The Moors, also called Moricos, were a race of Arab origin who lived in North-West Africa, with some of them invading and settling in Spain between the 8th century AD and 1492, the peak of their tragedy. Those of them who remained in Spain were subjected to stiff persecution and conditions such as being forced to be Christians, forbidden to speak or write Arabic, own any book written in Arabic and non-observance of their traditional ceremonies or festivals. Like the Jews, the Moors suffered severe tragedies and persecutions, but strangely they always grew prosperous through hard work, wherever they settled.
The issue of the travails and tragedies of the Moors over many centuries was raised at an International Conference, with a suggestion that the “Arab spring” and global terrorism associated with Islamic militancy have something to do with centuries-old root-causes. No doubt, the Moslem World has sad stories to tell about global oppression and persecution especially during the Dark Ages. The Christian World had actually referred to the founder of Islam as a false prophet, with available historical records of horrors and tragedies arising from persecution. The Punic Wars, destruction of Carthage and the Crusades serve as examples of hostilities.
No matter the origin and places of settlement of the Moors, they were resilient, hardworking and a shrewd race, capable of turning abilities into assets. They were people who could suffer severe pains, tortures and agonies in silence. They were Moslems and the Spanish Inquisition was their source of torment but the rich ones among them paid bribes to officials of the Inquisition to escape from the tortures which heretics were subjected to, so that they would recant and accept the Christian faith.
Historical records tell us that in 1563, Guerrero, Archbishop of Granada “had visited Pope Pius IV whom he told that his flock in Granada called themselves Christians but were such in name only. “The King of Spain Philip was begged to “Children between the ages of three and fifteen being taken from their parents to be brought up in the Christian Faith.” The Moors prepared to fight for their freedom and on 23rd December 1568, there was a revolt which was crushed in a bestial manner.
The King of Spain sent his half-half-brother Don John to command the army which dealt most cruelly with the Moors. History records say “men were massacred by the thousands, and the women and children captured that they might be sold as slaves”. The battle of Galera was bestial, bloody and callous, with Don John ordering that “not a living soul in Galera should be spared”. We are told that “for this gallant exploit, the Pope hailed Don John as the Champion of Christendom!”
The suffering of the Moors who could not be massacred became too much for the conscience of Don John to bear, that arrangements were made to relocate them in different places, with families forcefully separated. Like the Jews, the Moors who were allowed to settle here and there soon began to prosper, to the envy of their tormentors. Obviously, the hatred of the Moors was based more on their prosperity and resilience than on differences in their religions.
Like the Waldenese in France, the Moors, despite flogging and tortures, held on to their convictions but merely pretended to accept Christianity. In the various new settlements, complaints brought against them were that they never went to war, pretended to be Christians but were devoted solely to their work. The persistent persecution and plight of the Moors were such that some of them became bandits and mercenaries. An example of such mercenary was Shakespeare’s Othello, the Moor of Venice. Similarly, the role of his personal assistant lago (his Ancient) depicts the degree of contempt the Moors were held in Europe.
There was a time when Spain was dominated by great Islamic scholars until about 1608 when Philip III put forward some schemes for ridding Spain of the troublesome Moors and create an all-Catholic Spain. Despite their travails, tortures and the anguish of splitting families, the Moors did not become heartbroken, even though many left Spain as destitutes. Expulsion of the Moors was a state policy which lasted for centuries, with attendant acts of bestiality. When Philip III introduced alcabala, a tax levied on sales and purchase like modern day Value-Added-Tax (VAT), the prime targets were the Jews and the Moors.
The Archbishop of Ribera was eager that the Moors should be expelled from Spain, since it was impossible to kill them all. Those who were clamouring for the extinction of the Moors did what they could in their own private ways to cook up complaints and bear false witnesses against the Moors, including charges of conversing in Arabic in their privacies.
Apart from the battle of Galera where the most atrocious bestiality and destructions were committed, other centres of butchery and massacre of the Moors included Granada and Valencia. In the district of Aragon, some of the Moors were allowed to continue with their industrious lives because of the level of prosperity which they created for the Spaniards. Even though six percent of the Moors were allowed to remain, those sent to Balary for deportation to various places were given most callous and bestial treatment. Many died.
