The UN’s World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) held in Durban, South Africa, was itself the scene of intense racial hatred. The Conference was hijacked by radical Muslims who forced their hostility against Israel and the United States of America upon virtually every event. On numerous occasions the police had to intervene and form a protective ring around the Jewish delegates, who were being cursed, screamed at and threatened by extremely angry pro-Palestinian delegates. So intimidated were the Jewish delegates, that they soon removed all Jewish identifications and sought new name cards, which did not identify them as Jewish! Finally, the American and Israeli delegations felt forced to leave the Conference entirely.With such reckless verbal attacks against America at the Racism Conference, followed by such unprecedented multiple co-ordinated terrorist attacks upon America, it was apparent that extremists were using the UN’s Conference as a platform to prepare for the "armed propaganda" of targeting the USA.
There seemed to be no shortage of racial antagonism and anger at the Racism Conference. "We don’t want South Africans in Australia!" declared two high profile Aboriginal delegates. Rev Jesse Jackson, who has been silent on the on-going slavery by Arabs in Sudan, was most vocal in condemning Europe and America’s involvement in the 17th century transatlantic slave trade. Jackson demanded that the present governments in Europe and America should publicly apologise for the policy of governments two centuries ago.
SLAVERY, COLONIALISM AND GENOCIDE – THE CUBAN CONNECTION
Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, entered the conference to a hero’s welcome with ecstatic delegates chanting: "Fidel! Fidel! Fidel!" In a speech lasting over 2 hours, Castro castigated the West for the slave trade, colonialism and genocide, and for "plundering the natural resources of the African continent". All this seemed quite hypocritical as those same accusations could be applied to Cuba’s military interventions in Africa. In the 1980’s, alongside the 8 850 Russian military advisors, Cuban troops were propping up 13 communist dictatorships, including some genocidal regimes, in Africa. At one time Castro had 55 000 troops in the one nation of Angola alone. Human rights groups and mission organisations documented hundreds of massacres and atrocities by Cuban troops in Angola, including the murder of pastors and the destruction of many churches. Tens of thousands of young people from Mozambique and Angola were shipped to Cuba to work in the sugar cane plantations. Those "conscripted" for forced labour were not officially called slaves, but they certainly fit the dictionary definition: "a state of subjugation or captivity often involving burdensome and degrading labour … compulsory service … bondage."
In the 1960’s, Castro had 10 000 people executed and 30 000 imprisoned in Cuba – for political reasons alone.6 By 1999, Castro had imprisoned over 100 000 Cubans and executed 17000 people. The kind of regime presided over by Castro is testified to by the fact that 2 million Cubans have voted with their feet (or oars, as 100 000 have paddled across the sea) to escape from "the workers’ paradise". In the summer of 1994, alone, over 7 000 Cubans died while attempting to flee.
RACISM AT THE RACISM CONFERENCE
The South African President, Thabo Mbeki, in his address to the conference, lifted up a good standard: "we are determined to ensure that nobody anywhere should be subjected to the insult and offence of being despised by another or others because of his or her race, colour, nationality or origin … every human being should enjoy rights as equals with other human beings … no culture or language or tradition of any people is inferior, deserving of being despised, mocked or destroyed, all peoples and all nations are mutually and each equally entitled to their identity and their national pride …"
Unfortunately, having advocated non-racialism, the ANC president then proceeded to berate whites! In his speech, Mbeki regularly referred to the victims of racism as "black and brown", and the villains guilty of racism as "white". Statements by other delegates exposed the pervasive perception that only whites could be racists, or even that "all whites are racists!" and that no black person could be guilty of racism! All of which seemed rather racist comments and self-contradictory.
MUGABE’S RACISM AND STATE-SPONSORED ANARCHY IN ZIMBABWE
Some delegates at the WCAR wore T-shirts supporting Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe. "Mugabe is Right!"declared one T-shirt showing an angry Mugabe with a raised, clenched fist. Yet as one South African delegate, Dene Smuts, pointed out, Mugabe is guilty of the most vicious racism against whites and against Jews. With Mugabe’s disastrous policy of state-sponsored anarchy, with the stealing and looting of farms and businesses, murder of farmers and opposition members, terrorising of Supreme Court justices, bombing of opposition newspaper offices, imprisoning of critics and reckless promotion of racial hatred against whites and Jews – it remains a mystery as to why Zimbabwe was not on the Racism Conference’s agenda.
BLACK RACISM AND THE NATION OF ISLAM
Another well-known racist who seemed to have escaped censure at the WCAR was Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam in America. Farrakhan boldly promotes a growth industry of black racism and condemns all whites as "devils". Interestingly, Farrakhan, while condemning white involvement in the slave trade, is silent on the much longer standing, and on-going Arab slave trade. In fact, Farrakhan – who has been a guest of the National Islamic Front dictator, General Al Bashir, in Sudan – has denied that slavery even exists in Sudan!
