Jomo Sanga Thomas is a lawyer, journalist, social commentator and Speaker of the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.(iWN file photo)

By *Jomo Sanga Thomas 

(Plain Talk, Aug. 16, 2019)

“Salon, you Greeks are infants to us. Our (Egyptian) civilisation is hoary with age.” — Taken from Plato’s Timaeus.

My column “Half Steppin’ to Emancipation” rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. None took more angst than the Euro-Centrist know-it-all, C. ben-David, a shadowy figure who has been all over the media advising and chastising government and private citizens alike about the rights and wrongs of Vincentian society and psyche.

ben-David accused me of racism and lambasted me for “peddling Fake Afro-Centric history”. However, he offered not a single piece of evidence for this wild claim, except to posit that “Ancient Egypt in northeastern Africa was truly rich in cultural achievements. It was also multiracial, though mainly Middle Eastern and Mediterranean rather than African from a genetic perspective.” No proof; just a bald statement! What utter nonsense!

Ancient Egypt was not Black? It was really comprised of Middle eastern and Mediterraneans? Who were first, when and how did the mix occur? ben-David is silent. Any foolish argument to rob Africans of their greatness and their inventions.

This project of denial is not new. It gained credence and currency during the enlightenment period of the 17th and 18th century, as Europeans tried to explain and rationalise the African Holocaust: Trans-Atlantic slave trade and Slavery. To do this, they had to obliterate everything of glory that Africans had created to claim it as their own.

The Enlightenment thinkers offered intellectual coverage for crimes against humanity. Philosopher Georg Fredrich Hegel, remarked that Africa “is no historical part of the world; it has no movement or development to exhibit”. Rene Descartes described North Africa as “European Africa”.

John Locke wrote a proviso to the slave constitution of Virginia “every freeman of Carolina shall have absolute power and authority over his negro slave of what opinion or religion soever”.

Emanuel Kant said: “In the hot countries the human being matures earlier in all ways but does not reach the perfection of the temperate zones. Humanity exists in its greatest perfection in the white race. At the risk of arousing the resentment of my brothers of colour, I shall say that the Black is not a human”.

C. ben-David cautions us to “never allow bogus research driven by divisive racialised politics to replace the Enlightenment rational and objective search for scientific truth”. From the foregoing, which views are racist, the Afro-centrist or those enlightenment thinkers that ben-David places on a pedestal! Now you see why Amiri Baraka warned, “there is nothing that is objective”.

Now, if these enlightenment thinkers thought so “lowly” of Black people and Africa’s contribution to world history, small wonder ben-David concludes that many achievements of sub-Saharan “were based either on the independent invention or the ingenious application of what was learned from other lands in areas like astronomy, mathematics, education, medicine, metallurgy, agriculture, textiles, and the arts”. He never mentions what the “independent inventions” were! But according to ben-David nothing he listed was invented or created by Black Africans.

None of these “notable achievements” were home grown, “but from the ingenious application of what was learned from other lands”. Like from where? The Afrocentrists are attempting to steal what the Europeans created. Note well, Asians, Middle Easterners and those from the Mediterranean, except Europe, invented nothing of substance. Afro-Centrists were employing “Pseudo archaeology and fringe Science” to claim “[European] philosophy, mathematics and engineering”.

Well, well, well. Philosophy, mathematics and engineering are European! ben-David takes his fallacious thoughts even further and posits: “As one critic of Afrocentrism has argued, ‘If Eurocentric culture is so horrible, why would these fake historians want to claim it as their own? By coveting it, aren’t Afrocentrists providing the ultimate validation of Western Civilisation?”

Now, let’s flip a few words in that construction and posit the following: As one critic of Eurocentrism has argued, “If Afrocentric culture is so horrible, why would these fake European historians want to claim it as their own? By coveting it, aren’t Eurocentrists providing the ultimate validation of African Civilisation?”

Now let’s demonstrate the strength of our argument by pointing to what ancient Europeans said of African civilisation. Aristotle (384-322) ranked Egypt as “the most ancient archaeological reserve in the world and Egyptians as the most ancient of the human race”.

In the book Metaphysics, Aristotle wrote “the mathematical sciences first (proton) originated in Egypt. Egypt is the cradle of mathematics-that is, the country of origin for Greek mathematics”.

In the Prologue to Prodlus’s Commentaries on Euclid’s Elements, a disciple of Aristotle, named Eudemus, who lived in the 4th century B.C., confirms: “we shall say, following the general tradition, that the Egyptians were the first to have invented Geometry, (that) Thales, the first Greek to have been in Egypt, brought this theory thereof to Greece”.

