Dakhla Oasis, in the Libyan Desert, was incorporated into Egypt in the Old Kingdom, and has been the site of Egyptian, Roman, Arab, and Ottoman settlements.
Good piece however moving forward into the future we need to stop using the term Sub-saharan which msy have its roots with eurocentric colonial Ethnographers. As Africans were living in the Sahara and all over Africa long before it ever became desert. Additionally Africans are not Sub anything. To be African is to be human in it’s truest sense.
In the past it has been a posh idea that all civilizations came from the great empires of Egypt, but scholars are beginning to realize it was a little more complicated then that. From that idea many art historians made the mistake of assuming all African art stole ideas from Egypt. As uneducated g uesstimates are wont to do, these assumptions turned out to be misleading. Not to mention, lest people forget again, Egypt is part of Africa anyways! It is even possible that the infamous Cleopatra herself was black since the country was a mix of several ethnicities, and many scholars even speculate that Egypt population was mostly black.
While we do already know a lot about Egypt, a lot of the details of African history remain somewhat of a mystery. Although we are learning more as further archaeological, epigraphic and modern studies explore the paste, there is still much to discover. Without specific evidence and timelines linking the influences of art styles, it is impossible to make accurate assessment of how much one culture influenced another.
Where we see similarities in style between ancient West African art and Egyptian art, it may be just be a coincidence. Grouping African art together due to “similarities” in styles has been a mistake art scholars have committed frequently in the past when examining African art. As a result many people group a lot of African art together. For example, the average person may think all African masks are all similar in style, but when you look at African masks made by different tribes you see huge stylistic differences.
Also, it is also not always definite where works found in Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa originated. When we find certain works with striking similarities between cultures, it is possible these items were used as trade. Although Sub-Saharan Africa is inhospitable now, in ancient times the desert was actually well water ed route by the Nile Valley and Red Sea Hills, so trade between civilizations was conducted regularly. Read More
In Racism in a Racial Democracy, France Winddance Twine asks why Brazilians, particularly Afro-Brazilians, continue to have faith in Brazil’s “racial democracy” in the face of pervasive racism in all spheres of Brazilian life. Through a detailed ethnography, Twine provides a cultural analysis of the everyday discursive and material practices that sustain and naturalize white supremacy.
This is the first ethnographic study of racism in southeastern Brazil to place the practices of upwardly mobile Afro-Brazilians at the center of analysis. Based on extensive field research and more than fifty life histories with Afro- and Euro-Brazilians, this book analyzes how Brazilians conceptualize and respond to racial disparities. Twine illuminates the obst acles Brazilian activists face when attempting to generate grassroots support for an antiracist movement among the majority of working class Brazilians. Anyone interested in racism and antiracism in Latin America will find this book compelling.
Two black men turn themselves in after spraying a swastika on Brazil’s most powerful symbol of black resistance; didn’t know what swastika meant
Note from BW of Brazil: Ya know, when stories like this one break my reaction is always the same. First, a sort of & ldquo;wow, really???” And then I usually like to wait for more information before sharing it here. First to wait for any new developments on the stories and to see what the reaction to first report is. So when I got the first details of this story, again, a few thoughts. 1) “Here we go again.” 2) Racist neo-Nazi displays are more common than people like to imagine in Brazil (last week, for example), 3) theMonth of Black Consciousness starts in a little more than a week and 4) this is maybe the third or fourth time that this particular statue has been attacked in Rio. Again, not too shocking.
Then as I began to read the story I took a look at the first photos of the man who was thought to have sprayed graffiti on the monument to Zumbi, Brazil’s most important black resistance symbol, and from the photo that blurred out the man’s face I saw enough skin that I thought the man was black. The next day after the men responsible turned themselves in I saw that both of them were indeed black. After an initial “what”, I quickly snapped back into reality. After all, in a Brazil where so many persons of visible African ancestry don’t see themselves a black, where black people insult other black people (here and here, for example) and a great number of police responsible forhostility against and murder of young black men are indeed black, this shouldn’t actually come as a surprise. Even so, the incident is very revealing about the psychological state of Afro-Brazilian masses.
