Difference between a Sheep and a Lion
by Ras Benjamine
Friday, 27 June 2003
My experience as a black African
I have been wondering why and how the African politics has come to lack any modicum of morality. It has been an excruciating task because one could not come up with a simple and straight explanation. From the pedestal of visionary politics as we knew it, before the advent of the dubious Caucasians on the coasts of African continent, to that of moral bankruptcy and by extension social annihilation, cultural destruction, religious duplicity and subsequently, political charlatanism. How did we get here? What role did religion play in this sobering but anxiety-induced journey?
What History taught us is very instructive and might serve as a guide. For those who are willing to extricate themselves from the cocoon of fundamentalism, it is easier to see how Christianity and Islam have brought Africa in general to moral ruins as a prelude to social and political ruins. It is easier to see how new values that are at best hollow, have come to replace age long ones that value integrity and dignity. It is easier to see how lacks of consequence for heinous behaviours condoned by these foreign religions and their champions have ripped apart the core of our Africanness, communality and brotherhood, and turned us into adversaries.
For any student of history, not blinded by "faith" (the believe of what you cannot prove), the fact that the Christian missionaries came as the forerunners of their exploiting governments is incontestably, clear enough. It is also clear enough that the traditional African trust was exploited to prepare the ground for colonialism.
Diabolically using the bible, the white man claimed he was bringing "civilization" when indeed he was bringing exploitation. When they were found out and Africans tried to resist, the missionaries exposed the hidden gunpowder under their cassocks and took our lands.
The fact that Christianity is found in all parts of the world today is not as a result of its strength as a faith or religion. It is a religion that was spread with sword and built on blood. The followers of Christianity vindictively and mercilessly fought among themselves for several hundreds of years because they could not agree on what to believe and practice. Even, the battles over the contents of the Bible should be instructive given the diabolical use it has been put by those who strongly profess the faith.
In 771 AD Charlemagne (Charles the Great) became the sole ruler of Frankish (French) Kingdom after the death of his brother and joint ruler, Carloman. The following year, he subdued Saxony, forcefully converted it to Christianity and imposed tithes for the support of clergy, churches and the schools and reportedly the poor. A year later in 773 AD he annexed Lombard Kingdom and donated it to the Pope Hadrian I (died 795 AD). On December 25, 800 AD, Charlemagne who in 782 AD had executed 4,500 hostages at Verden was installed as the first Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III, in Rome.
That a Pope would sanction and validate a heinous crime and conscienceless criminal like this did say and still says a lot about Christianity. This murderous acts of Charlemagne in the name of the Bible and Christianity and sanctioned by the Church was a prelude to the Crusades that followed. The first Crusade (1096 -1104) started by Godfrey of Bouillon and Duke of Lorraine; the Second Crusade (1145-1147) proclaimed by Pope Eugene III; the Third Crusade (1189 - 1193) started by Richard I of England and the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204) championed by Boniface of Montferrari. This last one ended with the establishment of the Latin Empire in1204 AD.
Thus when the descendants of these depraved minds visited the coasts of Nigeria in the garb of missionaries, they had no intention of saving any soul. They had no intention of bringing any "civilization" because they were savages who came to destroy our own civilizations and cultures as attested to by history. This prepared the ground for what we are all witnessing today in our social, economic, political and cultural lives.
The Christian missionaries were not doing anything different from what the Mohammedans have also being doing since the days of Prophet Mohammed. Since 628 AD when Mohammed captured Mecca, it has always been about the political control of other peoples and their lands and resources. In 632 AD when Mohammed (regarded as the first Caliph) died, Medina became the seat of the Caliph. He was succeeded by his father -in-law, Abu Bekr, who in turn was succeeded by Omar, a very close adviser to Mohammed two years later. It was Omar who advanced the frontiers of the Caliph in the name of Islam by conquering Syria, Persia and Egypt. He also defeated Heraclius ("Holy War"). It was under Omar that the Mohammedans captured Gaza in 635 AD when they move the seat of the Caliph to Damascus.
