STOP-THE-WAR: Idealism And Ignorance — Part 1
On July 15, the Stop-The-War Coalition held a live hangout with three speakers: Emy Onoura, Salma Yaqoob, and Chris Nineham. The theme of the hangout was British Imperialism from the international slave trade to the special relationship, and as might be expected, not one of the speakers had a good word to say about Imperialism, even American opposition to the 1956 Suez fiasco was interpreted by Nineham as an attempt to boost the US at the expense of the UK. The first speaker though was Onoura.
Emy Onoura is the author of a popular history of black soccer players, and clearly has racism on the brain. He began by pointing out that the international slave trade was started by the Portuguese, but said the British were on the mark.
As was made clear in a recent article, the international slave trade might be regarded as the greatest crime in history, but unless your name is Abraham Foxman, you knew that already. According to this clown though, not only would the Industrial Revolution have been impossible without the slave trade, but it also devastated African societies – “farmers, merchants, doctors, teachers, craftsmen” were all sold into slavery.
Both these claims are demonstrably false, indeed it might be argued that the slave trade retarded the development of the new technologies that made Britain briefly the world’s premiere industrial economy. An ad hoc proof of that can be seen in the United States; it was the North that industrialised, that part of the country in which free or relatively free men and women could prosper, while the Deep South stagnated because of its dependence on slave labour.
James Watt was an instrument maker at Glasgow University; his invention was built on the work of the English inventor Thomas Newcomen. The idea that his steam engine would never have come to fruition without the slave trade is absurd. Onoura’s claim that African societies were devastated by the slave trade is equally absurd. The farmers to whom he alludes were subsistence farmers; the doctors were witch doctors; the craftsmen were carvers of trinkets, and the merchants, as far as they existed, were among those who sold their own kin into slavery. The civilisation of black Africa is a myth; there was none where the white man or the Arab before him hadn’t trod.
Onoura adopts the standard socialist narrative that racism, so-called, arose out of colonialism. Separate and distinct races based on skin colour are a myth. This is the most extreme form of gaslighting, or at least it was until recently, because the post-modernists are now trying to convince us that not only are biological races a myth but so are the sexes. You heard that right: sex doesn’t really exist.
The reality is that until the early Twentieth Century, no one who understood anything about anthropology would have made such an absurd claim. The Nazi abuse of race science and later the horrors of the concentration camps were carefully exploited by the extreme left to make the study of race taboo. Not in China, be it noted!
Onoura has nothing good to say about Imperialism; he even makes the absurd claim that taxation left Africans impoverished. So impoverished that a Diaspora African like himself has to eke out a miserable living as a postgraduate researcher at Liverpool University, or Liverool University according to his Linkedin entry. Onoura needs to junk all this anti-Imperialist garbage and study a couple of true black historians – the economist Thomas Sowell, who recently turned ninety, and Sowell’s contemporary Walter Williams.
She spoke about India, quoting from The White Man’s Burden. This famous Rudyard Kipling poem is actually about the Philippines, but her quote from her hero the late Tony Benn (Viscount Stansgate) reinforces her sentiment. A sixth of the soldiers who fought for Britain in World War One came from India, she said. Yes, and many served with distinction, none more so than Khudadad Khan (pictured at the top of Part 2), the first soldier of the British Indian Army to be awarded the Victoria Cross, at the First Battle of Ypres. If British rule in Imperial India was so terrible, why would any Indian native wish to serve alongside Britons?
The British looted so much from India they even took the word loot, Yaqoob says. Sigh. In this connection we can do no better than quote Professor Quigley from his magnum opus. At page 53 of the 1974 Second Printing of Tragedy & Hope, he writes: “British rule in the period 1858-1947 tied India together by railroads, roads, and telegraph lines. It brought the country into contact with the Western world, and especially with world markets, by establishing a uniform system of money, steamboat connections with Europe by the Suez Canal, cable connections throughout the world, and the use of English as the language of government and administration. Best of all, Britain established the rule of law, equality before the law, and a tradition of judicial fairness to replace the older practice of inequality and arbitrary violence.”
To Part 2.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.