POLITICS AND LEGACY OF AFRICAN ENSLAVEMENT
Songs we would never hear! Histories we would never know! Art we would never see! Because the European had the capacity to destroy and didn’t have the moral restraint not to.— Maulana Karenga
The word ”’Maafa”’ (also known as the African Holocaust) is derived from a Swahili word meaning disaster, terrible occurrence or great tragedy. The term today collectively refers to the Pan-African discourse of the 500 hundred years of suffering of people of African heritage through Slavery, imperialism, colonialism, apartheid, rape, xenophobia, oppression, invasions, and exploitation.
The African Holocaust is a pan-African discourse on the global historical and contemporary genocide against the mental and physical health of African people. The effects of this genocide impact all areas of African life: religion, heritage, tradition, culture, agency, self-determination, marriage, identity, rites of passage, and ethics. And finally acts to marginalize Africans from their historical trauma and historical glory. This study does not seek to promote a binary or Manichean history, but moreover a lens for looking at patterns of persecution from within an authentic African centered framework. 
The African Holocaust or Maafa, is a crime against humanity and is recognized as such by scholars, who have documented the primary culpability of mainly, but not limited to, Europeans in the ongoing Holocaust against African people. [note] Slavery corrupted and stripped both the enslaved and the slave master of their humanity and dignity.
The African Holocaust has represented an existential threat to the peoplehood and agency of African people for the past 500 Years of world history. Africa is the most exploited continent in the history of humanity; more human victims have been procured from Africa than all the continents of the world combined. The consequences of this drain in human and mineral resources is one of the major factors in the global condition of African people.
However, this history would be incomplete and distorted, without also reflecting on the acquiescence; collaboration, rape, genocide, slavery, corruption, and warfare that Africans, as free agents, as members of nations and native religions, have also engaged in.  Moreover, it would be morally reprehensible to neglect the contemporary trade in Africa, xenophobia and genocide in the African communities perpetuated by Africans themselves against other Africans.
A GREAT TRAGEDY
The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny, and it is useless for the innocent to try by reasoning to get justice, when the oppressor intends to be unjust–Aesop’s Fables
The African Holocaust is the greatest continuing tragedy the world has ever seen. It was also the most impacting social event in the history of humanity. Not only in terms of scale but also in terms of legacy and horror. It is a Holocaust which is constantly denied, mitigated and trivialized. It is estimated that 40 -100 million people were directly affected by slavery via the Atlantic, Arabian and Trans-Saharan routes.
The Maafa reduced humans with culture and history to a people invisible from historical contribution; mere labor units, commodities to be traded. From this Holocaust/Maafa the modern racial-social hierarchy was born which continues to govern the lives of every living human where race continues to confer (or obstruct) privilege and opportunity.
And because the African Holocaust is rarely treated as a continuous history, worthy of an ongoing discourse, the inter-relations and the agents of this Holocaust escape treatment. It makes it easy to make people see slavery, colonialism, apartheid as divorced from one another. Treating them as isolated studies, often misses the pattern of white supremacy throughout African history.
And in the 21st century the legacy of enslavement manifest itself in the social-economic status of Africans globally. Without a doubt Africans (as well as Native Americans and Australians) globally constitute the most oppressed, most exploited, most downtrodden people on the planet; a fact that testifies to the untreated legacy of Slavery, colonialism and apartheid. Not only is this reality in the social-economic spectrum, it is also experienced in the academic and political value the Maafa receives compared to the Jewish genocide. While African people are told to “move on from slavery”, Jewish holocaust is a staple of World history.
Europeans and Africans had a longer history of interaction than most of us realize, just not with West Africa. The issue with Europe started when the trade was dominated by slaving. Propr t that Africans and Europeans were more or less seen as equals: Same with Arabia. And today the issue with China and everyone else Africans do business with is the nature of the trade. And it is critical to understand this because if you do not then we missing the entire point. This sentiment is mentioned in the body of this article but it has to be discussed independently because it is critical to understanding Africa’s underdevelopment now and then. ‘The gun-slave cycle was not sustainable, it depleted Africa while empowering Europe. Same with the trade with Arabia. Greed on the part of Europeans, myopic stupidity on the part of Africans. And once the trade in African bodies escalated there was no way out for African nations: We got weaker, as they got stronger.
