Recently, Rimersburg Rules attended an intimate dinner meeting with the director of a prestigious Western Pennsylvania organization. During the dinner the director waxed eloquent about the east coast of Africa. With little thought, Rules said, “Well, there’s a great deal of anti-Indian bigotry there.” (Indians in East Africa, often tailors and bankers, are smeared as inbred, greedy, cheating and conspiring. Starting as far back as 1949, Zulus murdered 142 Indians in Durban and later President Idi Amin expelled all 80,000 from Uganda.)
It turns out “discrimination” is justified, the lefty white male director sniffed, because the British colonized Africa and the Indians helped them.
Well ... yeah ... want to know why?
In 1807 Britain outlawed the slave trade and the Royal Navy created the West Africa Squadron to intercept slavers and free Africans sold into slavery by their fellow Africans and Arabs. In 1819 the Brits were joined by the United States Navy’s “Africa Squadron” (withdrawn in 1861 to fight the approaching Civil War) first led by the legendary Commodore Matthew Perry.
Together the West Africa and the Africa Squadrons almost blockaded the north Atlantic sea-lanes and freed over 150,000 enslaved Africans. With the 1862 “Treaty between United States and Great Britain for the Suppression of the Slave Trade,” the Atlantic trade was on its deathbed.
But then there was East Africa.
Islam established itself on the east African coast during the 9th century, when African Bantus interbred with Arab and Persian traders creating a kind of Muslim super-predator class called “Swahili” — Arabic for “coasts.” According to the BBC, “Arab traders began to settle among the Africans of the coast, resulting in the emergence of a people and culture known as Swahili. In the second half of the 18th century, the slave trade expanded and became more organized. There was also a huge demand for ivory, and slaves were used as porters to carry it.”
Arabs, Swahilis and Muslim converts in the hinterlands were quite the slave traders and that caught the attention of the British.
“In East Africa a slave trade was well established before the Europeans arrived on the scene. It was driven by the sultanates of the Middle East. African slaves ended up as sailors in Persia, pearl divers in the Gulf, soldiers in the Omani army and workers on the saltpans of (Iraq). Many people were domestic slaves, working in rich households. Women were taken as sex slaves.”
The Brits squeezed the eastern slavers. Anti-slavery treaties were signed between Britain and more than 50 African rulers. Military and economic action was taken against rulers who either wouldn’t sign a treaty or broke the treaty they signed. (For example, the Ashanti Empire conducted perpetual warfare against its neighbors to capture prisoners of war it could then sell as slaves. The British ended the practice by defeating and occupying the Empire in 1896.)
And there was a lot of that. The clove plantations on Zanzibar and Pemba set up by Sultan Seyyid Said, needed labor and there was a lot of money to be made for the Muslim African leaders. The truth is there were certainly opportunists, but to the Queen and British public, suppression of the slave trade was the determining factor that led to partition and colonial rule in Africa.
Anti-Slavery? Why that’s cultural fascism, right lefties?
The Brits took over the brutal Swahili coast, Kenya, Uganda, and Zanzibar and Tanzania and the Indians helped them. Even though the Royal Navy had to police the seas for slave traffic, especially around Zanzibar, into the 20th century, the trade died out. Together, the Brits and Indians dealt an almost fatal blow to the slave trade.
When the Brits voluntarily decolonized in the 1960s, the Indians were persecuted and slavery reemerged. But that’s all the fault of white Christian males, right? Oh, and those “cheating, conspiring and plotting” Indians. Them too.
Lefties ... don’t know much ...
[This is a column of opinion and satire. The author knows of no undisclosed facts. To comment or learn more, contact Lewis at josephmaxlewis.com and click on Rimersburg Rules. Joseph M. Lewis the author of “Separation of Church and State” and “The Diaries of Pontius Pilate.”]