to be sold on the Arabian Peninsula or perhaps to African Muslims.

Who captured the slave?

He was probably captured by another black African from a neighboring tribe, either in warfare or as a part of a deliberate slave-taking raid. The Arabs rarely captured black slaves themselves, and this slave might have been brokered several times by African traders before arriving at his final owner.

In any case, both the slave-taker and the customer were almost certainly Muslims.

Yet white Europeans are to blame for all this. As our multicultural indoctrination has drummed into us over and over, white people are the cause of all the world’s evils, including the enslavement of Africans.

Somehow, perhaps through diabolical mind-rays, we induced the Africans and the Arabs to enslave millions of blacks and then trade them among themselves.

It just goes to show how viciously omnipotent we white people are.

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Here’s the full story about the photo:
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Rare ‘slave freeing’ photos on show

A set of rare photographs showing African slaves being freed by the Royal Navy have gone on show for the first time.

They are part of an exhibition marking the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade.

Samuel Chidwick, 74, has donated the photographs taken by his father Able Seaman Joseph Chidwick, born in 1881, on board HMS Sphinx off the East African coast in about 1907.

The photographs, on display at the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth, Hants, show a sailor removing the manacle from a newly-freed slave as well as the ship’s marines escorting captured slavers.

Mr Chidwick, of Dover, Kent, said: “The pictures were taken by my father who was serving aboard HMS Sphinx while on armed patrol off the Zanzibar and Mozambique coast.

“They caught quite a few slavers and those particular slaves that are in the pictures happened while he was on watch.

“That night a dhow sailed by and the slaves were all chained together. He raised the alarm and they got them on to the ship and got the chains knocked off them.

“They then questioned them and sent a party of marines ashore to try to track the slave traders down.

“They caught two of them and I believe they were of Arabic origin.

“My father thought the slave trade was a despicable thing that was going on, the slaves were treated very badly so when they got the slavers they didn’t give them a very nice time.”

Jacquie Shaw, spokeswoman for the Royal Naval Museum, said: “The museum and the Royal Navy are delighted to announce the donation of a nationally important collection of unique photographs taken by Able Seaman Joseph John Chidwick during his service on the Persian Gulf Station where the crew of HMS Sphinx were engaged in subduing the slave trade.

“The collection comprises a fascinating and important snapshot of life on anti-slavery duties off the coast of Africa.”

The exhibition, ‘Chasing Freedom -The Royal Navy and the suppression of the Transatlantic Slave Trade’, is being held until January next year to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.

The House of Commons passed a bill in 1805 making it unlawful for any British subject to capture and transport slaves but the measure was blocked by the House of Lords and did not come into force until March 25, 1807.

Mrs Shaw said that since the exhibition opened, members of the public had brought forward several historically-important items.

She said: “As well as these amazing images, members of the public have brought many other unheard stories of the Royal Navy and the trade in enslaved Africans to the museum’s attention including the original ship’s log of the famed HMS Black Joke of the West Coast of Africa Station.”


Hat tip: VH.

17 comments:

WAKE UP said...

The myth that a few boatloads of European sailors enslaved an entire continent was exploded long ago.

Slavery was culturally endemic before we got there, remained culturally endemic after we stopped (thanks to our own democracy and brave men and women) - and still is.

The self-serving hypocrisy on this subject defies logic.

Thrasymachus said...

Why else do you think that the great whit on black racial insult in South Africa was the term, "kafir"?

It was appropriated by Europeans who heard the Muslim slave traders refer to the black Africans in this way (which was the theological origin of the slavery's permisibility).

Henrik R Clausen said...

Evils of Colonialism?

Colonialism brought much more good than evil, not least to the British colonies, which gained railroads, reasonable administrations, democracy and more.

Exceptions exist, most notably Belgian Congo, and I don't think the late-19th century US colonialism was a good idea, either.

Baron Bodissey said...

Henrik --

I suppose I could have used a point d'ironie (؟), but that really would have made the title look ugly.

I must learn to curb my ironic tendencies.

Henrik R Clausen said...

No need to curb, it gave me an excellent opportunity to make an important point.

Chechar said...

@ Evils of Colonialism?

Colonialism brought much more good than evil --Henrik R Clausen

Ironies aside (I myself got into trouble here in GoV this August because of it), the whole point of my next Quetzalcoatl section on the Aztecs' way of life is to show that more human rights were violated before the Conquest than after it: something that debunks the Black Legend.

Sean O'Brian said...

Henrik,

"Colonialism brought much more good than evil, not least to the British colonies, which gained railroads, reasonable administrations, democracy and more."

I don't agree with your overall point but I don't wish to get into it. I'll just agree with you that jury trials, parliaments, canals and railroads are good things.

However more important is that British colonialism was not concerned with the spreading of democracy. That would have seemed a queer notion to the British ruling classes of the colonial era. For instance here is a short excerpt from John Henry Newman's series of letters on the Crimean War and the British Constitution, Who's To Blame? (1858):

"I have no wish for "reforms"; and should be sorry to create in the minds of your readers any sentiment favourable either to democracy or to absolutism. I have no liking for the tyranny whether of autocrat or mob; no taste for being whirled off to Siberia, or tarred and feathered in the far West."

Taking this statement as representative of British intellectual attitdues of the 19th century we see that even then democracy was associated with the "far West" (America). It was no doubt also associated, in the minds of the upper class, with the Athenian mob and was not considered to be the best system of government.

