Friday, January 2, 2009
1.) "Everybody and their mama are trying to get out of Africa."
Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson is of the opinion that because Africa is plagued by various conflicts, people are trying to leave en masse. People may very well flee Africa for a life of greater mobility/stability. But what is the root of the conflicts that leave their nations war torn and in abject poverty? A large part of the difficulties facing African nations can be traced back to colonialism. Colonizers educated Africans with basic skills that benefited the colonizers and did not afford Africans the chance to develop their intellect or skills that would be useful in building and maintaing their own communities, independent of colonial influence. In addition to being poorly educated, demoralized and debased, colonizers divided Africa amongst themselves and paid no attention to language, cultural boundaries, or the religious affiliations of the people whom these arbitrary borders grouped together. They forced people with different beliefs and methods of communication to co-exist under one banner. Bishop Desmond Tutu summed up one of the many tolls of colonialism when he said:
"When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said,“Let us pray.” We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land."
2.) "The white man came and brought us to the greatest country in the world."
Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson is thankful slavery bought blacks to a nation better off than most in Africa. BUT...It wasn't great until slave labor made it so. Should not this "great nation" be thankful for the African labor that tilled the land and bought great wealth and opportunity to its European settlers? Or maybe it should be grateful for the rich cultural influence of slaves and their descendants? Or for the myriad inventions and technological advancements brought into existence by Blacks? The answer is vehemenently YES to all questions posed above!!!
3.) "The ride over was tough...but no worse than riding on a crowded airplane when you're not in first class."
Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson believes that not having adequate space to stretch one's limbs, not having fresh air to breathe or water to drink, being whipped mercilessly, living in immensely hot quarters with an unbearable stench and being exposed to all manner of disease and human rights violations is no worse than dealing with a poor selection of in-flight beverages and the poor attitudes of surly flight attendants.
4.) "Thank God for the Arabs who sold us and the white folks that bought us."
5.) "The pain for freedom was tough...the pain was all for the sake of freedom."
I don't have the strength to adequately address those last two gems but I will leave you with this: The negative effects of slavery on blacks are innumerable and thus greatly overshadow any supposed benefits. Reverend Peterson should think about the toll slavery took on the African continent and the psyche of Blacks both deceased and unborn before making any other abominable comments.