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Imperial Tradition in Africa

Prof. Dr. Süleyman KIZILTOPRAK / Historian

Dear Istanbulites!
In the time allotted to myself, I will talk about Africa, the colonial past in Africa, and try to dwell on its reflections on the present as much as possible. Challenges faced by Africa until 2012; We can say that it consists of the reflection of the problems whose roots are in the past to the present. When we look at the African continent, we see that its population exceeds 1 billion. Its area is more than 30 million square kilometers. It currently has 54 states and has around 30% of the votes in the UN General Assembly. Despite its very dense population, the average life expectancy in Africa is 45.8 years. Although there are more than 100 thousand dollar millionaires in Africa, tens of millions of people in the continent are faced with hunger, poverty and misery. The problems facing Africa are both its own problems and the problems of humanity.But it is also the reflection of the tangle of problems that we found roots in the last century. An African image has been projected onto us, especially through Hollywood.

What is Africa? It is a desert, it is black. It is an authentic geography covered with pristine forests where the rich and elite enjoy safaris, just as Roosevelt, one of the US presidents, hunted wild animals and posed with his feet on them. And European, or Western; describe people by the color of their skin. So African is black. When Europeans went to America, they named people according to their skin, regardless of whether they were a nation or a member of any civilization or culture, and called them Indians. XV first. Africa, which began to be captured through its coasts at the end of the century, did not allow the invasion of its interior parts for three centuries. From 1805 onwards, the African continent began to be recognised, learned and explored by Europeans. This is known in the literature as the discovery of the African continent.

As if the African did not know his own land, the waters of the Nile, the waters of the Zimbabwe River or the Niger River, as if the European from outside taught this to the African, a discourse was reflected in the literature. In fact, the intervention of all foreign powers in the African continent has something to do with the Industrial Revolution. Since its own markets were saturated with supply, new markets have been sought. Again, since their own factories met with the raw material needs, the raw material resources of the African continent have begun to be examined and researched. While this effort took the African continent back, it raised the European continent. While the human resources provided from Africa contributed to European civilization, European industry, and European nation states as cheap labor, it dried up Africa’s human resources,It has fragmented underground resources and broken their friendship with each other.

This is a brief summary of Africa’s 200-year history. When we look at the African continent before 1960, in the African continent represented by 54 independent states today, only 4 states are independent in one way or another. Egypt under British control, South Africa, which belongs to the Commonwealth of Nations but not independent, Ethiopia, which resisted Italian fascism, proved the dignity of Africa, the African people’s own freedom, independence and strength against foreign intervention, and Africa by gaining its freedom from America in 1847. Liberia, which was founded by African-Americans who were sent to or returned to the continent, is the independent state of Africa. The independence gained after 1960 is also a success achieved by these nations with great struggles and great human losses, as in the case of Algeria.

But unfortunately, many African countries have not been able to live their independence to the fullest. Because in 1960, I think, 16 African countries gained their independence, but the powers that said they have given their independence to Africa avoided operating a system that would allow Africans to maintain their own rule on their own, on the contrary, they left Africa with a mechanism that led to more conflict and chaos with its elites and rulers. This mechanism serves its own people, society.They have left a mechanism that drags them into chaos. This mechanism serves its own people, society.They have left a mechanism that drags them into chaos. This mechanism serves its own people, society.

It was operated by rulers who were alienated, who oppressed their own people like a colonial governor, who wanted to keep their own people together with taxes they could not pay and meaningless laws they could not abide by. Unfortunately, after 1960, Africa’s biggest problem is mismanagement, corruption, the enrichment of a handful of elites. A community trying to quell its hunger by providing only $1 a day, but on the other hand, with a ruling class who fled their country with tens of billions of dollars, somehow smuggled those money from their country, alienated from their own people, seeing their own people as inferior to a colonial governor, incompetent and incompetent bureaucracy and Africa came into contact with state structures that provided very scarce health and education opportunities. What happened to make Africa what it is today? Struggling with poverty and epidemics,How did the African people, exposed to poor health conditions, inadequate education, and brutal security policies in the name of safety, come to these days? Of course, there are three important points here: the first is slavery, the second is the colonial period and finally the post-colonial mismanagement.