The Vice-President of United Christian Action, Francois van Deventer, in a press release, challenged the WCAR: "If historical slavery is to be discussed, why is contemporary slavery not on the agenda? How can a Racism Conference be held for the first time in Africa and fail to debate the fact that Christian Africans in the Sudan are being sold to Muslim Arabs … This is happening now … By ignoring (the Christian Black slaves) they are in fact condoning present day slavery in Africa". 11
When asked by a roving radio interviewer for Radio Kwezi what their definition of racism was, most delegates revealed confusion. As Christians For Truth General Secretary, Rev. Kjell Olsen observed: "The very word Racism has been abused and because of the confusion as to its definition, all sorts of wild allegations have been twisted to mean racism. Until recently, ‘racism’ meant the unfair discrimination against peoples based on their skin colour or other hereditary qualities … Unfortunately, the organisers (and most of the participants) of the WCAR have tried to equate all sorts of unjust treatment of different people groups … even when race plays no role … this linguistic confusion about the very definition of race is a major contributor to the grudge fest in Durban". 12
Webster’s Dictionary defines racism as: "a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement … hatred or intolerance of another race …". By that definition, much that was condemned at the Conference did not qualify as racism and many of those doing the condemning were themselves racists.
Dene Smuts, a delegate to the WCAR, questioned "where the resuscitation of the UN resolution equating Zionism with racism for the Durban Conference suddenly came from a decade after it was rescinded"? She expressed shock at the "calls broadcast on Palestinian television and radio urging the killing of all Jews". BBC World broadcast an interview with a 14-year-old boy, Mohammed, from the Islamic Jihad School for Suicide Bombers in Gaza. He was drawing a picture of himself with explosives strapped to his chest: "We have the right to do it. It leads the man to the highest estate in Paradise!" he declared. Although Yassar Arafat has publicly called for Jihad against Israel, even in a Mosque in Johannesburg, he was warmly welcomed to the WCAR. 13
YIN-YANG – NO FOUNDATION FOR RIGHTING WRONGS
The Yin-Yang symbol used as the Conference logo was not just by accident. This New Age symbol set the tone for the whole Conference. As the symbol itself depicts - there is no right or wrong, all things are one, including good and evil.14 The Taoist Yin-Yang, and the New Age religious beliefs it symbolises, provide no real foundation for righting wrongs — as it is a negation of the very idea of absolute standards of justice.
EVOLUTION – A ROOT OF RACISM
Similarly, those delegates who would describe themselves as atheists, had no objective basis with which to oppose racism. Those who hold to Darwin’s theory of evolution would also have no objective basis with which to counter racism. In fact, Darwinian evolutionism has inspired a whole host of racist ideologies and movements including Nazism, Communism and apartheid. The actual title of Darwin’s famous evolutionary book is: "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life."
Adolf Hitler often referred to Darwin’s theories to justify his struggle (Mein Kampf) for "survival of the fittest." Karl Marx wanted to dedicate "Das Kapital" to Charles Darwin and wrote: "Darwin’s book is very important and serves me as a basis in the natural sciences for the historical class struggle." 15 "Violence is the Midwife …" 16 As Stalin so succinctly put it: "Evolution leads to revolution." 17 Darwin’s theory that some races were more evolved than others was also used by the Nationalist advocates of apartheid to justify racial discrimination in South Africa.
THE ONLY SOLUTION TO RACISM
Only Biblical Christianity offers a rational basis for opposing racism and for pursuing justice. Equality before the Law is a Biblical principle: "The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before the Lord. The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you". Numbers 15:15 – 16
"Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great, but judge your neighbour fairly." Leviticus 19:15
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength … love your neighbour as yourself." Mark 12: 30 – 31
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."Galatians 3:28
"From one man He made every nation of men …" Acts 17:26
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5: 17 – 19
"For He Himself is our peace Who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility." Ephesians 2:14
ANTI-CHRISTIAN PREJUDICE AT WCAR
Yet, despite the fact that the Bible provides the only effective foundation for eradicating racism, there were numerous delegates who evidenced an anti-Christian prejudice. Considering that many delegates held to Marxism and evolutionism, that bias should not have been too surprising. Both Darwin and Marx expressed racist views. It is ironic that so many Russians and Africans have held Marxist beliefs, because Marx himself despised the Slavs and Blacks, writing that they were "frozen at pre-civilization levels" and would never make any contribution to history! 18
Beau Brummel, the Nudist King, submitted an Open Letter to the Conference attacking Christianity. Brummel, who describes himself as "a devout atheist" claimed that racism was caused by religion and that the Christian church was to blame for slavery because it had taught "that blacks were not created in God’s image and were therefore sub-human … Black Africans were simply of no consequence to the powerful Christian empires".19
This kind of blind prejudice and ignorance of the facts of history was unfortunately not exceptional at the WCAR. Why did so many Christian missionaries give their lives for Black people if they thought them "of no consequence"? Far from Christianity causing slavery, it was only Christianity which brought an end to the slave trade.
