EGYPTOLOGY & ITS ORIGIN: THE ROLE OF AFRICAN SCIENCE By PROFESSOR THEOPHILE OBENGA
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I feel quite at ease here because a lot of memories come back. When we were at a ceremony in Ouagadougou, we saluted … President Sankara greeted the guests and he did not know me, of course, it was the first time we met each other and I introduced myself: ‘Obenga’. He said, “Ah! Watch out you! We need to talk!” “We have to talk”. I said “Mr. President, but your schedule is very tight”. He said, “No. No. We need to talk. Even tomorrow while laying the foundation of the railway tracks, we will discuss”.
We arrived next day; while we laid the railway tracks to go to Ivory Coast. I said to him “we are not engineers, how are we going to lay the railway tracks where the train will pass?” He said, “Ah! We need African creativity”. And the memory remained; he was almost like a brother, a friend, a buddy almost. Don’t forget that he was the President; anyway, he reacted like a buddy. Simplicity, familiarity, it de-complexes you from the first word, it is really rare to find that when you are at the top of power. So again Madame, with you before us as his widow, we do not really know what words to tell you. You can guess what we want to say through our silence.
Earlier before going to lunch, the lady who spoke before; I believe, presented, brilliantly, the scientific wealth, and the contributions of scholars. The entire movie we saw, the general atmosphere, everything that happened in the room is really … we do not know what else to say, but repeat. We just have to repeat because we have pretty much the same vision, the same words, the same lexicon, the same enthusiasm and the same believes. So I apologize if I will repeat some things.
Another anecdote, I was staying with friends in Washington, we said we would go to the hotel to have some drinks etc. It was winter and Maya Angelou arrived. She had no winter coat on, she arrived with her bodyguards. But me; I had my Parisian coat, I was well covered. She said, “Give me your coat, I’m cold”. And she took my coat, she covered herself. We spent the evening, listening to music, etc. And at the moment of leaving, I said “could I have my coat back, after all, it was my coat! I have no other coat”.
With her bodyguards and everyone, she said: “Follow me”. At the door of her hotel room she gave me back the coat; she said “you can take it now I’m no longer cold as I am going back to my room.” She was also a great lady, very tall, great-minded, very devoted, and very simple also at the same time. It really shows you the simplicity of great humans, the atmosphere.
And this is the simplicity that I found in Cheikh Anta Diop whom I knew very closely, who was older than me, who knew 1,000 times more than me. But whenever I had an opinion, sometimes naive, to give him, he listened. He said “it’s not naïve”, but he listened to everything. Really great men have really welcoming spirit. So that briefly said, I will talk about Pan-Africanism, if you will, and then Egyptology after.
Earlier, Madame Sankara said where we came from, where we are and where we are going. That’s the question. But let’s take 50 years; 60 years of African life, we have more experience in governance than any other people on Earth. For almost 50 years; we had founding fathers who founded the republics – They were known as “Founding Fathers”. We had “Presidents for life”. Despite being dead now, at the time they were proclaimed Presidents for life. We have had unique parties – where everyone in the country, a whole people, belongs to one party, one opinion, one slogan, etc. And we also had several parties at the same time: family, village, clan, ethnic parties, everything.
At another point, there was the “Africa of the Colonels:” that said, most of the Heads of State, came to power by coups, it was them who ruled the country. Because it was believed that the military are right, not corrupt, they do their job, give them the chance to lead Africa. There was at one point “Africa of the Colonels”, maybe some of you were not yet born, but that was the “Africa of the Colonels”.
We killed leaders, killed Kwame Nkrumah, paralyzed Sekou Toure, killed Carbral, Lumunba we don’t need to talk about, Boganda, and the last one, I could say Sankara. So we killed leaders, the African leadership was decapitated. We blocked those that promised ujamaa – Nyerere we blocked. Mandela nearly 27 years in jail, for demanding dignity and freedom and equality. What have we not done? We sang … “the glory of the African Heads of State”; this was done by the popular mobilization of what we used to call “animation groups”. When the Head of State passed, all the people danced for him. It was called “animation group”.
The World Bank came; we claim to have plans. The International Monetary Fund came; we were supposedly given money because we are in debt, even very indebted, which implies that we had the money from these institutions. In short, toxic wastes, even nuclear ones, were dumped on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, and people died. But these wastes came from Côte d’Ivoire. It was the waste from Abidjan, and not the waste from Holland that was sent. So what did we not do?
There were youth movements, women mobilized, the unions were very strong. The unions, the working class, were very strong. Many experiments have been done since the last 50 to 60 years. We almost did everything. Almost everything that can be imagined, and Africa is not advancing. Africa is in debt, heavily indebted. And Africa is poor. We have lived slogans such as: “Objective 80”, “Health for all”, and now it is “sustainable development”, or “emergence”; we do not know how we will emerge, “emergence”. In short; there is something, Africa is still the only continent, that has gone through all the experiments of governance – the others have not done so much.
We have known all sorts of systems: “President for life”, “Autocratic President”, “Presidential”, “President with a Prime Minister”, “and President with even 2-3 Vice-Presidents”. He is President, but there is a “First Vice-President”, a “Second Vice-President”, and a “third Vice-President”, a country with 3 or 4 Presidents, 4 or 5 Prime Ministers. What systems have we not we tried?