Indeed, the Greek St. Clement of Alexandria said, “if you were to write a book of 1,000 pages, you would not be able to put down the names of all the Greeks who went to Kemet to be educated and even those who did not surreptitiously claim they went because it was prestigious”.

The following are established facts: Thales (624-547) was the first Greek student to receive training from Egyptian priests in the Nile Valley; Plato (428-347 B.C.) records that Thales was educated in Egypt; Proclus (420-485 A.D.) reports that Thales introduced science, philosophy and mathematics/geometry to Greece;

Greek intellectual life started with the Egyptian-trained student, Thales. He was the founder of the first Greek school of philosophy and science.

Thales strongly recommended that Pythagoras travel to Egypt to receive his basic education and to converse as often as possible with the priests of Memphis and Thekes.

In their book, A History of the Modern World (1984), R.R. Palmer and Joel Colton made this salient point: “Europeans were by no means the pioneers of human civilisation. Half of man’s recorded history had passed before anyone in Europe could read or write. The priests of Egypt began to keep written records between 4000 and 3000 B.C., but more than two thousand years later, the poems of Homer were still being circulated in the Greek city-states by word of mouth. Shortly after 3000 B.C., while the pharaohs were building the first pyramids, Europeans were creating nothing more distinguished than huge garbage heaps.” These are not the words of a racist Afrocentrist.

Now you see why Europeans try to tear North Africa away from the African continent? Why they argue vainly that Egypt was “mixed” and why C. ben-David claims mathematics, philosophy and engineering as European invention?

But the truth, like the phoenix, will rise. And so would Africa and its people.

*Jomo Sanga Thomas is a lawyer, journalist, social commentator and Speaker of the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to news.iwitness@gmail.com.

11 replies on “When Afrocentrism meets Eurocentrism”

  1. I have always found it funny when some people say blacks are scientifically the least intelligent of the races. If all humans are equal, why would this even be true? Prejudice has always been used so that some people would come out on top. And, most times they have to use some brutal tactics to maintain their supremacy. Killings, brain washing etc. Humans would always be unkind to each other once supremacy is at stake.

    1. This is true Kareem! Sadly it is people like Jomo that assist in keeping blacks down. Look at India today. They are now preparing to put men on the moon. Look at the Russians. They have been constantly attacked by the Europeans for centuries but yet they continue to advance. What about the Chinese?

      We need to ignore people like Jomo who insist we cry and complain and that everyone should feel sorry for our skin color and give us free charity reparation payments. It is as if Jomo is an agent of the oppressive powers, acting like he is for us but instead doing all he can to keep us down. You get ahead by going forward, not taking to time to fight with those around you and not by stopping and wallowing in self-pity.

      The government sends people to get educations but there are no places for them to work, so eventually they leave. Look at all the students that learned hospitality but how many positions are there for them? For every position there are 500-1000 applicants! Not to mention that most of those positions are filled with people that did not study Hospitality!
      The way we do things here mean we will never go anywhere. Our current leadership, to include Jomo, insure we will never go anywhere.

  2. Sanger you do write some rubbish, I sincerely hope that no one believes the majority of what you write.

    I recently spent some time in the US with a team of Egyptians and they would laugh at what you wrote.

    Talk about achievements of the Negro African, the inventions, the mathematics. Show us what happened in Nigeria and Central Africa, East Africa, give us some examples.

    I am sure you wrote this article because you are feeling an inferiority of some kind, for you and other black people.

    Why can’t we all just be who we are without making wild claims to heritage. Ralph Gonsalves said once he is the blackest man in SVG, lets hear what you have to say about that. He also said being black is an attitude not a physical fact. Tell us something about that. Because what it appears you are saying is that you are the whitest man in SVG, and being white is an attitude and not a physical fact. Why don’t you and Gonsalves get together on this matter and actually decide who is black and who is white.

    You have Montgomery a serious black man trying to convince us who are also black that he is a Carib or a Garifuna, because he is mixed race and doesn’t want to be black. Perhaps Sanga you are all black and want to be Egyptian and Ralph Gonsalves who cant decide if he wants to be a Negro or a Cuban Latino.

    C ben David a white South/East African who wants to be all sorts of things is not a Euro anything, except a Euro bus pass to hell.

    Then we have all sorts coming here who are simply Marxist monsters pretending to be normal and bringing us all sorts of rubbish like what you write from time to time.

    I must say Sanga you appear to be a great attorney and achieve well in your profession. You have made some blunders as Speaker of the House, which I hope are genuine blunders and not part of some Marxist design called solidarity.

