Analysis

Rejoinder To David Cherry’s History “Written By Our Enemies”

By Dr Edward Yusuf Mitole

David Cherry, a reader, responded to Dr Yusuf Edward Mitole’s rebuttal of Helen Zille’s continued claims that colonialism benefitted Africans “There can be no Greatness in a species that Innovates itself into Destruction https://wp.me/p7OMJc-2uo.

Sherry’s Rejoinder

Colonialism had no merits. Cultural contact, without colonialism, has a long and honorable history. As for the other issue, what Dr. Mitole calls “Western civilization,” is misrepresented here. First of all because his attack is not on Western civilization but on any civilization.

Paper and printing were first invented in Eastern civilization. The ability to perform (by calculation) addition, multiplication, and division was first developed by the Sanskrit-speaking people of South Asia (in other words, they developed the concept of the zero as a place-holder). It was not adopted in Europe for hundreds of years! The human species is the only species we know of, which is capable of imagining a future for itself and of working toward that vision.

The adventure solves problems, creates new problems, and solves those problems. If we do it right, we end up with greater mastery of nature so that (1) we are less and less just beasts of burden, but exert our power (our “muscle”) through our thought processes applied to technologies, (2) what we consider “resources” gets redefined as our technologies advance (we move from burning wood to coal to petroleum products to nuclear fission to nuclear fusion), and (3) we, who are a part of nature, protect the rest of nature, because we produce a surplus beyond human needs.

There is no possibility of a static or “balanced” planet. Either we advance, or we die. If we go back to wood burning, we will use up every living thing faster than it can reproduce itself. The idea that we must return to a planet of a lower technological level and, as a corollary, less than a billion people, is promoted today by the super-rich Europeans – that is, the old oligarchical families, including especially the British royal family, but also the Rockefellers, Oppenheimers, Ruperts, Herr Schellnhuber, Bill Gates, and Al Gore.

Africans, being relatively politically weak in the world, will be killed off first, by various indirect means. The world needs many more Africans, not less.

Dr Mitole’s Rejoinder

All in all, very insightful comments. Sherry has gone the extra mile to give us a bit of history. But it is the same history written by our enemies. It contains so many half-truths, fabrications, concoctions and lies.

 
I disagree with the reader on so many points:
 
1. Firstly he claims that the ability to perform (by calculation) addition, multiplication, and division was first developed by the Sanskrit-speaking people of South Asia (in other words, they developed the concept of the zero as a place-holder).
 
Most histories of mathematics devote scores of pages to Ancient Greek, Ancient Rome and Ancient Egypt during the middle ages. Generally they ignore the history of mathematics in Afrika as a whole and give the impression that this history either did not exist or, at least, is not knowable, traceable, or, stronger still, that there was no mathematics at all south of the Sahara. In history, to some Europeans, even the “Africanity” of Egyptian mathematics is often denied or suffers Eurocentric views of conceptions of both ‘history’ and of ‘mathematics’ form the basis of such views. The Ishango bone absolutely goes against such an outlook.
 
The Ishango bone was found in 1960 by Jean de Heinzelin de Braucourt while exploring what was then the Belgian Congo. It was discovered in the African area of Ishango, which was centered near the headwaters of the Nile River at Lake Edward (Now on the border between modern-day Uganda and Congo). The bone was found among the remains of a small community that fished and gathered in this area of Africa. The small settlement had been buried in a volcanic eruption. It was first thought to be a tally stick, as it has a series of what has been interpreted as tally marks carved in three columns running the length of the tool, but some scientists have suggested that the groupings of notches indicate a mathematical understanding that goes beyond counting.Dating as far back as 22000 years ago, before the Roman, Greek and Egyptian Civilizations, the Ishango bone is a dark brown bone which happens to be the fibula of a baboon, with a sharp piece of quartz affixed to one end for engraving. The bone has small, straight scratches on the side. Some of the scratches were grouped together, with spaces in between each group. Usually such objects are thought to be simple tallies of animals in a herd, or people in a group. This bone, however, was different.
 
HOW THE MATHEMATICS WAS DONE
 
It contained different columns of scratches. One column is a group of three scratches that double to six. The three columns of asymmetrically grouped notches imply that the implement was used to construct a numeral system. The central column begins with three notches, and then doubles to 6 notches.
 
The process is repeated for the number 4, which doubles to 8 notches, and then reversed for the number 10, which is halved to 5 notches. Furthermore, the numbers on both the left and right column are all odd numbers; 9, 11, 13, 17, 19 and 21. The numbers in the left column are all of the prime numbers between 10 and 20 (which form a prime quadruplet), while those in the right column consist of 10 + 1, 10 − 1, 20 + 1 and 20 − 1. The numbers on each side column add up to 60, with the numbers in the central column adding up to 48.
 
These numbers cannot be purely random and instead Ssuggest some understanding of the Principle of multiplication and division by two. The bone may therefore have been used as a counting tool for simple Mathematical procedures. Use of baboon bones as mathematical devices has been continuous throughout all of Afrika including Ancient Egypt, signifying that Afrikans always associated the baboon with the moon, math, and time.
 
Together with the Lebombo bone which is at least 35,000 years old, also a baboon fibula used as a measuring device consistent with iron ore mining in Southern Afrika (modern Swaziland and South Afrika, The Ishango bone is the oldest attestation of the practice of arithmetic in human history. The Ishango Bone is the oldest table of prime numbers; The first evidence of a calculator in the world.
 
