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Americo-Liberians

 
July 11, 2003 11:29 AM

After reading the history of Liberia, I have come to conclude that oppressed people are often like children reared in abusive homes, in that once they gain their freedom or adulthood, they end up being oppressors and abusers as well, in a disproportionate number of cases. I was shocked to learn that that the emancipated slaves from America became to the indigenous natives what the whites had been to the Africans in America...their exploiters and oppressors, for many years.

What this tells me is that EMULATION is one of the most powerful influences controlling human actions and behavior. For how can an abused individual, who suffered pain and humiliation, choose to inflict pain and humiliation upon another? How can a person who knows the terror, fear and pain of being an abused child, grow to inflict terror, pain and abuse on his child? How can an oppressed people become oppressors themselves, if oppression was so bad and wrong? But if the only lessons or emulations of life a human entity received on how to achieve an objective was through force, abuse and violence, when the human entity is pressured to produce that same objective, the lessons from its life is all it knows and thus it repeats them, I assume.

The phenomenon and behavior of the Americo-Liberians, as I recently learned, has helped me better understand why whites mistreated Africans so badly. The reason being, I now believe, is that it was a learned behavior from their oppression in Europe. Europe was a very oppressive society that had a litany of ways to torture its citizens, from being drawn and quartered, stoned to death or burnt alive. These were all practices instituted by the aristocracies and monarchies to keep the oppressed masses in line. Thus, when European were colonizing nations with the ranks of their oppressed, they simply took those lessons and became the oppressors of Africans and Native Americans, for the same objective of producing economic wealth as they learned from their oppressors in Europe.

What we have is a chain reaction of oppression being taught and carried forth by formerly oppressed people. It now makes sense the Israelis are being so brutal to the Palestinians, when one would think that as much as the Jewish people have been oppressed, that they would be extra sensitive to not inflict oppression upon others, because they know how it feels.

Not surprisingly, black violence is highest in this world among the slave descendants, who were controlled.... via violence. The oppressors used violence to control black people for centuries, thus, naturally blacks were acculturated to be violence via emulation and conditioning of our environment. Disproportionate violence in the black community of America is therefore the direct resultant of the violence perpetrated upon us by our oppressors to achieve their objectives and now black people disproportionately use violence as a means to solve their objectives.

Most oppressed people in history rose out of oppression via migrating to new lands and finding people to treat as they were once treated, thereby fueling their economic rise. However today, there are no places to colonize and takeover and use others as the beast of burden to fuel our economic rise. Thus, we are in a historical quagmire. How do we rise as a people without exploiting other people as the lesson of history shows that exploitation has fueled advancement and growth in wealth for the oppressor class?

How far would civilization be today, if not for oppression and exploitation? Exploitation and oppression has fueled the advancement of civilization, as a general rule. This makes sense when one realize that every action creates an equal and opposite reaction. Thus, as some are exploited and oppressed others gain wealth and advancement as the equal and opposite reaction.

In conclusion, I think that African Americans should remain cognitive that we are the abused children of this nation and as we gain maturity and stature, we must be resolute to not become to others, what has been so painful and oppressive to us. The consequence of this strategy is that we might NOT rise to the same economic degree as others who have oppressed their way to success, however, I think we will be a better people, if not richer, for it.

Truth is always fraught with impediments. Truth agreed with is a blessed duet. Truth confronting beloved vice will sever relationships, perpetrate flight, and uncover murderous rage. - Alexander Solzhenitsyn


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Noah The African in America

[This message was edited by Noah The African on July 11, 2003 at 09:20 AM.]
 