We are even the first; in comparison to Europe, to appoint a female Prime Minister! There is the President of the Republic, or the Emperor, and the Prime Minister is a woman. She was named before France. Before President Mitterrand named Edith Cresson Prime Minister, Africa had already named a lady Prime Minister, Elizabeth Domitien … (Agnes Seha). What has not been done as an experiment? Coups d’état! Civil wars! National Conferences! We did everything and there is no progress. States are fragile. We kill whenever we want. We send leaders to the CPI whenever we want. We spread disease when we want.
We eat chickens we never know its origin … Yes. We do not know where these chickens come from. So even for people’s health, food security is not assured. In a continent that has lakes, rivers, streams, where we can do extraordinary things. But there is a problem; the paths we have taken are bad ways. They can not be continued. It is as simple as that. Where are we going to go now? What are we going to do? Another national conference like in the past? Demand whose release from prison? How do we advance now? There is no plan. All these paths are worn.
Now, in the world such as … Europe or Humanity led world; one must be strong, powerful. If you are fragile, even if you are friends or what, it does not count; they crush you when it is necessary. Europe does not tolerate fragility. Europe does not tolerate impotence. Europe does not tolerate or like weakness. They used to call “Chinese fake or counterfeits”. No European can even say fake “Chinese products” now because China is strong, now powerful China everyone is saying: “we need to discuss business”, “discuss business”. They no longer say: “the Chinese that eats a bowl of rice by the day they are the Third World”. They do not say that anymore to the Chinese because they are strong. There is no friendship, there is no partner, and it does not exist anywhere.
But Africa and her leadership are still waiting for partners. Who is Germany’s partner? Are they all alone? Who is France’s partner? Who is England’s partner? Who is the US partner? Who is the Chinese partner? But Africa, as soon as we have a project, we start saying it is necessary that we find donors and partners? Who is the donor for France? They have been financially in deficit, for at least 30 years they are not waiting to be helped? Who is the donor for Germany? Did they cross their arms, saying they have plans and then waiting for donor; is it the Italian or the Greek who will come to finance them? Or is it Greece that will come to finance Germany? But Africa still believes in mythologies like this, donors, partners, etc., that does not exist.
We’ve tried almost all the paths of governance possible. We did all the drawings, and all diagrams. I do not see what else we can do. Another national conference? Another single party? We have done everything already. And it does not work, countries are increasingly disoriented. It is therefore necessary to change our perspective, change altogether our ways of governance. We can create a party, elect the Congress and you call on Mrs. Sankara to lead the Party and then run the country.
Why? Because, assuming we take the United States as an example, when we hear Bolivar, Simon Bolivar in South America saying that they are all Spaniards, that everyone speaks Spanish except Brazil, do you understand this? “We are all Spanish”, “we are Christians”, we are this. Let us unite, let us make the United States of South America. We are even richer, the forest, the mines and everything. United under one government, makes us even more powerful. People have refused unity for such and such a reason. But where are they? Like everyone else? Like the Third World with so much wealth, it does not advance either. They are dominated.
Those who made the United States of America in Philadelphia, the oldest, was Benjamin Franklin, he was 80 years old, the young man who became the first President was in his fifties, Washington, who would become the first president. The others, the technicians, the other leaders were 30 years old, 33 years old, Madison, Hamilton, the New York lawyer was 30 years old! Madison who would be the 4th American President, he was 33 years old at the time. These are young people who made the United States of America.
They decided; let’s do the United States of America. Let’s do it. “Whether right or wrong”, “Is this the right time?” Let’s do it. Not too much problem, there are not too many perfections here, let’s do that, we will be powerful first after we will see. The others that opposed the idea: ask Georgia that refused then, or Florida who also opposed the idea then, that they should demand their independence now. Will they accept? Do you think Georgia will ask for its independence now? Leaving the United States of America? Do you think Florida will leave because they did not want to be together? Do you think that they would leave now? Will they accept? They can not accept because they have created power.
If we create the United States of Africa, we are not going to make a small dam here, a little project here and there … it will be time for major development projects. We are going to make, big animal breeding projects to feed our population. From Dakar to Mauritania and to Namibia, we can create fishing companies; we have sharks, whales, sardines, all the fish in the world that tankers are killing now. Livestock, there are plains, we can fertilize the Sahara, these are big expensive projects, that we can do, the Sahara or the Canaries can become fertile again. We create great universities of technologies, sciences etc., we make space research, we master nuclear technology.
If you are weak, you are crushed, so as a precaution we need to master nuclear technology. We do great projects. We have African intellectual elites, lawyers, doctors, veterinarians, engineers, people who are competent in all fields, in tourism, in commerce, in aesthetics, in music, etc. When Africa becomes a great power, taking her destiny in her hands, everyone wins. Even Presidents for life whom we know will not be there in power, but they would also win. Because the path of red carpet is worn, it did not give Africa anything. Private accounts in Switzerland; you do have the money now, but when you are dead, Switzerland blocks these accounts, even your widow and your children are not entitled to that money. What’s the point?