The Ishango Bone is currently kept at the Royal Institute for Natural Sciences of Belgium in Brussels on a permanent exhibition, and can only be seen on special demand. This is one of the most important artifacts that need to be returned to Afrika by the former colonial masters, Belgium.
 
2. Secondly he further claims wildly that there is no possibility of a static or “balanced” planet. That by returning to Kemet we are returning to a planet of a lower technological level. This is very irritating. He makes the same mistake that every Colonized Black is making, that of equating civilization to mordenization (Capitalism).
 
The Kemets (Ancient Egyptians) were much more technologically advanced than the Europe of today. They were teleporting for transport and were erecting monuments thousands of years before the white man knew how to read and write. Well, until Napoleon Bonaparte came and destroyed that Black civilization.
 
Empirical evidence says Africans were incredibly healthier with a very low disease burden before we got modern medicine and western style doctors in the late 1860s. No one can explain to me why? 
 
Note, Africans had been living and thriving without modern medicine for thousands of years before western medicine got here, but in just 150yrs of modern medicine, we are threatened by extinction because of ever increasing, uncontrollable adaptive diseases and the attenuation of our immunity.
 
The fact that Africans were a low disease burden society is well documented by some of the first western doctors on their arrival in Africa. Starr Jameson and David Livingstone, wrote rims of information describing the healthy condition of the native and the low disease burden among them. The fact that they had to write about the observation of how healthy Africans were shows that good health and low disease among the African population was an anomaly from where they were coming from [Europe] with their modern medicine. Why did Africans have a low disease burden without modern medicine and why were western doctors astonished by such good health?
 
If modern doctors have more value than our traditional healers, who unfortunately we have lost because of the loss of the secret knowledge of the great traditional healers and contamination of traditional healing methods with western reasoning, utensils and products; why are people sicker today in the era of modern medicine instead of healthier? Why are diseases spreading instead of being eradicated in line with the low disease burden we had in Africa? Why is African immunity getting weaker?
 
Why are people sicker in 2019, living chronically with diabetes, cancer, herpies and other such simple illnesses but spending most of their earnings on treatment? Why didn’t Africans need to spend much on treatment with traditional healers and why were diseases not so pandemic during the traditional medicine dispensation as they are today?
 
This is not a rocket science question, can one of our educated “doctors” enlighten us? You won’t find this in any of your textbooks or your western medical journals so I wonder how you will answer, since you rely on the white man’s answers for all your knowledge.
 
As Africans we are brainwashed, we call ourselves scientists but only listen to what the white man says, without ever looking back into the past to determine the performance indicators of western approaches compared to our traditional ones to see if western approach is indeed better than our traditional one. Western medicine has not been an improvement to African life but it has weakened us, so why do we use it?
 
If our modern medicine is not holistic: from food, to spiritual, mental, social and physiological then what use is it?
 
3. Have all civilizations gravitated voluntarily to do things in the same way because it’s the best natural progression to achieve optimum results and outcomes for human development and evolution [self preservation]? The answer is no. 
 
All our means of existence in the current system: consumption, resource dependency, resource utilization, maintenance and waste disposal methods are counter productive, least efficient, polluting and destructive. Yet nature’s example of natural progression shows that the use of resources, maintenance and disposal is balanced, sustainable, symbiotic and all round evolutionary, why is our education system diametrically opposed to natural balance, sustenance, evolution or the natural progression of life? 
 
Modernization (Capitalism) does not give us the most efficient or evolutionary path because it’s non-symbiotic, unsustainable, destructive and on a path to devolving and killing humanity off, so why have we all adopted it? Why have we adopted a system that taught us to destroy our own environment and ecosystems which are supposed to ensure our perpetual survival, yet the first priority of intelligent life is self preservation? It’s because we adopted an education imposed on us by hegemony and assimilation caused by domination by the most powerful, influential cultures. But if this system came from intelligence, why is it not self preserving? Why is it self destroying? We are not where we are and using the systems we use in the world because those systems were the path of least resistance or the path of natural progression. We actually took the path of highest resistance and self destruction because of imposition. 
 
Clever Blacks make it sound like out in the world each country has an autonomous council of decision makers who decide which system to adopt or create. But they deliberately forget that economic power, control, ownership, capacity and the patterns of the world dictate to nations the systems they use and, we have been given the wrong system and are therefore educating our children in the worst system not because it was axiomatic but because we had it imposed on us. Some have said, had we not focused on a physical way of development and we focused instead on spiritual development we might today be teleporting for transport and using telepathy for communication instead of consuming huge amounts of fossil fuels from the core of the earth while polluting to eat, shelter, travel and communicate. 
 
This western education system is so insufficient that we are not even sure what the impact of taking fossil liquids and minerals out of the core of the earth will have on the long term viability of the world. Some scientists are actually beginning to speculate that taking periodical elements from the centre of the earth will destabilize the electromagnetic balance of the earth, but we still remove them because our western centric education system taught us that that’s the way. Why is this system teaching yet it doesn’t know the after effects of these actions?
 
Dr Edward Mitole is Visiting Professor at the UNISA Institute for African Renaissance Studies and Founder of the African Renaissance Project. He is an Author, Columnist, Life Coach, Keynote Speaker, Inspirational Speaker, Political Strategist, Pan African Scholar, Thought Leader, Revolutionary and the Ultimate Warrior for Humanity.
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