Thursday, February 26, 2015


   At the end of the nineteenth century, the European colonial powers met in Berlin to divvy up Africa.

   Long and hard was the fight over colonial booty, the jungles, rivers, mountains, lands, subsoil, until new borders were drawn, and on this day in 1885 a General Act was signed 'in the Name of God Almighty'.

   The European lords had the good taste not to mention gold, diamonds, ivory, oil, rubber, tin, cacao, coffee or palm oil.

   They outlawed calling slavery by its name.

   They referred to the companies that provided human flesh to the world market as 'charitable institutions'.

   They cautioned that they acted out of a desire to 'regulate the conditions most favourable to the development of trade and civilisation'.

   And if there were any doubt, they clarified that they were concerned with 'furthering the moral and material wellbeing of the native populations'.

   Thus Europe drew a new map for Africa.

   Not a single African was present at that summit, not even as decoration.

Eduardo Galeano from 'Children of the Days'

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