The article below is from 1906 giving reasons why the French government refused to return Béhanzin to his country. The English translation is brought to you by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com .
Under this title, La Petite République published an article from which we extract the following conclusions:
What will be the effect of Béhanzin’s return in his country?
The Dahomeans, who in the old days, used to raid their neighbors have been transformed under 10 years, into a population of peaceful docile peasants and easy to be led. No troops are stationed in the ancient kingdom of Behanzin and the administration is working amazingly.
Do not for one instant believe that the negroes have forgotten their old master and here is what M. Francois, ancient chief of cabinet of the governor of Dahomey, says about this in the volume he published three months ago on this colony.
“The people of Dahomey have kept the memory of Kondo (Béhanzin). The name of our courageous adversary still exerts a magical power on his old subjects. The population remains certain of his return. They say, Kondo was defeated by the whites, Kondo is imprisoned on an island by his enemies and this despite the ancient law which guards the Kings of Abomey from seeing the sea, but anyhow, Kondo will transform himself into a small bird and will come back to his capital.”
As for the chiefs, here is, from the same author, an anecdote which shows their state of mind:
“The old Alloan who used to command the Dahomean army when Béhanzin was not here, and who today is a worker on the Sudan railroad, was telling one of the engineers, “We know well that we could easily make you disappear, you and the other white people who are in the Dahomey. It would not even be necessary to kill you, it will suffice not to bring you any food for a few days. But what will be the point of this? You will come back, by the thousand, with guns which fire all at once and traverse palm trees. Moreover, if it wasn’t you, it will be the British or the Germans.” And he politely added, “better if it is the French.”
One can see that the loyalty of the chiefs holds onto a fine thread, an occasion, a possibility, to rid their land of the whites.
It is undeniable that the return of Béhanzin will provide this anticipated occasion.
5 thoughts on “Why Behanzin should stay in Blida”
My god, that article was so condescending to the Beninese let alone everyone in the diaspora. Behanzin deserved better.
yes… that just shows you how our forefathers were treated, and how today some are still treated this way.
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I wholeheartedly agree. The methods may be different now (more or less), but the end game is still the same. It’s very important to learn about this history. If I didn’t tell you this already, then this bears repeating. I’ve learned more about Africa through your blog than all my years in school from preschool all the way to college. Chiekh Anta Diop, Dr. Mumbi, and you have helped me a TON in that regard.
So glad we could help. It is a pleasure to give to readers such as you, and see that we are adding something in this world.
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Thank you. I’m glad to keep being informed about the continent through here. I learn something every time I check out an article.