BLACK EUROPE

The mainstream media at times likes to spin tales on the threat of 'Overtaking Islam', providing speculative statistics on how Europe will become overrun by the Muslims in a few decades' time. What will be will be, but somehow, a 'fear' of being overtaken by the other prevails in many modern societies. Historical figures such as Malcolm X reminded us that no one is inferior or superior in Islam, based on anything other than their deeds, but even amon Muslims, we see fear of the 'Other'. This article reminds us that this should not be the case. We are all equal in God's eyes and prejudice is something to leave behind, particularly if we consider ourselves religious; and the expectation of remaining separate from those that are different from ourselves is increasingly absurd in our modern, globalised nation -  Yamin Zakaria and the Team @ Radical Views


 

If you don’t stop, I will turn Europe black!’ So did the late Muammar Qaddafi threaten while NATO was raining bombs on Libya. Same menace the Colonel had intimated in 2010 before the war. Five billion euros a year from the EU to stop African immigrants, he had demanded: ‘Else, Europe will be become black…it will change’.

Qaddafi was wrong, as well as implicitly racist. Because Europe is already black. (Well, in part.) Look at the population of European big cities, even the provinces, and this truth will jump out at you. The question is: if Europe gradually turns even more African-looking, should it matter? And to whom?

Qaddafi obviously thought it did - to Europeans. White skins and black skins do not go together, the defunct dictator assumed. Do I dare suggest he was displaying his own dark side? Because anti-black colour prejudice exists amongst Arabs, too. Consider a large Middle-East nation, Egypt. A minority of its people are Nubians. Remnants of an ancient, proud civilisation which graced ancient Egypt with quite a few Pharaohs. Today Nubians are a marginalised and discriminated minority, easily picked out by their ebony-black skin. In Cairo they often do the lowlier jobs. In my days there I knew a Nubian caretaker called Uthman. ‘No light-skinned Egyptian girl will marry me, I am too black’ he bemoaned. Maybe it was all in his mind, maybe not.

It is tricky: Anwar Sadat’s marked African features, denoting a Nubian origin, did not prevent him from becoming President of Egypt - with a wife of English extraction. Yet it is well-known how Sadat was embarrassed by his looks and tried to pretend he had no Nubian blood. Inferiority complex again – or maybe more?

(Come to think of it, most Saudi princes also display a distressingly light skin… A streak of racism?)

True, some Europeans dislike their continent being Africanised – although hardly anyone likes to admit it. But God’s Church cannot agree. At the end of St Matthew’s Gospel Christ commands his disciple: ‘Go and baptise all nations!’ (He did not say ‘white nations’, did he?) Indeed, just after the Resurrection among the first to be baptised was a black man, an Ethiopian eunuch, the Acts of the Apostles relate. Therefore skin-colour is theologically irrelevant.

Christian art bears witness to the inclusivity of the Church. Representations of the Magi coming to worship the child Jesus often show one of three Kings as black, as each stands for mankind’s major races. Rubens’ splendid ‘Adoration of the Magi’ is a case in point: one of the Kings looks unmistakeably like a Moor.

Apologists for slavery have sometimes cited Genesis 9:22-25. It spells a curse on one of Noah’s sons, Ham, the father of Canaan. Sometimes interpreted as the forefather of the black race: ‘A slave of slaves shall he be unto his brothers’. Naïve literalism apart, no single biblical verse could justify the inferiority of a large part of the human family. Biblical exegesis requires that difficult, troubling passages should be harmonised with clearer and more spiritual ones. Further, the Old Covenant is fulfilled in the New Covenant established by Jesus Christ, whose will is manifested in the universal command quoted above. No branch of humanity can therefore be subordinated to any other.

Warning about ‘millions of Africans…ignorant and starving’ clamouring at the gates of Europe, Colonel Qaddafi gloated that ‘it will be like the old barbarian invasions…Europe will no longer be Europe’. (More racism, groan…) He also mentioned ‘new religions’ overwhelming Europe via the black immigrants. Don’t figure he meant Buddhism – no, it was Islam. Let us not pretend: many Westerners are scared stiff by the growing influence of Islam but the old tyrant mixed up race and religion. Not all Muslims are black. Bosnians, Albanians and Turks, for instance, are not. And they, like it or not, are in Europe already, no?

Ironically, it was a Tripoli-Rome accord between Qaddafi and Berlusconi that radically reduced the numbers of illegal immigrants reaching Italy from North Africa. The Italian Navy turned away boatloads of immigrants at sea. Forced back to to Libya, the smug Colonel was happy to push them back where they came from. Berlusconi however was later overthrown by an EU-sponsored coup d’etat while Qaddafi…you know his undignified end. From where he is now, I imagine the bad Ra’is watching with glee the immigrant flotillas heading once again for Europe. He is grinning away: ‘My posthumous revenge on accursed Europe!’ Guess he has a point.

What is to be done? I recall a Dominican preacher wishing Europeans should become a big, happy, ‘miscegenated’ melange of races, like Brazil. Then all would be kosher, or halal. Unfortunately skin colour amongst Brazilians gets paler and paler as you go up the social scale. Real blacks are at the bottom. Not quite a racial paradise.

Is this an intractable problem? The US has a black President but race riots are happening right now in Baltimore. 150 years after the Civil War the black-white racial divide still persists. Writer Gore Vidal observed that the proportion of whites in the American population gets inexorably lower and lower: ‘When I point that out in a speech’, he said, ‘I see white faces in the audience getting paler, while black faces start glowing.’

Ya Allah!

Last modified on Sunday, 03 May 2015 07:07

Frank Gelli I am an Anglican priest and cultural critic and commentator. I have BA in Philosophy, MA in Christian Ethics, MA in Islamic Studies, PGCE in Religious Education and Oxford Certificate in Theology. I have been a journalist & drama critic in Italy and England.
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