The Black Presence in The Philippines‏ – Atlanta Black Star

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

BY RUNOKO RASHIDI*

Although the great majority of the people of the Philippines today are Tagalog, the country is not racially monolithic. In spite of their small numbers today the original inhabitants of the Philippines are the Diminutive Africoids, who still live in scattered communities in the Phillipines and are commonly and pejoratively called Pygmies, Negritos, Aeta, and a variety of other names based upon their specific locale. The word Aeta, a widely-used Tagalog term meaning filthy, is especially derogatory.

At least one group of Diminutive Africoids in the Philippines is known as the Agta (the People). I am, however, reluctant to the use the term Agta as a blanket term for the entire population of Diminutive Africoids in the Philippines, for fear of lumping groups together with a broadly similar phenotypes but not necessarily cultural similarities. Such an approach would only tend to perpetuate an injustice to an already wounded sense of humanity to a once proud people. In regard to phenotype, broadly speaking, these Black people can be described as short in stature, dark-skinned, spiral-haired and broad-nosed. They are an extremely ancient people and are no doubt modern representatives of the world’s earliest-known modern humans.

A BLACK WOMAN AND CHILDREN IN THE PHILIPPINESIn stark contrast to the Diminutive Africoids, the Tagalog majority seem to have only entered the Philippines during the last several thousand years, and while not enough is known of the early history of the Diminutive Africoids in the Philippines, it has been well-documented that they engaged in bitter martial conflicts with the Spanish invaders, whose presence in the islands began in the 16th century. It was the Spaniards who named the aboriginal people of the Philippines Negritos, meaning little Blacks.

These are the Diminutive Africoids—the first people of the Phillipines. Once a proud people, today, they are generally despised by their Tagalog countrymen. They were, however, at one time, for thousands of years, the masters of the land.

Collectively, the story of the first people of the Philippines—the Diminutive Africoids–is truly fascinating. Individually, the story of David Fagen, an African-American soldier in the U.S. Army stationed in the Philippines during the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1901) and who defected to the Filipino freedom fighters, is remarkable, especially in its symbolism.

A YOUNG BLACK MAN IN THE PHILLIPINES (1)In November 1899, when he was in his early 20s, U.S. Army Corporal David Fagen defected from the 24th Infantry Regiment and went over the revolutionary insurrectionist forces led by Emilio Aguinaldo. Working with the insurrectionist army, Fagen quickly distinguished himself as a guerrilla fighter against his former comrades and fought so effectively that he was referred to as “General Fagen” by his Filipino companions. Indeed, as his exploits became so widely known he was actually referred to as “General Fagen” in the New York Times. Officially, he was quickly promoted by the guerrillas from first lieutenant to captain. From August 1900 to January 1901 he was in involved in at least eight clashes with U.S. forces.

As pressure was brought to bear on the insurrectionist forces and the major rebel leaders dead or captured, Fagen’s position became more and more tenuous. Indeed, the U.S. Army became obsessed with his capture and put a substantial bounty on his head.

Fagen’s end is not clear. One account has him assassinated and decapitated. Another has him living long and peacefully in the mountains of the Philippines, within a supportive and embracing Diminutive Africoid community. The latter account is very pleasing to me.

A YOUNG BLACK MAN IN THE PHILLIPINES (2)

A BLACK WOMAN IN THE PHILIPPINES

 

*Runoko Rashidi is a historian, writer, lecturer and researcher based in Los Angeles, California. He has written extensively on the Global African Presence and leads tours to various sites around the world. This essay is culled from his most recent work African Star over Asia: The Black Presence in the East, published by Books of Africa in 2012. His upcoming tours include the African heritage in Mexico in July 2014, the African heritage in Europe in August 2014 and Nigeria and Cameroon in December 2014. For more information write to Runoko@hotmail.com or go to www.travelwithrunoko.com

The Black Presence in The Philippines‏ – Atlanta Black Star.

