“The world’s longest river has two main branches: the White Nile, which flows 4,230 miles from its remotest Central African sources to the Mediterranean, and the Blue Nile, which rises high up on the Ethiopian plateau and flows for 1,450 miles before it joins the White Nile at Khartoum. By then the White Nile has already flowed for nearly 2,500 miles.”
– pg. 2, INTRODUCTION, Explorers of the Nile, by Tim Jeal, Yale University Press, 2011
Tim Jeal begins his book with these words: “In the middle of the nineteenth century the whereabouts of the Nile’s source was still the planet’s most elusive secret, as it had been since the days of the Pharaohs.”
In the historical sense, the importance of the Nile, the world’s longest river, is that it was in the land of Egypt, where the Nile’s waters entered the Mediterranean Sea, that the world’s greatest civilization had risen, more than two thousand years before Christ. Indeed, it was into Egypt that Christ’s parents had taken Him as a babe/child in order to save Him from the mass murderer King Herod. And there are secular scholars who believe that the wondrous knowledge and insights with which Jesus Christ later captured and amazed the people of Judea, were essentially acquired during His time in Egypt.
Be that as it may, there was a concerted attempt by the Europeans to claim the Egyptian civilization of the Pharaohs as their own, as a European civilization. There was no getting around the magnificence of the Pharaohs and the pyramids, so the Europeans decided to claim them as their own. The people of Egypt in the modern, post-Columbus era are not as clearly African as they were four thousand years ago, because of successive invasions by various peoples we may consider Arabic or Asiatic. But, the fact that there were great Pharaohs who were of Sudanese origin, the Sudan being even more visibly African than Egypt, provided important ammunition for those Afrocentric scholars who began to explore and do the research which blew up the European myth of a European Egypt. In fact, DNA research has now established beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Pharaohs were more African than they were anything else.
There is a wealth of material today in various forms – books, audiocassettes, videocassettes, DVD’s, documentary films, and so on, which expose Europe’s claim on Egypt as mythical. But this material has not been introduced into the classrooms of Belize, one of the reasons being that the teachers of Belize were educated in white supremacist settings, know almost nothing about Africa and African history, and are not really interested.
In the manifesto they campaigned with for the 1998 general elections, Said Musa’s PUP proposed the teaching of African and Mayan history in the schools of Belize. In fact, Belize’s educational establishment, dominated by Christian denominations, resisted the initial efforts to introduce African and Mayan material. Elected to a second term of office in March of 2003, Prime Minister Said Musa took over the African and Mayan project personally, and made some headway, but my sense is that most of those initiatives have since been reversed.
Professor Joseph Iyo got himself into hot water and lost credibility when the ruling PUP politicians set him up with a bogus electoral poll just before the 2008 general elections, but, before that, he was a major figure in the African history project. He told me that the schoolchildren in the various areas where African and Mayan history pilot projects had been taking place, had been excited and enthusiastic. How could they not have been? Our Belizean children are largely of African and Mayan ancestry.
Personally, my education about Egypt and Africa is informal. I am not a trained academician in African history. The landscape was so barren, however, when I entered public life in Belize in 1969, that I would contribute what I knew both on the public rostrum and in this newspaper.
The Christian denominations have a problem with embracing African and Mayan history, because those Europeans who invaded Africa and indigenous America five centuries ago were professed Christians. They carried the cross with the crucified Christ while they were raping, murdering, and enslaving our ancestors. The invaders justified their crimes on the grounds that our ancestors were pagans whom they, the Europeans, were doing the favor of Christianizing.
The process of educating Belizeans about African and Mayan history, therefore, must involve and include the wider society of Belize, that is, outside of the religious/educational mainstream. This requires independent financing, and the time has come for those of our people who are blessed with wealth to contribute to this process. The scholars and the materials are out there, more so today than ever before. To bring them to Belize costs money – airline tickets, hotel and restaurant accommodations, stipends, and so on. The UBAD Educational Foundation (UEF) is beginning its sixteenth year, and we believe their record of financial responsibility has been exemplary. We ask for your support.