What Led to the Discovery of the Source of the Nile, “Chapter IV” [extrait]

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(1827-1864), John Hanning Speke “What Led to the Discovery of the Source of the Nile, “Chapter IV” [extrait]”, RelRace, item créé par Clément Mei, dernier accès le 23 Feb. 2024.
Contributeur Clément Mei
Sujet De la « destinée » d’assujettissement de la « souche noire ou hamitique »
Description Dans cet extrait de l’ouvrage tiré des carnets de l’explorateur britannique John Hanning Speke, il est question d’une discussion entre Speke et son guide Sidi Mubarak Bombay (1820-1885) au sujet de « l’origine des Seedis, sa caste » et de la « loi de la nature » présidant à la « destinée » d’assujettissement de ceux-ci. L’explorateur affirme que, faisant partie de la « souche noire ou hamitique », les « Seedis » seraient les plus faibles. Ce faisant, « l’ordre de la nature » les placerait en position d’infériorité par rapport aux « branches japhétiques et sémites ». Cette situation ne pourrait, d’après l’explorateur, s’achever que dans le cas où « l’homme, s’élevant bien au-dessus de la bête, soit imprégné d'un meilleur sens de la sympathie et des bons sentiments ». Sidi Mubarak Bombay aurait opposé à cette explication, vraisemblablement imprégnée du paradigme scientifique du milieu du XIXe siècle, un récit islamique justifiant la situation de sa « caste » par un jugement du prophète Mahomet, similaire à la malédiction de Cham, prononcé à l’encontre d’un fils caché par sa mère. D’après l’ouvrage, la discussion serait intervenue le 10 août 1858.
Auteur John Hanning Speke (1827-1864)
Date 1864
Éditeur William Blackwood & Sons, Édimbourg & Londres
Langue en



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[…] The following day, 10th August, we made a halt to try our fortune again in purchasing cows, but failed as usual ; so the following morning we decamped at dawn, and marched thirteen miles to our original station in Southern Néra. Here I purchased four goats for one dhoti merikani, the best bargain I ever made. Thunder had rumbled, and clouds overcast the skies for two days ; and this day a delicious cooling shower fell. The people said it was the little rains–chota barsāt, as we call it in India–expected yearly at this time, as the precursor of the later great falls.
As Seedi Bombay was very inquisitive to-day about the origin of Seedis, his caste, and as he wished to know by what law of nature I accounted for their cruel destiny in being the slaves of all men, I related the history of Noah, and the dispersion of his sons on the face of the globe ; and showed him that he was of the black or Hametic stock, and by the common order of nature, they, being the weakest, had to succumb to their superiors, the Japhetic and Semitic branches of the family ; and, moreover, they were likely to remain so subject until such time as the state of man, soaring far above the beast, would be imbued by a better sense of sympathy and good feeling, and would then leave all such ungenerous appliances of superior force to the brute. Bombay, on being made a Mussulman by his Arab master, had received a very different explanation of the degradation of his race, and narrated his story as follows :–"The Arabs say that Mahomet, whilst on the road from Medina to Mecca, one day happened to see a widow woman sitting before her house, and asked her how she and her three sons were ; upon which the troubled woman (for she had concealed one of her sons on seeing Mahomet's approach, lest he, as is customary when there are three males of a family present, should seize one and make him do porterage), said, 'Very well ; but I've only two sons.' Mahomet, hearing this, said to the woman, reprovingly, ' Woman, thou liest ; thou hast three sons : and for trying to conceal this matter from me, henceforth remember that this is my decree–that the two boys which thou hast not concealed shall multiply and prosper, have fair faces, become wealthy, and reign lords over all the earth ; but the progeny of your third son shall, in consequence of your having concealed him, produce Seedis as black as darkness, who will be sold in the market like cattle, and remain in perpetual servitude to the descendants of the other two." […]