Indiana University-Bloomington campus Political Science Emeritus
Professor Iliya Harik, a prolific author and world-class scholar, is
originally from Lebanon. The University of Chicago-educated political
scientist offers some sober thoughts to explain a few nuances in the
recent submission No. 864.
What an interesting essay from the Nigerian scholar
(Onyeani)! I wish I could reassure everyone on the USA/Africa
Dialogue forum that there are no racists in Arab countries any more
than in any other part of the world. In general, antipathies in the
Arab world tend to be cultural more than racial and I can say that
racism is less in evidence there than in other countries of the
world. I cannot agree with the writer that Arabs are anti-African on
a racial basis. They are not anti-African on any basis. For one
thing, the largest ethnic component of the Arab world is African.
Egypt, which is the most populous Arab country, is mixed of different
races with a noticeably black African strain. I never noticed any
markedly racial awareness or sense of difference associated with
color there. The Sudan and Chad are mostly Arabic speaking, yet they
are totally black African. Forget about what you hear and read in the
media here that Arabs are killing Africans in Darfur. The people in
Khartoum are no less black African than those in Darfur, as many of
you well know. It is just that the government in Khartoum is
oppressive in a way that affects all the population, but is mostly
felt now in an ugly way in Darfur because the Darfurians dared stand
up and speak.
To continue, let me add that the populations of
Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco are predominantly Arabic-speaking
Berber, an African race. You will find that there is a mixture of
eastern Arabs and black Africans too. Besides, Arabs and sub-Saharan
Africans have since independence been together in the Non-Aligned
Movement (that was once dominated by Tito, Nkrumah, Sukarno, Toure,
Nasser, Keita and others) and its derivations.
I do not think that we ought to preach such division
(or differences) between the Arabs and Africans, especially as that
little of it exists. There are probably stronger antipathies between
Arab countries than between them and African nations.