Black People : Ivan Van Sertima: "Reply to My Critics"

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by RAPTOR, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. RAPTOR

    RAPTOR Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    by Ivan Van Sertima

    An attack on my thesis that Africans made contact with America before Columbus in two major pre-Christian periods (circa 1200 b.c. and circa 800 b.c.) in addition to the Mandingo contact period (1310/1311 A.D.) has been circulated in advance to hundreds of subscribers to a journal, Current Anthropology. Copies of this attack by Bernard de Montellano, Warren Barbour and Gabriel Haslip-Viera were also sent out to African-American scholars, some of whom were cited in the attack, dishonestly titled "Van Sertima's Afrocentricity and the Olmecs." The title's emphasis is meant to suggest that all revisions of African history by so-called "Blacks" belong to a common school, radiate from a common brain, and are cast in the same "racialist" hue and mode. This circular, which precedes my new book, REPLY TO MY CRITICS (scheduled to appear in Sept), seeks to highlight the brazen and malicious lies, slanders and misrepresentations that characterize this attack. Let it be noted that I was invited to respond to this attack but was forced to withdraw. The editor, after verbally agreeing that I could reprint my commentary, after the issue of the Journal appeared, did a dramatic about-turn when pressed to sign a written agreement to back up his word. He wrote that I could only reprint my "commentary" (15 pages) if I also reprinted the attack on me (50 pages) since "they form a unit." To feel the full absurdity of this, just imagine the Jewish Defense League being forced to republish an extended Nazi-type attack on their positions in order to republish a brief response to such a slanderous attack.

    LIE ONE: - "Van Sertima's expedition allegedly sailed or drifted westward to the Gulf of Mexico where it came in contact with inferior Olmecs. These individuals created Olmec civilization." - De Montellano, Barbour and Haslip-Viera.

    THE TRUTH: As far back as 1976, I made my position on this matter very clear. I never said that Africans created or founded American civilization. I said they made contact and all significant contact between two peoples lead to influences. "I think it is necessary to make it clear - since partisan and ethnocentric scholarship seems to be the order of the day - that the emergence of the Negroid face, which the archeological and cultural data overwhelmingly confirm, in no way presupposes the lack of a native originality, the absence of other influences or the automatic eclipse of other faces"-p. 147 of "They Came Before Columbus." See also Journal of African Civilizations, Vol 8, No. 2, 1986 "I cannot subscribe to the notion that civilization suddenly dropped onto the American earth from the Egyptian heaven."

    LIE TWO: None of the early Egyptians and Nubians looked like Negroes. "They have long, narrow noses..." "Short, flat noses are confined to the West African ancestors of African-Americans." Again, "there is no evidence that ancient Nubians ever braided their hair. This style comes from colonial and modern Ethiopia."

    THE TRUTH: Narrow noses have been found among millions of pure-blooded Africans. We can see this among the Elongated and Nilotic types. My critics know nothing about the variants of Africa, ancient or modern. All the six main variants of the African have been found in the Egyptian and Nubian graves. For examples of ancient braided Nubian hair, see Frank Snowden's "Before Color Prejudice," As for Egypto-Nubians only having narrow noses, see Egyptian pharaohs in Vol 10 and 12 of the JAC and major Nubian pharaohs in Peggy Bertram's essay (JAC, Vol.12) -Ushanaru, Plate 8, p 173; Taharka as the god Amun from Kawa Temples, Plate 9, p. 173; Shabaka, Plate 12, p. 176. Tanwetamani, Plate 16, p. 180. To say that these are narrow noses is to exhibit a colossal ignorance of African types in ancient Egypt and Nubia. The agenda behind this is to bolster their case that they could not have been models for any of the Olmec stone heads.

    LIE THREE; Modern Egyptians look exactly as they did thousands of years ago. The composition of the Egyptian has not changed over the last 5000 years. Invasions by the Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Arabs and Romans left them looking the same today as in the dawn of history.