And today we have such low self expectations that any crumb they throw our way we take for the cake of freedom. Bad rum, old guns, and lazy horses are some of the crumbs that we traded for our people. Satisfied with very low returns and today it is no different. If they put Obama in office or give Denzel and award that is enough to settle us down. Crumbs, mere crumbs cool our passion. In South Africa all they have to do is open a new mall and let us mop the floors and we are off celebrating the crumbs.
Until the Story of the hunt is told by the Lion, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter–African Proverb
No one is discussing slavery from a purely neutral point of view. And we need to smash this idea of “Zero bias”, there is nothing about anything in human life that transcends bias and agendas. Especially when discussing a topic like slavery which has in all the firewood of controversy–race, religion, economics and politics. So who is so above all of this to exist on Earth and be immune from bias? So the only valid discussion in this arena is balance. And any progressive society must be sensitive to the African voice, the voice of those victimized by the Maafa. And that does not mean the voice of the African on the European payroll, or the one handpicked by BBC, but the authentic independent African conscious voice.
Not all words spoken are equal: Some words come from a mind that has studied, from a body that has traveled a 1000 miles, from eyes that have witnessed, from a tongue that has eloquence, from a heart that has passion and from a soul that has sincerity–Alik Shahadah
Yet some still continue to assume only European scholars, by virtue of their book sales and support by Ivy league universities represent a “standard” in truth. The only ones who can offer the world anything serious to the discussion of slavery. And in this is maybe one of the great legacies of marginalization which is an direct and ongoing outcrop of White Supremacy, where “truth, and norms” are issues by White establishments. Yes, they also include some African authors, but the benchmark or system of verification(like the systemic racism which operates under the cover of neutrality on sites like Wikipedia, is white. Reliability of anything is still resting with White scholarship and their politics. And this is a serious challenge to African agency and anything authentic.
In its quest for certainty, Western philosophy continues to generate what it imagines to be colorless and genderless accounts of knowledge, reality, morality, and human nature.–Alison Baile
The authentic study of Africa is often masked with political or emotional objectives; whether these objectives are Islamaphobic, anti-African, European supremacy, Afrocentric, “Black” supremacy or a Zionist agenda  Because of the contemporary implications, it is a deeply political discourse with no clear “good vs. bad” guys, but competing agendas. It is critical to deal with these agendas in seeking any sort of authentic and balanced understanding of the Maafa. The other ploy, statistical downsizing, serves to lessen the volume of Africans impacted by enslavement (Holocaust denial).
There is also a linguistic tone which takes away the humanity of African people by referring to enslaved people as “slaves” and “black African slaves.” It reaffirms Africans as history’s slave pool; mere commodities, black bodies without history and higher destiny. This orientalism is evident in most Eurocentric studies by celebrated white historians on African and Arab slavery. But murderers don’t get off by pleading to the judge that someone else committed an equally bad murder, or that the murder was less severe because the victim’s parents handed them the knife.
On the other side, almost every single European-run historical discourse, led by the likes of John Thornton, attempts to reduce the impact, severity and legacy of the African Holocaust. Normalization white-washes slavery into:
“Everyone did it; it is part of world history.”
“Africans sold Africans to Europeans so they are just as guilty.”
Arabs did it first
“Without African involvement they could be no slave trade(Thornton)”
While Thornton may be correct, it does not absolve the continued benefits Europeans have gained and continue to gain from enslavement of African people. No other nation still inherits the wealth of their former slaves like the West. If a young girl is sold into prostitution by her own parents, the pimp must still pay for the suffering he caused the young woman. He can’t simply say, ‘Her parents made a deal with me, so you should stop the blame game.’”It is obvious that Afrocentrics and other pro-African groups play binary blame games, while denying African culpability and agency.
Their objective is to make Africans the victims, and even when Africans are accountable for horrendous acts, they still place responsibility outside of Africa (it was the foreign religions and culture). But this neglects and tramples African agency, because it reaffirms the child-like canard of African people: incapable, and impressionable. Africans are not impressionable children who are “influenced” by everything that blows into Africa. While this argument often comes in the box of “consciousness,” in reality this attitude of “they did this to us” only reaffirms Arab and European superiority; to have so much power to control every last action Africans have ever done.
And on both sides of the debate, in an attempt to hold onto that romantic notion of self, jump through hoops to explain away reality. However, we cannot escape that Africans, as full and uninfluenced people, did engage in the African Holocaust; and are fully, although not equally, responsible for their partnering with the Atlantic and Arab slave system. Because there was no opportunity, in the early days of the trade, to suggest that Africans were tricked or bewitched into supplying Europeans (unless we are suggesting African people are a child like race) so those few that agreed to this trade in flesh were active participants.
