Criminalizing Denial of the Black Holocaust

By David Muhammad, Guest Columnist | Last updated: Jun 12, 2019 - 10:50:23 AM

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In light of us being in the midst of the United Nations Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) and following up from the March 11, 2014 CARICOM agreement in St. Vincent to a “10 Point Reparations Action Plan,” CARICOM governments should consider the drafting of some form of legislation to ideologically protect the academic documentation of African Enslavement, also referred to in various literature as the “Black Holocaust” and establish a law to outlaw, prohibit and eventually even criminalize “denial of the Black Holocaust.”

This is essential because there are many in our region that trivialize, distort, mock, deny and dismiss the truth of the devastating impact and after effects that enslavement has had on the African Community in the Caribbean. It creates a risk for important history and heritage being lost due to failure to effectively publish, broadcast, circulate and incorporate information on this struggle within our education system. And, it manifests as an attempt to dispel the legitimate arguments that support the view that reparations must be granted.

Furthermore, the African Holocaust is the worst of its kind ever in all the annals of history, yet laws have been passed in 17 countries criminalizing the denial of the Jewish Holocaust, which in comparison features only a small fraction of the atrocities and crimes against humanity that were the case during African Enslavement.

“Jewish Holocaust denial” is characterized by three criteria which are significantly reducing the number of Jews killed, questioning the methods of execution used (i.e. denying that gas chambers were used) and claiming that there was mass deportation of Jews out of Germany rather than mass extermination.

Scholars use the term “denial” to describe the views and methodology of Holocaust deniers in order to distinguish them from legitimate “historical revisionists,” who challenge orthodox interpretations of history using established historical methodologies. So even if truth is spoken but that truth is against the Zionist narrative, then that truth is not only rejected, but the speaker of it becomes discredited, demonized and victimized.

Countries including France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Belgium, Greece and Israel each have legislation enacted to prosecute persons whose views fit within any of those three criteria. It would benefit the Caribbean region to adopt a similar perspective to preserve the strength of our collective contemporary struggle to break the chains of modern day slavery in its various forms.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, in Jamaica on October 19, 2014, raised the question “How can we (Caribbean Nations) be independent and allow ourselves to continue to function under the institutions of our former colonial masters?” If these institutions include our schools, colleges and universities, then we run the risk of our philosophical legacy being lost in the residue of a postcolonial education. There has been a pattern and attitude of dismissal by non-African ethnic groups of African Enslavement and a refusal to accept that any compensation is due at all.

These sentiments have filtered over into the minds of Black people who, due to a lack of ideological independence, align themselves with these biased opinions against the best interest of the Black community.

From here, our people begin to repeat, recycle and regurgitate racism from others, repackaged in their own mental spaces and hence this becomes “internalized racism” which manifests itself as “self-hatred.” So the hatred that Europeans held for Africans has been transferred socially, culturally and ideologically into the minds of Black people, who have now personified within the same despising that Whites had for them without. This transferring of external White hatred to internal Black hatred has taken place through education, religion and culture which combined, produce a new toxic faulty socialization process. This has also largely been experimental. Black holocaust denial is a reflection of the intention for us to never get justice but worse than this, for us to never want justice. To deny the Black Holocaust is to set an obstruction towards compensation resources due to African people. But when we compare the African Holocaust to the Jewish Holocaust, the African Holocaust was several times worse on terms of the length of time over 300 years against six years, the number of lives lost and destroyed, over 100 million against six million and the psychological and social intergenerational after effects on the two separate communities. Jews, in most societies where they live, have managed to economically prosper and rise to the higher standards of living and qualities of life, while the African community, suffering from the after effects of slavery, has suffered persistent social problems. Bearing all of this in mind and following the model of “Criminalized Jewish Holocaust Denial,” a solid credible case can be presented to eventually criminalize the “Denial of the Black Holocaust” by “non-Black [African] persons.”

(David Muhammad is the Trinidad and Eastern Caribbean Representative of the Honorable Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.)