Any Nigerian reading this true historical summary of the fate of the Moors in Spain would wonder what the motive of bringing up this matter could be, and may even doubt the veracity of the facts stated here. Some international conferences where studies in the bestiality of power feature as themes use such opportunities as a mirror for understanding current global events. Would any reader dismiss the axiom that history repeats itself from era to era, and that those who cannot learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat historical calamities!
For example, global terrorism associated with Islamic militarism, including Boko Haran etc, may have more explanations than what is commonly known. Is it not believable that the “bread” we cast upon the sea can return to us after many forgotten seasons? Whether the proverbial bread returns in the form of cake or unpleasant plague, the truth is that majority of humans can be described as grossly myopic. The Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) has records that are quite scary.
Wike Lifts Curfew On Parts Of Port Harcourt …Lifts Suspension Of Obio/Akpor LG Chairman, Deputy …As RSG Moves To Implement Palliatives
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has lifted the curfew imposed on Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction along Ikwerre Road, and Obiri-Ikwerre Junction to Ozuoba, Rumualogu and Choba, effective, today.
Wike also lifted the suspension of the chairman and deputy chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.
He announced these decisions during a state broadcast, yesterday.
Wike said: “With effect from tomorrow, April 3, 2020, the 24 hours curfew imposed from Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction along Ikwerre Road and Obiri-Ikwerre Junction to Ozuoba, Rumualogu and Choba has been lifted.
“All borders and markets in the state remain closed.
“Following the interventions of some well-meaning citizens of the state, the suspension of the chairman and deputy chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area has been lifted.
“However, this should serve as a warning to local government chairmen and traditional rulers who will allow markets to be open in their areas.
“Residents of Mgbuosimini-Rumueme in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area are hereby warned to desist from flouting government directive on closure of markets or be prepared to face unpleasant consequences.
“Commercial vehicle operators will soon get appropriate directives on their operations in order to maintain social distancing”, the governor said.
Wike explained that his administration was working out palliative measures to cushion the effects of the sit-at-home directive.
He said: “Implementation of palliatives to cushion the effects of recent directives on the citizens will soon take effect.
“International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the state should support government by donating towards the containment of the virus”, he appealed.
The governor thanked Rivers people for their cooperation, saying, “My Dear Good People of Rivers State, let me sincerely thank all of you for your patience and understanding all these days.
“The sacrifices we are all making have greatly helped us not to record any positive case since the index case was reported.
“As we continue to put in our best as human beings, we expect that the Almighty God will intervene on our behalf and wipe away this plague from our midst.
“May I, therefore, urge you all to continue to seek the face of God as we earnestly await His divine intervention,” he added.
US, UK Diaspora Groups Hail Wike’s Measures Against COVID-19 Spread
Two Rivers groups based in the United States of America, Ikwerre Peoples Forum, and Rivers Development Forum, have commended the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for taking proactive measures to check the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
In separate press statements, yesterday, the two groups expressed satisfaction that the governor was committed to the protection of Rivers people through actions that have stopped the explosion of Coronavirus in the state.
The Chairman of Ikwerre Peoples Forum, USA, Mr Michael Ewule, said that after Lagos State, Rivers State was the next major hub in the country that can be accessed through air, land and sea.
He said that the determined efforts of Wike saved the state from the uncontrolled spread of Coronavirus in the state.
The forum stated that: “We have watched closely what is happening all around Nigeria, and we are happy that our Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has worked hard to prevent Coronavirus from spreading.
“We support the measures that have been taken by Governor Nyesom Wike to stop Coronavirus from killing our people. Worldwide, such measures have been taken by governments to stop Coronavirus”, the forum noted.
The group urged the Rivers State Government to continue to review the measures in line with new developments.
The forum stated that it was working with non-governmental organisations and faith-based groups in Rivers State to reach out to Rivers people with donations of hand sanitizers and face masks.
The group also commended Governor Nyesom Wike for setting up a world-class treatment centre, which was handling the index case in the state.
The IPF further lauded the Rivers State governor for mobilising health professionals, facilities and drugs to tackle the disease.
Similarly, the Chairman of Rivers Development Forum, USA, Piegbara Baridoma, said the union was happy with Governor Nyesom Wike for working for the people at this tough time.
He called on Rivers people to support the governor to keep the state healthy through the right measures.