The fact is that black Brazilians receive less education than white Brazilians and the education that they do receive and the media are overwhelmingly Eurocentric. Yes, there is a law that mandates the teaching of African and Afro-Brazilian History and Culture but due to teacher ignorance, a lack of desire to approach the topic, as well as a lack of materials lead to a more than 10 year law that has yet to be fully implemented. And again, beneath the facade of the non-existence of racial problems because “we’re all mixed”, white Brazilians will freely point out problems and contradictions within the Afro-Brazilian community.
If one pays attention to various online comments section of various websites, s aid person is sure to come across opinions of many white Brazilians who see a contradiction in black Brazilians pounding their chests and proclaiming “orgulho negro” (black pride) when so many choose not to marry people of their own race. White Brazilians also are quick to point out that black Military Police are often responsible for the murders of black youth. As such, while it’s easy to point to the evils of supposedly more racially hostile countries in a manner that is favorabl e to Brazil, on the other hand, within these comments people are perhaps inadvertently pointing out how Brazil’s particular strain of racism has in many ways left a population of would be blacks unprepared to deal with issues of racism and self-esteem. Add to this a failed education system that not only under serves its students but also renders this population invisible and we can understand how incidents like the one featured below can happen. Story here: http://wp.me/p1XDuf-5Bh
The Benin Expedition of 1897 was a punitive expedition by a United Kingdom force of 1,200 under Admiral Sir Harry Rawson in response to the defeat of a previous British-led invasion force under Acting Consul General James Philips (which had left all but two men dead). Rawson’s troops captured, burned, and looted Benin City, bringing to an end the west African Kingdom of Benin. As a result much of the country’s art, including the Benin Bronzes, was either destroyed, looted or dispersed.
September 9th, 1897, Omo n&rsquo ;Oba Ovoramwen is taken out of Benin by a NCPF: unit of sixty men commanded by Captains Carter and Henniker to Gele-Gele port, and transferred on to a Protectorate yacht on the final journey (exile) to Calabar.
Phillips’s objectives, as stated in a letter dated the 16 November 1896) were finally achieved. The city had been ‘visited’ (invaded and captured), the ‘obstruction’ (Omo n’Oba Ovenramwen) had been removed and the `ivory’ (treasuries of Benin kingdom: Artworks, sacred and religious items, mnemonics and visual history, including personal effects) in his Palace stolen.
Some of the ivory was shipped to England, and a fraction of it finally auctioned in Paris to pay for the ‘visit’. A reference book has it that a large collection of art from Benin is brought to France; these works influence the artistic and formal concerns of modern artists, especially Pablo Picasso and the Cubist.
Source: British mus eum
Young people of NGO conduct interviews with residents of one of Rio’s most famous neighborhoods to map the legacy of African culture.
Note from BW of Brazil: This sounds like an exciting project and I am definitely look forward to seeing its results! Brazil, in a very general way, has a problem with the importance of its African-derived legacy and this cultural heritage is often a source of embarrassment and shame for those who have been indoctrinated with negative stereotypes that have been passed down from one generation to the next. One glaring example of these negative stereotypes is the ongoing assault and demonization of Afro-Brazilian religions. Of course one project by an NGO can’t possibly turn around centuries of prejudice disseminated throughout Brazilian society, but it’s good step in helping some young people learn the importance of this legacy. Full story here:&nb sp;http://wp.me/p1XDuf-5B6
KATANGA’S FORGOTTEN CHILDREN
During the 1970s, an increased demand for copper and cobalt attracted Japanese investments in the mineral-rich southeastern region of Katanga Province. Over a 10-year period, more than 1,000 Japanese miners relocated to the region, confined to a strictly male-only camp. Arriving without family or spouses, the men often sought social interaction outside the confounds of their camps. In search of intimacy with the opposite sex, sometimes resulting in cohabitation, the men openly engaged in interracial dating and relationships, a practice mostly embraced by the local society. As a result, a number of Japanese miners fathered children with native Congolese women. However, most of the mixed race infants resulting from these unions died, soon after birth. Multiple testimonies of local people suggest that the infants were poisoned by a Japanese lead physician and nurse working at the local mining hospital. Subsequently, the circumstances would have brought the miners shame as most of them already had families back in their native Japan. The practice forced many native Katangan mothers to hide their children by not reporting to the hospital to give birth.