    THE TRUTH: This is a hasty misreading of the work of scholars like A.C. Berry, R. J. Berry and Ucko who point out that there is a remarkable degree of homogeneity in this area for 5000 years. What a superficial reading of this fails to note is that the period ends with the close of the native dynasties BEFORE the invasions of the Assyrian, Persian, Greek, Roman and Arab foreigners

    LIE FOUR: Faced with the startlingly Negroid features of some of the Olmec stone heads, my critics try 4 ways out: (a) They are "spitting images of the native;" (b) they appear dark because some of them were carved out of dark volcanic stone; (c) some were made of white basalt which turned dark over time; (d) ancient Egyptians and Nubians were remote in physiognomy from sub-Saharan Negroes and none of them could have been models for any of the "Negro-looking" heads. Having said all that, they then claim that "races are not linked to specific physiognomic traits."

    THE TRUTH: No need to shoot them down on this. They turned the gun on themselves.

    LIE FIVE: Nothing African has been found in any archeological excavation in the New World.

    THE TRUTH: In the drier centers of the Olmec world - at Tlatilco, Cerro de las Mesas and Monte Alban - the Polish craniologist, Andrez Wiercinski, found indisputable evidence of an African presence. The many traits analyzed in these Olmec sites indicated individuals with Negroid traits predominating but with an admixture of other racial traits. This is what I have said. The work of A. Vargas Guadarrama is an important reinforcement of Wiercinski's study. He found that the skulls he examined at Tlatilco, which Wiercinski had classified as Negroid, were "radically different" from other skulls on the site, bearing indisputable similarities to skulls in West Africa and Egypt.

    Read more: http://www.africawithin.com/vansertima/reply_critics.htm

     
  2. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I am only going to address a statement here made by Van Sertima which highlights my own personal sentiment:

    "The title's emphasis is meant to suggest that all revisions of African history by so-called "Blacks" belong to a common school, radiate from a common brain, and are cast in the same "racialist" hue and mode. This circular, which precedes my new book, REPLY TO MY CRITICS (scheduled to appear in Sept), seeks to highlight the brazen and malicious lies, slanders and misrepresentations that characterize this attack."

    Over the years, i have read all of Van Sertima's work that i could find, and this began as an undergraduate student as one of my professors, St. Clair Drake, was a friend and associate of Van Sertima's. Furthermore, as i have stated before (in several other threads) two of the many Black professors and lecturers who have supported Van Sertima's work, are 'homeboys' of mine: Runoko Rashidi and Legrand Clegg. I could also add to this other so-called 'Afrocentrists' local to southern Kali who have in various degrees influenced not so much my ideology or thinking, but my independent research. Maulana Ron Karenga, Amen-Ra, Oba T'Shaka, Yemi Toure, Ron WIlkins, and many others such as professor Robert Hill, editor of the Marcus Garvey Papers.

    Yet, i do not identify as an 'Afrocentric'. In fact, i am presently rethinking the 'Out of Africa migration 'theory'. The thing is, oftentimes, we get cauht up in never-ending debates and arguments over 'theories' by white academics, and these are often just that. Theories based on speculation and one person's or group of person's bias.

    This is why i have spent over 20 years of intensive and extensive genealogical research, to establish a personal narrative and operative framework for evaluating and validating or refuting the works of others. I do not accept in totality everthing that my Ancestors/Elders such as Diop, Van Sertima, James, Williams, Clarke, Ben Jochanin, et al have stated in their various books and lectures, but i accept as legitimake their contributions to independent thinking and a body of knowledge i refer as 'Black Thought', and only seek to find my own niche in making my own contribution to this body of knowledge.

    I know i have weaknesses as a 'scholar' and 'academic' in my 25 years as an educator, but i try my best to maintain at least some objectivity in an area that can be hihly subjective and driven by racial bias, on both sides of the court. Of this i make no apologies. But i will take no prisoners and go for the knock out blow if and when i come under attack. And i will also defend the intellectual and personal integrity of my sisters and brothers, especially our Elders, when attacked by outsiders and the fifth column apologists and doubting Thomases within.

    Van Sertima deserves much credit, if for no other reason, by making us conscious and aware of the POSSIBILITY of an African presence and cultural continuity in the New world/Amexem. This is the foundation of which those of us in the West, the Land of the Amentiu, the Sons and Daughters of the Mande, Kush, Yoruba, Akan, et al stand or fall...together.

    Hetep'tah!
     