Baridoma noted that the sensitization process by the Rivers State Government since the index case of Coronavirus in Nigeria was reported has helped to create awareness of the disease in the state.
He explained that because the people are aware, it would be easier for health professionals in the state to contain the disease.
Meanwhile, Rivers United Front, a Coalition of Rivers State Indigenes based in the United Kingdom has commended Governor Nyesom Wike for displaying pragmatic leadership in the fight against coronavirus.
In a statement issued by the President and the Secretary of the Group, Dr.Tubotamuno Mpaka and Mr. Kingsley Chimzi respectively, they stated that the proactive approach employed by the Governor has helped to contain the virus.
Lockdown: Open Food Reserve Centres Now, PDP Tells Buhari
Federal lawmakers from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the House of Representatives have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately unlock the national food reserve agency and distribute items to Nigerians across the 774 local government areas.
This, they said, will curb the spate of hunger in the land amid the lockdown order to halt the spread of Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
In a statement issued by the parliamentarians under the umbrella name, “PDP House of Reps Caucus”, yesterday, signed by their leader, Hon. Kingsley Chinda (Rivers State, PDP) and made available to newsmen in Abuja, the members said that available records indicated that compliance to total lockdown has not always been 100 per cent successful if the food question was not addressed.
While commending Buhari for the directive during his state broadcast last Sunday, the caucus, in the statement titled, “COVID-19 Pandemic: A Call for Further and Decentralized Action”, also asked the National Assembly to immediately enact a law for national food prices control.
The caucus said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly taken our country on the emergency course, unexpected and unanticipated at the beginning of the year that strategic legal, policy and legislative responses have dovetailed into measures directed at curtailing or halting the pandemic.
“As members of the PDP Caucus of the House of Representatives, we have consistently called, and we still continue to call, for measured responses that take the poor economic conditions of Nigerians, the rights of citizens, the scaling up of the medicare framework, into account in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While many governors have stepped away from what Prof Wole Soyinka rightly described this week as an attempt to halt the spread of the pandemic virus by constitutional piracy, we note that the absence of a structured federal response, based on the dictates of the law, may have led them to ramp up measures outside the remit of their constitutional powers.
“The rule of law has now prevailed, and it is in this light we welcome some of the measures outlined in the President’s belated broadcast and in the Regulation (COVID-19 Regulation 2020) made pursuant to Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act; though the presidential broadcast and Regulation took a long time coming. Well, better late than never. While we find the measures largely satisfying, it is our considered view that the palliative measures outlined in the presidential broadcast and regulation are not far-reaching enough, while some are completely inapplicable.
“Experiences through history have shown that citizens’ rights to movement are often heavily implicated when measures directed at halting the spread of contagious diseases and restoring public safety do not address the food question behind the curtains, worsening food security conditions.
“During the Ebola outbreak a few years ago, citizens of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone openly defied the restrictions that were imposed on movement to limit the transmission of the disease, after staying indoors for a few days in hunger. We must learn quickly from these experiences by ensuring that immediate measures on food security are ramped up.
“One way of doing this is to open up our national food and grain reserves across the country and distribute food to the poorest of the poor in our country at the Local government level. The President should as a matter of utmost urgency issue an Executive Order, pursuant to his powers preserved by Section 5 of the Constitution 1999, directing the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, National Food Reserve Agency and National Emergency Management Authority to release and manage the distribution of food in our national reserves.
“The Executive Order must set out clear consequences for breach, particularly as they relate to public officials who seize on the times to make brisk businesses and gains from the miseries of the people.
“Other measures such as food prices control should be ramped up; though specific, targeted and temporary legislation on food prices control will be needed for enforcement. This is where the National Assembly comes in – by establishing a framework of teleconferencing and social media communication, where the current lockdown and the medical advisories that bar public gatherings make it impossible for the reconvening of the National Assembly, to deliberate and pass such bills, as the Food Prices Control, COVID-19 Containment, Emergency and Disaster Management, into law.”
Also commending the Speaker of the House, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila and the House for the timely passage of an emergency bill to provide palliatives and the donation of members’ of March and April, 2020 salaries to fight the disease, the opposition lawmakers, however, asked that their deductions be transferred directly to their constituencies, saying they had no confidence in the sharing formula of the government.
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