THE SCOURGE OF SLAVERY
Slavery long predated Christianity and many of the early Christians were slaves in the Roman Empire. Without exception, the pre-Christian world accepted slavery as normal and desirable. Aristotle claimed: "From the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule". The great civilizations of Mesopotamia, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Rome and those throughout Africa were all built upon slave labour. People became slaves by being an insolvent debtor, or sold into slavery by their parents, or by being born to slave parents, or by being captured in war or through kidnapping by slave raiders and pirates. Slave dealing was an accepted way of life, fully established in all societies.20 Most of these slaves were white people, or Europeans.
St Patrick, the English missionary to the Irish, who was once a slave himself, was the first person to go down in history speaking out unequivocally against slavery. He wrote "But it is the women kept in slavery who suffer the most." After the English king Conchobor refused to release the slaves, Patrick attacked him in a scathing letter. No voice as strong as his was heard again until the seventeenth century.20
The Greeks, from whom we derive so many modern, humanistic ideas, were utterly dependent on slavery. Even Plato’s Republic was firmly based upon slave labour. Plato said that 50 or more slaves represented the possessions of a wealthy man. Under Roman Law, when a slave owner was found murdered, all his slaves were to be executed. In one case, when a certain Pedanius Secundas was murdered, all 400 of his slaves were killed. 21
CHRIST CAME TO SET THE CAPTIVES FREE
Before the coming of Christ, the heathen nations despised honest work and consigned it to slaves. When Christ was born, half of the population of the Roman Empire was slaves. Three-fourths of the population of Athens were slaves.
But Jesus revolutionised labour. By taking up the axe, the saw, the hammer and the plane, our Lord imbued labour with a new dignity. Christianity undercut slavery by giving dignity to work. By reforming work Christianity transformed the entire social order. Our Lord Jesus Christ began His ministry in Nazareth with these words: "The Spirit of the Lord is on Me … to proclaim freedom for the prisoners … and release to the oppressed." Luke 4:18
When the Apostle Paul wrote to Philemon concerning his escaped slave, he urged him to welcome back Onesimus "no longer as a slave, but … as a dear brother … as a man and as a brother in the Lord." Philemon 16
Because of these and other Scriptural commands to love our neighbour, to be a good Samaritan and do for others what you would want them to do for you, Christians like William Wilberforce, John Newton, William Carey, David Livingstone, Lord Shaftesbury and General Charles Gordon, worked tirelessly to end the slave trade, stop child labour and set the captives free.
DEMANDS FOR "RESTITUTION"
Despite all this, the United Nations Racism Conference focused on demands for "the West" to "make reparation to Africa … for the historic crime of slavery." 22
Bishop Desmond Tutu reiterated the African bloc’s position that reparations for slavery and colonialism could be made through development assistance programmes, rather than just in cash.23
Fidel Castro condemned "the Arms Race" (which he personally seems to have contributed to) and "commercial advertising" demanding that the US should rather hand their money over to "African Americans, Native Americans and other victims of discrimination and scorn." 24
BLAMING THOSE WHO SET THE CAPTIVES FREE
These demands by delegates at the Racism Conference for restitution for slavery have been very selective. If the 300 year European and North American involvement in the Atlantic slave trade was to be discussed, then why not the 1 400 year Arabic involvement in the slave trade in North Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, in the Indian Ocean and the Middle East? Or the involvement of the Yao people of Malawi or the Madagascans or so many others in the slave trade? More importantly, if the slave trade, which Europe outlawed by 1815, was to be discussed, then surely the on-going enslavement of Black Africans by Muslim Arabs in Sudan today – even with government approval – should have been a priority focus of the Racism Conference.
It seems most unreasonable to single out Great Britain for demands of reparations for that nation’s disgraceful involvement in the slave trade, 25 considering it was Great Britain who first pioneered the abolition of the slave trade from 1807. Then, from 1809, the British government mobilised its Navy to search suspected slave ships, even foreign vessels, on the high seas. In 1810, the British Parliament declared slave trading a felony, punishable by 14 years hard labour. In 1814, the British representative at the Congress of Vienna insisted on the abolition of the slave trade being included in the International Treaty. This treaty was signed by all the European powers on 9 June 1815. In 1824, Britain passed a Bill, making slave trading punishable by death. Finally, by an act of Parliament in 1833, the British abolished slavery itself, setting all slaves in British overseas territories free.The abolition of slavery was one of the great turning points in history. And the long and vigorous crusade by the British Navy against the slave trade ranks as one of the most extraordinary and unselfish applications of national policy ever seen in the history of nations.