Fifteen years later in 650 AD,(that is eighteen years after the death of Mohammed himself), Caliph Othman organized, in accordance with his own personal wish and understanding, the putting together of Mohammed's teachings into 114 chapters to make the Koran, the holy book of the faithfuls of Islam. By this time the whole of Mesopotamia have fallen under the political control of the Mohammedans. So, when Uthman Dan Fodio embarked on his Jihad in 1804 in the area now known as the North West of Nigeria, where I am from, he knew exactly what he was gunning for. It was all about the political control of the land, resources and trade. It had nothing to do with saving any soul.
It was all a ruse. Uthman Dan Fodio only used religion, this time Islam, as an instrument to deceive and rally those who would follow him into battles to kill others and take over their lands and resources. For about 200 years, the effect of this lies and deceit are still ricocheting through the body politick of Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Tanzania etc. It would have been better if their real motive (which is political control) were not wrapped in the garb of having to save the souls that were never lost. There was nothing wrong in being a political warrior. But these religionists never had the candour to admit that they were carpetbaggers rather than "men of God."
What history has taught us from all these is that those behind these foreign religions are economic and political predators. They tried to convince us that our own traditional religions were inferior and should be discarded. African traditional religions were borne out of explicit practical experience unlike theirs that were based on half abstract and half experience. Our cultures were denigrated and theirs were sold as more authentic. But we now know that the reverse is the case. Now that we have local adherents of the foreign faiths they are all acting out like their dubious and diabolical masters, sponsors and their ancestors.
This is why it was easy for people like Tafawa Balewa the first prime Minister in Nigeria, who profess Islam to see nothing wrong in governing a nation into fratricidal crisis. This is why people like Ahmadu Bello who professed to Islam believes in annihilation of opposing view rather than tolerate them. It was why Mohammadu Buhari, "a man of Islamic faith" saw nothing wrong in tyranny and unjust persecution of innocents. It was why Ibrahim Babangida was able to swear falsely to Nigerians repeatedly and to his friends with the Koran and was still able to betray them without batting an eyelid. It was why Sani Abacha (The Worst dictator Nigeria ever knew) was able to get drunk endlessly, romp in a deranged manner with prostitutes and visited destruction shameless on Nigeria while praying five times a day!
It is the same reason why Yakubu Gowon (Another President in Nigeria) who claimed to be a Christian was able to deceive Nigerians repeatedly about returning the country to civil rule and deliberately mismanaged our resources without any conscience. It is the same reason why Olusegun Obasanjo (Current President) would consciencelessly engage in rigmarole to install Shehu Shagari while he claimed to be a Christian. It is why Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma would kill General Aguiyi Ironsi and Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi remorselessly and later down the line, personally supervise the murder of Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (Fela's mother) by having her thrown off the story building of her son's house, without any fear of repercussions.
Christianity and Islam have no means of punishing those who swear falsely and inflict damages on our psyche, even though they swore with Koran and the Bible. The reason for this could be traced to their origins, which had no true spiritual foundation as our traditional religions could lay claim to. But they always try to convince us that there would be some punishment for sinners in heaven (or is it hell?) that no one could empirically prove its existence. Meanwhile, they have been allowed a free reign to wreck the world and our lives for us! The purpose of Christianity and Islam was not spiritual but political and economical. This is what the history of their origin and spread has shown. It is why more and more people in here in Europe are staying off the churches while Islam continues to garner the image of murderous religion.
You would be signing your death warrant to swear falsely by Sango, Oya or Ogun in the real sense of it. These religions among several others in Yorubaland for example have no use for politics. They were and are still solely spiritual and moral, and are taken very seriously unlike the jokes that Bible and Koran have become. But the adherents of Christianity and Islam would want us to believe that our traditional religions were and still are idolatry. That they should be discarded. That Bible or Koran is it. That Ifa and others should not be listened to and should be ignored. They coined "paganism" to describe us because we do not share their lies and deceits.
Lloyd M. Graham in his DECEPTIONS AND MYTHS OF THE BIBLE wrote, "the Bible is not 'the word of God' but a steal from pagan sources. Its Eden, including Adam and Eve, were taken from the Babylonian account; its Flood and Deluge is but an epitome of some four hundred flood accounts; its Ark and Ararat have their equivalents in a score of Deluge myths; even the names of Noah's sons are copies, so also were Isaac's sacrifice, Solomon's judgement, and Samson's pillar act. Moses is fashioned after the Syrian Mises; the laws after Hammurabi's code…" And please, let us not forget how King James gathered some loyal intellectuals in Canterbury to write his own version of the Bible.