It does not help at all. While you’re in power, you’re protecting yourself with MIGs, with everything, but then when you leave power; it’s like a little dog running away. So it does not even serve to accumulate so much wealth, so much military defence for you, it will not even protect you when you quit power. Those paths are old! We cannot follow those paths anymore, the youth must think about other ways forward, make the decisions that are needed, others who will follow can improve on the decisions taken, and things will change.
But we missed the opportunity to unite; instead we made the African Union, the Organization of African Unity (OAU, now African Union). But it is a structure against Africa. How do you want an African Head of State who is in office and in the union to question decision from Europe? The African Union is silent, does not say a word because Brussels pays her finances. She says: “I pay your rents, your officials; even African nations do not contribute so shut up.” If we want to develop, can this Union really represent Africa when it is funded by Brussels? He who gives money dictates his policy. Do not talk about this, do not talk about that. You cannot talk about Mugabe because he’s a demon. Do not talk about Sankara, it’s like that.
We must not talk about so-and-so; we must not talk about so-and-so, what shall we talk about then? So it’s time take stock, the roads; all the paths we’ve taken so-far do not work. Everything done for the last 50 years or 60 years aren’t taking us anywhere, it is necessary to completely change, it is necessary to precipitate the Pan-African Federal State on the continental level which, by the way already had its first President – Marcus Garvey.
He was declared the President of the United States of Africa. He was the first President. He was already there. Whoever comes, will only be the second President. Yes we are expecting the second President, the first was already there. We are only waiting for the second President. We must organize ourselves. There are historical responsibilities to be taken as Fanon said: “where is your mission?” The paths already taken by our elders did not work, they did what they could, and we will not repeat the same mistakes. Our mission, for present day African youths, is to create the new conditions that will make Africa strong and powerful.
If Africa is weak, not powerful, we can do well, we can do, so-called globalization, bricks, globalization of things … but globalization is a conflict of interests’ economic and commercial issues. We do not trade, we are not strong, they plunder all our wealth, oil, wood, fish, etc. They plunder everything. So you’re going to do another globalization? Or, another global village? I like the idea, but who is the chief of the village? You are still servants in this village, supposedly a planetary village; remember a village always has a chief.
Are you the leader of this global village? No! So you’re good at what?
We are drugged by words like “emergence” what exactly does it mean? How will they reply to you other than say “good listen, within 25 years time we will see? Good. We’ll see”. We do not plan anything. We do nothing. We have to … it’s almost a political fraud. So in the meantime; we have to make big pan-African projects. That is why I am trying to convince the high political authorities of my country, to create the largest university on the African continent. There is space, there is money, there are youths, and we can create a great university, where we teach everything from cooking to space technology. We can do that at least. We can do that at least.
The second point I want to talk about very quickly is Egyptology. Egyptology is basically a specialty of History; it is the study of ancient history of Pharaonic Egypt. And this Pharaonic Egypt lasted for 35 centuries of national life. Thirty-five centuries. If you count French Presidents; from Clovis to Francois Holland, how many centuries ago? Not even 20 Centuries. Egypt lasted 35 Centuries – of indigenous, local and national Pharaohs who ruled the country for 35 centuries. The answer to the next question is, this African kingdom was located along the Lower Nile Valley in East Africa, North East, and the Nile emerging, falling into the Mediterranean, thus along the Lower Nile Valley. The Upper Valley is Nubian, etc. Therefore, geographically it is an African country, geographically.
But already geographically; they take that away, calling it the Near East or Middle East. But the Near East, etc., what is its geographical location? We do not really know. If I am in Japan, there is the extreme West, that is to say, France and England, are they called Extreme West? Why do we call the other Far East? But we could also call that part of Europe Extreme East. It does not work, you see the psychology. It is they who are in the Middle East, Middle East, Far East, and Middle East. The rest: England, Ireland, all that are the Far West. But we do not talk about it. We do not call it as such. You can already see that it’s pure psychology… So they mean it’s the Middle East, or Far East – these are stories.
Can someone show the geographical limits of that? It is purely ideological. It is purely ideological. But otherwise, geographically speaking, physically speaking, concretely, Pharaonic Egypt was indeed on the African continent. So we’re already sweeping away the geographical argument. The next questions were they black? They created a brown race; saying all Mediterranean peoples, are the only brown races. The Greeks are not, the Romans are not. Melanin was dosed; to determine the level of melanin in the skin. They did the test in Liverpool, they did it in Manchester.
The results of these studies have been published more or less secretly. These studies say perfectly that the skin is not brown or dark; they say well, it was black. It’s written like that in English. Cheikh Anta Diop made the same tests. He asked Professor Monnaie to come see the result in his laboratory in Dakar. The result is that the dosage is very strong with melanin.
Professor Bilolo here present studied what Aristotle said in the Visor, he said that Egyptians were not just black, Egyptians were very black: “gagne mélannaise”, they were very black. It was Aristotle who said it. There are many testimonies… Herodotus who has been there, he saw the people and Pyramids, he discussed with the priests, he went as far as Thebes, etc., saw the whole country, the markets, everything. He said they had black skin and frizzy hair. So if you live in Africa, you are told that you have black skin, very black, that you have frizzy hair, like a corkscrew. If I take a hair of mine, I put it on the table, I take a hair of a white person, I put it on the table, it is clear that my hair turns like corkscrew. While that of the whites person is straight. That’s it, frizzy hair.