For anyone to demand of Great Britain a further apology, for its part in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, betrays an ignorance of history. Britain’s involvement in the slave trade, from 1713 – 1807, was indeed disgraceful.
But, led by William Wilberforce, the British nation more than atoned for its guilt in this vile trade in human flesh, by not only setting free every slave in Britain in 1772, but by outlawing the slave trade in 1807, mobilising its own navy to suppress the slave trade in 1809, and setting free all slaves in any territory in which Britain had influence or control in 1833.
No other nation in history has done more than Great Britain in fighting and opposing the slave trade. The British spent vast millions of pounds in suppressing the slave trade and sacrificed much blood in fighting to set the captives free. The United States, for their part, engaged in a bloody civil war, in part to set free all slaves, with a cost of over 650,000 dead.
I would venture to say that this present claim for restitution is motivated, not by a sense of justice, but by pure greed.
Biblically, restitution must be made by those guilty of the crime and paid directly to the victims. As both the villains and the victims of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries’ slave trade are dead, the "restitution" being advocated by many at the Racism Conference amounted to a demand for restitution by those who didn’t do the crime, to those who weren’t the victims!
If the Racism Conference was really serious about racism, it would have tackled the blatant racism of President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, affirmative action racial quotas in South Africa and the USA, and on-going State-sponsored slavery in Sudan.
"LET’S BLAME AMERICA FOR EVERYTHING"
As if demanding compensation from Great Britain for the slave trade it had worked so hard to abolish wasn’t ridiculous enough, the Racism Conference went so far as to demand compensation from America for the Rwandan Holocaust of 1994! This ludicrous demand was made by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). 26
The fact that the United States had absolutely nothing to do with the mass murder of Tutsis in Rwanda didn’t seem to concern the OAU panel of experts. Completely ignoring the Hutu MRND government of Rwanda who planned, orchestrated and carried out this genocide, and even ignoring their French and Zairian allies who armed, aided and abbetted the mass murderers, the OAU claim that "Ultimate blame for the Hutu attack on Tutsis … rests with America for not having intervened earlier."!!! 26
This is a strange charge coming from a body which normally condemns every military intervention from America. So instead of condemning the mass murderers, or their allies, or the UN peace keeping force which failed to protect the Tutsis, or even the near neighbours who failed to intervene, the OAU prefers to blame the USA which is in another hemisphere – for not stopping what others initiated. 27
Plainly what we are seeing is political blackmail — without any concern for either the facts of history or for justice. These demands for "compensation" are nothing other than attempts by opportunists at extortion motivated by greed.
TURNING A BLIND EYE TO REAL ATROCITIES
In all the talk at the WCAR about colonialism, slavery and genocide, nothing was said about the Egyptian colonialism and enslavement of Sudan, of the Ottoman Turkish Empire’s genocide of 1.5 million Christian Armenians in 1915, of the over 2 million deaths caused by Shaka Zulu’s Mfecane, of the Russian occupation of Eastern Europe and Afghanistan. Or Red China’s on-going occupation of Tibet and use of slave labour in factories. Strangely, compensation and restitution is not being required of Communist or Muslim governments – no matter how much greater their crimes. By only singling out West Europeans and Americans, the Racism Conference proved itself to be racist to the core.
Interestingly enough, British and American Christians in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s did make restitution by investing generously in developing Sierra Leone and Liberia as free states where liberated slaves could settle. From 1787, William Wilberforce and his friends in the Clapham community, poured vast amounts of money into developing Sierra Leone as a free and independent state. For many years, Sierra Leone and Liberia functioned well as almost the only countries in Africa free from colonial control.28
VILIFYING THE VICTIMS
The devastating, multiple, co-ordinated terrorist attacks on the financial and military centres of the United States on 11 September were unprecedented in both scope and scale. Coming so soon after the UN’s Conference on Racism, with its extraordinary scenes of vicious tirades against the United States of America, has led to speculation that the two events are linked. As terrorism is "armed propaganda", it would seem that the surprise attacks on America were co-ordinated to follow the Racism Conference. If this is so, it shows how dangerous such reckless words and ideas can be. Whipping up emotions and hatred can lead to a horrifying loss of innocent life.
The terrible irony is that the target of all this hatred and terrorism is the nation which has done more to help others than all other nations combined. No other nation has done as much as the USA to feed the starving, care for the sick, liberate nations in bondage and uplift standards of living. It is most unjust when the generous are rewarded with hatred and mass murder.
Let us not allow wicked men to manipulate our emotions and distort our understanding of history. Let us be careful not to join the modern slave traders and racists in condemning those who try to be good Samaritans.
"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness … who are wise in their own eyes … who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent … for they have rejected the Law of the Lord Almighty…" Isaiah 5: 20 -24
Dr. Peter Hammond