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Tamerlan wasn't muslim

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Boukman wasn't muslim



Author : Rodney Salnave
Function : Dougan (Scribe)
Date : February 14, 2017
(Updated : Mar. 18, 2017)

The islamic revisionists have, for some time, presented Tamerlan's story as evidence of muslim presence in the Haitian revolution. But who was this Tamerlan? He was a literate captive (slave) who lived in Boucassin, not far from Port-au-Prince (Western province), in 1791. In June, three months before Bois Caiman (Bwa Kayiman) and the general insurrection that took place in the North, Tamerlan had an unusual interaction with Colonel Malenfant, a Frenchman who temporarily managed the plantation to which he belonged :
"Ce noir se nommait Tamerlan ; il était âgé d'environ quarante-quatre ans. Il me dit qu'il était prêtre dans son pays ; qu'il faisait des livres ; que le grand roi de l'Afrique l'avait choisi pour l'instituteur de son fils ; qu'il voyageait avec ce prince, lorsqu'il fut attaqué par des nègres, qui les firent captifs, et qui, après plus de trois mois de traversée, les conduisirent au bord de la mer près des blancs." (1)
Translation :
"This black was called Tamerlan ; He was about forty-four years of age. He told me that he was a priest in his own country ; that he made books ; that the great king of Africa had chosen him as his son's teacher ; that he traveled with this prince, when he was attacked by negroes*, who captured them, and who, after more than three months' journey, led them to the seashore near the whites."
From this interaction, Colonel Malenfant learned that Tamerlan was literate :
"Je reçus une lettre d'un jeune homme, nommé Edon (...) Comme je lisais sa lettre, je surpris le noir commissionnaire qui jetait les yeux sur l'écriture ; une petite glace trahit sa curiosité. Après avoir lu ma lettre, je lui dis : « Est-ce que tu sais lire? — Non, monsieur, me répondit-il. — Pourquoi donc regardais-tu ce que je lisais? — Je vous demande pardon, je ne sais pas lire le français. — Mais enfin, tu sais donc lire ? — Oui, monsieur, et écrire la langue de mon pays, et celle d'une espèce de mulâtres à cheveux longs. — Ecris-moi quelque chose. » Il prend une plume, et se met à écrire de droite à gauche ; ses caractères étaient très-bien peints, et il écrivait avec vitesse. — « Qu'as-tu mis dans cet écrit? je ne connais pas cette langue, je crois que c'est de l'arabe ; est-ce ainsi que tu la nommes ? — Non, me répondit-il. »." (2)
Translation :
"I received a letter from a young man named Edon (...) As I read his letter, I caught a glimpse of the black goods carrier who was casting his eyes on the writing ; a small mirror betrays his curiosity. After reading my letter, I said, "Can you read?" "No, sir," he replied. "Why did you look at what I was reading?" "I beg your pardon, I cannot read French." "But you know how to read?" "Yes, sir, and write in my country's language, and that of a kind of mulatto with long hair." "Write me something." He takes a pen, and begins to write from right to left ; his characters were very well painted, and he wrote with speed. "What have you put in this writing? I do not know that language, I think it's arabic ; is that how you call it?" "No," he replied.""
But of course, the fact that Tamerlan replied that he could not read arabic, did not prevent the revisionists, these vultures, from insisting that he was mistaken and that he was a muslim.

The Tamerlan first name in the colony of St Domingue (Haiti)

Before analyzing the islamism, or not, of Tamerlan's writing, we must first establish the nature of his first name, which the islamists associate with islam, but who nevertheless floated in the colony as the archives demonstrate.


A ship named « Le Tamerlan »

This first ad dates from May 6, 1770. It shows that 21 years prior to Colonel Malenfant 's meeting with Tamerlan, the captive, in Boucassin, the first name "Tamerlan" was very common in the colony, to the point that it was that of ships harboring in the Saint Domingue ports  :



"Arrivée des Navires Marchands. À Saint-Marc (...) Au Port-au-Prince, le 12, la Pomone, de Bordeaux, Cap. Bouilhac, venant de Saint-Marc : le Tamerlan, du même Port, Cap. Charriol." (3)
Translation :
"Merchant ships arrivals. In Saint-Marc (...) In Port-au-Prince, on the 12th, La Pomone, from Bordeaux, Cap. Bouilhac, coming from Saint-Marc : Le Tamerlan, from the same Port, Cap. Charriol."

Tamerlan, name given to a Mondongue captive

This next runaway ad reveals a captive named "Tamerlan, of Mondongue nation, quite pretty-faced, 5 feet tall" :

 
"Trois Nègres étampés LESFAURIES (...) ; L’autre nommé Tamerlan, nation Mondongue, assez joli de figure, taille de 5 pieds; (...) Ceux qui les reconnaîtront, sont priés de les faire arrêter & d'en donner avis à M. Lesfauries, Habitant aux Ecrevisses : il y aura récompense." (4)
Translation :
"Three Negroes stamped LESFAURIES (...) ; The other named Tamerlan, of Mondongue nation, quite pretty-faced, 5 feet tall; (...) Those who recognize them, are asked to have them arrested and to give notice to M. Lesfauries, Residing at Ecrevisses : there will be reward."
The Mondongue ethnic group, hailing from Central "Africa', was traditionalist, therefore non-muslim. Moreover, the Mondongue ancestral cult is an integral part of the Haitian ancestral corpus.

The Tamerlan name given to Thiamba captive

This June 18, 1774, ad portrays a Thiamba ethnic captive called Tamerlan.

  
"Le 18, Tamerlan, nation Thiamba, étampé sur le sein gauche R.B.A.&au-dessus G.G. se disant à M. Boidereau du Grand-Goave." (5)
Translation :
"On the 18th, Tamerlan, of Thiamba nation, stamped on the left breast R.B.A. & above G.G., saying to M. Boidereau of Grand-Goave."
The Thiamba, also called Tem, came from the Gulf of Benin, and more particularly from Togo. And they were traditionalists.