Slavery in Africa has a feature that depletes the human resource of Africa. In the previous centuries, but in the XV. The African slave trade, which entered a new process in the century, XIX. Until it was banned at the end of the century, 50-60 million Africans were moved to Europe and the Americas by separating them from their land, place, home and family and exploited. The removal of such a serious human resource, a young, dynamic and productive population from Africa, to other lands, starting at a time when the African population was only 40 million,It left deep wounds in the minds of both those who left and those who stayed.

Unfortunately, local leaders, tribal leaders and tribal chiefs of Africa also mediated this slave trade. Unfortunately, African intermediaries were important actors in this slave trade, selling dozens of people from their own tribe or neighboring tribe, sometimes just for a rifle, sometimes for just $10. When did the slave trade end? By the time of the industrial revolution, the slave trade was obsolete when factories in Europe needed labor power instead of slave power. Now, a new role was given to enslave the African in his own country, to transport his own resources, to prevent him from using his own resources and to transfer them to other countries, namely the central countries.

I mean, dear listeners; The slave trade was abolished, not banned, by emphasizing purely human values. of Europe,or because the need for labor in the industry of Western countries arose, they wanted to seize world markets or African markets, and because they wanted to make them a consumer society, this practice was abolished.

How did colonialism begin? As I said, within the framework of the need for new markets and raw materials, the idea of ​​discovering Africa’s resources and making them known arose. They sold this information to statesmen or merchants. As a result of these, we see that the missionaries took action after the explorers. Missionaries began to go to African people to introduce some Catholicism, some Protestantism and Anglicanism. In the beginning, white men failed to spread Christianity in Africa. They then used black people again to persuade the African. They first started from Sierra-Leone, then South Africa was an important center;The black people they raised from here managed to spread this religion, which was on the verge of decline in Europe, in Africa, by interacting with other black people. I will mention some very striking numbers. While 100 years ago, the ratio of Christians to the general population in Africa was only 7%, today it has reached 50%.

Again, the proportion of Africans within Christianity, which was 5% 100 years ago, has reached 45% today.

If we take the entire Christian population of the world at 2.2 billion, 25% of this population is European today, but 100 years ago 70% was European.

These are very striking figures that show that Africa’s not only material values, but also spiritual values ​​have changed hands. Here, of course, the Christian clergy work in tandem with traders, explorers, and European soldiers. We can say that people are free to choose their own religion freely. But if this is imposed on a society, if their means are taken from them and they are left unable to farm, if they are condemned to produce only one crop, and if they have a priest who comes with a Bible to placate them,this is of course an important clue in telling the drama of these people.

On the other hand, the colonialist Western powers gave the lead to the spread of the elements of Islam that spoiled the society, not the side that held it together. For example, Ahmadiyya, Qadianism, Ismailism, and Baha’i’s spread in African countries by using very serious funds was paved the way. And this stands out as an element that disrupts, disperses and disintegrates these societies, both on the basis of thought and in terms of social peace. 30

31 There are railways only 50 km from their borders, but these railways are of no use to these countries. Well, what is it for? It serves for the transfer of raw material resources to the port. It does not help these countries to transport, trade with each other, or protect their countries. It has only one importance: to easily transport iron, phosphate or any other mineral to the port. These artificial borders in Africa have made African people fight with each other. There are 6 states that stretch along the Nile River, the Nile River passes through their own lands, and they have a right to it. However, once this number was 2.

Therefore, there are disagreements and problems between them. Again in Africa, the Niger River has not been ruled by such fragmented and different powers throughout history. A person on the other side of the same river, who goes to visit a member of his family, suddenly finds himself either in the mines or in court after being branded a traitor, on the grounds that he crossed into another country without permission. Unfortunately, these border problems in African countries actually cause serious humanitarian problems. Thus, the African can neither use his own resources nor live in peace. He becomes hostile to himself, his tribe, society, state and continent.

