A friend asked me once if I liked movies and what I enjoyed watching on TV. I replied that I had not watched television for the last four years. I didn’t elaborate on the reasons that had pushed me to that radical resolution. But what he added summarised most of it.
‘A rabbi once said that watching television [or a censored news source – my emphasis] is like opening sewage in your house.’
Many are not aware of which ground they stand on. Harriet Tubman, a black American abolitionist born in 1822, helped to free many among her compatriots from slavery. With a lot of courage, she took enormous life risks to liberate black people during the time when a handful of Negroes would dare to oppose openly the slavery system. To those who praised her for her efforts and achievements, she responded,
‘I would’ve freed many more if they had realised that they were slaves.’
Realising that you are a slave or not free, or simply the fact that you are oppressed or exploited, is the initial step for your liberation, your path to freedom, or recovery of your intrinsic powers. And it is a giant one. Because the power of oppression resides in the ignorance of the oppressed about their inner situation. This reminds me of a big event I attended a while ago in London city where the cream of the establishment had gathered. The keynote speaker delivered a speech which made me understand the working of capitalism. The main message was that being part of its project is the best option you can find around. It’s an opportunity to be grabbed with both hands, even if they have to be tied in the process.
Dr Chancellor Williams, in his book ‘The destruction of Black Civilization,’ explains how Black people came to be what we generally observe today,
‘The present-day confused outlook of the African people is the result of centuries of Caucasian acculturation, a quite natural process wherever one people come under the economic, political and social domination of another people. The ideologies and value system of the oppressors quite unconsciously become those of the oppressed, even when the result is demonstratively against themselves. But all other oppressed peoples, whether Indian, Chinese or Japanese, were able to hold on doggedly to their own social racial pride and cultural heritage as the last resource for survival as a people. Unlike the Blacks, they were never completely cut off from this sustaining life-live of every people.’
It could be rightly said that few black people in general and Africans particularly, feel deep-seated in their roots and proud. This small fraction is the one which occasionally raises her voice to condemn aggressors of the motherland when countries like Libya and Ivory Coast are invaded by Western powers. Unfortunately, the majority among Africans, those that Harriet Tubman would refer to as they don’t know that they are slaves, will praise NATO’s invasion of Libya and France for its military intervention in Ivory Coast, whatever the false justifications of the invaders. These Africans with a mind of slaves will call invaders liberators because of their ignorance.
As Africans, unless our minds become liberated, we will die and the next generation too, without knowing who is killing us, or even believing that we are living while we are in the process of dying. That would really look pathetic. It would be acceptable to succumb to a sudden tsunami which has not given any warning signs, but perishing from slow motion deadly symptoms which could be won over if addressed properly is not excusable.