The Tamerlan name given to a Congo

Here, we have a Congo captive, whose real name was Tona, that in the islands, received the name of Tamerlan :
 


"Un Nègre Congo, nommé Tona, dit Tamerlan, cuisinier & cocher, âgé d'environ 23 ans, étampé sur le sein droit BF entrelacés, est parti maron du Cap le 27 du mois dernier. Ceux qui le reconnaîtront, sont priés d'en donner avis à M. Frère, Négociant au Cap, ou à Mde Fournier, sur son Habitation à Limonade, à qui ce Nègre appartient : il y aura récompense." (6)
Translation :
"A Congo Negro, named Tona, aka Tamerlan, cook & coachman, about 23 years old, stamped on the right breast BF intertwined, went marooned on the 27th of last month. Those who recognize him, are requested to give notice thereof to M. Frère, businessman at Le Cap, or to Mons. Fournier, on his Estate at Limonade, to whom this Negro belongs: there will be a reward."
This Tamerlan came from Congo, a deeply traditionalist place.


A Tamerlan-named Creole

This last ad also denotes another captive named Tamerlan whose ethnicity was unveiled, suggesting that he would be a Creole, the ethnic group by default in Saint Domingue :

"Un Nègre nommé Tamerlan, étampé RAINGEARD AU CAP & au-dessous DUGOIRAN, taille de 5 pieds, est parti maron le 18 de ce mois. Ceux qui le reconnoîtront, sont priés de le faire arrêter & d'en donner avis au Sieur Raingeard, Boulanger au Cap : il y aura récompense." (7)
Translation :
"A Negro named Tamerlan, stamped RAINGEARD AU CAP & below DUGOIRAN, 5 feet tall, went marooned the 18th of this month. Those who will recognize him, are requested to have him arrested, and to give notice thereof to M. Raingeard, Baker at Le Cap ; there will be a reward."
And if this Tamerlan was Creole, then born on the island, he was thus born and baptized in Christianity. Which renders it extremely unlikely that he was a muslim.
Therefore, given the widespread and non-ethnic use of the Tamerlan name in the colony, it cannot link the captives to islam. Thus, the literate Tamerlan of Boucassin cannot be considered muslim because of his name, as the revisionists wrongly do. Besides, the name Tamerlan was not really his. Nor was it that of the Mondongue, Thiamba or Congo captives. Such name was imposed on them in the colony as a christian baptism name. For, in all likelyness, the religious (jesuits) were the ones that introduced this name in Saint Domingue :


 "Le Cap a eu aussi pendant quelques années pour curé, le père Margat, jésuite, qui l'avait été auparavant de la paroisse de la Petite-Anse, pendant vingt ans. Ce religieux est l'auteur d'une Histoire de Tamerlan, & de plusieurs lettres curieuses & intéressantes, imprimées parmi les Lettres Édifiantes." (8)
Translation : 
"Le Cap had also for some years as priest, Father Margat, a jesuit, who had been formerly of the parish of La Petite-Anse, for twenty years. This religious man is the author of an History of Tamerlan, and of several curious and interesting letters, printed among the Edifying Letters."


Tamerlan's writing

Was Tamerlan's writings arabic, an "African" script derived from arabic, or simply an autonomous and traditionalist "African" writing? The question arises, since Malenfant, having received the name of this writing, misplaced it shortly after :
"C'était au mois de juin 1791 qu'il me parla ainsi. Je me rendis en novembre même année au Port-au-Prince. L'incendie du 21 de ce mois, me fit perdre mon porte-manteau, qui fut porté à bord d'un américain, lorsque je travaillais à éteindre les flammes. Je n'ai jamais pu le retrouver.
L'écrit de ce nègre,** le nom de sa grande ville, celui de son roi y étaient renfermés.
" (9)
Translation :
"It was in the month of June, 1791, that he spoke thus to me. I went to Port-au-Prince that same November. The fire of the 21st of this month caused me to lose my coat-rack, which was carried on board an American, when I was working to extinguish the flames. I could never find it.
The writing of this negro, the name of his great city, that of his king, were confined to it.""
Unfortunately, from 1791 to 1814, the publication date of Malenfant's book, 23 years had passed. Thus rendering fragile the author's memory of the nature of this writing. But, we will do our best, in this section, to find the origin of Tamerlan's writing.  
 

Arabic ?

As we saw above, Tamerlan's answer was unequivocal: he did not write Arabic. And, perspicacious, Malenfant sought more precision :
"— Non, me répondit-il. » Je lui fis écrire le nom de sa langue ; je l'ai gardé long-temps ; mais je l'ai oublié ainsi que l'orthographe. La première lettre était, autant que je peux me le rappeler, une espèce de g, et la dernière un o. — « Eh bien, qu'as-tu écrit? — C'est une prière.» Il y avait plus de vingt lignes." (10) 
Translation :
"— No," he replied. I made him write his language's name ; I have kept it for a long time ; but I forgot it as well as its spelling. The first letter was, as far as I can remember, a kind of g, and the last one o. — "Well, what did you write?" "It's a prayer." There were more than twenty lines."
Disregarding Tamerlan's negative reply, the revisionist LeGrace Benson claims without restraint, in an unjustified poetic flux, that he (Tamerlan) wrote in arabic and that he was a mullah practicing sufism :
"Their conversation led to his revelation of literacy in Arabic by producing the prayer from memory. Thus we know the prayer had been with him always. But an ambience for nurturing a Sufic engagement in the presence of Allah amongst the sugar canes and carrion crows had already taken flight from the moment when a Senegalese man ran into "marronage" off the first boatload of captives." (11)
But what was it really? Despite the fact that Malenfant lost Tamerlan's writing that same year, we can still establish, due to the clues he left us, whether this spelling was arabic or not. For if Tamerlan wrote arabic, he would have identified his alphabet as either al-abjadīyah al-ʻarabīyah, which is written as follows :

Or instead al-urūf al-ʻarabīyah that is written in that way :

Such a writing poses a problem, since Malenfant states that : "The first letter was, as far as I can remember, a kind of g, and the last one o.". Starting from the right, there's no letter in this arabic written lines that is likely to be confused with the letter "g", although the last letter (left) looks like an "o" in both cases. This absence of a letter "g" or of a letter leading towards it, combined with Tamerlan's negative answer, leads us to conclude that this captive did not write arabic. Moreover, given the number of characters found in the writing of this name in Arabic, it is unlikely that Malenfant would have made the effort of memorizing such a long word written in indecipherable characters.