There is a community that has been deceived by the promises made by the colonial countries in the wars of independence in Africa. In World War I and World War II, France made 100 thousand Africans and England 400,000 Africans fight for their own purposes. Western powers forced African countries to produce a single product. They were forced to produce cotton in Egypt and Sudan, tea in Kenya, cocoa in Ghana. They produced these products and sold them to Western merchants at a very cheap price. In fact, Ghanaians will not face hunger if they plant enough potatoes on their own land, along with cocoa. Europe gave seeds to Malawi called ebter seeds. Malawi did not use these seeds. If Malawi had used these single-crop seeds, it would have faced hunger today like Somalia and other African regions.

Unfortunately, the international order established after World War II is not moral or just; It was established with an anarchic and very chaotic structure that is very contrary to human rights. This is not for the benefit of humanity. For whose benefit? For the benefit of the founding countries! To the benefit of the current 5 permanent member states! To whose detriment? To the detriment of all humanity. The African has to sell the product he produces, not according to the free market economy prevailing in the world, but subject to the restrictions of the World Trade Organization. A product produced by a whole nation is not enough for the weapons that its rulers arbitrarily use against their own people when the time comes, and sometimes for show. Products coming from abroad to Africa are not medicines or health supplies. The most important product in the foreign trade of Africans is weapons. not for their own needs,They are weapons that are intended to be used not to use against invaders from outside, but to intimidate their own people.

Africa has such striking numbers, dear listeners; Sudan, which has an area of ​​2 million 400 thousand square kilometers today, was divided into two. Neither the Sudanese government nor South Sudan know why it was divided. A split took place that was completely unsuccessful and produced more problems instead of reducing them. Unfortunately, this did not come to the fore in Turkey and people did not understand it. Neither the African nor the Sudanese understood, nor the Egyptian. In 1956, when Sudan and Egypt were definitively divided in two, all of Egypt was standing. Today Egypt stands to overthrow Mubarak; In fact, on the other hand, another state is being established in the waters of the Nile, another power is being placed, while the Egyptians are in the squares to solve their own internal problems. As if neither the Egyptian nor the Sudanese knew exactly what was going on.

However, the life of Egypt depends on the Nile. Egypt has a population of close to 85 million; all this population lives around the Nile River. These people need the Nile in agriculture, transportation, cleaning and consuming water, in everything you can think of. But they don’t know what’s going on. Today, 1/3 of Sudan’s land has been given to 8 million people. What will be the future of the Christian population still living in Khartoum, which country’s passport they will carry, it is not clear. A so-called Christian state was established in the south. A state that did not talk about the future of its own people or people with the same culture was established. Because they are concerned about which international company they will give the oil that comes out of South Sudan. There are more than 40 tribes and they all want to be ministers. Each tribe wants 3 ministries and there is talk of a government of 120 people.The tribes are fighting each other in the South for these political and economic interests. Again, the proportion of Christians in South Sudan is very artificial and uncertain. The referendum held there is not very healthy either. In the statistics of the 1930s, the proportion of Christians in South Sudan was around 20%. Still there today 31-32%

There is more than 25% Muslim population. But the Southern Christian, Northern Muslim discourse expressed to the world does not actually reflect the truth. South and North are a very mixed and complicated community. What will be the future of the churches in Khartoum and the Christians in Khartoum? These problems are not resolved. The US promised to remove Sudan from the list of terrorist states when the referendum was held. Two separate states were established, South Sudan raised its flag, but the world still imposes an embargo on Sudan. Sudan still cannot sell any goods to the world, it is still refusing from the banking system. If Sudan were in peace and agriculture could be done with modern techniques, it has enough agricultural opportunities for a population of 1.5 billion. With modern techniques, decent seeds and a productive and fertile population, Sudan’s lands are enough to feed 1.5 billion people if only agriculture is done.If only livestock were raised in Sudan, there would be no problem of hunger in Africa. But today, basic problems such as poverty and hunger await solutions in Sudan and Darfur.