Today, fifty Afro-Japanese have formed an association of Katanga Infanticide survivors. The organization has hired legal council seeking a formal investigation into the killings. The group submitted official inquiry to both the Congolese and Japanese governments, to no avail. Issues specific to this group include having no documentation of their births, since not having been born in the local hospital spared their lives. The total number of survivors is unknown
…our struggle to defend the trees and the forest is first and foremost a democratic struggle that must be waged by the people. The sterile and expensive excitement of a handful of engineers and forestry experts will accomplish nothing! Nor can the tender consciences of a multitude of forums and institutions — sincere and praiseworthy though they may be — make the Sahel green again, when we lack the funds to drill wells for drinking water just a hundred meters deep, and money abounds to drill oil wells three thousand meters deep!
As Karl Marx said, those who live in a palace do not think about the same things, nor in the same way, as those who live in a hut. This struggle to defend the trees and the forest is above all a struggle against imperialism. Imperialism is the pyromaniac setting fire to our forests and savannah.
Foreign Language Oscars 2015: Africa
These are the five African films submitted to the Academy for the Foreign Language Oscar.
Mauritania is submitting for the very first time!
Egypt, The Factory Girl (dir. Mohamed Khan)
Ethiopia, Difret (dir. Zeresenay Berhane Mehari)
Mauritania, Timbuktu (dir. Abderrahmane Sissako)
Morocco, The Red Moon (dir. Hassan Benjelloun)
South Africa, Elelwani (dir. Ntshavheni wa Luruli)
October 21st 1956: Dedan Kimathi caputured
On this day in 1956 a primary leader of the Mau Mau rebellion, Dedan Kimathi, was captured, essentially signalling the end of the uprising. The conflict occurred in Kenya as a rebellion against British colonial rule by groups of Kikuyu Kenyans collectively refered to as ‘Mau Mau’. With its origins in 1947, the Mau Mau originally targetted Kenyans who collaborated with the British, then began attacking Europeans. Fullscale war broke out in 1952, with the colonial governor declaring a state of emergency and calling in British reinforcemensts. The British response to the rebellion was brutal, with thousands of suspects (many of whom were innocent) being held in camps, tortured, and killed. War crimes were committed on both sides, with the Mau Mau, as well as the British, regularly torturing captives and brutally killing civilians. The Mau Mau were not the only protestors against British colonialism, with political figures like Jomo Kenyatta consistently pushing for political rights and land reform. However Kenyatta was imprisoned (he is now widely believed to be innocent) as a Mau Mau conspirator in 1953 and was not released until 1961. By the time of Kimathi’s arrest, and subsequent execution, the Mau Mau forces had dwindled. However opposition to British rule continued after the end of the rebellion, and the state of emergency declared due to the Mau Mau was not suspended until 1960. After this, the process of independence for Kenya began, with Kenyatta taking a prominent role. Independence was finally achieved in 1963, and Kenyatta became the leader of the new nation. The legacy of the Mau Mau Rebellion has been a divisive one, with supporters of the British regime portraying it as a story of heroic Europeans defeating bloodthirsty Kenyans. However in Kenya the Mau Mau are remembered as freedom fighters, and more recent accounts have revised the traditional narrative and emphasized the exploitation and oppression of Kenyans under colonial rule.
DISMISSING THE PROTEST AGAINST “EXHIBIT B” AS CENSORSHIP IS SHUTTING DOWN THE VERY CONVERSATION ABOUT RACE THAT WAS INTENDED.
The cancellation of the Barbican show “Exhibit B” has brought out a near unanimous closing of the ranks amongst self-appointed defenders of liberal arts. Only one view is acceptable, it seems, and any diversion from this position is being derided and dismissed.
Received wisdom - judging from the stern commentaries reminding everyone to toe the line - has it that this is about censorship, a crime against free speech and the rule of the mob, and thus must be vigorously opposed.
