Life is sometimes not as black & white as we would like to make it. It’s more grey with red, yellow and sprinkles of other colors, more like a kaleidoscope. History is clear in that Europeans caused chattel slavery, colonization and neo-colonialism, however, we can’t deny the fact that European education, weapons, financial assistance, food, clothing, media, propaganda and training also helped us to defeat these very same systems. What I find interesting being the fact that most darker skinned liberation leaders were wiser to realize that they needed to work with members of the system to defeat it. Note I use the word “helped”, that implies assistance but it in no way suggests that white people were the sole reason for us defeating the system, nevertheless, the question must be asked, without their assistance would we have defeated the system?
From the very first black nation to get independence from slavery: Haiti, they fought the French with both machetes but more decisively, European weapons given by the British, Americans and Russians who were at war with the French. Toussaint Louvereture and Jean Jacques Dessalines, leaders of the Haitian revolt, were all trained by the French army in European military tactics that they employed to defeat the European French army. They even used their knowledge of European geopolitical events of the time, to solicit European weapons from the enemies of their enemies, then they combined traditional machetes martial arts with European warfare and bush craft to create a hybrid commando system to defeat the French......genius adaptation. Even Ethiopia which was never colonized, was a country consisting of a hybrid culture of Africans and Middle Easterners [North East Africans] who bought and used European weapons and training, engaging Turkish military experts and weapons manufacturers since the early 7th Century to defeat European armies.
Some of our allies in the defeat of colonialism: the Russians were European, while the Chinese got the weapons they gave us from Russian military technology, training and tactic. China itself was saved from Japanese imperialism by the American defeat of Japan in world war 2.
The point I’m making is as Africans we need to stop blackening history and using selective analysis in the same way white racists have white wash history to eliminate darker skinned contributions. As Young Africans we have to be better than the racists by being more honest, more introspective as we need to learn to have a more balanced analysis of history, processing that history into our modern day realities to chart a strategic cultural hybrid way forward that will encompass diverse tactics, partnerships and cultures as our leaders, the Ethiopians, Haitians, Japanese and Chinese did.
In as much as all white people are beneficiaries of white privilege, European systems and racist policies, their contributions in our struggle can’t be ignored because it often meant the difference between winning and losing the fight against the system, their system to be precise. In the same way Africans collaborating with Europeans in our subjugation and in their development, makes the huge difference in European progress and development.
What picture does this create at the end of the analysis, what lessons do we learn? As a disclaimer, I do maintain that European culture imposed on the world is toxic and often white people have not really created a better society but they have simply created solutions that work to mitigate some of the problems they have created with the imposition of their toxic system.
I also believe without doubt that unless this western cultured world, begins to reach out to some aboriginal and ancient traditional leaders before they die-out, for secrets into traditional ways of living to remedy some of our development challenges created by the European toxic system, the world is doomed irreversibly. The reason we would be doomed would be because the European system is too ethnocentric in its focus, ignoring vital knowledge of other cultures thus preventing them from creating a better hybrid system. The world needs a combination of cultural solutions to the problems of the world if we are to survive.
The future will be ruled by the culture that recognizes, appreciates and combines various cultural systems to solve future problems, and Africans as the most accommodating people of diverse cultures are the best placed culture to create this hybrid culture that sifts-out bad systems and keeps good cultural elements to produce optimum solutions.