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HOW AFRICA BECAME BLACK
I’m writing this in an internet café. Not had electric all day, and anyway, someone stole my computer charger from my suitcase. Tchh!! I have several issues with this chapter, but will address only the main one here. Diamond has previously claimed (page 161) that North Africa is ‘biogeographically, and in many respects of human culture, is more closely related to Eurasia than to Sub Saharan Africa. As for fair skinned Africans living in the North, he comments on page 380 ‘I’ll therefore say little more about Africa’s whites in this chapter, since their origins aren’t mysterious’. That is, as they are white, they must have come from Europe or the Near East. Yet he is perfectly happy to accept that the physically different North and Southern Chinese evolved that way due to climate. Distinct people tend to have distinct languages, Diamond says, which is probably true. Yet all the time he was lopping off the Northern part of Africa because they are ‘’culturally similar to the Mediterranean and Near East peoples, he knew that there is linguistic evidence to show that the Afro Asiatic language arose in Africa, and one branch spread to the Near East. ‘Hence it may have been Africa that gave birth to the languages spoken by the authors of the Old and New Testaments and the Koran, the modern pillars of Western civilization’. (page 383) It seems the movement was not of people of Mediterranean and Near East origins moving into North Africa, but of North Africans moving to the Near East! Perhaps, then, parts of the Near East and the Mediterranean should be included in the continent of EurAfrica? This constant redefining of the African continent to fit his theory is most annoying. On page 389 he insists that apart from cattle, all of Africa’s domesticated animals arose from elsewhere, yet on his graph on page 160, he states that pigs, Arabian camels and donkeys are native to North Africa. But now, to suit his purpose, he has moved North Africa to Eurasia. Oh! And now he also reveals that the Sahara desert, that supposedly barren area which was such an effective North/South barrier, actually held numerous lakes and teamed with game between 9,000 and 4,000 BC and from the area of the Sahara we have ‘possibly the earliest archaeological evidence for food production crops ‘ (page 390) I’m confused. Is this Sahara now in North Africa or Eurasia? Whichever suits his theory, I suppose.
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