Friday, September 20, 2013

Arab Slave Trade

In the 7th century A.D., the Arabs, having conquered Egypt, proceeded to enslave numerous peoples of Nubia, Somalia, Mozambique, and elsewhere, during the first Islamic expansion. The Nubians had been harshly dealt with in the fierce attacks by Arab forces. They defended themselves courageously, but faced with superior numbers and the determination of the soldiers of the jihad and the repeated assaults by Arab jihadists, the Nubians preferred to negotiate peace, concluding in 652 the treaty known as Bakht. This treaty committed the vanquished African monarch to turn over annually a supply of 360 captives to become slaves in the Arab-Muslim world. Thus it was that a large-scale Negro slave trade was for the first time invented by Arab-Muslims. I use the term Arab-Muslim because after the Bakht, this trade became trans-Saharan and Eastern, implicating more and more peoples and regions and extending far beyond the Arab world. The traders who took part were also Berbers from the Maghreb, Turks of the Ottoman Empire and Iranians, hence Persians. Many African captives were sold by the Arabs as far away as India, since the king of Bengal possessed about 8000 slaves in the 15th century. The majority of men deported at the start of this trade came from the population of Darfur. It all began there, and apparently it has never ceased.- Because the misery, the poverty, the long demographic stagnation and the current developmental delays of the black continent, are not merely the consequences of the transatlantic slave trade, as many imagine. The transatlantic drain is well known and has been debated for decades. Studies and syntheses on this slave trade are legion. And yet, even though one cannot speak of degrees of horror or a monopoly on cruelty, it is possible to declare that the Negro slave trade and the wars provoked by the Arab-Muslims were, for black Africa through the centuries, much more devastating than the transatlantic trade. Likewise the Islamization of many Negro-African peoples and all that it engendered, such as jihad, were no less the source of innumerable implosions. But to this day, only the genocide of black peoples by the Arab-Muslim nations has not been clearly acknowledged by those who research the responsible parties. Even though this crime is historically, juridically and morally forbidden.- I do indeed find the word "genocide" suitable for this unprecedented enterprise. It must be stated that the disdain of the Arabs towards Africans was also a catalyst. The famous Arab historian of the 14th century, Ibn-Khaldum, wrote: "The only people who accept slavery are the Negroes, because of an inferior degree of humanity, their place being closer to the level of animals." The question then was: how to see to it that these "animals" did not reproduce in Arab-Muslim lands. For from the outset of the slave trade, the traders wanted to prevent them from becoming rooted. Since there was nothing metaphysical about it, castration appeared to be a practical solution. And so, in this effort to abase human beings, if the Arabs sent most black women to harems, they mutilated the men, using rudimentary procedures that caused a terrifying mortality. The figures on this slave trade are quite simply harrowing.