The name Hitler does not offend a black South African because Hitler is not the worst thing a black South African can imagine. Every country thinks their history is the most important, and that’s especially true in the West. But if black South Africans could go back in time and kill one person, Cecil Rhodes would come up before Hitler. If people in the Congo could go back in time and kill one person, Belgium’s King Leopold would come way before Hitler. If Native Americans could go back in time and kill one person, it would probably be Christopher Columbus or Andrew Jackson.
I often meet people in the West who insist that the Holocaust was the worst atrocity in human history, without question. Yes, it was horrific. But I often wonder, with African atrocities like in the Congo, how horrific were they? The thing Africans don’t have that Jewish people do have is documentation. The Nazis kept meticulous records, took pictures, made films. And that’s really what it comes down to. Holocaust victims count because Hitler counted them. Six million people killed. We can all look at that number and be rightly horrified. But when you read through the history of atrocities against Africans, there are no numbers, only guesses. It’s harder to be horrified by a guess. When Portugal and Belgium were plundering Angola and the Congo, they weren’t counting the black people they slaughtered. How many black people died harvesting rubber in the Congo? In the gold and diamond mines of the Transvaal?
So in Europe and America, yes, Hitler is the Greatest Madman in History. In Africa he’s just another strongman from the history books.
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
On this day in 1960, police opened fire on peaceful anti-apartheid protestors in the South African township of Sharpeville, killing 69. The over 5,000 strong crowd gathered at Sharpeville police station to protest the discriminatory pass laws, which they claimed were designed to limit their movement in designated white only areas. The laws required all black men and women to carry reference books with their name, tax code and employer details; those found without their book could be arrested and detained. The protest encouraged black South Africans to deliberately leave their pass books at home and present themselves at police stations for arrest, which would crowd prisons and lead to a labour shortage. Despite the protestors’ peaceful and non-violent intentions, police opened fire on the crowd. By the day’s end, 69 people were dead and 180 were wounded. A further 77 were arrested and questioned, though no police officer involved in the massacre was ever convicted as the government relieved all officials of any responsibility. The apartheid government responded to the massacre by banning public meetings, outlawing the African National Congress (ANC) and declaring a state of emergency. The incident convinced anti-apartheid leader and ANC member Nelson Mandela to abandon non-violence and organise paramilitary groups to fight the racist system of apartheid. In 1996, 36 years later, then President Mandela chose Sharpeville as the site at which he signed into law the country’s new post-apartheid constitution.
“People were running in all directions, some couldn’t believe that people
had been shot, they thought they had heard firecrackers. Only when they
saw the blood and dead people, did they see that the police meant
business” - Tom Petrus, eyewitness to the Sharpeville massacre
this day in 1923, the Rosewood massacre ended in the Florida town after
raging for a week. The violence began on January 1st, the day after a
Ku Klux Klan rally was held in the area. It started when a white mob
descended on the predominantly black town in response to a rumour that a
black Rosewood man had sexually assaulted a white woman. The group of
over 400 whites attacked African-Americans who they believed were involved, torturing people for information and
targetting a family home. They then rampaged throughout the town burning
buildings to the ground, including houses and churches. The black
residents were forced to hide in the nearby swamps until they were
evacuated to other towns, leaving Rosewood completely deserted in the
wake of the violence. The carnage ended on January 7th when the mob
burned the last structures and there were no black residents in Rosewood
remaining. The final death toll was officially six blacks and two
whites killed, but according to witnesses closer to thirty
African-Americans died. A white jury decided there was insufficient
evidence and none of those involved were ever charged for their role in
what was erroneously portrayed as a ‘race riot’. In 1994, almost seventy
years after the event, the Florida legislature passed a bill that gave
each of the nine remaining survivors of the massacre $150,000 in
compensation. While it is not enough to provide justice for the Rosewood
victims and survivors, the 1994 law ended decades of refusal to come to
terms with the horrors committed at Rosewood.
has been a struggle telling this story over the years, because a lot of
people don’t want to hear about this kind of history … It’s a sad story, but it’s one I think everyone needs to hear” - Lizzie Jenkins, descendant of a Rosewood survivor
The victims of the Birmingham church bombing shall forever be written in the history books as a clear example of racial violence. However, the related killing of another young African American boy, seems to have been completely forgotten about. On 15 September, 1963, 13-year-old Virgil Lamar Ware, an eighth grader that dreamed of becoming a lawyer, was returning home from a shopping trip with his older brother, James. Virgil was riding on the handlebars of his brother’s bike when they tragically encountered Larry Joe Sims and Michael Lee Farley, two white teenagers who had just attended a segregation rally. Sims reached for his gun and shot the oblivious Virgil in the cheek and chest. He died on the Docena-Sandusky Road on the outskirts of Birmingham. A true tale of injustice, the two killers received no prison time. Convicted by an all white jury, they were sentenced to a measly two years probation.
Jeffrey Dahmer was an extremely unique serial killer, and there are many reasons why:
•Studies show that most serial killers only kill people of their own skin color/race. Jeffrey crossed these boundaries, killing both African Americans and Hispanics when he was white himself.
•Most serial killers start off abusing/killing animals. Jeffrey wasn’t like this. He performed dissections, but he never directly killed animals. He picked up animals that were already dead. He was an animal lover, and when he saw a dog being run over, he felt bad for it. He had a dog himself too.
•A common trait of killers is the ability to not feel any remorse or guilt for any atrocious acts they commit. Psychological reports prove that he did, in fact, show remorse. He was driven by his compulsions, and he couldn’t stop himself.
•While most killers are narcissistic and show off in court, Jeffrey wasn’t like this. During his trials, he sat emotionless, and didn’t wear his glasses because he didn’t want to associate himself with what was happening.
•Serial killers such as Ted Bundy showed that they didn’t want to die. Jeffrey, however, said he was ready to die. Whenever his mother called him in prison and asked him if he was fine, he would tell her that he didn’t care what happened to him. When he was killed, he didn’t make a noise, not even a scream.
•Some serial killers came from abusive homes. Other than the fact that his parents were always arguing with each other, Jeffrey was never abused.
The reading for this seminar is on South African amnesty laws:
>1980 >Be Black South African >Bomb a bar in Durban, kill and maim scores >Receive amnesty in 1994 >Apply to join the police >Police reject your application because you’re a mass murderer >Take the case to the mainly black constitutional court >Rules in your favour >We police chief now
On February 26th 2012, George Zimmerman stalked 17-year-old Trayvon Martin through a gated community in Sanford, Florida, and then shot him through the heart. Earlier this week, the U.S.
Department of Justice declined
to file civil rights charges against the killer, two years after a state court
acquitted him of murder. These are the lessons we learned in between.
I physically cannot be on Facebook right now. To actually see my mother’s friend say “Give me a child rapist as president any day” in favor of Trump over Clinton makes me feel physically sick.
This is what our country has become. This is who Trump’s supporters are. These are the ideas that they’re defending. These are the people who are willing to turn a blind eye to girls being raped in favor of protecting the white man. These are the people who are willing to look away from the African Americans being shot and killed in the streets every single day by the police and then have the audacity to say “all live matter”. These are the people who don’t care about the struggles of minorities, the poor, veterans, and the LGBTQ+ community as long as their white, middle class, privileged ass is safe in their own home.
These people don’t care about the safety of others. They don’t care about the struggles that other human beings are facing every single day in this country. They only care about themselves.