Akoma Ntoaso Tours~Book Drive | Umkhonto we Sizwe! (Spear of the Nation)

Monday, June 30th, 2014

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Akoma Ntoaso Tours & Products is committed to the education of Afurakan-Jamaican children, who reside in rural Manchester and Clarendon, where our operations and tours are based. We are currently in the process of creating a library of books for the children in our rural community, ALL of whom have NEVER been exposed to Afurakan centered consciousness in the form of educational material.

All of the children in the community are melanin dominant, but are entirely unaware of their origins and heritage. During my last trip to Manchester, I had the opportunity to spend quality time with some of the children myself, and I came to find out that they did not know any of the Black national heroes of Jamaica, and when I asked them who the Honorable Marcus M. Garvey was they were unable to respond. This is a serious problem and Akoma Ntoaso Tours would like to be instrumental in assisting the educational process for the better.

We encourage members of the global Afurakan world who are committed to raising awareness of our children in our indigenous homelands, to kindly make a donation of some form to this worthy process. We accept books, dvd’s, afrocentric cartoons, documentaries, clothing (in good condition only) and also monetary donations as well.

In the month of August, we will be sending all our donations directly to the children in Jamaica. All those who donate will receive confirmation (via phone or email) that their monetary donation is being used to uplift the rural community and it’s indigenous Black population. We look forward to hearing from you and please spread the word. Meda ase na Abibifahodie.

Udadewethu (Sista) Kentake.

Akoma Ntoaso Tours~Book Drive | Umkhonto we Sizwe! (Spear of the Nation).

White Watch: US imposes sanctions on Uganda for anti-gay law

Monday, June 30th, 2014

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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has received criticism for passing an anti-gay law in February

The US has imposed sanctions on Uganda for anti-gay laws it says are “counter to universal human rights”.

It said Ugandans involved in human rights abuses against gay people would be banned from entering the US.

The White House is also cutting funds to a number of programs it is running with the Ugandan authorities, and cancelling a military exercise.

Uganda has said it will not be pressed by the West to change the laws, which can see gay people jailed for life.

The law signed in February allows life imprisonment for acts of “aggravated homosexuality” and criminalizes the “promotion of homosexuality”.

The White House described the legislation an affront that called into question Uganda’s commitment to protecting human rights.

“The Department of State is taking measures to prevent entry into the United States by certain Ugandan officials involved in serious human rights abuses, including against LGBT individuals,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden Hayden in a written statement.”

The US will also discontinue or redirect funds for certain programmes involving the Ugandan Police Force, National Public Health Institute and Ministry of Health, and has cancelled plans to conduct a US military-sponsored aviation exercise in the African nation.

It is the latest effort by US officials to challenge Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act.

Ugandans supportive of their government's anti-gay stance attended a march in Kampala, Uganda, on 31 March 2014
Uganda is a deeply conservative society where many people oppose gay rights

Last week, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand decried the nomination of Uganda’s foreign minister to president of the UN General Assembly, given his country’s treatment of gay people.

It would be “disturbing to see the foreign minister of a country that passed an unjust, harsh and discriminatory law” preside over the UN body, she told US media of the nomination of Sam Kutesa.

More than 9,000 people also signed a petition urging UN states to block him. He was subsequently elected to the role.

Ugandan rights activists and politicians also filed a legal challenge to overturn the law, arguing it subjected them to cruel and inhuman punishment.

Uganda’s authorities have defended the law, saying President Yoweri Museveni wanted “to demonstrate Uganda’s independence in the face of Western pressure and provocation”.

The World Bank postponed a $90m (£54m) loan to Uganda to improve its health services after the law was approved.

Several European nations – including Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden – have cut aid to Uganda to show their opposition to the law.

White Watch: US imposes sanctions on Uganda for anti-gay law.

I Speak of Freedom: A Statement of African Ideology, Kwame Nkrumah 1961

Monday, June 30th, 2014

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For centuries, Europeans dominated the African continent. The white man arrogated to himself the right to rule and to be obeyed by the non-white; his mission, he claimed, was to “civilise”Africa. Under this cloak, the Europeans robbed the continent of vast riches and inflicted unimaginable suffering on the African people.

 

All this makes a sad story, but now we must be prepared to bury the past with its unpleasant memories and look to the future. All we ask of the former colonial powers is their goodwill and cooperation to remedy past mistakes and injustices and to grant independence to the colonies in Africa….