That the adherents of these faiths, Christianity and Islam, have used them to cause so much pain, misery and sadness for the entire human race is very instructive about the true intentions of their founders - to politically control others and their resources and if they resist, kill them. What their sentries in Nigeria are doing is not different whether they are Mallams, Sheiks, Imams or Reverends, Bishops or Archbishops. They keep preaching and convincing everyone to work towards the kingdom of Heaven while they all revel and enjoy the Kingdom of the world at the expense of the rest of us. They set us against each other while they help themselves to our resources and tax money. They preach that we pay tithes, so that they could concentrate on the "work of God." They ride around in mercedes benz cars while their "sheep" (yes , sheep, they never referred to their followers as "lions" or "tigers" because the sheep is a stupid animal) wander around endlessly on tired limbs. The Bishops and the Imams were never in the forefront of the struggles against want, poverty, squalor, oppression., dictatorship and tyranny. When some of them were involved, it was timidly. When they created schools, they used them as instruments of indoctrination. They used the schools to give us what Bob Marley described as "brainwash education to make us the fools." When they created hospitals, they used them only as instruments of control and dominance to force us to abandon our traditional faiths and ways of life.
Could anyone have imagined the leader of Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Nigeria, the Emir of Sokoto during the June 12 crisis, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki calling the annulment "an act of God"? Where is the morality in that? This is in no way different from the roles played by the Papacy during the Hitleric years when Jews were slaughtered like goats. It only confirms what one has been trying to put across that those religions have no spiritual basis hence their lacking in morality. Christianity and Islam have always been about political control of others and their resources. They have always been about worldly materials and not heavenly gifts. They have never been about right and wrong. Neither have they seriously ever been about any kingdom in heaven because they all know it is non- existent. This is why Peter Tosh sang the tune "everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die." Not even the Imams and the Archbishops who preach endlessly about it.
The only two religions that ever traded in human beings were Christianity and Islam. They only became abolition champions when slave trade became unprofitable. Christians and Muslims are the ones who traded in human beings across tribes, across continents. Look at those who fled Europe for religious persecution to come to North America. Look at how they killed the American Indians mercilessly as they were dispossessed of their land. Look at the Christians who imposed themselves on South Africa. Recall how they mercilessly and repeatedly killed harmless Africans who sought to be human beings. Recall how they exploited the people. Yet these are the people who claim superior civilisation based on Christian religion. If they considered themselves savages and acted as such what would the world have been like? Mere imagining such possibilities could drive anyone insane!
The point here is that time has come for people to think outside the box if they have any intention of not being spectators in this world. Yes, life is short. Yes, we all would die one day. But this is not enough reason why we should live our lives in want and misery while the so-called religious leaders help themselves to our wealth and resources. It does not explain why the Christian and Muslim leaders should be allowed to continue to collaborate with our oppressors to help themselves to our resources and politically manipulate and control us. We cannot continue to knock our heads against the grounds in the mosques and churches in the name of prayer while our lives and the future of our children are being mortgaged to the dubious Christian and Muslim leaders in league with our exploiters. It has to be realised that we have this world that we are very certain of, to live before it would be the turn of a heaven that could not be guaranteed.
Since 1999, Obasanjo (President of Nigeria) has been shouting on the rooftops that he is a "born again." This indeed should arouse more suspicion than trust and confidence. It seemed that there is a functional relationship between these religions professed by our rulers in Africa and the social, economic and political ruins they have brought to bear on our people and country. Those who instituted bribery in our culture are Muslims and Christians. It is their mosques and churches that take donations from these rogues. It is their churches and mosques that validate their crimes. It is their churches and mosques that provide sanctuary for these criminals. May be it is time to resort to basics, go back to our roots and begin to rely on our indigenous culture. Through, that, we may be able to find our lost ways and bring sanity to bear on our polity for the sake of posterity.
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