Now we want to straighten them. That’s it, Black ladies, they want to straighten them now to remove the friezes, and they want to straighten their hair. So when you live in Africa; you have black skin, frizzy hair and besides other authors, add that you have flat nose, that is, the simian nose, a monkey nose. Well, that’s enough, I think, to be black, to be African. That’s all. Because it is a problem of physical vision, you see that you are black, that’s all. We do not judge morally, so you’re black. They say yes, okay they were born in Egypt, okay, geographically; they were black, not exactly like you. Saying we must be careful; not to confuse language, culture, and race.
We can talk … we can all be of the same race, but of different cultures because the expression of culture is language. “The Egyptians were black, like you, they were on the Continent, like you, but it is not the same culture because their linguistic expression, the Pharaonic language has nothing to do with your languages of Africa West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, etc”. They claimed that it has nothing to do with so-called Negro-African languages. You Africans are claiming things, basically, that do not really belong to you. That was the debate, and this debate has existed since 1844, it was a German who claimed this, and to destroy what he wrote, it took centuries.
It was a German who in 1844, Theodor Benfey (Karl-Theodor …?), He had written that. He had said it without proof, but as he was a German, everyone said well. It’s very complicated vocabulary, language and everything. It was true when it was simply a false complication. But people; as they do not seek to criticize, there is no critical thinking. So they agreed and it was accepted like that. After; they created the family – how they called it, “Chamita-Semitic”. They claimed that it has nothing to do with your Sahelian, Voltaic, and etc. languages.
After, they removed the word “Chamita Semitic”. The Professor of Stanford University; Greenberg, said it must be called the Afro-Asian languages. That is to say Afro-spoken languages in Africa: Berber and Egyptian, it is Cushitic, but at the same time spoken in Asia, it is the case of languages such as Semitic, Hebrew, Babylonian, Acadian, etc.
So they are Afro-Asian languages. And as it is also claimed this time by the Americans, because of the cultural and scientific ancestry of the United States, it is also accepted with eyes closed. So we accepted that with eyes closed. Especially by non-linguists because those who describe African languages are not technically speaking – linguists, they are descriptors of languages. They describe languages, but they are not linguists. Saussure he described languages; Ferdinand de Saussure did not describe any language? But he was considered the linguist who founded contemporary linguistics. He described what language? In phonetics; can he be consider to decrypt which language? No language?
Yet he is considered the founder of modern linguistics. A child after 3 weeks at the university can describe any language. It is pure technique, they are not linguists, they are descriptors of language posing as linguists and specialists on the language of Wolof, and that language… they are not linguists. They are descriptors of languages; they cannot lead a scientific debate on the subject. I am lucky enough to go to Saussure’s school, where we learn what linguistics really is, and then the chance to have Professor Ben Venizi who described languages and did the comparison. So we learn technically, at the deep bottom, and understand, he explained well to me how it is done.
We had a big conference in Barcelona. A great conference, Professor Bilolo here present was there, and I was confronted with an American linguist professor, me I call him a descriptor of languages from Los Angeles, from UCLA. He worked with computers, he had 3 computers, and he put 1,000 words in a computer, with Egyptian words in another computer and 1,000 words of Semitic language, Acadian, Babylonian etc. And he asks the computer to give him the common roots.
The computer does the job, finds the words that matched, and it leaves blank word that does not match. When it fits, he says OK! Me I said to him that I am more intelligent than your computer, where it marks “blank”, I will fill. There will be no blank, you’ll see. And when I filled in, it’s like child’s play, when I filled in the blanks, I said now you see that the computer was right to mark blank a lot of words because they do not match, they are words that do not go together.
After this conference, the American linguist professor changed his perception; but many others have not changed. They continue; they even waged wars against us. They were 49 Western authors, they published a 400-page book and they attacked Cheikh Anta Diop, Molefi Asante, and Jeffrey, they attacked everyone. They attacked me. Good. I said, I answer for myself. Cheikh is dead, I also answer for him. I answer for the two of us. So it was even their ladies who told them that they are no longer monkeys at the edge of the stage, they are people, and we must respect them.
It was painful to say because they actually do not know. They do not know, they claim to know. They know neither the Acadian in question, nor the Babylonian, nor the Semitic languages, the Hebrew, the Phoenician. They do not know. The Palmerian, all that, the language of Christ, is Aramaic. They do not know. The Syrian, they do not know. They believe they can deceive people like that by saying, it is Semitic language. We know the Semitic language. We know the ancient Egyptian. We know the African languages.
We have the technique of comparison, so why not do the job. Basically, this debate is over – about black Egypt, not black, African, not African. There may remain some ignorance, but otherwise, as Madame said … it’s over now. It is a debate that can no longer be justified scientifically.
Better. There was the Cairo Symposium, since then UNESCO has published 8 volumes of History of Africa – Eight volumes. Cheikh Anta Diop contributed in the writing of the second volume that deals with African origins, I wrote about Ancient Egypt. But before the conference, Cheikh said to the organisers: if I’m going to write about the history of Africa, you’ll say Cheikh has started with his stories again. He insisted that there must be an international debate on this issue of Ancient Egypt.
