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From the Publisher

PublisherFrom the Publisher

In my three years at an American university in the 1960s, I concentrated on books, lectures, and grades. I noticed that my African friend from Malawi, the late Guy Mhone, while clearly a brilliant young man, was less focused on grades than I was. Eventually, because he could not return to Malawi after graduation in 1968 because of the prospect of serious political persecution, he acquired a Master’s and a doctorate in economics from universities in the United States. 

The point I want to make is that I regret not involving myself more in other aspects of the American university life which truly broaden one’s experience and knowledge. The two events I remember and treasure from Dartmouth were a lecture on the Cuban Revolution by John Gerassi, a former NEW YORK TIMES reporter who was intimate with the Cuban revolutionaries, specifically Che Guevara and Juan Almeida; and a performance by the Alvin Ailey dancers, who are New York City- based, I believe. Wow. Wow. Wow. They were so good. Sensational.

So, long and short, I did all right with the grades at Dartmouth, but I regret not taking advantage of non-class opportunities to expand my consciousness.

Anyway, after 54 years of this newspaper, only one Belizean school has integrated African history into its curriculum. That is St. John’s College, in 2013.

But modern technology is such that if you are interested, you can educate yourself about the history of Africa and African peoples before slavery began in the fifteenth century. I think it is generally agreed that the Egyptian civilization of six thousand years ago was simply awesome and incredible.

Some months ago, my first cousin, Roy “Bida” Straughan, was visiting from Atlanta. He pointed to his phone and said to me, speaking about knowledge in general: “Everything is right here.” And, it is, but older people like me struggle with information equipment and technology.

So, I’m talking to you younger Belizeans who are phone experts. The Europeans have been so powerful and successful in their relationship with us Africans whom they have enslaved, that they were able to distort the real Egyptian history. In fact, when Napoleon Bonaparte’s French armies invaded Egypt around the time of the Battle of St. George’s Caye, they were so astounded and angry about the African appearance of the pyramids, that they blew off the nose of one of the sphinxes with a cannon.       

The Europeans invented a term called “Middle East” because they didn’t want to say “North Africa.” North Africans (called “Moors”) ruled Spain and Portugal from the eighth to the fifteenth century.

All I want you to do, young Belizeans, is go into your phone or computer and read about Cheik Anta Diop, a Senegalese historian; Theophile Obenga, a Congolese native who is professor emeritus at San Francisco State University; and Yosef Ben-Jochannan, an American writer who was born in Ethiopia and migrated to the United States. Add the late John Henrik Clarke, a brilliant historian, to your reading list.

Doing this research is not going to change the fact that we Belizeans have been recolonized and victimized by Lord Michael Ashcroft. Doing this research will not arm us with nuclear weapons. But it will raise our self-esteem substantially, change the way we behave, and improve the way we interact with each other. Is all.

You cannot continue living your life and not attempt to find out the truth about Africa, Egypt in particular. Add Mali, Benin, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, and so on. Find out about our ancestors. The European conquerors didn’t do us a favor when they forced European blood into our African mothers. No, they violated our female ancestors, and brainwashed us into believing that we were/are better off for being lighter-skinned and so on. Beloved, search for the truth. Study Cheik Anta Diop, a great scholar.

Power to the people. 

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