Vita vya panzi (ni) furaha ya kunguru. War among grasshoppers delights the crow. Msema kweli hana wajoli. The speaker of truth has few friends. ("`-''-/").___..--''"`-._ `6_ 6 ) `-. ( ).`-.__.`) (_Y_.)' ._ ) `._ `. ``-..-' _..`--'_..-_/ /--'_.' ,' (((' (((-((('' (((( Noah The African in America
 
 
Yssys (Guest)
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July 11, 2003 11:42 AM

As usual, you have given one of your insightful commentaries. Bravo! Bravo! You are absolutely correct in your assessment regarding Americo-Liberians, a term I don't like. Smile They were sent over to act on behalf of Europeans. One of the most surprising things that I discovered were the failed attempts before Liberia for Africans born in America to resettle in West Africa.
I would recommend a book called "Kinship: A Family's Journey in Africa and America" by the late Philippe Wamba. He touches on his personal experiences as being a child of an Afro-american mother and Congolese father and freedom fighter, Ernst Wamba dia Wamba. He also goes into the bigger picture of the history of African-aemricans trying to reconnect with Africa. An interesting book if you can find it.

Our people have made the mistake of confusing the methods with the objectives. As long as we agree on objectives, we should never fall out with each other just because we believe in different methods, or tactics, or strategy. We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as free humans in this society
Malcolm X, 1965
 
 
 
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July 11, 2003 1:16 PM

quote:
In conclusion, I think that African Americans should remain cognitive that we are the abused children of this nation and as we gain maturity and stature, we must be resolute to not become to others, what has been so painful and oppressive to us. The consequence of this strategy is that we might NOT rise to the same economic degree as others who have oppressed their way to success, however, I think we will be a better people, if not richer, for it.
First, I would not be so quick to oversimplify the Liberian situation as mere emulation. I think there are other factors, as unfortunate as they must be, that lend themselves to creating what we can see now.

For one, just the idea that the Americo-Liberians - who would be just like any number of present day African-Americans - were imposed upon the indigenous 'Liberian' population without extensive arrangements and contact prior to the repatriation indicates that issues of communication, isolation and hence survival where foremost. Simply put, it was not set-up correctly.

My darling Yssys, I think really has a fix on this with her opinion expressed above which coincides with her views eloquently laid out in LIBERIA: A "Back To Africa" Failure -OR- An Dream Still Deferred? :
  • They were sent over to act on behalf of Europeans.
      Liberia and other countries and colonies like it were "founded" they were for two reasons:
    • 1. To get rid of blacks in America that weren't under the thumb of European control.
    • 2. To spread the influence of the U.S. and European ideology deeper into Africa.
    I think we should, as you sort of suggest, do some deliberate thinking.

  • How would we undertake such a task today?
  • Would we do it at the insistance or suggestion of White America?
  • Would we do it right now on the spot?
  • What would be the preparatory steps if any - outside of physical logistics - that we would take?

    Now, I would ask you to evaluate the Americo-Liberian situation under that guise.

    I think Yssys again offers wisdom on this subject:
    • I think before we can go back to Africa we need to get ourselves straight here.

    • We have quite a bit of work to do before we can exodus...

    • Living in Africa is not for all African-americans. It is something that geniunely has to be worked at.

    • Getting to know everything possible about the country you plan to reside in, Culture, food, music, customs, etc. ... [we would have to be] mentally or culturally ready to live there.
    Suggesting that oppressed people once removed from oppression haplessly or perhaps even intentionally seek to oppress others sounds an awful lot like the charges of Whites who believe that AA and Reparations are "punishment" or revenge measures sought by Blacks. It is to say that there is validity to their claims that Blacks want to in-turn enslave Whites which I think most of us dismiss out-of-hand and feel that it does not reflect who we are as a people.


      ______________________________
      "At the heart of this project
      is the continuing quest to free ourselves...

      an ongoing search for models of excellence
      and possibilities within our [African] culture by which
      we speak our own special *human* truth to the world and
      make our own unique contribution
      to the forward flow of human history.
      - Dr. Maulana Karenga
      ______________________________
     
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    July 11, 2003 1:30 PM

    To continue, while I don't dispute the "learned" dysfunctional behavior or "emulation factor" you discuss, I think we can explain it in other ways as well.