An over 20 line-long prayer

When Malenfant, curious, asked Tamerlan, "Well, what did you write?" Tamerlan replied that : "It is a prayer". And Malenfant retained the length of this prayer, in that fashion : "There were more than twenty lines." The length of Tamerlan's prayer is entirely in keeping with traditional spiritual practices containing countless litanies that last almost an hour in Haiti. But this is not the case in islam for which prayer or compulsory salat is the opening sura of the quran called Al-Fatiha. It is used on all occasions ranging from wedding ceremonies to funerals. Far from having more than 20 lines, this muslim prayer comprises of only 7 lines, corresponding to the 7 verses that follow :

1) بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
2) الحمد لله رب العالمين
3) الرحمن الرحيم
4) ملك يوم الدين
5) اياك نعبد واياك نستعين
6) اهدنا الصراط المستقيم
7) صراط الذين انعمت عليهم غير المغضوب عليهم ولا الضالين

So there's no need to speak or write arabic to see that this prayer is far from having more than 7 lines ; 8, at most. In this case, it is difficult for an observer as shrewd as Colonel Malenfant to describe as having "more than twenty lines", this rather short muslim prayer which reads in Arabic as follows :

1) Bismillah ar-rahman ar-rahim
2) Al Hamdulillahi rabbi-l-`alamin
3) Ar-rahman ar-rahim
4) Maliki yawm ad-din
5) Iyaka na`budu wa iyaka nasta`in
6) Ihdina as-sirat al-mustaqim
7) Sirat al-ladhina an`amta alayhim ghayri al-maghđubi alayhim wa la ad-dalin

This leads us to say that the prayer transcribed by Tamerlan was not islamic. And therefore, Tamerlan was not muslim.


Ajami ?

Since Tamerlan had indicated that he did not write arabic, Michael Gomez, another revisionist, dared to claim that Tamerlan had not understood Colonel Malenfant's question, and that he either wrote arabic or an "African" language using Arabic characters :
"Either he did not understand Malenfant's question about the language he wrote, or he was indeed writing an african language using Arabic script, such as Fulfulde (Pulaar, language of the Fulbe, in written form)." (12)
Sylviane Diouf, the revisionist, went along the same line, by affirming that Tamerlan wrote in "Ajami", an arabic script adapted to "African" languages" :
"Tamerlan, who had written a prayer in ajamihis language written with Arabic characterswas "a priest in his country…"" (13)
However, such an assertion is false. For the most rudimentary analysis suffices to prove the incompatibility between the Malenfant language description and the written name of the ajami script. First of all, "ajami" means "foreigner" in Arabic. And in this language, it is written in this fashion : 

In arabic : 
Ajami (ʿaǧamī) :
  ‫عجمي‬‎‎
Or
Ajamiyya (ʿaǧamiyyah) :
 ‫عجمية‬‎‎

It is obvious that we are very far from the letter "g" reported at the beginning of Tamerlan's written word ; nor do we find the letter "o" to its end, as described by Malenfant. But what about the writing of the word "ajami" in that language? The result, or rather the non-result, is identical :

The word "AJAMI" can be dissected in this language by the following letters :

A
J
A
M
I
Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajami_script

Which gives, from right to left, "I M A J A"

Ajami (I M A J A)
‎‫ـَجـَمـِ‬
And if we add the termination "YA"...

Y



A
We obtain "Ajamiya", which from right to left gives "A Y I M A J A"


Ajamiya (A Y I M A J A)
‎‫ـَجـَمـِیـَ‬
And this name is clearly incompatible with Malenfant's description. But, in order to dispel any doubt, we'll also analyze the option of "Agami" which is closer to the arabic pronunciation. The letter "G" is written as follows :
Resulting in "Agami" which is scripted "I M A G A"

Agami (I M A G A)
‎‫ ‎‫ـَغـَمـِ‬‬ 
And "Agamiya" produces, from right to left, "A Y I M A G A"

Agamiya (A Y I M A G A)
‎‫ ‎‫ـَغـَمـِیـَ‬
And still no resemblance to the description made by Malenfant concerning the captive Tamerlan's writing. It goes without saying that Malenfant would never have described the script forming the word "Ajami" or "Agamiya" with the terms that he used in 1791. Therefore, Tamerlan did not write in Ajami. And Sylviane Diouf was wrong.


N’Ko ?

Other than the writing called Ajami, there is also in Western "Africa", N'Ko which is written from right to left. According to common knowledge, this writing of the Malinke-speaking peoples (Bambara, Mandingo, Soniké, Dioula, Soussou, etc.) was only invented in 1949. It was invented by Guinean linguist and pedagogue Souleymane Kanté (1922-1987). (14) Therefore, given the two century gap between its invention and the Tamerlan text, N'Ko could not be the 1791 script sought after.
However, in order to cover all the angles, we have, nonetheless, compared Tamerlan's writing with the N'Ko*** alphabet which is the following :


 The N'KO alphabet

Vowels
Consonants

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%27Ko_alphabet

This Mande or Malinke script is phonetic and is written from right to left. Thus, spelled, "N'KO", the script's name, starting from the right, will read "OK'N" :
The sound 'N' is written : 
 

The sound 'KA' is represented as follows : 

Then the sound 'OO' is marked by :   
Put together, we have the letters which read, from the right, "OK'N" :


And in its cursive form, we get this :

(N'KO)


Such was our surprise, when observing, beyond all expectation, the first letter shaped as the "kind of g" Malenfant described in reference to Tamerlan's script's name. However, we do not get "the last [letter resembling] an o". Our last letter looks more like a "c" inverted. However, it is pronounced "o". And when we remember that Malenfant had mentioned that
" Je lui fis écrire le nom de sa langue ; je l'ai gardé long-temps ; mais je l'ai oublié ainsi que l'orthographe." (15)
Translation :
"I made him write the name of his language ; I have kept it for a long time; But I forgot it as well as the spelling."
This allows us to conclude that Tamerlan, being a teacher, was not content to merely write his alphabet's name. He had named N'Ko, orally to Malenfant, who had long preserved it in his memory. Thus, the sound "O" in "N'Ko" had to be engraved in the memory of the author who, associated it with the third character :
producing the sound in question. Moreover, if the second character :
 had a certain resemblance to a Latin character, the author would have engraved it better in his memory, as he did with the first character :
which is indeed close to a kind of "g"

This following extract helps us see the writing of the word "N'Ko" in real life. What has caught our attention is the extension of the line in the last character, which somewhat alters that character's appearance, pushing it towards the letter "o"in the Latin alphabet.


