Essay title: The Spread of Islam and the Slave Trade
The Spread of Islam and the Slave Trade “Segu is a garden where cunning grows.Segu is built on treachery.Speak of Segu outside Segu, but do not speak of Segu in Segu” (Conde 3).
These are the symbolic opening words to the novel Segu by Maryse Conde.The kingdom of Segu in the eighteenth and nineteenth century represents the rise and fall of many kingdoms in the pre-colonial Africa.Therefore, Segu indirectly represents the enduring struggles, triumphs, and defeats of people who are of African decent in numerous countries around the world.There are three major historical concepts that are the focus of this book.One is the spread of the Islamic religion.Another is the slave trade, and the last is the new trade in the nineteenth century and the coming of new ideas from Europe (legitimate commerce).
However, Segu does not simply explain these circumstances externally, but rather with a re-enactment that tells a story of the state of affairs on a personal level, along with the political one.By doing this, the book actually unfolds many deceitful explanations for the decline of West African countries in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. The spread of Islam took place all around Segu before actually getting to it.This period becomes one of constant debate between Muslims, Christians, and other people wanting to keep their already established sacred religions.The Islam religion is very different than that of the one previously practiced in Segu.If the people in Segu were forced to change their religion, they would be forced to change all of their customs and beliefs.However, if they did not follow, they could possibly lose their lives.
It was truly a lose-lose situation for many people.A leader of the Islamic religion during that time was Usman dan Fodio.He was successful in getting rid of the corruptness of the Islamic religion and instituting a purified religion and political system.Another Islamic leader was Tiekoro.
He relinquished his people’s religion and embraced the Islamic one.For that reason, he tore apart Segu and many families as well.He was one of the main causes for the tension about religion conversion and actually challenged the original religion.On the other hand, Tiekoro has a brother named Siga.
He is polar opposite and will not give up his original religion that he has been brought up with.He defends his primary traditions and later becomes a merchant.However, his efforts and strong will towards his beliefs eventually lead to his death.The two men represent the struggle that many faced in Segu and ironically, are brothers.
There are basically three standpoints when it comes to the Islamic religion.One could embrace it, and completely follow it like Tiekoro.One could simply follow it because they may feel pressured to, or one could reject it, and stand up for what they believe in.Unfortunately, it is basically a two to one scenario and the spread of Islam is inevitable. An example of the people who just followed the religion because they felt pressured were the people who sent their children to the schools that were set up to learn the religion.For the children who already had a religion, their parents sent them there to convert them, which also made the parents look good socially.If they did this, they usually got privileges and they fit in as well.Another focal point in Segu was slavery and the slave trade.There was a strong demand for slaves during this time period and the fact that human beings were being traded physically tore families and communities apart.Sadly, the younger the slave, the better they were for labor and the higher they were on demand by slave traders.A typical slave was between ten and thirty years old.The people trading the slaves viewed them as property, with absolutely no regard for their feelings or their families.The consistent trade of the slaves caused much fear and the people became alienated.“What reason could there be for parting children from their.