It's true that Britain's most successful ex-colonies are democracies but that's likely because democracy is especially appealing to post-colonial societies, Indian nationalists and the like. No coincidence then that today we are living simultaneously in the post-colonial era and the era of democratic colonialism.

Chechar said...

Sean O'Brian,

Thanks to British colonialism India started to overcome its infanticidal “psychoclass” (I explain this concept in my Quetzalcoatl series here in GoV). And not only that. Thanks to British colonialism Indians started to give up horrific traditions such as burning widows alive .

The Left and Franz Boas’ school of cultural relativism have so much brainwashed us that today we are unable to see the obvious: with the exception of the Belgian case, colonialism was not bad at all.

spackle said...

Chechar said:

"the Aztecs' way of life is to show that more human rights were violated before the Conquest than after it:"

I look forward to reading it. There was a recent article in the "Daily Mail" about an Aztec "Art" exhibit in which the author found nothing redeeming (or beautiful) in the exhibit which included many objects relating to human sacrifice., and actually compared it to hauling out lampshades made from the skin of dead Jews and calling it Nazi art. I agreed with him 100%. But of course the PC brigade was out in full moral relativistic force in the comment section.

Chechar said...

Spackle,

Here I disagree. Aztec art was so magnificent (yes: magnificent macabre art) that the Swiss artist Giger studied it a lot. In fact, it inspired him for the design of the film Alien.

The Mayans were even crueler than the Aztecs. Here in my home in Mexico there’s a splendid vase of Mayan art with a painting on it: a museum piece, really. But of course: Mel Gibson was right in depicting Mayans as the sons of b**s they were!

spackle said...

Chechar,

Here we will have to agree to disagree. However, if you are interested in reading the Mail article and an interesting take on the subject on Lawrence Austers blog you can go here and here.

Henrik R Clausen said...

However more important is that British colonialism was not concerned with the spreading of democracy.

So what?

I don't think that matters, not in any way. Spreading 'democracy' (which back in the uneducated days would mean 'mob rule') was not of interest to anyone in those days, and should not be. Democracy-building has usually led to major failures (South Vietnam, anyone?), except in places like Japan where we had beaten up our enemy sufficently - and the culture would bear it.

What the British Empire spread instead was the prerequisites for democracy. And that worked very well.

Sean O'Brian said...

Henrik,

Fair enough.

====

Chechar,

I already said I didn't want to get into a general debate on the good vs. bad of colonialism.

"Thanks to British colonialism Indians started to give up horrific traditions such as burning widows alive."

Here is an exchange from three months ago between myself and another commenter on the Reversal Is Possible thread:

"Watching Eagle said...

Let me tell you about British Imperialism, Mid-Victorian Style. This has to do with the fact that Britain ruled India, and discovered the “exotic custom” of widow burning by the Hindus. When the British moved to STOP said “exotic custom”, the Hindus caterwauled “Suttee is our custom!” Here is the response of the British general, General Sir Charles Napier—

“You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”

The ‘exotic custom’ of suttee stopped. I wonder if you think the mid-Victorians had a good idea (it has been done before—it can be done again. Tell me what you think of General Napier’s Modus Operendi."

"Sean O'Brian said...

WE,

The ‘exotic custom’ of suttee stopped.

But it didn't stop, not really. It just became less visible in the regions of India that were under British jurisdiction.

To take a well-known fictional example, think of the passage in Around the World in Eighty Days where Phileas Fogg rescues the Princess. He is rescuing her from being burned in a suttee ritual. That novel was published in 1873. So Jules Verne and his public were aware that suttee was still (unofficially) practised in India."

Note: Suttee, though illegal, is still practised in India to this day.

"The Left and Franz Boas’ school of cultural relativism have so much brainwashed us that today we are unable to see the obvious: with the exception of the Belgian case, colonialism was not bad at all."

To say that colonialism was "not bad at all" is an inflexible, dogmatic position - a mirror reverse image of leftists who would insist that no good of any kind can be associated with colonialism.

Chechar said...

Spackle,

If you watch the commercial DVD of the film Alien you will see in the interviews disc that the big bosses in Hollywood didn’t understand Giger’s art at first (again: Giger borrowed a lot from Aztec art); only the original writer of the story of Alien and his partner loved Giger’s paintings. Then the bosses picked up Ridley Scott as the director. It was Scott who stick to his opinion that Giger’s macabre art would do the trick visually for the sci-fi film. The clueless bosses on esthetic matters had to comply to the artists’ vision.

This is my fourth and last post in this thread and I’ll be unable to discuss it further. See you in my “Quetzalcoatl” chapter on Aztec art…

Henrik R Clausen said...

Arab/Muslim guilt

?

Did anyone spot such a beast..?

DP111 said...

WAKE UP wrote,"The self-serving hypocrisy on this subject defies logic".

You are right. But what is the point of making Arabs feel guilty. First, they dont feel any guilt anyway, and even if they did, they are unlikely to give large amounts of money to Africans. Only Europeans are suckers. And you know what they say of suckers.

Another thing- the prime movers of African slaves were African chiefs getting rid of other Africans they had conquered in one of their perpetual tribal raids.

If one looks at this way, we see that Africans sold into slavery were lucky. If they hadn't been sold, they would most certainly have been killed, which was the norm for captured male prisoners.

Zenster said...

DP111: But what is the point of making Arabs feel guilty.

This reminds me very little of what Mark Twain said about teaching a pig to sing:

You shouldn't try to teach a pig to sing. You waste your time and it annoys the pig.

You'll sooner teach pigs to sing, not to mention fly, before the Master Race™ ever feels even a twinge of conscience over its slavery and genocide.