Thursday, December 31, 2009

Monday Midnite-1897

1897 is not just another rap song. It's not just another ideological song. It's a song that evokes the most tragic event in the history of my people. A song intended to officially launch the genesis of my campaign for the return of the traditional and historical works of art that the British looted from Benin in 1897. My fundamental aim is to ensure that a huge and significant chunk of the recorded history of my
people is not lost forever.

In that memorable year 1897, one of the most nefarious and gruesome terrorist attacks in human history took place in my beloved city of
birth, BENIN CITY. My ancestors, men, women and children were brutally
and mercilessly mauled down in their thousands by the government
forces of GREAT BRITAIN. They then set the city ablaze, ransacked our
King's palace and looted thousands of art works which represented the
very core of our cultural, traditional, historical and religious
existence as a people.

Back then, while Europeans recorded their major events for posterity
in long-hand, my ancestors carved our major events
in ivory and wood, my ancestors cast ours in bronze.

To fully comprehend the magnitude of the importance of what the looted arts
means to my people and the reason my passion to campaign for their
return was deeply aroused, I kindly urge you to take five out and
imagine this scenario:

Imagine that thousands of superiorly armed strangers from a far and
distant land enters the United States and loot everything in the
library of congress and all the libraries in the country, enters Britain and all the EU nations and clean out
everything in their libraries, and then kill nearly everyone who has
first and second hand knowledge of the important historical records
kept in those libraries. Imagine that one hundred years passes by and
a totally different language and methods of writing and recording events
 established in the US, Britain and EU nations by these strange looters  is already deeply rooted in these
societies. Imagine that there are probably less than a hundred
geriatrics alive in the United States, Britain and Europe who still have knowledge of the old language and method of recording events that was in place prior to the arrival of the strangers, and they are the only ones than can translate the looted records of the old language into the now fully established
new language and method of recording events.

Imagine what it would mean to the present and future generations of America, Britain and EU nations if the looted records are RETURNED before the aforementioned less than hundred capable and knowledgeable but ailing geriatrics dies out. They will be over the moon with JOY, right? And rightfully so because they will have a chance to know about their recorded history as the said knowledgeable geriatrics are still alive to translate the returned records and library books of the old language into the new language they can understand.

Now imagine what will transpire if the loots are NOT returned
before the knowledgeable  geriatrics dies out!!! A huge and significant part of their
history would be completely LOST forever, right?

Now finally, please come back from the land of your imagination and think about my
people a little bit. Please think about the fact that we the children
of Benin don't have to imagine it. We don't have to imagine it because
we are living it. It's our reality. There are most certainly less than a hundred knowledgeable traditional Benin  historians alive today who can translate the meanings of the images cast and carved in those looted artifacts into today's modern language our present and future generations can understand, and they are ALL over 85yrs old. So if the artifacts are not returned soon....before they die out, a huge and significant part of our recorded history will be LOST FOREVER.

Innumerable times, my people's humble plea to the British Government
for the return of the looted works of arts have been met with resolute

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) passed a resolution in
London in 1983 on the return of cultural property to its countries of
origin pointing out the moral rights of people to recover significant
elements of their heritage dispersed as a consequence of colonial or
foreign occupation. The General Assembly of the United Nations has
also passed numerous resolutions emphasizing the rights of people to
recover such artifacts, but the British Govt refused to comply in the
case of Benin arts.

Folks, my people are in danger of not ever knowing what our ancestors
were trying to convey to us in those carvings and castings as there
may soon be no one left amongst our traditional intellectuals who can
transcribe our ancestors uniquely recorded historical events in IVORY,
WOOD and BRONZE into today's method of writing for the consumption of
the present and future generations.

I hereby call on all Nigerians, Africans, and all good and justice-loving
people all over the world to join me in this campaign for the return of ALL the artifacts that the British Govt looted from Benin in 1897.

Check out the promo song and video of the campaign on YouTube: Monday Midnite-1897

Thank you and God bless.....Monday Midnite

No comments:

Post a Comment