This took place in Cairo in January and February 1974. There were more than 20 Egyptologists. Cheikh Anta Diop was there, I was there, plus President Senghor sent a Senegalese journalist Pape Diop, for whom we would battle that he should make a report of the symposium. Good. I was there, I participated in the discussions. There was the final report. What did the report say about the black skin of the people? Did it say the opposite of what Herodotus who saw the Egyptians and described them as Black skinned? Did the report say the opposite of all Aristotle said and many others? Did the report contradict the results of the melanin tests in their laboratories? There was no opposition to these proofs.
Even the cultural links with Africa, they themselves recognized, the languages etc. were recognized. Their best grammarian also appreciated and recognized our work; they even included this in the final resolutions. This is no longer a problem… All the fundamental theses defended by Cheikh Anta Diop in his work: “Nation, Negro and Culture,” were validated during the symposium – International symposium in Cairo.
There were only two Africans present. No 3 including a Sudanese – Abdallah. Professor Abdallah. He … when we started the debate, Cheikh said the word black Egypt – Kemit. Abdallah rises and says no: “Professor Cheikh Anta Diop you are wrong the word kemite does not mean black in ancient Egyptian”. Meanwhile me that was falling asleep a little, I woke-up; I said what is all these about? Everyone here present know that kemit means black no? Abdallah insisted. I said: “ah, he’s also a scientist, you never know.” Here present, there are no apprentices as everyone is a specialist.
Meanwhile Cheikh Anta was getting a little irritated, something rare with Cheikh, he had self-control. But I saw him already getting excited. He said: “Listen Professor Sauneron, you are here among us the best grammarian”. You have to speak-out here. If you do not speak, Obenga and I will have to leave this conference and go. It was a very serious situation. But what happened? Sauneron said “Effectively kemit means black.”
After the session I went to see Abdallah, I said “but why do you do things like that?” You know very well that kemit means Black no? Why contradict for the sake of contradiction – it’s ridiculous. This is not serious. Since then; every time he saw me in the corridor he says: “…how is Professor Cheikh?” I answered: “He does not even greet you.”
The word “Egypt” for example is a Greek word. The Tutankhamen, the Ramses, and all the Pharaohs, did not know the word “Egypt”. They did not know the word!
So how did they call themselves in their language, how did they call their country? They called their country by the word “ta or tsi,” that is to say “the country, our country, as our nation is called.” There was that word, the double country – Upper and Lower Egypt “taoui”. They called their country by the word “kemet” meaning “the black country” like we say black Africa today.
We do not say black Africa because the land is black; it is called black Africa because most of the inhabitants are black skin. Here, if you like is opposed to “white Africa.” So they called their country the land of blacks. They called themselves “kemtiou”, “we the Negroes, or the Blacks”- in the proper sense of the term. Blacks, Negroes – “kemtiou”. We are “kemtiou”. In relation of course, to the white Mediterranean, Asians, Greeks, etc., we identify ourselves, that is the identity we are talking about today.
They identified themselves as Black in their own language. Copt says that. They are men, Romans, loma, lomi, etc. Man, that is the word that is found everywhere in Cameroon, everything. Man, man, husband, man, it evolved, but it means man, man. It’s exactly the same word. So you see today, the debate is more or less closed that Ancient Egypt belongs well to the cultural world, to the African, Negro-African cultural universe, if you want. Good.
What should we do now? We must now study this Egyptian, this Ancient Egypt, study the language, study the Pharaohs, the founder Neimer, the Men. You have to study. Moreover, we even say what is said in French “the king is called Neimer”, for example. We do not understand. But in fact he is called “Electric Fish”. We have names like that in Africa. My name is Electric Fish because as soon as you touch him, he electrifies you, that is, he is strong, and he defends himself. He is an electric fish. There are queens called Kemsit, it means “the negress”, “Niapi”, was a Pharaoh’s wife. Her name was “Kemsit: the Negress”, she was black – she was 100% Egyptian.
There were women who had libraries, Queen Tiyi had a private library, and Queen Hatshepsut produced make-up, and perfumes with lotus in her apartments herself. All these are written in black and white. She made perfumes. So the famous perfume with lotus is not a story we copied, the Greeks produced no perfumes, they had no incense. This Lady Pharaoh manufactured perfumes; make-up, lotions of beauty etc., in her apartments, in her palace. It is written in black and white.
Yes. There was a conspiracy against a Pharaoh, a woman wanted to place her son as a Pharaoh’s successor – with the complicity of some counsellors. The plot was discovered. Pharaoh Ramses said: “Listen! There is justice! Go before the tribunal! Judge these people as stipulated by the law!” As a Pharaoh, he could say no, he could judge them in an autocratic manner! They could have been condemned for treasons without trial! Instead he said: “send them before justice let the rule of law decide.
These are my advisers who did this, so-and-so, and we are supposed to be together – let justice be the decider”. Out of shame; one or two of the counsellors hanged themselves, but justice had to run its course, the Pharaoh did not intervene he let justice decide. In ancient Egypt; there were no state prisons unlike the case in Greece, where Socrates died in state prison. He was given hemlock (poison); condemned to death by a “democratic vote” 11 voted, not a majority vote, and he was nevertheless condemned to drink hemlock (poison).
