Africans in Iraq

Once upon a long, long, long time ago, Africans arrived in Iraq to do the only job that history seems to think we are super qualified to do abroad: be somebody's slave! Yes, almost 800 years before Europeans and Americans arrived on the continent to reap their own havoc, Arab dhows had already taken over 10 million Africans from the north and the east to work their lands, be some master's 'mamita' (translation: sex slave), and I'm sure just about every other menial job they had going on.

Fast-forward through the slave uprising that led to black power for 15 years, past the Arab beat-down to reclaim their land, and stop at the present moment in history with the descendants of these African slaves still being called slaves or abd. As if that wasn't bad enough, you can throw in 95% illiteracy and basically not a shot in hell for a job and you can quickly see that despite a thousand years, Iraqis of African origin continue to get the short end of the stick! Is it even a wonder that they look at Obamaville with sheer awe in their eyes?

Despite all the bad news, I found it very interesting that they still hang on to many African traditions. From spiritual healing ceremonies to the beat of African drums at wedding celebrations and even the preservation of ancient African dialects, this population preserves what they can from their past while struggling to make a future for themselves and their future generations.

For futher info, check out this NPR story and also here.


Fly Brother said...

Wow...Thank you for this post - I never knew about African-descended Iraqis. Like mamas the world over always say...you learn sumpm new every day!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. Black soldiers are telling us how racist Iraqi Arabs are. Boys say they are not suppose to associate with black dirt. If the young boys say this they were told that by their parents. Arabic Muslims look down on Obama as an African Arab. The Zenj is the namer the African-Iraqi are called and Taleqan was the name of the leader who ruled Iraq for 15 years.