General News of Saturday, 11 March 2017
A lecturer of the University of Cape Coast Kwame Osei Kwarteng (Phd) says the man of Lebanese extraction who assaulted a Ghanaian woman, has a de-humanising mentality towards blacks dating back to the Arab slave trade.
Although the alleged attacker, Jihad Chaaban was born in Ghana, the lecturer of history says abusive treatment of blacks by Arabs is ‘ingrained in their DNA’.
He was weighing in on a trending issue involving a woman Evelyn Boakye who says her face was dipped into a pepper sauce by her supervisor, Jihad Chaaban, who heads the Abelenkpe branch of Marwako Fast Food.
The alleged act has sparked outrage on social media and an online petition is on calling for an end to “inhumane treatment of Ghanaians by foreigners” and a shutdown of the fast food chain.
Mr. Chaaban has been charged with assault to which he has pleaded not guilty. Social media appears very awake to see the conclusion of the matter.
Discussing the matter on Joy News Saturday flagship programme Newsfile, Kwame Osei Kwarteng says while the matter remains criminal, a historical understanding is important to appreciate the violence meted out to the young woman.
History shows that as bad as slavery was, there was an important difference in how the Atlantic Slave Trade was practised by the West and how the Arab slave trade by Asian and Middle-Easterners was practised, he said.
Kwame Kwarteng who is also President of University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) explained that while the Atlantic slave trade is more popular, the cruellest form of slavery was perpetuated by the Arabs.
He said while Western ships docked and waited to carter away Africans, the Arabs went into the interior of the country by themselves shot the old and weak and captured youthful men and women off to their ships.
While the mortality rate for slaves being transported across the Atlantic was as high as 10%, the percentage of slaves dying in transit in the Transsahara and East African slave trade was between 80 and 90%, some historians have chronicled.
David Livingstone wrote of the slave trade in the African Great Lakes region, which he visited in the mid-nineteenth century:
“To overdraw its evils is a simple impossibility … We passed a slave woman shot or stabbed through the body and lying on the path. [Onlookers] said an Arab who passed early that morning had done it in anger at losing the price he had given for her, because she was unable to walk any longer.
“We passed a woman tied by the neck to a tree and dead … We came upon a man dead from starvation … The strangest disease I have seen in this country seems really to be broken heartedness, and it attacks free men who have been captured and made slaves”.
The black men after arriving in the countries of their slave masters were castrated to prevent reproduction and the women were held as cheap concubines, Prof. Kwame Kwarteng described.
A photograph of a slave boy in Zanzibar. ‘An Arab master’s punishment for a slight offence. ‘ c. 1890.
Slavery is gone but that mentality of seeing the blacks as inferior has ‘lingered on up till today’, the historian said.
The attack he said is ‘just the tip of the iceberg’ , he said.