I will give an example from Somalia. If any country is divided into four, it is not surprising to experience the highest level of economic distress and security problems there. In such a situation, it is not possible to control security problems and maintain peace. After the Ottoman Empire withdrew from East Africa, Somalia began to be a victim of the policies of England, which occupied Egypt, towards the region. Some of the Somali lands were occupied by Britain, some by Italy, and some by France. Finally, during the Cold War, Ethiopia guaranteed to retain some of the Somali territory. What can be expected in a country that has experienced all these negativities other than anarchy, terror, hunger, misery, ignorance and destruction? Before humanity changed climatic conditions,It should be discussed why countries that have been weakened by disintegration are helpless in such situations. As much as the colonial countries are responsible for this state of Somalia, their friends and neighbors are also responsible. Somalia has a population of 10 million. If Saudi Arabia could only meet the need for sacrifices from Somalia during the pilgrimage season, livestock in Somalia would be revived. Animal husbandry is one of the important livelihoods for the salvation of this country. These people speak Arabic, these people are Sunni Muslims, why are many Muslim Arabs and their states incapable of solving problems?Animal husbandry in Somalia will be revived. Animal husbandry is one of the important livelihoods for the salvation of this country. These people speak Arabic, these people are Sunni Muslims, why are many Muslim Arabs and their states incapable of solving problems?Animal husbandry in Somalia will be revived. Animal husbandry is one of the important livelihoods for the salvation of this country. These people speak Arabic, these people are Sunni Muslims, why are many Muslim Arabs and their states incapable of solving problems?

Dear listeners! Africa’s problem is 1-Humanity problem, 2-Muslim problem, 3-Arabism problem. Africa is not fully owned by humanity, neither the Islamic world nor the Arab world. During the Cold War, Africa had a chance; Russia was protecting these people in one way or another. When the Cold War ended, these people were left in a position without any power behind them, even for balance in the world. This people, who could not become a nation, could not form a higher identity, and remained at the level of a tribe, takes refuge in them because they have the only tribe and family to rely on and take shelter. In such an environment, interests that we can define as more primitive interests come to the fore, and these people slaughter each other and become instruments for committing crimes that amount to genocide in a cruel and senseless way.

Africa’s resources are so self-sufficient that let’s take oil, for example. Only the oil produced in Angola and Gabon is capable of meeting the needs of all of Africa. But Africa cannot use its own oil for its own needs. All these negativities return to Africa as blood, tears, hunger, misery, epidemics such as AIDS and a short lifespan. Today, the average life expectancy in England is 80 years, and 45 years in Africa. Only 13 out of every 100,000 newborns in the UK die.

Do you know how much this rate is in Africa? 10 for every 1,000 children Dear listeners! Africa has very deep problems today. It is possible to solve these deep problems. The African image was shaped around Roosevelt’s hunting in Africa, hunting wild animals and taking pictures with them; so Africa is wild,the natives have not reached the maturity to govern themselves, it is the white man’s duty to enlighten, develop and modernize this people. In Tarzan films, Africa is shown as a strange, wild, primitive community.

However, Africa has very rich soils, in some places it is possible to produce 2-3 times a year, water resources feed all of Africa, and if they are distributed fairly and regularly, they can feed a few Africans. But only if Africa shows its own strength, its own freedom, and the will to solve its own problems on its own. As a pleasing development, I should mention that non-governmental organizations in Turkey are interested in Africa. They carry out successful social aid activities in sister African countries such as Sudan, Uganda, South Africa, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya and especially Somalia. This interest in Africa, which has historical, geographical and cultural ties, should continue to increase. The fact that these non-governmental organizations operate in these places in a transparent and independent way will benefit all humanity.The facilitating regulations and guiding activities of state institutions such as TIKA are very successful. However, considering the needs, it is clear that there is still more work to be done. Apart from social aid activities, Turkey has the capacity to contribute more in areas such as infrastructure, education, tourism and health needed by the brotherly African peoples.

Dear listeners! This is the reality of Africa! This is what Africa expects of humanity! It has the ability to stand on its own feet. As long as he thinks about his own problems in a sane way and external forces allow it! 2ndApart from social aid activities, Turkey has the capacity to contribute more in areas such as infrastructure, education, tourism and health needed by the brotherly African peoples.


With the aim of revealing the genocide and massacres perpetrated by the United States, China, England, Russia and France, Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, the International Monitoring Center for Rights Violations (UHİM) held the “I Want These States to be Tried” at Taksim Metro Cultural Center !’ On Saturday, April 07, 2012, Prof. Dr. Süleyman Kızıltoprak attended his conference titled ‘ Imperial Tradition in Africa ‘.






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