Classic Essays

They Tried — and Failed — to Whitewash Cannibalism

“Emperor” Bokassa and his “queen”

THE WORLDWIDE EFFORT to depreciate Whites has always been beset by one nagging problem. What to do about cannibalism? How can non-Whites be so superior, so much more moral, so much less bestial, if so many of them indulged and a few still do — in such a despicable practice?

Inevitably, an academic whitewasher, or should we say blackwasher, had to come along to clear the non-White slate of this damning charge. He turned out to be a minority anthropologist at the State University of New York (Stony Brook) named W. Arens (just the initial is given) whose book, The Man-Eating Myth (Oxford University Press), flatly denies that there was ever such a thing as institutional cannibalism. It’s all a lie, he declares. No culture ever practiced it; only individuals and then only under extreme circumstances.

Putting on the straight face that professors wear so easily when turning truth upside down, Arens says that all accounts of tribal cannibalism reduce to nothing but hearsay, ax-grinding or just plain vilification. “I believe,” writes the professor, “that it [the belief in cannibalism] is indeed a subtle form of racism….” Such words quickly evoked a flattering endorsement of Aren’s tome from none other than Montague Francis Israel Ashley Montagu Ehrenberg.

We won’t refer author Arens to another Oxford University Press book, Race by Dr. John Baker, which gives the lie to his lie, nor to the thousands of eyewitness and earwitness accounts of cannibalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We won’t even mention the choice cuts of human flesh recently found in the deposed Emperor Bokassa’s deepfreeze. But we will cite an authoritative article on the cannibalistic gourmandise of the Aztec culture in Natural History (April 1977).

No one knows how many human beings were sacrificed on Aztec altars each year. A credible estimate is 20,000, though the figure has ranged as high as 250,000 annually in the fifteenth century. …

Aztec warriors went into battle primarily to capture prisoners who were put in wooden cages, fattened, and then led up to temple altars where their hearts were plucked out and the gods appeased. Next, “the corpse was tumbled down the steps of the pyramid and carried off to be butchered,” or in some cases the butchery was performed at the sacrificial site. At least three of the limbs were the property of the captor if he had taken his prisoner in battle unaided. Later, at a feast given at the captor’s quarters the central dish was a stew of tomatoes, peppers and the limbs of the victim.

If W. Arens had visited the archaeological dig of the Aztec sacrificial site at Tlatelolco in Mexico City, he would have learned that in the years 1960-69 a quantity of human ribcages completely lacking limb bones were found. The butchery was probably accomplished by obsidian blades uncovered near the site. Also nearby were piles of human skulls, all of them split open so the brains could be removed to serve as a “choice delicacy” for the priesthood. …

Speaking of cannibalism, Emperor Bokassa I, once a blatherskite sergeant in the French army in Vietnam, is now a political refugee in a Black African country, the Ivory Coast, whose President Houphouet-Boigny is known as a cultured Negro. Bokassa, who pent $25 million on his coronation, much of it paid for by French taxpayers and some of it by American taxpayers through foreign aid, had a very fancy deep freeze. After being chased from his throne by 900 French paratroopers some months ago, the body of one Gaston Wengue was found in his freezer, with the arms, one leg and head missing, “parts traditionally favoured by cannibals,” according to the London Daily Telegraph. Following one banquet for his ministers, the British newspaper reports, they were told they had just eaten one of their colleagues. This was not too astonishing to some old African hand who knew that Bokassa was a member of a cannibal tribe, the M’paka, and that until fifteen years ago human flesh was openly sold in the market in Bangui, the capital of Bokassa’s Central African Empire. As the Daily Telegraph added, “It is a mistaken belief in Europe that cannibalism has been largely eradicated in Africa.” Also mistaken is the belief that Blacks only eat people because they hope to absorb the strength and talent of their victims. In central Africa people are eaten first and foremost for food. But rich despots like Bokassa can afford to be wasteful. He fed many of his enemies not to humans, but to the crocodiles in a large pool in the back of his palace. When his reign came to a timely end, forty bodies were discovered in the pool. These were the human remains that the surfeited crocodiles had not eaten. Not in the pool were the crushed and mashed skulls of the 100 school children Bokassa had ordered clubbed to death when they resisted an order to buy uniforms from a clothing factory owned by the emperor’s favorite wife, Empress Catherine. Bokassa personally directed this massacre and was responsible for gouging out many of the students’ eyes.

Bokassa’s White friends, including French President Giscard d’Etaing and other topflight French officials, may have been served Black or perhaps White meat at plush banquets. Who knows? “Europeans simply don’t understand cannibalism,” said President Léopold Senghor, the self-proclaimed philosopher of negritude. For many Blacks it would have been much better to have been cooked in a pot and eaten than to undergo other types of punishment the emperor reserved for his victims. One was to bury people in sand up to their necks and leave them to the voracious mercy of giant African ants. In this way the bodies of the victims were protected. Only the heads were eaten, so the agony could be prolonged as long as possible.

Giscard d’Estaing occasionally joined Bokassa in hunting elephants in sophisticated helicopter gun ships. No wonder that three-quarters of the pachyderms in his country were wiped out during the thirteen years of his rule.

David Dacko, the new boss man, has turned the empire back into a republic, but no one expects any great changes. He is a cousin of the deposed emperor and a long-time senior advisor. Perhaps the Empress Catherine, now living in a lavish estate in France, will not languish long in exile.

* * *

Source: Instauration magazine, March 1980

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21 January, 2018 1:52 pm

Most people aren’t told, for obvious reasons, that many of the Amerindian tribes were cannibals, as well. It was widely known in colonial and 19th century America that the Iroquois in particular would often eat their White and Amerindian victims. There are many horrific incidents of Amerindian cannibalism documented in the written accounts of people who were captured by various tribes but fortunate enough to escape.

27 September, 2020 2:42 pm

There has also been documented cases of cannibalism amongst the Aborigines of Australia.