Firstly, can we be clear and accurate about what has actually happened? Then we can argue about interpretation. The show has not been banned, nor has it been censored. The Barbican decided on its own to cancel the show after a five-week protest campaign. During this time the protest organisers co rresponded and met with the Barbican board, organised a march and rally outside the Barbican Centre, raised over 20,000 petition signatures calling for the show to be reconsidered, took part in a heated public debate which was overwhelmingly in support of a rethink, and, lastly, led a peaceful protest outside the venue on the opening night, during which the show was finally cancelled.
The Barbican’s press statement claimed, “it became impossible for us to continue with the show because of the extreme nature of the protest and the serious threat to the safety of performers, audiences and staff.” Let us return to that, because it is a masterpiece of mendacity and spinelessness.
For now, we need to discuss censorship itself. Because it is a very narrow definition that is being bandied around in the current rash of outraged articles (which, by the way, all direct their ire at the protestors rather than the institution. Nowhere have I read, “Shame on you Barbican for caving in!” which is where anyone who actually meant what they said would aim their anger.)
Any discussion of censorship is meaningless without a discussion of power. It’s not just a case of, “I should be able to say what I like in a free society!” Of course you should. But in the arts who gets to choose what gets seen and who gets to see what gets shown are vital questions that are usually overlooked. Not everyone’s ideas are given space to exist when it comes to vital questions of funding and commissioning.
This power to set the agenda and frame the debate is crucial. I can imagine, argumentum ad absurdum, a ruthless dictatorship that permitted free speech for the ruling classes. A civil protest tries to shut down a show patronised by the rich that pokes sadistic fun at the misery of the poor. Outrage ensues - “an attack on free speech! The values of our free society are under threat!” Alternatively, would anyone now genuinely try to defend a show in, say, Nazi Germany, that portrayed Jews in an unsavoury light on the grounds of free speech?
Predictably, amongst the outraged commentaries there have been several disingenuous references to the Holocaust and to films such as Schindler’s List - the implication being that “Jewish people can handle talking about their collective trauma, get over yourselves Black people!”
Can anyone seriously imagine the Barbican commissioning a show that had live Jewish actors in striped pajamas reenacting scenes from Auschwitz? All lying naked in a pile inside a gas chamber, for example? Directed by a German gentile? (“What? How can you make reference to his ethnicity! It makes no difference to the work!”)
*(Interestingly, Jewish people did react, and quite strenuously, to the Tricycle Theatre’s recent request that the forthcoming Jewish Film Festival decline from receiving funding from the Israe li Embassy in light of the ongoing civilian massacres in Gaza. Despite the theatre’s offer of replacing the funding themselves the festival organisers decided to pull out completely. This was then portrayed as anti-semitic censorship and utterly condemned by Zionist writers at the Guardian and other bastions of the liberal arts establishment. The Theatre was forced to climb down. Such is the neoliberal hall of mirrors we live in today: every act can be deconstructed and even genuine acts of political commitment can be recast and vilified as censorship.)
Aside from the degrading humiliation on display, the key issue that protestors had with this show was that it was yet another example of the wearyingly familiar, singular story of Black victimisation, Black suffering and Black pain. It is a selective and outdated narrative and we are tired of it. London is one of the most diverse cities in the world and one that is at the leading edge of thinking about race. That is precise ly why this show couldn’t go on here. It might appear novel to be reminded of Black suffering in Amsterdam (where they still have the blackface Zwarte Piet tradition, which continues despite widespread condemnation) but we don’t need to see Black people in cages in order for Whites to learn about racism here in London, thank you very much.
Brett Bailey claims he sought to challenge perceptions and inspire debate about racism and the ‘objectification’ of human beings, not to simply shock or offend. But the delicious irony is that the issues the show raised are much bigger and more potent than he could ever have imagined. The shock has been his own at the size and passion of the protest and the show’s cancellation. The challenge has been to the institutional White privilege of the UK arts establishment, and the inspiration has come from Black (and White) people who have been moved to make their voices heard and claim back a just little bit of public space from the ongoing dominant racist hegemony that is the institutional White gaze.