   (Publication of the word "N'Ko" by the New York Times)
Source : New York Times of December 11, 2011. "Everyone speaks text message". URL : http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/magazine/everyone-speaks-text-message.html

Thus we can imagine that in 1791 Tamerlan, writing with an inkstand and a pen, could have extended this last character's line, while rounding its curves, which might cause the Westerner Malenfant to confuse this "o" pronounced last letter, for a hastily written Latin "o".
Publication in modern N'Ko :
Source : http://hsp.org/history-online/media-library/photos/mamady-doumbouya



© Sekou Magasouba, 2017
Source : https://twitter.com/sekou_magasouba/status/827127598719307781/photo/1

But, beyond the astonishing similarity, there remains the problem that N'Ko's recent invention date causes. Our answer is simple. The fact that Tamerlan named his writing N'Ko in 1791, proves that Souleymane Kanté did not, in 1949, invent this noble writing of the same name. Certainly, Kanté having admirably written more than 70 books in N'Ko (16), orchestrated the rebirth of this script. But that does not make him its inventor. Moreover, the word N'Ko meaning "I SAY" in the Malinke language (17), betrays the unsuspected antiquity of this writing inscribed in the Malinke cosmogony :
"La mythologie malinké insiste également sur la révélation de la parole aux premiers êtres humains. Dans la mythologie malinké comme dans celle des Dogon, il s’agit de quatre frères qui descendirent avec leurs jumelles du ciel sur la Terre à bord d’une « arche » dirigée par leur géniteur mythique. Ils deviendront les ancêtres apicaux de l’humanité (Dieterlen 1955).
« Le troisième ancêtre, Simboumba Tagnagati, reçut de Faro trente premières paroles et huit graines de céréales dans la mare dans laquelle il pénétra après la chute de la première pluie sur la Terre. En sortant de l’eau, il dit : “Nko / Je parle.” Il construisit un sanctuaire dans lequel il mit les graines. À la porte de ce sanctuaire, Simboumba Tagnagati révéla à ses frères les trente paroles de Faro ; il parla toute la nuit et cessa de parler lorsqu’il vit se lever ensemble à l’horizon Sirius et le soleil. »"
(18)
Translation :
"Malinke mythology also insists on the revelation of the word to the first human beings. In both Malinke and Dogon mythology, there are four brothers who descended with their twins from the sky on the Earth aboard an "ark" led by their mythical genitor [Massa Dembali for the Mande, translated as Master Dembali ; Mèt Danmbala in the Haitian Tradition]. They will become the apical ancestors of humanity (Dieterlen 1955).
"The third ancestor, Simboumba Tagnagati, received from Faro [Goddess of Primordial Waters among the Malinke, Zany or Lwa of Water in Haiti] thirty-first words and eight cereal seeds in the pond in which he penetrated after the fall of The first rain on Earth [Rain is also associated with Faro in Haiti]. When he came out of the water, he said, "Nko / I speak." He built a sanctuary in which he put the seeds. At this sanctuary's door, Simboumba Tagnagati revealed to his brothers the thirty words of Faro ; he spoke all night and stopped talking when he saw Sirius and the sun rising together  on the horizon.""
Thus, Souleymane Kanté, a scholar and teacher's son in 1949, who was insulted by the article of a Lebanese claiming that the ""African" languages were impossible to transcribe and, moreover, they did not possess grammar." (translation) (19), did not invent a writing from scratch. He has rather dusted off the N'Ko alphabet among old engravings in the guard of his literate family for generations.
Also, more than just a word, "N'Ko" is an archetype of the Verb among the Malinke groups. And as an archetype, it was not entirely within the reach of the profane. Besides, the holders of the full understanding of an archetype do not easily get rid of it. And Tamerlan, the Dominguois, was one of those holders. Another proof that he named his writing N'Ko, is that the word "N'Ko", this archetype, was preserved by the Haitian ancestral Tradition to which Tamerlan, as Houngan, made a definite contribution. For, the N'Ko archetype is maintained in the Haitian ancestral litanies and prayers where it has undergone a slight deformation as "Nkò" :

Nkò na ede yo.

Translation :
"I say" we will help them.

Most often, it is present in the more open ritual songs, in "Ankò" :

 
Malere, ankò (Nkò) mwen malere.

Translation (sometimes it is translated in one or few verses later) :
Poor, "I say" that I'm poor.



Tamerlan and the writing of the "long-haired Mulattoes"

Let us now analyze the other form of writing that Tamerlan said he could read. That is to say, the writing : "of a group of long-haired mulattoes." (20) What was this group of long-haired mulattoes? For the revisionists, these mulattoes were either Moors or Fulani (Foula) who would read in Arabic or in Ajami via conversion. This would validate their version of a Mandingo Tamerlan having a link to islam.
We can immediately reject that the writing in question was that of the Fulani. Certainly, some form of crossbreeding exists within this group. But this ethnicity, being fairly numerous in the Saint Domingue captive population, if the topic referred to them, Tamerlan could have name them to Malenfant, who would have recognized them at once. Besides, it is even possible that there were Fulani on the dwelling shared by both Tamerlan and Malenfant.
Thus, the Fulani option being put to the sides, there remains the  various West "African" Arabo-Berber populations which might in some ways correspond to the described " long-haired mulattoes ". And we are able to eliminate the Moors from the fact that they live in the Atlantic coast countries (Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia), whereas Tamerlan had indicated coming from a region located more than 3 months travel from the coast :
"Il voyageait avec ce prince, lorsqu'il fut attaqué par des nègres, qui les firent captifs, et qui, après plus de trois mois de traversée, les conduisirent au bord de la mer près des blancs." (21)
Translation :
"He traveled with this prince, when he was attacked by negroes, who captured them, and who, after more than three months' journey, led them to the seashore near the whites."
Aside from the Moors and a portion of the Fulani population, the only group responding to this description is the Tuareg, these Berber nomads (non-Arabs), that are more mixed than sedentary Berbers. There exist "blacks" and "whites" within them ; but the majority straddles these two races, and can therefore be described as mulattoes :




Source : Photographie de gravures rupestress au Niger par E. Bernus – 224 APOM/126 ; in : Fonds Suzanne & Edmond BERNUS 224 APOM/1-160.