He was accused of corrupting the youths and did not respect the Gods of the state. He was convicted for that! Condemned to death, a capital punishment in state prison to drink hemlock (poison) – there was not yet electric-chairs, so people condemned were given hemlock (poison). But in ancient Egypt, there were no state prison and deprivation of freedom by the state. Do you know why? There was punishment: you have stolen, or you have done something evil – you get punished. Punishment exists, but not the death penalty or confinement in state prison.
Why? Because a human being is sacred, that is why he has a name to start with. His name is sacred; earlier-on I said that the name signifies the destiny of someone, his fate etc. Because in him there is his “KA”, a spiritual element that connects him with the whole universe. There’s his “BA” a sort of double of his soul. There are his “SHUTI” etc. – there are many spiritual entities in the human being. It is not only the body and the soul; there are many entities in the human and putting him in prison means putting all these spiritual entities in prison, so you put the Divine in prison.
But today we choose between spirit and matter: we become materialistic or we are spiritualist between the two. The West (that is Western Europe), who decided chose matter over spirit; this was not the case in ancient Egypt. Pharaonic civilization; combined something that can be described as matter and spirit, sometimes both at once. That was why they could construct the pyramids, with just the mind you can not and with just matter you cannot either. We must combine both… unfortunately it is something that does not exist today.
Ancient Egyptians had both together – the Divine was almost tamed; it is what today we call “miracle”. For them, it was not the miracle, they had that power. Unfortunately today we have separated both, since Descartes, we only believe in reason, reason, reason, when we do not we say it’s a miracle, it’s superstition, it’s black magic, it’s Bantu trick, it is African fetishism and animism etc. There is believe in only pure and hard reason here, even philosophers the likes of Kant, Hegel, and so on have even criticized believe in spirit saying, there is only reason.
There is feeling, sensitivity. But Europe has made that choice and imposed it on everyone as the right way. Others have also tried this way; something that is not material, and something that is not spirit. Even in the CNR in Geneva, they do not see this material aspect, but we do see the trace that rest. What is this phenomenon? It is more or less spiritual matter, the Egyptians had the knowledge of that which is matter, and spirit at the same time – the two combined. Unfortunately the West has separated both and those who studied this in Pharaonic Egypt, without being Egyptians or Africans, have become great in the History of Humanity.
This is the case with Thales; considered as the founder of science in the West, in Greece, because he tried to define substance or substances of which all material objects in the universe were composed, which he identified as water. He learnt all that from Egyptians Priests, they themselves admitted it. It is the case with Pythagoras too. For ancient Egyptians the world is numbers, the world is a number that must be deciphered and Pythagoras was credited to have found this solution.
Plato also was credited to have found that there is the world of ideas; it is a divine world the world of ideas. And here below, it is more or less the material, left-handed, awkward concretisation of these ideas. Otherwise perfection on ideas, but Egypt had these two sets. How did they build the pyramid? We said earlier, we do not know how they did, we can not imitate and so on. Etc. The Germans had permission, built robots, they sent inside the pyramids to see with lasers and the robots were broken twice. He could not penetrate a wall.
They wanted to try a third time, the Egyptian government said no. It stopped. We must see the boat which brought the corpse of Koufou, of Kheops to bury at Giza; we must see the boat on which the Nile was drawn. But only when you say you are not a man, there is something … even he died millennia ago, but there is something that … there is a terrible environment. We … I do not know. We are scared; and we could do mummification. Someone; who is alive in the time of Moses in the Bible, and today you see his body intact.
Ramses II, his body is there. The father of Ramses II, Sethi 1st, and his body is there. The other Ramses, their bodies are there, the mother and so on. The body is there. Finally alive but dead – mummified. What is this civilization … even Mao, they were obliged to bury, Lenin and all the others because they cannot mummify like ancient Egyptians. Their dead bodies started to produce mushrooms; they were obliged to bury them.
But the Egyptian mummifications are still there. Even when you smoke cigarettes, you remove the cuckoos, they destroy them, but in spite of everything the air polluted, but still they resists. But it is a powerful civilization, so … then … when … everyone knows about this civilization, there are books, there are things, we can know and so on. But the problem is that like Keanou said: “slavery not only destroys the body, but destroys the mind”. It destroys the mind. You do not have a name, your name is Jackson or whatever, you do not have a family, you give birth to children, your master sells them, and you buy someone at such a price yes “Negro to be sold”. We sell the man etc.
And you arrive in a universe Kafkaïen, an impossible universe and it completely destroys human beings. So we no longer believe in anything, we do not know what it serves, what is the universe, what is life. How can human beings be forced to live the black code for two centuries? Even if you are a Christian, you are thrown into the pagan cemetery. You stole, you’re pregnant, they bring the Bible out to judge you, hence we see how a pregnant woman talking back at her judges.
What did she do? She did nothing. Because she refused her masters advances, she deserves to be hanged. This civilization is incredible. So … when you do this, it creates a bad conscience in the West. The West, the Europeans can not love Africa, because they have committed crimes and done things that are impossible to do to a fellow human. They cannot. Overall they cannot. It is too deep.