  3. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    In reference to the following:

    "see Egyptian pharaohs in Vol 10 and 12 of the JAC and major Nubian pharaohs in Peggy Bertram's essay (JAC, Vol.12) -Ushanaru, Plate 8, p 173; Taharka as the god Amun from Kawa Temples, Plate 9, p. 173; Shabaka, Plate 12, p. 176. Tanwetamani, Plate 16, p. 180."

    I don't recall how much detail Van Sertima and others have provided concerning the possible contact between the Olmecs and the above mentioned "Nubians" above, but he is close. My ONLY difference in this area is that Taharka, et al were not 'Nubian'. I will explain this by providing in this ONE post the Kushite ruler who reigned in the year 700 BC, when the Olmec centre was moved to La Venta.

    Shebitku (or Shabatka) was the third king of the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt who ruled from 702 BCE to 690 BCE according to Peter Clayton[3] or 707/706 BC-690 BC, according to Dan'el Kahn's most recent academic research.[4] He was the nephew and successor of Shabaka. He was a son of Piye, the founder of this dynasty. Shebitku's prenomen or throne name, Djedkare, means "Enduring is the Soul of Re."[5]

    In 1999, an Egypt-Assyrian synchronism from the Great Inscription of Tang-i Var in Iran was re-discovered and re-analysed. Carved by Sargon II of Assyria (722-705 BC), one possible interpretation of the inscription indicates that it may have been Shebitku, king of Egypt, who extradited the rebel king Iamanni of Ashdod into Sargon's hands, rather than Shabaka as previously thought.[6] The pertinent section of the inscription by Sargon II reads:


    “​
    "(19) I (scil. Sargon) plundered the city of Ashdod, Iamani,[7] its king, feared [my weapons] and...He fled to the region of the land of Meluhha and lived (there) stealthfully (literally:like a thief). (20) Shapataku' (Shabatka) king of the land of Meluhha, heard of the mig[ht] of the gods Ashur, Nabu (and) Marduk which I had [demonstrated] over all lands...(21) He put (Iamani) in manacles and handcuffs...he had him brought captive into my presence."[8]
    ”​


    The Tang-i Var inscription dates to Sargon 15th year between Nisan 707 BC to Adar 706 BC.[9] This shows that Shebitku was ruling in Egypt by April 706 BC at the very latest, and perhaps as early as November 707 BC to allow some time for Iamanni's extradition and the recording of this deed in Sargon's inscription.[10] A suggestion that Shebitku served as Shabaka's viceroy in Nubia and that Shebitku extradited Iamanni to Sargon II during the reign of king Shabaka has been rejected by the Egyptologist Karl Jansen-Winkeln in Ancient Egyptian Chronology (Handbook of Oriental Studies), which is the most updated publication on Egyptian chronology.[11] As Jansen-Winkeln writes:
    "there has never been the slightest hint at any form of coregency of the Nubian kings of Dynasty 25. Had Shabaka been ruler of Egypt in the year 707/706 and Shebitku [was] his "viceroy" in Nubia, one would definitely expect that the opening of diplomatic relations with Assur as well as the capture and extradation of Yamanni would have been part of Shabaka's responsibility. Sargon can also be expected to have named the regent of Egypt and senior king, rather than the distant viceroy Shebitku [in Nubia]. If, on the other hand, Shebitku was already Shabaka's successor in 707/706 [BC], the reports of the Yamani affair become clearer and make more sense. It had hitherto been assumed that the Nubian king (Shabaka) handed over Yamani more or less immediatedly after his flight to Egypt. Now it appears...certain that Yamani was only turned over to the Assyrians a couple of years later (under Shebitku instead)."[11]
    Consequently, Shebitku's reign should be dated to c.707 or 706 BC (at the very latest) to 690 BC.