 
Source : Femme touarègue à Den Buten en 1964, par Edmond Bernus – 224 APOM/119 ; in : Fonds Suzanne & Edmond BERNUS 224 APOM/1-160



Source : Couple touareg par un photographe d’Agadez, sd – 224 APOM/114 ; in : Fonds Suzanne & Edmond BERNUS 224 APOM/1-160

Further to the east than the Moors', Tuareg territory lies between the common borders of Algeria, Libya, Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Mali :




Source : "Aire touarègue". Carte réalisée par Jacques Bernus, d’après Touaregs, Berger-Levault, 1984 ; in : Fonds Suzanne & Edmond BERNUS 224 APOM/1-160


And it so happens that this Tuareg zone is distant enough from the sea coast to require more than 3 months travel.

Source : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touareg#/media/File:Tuareg_area.png

So, from this information, we can trace Tamerlan's provenance to, a Malinke speaking group, residing near the Tuareg contact area. But we shall come back to this, after having established the nature of Tuareg writing, if it ever exists.



Tuareg's writing?

Tamerlan would have written Saharan Tifinagh, a writing of the Tuaregs traveling through the West "African" deserts. This writing, however, is non-islamic, in fact pre-islamic, because it was invented in the years 300-500 AD. That is well before the islamic North "African" conquests which date back to 647-709 AD. This rupestrian engraving in Mali testifies to its antiquity :



Source : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tifinagh#/media/File:Tinifagh_intedeni.jpg


The Tifinagh alphabet
Source : A. de Motylinski. Grammaire, dialogues et dictionnaire touaregs. Revus et complétés par le P. de Foucauld. Alger, 1908.


Source: http://e1.img.v4.skyrock.net/2961/30452961/pics/1401107237.jpg

Thus Tamerlan's learning of Tuareg writing is hardly a proof of him being islamic, given the pre-islamic character of this writing and the Tuareg nomads maintenance of their pre-islamic customs.


Tamerlan's origin

Let us now switch from Tamerlan's writing to his origin. Having delimited Tamerlan's area of origin and the nature of his mother tongue, we've reached an impasse. For, unlike the revisionists, we cannot roll dice to guess where he lived. Therefore, we needed more clues. This additional clue comes from Jean-Loup Amselle, who said that Souleymane Kanté, although he was born in Guinea Conakry (an area outside the Tuareg quadrangle), was a native of Ségou in Mali (22) (at the edge of Tuareg territory, easily reachable on camels).


 
(Ségou)
Source : http://www1.rfi.fr/fichiers/sports/Can2002/site_specialcan2002/mali2002/villes/segou.htm
(Tuareg territory)


On the basis of this information, it was quite easy to trace back the history of the Bambara Kingdom ("animist") of Ségou founded by Mamari Coulibaly around 1712, barely 79 years before the ceremony of Bois Caïman.


 (Ségou house)
Source : Office du Tourisme du Mali.

Then, inside this Kingdom's history we found elements echoing Tamerlan's account of the Prince killed in his custody :
"Il me dit qu'il était prêtre dans son pays ; qu'il faisait des livres ; que le grand roi de l'Afrique l'avait choisi pour l'instituteur de son fils ; qu'il voyageait avec ce prince, lorsqu'il fut attaqué par des nègres, qui les firent captifs (...) Il me dit que le fils du roi avait été tué dans le combat que sa garde soutint contre les nègres voleurs. Selon lui la ville qu'il me nomma était bâtie en bois, bien alignée, comme le Cap et le Port-au-Prince ; les maisons presque toutes à un étage." (23)
Translation :
"He told me that he was a priest in his own country ; that he made books; That the great king of Africa had chosen him as his son's teacher ; that he was traveling with this prince, when he was attacked by negroes, who made them captives. He told me that the king's son had been killed in the battle his guard maintained against the negro thieves. According to him, the town he named was built of wood, well-aligned, like the Cape and Port-au-Prince ; houses almost all on one floor."****
Indeed, the Kingdom of Ségou had a Prince killed in battle prior to 1791 (Bois Caïman). He was named Bambougou N'Dji or Bambougou N'Tji, a Prince that is still celebrated to date, by virtue of a canal which he dug in Bambougou, this city (25 km of Ségou, the capital of the Kingdom) of which he bore the name
 (Bambougou N'Dji High School)
 Source : http://dawhois.com/www/lbnm.org.html


 (Canal dug by Prince Bambougou N'Dji)
Source : Samba Lamine Traoré. La Saga de la ville historique de Ségou. Paris, 2012. p.57.