The depth of their crime makes it impossible for them to love Africans. And so, they had to re-write African history, this is what Cheikh Anta Diop calls the falsification of African History. It was falsified. You have no history because you were my slave. Hence the denial of history, they couldn’t say that it was the Pharaohs who gave civilization, it is in contradiction, and therefore we must erase this part of human history. You have no History, it is we who gave you everything, as we said earlier, clothing, everything, everything, the Government, the economy, everything, everything.
Without Europeans you have nothing, thanks to the West you have become civilized. The falsification of history has left us a void, because the more you see that … the suffering should weld us together, but they do not want to know anything – African leadership does not talk about these suffering. You see the problem is that … it’s no longer a question of condemning imperialism, colonialism, and so on. You have to know that if you are strong, if you are powerful, you are respected in this world. But if you are weak, you can do well; even if you are friends you get crushed.
At least they can do well with advisers that will come, and make you believe that Africa is on the move. Africa is doing progress! What progress? Despite AIDS, Ebola, Africa is poor, she is heavily indebted, they continue to say Africa is moving in the right direction –things are working, etc. Making fun of our people, if I may ask what is working in Africa? They pollute the Gulf of Guinea, oil tankers navigating Africa’s waters, pollute everything. From Pointe Noire in the Congo, to other parts, everywhere they pollute, the Gulf in Nigeria is polluted – the Niger Delta.
Is this the Africa on the move? They finance coups d’état removing progressive leaders from power, is this Africa on the move? No. I believe that in this low level world, we have to act differently. Take the Chinese as an example…; here you see geopolitics in action. The Chinese decided to build a strong China, they had their program, they made the long march, they made their bamboo curtain, they developed nuclear power, submarines, space, economy, and they struggled to make their country great. Now that they are great, they are now opening up to Europe.
We have to build Africa like that. Even Russia is a great power; they intervene where they want, you cannot jostle them easily. India is also developing to become a great country. The Arabs are trying to rebuild themselves with all the problems we know. Good. Latin American countries at the time of … there was the idea of Merco, etc. They wanted to unite all the Latin American countries, I think it fell but finally they tried to build something together. In all these; the United States of America are the greatest strategist, they are first United States all alone, powerful. They are developing with Mexico and Canada.
In case we are together, visa issue, this, the Dollar. We go to Canada without a visa, we do this. They say we are doing Mexico, United States, and Canada. Third state of affairs, they made the American Congress with all the American states, including Cuba, all the states of South America, America of the Islands, they are called American Congress, they are the American Congress, they meet regularly. The United States is still playing on the Atlantic, the Atlantic alliance, the NATO leaders, which De Gaulle had left, and Sarkozy reintroduced, they are at NATO, so the ocean … we are the Atlantic Ocean, but we are not part of NATO, too weak.
They are at NATO. The United States plays on the Pacific table, the Pacific countries. They are with China, Japan, and the Koreans. It’s the Pacific. They meet to discuss the problems of the Pacific. The countries of the Pacific they are in it, but they are all over the world – you see. Africa is not in any scenario of tomorrow be it military, security, scientific, we are in no scenario. So the path of red carpets, those of “Founding Fathers” is no doubt a bad way forward. This pattern must be abandoned; it is painful, but it must be abandoned.
We have to propagate now; develop the ideas of the Federal State of Africa. That is the only way out. Whether it’s too early we do not know, or too late we do not know … it’s never too late or too early. These are not even questions to consider, the United States Africa now is the issue. The question whether too late or too early does not matter we must finally do it, we will see later with all those question. They did that in America that is what made it possible for citizens like Obama to play the game and become President.
We have to do it now … it will not end with us; Africa will move forward, people will come after and improve on the decisions made, map out new programs, straighten out this, all with the objective to be powerful. Africa needs to be powerful, not just development because it will never be developed. Africa needs power, so you play your card autonomously. It will be difficult. Why? Because if the West or Europe feels that Africa is withdrawing a little, they will start to do extreme violence, to kill our leaders and young people etc.
They will start to make raids and so on. Because African power that will say: “no we do not want you to come fishing in Mauritania, and take our fish like that – No!” We do not want all those boats and submarines plying Africa’s waters from north to South. These are our oceans; in our territorial waters, we do not want those oil-tankers plying and polluting our waters we ourselves can do it. This we can do, and so on.
Another example – uranium; Areva is the first in nuclear energy in the world, but you do not see that … there is not a grain of uranium in France, but Areva is the world’s first. They take it for free or almost for free in Niger. But if we say it belongs to the federal state of Africa, it’s up to us to decide what we do with our uranium; we do not accept the old ways anymore of doing business. This way the West will feel the African power, we will no longer be exploited to make their strength. We make our own strength. They no longer have free labour.
Sure they will not accept that or if they accept, it will be the next generation who will say: “Good let’s discuss, we were together during the period of colony – we were together. Good let’s talk. Okay, we can talk equally now”. After so many years of domination and imposition on people, it will be hard for them to change. But that’s the only way; it is the only way as you can see we’ve tried everything. It is the only way left.
So as I mentioned earlier, we had a glorious past known as ancient Egypt. There were kingdoms like Zimbabwe, Ghana, Mali, Songhai. There was Ashanti civilizations, they had gold all over the kingdom, carpets made of gold, and beds were made of gold. People say it; the bodos describe it in their writings. We had the great Yoruba civilization, they came from Egypt we are aware of this aspect of our history.
