When people do not know their history or it is told by their slave masters, colonizers or mis-rulers, they praise their killers and torturers as their heroes and call those in their midst who fight for our collective liberation, villains.
We have been mostly misinformed from our childhood about empire-builders and adventurers. They are portrayed as saviors, while the blood on their hands, get downplayed, if raised at all. That is the case with Queen Elizabeth Windsor who died in September, and the crown on her head, which Charlie will now wear.
We have been made to see colonization as a benign thing, and which is in the past. Even public school curricular in Nigeria after independence was won, continues to glorify those we should call out for the criminals that they were. For example, we are taught that the Scottish thief Mungo Park, who was on an espionage mission to spy for the British Empire, discovered River Niger.
Our teachers never even mention how off track he was when he claimed that River Niger and the Congo River were the same until it was debunked that the Niger and Congo were in fact separate rivers.
Instead, he has literally been credited with the discovery of River Niger, the same River that was home to Hausa, Kanuri, Tuareg, Gurma, Buduma, Toubou, Songhai, Nupe and Chamba people for hundreds of years! How did a stranger discover the river in our backyard? This so-called discoverer actually died on the mission in one of the farthest villages of Bussa in Niger state!
The misrepresentation of history is not limited to the roles of colonial adventurers of events that happened centuries ago. Recently, we saw accolades being showered on one of the most brutal dictators in Nigeria by supposedly educated Nigerians and subservient presidential candidates, a man who killed journalists, activists, students, critics, and oppositionists.
A military dictator who serially violated hundreds of court orders! The man who attempted to reduce Nigeria’s higher institutions from 28 to 5 as one of the conditions for an IMF loan.
I am talking about the politically fraudulent dribbler self-styled “evil genius” himself; General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida who killed his childhood friend and best man at his wedding, the poet, Major General Mamman Jiya vasta over hearsay of a coup plot. Sadly, today he has become a hero to several people.
This includes millennials (Generation Y) or The Generation Z who unfortunately have been denied access to the study of history due to regressive changes in the secondary school curriculum. But, even some people from the baby boomer generation, and generation X who are now old enough to be grandfathers, and who witnessed the despicable reign of the military juntas, praise villains like Babangida as heroes.
People have said a lot, about the shameless and repressive kleptomaniacs, like Babangida, that have ruled neocolonial Africa since the period of flag independence began in the 1960s. But colonization was more brutal than anything they ever did. It laid the structural basis for Africa’s underdevelopment, and with such ruthless, bloody abandon.
And, capitalist imperialism, which was at the heart of colonialism, has not ended. The ex-colonizers, who had also earlier kidnapped millions of our kith and kin, transported them like animals to the Americas and enslaved them, continue to plunder Africa’s resources.
The number one colonizer, the numero uno plunderer of African resources, the country which was directly responsible for the enslavement and death of over 50 million Africans, is Britain.
And the one whose garment and crown bore ornaments and precious stones that were stolen from the African continent, the one who supported the Nigerian army to perpetuate genocide in Biafra between 1967 and 1971. The one whose troops killed over 20,000 Mau Mau warriors in Kenya during the people’s uprising against unjust occupation from 1952 to 1960, is the one some want us to mourn.
My heart bleeds and my pen quakes with anger as I think of the endless the endless, bloodstained barbaric plunder and destruction of Africa wrought by the British ruling class, including when their crown rested on the head of Elizabeth Windsor-Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
I will never forget how devastating it was for our team when we visited the Badagry slave port in 2008. We saw the relics of the evils perpetuated by the British empire. This included a cell room for over 500 African slaves, head cage and mouth padlocks to prevent the enslaved farm laborers from eating sugarcane on the farm where they labored all day! Sharp iron for cresting the slave owners’ names on the bodies of kidnapped Africans that would be sold as slaves.
We also saw an open metal drum where every captured slave had to drink from (at once) directly like animals by the stream, while their hands were tied to the back. These our forebears were made to suffer even before the deadly voyage across the Atlantic. After the terrible experiences they faced, they were transported as commodities across the sea.
Those who unsuccessfully rebelled or became sick during the journey, were tossed into the sea, to become fish food, to the inglorious jest of loyal subjects of the crown!
I was thus shocked to my marrows when I saw the backlash against Uju Anya, when she boldly spoke out the words that must have been in the heart of any Black person who knows and appreciates the bestiality of imperial Britain, and its crown.
Uju’s words echoes in my heart: “I heard the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be excruciating,”
I really don’t know what is immoral with wishing the devil her day in hell. Apparently, most Africans chose not to read beyond the confines of traditional, caricature education in Nigeria which is purposely bereft of lessons on the real African history. They have been indoctrinated by the colonial curriculum and mainstream media to see the slave masters and neo-colonialist as heroes and excellent leaders, while revolutionary heroes and leaders of resistance are seen as villains and inconsequential minions.
The ruling class knows that the day we are aware of our real history as long exploited and oppressed working people of Africa, the dominance of their class (including the Black elite, junior partners of the imperialist overlords) over the African working people will end.
We must fight to win our self-emancipation. And this struggle includes reclaiming our history and redefining the parameters for engagement today.
It is a shame that armies of pseudo intellectuals, presidential candidates, pundits, and lawyers have been praising the queen who wore a bloodstained crown with such zest. But like I always say; to mislead a people you must first misinform them.
As revolutionaries, we must challenge the commonsense of this ideological mental slavery with the good sense of truth shone on the body of lies, deception and bondage that is all around us. This is the time to reorientate the exploited masses in African with what is missing in our school books!
As for me o, I wish the queen, the entire royal family, and their current African collaborators, Including the ones who praised her on social media or took flight to drop flowers in UK excruciating pain now and forevermore! They are not our friends. They are at the heart of our excruciatingly painful state of pauperization.
by Banwo OLAGOKUN