In southern Iraq they're known as the so-called "Marsh Arabs", since they live in the marshes. In spite of being labeled as "Arabs" they do look Black.
Marsh Arabs are not black and dont look black at all, I know this for fact because I grew up in the same region, they're known as Me'dan, some say they're the modern Sumerians, but these Marsh Arabs think of the Bedouin Arabs as their ancestors if you ask them about this issue.
I know when they show images of Iraq on occasion I sometimes will see some Iraqis who show partial African ancestry like they look like they have between 25% to 40% Negro ancestry atleast enough to have been mistaken for being Black in Jim Crow South but I have yet to see one who looks like a full blown 100% Sub Saharian African.
Post by racialreality1 on Jan 13, 2006 11:23:09 GMT -5
ETHIOPIA'S PARTICIPATION IN THE SLAVE TRADE COMMERCE
The most paralyzing thing one has to consider in the history of this unfortunate affairs is, the depth and intensity of the slave commerce that went on in Ethiopia, literally century in and century out, which has left a great insecurity over those who were its victims be it the Oromo, the Wolayta, or the Benshangul. And although they, at the present moment, by definition, are the majority of today's Ethiopia, in reality, they still are at the mercy of the descendants of the Abyssinian slaveholders, principally the Amhara and their Tigrean cohorts. The chilling tragedy about these people that one is forced to face in reading the history of the Ethiopian slave trade is, how humans were treated as if they were herds of animals. As historian Mordechai Abir recounted, those who were caught by slave traders
"were examined like cattle by their purchasers, the sullen Shankela (Abyssinian's pejorative name given to any person with black face) fetches a price proportioned to the muscular appearance of his or her giant frame; and the child of tender years is valued according to the promise of future development. Even the shame faced and the slender-clad maiden is subjected to every known indignity, whilst the price of her charms is estimated according to the regularity of her features, the symmetry of her budding form, and the luxuriance of her braided locks." (M. Abir, page 61) What is not known to the Western world and where Ethiopian intellectuals like Wondimu do not want to talk about it is the fact that "Ethiopia has always been known for its slaves who were much sought after in the Islamic world". As Abir pointed out (see page 53)
"the most important item in the foreign trade Ethiopia had for years was the exportation of slaves." "This can easily be proved," asserted Mr. Abir,
"by the hoards of thalers in the treasuries of some of the rulers of the Ethiopian plateau" which, I am forced to add, were mainly Wondimu's forbearers, the Amhara and the Tigreans. Abir went on to say that,
"the HABASHA slaves, as Ethiopian slaves were commonly called by slave merchants, were not actually Ethiopians in the strict meaning of the Amhara and the Tigreans, as they came mainly from the Galla (a pejorative name the Amhara gave to the indigenous Oromos) and the Sidama areas in southern and western Ethiopia and to lesser extent the Shanqella areas that surrounds Ethiopia's proper." The Majority of slaves that were sold in Ethiopia were females (according to Abir, it was A 2 to 1 ratio) where they were much sought after in the conquest of sexual libido by men of the Arab-Turkish empire. This was even more exacerbated after the Russians conquered the Caucasus where traditionally was the source area for white slave girls. When the Caucasus slave trade dried up "Ethiopian slave girls took the first place in the slave market of the Arab world."(See Abir, page 54) The most unfortunate girls were the Gurage girls for, next to the Caucasus girls, the slave merchants found them easily saleable and hence they achieve a higher price as they were called "red Ethiopians."
Both Christians as well as Muslim Ethiopians had no qualms in owning, buying, and selling slaves. Both societies were happily in it. For the record, let it be said that Islam forbids the enslavement of Muslims. And all the same, ecclesiastically and by civil law of the Amhara rulers, Christians were forbidden to buy and sell Christians who at that time were mainly Amharas and Tigreans. Sadly when it comes to the indigenous Oromos, Wolayta, Sidamas, and Benshanguls, the rules that were used to protect Christian and Muslim Ethiopians were never invoked nor ever applied to protect the indigenous innocents.
The most appalling aspect of the Ethiopian slave trade was the fact that all the terminology of today's commerce were used while the rulers and the ruled have no idea what modern economy was to begin-with. Such words we now commonly associate them with sanity and suaveness of Wall Street transaction were used to the hilt, words such "Broker Wakil (representative), local agents, credit, and the worst of it all when the market is slow, the indiscriminate use of the word SELL.. SELL SELL!"
"Even minor villages like Yejube, near the important market of Basso in Gojjam, had seventeen slave BROKERS, and it was claimed that 5,000 to 10,000 slaves passed through the brokers annually and in slower days, just to warm up and reinvigorate the market, slave girls were decorated to adore with all kinds of gaudy jewelry which would be taken from them immediately after they were sold." (See Abir, page 59 to 66) Every possible method in the Ethiopian imagination and their Arab merchant collaborators were used to acquire slaves. Majority of them acquired as war prisoners, wars that were instigated by the rulers and the slave merchants. Some were also kidnapped as they were traveling from one village to another. Similarly, as Mr. Abir reported,
"thousands unsuspecting innocent people were kidnapped while working in the field." Religious moral was never a hindrance for the Ethiopian slave merchants. Mr. Abir reported, that literally
"hundreds of Christians were either kidnapped by passing caravans as they didn't get any help from their follow villagers or sold in secrecy by other Christian Ethiopians (Abir, page 54)."