The Igbo kingdom was great and powerful. Kanem Borno, the Luba people of the Congo, and Monomotapa in ancient Zimbabwe. With all these Kingdoms and Empires there was no vacuum of power. In Cameroon; there were not only the Njoya dynasty and all that, but there were kingdoms, big Chieftains. There was no vacuum of power.
If you go to the great lake region; with the Bonuono, Baganda, there are only royal realms or dynasties there. The Bunioro, Butara, were sacred like the case in Egypt. It was the same in Ethiopia. Everywhere on the African continent there was no vacuum, men headed the kingdoms, and we had women too who headed the kingdoms. Pokou was a woman who led the Akan people to Ivory Coast, where they became the Baolés. Queen Nzinga of the kingdom of Monomotapa in Angola also, she stood-up against the Portuguese. A woman with her troops, she was Queen Nzinga of Angola, or Matamba.
There were women leaders everywhere, like the case in Senegal with a woman who ruled the Wolof kingdom. A woman historian from Mali; studied and published a book on the women of Mali. When I read the book, I realised that there was a woman from Mali, named Veloré, who worked with one of the kings there, etc., she knew the Koran by heart, and she was also in charge of the king’s library. If we don’t ask question about these, we won’t know that they exists because we are ignorant.
So you can see that women had extraordinary powers in the African continent, today they have to return to their former role. They have to return to the role of leadership, they were leaders! They directed kingdoms, military troops against the enemy. They trained Africans, gave education, and gave virtue, ethics. So we have values in place already. We have riches, as you all know; diamonds, timber, forests, lakes, fish, agriculture, livestock. But it is Kenya that provides the flowers now.
The flowers are grown in Kenya. People come from Holland to plant flowers in Kenya for exportation to Europe. Tulips and everything, that does not grow in Europe … they grows in Africa! There are white rhinoceros in Madagascar; we have almost everything on the African continent. All. All. All. So all we need is start working; those who want to help us to emancipate, to make our own force we accept. If it is the Chinese, we accept, if it is the Europeans, we accept, but they must understand that we can no longer be dominated, that everyone wants to make his country powerful.
That is how to progress; we must now create a political party like the Pan-African Congress, a political party with branches all over the African continent. And from time to time when we have the means or the ability to find funds, we gather on the African continent. It will give another perspective because you are not working for a country, you are not working as the youths of a country but the African youth, it is the pan-African youth. They are Pan-African women. They are Pan-African leaders. That will give us a new way of seeing things.
Make no illusions; the movement will be infiltrated of course. What are they doing? Who are the leaders of the movement? Like the case of the Blacks Panthers infiltrated by the secret service. The Black Panthers Party was infiltrated so don’t make no mistakes that the Pan-African Congress party will also be infiltrated, it is to be expected. That is why we must develop another form of security – that of espionage. We have to go even further than spying because without security everything is open. Today things are not done anymore like before.
We do not do things like we did anymore in this world of today. We can’t continue like the old times. These are things that have been overtaken, as we said earlier about scholars and the results of their works. It was Madame Sankara, who asked the relevant questions about where we are from, where we are, where we are going, is very important. And each nation decides his future, that we have to keep in mind, each people decide their future as they see fit. There are no more orders to receive. And I believe that if we do, the memory of Mandela, of all our dead, the memory of all our known or unknown ancestors, the Boganda, etc.
The memory of the African continent, which is human memory, will be … and the world will change because it is not by chance that Africa is the cradle of humanity. It is not by chance. It is not by chance that the chance of evolution has made man born on the African continent and that it is from Africa that Man has set out to conquer other continents and soon to the conquest of space, which is a little colossal, the universe is very immense, etc. But we started from this story, from this human adventure, we started from that, we can not desist because we were subjected to slavery, we underwent colonization, we underwent apartheid, we have undergone all … etc.
On the contrary, it must give us even more strength because if we are weak, we will remain slave in the world as it is, if we are strong, we will be respected and if we are respected, we also respect humanity since we are human like the others. We are not waging war, we do not intend to conquer others, and we don’t have contempt or disdain. We love the other brethren of humanity, so we want to edify a different humanity without any form of exploitation. Since Africa is recognised as the wealth and the reservoir of humanity – a fact that cannot be denied. What we fail to realise as yet is that these wealth, we can still use to help humanity to develop.
So basically, the adventure we are proposing is not a selfish adventure; it is not an adventure let’s say, compartmentalized or closing our frontiers to the rest of the world. On the contrary; the more Africa is strong and beautiful, the more the world will benefit from this African power. We will never lead like the Western power, because their method was that of domination. This is the ideology, the idea of dominating others because they do not exist – it is I who control.
That is why they cannot even unite Europe because; they want to dominate other members of the union. They want to dominate Greece; Greece does not want to be dominated while Germany wants to dominate the Turks and others. Now they are talking about Franco-German couple, to lead in the move to unite Europe we know too well that it is impossible to unite Europe with two couples, what kind of couple will that be? These are all stories.
Good. I leave the last 5 minutes for debate.
Original Transcription fully credited to