What’s wrong with this map? What’s right? What’s just? Who decides? Who benefits?
Maps are important ways to perpetuate a Big Lie. Here is Africa from a fresh perspective.
Alkebu-lan is Arabic for “Land of the Blacks.” The map above uses familiar color and shading schemes to name the distinct cultures and people. Human geography.
Zoom in and experience the fractal quality of intense diversity:
The unlabelled land mass at the bottom is the uninhabited realm of lands depopulated by an extinction level event such as Black Death: an alternate history suggested by Frank Jacobs elucidated here:
Africa, Uncolonized: A Detailed Look at an Alternate Continent
A few interesting land areas stand out: places Empire Expanders call Sinai, Levant, Sicily and Spain. Their unexpected presence gives pause.
Please look at this planet from the Other’s perspective, remembering that you too are the “Other.” Call me Ishmael.
The equator is the dashed line. To my eye that great lake in Alkebu-lan looks like a chick’s eye. What a strikingly different way to look at this enormous continent. The solar system doesn’t have a top and bottom, so I can just imagine visitors from another star system mapping the southernmost continent as the top of the third planet out.
The Latin for the interior sea is Mediterranean: the sea at the middle of Earth. It’s natural but unfortunate to look at the world from where you name “us.” It could be New York or the Middle Kingdom (China) or Middle Earth.
America must not remain the center for geopolitical advantage studies.
The land of the fulsome and the home of the nice.
Imperialism is brutal exploitation of a land and its people: gain without pain for the well armed and the already comfortable.
Here are the paths the genomes took.
Simply stated, a map projection is a compromise achieved by forcing a sphere in three dimensions onto a two-dimensional surface. Only a globe presents accuracy to scale on behalf of the earth orb, but you can only see one side of the globe at one time. And it doesn’t fit well in your pocket.
When you have looked at the same combination of continents 100,000 times or so, it gradually takes on the ring of “truth.”
Consider the azimuthal equidistant projection for establishing a center point anywhere. It’s the polar opposite (figuratively and literally) of the mercator projection. Mercator places the North Pole at infinity. Azimuthal places Santa’s Workshop at the center of the world.
Expect maps to push agendas hard. In 1978 the Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said produced the book Orientalism,in 1978. It explains the way an occupation force imposes its perspective on the occupied: imposition of language and Eurocentric concept of unchangeable truth.
From Allen Webb, my source for Cecil Rhodes, a quote from gentle Cecil:
We must find new lands from which we can easily obtain raw materials and at the same time exploit the cheap slave labor that is available from the natives of the colonies. The colonies would also provide a dumping ground for the surplus goods produced in our factories.
The British imperial overlords used a straight-edge to define borders for the people they exploited before leaving former colonials to sort it all out. Once they left they didn’t look back. What’s past is passed. Let’s just say ‘we’re history.’
Consider the absurd British decision to create an East and a West Pakistan in the South Asia theater of interest and profit. It’s folly most insane. Lord Balfour had as much insight as the architects of East and West Pakistan when he crafted a 67-word statement in 1917. Nakba is one result. Truth is one casualty.
I mention alternate histories. Here is one such at DeviantArt.Net, a resource for speculative art.
Keep a window open for Yanko Tsvetkov, the cartographer for the indispensable Atlas of Prejudice.
Thanks for reading.
9 thoughts on “Africans without Europeans”
Fun post. I think this was a poignant statement: “When you have looked at the same combination of continents in the same way 100,000 times or so, it gradually takes on the ring of “truth.””
Hi Brenton, Thank you for the kind observation. It’s funny that WordPress employs the mercator projection for its analytics. Your geographical location on PEI looms large on the “Countries” map.
Interestingly your comment arrived while I was ferreting for mistakes, so please stop back to see if any egregious errors stand out. Thanks for reading!
Well, if it helps, Prince Edward Islanders imagine themselves as their own country!
I suppose, from a marketing perspective, provinces and states will log readers like whole clients. As a North American, that helps me. For others, though, perhaps not so helpful.
I would pay good money to hear you lecture! Your keen insight dancing along a carpet of double entendre and some of the best erudite humor i’ve had the good fortune to read in ages captivates me. That’s the secondary appeal. Exposure to such truth crafted irrefutably fuels my own sense of the pressing urgency of engaging and spreading these insights from a truly refreshing and unique intellect. I look forward to delving in to the whole of your site! Thank you for the pleasure of your voice.
Full disclosure: this comment is from the very closest of friends, but I did not know who wrote it until that super friend told me she was its author, and that each word came from her heart: the truth detector.
Funny thing, I honed in on:
“From Allen Webb, my source for Cecil Rhodes, a quote from gentle Cecil:
We must find new lands from which we can easily obtain raw materials and at the same time exploit the cheap slave labor that is available from the natives of the colonies. The colonies would also provide a dumping ground for the surplus goods produced in our factories.”
Nothing has changed. People are still being exploited. And what gets my goat up is the fact that those who are profiting from the exploitation of others get bent-out-of-shape when called out on what they are doing. I have heard it said that “the lives of the exploited are improved” through colonialism and exploitation of them and their resources and this was said with a straight face. That could not be more of an outrageous lie. What host has ever benefited from an invasion by a parasite? None.
And I second what “Anonymous” wrote in that I too, would pay to hear you lecture.
LikeLiked by 1 person
This really caused me to think about the geography of the world. It’s crazy how much faith people put into maps and cartography. That Cecil Rhodes quote was sickening, but that massage is still alive with the colonizers and the neo-colonial agenda.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you for this comment, ospreyshire. Propagandists choose maps that serve agendas, to misrepresent data. The only accurate representation is a globe and the least accurate (and by far the most common) is the Mercator projection. It also minimizes the enormous size of Africa, which is actually three times larger than North America and fourteen times larger than Greenland. Here is a revealing depiction from Scientific American:
LikeLiked by 1 person
Wow, that’s a mind-blowing-map once you put it that way. I heard about map propaganda, but this is insane.
LikeLiked by 1 person