"The Muslim traders had also their own antics. They took their slaves with them to Jeddah where they can fetch a better price than the home market, sold them at the highest profit, and then performed the Haj at the same time." (Abir, page 68-69) Oh! Talk about the Ethiopian way to go to heaven! It sad very sad!
Wondimu & Co will not admit it but almost every corner of Ethiopia had slave markets. The most important centers were the city of Harrer, Basso in Gojjam, Gonder, and not to be outdone, the Kings of Showa purposely turned their central Kingdom into what Mr. Abir called
"an emporium of trade where merchants from different parts of Ethiopia would meet and trade and consequently enrich Showan treasury. Thus the village of Chanoo was allotted to the Tajurans slave merchants and the village of Aliyo Amba to the Hararis, while Tigreans and Northern merchants had to live in Ankober." (See Abir, page 62) And this place, Showa, was supposed to be the eminent power center of Wondimu's warrior Kings (Sahle Sellassie, Haile Melkot, Menelik, Haile Sellassie, so on and so forth). Despite all that mouthful boastfulness of Wondimu about Ethiopian warrior kings protecting their people and in spite of Wondimu's claim of "receiving the original Gospel of Jesus Christ," millions of Ethiopians were sold to bondage of slavery irrespective of the originality of the Ethiopian gospel. The truth is when it comes to making money, "love thy neighbor as thy self" never seems to easily emerge in the Ethiopian consciousness hence the reason for the slave trade.
There were other port centers for shipping out slaves and among them were towns like Berbera, Metemma, Tajura, Zeila, and Massawa under the Turko-Egyptians. Each gathering port had their specialization. For example,
"while Tajura and Berbera were the main outlets for the so called Guragie slave girls who were the sought after prize of Arab and Turkish harems and were exported mainly to southern Arabia and the Persian Gulf; on the other-hand, Massawa and Metemma were the outlets for the Oromo and Sidama slaves of South Western Ethiopia who went mostly to Egypt, the Hajaz and even Turkey." (See Abir, page 69) Each line of caravan outlets was protected by Ethiopian rulers. For Example, the Massawa slave caravan line that passes through the Tigrean proper of today's Woyane, was protected by variety of Tigrean warlords stalwarts such us Dejach Sibagadis, Ras Michael Sihul, Dejach Wube (a.k.a. Emperor Tekle Giorgis), Ras Welde Sellassie, Ras Araya Dimsu, and Dejach Kassa (a.k.a. Emperor Yohannes). Also too, the lines that run to Berbera, Zeila, and Tajura were protected by Wondimu's warrior kings of Showa and the Emirs of Harrer who themselves were slave traders.
The most cruel and inhumane acts of the Ethiopian slave trade were the cutting and mutilation of genitals of boys under 20 and turning them into EUNUCHS to be sold as slaves to Arab merchants. As Mr. Abir reported
"these unfortunates were mostly young children, who fetched the highest price in the Muslim World" slave markets, as they are perfectly suitable for harem doorkeepers. (Abir, page, 56) And no! It was not only the Arabs who used these unfortunate boys in their harems. The kings of Showa, again Wondimu's warrior kings, from Menelik down the line to Haile Sellassie also used these eunuchs as servants in their Castle. When I was living in Addis Ababa in the 1960s, the presence of EUNUCHS in the palace of Haile Sellassie's was fairly well known to the residents of Addis Ababa and they were used to watch the palace girls and keep them straight until suitable husband is found in which the marriage is usually done not for love but to tie down other restless nobles lest they rebel.
Before I conclude this segment about Ethiopian Slavery, again let it be said for the record that the practice of buying and selling slaves in Ethiopia stopped for only two reasons.
First the British progressives applied a heavy pressure on the government of Queen Victoria and thus in turn, the British government ordered the Indian colonial government to send its Navy to the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. Aden was purposely found to be a depot for that noble reason.
"To that end," Mr Abir reported, "the final legal loophole in the battle for the abolition of the slave trade in the area was closed when the Ottoman Porte, under British pressure during the Crimean war, issued a firman on 1854/5 outlawing the slave trade all over the Ottoman Empire." (See Abir, page 70). Eventually by the beginning of the 20th century, it completely stopped. Be that as it may, the internal commerce of slavery stopped in the early 1930th only after the League of Nation made the abolition of Slavery a cornerstone and a prerequisite for Ethiopia to join the League, which Haile Sellassie grudgingly did just that, in order to join the league.
All the above sad story of Ethiopian slavery forced me to question and fiercely disagree with Wondimu's wisdom and content of his letter to the NAACP leaders in which he said,
"in the history of your struggle for freedom and equality, Ethiopia occupies a special place. Why is that."? I seriously doubt making such statements are sensible for no NAACP member in his right mind will ever have a special place for Ethiopia given Ethiopia's deep complexity in the slave trade as enumerated in the proceeding pages. No! I cannot see for the life of me any NAACP leader will willingly celebrate Ethiopia's sinful past of selling its citizens to Arab and Turkish harems. No Wondimu, only those who are imbibed with the Kebra Negest "white is the best" mentality will accept the mutilation of innocent boys that were forced to become EUNUCHS in the name of achieving the highest profit. For me what is important to say is "May God help Ethiopia in the years to come as it is now heading for fragmentation thanks to the Woyane inchoate ruling." Let's just move on to the third main point where Wondimu claimed that "Ethiopia and Ethiopians were preeminent leaders in fighting colonialism."