    Remember Sanga as an important person in todays Vincentian society everything you do and say is from the moment you do or say it part of Saint Vincents History. Everything you do, don’t do, or say in Parliament is recorded in Hansard as are comments from others. Even this news site creates historical records on a daily basis.

    So what is the hang up with being Egyptian, you are a black Caribbean man, so will never be an Egyptian mummy.

    All the rubbish about wanting to be African when it was Africans that sold our ancestors as surplus to requirements. We are Vincentians, some black, some white, some mixed, some mixed with all sorts of other nationalities. Lets just be proud of our achievements and stop trying to be someone else because you think that ancestry would look good on your resume of life.

  3. Sadly Jomo too many here in SVG could never find the time or the inclination to read, as much of their time is spent trying to put food on the table. Moreover, this deficiency is in part due to an adherence by the family run U.L.P to a failed ideology and equally to its failed economic policy which compounds the issue.

    However Jomo, one can say that for once you have written something which one could commend you for! In this we may say, that there is yet hope for you once you have jumped ship, there finding the energy to leave the oppressors behind, as there is much work to be done to put right the years of privileges’, abuse and exploitation.

  4. As usual, again Jomo Thomas is propagating his own version of history. C. Ben would be correct if he stated that the people of Egypt were of Mediterranean complexion. It is Jomo who provides no evidence to prove otherwise. All one has to do is look at the people that live there today, not to mention the wall paintings. There are paintings where some did have darker skin tones but the vast majority are of a “medium” skin tone.
    We can all see that Jomo is inventing his own history and trying to tell us that he and a few other radical blacks are correct although they provide zero evidence. Why doesn’t he instead talk about the pyramids in the Sudan that very probably were built by blacks.
    I do not think that Jomo is a racist, however, if you switch the words black for white and white for black in his writings anyone reading it would consider the writer to be a white racist. Isn’t it funny how it works one way but not the other?
    Jomo should instead adopt a philosophy of equality instead of trying to convince people that he is a radical black racist in order to get votes from a predominantly black population. His actions only serve to keep blacks feeling inferior with such talk of things like reparations to make the whites pay for something thier ancestors did 200 years ago. They did the same or worse to non-blacks in South America. How did the Europeans treat the Slavs a few hundred years ago? Jomo needs to see history from a unbiased perspective and take his tinted glasses off.

    1. Excellent comments except that you downplay the fact that racism can cut cuts both ways with the so-called underdog group being just as race-obsessed as their alleged oppressors: Jomo Thomas IS a racist. Period.

  5. Arnold Thomas says:

    Would this character ben-David reveal his real self…or rather be a fake writer with a fake name?

  6. Amos Greaves. says:

    C. Ben David is from Layou St Vincent, he was exposed by Palmer who knows him very well. In my opinion he writes to evoke controversy. C.Ben predicted doom with respect to the AIA . I am yet to see the manifestation of his prediction.

    1. That could be true Amos but I do not care who he is, instead I just go by the content of what he writes. Some things are very good, and I say so, and some I disagree totally, and I say so. He is however right about the airport and tourism, in general, more right than about anyone else, including myself.
      Have you never been to the airport lately? Not much going on there! We still do not know how much we are going to have to pay for the construction over the next 100 years; and can you estimate how much it costs us to keep it operational compared to what revenue we gain from it? THE MONEY WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER SPENT IN OUR SCHOOLS AND OTHER ASPECTS OF EDUCATION OVER THE PAST YEARS…(TOO LATE FOR THAT NOW) For the most part these mis-priority blunders are secrets we will not learn until it is less relevant. It is a well-known obvious fact that Ralph Gonsalves is a disaster when it comes to financial management; the airport is no exception. The reason we do not hear about it is because, …How often does anyone want to keep repeating a well-known fact. Gonsalves has saddled us with our biggest financial burdens yet, a dilapidated infrastructure and the high construction and operating cost of an extremely under-used airport

  7. Amos Greaves. says:

    Jamal I do not have the statistics to support my argument, however, I believe that the airport was a good investment. There are other spin off from the investment in the airport itself like tourism etc. It is my opinion that if it was not constructed now it would have cost a lot more if it were to be constructed in the future.

    The Arnos Vale airport was absolete, the location was bad with an ever present tail wind that prevented the taking off with a full load. There was no room for expansion because it was sandwiched between two mountainand and also in a highly populated area. My disappointement stems from the fact that the Ulp has not given us a break down of the true construction cost , interest cost as well as maintenance cost.

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