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Answering one of Jared Diamond's ignorant questions

Posted July 28th, 2018 at 05:31 PM by Maoistic
Updated July 28th, 2018 at 05:34 PM by Maoistic

In "Guns, Germs and Steel", Jared Diamond asks in his usual self-congratulatory tone "why weren't Native Americans, Africans, and Aboriginal Australians the ones who decimated, subjugated, or exterminated Europeans and Asians?".

Asians? No Asian from Turkey to Japan "decimated, subjugated, or exterminated" a single Aboriginal Australian and Native American. Not even a single one, so it's utterly foolish to mention Asians alongside Europeans in this case. Nor did any "Asian" population "decimate" or "exterminate" an African one. At no point has this ever happened. Neither did Europeans "decimate", much less "exterminate", any African population, if we also point out that Europeans subjugated and colonised the vast majority of Asia without Diamond saying that Europeans "decimated" and "exterminated" anyone there.

Furthermore, it is not true that Africans didn't conquer and subjugate Europeans and "Asians". Egyptians invaded and conquered the Levant and as far as Anatolia. Herodotus mentions how the pharaoh Sesostris invaded and subjugated part of Southern Europe, and there seems to be archaeological evidence of Egyptian invasions of Cyprus and Crete.

The kingdoms of Nubia and Ethiopia also conquered Asian territories. Nubians invaded and conquered Egypt and parts of the Levant at least while Ethiopia invaded and conquered part of the Arabian Peninsula. Indeed, the Arabian Peninsula is historically very African and we can speak of the Muslim Arabs that conquered the Byzantine and Sassanian empires as Ethiopianised Arabs.

Berbers serving as mercenaries of Phoenicians also conquered part of Europe and later they, alongside soldiers from "Bilad al-Sudan" conquered southern Spain and Portugal and later Sicily while invading and raiding the southern European coast.

Diamond also talks as if "Asians" in general subjugated "Africans" in general, when in fact only "Asians" west of Iran did with almost exclusively the northern portion of the African continent. Asians east of Iran like the Chinese and Japanese at no point even tried any military expedition to Africa.

The "Asians" who actually conquered parts of Africa are the following in rough chronological order: Hyksos, Sea Peoples, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Persians, Arabs, Kurds and Turks. That's not such a big number of Asians, thus partially refuting Diamond's thesis. It also doesn't help Diamond's case at all that only the Turks, Phoenicians and Arabs penetrated Africa beyond Egypt. It helps him even less that the Phoenicians and Turks conquered barely anything more than small strips of land in the African Mediterranean coasts, never conquering anything beyond that.

Only the Arabs were able to penetrate deeper into Africa, and even then, they still failed to subjugate the vast majority of the continent, as one can see by how the Bantu family of languages, not the various Arab dialects, are the dominant languages spoken in Africa, and how Africa is, at the very least, evenly divided between Muslims and non-Muslims, and I'm pretty sure non-Muslims actually outnumber Muslims significantly, with many estimates definitely inflating the number of Muslims.

To summarise, Jared Diamond's question is wrong. It demonstrates his enormous ignorance of history by crassly misrepresenting the military interaction between Europeans and Asians with Africans as one where only the former subjugated the latter when the opposite was just as true, and outright lying by saying that Asians decimated and exterminated Africans, Native Americans and Aboriginal Australians, when Asians didn't even subjugate any part of America and Australia to begin with, and at no point did an Asian population ever decimate, much less exterminate, an African one.

This question shows why Diamond's book shouldn't be taken seriously and should instead be disregarded as terrible history.
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