Who was Prince Bambougou N'Dji?
Reputed as intelligent and courageous, Prince N'Dji was the grandson of the founding King Mamari "Biton" Coulibaly who reigned from 1712 to 1755. He was born from the marriage of Princess Makoura, daughter of King Coulibaly, with the future King Ngolo Diarra (1766-1790 / 92). (24) He was the only Prince killed in warHe was the only Prince killed in the war, in the Ségou Region (hence, more than three months' journey from the Atlantic coast) on the banks of the Niger River, according to some :
"Il [Bambougou N'Dji] n'aura malheureusement pas l'occasion de régner, puisqu'il mourra avant son père en guerroyant sur la rive gauche du Niger, au Nord de Ségou, sans doute contre les peulhs ou les rescapés de l'armée de Sidi Baba." (25)
Translation :
"He [Bambougou N'Dji] will unfortunately not have the opportunity to reign, since he died before his father by fighting on the left bank of the Niger, north of Ségou, probably against the Fulani or survivors of The army of Sidi Baba."
For others, the Prince perished in the village of Karadougou (located in the Siadougou Commune, in the San Circle, in the Ségou Region) :
"Le premier fils du roi N'Golo fut Bambougou N'Dji qui mourut avant son père, lors de l'expédition qu'il conduisit dans le Karadougou (région de Say et Samou) contre le vaillant Sidi Baba COULIBALY qu'il vainquit." (26)
Translation :
"The first son of King N'Golo was Bambougou N'Dji who died before his father, during the expedition he conducted to the Karadougou (Say and Samou region) against the valiant Sidi Baba COULIBALY whom he defeated."
However, between the death of the first King, his grandfather, and the accession to the throne of his father Ngolo Diarra, there was a period of uncertainty during which two King's sons were murdered (including Ali Coulibaly, who had become muslim and wanted to overthrow the "animistic" status of the Kingdom and the consumption of alcohol), however, they were no longer princes but kings at the time of their death, for they held royal power.
We affirm that Bambougou N'Dji was the prince whom Tamerlan had the education in charge, due to the fact that Tamerlan spoke of the power of the King that he served :
"Il me parla beaucoup de la puissance de son roi ; du prix qu'il donnerait pour le racheter." (27)
Translation :
"He spoke to me a great deal about the power of his king ; of the price he would give to redeem him [Tamerlan]."
But before 1790 (the latest date Tamerlan could have arrived in Saint Domingue) peace and prosperity reigned only under the reign of 2 Sovereigns, Mamari Coulibaly and Ngolo Diarra. However, Tamerlan, born around 1747 (according to the estimate of Malenfant who thought he was 44 years old in 1791) was only about 8 years old when Mamari Coulibaly died in 1755. Thus, Ngolo Diarra was the Sovereign in question, and Bambougou N'Dji, the Prince.
Moreover, in June 1791, stating that his King would be ready to pay a high price to redeem him, Tamerlan showed his belief that his King was still alive. Now, history thinks that he perished while returning from a campaign against the Mossi, or that he was poisoned (28) in 1790 or 1792. That is a clue that Tamerlan arrived before the fatal date of 1790. That is conceivable, given his ease to communicate in Creole or French with Malenfant in 1791.
Finally, as far as the nature of the Tamerlan priesthood is concerned, we can say that, belonging to the Bambara ethnic group, Tamerlan was a traditionalist priest, therefore a Houngan, in the language of Saint Domingue or Haiti, his homeland by adoption. It was not until the capture of Ségou by El Hadj Oumar Tall in 1861, 70 years after the Bois Caiman ceremony, and 57 years post the independence of Haiti, that the Bambara conversion to islam begun :
"La conquête Toucouleur est marquée par la domination du marabout Saidou Omar Tall connu sous le nom d’EL HADJ OMAR TALL, qui s’empara de Ségou (1861) (...)  Après son entrée à Ségou le 10 mars 1861, EL HADJ OMAR invita à la conversion à l’Islam." (29)
Translation :
"The Toucouleur conquest is marked by the domination of marabout Saidou Omar Tall known as EL HADJ OMAR TALL, who seized Ségou (1861) (...) After his entry in Ségou on March 10, 1861, EL HADJ OMAR offered islamic conversion."
So, the facts lead us to conclude that Tamerlan was a Bambara, writing N'Ko,+ writing the Verb from the Primordial Waters, the domain of Faro, a Goddess still venerated in Haiti. He lived in Bambougou, Mali, where his protégé, Prince Bambougou N'Dji, was head of the district. He was a Houngan (Traditional priest) perpetuating the Bambara cult of Faro and Pemba, still honored in Haiti. And having written, in Boucassin, not far from Port-au-Prince, in 1791, the year of the Bois Caiman ceremony, a prayer++ of more than twenty lines that was integrated into the traditional Haitian corpus, made him a Dougan (Traditional Haitian Scribe). He could have been the first Dougan. But he was, in fact the second, since he followed in the footsteps of his King, Ngolo Diarra, the first Dougan, who was the first blessed with such attributes.+++

And if doubts remain about the religion in which Tamerlan exercised his priesthood, this extract relating of ritual sacrifices still taking place on the tomb of Prince N'Dji Diarra aka Bamgoudou N'Dji should dissipate them :
"Il [Bambougou N'Dji] fut enterré à Banbougou. Sa tombe se trouve dans une case à terrasse de forme cubique que l'on aperçoit de loin sous un « balanzan », dans les champs de mil situés entre la route de Ségou-Markarla et le village. Cette case fut toujours bien entretenue et on y voit souvent les traces des sacrifices rituels qu'on continue à venir y faire pour s'attirer les bonnes grâces de son âme élevée au rang d'une divinité." (30)
Translation :
"He [Bambougou N'Dji] was buried in Banbougou. His tomb is located in a cubic-shaped patio block that can be seen from a distance under a "balanzan" in the millet fields between the road of Segou-Markarla and the village. This hut was always well maintained, and one often sees in it the traces of the ritual sacrifices which they continue to make there to obtain the good graces of his soul elevated to the rank of a divinity."
 (Hut containing Prince Bambougou N'Dji's tomb ; empty because the Prince's body never found)
 Source : Samba Lamine Traoré. La Saga de la ville historique de Ségou. Paris, 2012. p.56.

For this Prince, being raised "to the rank of a divinity" goes against muslim dogma. But it fits perfectly with Mande as well as Haitian traditional vision. Besides, Bambougou N'Dji, Tamerlan's protégé, was himself the son of a traditionalist high priest. Since his father, the King :
"N'Golo Diarra assuma sous le règne de Biton Mamari Coulibaly les responsabilités de grand prêtre des idoles et de chef de la garde royale composée de trois mille jeunes guerriers." (31)
Translation :
"N'Golo Diarra assumed during Biton Mamari Coulibaly's reign, the responsibilities of high priest of the idols and head of the royal guard composed of three thousand young warriors."