 

It is clear that we must find an African solution to our problems,and that this can only be found in African unity. Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world.

 

Although most Africans are poor, our continent is potentially extremely rich. Our mineral resources, which are being exploited with foreign capital only to enrich foreign investors, range from gold and diamonds to uranium and petroleum. Our forests contain some of the finest woods to be grown any where. Our cash crops include cocoa, coffee, rubber, tobacco and cotton. As for power, which is an important factor in any economic development, Africa contains over 40% of the potential water power of the world, as compared with about 10% in Europe and 13% in North America. Yet so far, less than 1% has been developed. This is one of the reasons why we have in Africa the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty, and scarcity in the midst of abundance.

 

Never before have a people had within their grasp so great an opportunity for developing a continent endowed with so much wealth. Individually, the independent states of Africa, some of them potentially rich, others poor, can do little for their people. Together, by mutual help, they can achieve much. But the economic development of the continent must be planned and pursued as a whole. A loose confederation designed only for economic co-operation would not provide the necessary unity of purpose. Only a strong political union can bring about full and effective development of our natural resources for the benefit of our people.

 

The political situation in Africa today is heartening and at the same time disturbing. It is heartening to see so many new flags hoisted in place of the old; it is disturbing to see so many countries of varying sizes and at different levels of development, weak and, in some cases, almost helpless. If this terrible state of fragmentation is allowed to continue it may well be disastrous for us all.

 

There are at present some 28 states in Africa, excluding the Union of South Africa, and those countries not yet free. No less than nine of these states have a population of less than three million. Can we seriously believe that the colonial powers meant these countries to be independent, viable states? The example of South America, which has as much wealth, if not more than North America, and yet remains weak and dependent on outside interests, is one which every African would do well to study.

 

Critics of African unity often refer to the wide differences in culture, language and ideas in various parts of Africa. This is true, but the essential fact remains that we are all Africans,and have a common interest in the independence of Africa. The difficulties presented by questions of language, culture and different political systems are not insuperable. If the need for political union is agreed by us all, then the will to create it is born;and where there’s a will there’s a way.

 

The present leaders of Africa have already shown a remarkable willingness to consult and seek advice among themselves. Africans have, indeed, begun to think continentally. They realise that they have much in common, both in their past history, in their present problems and in their future hopes. To suggest that the time is not yet ripe for considering a political union of Africa is to evade the facts and ignore realities in Africa today.

 

The greatest contribution that Africa can make to the peace of the world is to avoid all the dangers inherent in disunity, by creating a political union which will also by its success, stand as an example to a divided world. A Union of African states will project more effectively the African personality. It will command respect from a world that has regard only for size and influence. The scant attention paid to African opposition to the French atomic tests in the Sahara, and the ignominious spectacle of the U.N. in the Congo quibbling about constitutional niceties while the Republic was tottering into anarchy, are evidence of the callous disregard of African Independence by the Great Powers.

 

We have to prove that greatness is not to be measured in stockpiles of atom bombs. I believe strongly and sincerely that with the deep-rooted wisdom and dignity, the innate respect for human lives, the intense humanity that is our heritage, the African race, united under one federal government, will emerge not as just another world bloc to flaunt its wealth and strength, but as a Great Power whose greatness is indestructible because it is built not on fear,envy and suspicion, nor won at the expense of others, but founded on hope, trust, friendship and directed to the good of all mankind.

 

The emergence of such a mighty stabilising force in this strife-worn world should be regarded not as the shadowy dream of a visionary, but as a practical proposition, which the peoples of Africa can, and should, translate into reality. There is a tide in the affairs of every people when the moment strikes for political action. Such was the moment in the history of the United States of America when the Founding Fathers saw beyond the petty wranglings of the separate states and created a Union. This is our chance. We must act now. Tomorrow may be too late and the opportunity will have passed, and with it the hope of free Africa’s survival.

 

From Kwame Nkrumah, I Speak of Freedom: A Statement of African Ideology (London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1961)

I Speak of Freedom Kwame Nkrumah 1961 A Statement of African Ideology.

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