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Every now and then, a European newspaper will surprise you by publishing something totally out of character. Example: last September, Norway’s newspaper of record, Aftenposten, ran a surprisingly honest – and politically incorrect – piece by someone named Kristoffer Gaarder Dannevig. The subject: Afrikan (sic) History Week, an initiative that was apparently the brainchild of someone named Brother Buntu, who, a week earlier, had complained in Aftenposten that both Norway’s authorities and its media present Africa in a negative way.
This statement, I must interject, has got to be one of the great laugh lines of all time: no country on earth treats Africa and Africans with more reverence – for their innate innocence and virtue, the greatness of their ancient civilizations, and the tragedy of their victimization by Western imperialists – than does Norway. Nonetheless, Brother Buntu framed Afrikan History Week (AHW), which received financial support from the municipality of Oslo as well as from such respected Norwegian groups as Arts Council Norway, as a response to Norway’s alleged negativity about Africa. As he put it, the whole shebang was “a gift to ignorant Norway.” Uh, gee, thanks.
The point of Dannevig’s piece was to blow the whistle on this preposterous scam. AHW, he charged, was “a mishmash of conspiracy theories.” Why is that sphinx in Egypt missing its nose? According to an AHW seminar, it was “because racist Europeans chopped it off.” And why did they do that? Because they “wanted to hide the fact that the sphinx had a broad African nose.” In fact, as Dannevig noted, the sphinx’s nose “disappeared some time prior to the year 1500. There is little to indicate that Europeans were the culprits.”
But that was just the tip of the iceberg. According to the lecturers at AHW, “it was Africans who founded the first urban cultures in the world, in Mesopotamia and India (!).” (That parenthetical exclamation point, by the way, is Dannevig’s.) Also, “pre-colonial Africa was a place where the sexes had equal rights and there was no prejudice against homosexuals.” The sexual discrimination and violence against gays in today’s Africa, you see, are entirely the result of European colonial influences. As for the slave trade, AHW dropped down the memory hole the fact that it was Africans who sold their fellow Africans to European traders – no, according to AHW, Europeans alone were responsible for the slave trade. In sum, as Dannevig put it, “Africans stand for everything good and Europeans stand for everything evil. African culture is the world’s most humanist.”
For Americans, of course, this brand of propaganda is highly familiar. It dominates a great many Black Studies programs in the United States. Instead of learning real history, African-American students are fed sheer fantasies that are designed to make them feel proud of distant ancestors who supposedly reigned over highly advanced and broad-minded civilizations in the heart of Africa. Whole books have been published (mostly by university presses) that consist of nothing but this kind of balderdash. Supposedly distinguished professors make a living serving up these ridiculous fabrications. Now, as Dannevig noted, this nonsense – this claptrap going under the name of Afrocentrism – has found its way to Norway. And, as in the U.S., you challenge it at your peril.
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