* Tamerlan asserted that he was "attacked by negroes, who made them captives", and then sold them to the whites in slavery. Such an affirmation by Tamerlan who has lived it debunks the discourse of the revisionist Africanists who are too cowardly, too irresponsible and too reactionary to admit that the blacks sold their own. However, the Haitian Tradition deriving from such fratricide accurately holds that "depi nan Ginen, nèg pa vle wè nèg", meaning that since "Africa", blacks hated and harmed each other. The story of a kidnapped Tamerlan and his assassinated Prince is evidence of this.
** The fact that Colonel Malenfant preciously preserved Tamerlan's writing on his person, and that no harm was done to this captive following the discovery that he was literate, exposes another falsification that a captive able to read was punished with death. Proponents of such an erroneous argument, mostly islamic revisionists, are easily able to deceive ordinary people, then administer to them other lies aimed at inserting Arab-Muslims into the Haitian revolution while removing its sole actor, the brave black traditionalist people. 
*** To get familiarized with the basics of writing N'ko, visit : http://nkoinstitute.com ; and to hear the tone of N'ko letters, go to : http://www.kanjamadi.com/Jedekara/kogbe-4-.htm.
**** Tamerlan's description of his home city "According to him, the town he named was built of wood, well-aligned, like the Cape and Port-au-Prince ; houses almost all on one floor." (32) fits explorer Mungo Park's flattering description of the city of Sego (Segou), except that the houses weren't really made of wood as Tamerlan exaggerated, but of clay : 
"He [Mungo Park] describes the city of Sego as consisting, properly speaking, of four towns, two on the north bank of the Niger, called Sego Korro and Sego Boo; and two on the southern bank, called Sego Soo Korroo and Sego See Korro. The houses were built of clay, of a square form, with flat roofs ; and some of them had two stories, and many were whitewashed. The number on inhabitants he estimates at 30,000. "The view of this extensive city," he says, "the numerous canoes upon the river, the crowded population, and the cultivated state of the surrounding countryside, formed altogether a prospect of civilization and magnificence which I little expected to find in the bosom of Africa." (33)
The first letter in the N'Ko alphabet producing the "a" sound is represented by a vertical bar : "|". This character comes from 'alif in the Arabic alphabet. This borrowing, however, does not originate from islamic practice. It refers to the studies of Ngolo Diarra, King of Ségou and Tamerlan's benefactor, in Timbuktu (Tobout in Haitian memory to indicate an extremely remote place). Ngolo Diarra, who was an "animist" or a traditionalist, was sent to the islamic university in Timbuktu by King Mamari Coulibaly because Queen Nadjè, his favorite, had practically adopted little Ngolo Diarra who was at that time a "Di-songo", that is, a child-slave (a restavèk in the Haitian language) given as payment of the "Di-songo", which was a tax due to the Sovereign of Ségou. (34) Expelled diplomatically from Timbuktu by Sheik Kounta "probably because of fear of the influence which this too brilliant [and animist] slave may have in the young circles of his court" (Translated) (35), Ngolo Diarra, back in Ségou, could well have been, in his youth, the inventor of the N'Ko alphabet. This would explain the presence of one or two arabic characters in N'Ko which derived more from a habit than from adhesion to muslim dogma. The N'Ko, of which Tamerlan did not claim paternity, suggesting that it is anterior to him, was therefore created solely in order to reflect the traditional Bambara (Mande) reality. It is therefore the opposite process of the Arabic characters loaded Ajami writing that was elaborated in the practical concern to better anchor the Arab-Muslim doctrine in black Africa by adding the "African" linguistic specificities to the arabic alphabet . It goes without saying that the loss of Tamerlan, probably the only author (book maker), and also that of the educated and innovative Prince Bambougou N'Dji, considerably slowed down the expansion of N'Ko and knowledge in the Kingdom. Muslim proselytism, arriving in 1861, had to force the N'Ko into hiding until its resurrection 88 years later by Souleymane Kanté.
++ Tamerlan wrote what the Haitian Tradition calls the Djò Prayer, (Priyè Djò) a Mande word  (Djo, dyo, dyû or gyo, etc.) to say "Divinity" or the "Divine" (36). Thus, Djô embraces everything in Mande society : Sundiata Keita, the King and founder of the Mali Empire (Western "Africa" : 1230-1600) bore the title of Mansa-Dyô (37) ; the initiation societies are called "Sociétés Dyo" (38), one of which is named Koré (39), a word also found in the Haitian language (Kore), but with a broader meaning. Politics is not exempt from Djô, for "The whole Mandingo political system is based on the dyo pact passed between the great families" (translated) (40). And the way Djô or ancestral Divinity governs Mande civilization, so is this civilization omnipresent in Traditional Haiti, whether by inheritance : from the Kingdom of Ségou (in Mali : 1712-1861) where Tamerlan and his Priyè Djò came from ; Or from Kaarta Kingdom (in Mali : 1650-1854), a rival Kingdom of Ségou, having, we think, provided Haiti with the rhythm Kata ; or from the region of Wassoulou (Mali), whose N'Gri, its archetypical rhythm, was ingeniously preserved in Northern Haiti by the name of Madanm Tobodop, well before the Wassoulou Empire (in Mali : 1878-1898) ; or finally, the heritage coming from Kita (Western Mali), sacred and pilgrimage city for Mande Traditionalist peoples, also the place of origin of Nanchon Kita and Lwa Kita in Haiti. 
Aside from the Djò Prayer or "Priyè Djò", that contains the syncretic "Sen Djò" (Saint Djò) litany, the word Djò is also found in various Haitian sacred songs and carries the same archetypical meaning as in the Mande world :


Hounsi Djò e, Hounsi Djò e, nou wè ase.

Translation :
Hounsi Djò e, Hounsi Djò e, we've seen enough.


And even the lanbi, the iconic music instrument of the Haitian revolution, with which maroon bands signaled their meetings, draws its origin from traditional Bambara culture. Because the Bambara political-military associations called "Ton" used similar sound instruments bearing the name "Baruba":
"Ton-Massa Dembélé, chef de l'infanterie, vieux compagnon de Mamari Biton Coulibaly, accéda au pouvoir. Son prénom signifierait prince d'association. Ce fut lui qui était en effet chargé de convoquer à la demande de Mamari Biton Coulibaly les réunions du ton, l'organisation politico-militaire qui fut au début l'ossature du royaume bamanan de Ségou. Il avait pour cela un baruba, sorte de cor fabriqué avec une défense d'éléphant ou une corne de coba dans lequel il soufflait pour sortir des sons qui, pour tous les membres du ton, signifiaient : "venez à la réunion !"" (41)
Translation :
"Ton-Massa Dembélé, head of the infantry, old companion of Mamari Biton Coulibaly, came to power. His first name would mean prince of association. It was he who was in charge of summoning Mamari Biton Coulibaly's request for the ton's meetings, the political-military organization that was at first the backbone of the Bamanan kingdom of Ségou. For this he [Ton-Massa Dembélé] had a baruba, a sort of horn made with an elephant's defense or a coba's horn in which he blew out sounds which, for all the members of the ton, meant : "come to the meeting!""
 (Film capture of the Bambara warrior blowing in the baruba)
Source : "‪Da Monzon, la conquête de Samanyana‬". Mali, 2011. Dir. Sidy Fassara Diabaté. Fiction. 110 min. Timeline : (37:23-37:32)