The European controlled slave trade was not some private venture divorced from church and state. That church and state was a representation of “the people.” It represented the wealth and security of Western nations. As such the vast majority of Western Europeans and their descendants globally profited from slavery—a privilege people of European ancestry still enjoy at the expense of African development. And yet some still suggest avoiding discussing slavery as to not hurt their feelings.
While Africans and Europeans were jointly involved in the Atlantic slave trade; it was Europe that dominated the connection, vastly enlarged (from a crack to a canyon) the slave trade, and continually turned it to European advantage and African disadvantage. Basil Davidson states that within both European and African institutions there were also differences, and these differences, however “minor,” created a decisive outcome, which allowed European total domination evolving into colonialism and today’s neocolonialism.
With neocolonialism came the proxy puppet African elites who are direct ideological descendants of the African slave trading elite. But the total percentage of involvement and profits from that involvement gained by Africans engaged in selling other Africans is infinitesimal. It accounts for maybe 1% of the billable slave hours in the working life of a first generation enslaved African. It accounts for 0% of the billable hours for the many generations of Africans enslaved on European owned plantations, and the years of exploitation after emancipation. How then are we calling it a partnership of equals?
[To] see Africans as partners implies equal terms and equal influence on the global and intercontinental processes of the trade…Africans had great influence on the continent itself, but they had no direct influence on the engines behind the trade in the capital firms, the shipping and insurance companies of Europe and America, or the plantation systems in Americas. They did not wield any influence on the building manufacturing centers of the West
As unethical as it sounds, no degree of slavery in Africa would have destroyed Africa as a continental political force. It is when African talent started being exported out of Africa, that African underdevelopment from a political, economic, and social perspective became an issue. This issue of emphasis creates a peculiarity that seems unique to Africa, but all over the world, in every single conflict you will find weak or greedy members of that community who side with oppression—why is Africa any different? What is true for the African is 100% true for the Jew. So the biggest manipulation is not so much in the facts, but in the weight or emphasis of “they sold each other.” Also, most enslaved people in the West were in that state for all of their lives by European process, not African.
Those who were captured in Africa were touched by the African component briefly– and never again in the history of their enslavement. African involvement, while shameful, was hardly a partnership in Holocaust, beyond the initial capture and sale. And Europeans also have this tradition of underplaying their role in direct capture. But it is a fact that in the early days, and especially in the later (peak) days of the slave system, Europeans directly procured captives. (Bailey 2005)
The distant Arab slave trade with its states in Zanzibar have long vanished from the economic-political landscape. But the wealth of Great Britain and France continue uninterrupted. The governments, churches, businesses, royal decree, that funded and approved slavery remain unaltered.140 million Africans in the Western Hemisphere, representing around 14% of the world’s population are the visible consequences of Western Slaving and this is not only a numbers issue,
There is no escaping African culpability in the “destruction” of Africa. The failure to form unity around spheres of interest when faced with a formidable foe is a failing Africa cannot escape. Greed and corruption continues to adversely poison the hope of Africa, even today. And no degree of historical revision can wash out or dilute aspects of African partnership in the African Holocaust.
But we should also balance the exception vs. the rule vs. a phenomena. as this Diaspora also represent the absolute bottom of every social-economic graph. All of this is necessary to show the backdrop to the attitudes and motives for the “new” focus on Arabs. And when we look at the principle authors of this “new” study we see the hands of people like Bernard Lewis (an ardent orientalist, and Zionist) as the prime authority even Afrocentrics are reading.
Yes, people did sell their family into slavery, yes kings did invade and use other ethnic groups for a slave pool. But it is inaccurate to highlight this as the African norm (as Dr. Akurang-Parry says). Nor should we confuse a phenomena as the natural way in which African people lived for millennium. We should not make Africa a monolith, and ignore other forms of social inequity and violence in native African communities, which predate any influence of Arabs and Europeans. Africans, like people all over the world have the same human nature, which can be both creative and loving, as well as destructive and inhumane.
But it is utterly dishonest to compare the capitalist-driven actions of Western Europeans, with the mainly duress-driven actions of a community being forced to sell their neighbors (or even their own children) into slavery for fear of the entire family being sold. To compare these circumstances as equal is moral reprehensible. What happened in Africa was a Holocaust, and victims were not limited to those being shipped across the Atlantic to European plantations or the salt marshes of Iraq— A large percentage of the trauma was experienced inside of the slaving zones.