The only thing that has been censored - by the liberal arts establishment and all who cry foul and speak of the dangers of censorship - is the necessary debate about race, representation, access, power and privilege. No-one has mentioned these issues in all the spluttering, offended commentaries. If Bailey genuinely wanted to provoke a discussion about these matters then he got one - it’s just not how he imagined and is more unexpectedly volatile than he anticipated. The protest is now as much a part of the artwork as the artwork itself. Your show was unwittingly successful, Brett! The people have spoken! Now, you speak truth to power and let’s have that discussion you claim you wanted to inspire.
Yet instead of engaging with the issues his art raises Bailey hides behind wounded articles about free speech and makes statements such as this: “I shudder to think tha t an artwork made in love against the hate of racism could spark a violent riot.” (Mail and Guardian SA 27/09/14)
Liberal Whites may fall for that faux bullshit but most intelligent Blacks can see right through it - demonising us as a violent mob whilst also presenting yourself as oh-so feeling and anti-racist? You predictable snake…
Bailey, the Barbican, and all the commenters are just further proving how arrogant and out-of-touch they are in being unable to face an authentic discussion of White privilege. God forbid that they should examine themselves! Instead they are finding comfort in familiar stereotypes about angry mobs of bullying Black people who presented a “serious threat to the safety of performers, audiences and staff.” Shame on the Barbican for this cowardly and convenient cover for their climb down, not to mention the missed opportunity for opening up dialogue for learning and exchange to ensure that future programming actually atten ds to the needs of a diverse 21st century audience, not just its racially monotone elite.
Exhibit B should never have been commissioned in the first place. It was withdrawn because the Barbican totally underestimated the strength of feeling and commitment to action of the protestors and got cold feet about going ahead with the show. It has camouflaged its humiliating climb down by slinging mud at the protestors and invoking familiar racist tropes about people feeling “threatened” by angry Blacks. All the liberal commenters have fallen into line and are repeating the mantra that this is all about free speech and censorship. Tellingly, instead of attacking the institution (which should be there to defend free speech and would have the full support of the police force if needed) they are attacking the protestors (none of whom were arrested, stopped, cautioned or in any way hauled up by the police), calling us “bullies” (Catherine Bennet in the Guardian), &ld quo;stupid” (Terence Blacker in the Independent), likening our protest to the fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie by the Ayatollah Khomeini (Tiffany Jenkins in the Scotsman), accusing us of “intimidation, force…violence” (Index on Censorship), and dismissing us as “a few loud-mouthed people” (Bailey himself, despite 20,000+ signatures on the petition).
The only thing being censored here is the necessary debate about White privilege. I fear that the institutional powers that could make this happen would find that conversation too challenging and too uncomfortable for it to ever take place.
Remembering African-American Victims Injured By Police Brutality In America
Rev. Earl Baldwin Jr. (Pennsylvania): Tased By Pittsburgh Police While Praying & Giving Last Respects For His Deceased Stepson In A Hospital, Survived The Taser Attack, Has Now Sued Pittsburgh In A Civil Rights Lawsuit Over The Tasing
Reverend Earl Baldwin Jr. of Pittsburgh filed a civil rights lawsuit against police after they allegedly restrained and tased him in a hospital emergency room. Baldwin claims he was trying to pay his last respects to his dead stepson when the incident occurred.
According to Baldwin, he was trying to pray for 23-year-old Mileek Grissom in the UPMC Mercy Hospital, when officers pulled him away and tased him. “I needed to tell him his family was going to be OK,” Baldwin explained to WPXI. “I was going to do everything I could to make sure they were OK.”
Video from a hospital camera shows a distraught Baldwin handcuffed and surrounded by several officers trying to pull him away from his son, and one of the officers shooting him in the back with a taser. Officers say Baldwin was interfering while doctors tried to revive Grissom, but a family attorney says Grissom was dead and not being treated at the time.
The police department has not issued a statement about the lawsuit, but UPMC refutes Baldwin’s claim. “Clearly this was a stressful situation and a tragic loss for this family,” it said. “However, the allegations about the circumstances are inaccurate.”
Tori Baldwin, Grissom’s mother, was denied entry into the hospital at the time.
Source: Carimah Townes for ThinkProgress