(The Unkwon Maroon - Statue of the St Domingue maroon blowing in the revolutionary lanbi)
Source : http://www.jadorehaitisa.com/port-au-prince

Made with mammalian horns, not crustaceans shells such as in Saint Domingue, the Bambara's baruba were used for a military purpose analogous to Saint Domingue's

Here's the Coba's horn that forms the baruba, for the same purpose as the Haitan lanbi :


Source : https://www.delcampe.net/en_GB/collectables/trade-cards/unclassified/image-ima-animaux-antilope-coba-afrique-l-ami-chez-les-betes-serie-a-n-8-172214800.html

And the associated Bambara words, such as "Ton" and "Massa", are also part of the Haitian sacred lexicon. We have to also mention the word "Masala" used in Haiti, where it designates the Lwa, families of Lwa and a Rite. Hearing "Masala" in the Haitian song-rituals, many would tend to consider this word as a sign of muslim filiation. However, "Masala" originates from traditional Bambara culture where it means "chat, conversation" (42), as demonstrated by this television excerpt depicting the mourning caused by Prince Bambougou N'Dji's passing :


video

Source : "Les Rois de Ségou", Episode 15 : L'amour de Penda. Mali, 2010. Director : Boubacar Sidibé. Fiction (Series). Timeline (08:10-10:04)

+++ The third Dougan is thus me, Rodney Salnave, the Houngan who has established the N'ko writing system's multi-century anteriority, through Haitian history. Besides, I might be of Bambara lineage, since it is said that King Henry I of Haiti, of whom I descent directly on the maternal side, was of Bambara origin.



Notes
(1) Colonel Malenfant. Des colonies et particulièrement de celle de Saint-Domingue; mémoire historique. Paris, 1814. p.213. URL : https://archive.org/details/descoloniesetpar00male
(2) Colonel Malenfant. Op. Cit. pp.212-213.
(3) Les Affiches Américaines du mercredi 16 mai 1770. Parution no.20.p.229. URL : http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00000449/00006/250j
(4) Les Affiches Américaines du vendredi 31 décembre 1773. parution no.52. p.624. URL : http://www.marronnage.info/fr/lire.php?type=annonce&id=3846
(5) Les Affiches Américaines du mercredi 22 juin 1774. Parution no.25. p.291. URL : http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00000449/00025/314j
(6) Les Affiches Américaines du samedi 27 décembre 1777. Parution no.52. p.624. URL : http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00000449/00012/673j
(7) Les Affiches Américaines du mardi 20 juin 1780. Parution no. 25. p.195.  URL : http://www.marronnage.info/fr/lire.php?type=annonce&id=5669

(8) M.-L-.E. Moreau de Saint Mery. Description topographique, physique, civile, politique et historique de la…, Tome 1. Philadelphie, 1797. p.541.
(9) Colonel Malenfant. Op. Cit. p.214.
(10) Colonel Malenfant. Ibid. p.213. 
(11) LeGrace Benson.  Qismat of the Names of Allah in Haitian Vodou. In : Journal of Haitian Studies, Vol 8 No. 2, 2002.
(12) Michael Gomez. Black Crescent : The Experience and Legacy of African Muslims in the Americas. New York, 2005. p.86.
(13) Sylviane A. Diouf. Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas. New York, 1998. p.124.
(14) Jean-Loup Amselle. "Le N’ko au Mali". In : Cahier d’études africaines, 1996, vol.36, issue 144, pp.823-826.
(15) Colonel Malenfant. Op. Cit. p.213.
(16) "Solomana Kanté : The Inventor" URL : http://nkoinstitute.com/the-inventor/ ; Consulté le 8 février 2017.
(17) Jean-Loup Amselle. Op. Cit. pp.823-826.
(18) Germaine Dieterlen. « Réflexions sur la parole, le sacrifice et la mort dans quatre populations de l’Afrique de l’Ouest », Systèmes de pensée en Afrique noire [En ligne], 5 | 1981. p.63.
(19) Jean-Loup Amselle. Op. Cit. pp.823-826.
(20) Colonel Malenfant. Op. Cit. p.213.
(21) Ibid.
(22) Jean-Loup Amselle. Op. Cit. pp.823-826.
(23) Colonel Malenfant. Op. Cit. pp.213 ; 214.
(24) Prof. Amadou Bina Coulibaly. L'histoire de Ségou. Janvier 2010. p.7. [online] URL : http://www.youscribe.com/catalogue/livres/education/ressources-pedagogiques/l-histoire-de-segou-1689274
(25) Samba Lamine Traoré. La Saga de la ville historique de Ségou. Paris, 2012. p.54.
(26) Mamadou Haïdara-Maha. Les anonymes. Bamako, 1997. p.36.
(27) Colonel Malenfant. Op. Cit. p.214.
(28) Prof. Amadou Bina Coulibaly. Op. Cit. p.8.
(29) Prof. Amadou Bina Coulibaly. Ibid. p.10.
(30) Samba Lamine Traoré. Op. Cit. p.54.
(31) Samba Lamine Traoré. Ibid. p.43.
(32) Colonel Malenfant. Op. Cit. p.214.
(33) Mungo Park. The Life and Travels of Mungo Park. London, 1838. pp.80-81.
(34) Samba Lamine Traoré. Op. Cit. p.43. 
(35) Prof. Amadou Bina Coulibaly. Op. Cit. p.6.
(36) Michel Leiris. La langue secrète des Dogons de Sanga (Soudan français). Paris, 1948. p.449.
(37) Mémoires de la Société de linguistique de Paris, Volume 18. Paris, 1914. p. 284.
(38)  Bernard Nantet. Dictionnaire d'Histoire et Civilisations africaines. Paris, 1999. p.33.
(39) Ibid.
(30) Cultures Et Développement - Volume 5. Paris, 1973. p.286.
(41) Samba Lamine Traoré. Op. Cit. p.38.
(42) Bambara lexicon [Online] URL : http://www.bambara.org/lexique/lexicon/main.htm  




How to cite this article:
Rodney Salnave. "Tamerlan wasn't muslim". February 26, 2017
; Updated Mar. 18, 2017. [online] URL: http://bwakayiman.blogspot.ca/2017/02/tamerlan-wasnt-muslim.html ; Retrieved on [enter date]


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