    Without pondering a mess of details, I would look at both the Americo-Liberian and Israeli situation as a snap reflex of the survival reflex mechanism in us as individuals and as a group. Both were imposed or dropped in an area where they were surrounded and out numbered by people unlike them. Though kin with the native Africans, Americo-Liberians were nonetheless distant kin at best. That type of isolation and any amount of resentment from the Indigenous peoples in either case that was not contravened by Native operatives yield the same US ~ Against ~ THEM mentality we like to characterize as European attribute. It is indeed a human circumstance precipitated by extreme conditions that both of them share.

    That's not justification for either. However, the emphasis, at least to me, is on the preparation/planning or lack thereof to make a peaceful and systematic absorption process. It would seem to me that repatriation/re-migration requires nothing less and any analysis of it would have to take that into account.


      ______________________________
      "At the heart of this project
      is the continuing quest to free ourselves...

      an ongoing search for models of excellence
      and possibilities within our [African] culture by which
      we speak our own special *human* truth to the world and
      make our own unique contribution
      to the forward flow of human history.
      - Dr. Maulana Karenga
      ______________________________
     
     
     
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    July 11, 2003 1:53 PM

    I think that once we consider the fact that Liberia was the first independent African country post-Slave "Trade" in, I assume, a part of Africa without the traditional European colonial dominance (on-the-ground) we have to it just like those African governments that evolved right after the European colonial masters "left" - puppet governments.

    Liberia like most all African countries had/has its resources exploited by Europeans.

    So, NOAH you are correct in stating that there is emulation involved in the Americo-Liberian situation but it involves not only the former slave mirroring their "masters" terrorism but also their cultural constructs as well as Europeans simulating their actions there that they have done continentally and world-wide.
    quote:
    For nearly 150 years, Liberia remained a virtual American colony, and during the cold war it ranked among Washington's most useful allies. The memory of that strategic alliance sits on the outskirts of the capital. It is called the V.O.A. refugee camp, named after the Voice of America radio transmitter that once stood there. The United States has never recognized itself as an imperial power, let alone a colonial one. Even the title of "occupying power" is worn uncomfortably today in Iraq, where the now frayed term "liberator" has been the label of choice.

    ..."The end of the cold war produced a strategic disengagement, and Liberia is Exhibit A in terms of the consequences," said Chester A. Crocker, the Reagan administration's point man on African affairs. "There isn't a sense of strategic interest or a sense of historic responsibility that makes us take a more forceful stand."



    [This message was edited by Nmaginate on July 11, 2003 at 11:08 AM.]
     
     
     
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    July 11, 2003 2:19 PM

    << LINK: West Africa [Liberia] = diamonds + oil >>
    author: Wayne Madsen
      Already dealing with a demoralized military, Bush, on the eve of his trip to Africa, mulls sending U.S. troops to Liberia. He also tells Liberian dictator Charles Taylor to step down. Never mind that Bush's friends in the international diamond industry, especially the head of the Corporate Council on Africa, Maurice Tempelsman, were largely responsible for the upheavals in West Africa, including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Guinea. The diamond merchants have found it lucrative to keep West African governments unstable. They found unfettered access to the diamonds controlled by local warlords to be far more profitable than having to deal with centralized governments. However, when Charles Taylor began threatening neighboring countries's blood diamond supply lines and stood ready to upset the status quo enjoyed by the diamond cartels of Tel Aviv, Antwerp, and Amsterdam, Taylor's days were numbered. Bush's priority is to maintain leaders in power throughout Africa who will not stand in the way of Western exploitation.

      ...A Washington insider familiar with Liberia revealed that a major reason for Bush to go into Liberia is oil. Liberia's flag flies on most of the world's supertankers. "Look, the United States is about ready to start moving massive supplies of Iraqi oil on supertankers. With Liberia, the major flag of convenience for those tankers in a state of upheaval, Bush has to go in with troops. Forget human rights, that's not the issue, the Liberian Internatonal Ship and Corporate Registry must have a stable government to nurture it," the insider said.

      {Companion Article: A Sad Independence Day }


    [This message was edited by Nmaginate on July 11, 2003 at 11:28 AM.]
     
