First the ‘Ocean’, then the ‘Mediterranean Sea’... - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

First the ‘Ocean’, then the ‘Mediterranean Sea’...

Recently, 300 more Africans, who sailed to the Mediterranean Sea with rickety boats, had lost their lives to the waves. Only in the last year, around 3,500 Africans lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea. For how many years have we been witnessing this shame of humanity? As for Europe, they are blind and deaf to these deaths. If we spin the history index in reverse to 400 years ago, at this time, the monster swallowing the Africans is the “Ocean” rather than the “Mediterranean Sea”. The destination of all the young enslaved Africans, who had been separated from their homelands, is the US. From the 1500s through the end of the 1800s, the Europeans had transported slaves non-stop. Thousands of them died en route before they could pass the ocean.

According to the information found in Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano’s book entitled “Open Veins of Latin America”, in the 17th Century, the “Kingdom Africa Company”, one of the partners of which is Charles II., was distributing a 300 percent share bonus. However, only 46,000 of the 70,000 slaves, which had been loaded onto the ships by the Company between years1680-1688, survived and passed the Ocean. Some of them lost their lives to epidemics and lack of food. Some of them gave up eating, hanged themselves with their chains or committed suicide by jumping into the shark-infested Ocean. The number of Africans who died in the Atlantic is not completely known; however, Prof. Howard Zinn’s estimation was as follows:

“Until the 1800s, between 10 and15 million Africans had been transported to the US. In an era, which we regarded as the beginning of modern civilization, Africa had lost approximately 50 million people on the way to slavery.”

Between the 16th and 19th Century, the gold and silver mines in the US had been discovered. The local population had been turned into slaves and was obliged to work in those mines. The “Eastern Indian Islands” had been invaded and pillaged; likewise, the African continent had been turned into a hunting field for black people. The gold and silver in the US had been transferred to Europe. The “Holland-India Company” had collected a great bounty from Indonesia, and French capital had been accumulated from the slave trading. While working the slaves in the Antilles, the Brits also pillaged India, ensuring a great accumulation of funding. As for trading the blacks; it is the basis of all the other sources, it was the winder that prompted each piece of the gear.

In his masterpiece named “Capital”, Karl Marx underlines that all of these are the facts indicative of the capitalist industrialization era and that these generated the basic factors of the first accumulation period, or first industrial revolution. According to the calculations of Ernest Mandel, the sum of all these benefits was exceeding the sum of all the capitals that were invested in the industrial field in Europe during the 1800s.  This outstanding capital accumulation had revived the “enterprise spirit” and gained progress in the “Industrial Revolution period”. This great, scaled monopolization of international wealth, which was carried out to benefit Europe, had prevented the pillaged countries from ensuring any accumulation. Westerners didn’t stop with this. At the beginning of the 20th Century, Africa was completely colonized. Not only were the people of Africa taken away, but also Africa’s natural wealth was confiscated as well. The ones who criticized Ottomans, who held control over Northern Africa for 400 years, for not passing to capitalism, are not taking this great ethical distance in between into consideration.

According to Prof. Michael Mann, the economies’ transformation into capitalism propelled the world to come face to face with a grave danger. Mann is talking about a disaster related with the global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. In the case that the economies continue to follow the capitalist route, we will be confronted with outstanding migration waves, wars over water resources and more chaotic, intense conflicts worldwide. These rickety boats, which sail to the Mediterranean Sea loaded with people craving better living standards, are fulfilling this prophecy. 

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