    Turin Stela 1467, which depicts Shabaka and Shebitku seated together (with Shebitku behind Shabaka) facing two other individuals across an offering table, was once considered to be clear evidence for a royal co-regency between these two Nubian kings in William Murnane's 1977 book on Ancient Egyptian Coregencies.[12] However, the Turin Museum has subsequently acknowledged the statue to be a forgery. Robert Morkot and Stephen Quirke who analysed the stela in a 2001 article, also confirmed that the object is a forgery which cannot be used to postulate a possible coregency between Shabaka and Shebitku.[13]
    Secondly, Shebitku's Year 3, 1st month of Shemu day 5 inscription in Nile Level Text Number 33 has been assumed to record a coregency between Shabaka and Shebitku among some scholars. This Nile text records Shebitku mentioning his appearing (xai) in Thebes as king in the temple of Amun at Karnak where "Amun gave him the crown with two uraei like Horus on the throne of Re" thereby legitimising his kingship.[14] Jürgen von Beckerath argued in a GM 136 (1993) article that the inscription recorded both the official coronation of Shebitku and the very first appearance of the king himself in Egypt after comparing this inscription with Nile Level Text No.30 from Year 2 of Shebitku when Shabaka conquered all of Egypt.[15] If correct, this would demonstrate that Shebitku had truly served as a coregent to Shabaka for 2 years.
    Kenneth Kitchen, however, observes that the "verb xai (or appearance) applies to any official 'epiphany' or official manifestation of the king to his 'public appearances'."[16] Kitchen also stresses that the period around the first month of Shemu days 1-5 marked the date of a Festival of Amun-Re at Karnak which is well attested during the New Kingdom Period, the 22nd Dynasty and through to the Ptolemaic period.[17] Hence, in the third Year of Shebitku, this Feast to Amun evidently coincided with both the Inundation of the Nile and a personal visit by Shebitku to the Temple of Amun "but we have no warrant whatever for assuming that Shebitku...remained uncrowned for 2 whole years after his accession."[18] William Murnane also endorsed this interpretation by noting that Shebitku's Year 3 Nile Text "need not refer to an accession or coronation at all. Rather, it seems simply to record an 'appearance' of Shebitku in the temple of Amun during his third year and to acknowledge the god's influence in securing his initial appearance as king."[19] In other words, Shebitku was already king of Egypt and the purpose of his visit to Karnak was to receive and record for posterity the god Amun's official legitimization of his reign. Therefore, the evidence for a possible coregency between Shabaka and Shebitku is illusory at present.

    During Shebitku's reign, there was initially a policy of conciliation with Assyria which was marked by the formal extradition of Iamanni back into Sargon II's hands. After Sargon II's death, however, Shebitku appears to have adopted a different policy by actively resisting any new Assyrian expansion into Canaan under Sargon's son and successor Sennacherib. A stela from Kawa relates that Shebitku asked his 'brothers', including Taharqa, to travel north to Thebes from Nubia. The Nubian army travelled along with Taharqa presumably to fight the Assyrians at the Battle of Eltekh in 701 BC. Another stela records that when Jerusalem was under attack by the Assyrians, the king of Kush marched against Sennacherib. Shebitku joined in the resistance against Sennacherib and an Egyptian army was sent to Palestine, led by Shebitku's brother, Prince Taharqa. Shebitku also completed the decoration of the Temple of Osiris Heqadjet in Thebes during his reign. The Temple had been constructed under Osorkon III. The decorations are notable for proving that Osorkon III's daughter, Shepenupet I was still the serving God's Wife of Amun at Karnak and had outlived her two brothers Takelot III and Rudamun by at least three full decades. In 690 BC, Shebitku died and was succeeded by Taharqa, his younger brother.

    [FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][URL]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shebitku[/URL][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT]

    The importance of Shebitku is that his reign provides PROOF against the arguments that 'Egypt' was under control of the Assyrians in 700 BC.

    In fact, the Kushites under Shebitku (Shabaka) and his successor are known for expanding their Empire eastwards to the Ganges (see Diop) and it is my 'theory' that it was during this period that the Kushites established the 'Olmec' colony at La Venta.
     
  4. emanuel goodman

    emanuel goodman Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Ummm Ummm Ummm nothing left for me to say Ivan has said it all... Hetep
     
  5. skuderjaymes

    skuderjaymes Contextualizer Synthesizer MEMBER

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  6. RAPTOR

    RAPTOR Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Can also find the rest of his response to his critics here:
    http://www.melanet.com/clegg_series/ivan.html
     
  7. skuderjaymes

    skuderjaymes Contextualizer Synthesizer MEMBER

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