     
     
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    July 11, 2003 2:59 PM

    Nmaginate, I always appreciate your intelligence and wisdom my ndugu, but the test of true character is not measured in times of comfort, but rather in times of distress and challenge. Thus, the stress and discomfort faced by the freed and repatriated African slaves of America in what is now known as Liberia does NOT grant them deferrence from the evils that they committed, for is demonstrates a weak character formed from emulation of the Europeans in their own enslavement. Moreover, the same rationalization can be used on behalf of the Europeans, in why they did what they did to the Native Americans. Again, the test of TRUE character is revealed in times of stress and that is the ONLY time that character can be determined accurately. Just as the Palestinians land were usurped by the Israelis colonization, so to were the indigenous people of Liberia. Thus, the native people had a right to be hostile to the implanted repatriate colonies, which usurped their land.

    Truth is always fraught with impediments. Truth agreed with is a blessed duet. Truth confronting beloved vice will sever relationships, perpetrate flight, and uncover murderous rage. - Alexander Solzhenitsyn


    ("`-''-/").___..--''"`-._
    `6_ 6 ) `-. ( ).`-.__.`)
    (_Y_.)' ._ ) `._ `. ``-..-'
    _..`--'_..-_/ /--'_.' ,'
    (((' (((-((('' ((((
    Noah The African in America

    [This message was edited by Noah The African on July 11, 2003 at 01:18 PM.]
     
     
     
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    July 11, 2003 4:17 PM

    Agreed.

    My point was to say they were not prepared or rather did not prepare. A transition like that takes careful, deliberate and sustained efforts. There should have been some meeting of the minds across the ocean amongst long lost brothers. That doesn't appear to be so.

    They are guilty as charged but that was, whether out of duress or ignorance, a choice they made. You are right in saying that we should not make that same mistake. That's why I think African cultural concepts are important.

    If you brain (personal cultural decoder) is not free, you body will never be.

    PEACE!


      ______________________________
      "At the heart of this project
      is the continuing quest to free ourselves...

      an ongoing search for models of excellence
      and possibilities within our [African] culture by which
      we speak our own special *human* truth to the world and
      make our own unique contribution
      to the forward flow of human history.
      - Dr. Maulana Karenga
      ______________________________
     
     
     
    Like (0 likes)
     
    July 11, 2003 4:20 PM

    Also, considering all those other factors - Western exploitation and colonization - preparation in order to resist those forces was also necessary. That's all I'm saying. Such a move has to be calculated and not just an emoitional decision.
     
     
     
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    July 11, 2003 4:27 PM

    To what's been said, I too say, "Bravo?" Learning how things got the way they are is exhilarating.
    The current focus on Liberia augments my perspective on the relationship of African America to America

    Somewhere around 1862 - 63, Martin B. Delaney was an officer in the Union Army with a strong opinion about the future of Africans in America, slave and free. Lincoln called him to the White House conferred with him, on several occasions knowing his stance on the need for national identity for Africans in America.

    Lincoln was a strong advocate of the Colonization Movement. He sent Delaney to Western Africa "to look around and pick a place." (keyword: Martin B. Delaney) will link to the info. Delaney chose not to migrate.

    Noah is dead on the mark. The goal was to get free Africans out of America. They were spoken of and written about as "significant threats to the well-being of the United States" back into the late 1700s.

    A part of the answer on how does a people learn to avoid repeating abusive behavior lies in being aware of where your oneness lies. And of course making the conscious decision to not stand on the neck of others to maintain your stature. I submit we are doing outstandingly well. The Philadelphia Conference of Africans in America, in 1817, got us of to an excellent start as to who we are today. Three thousand free Africans in America , 1817!!, making a decision of unity!!

    I think the resolution resulting from that conference should stand next to the Constitution of the United States. Certainly it should be on the library shelves of every American descendant from Africans of unknown African ancestry.

    PEACE

    Jim Chester

    JWC
     
     
     
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