JIhad in Ostafrika, Teil 4

Der deutsche Jihad: Die britische Perspektive

Philipps wurde nicht müde, vor der islamischen Gefahr zu warnen. Im Laufe des Krieges wurden seine Memoranden immer düsterer, die Gefahren immer vielfältiger. Nun ging es nicht mehr nur um muslimische Verschwörer, sondern auch um “äthiopische Kirchen”, d.h. ein von Afrikanern getragenes Christentum. Auf welcher Grundlage auch immer seine Befürchtungen beruhten, sie dokumentieren die Angst der europäischen Kolonialherren vor den ungewollten Konsequenzen des Krieges. Ihre größte Angst war die Auflösung ethnischer Grenzen. Schon vor der offiziellen Einführung der Politik der Indirect Rule in den 1920ern, war es das Ziel der britischen Kolonialpolitik, die Afrikaner in einen eisernen Käfig lokaler Welten einzupferchen. Damit einher ging der Versuch, den Zugang der Afrikaner zu dem, was jenseits dieses Käfigs vor sich ging, zu kontrollieren.
Philipps fasst diese Paranoia in dem sehr einprägsamen Bild vom Lagerfeuer ein. Dort versammelten sich während des Krieges die Soldaten und Träger aus allen Teilen Afrikas und Asiens. Während des Krieges rekrutierten die Briten Inder, Westafrikaner und Südafrikaner, um in Ostafrika zu kämpfen. Die Gespräche begännen bei den Frauen und endeten bei der Politik. Daraus erwachse die Gefahr eines pan-afrikanischen Bewusstseins.
Das Memorandum liest sich stellenweise wie eine Verschwörungstheorie, die Meldungen aus aller Welt miteinander verknüpft. Philipps springt von Nord- nach Westafrika, von Indonesien nach Ostafrika. Kaum eine der Vorhersagen erfüllte sich: Einen neuen islamischen Jihad in Afrika gab es nicht nach dem Krieg, Aufstände und politische Unruhen unter dem Banner „Afrika den Afrikanern!“ blieben weitestgehend aus. Dennoch blieb nicht alles ruhig in Afrika. Die hohen Opfer unter der Zivilbevölkerung und den Soldaten, die in Europa und Afrika kämpften, die verscärfung von Zwangsarbeit und Zwangsabgaben, wirtschaftliche Krisen infolge des Krieges sowie nicht eingelöste Versprechen der Europäer über eine afrikanische Friedensdividende politisierten in der Zwischenkriegszeit immer mehr Afrikaner.

Viele Soldaten beider Seiten waren Muslime: Hier die Beerdigung eines muslimischen Askari in Deutsch-Ostafrika. Phillipps sah darin eine große Gefahr für die Herrsschaft der Europäer in Afrika 

National Archives, London: WO 106/259 Memorandum “Africa for the Africans and Pan-Islam. Recent Developments in Central and Eastern Africa” by Captain J.E.Philipps.

Part I

1. During 1916-17 there has been an unprecedented meeting of the tribes of Africa campaigning in ''GERMAN EAST'. Natives of the West African Coast and the Cape have met those from NYASSA, EAST CONGO, SOMALILAND, ZANZIBAR and UGANDA. As 'both Intelligence and Political Officer in an area from RHODESIA to TANGANYIKA and the CONGO to BRITISH EAST AFRICA, operating in German East and speaking the languages, I have been happily situated for the observation of effects resulting from this meeting of the tribes.
2. Round the camp fires there has been much talk – in the lingua franca which never fails the African – starting from stomach and wife, and the distance which they themselves have been brought from home to hardship, and touching on the killing of white by black as illustrated before their eyes. True that the magnitude of a nebulous 'EMPIRE' is made known, but the increasing utilisation of black troops vice white is generally attributed to lack of the latter, and the subsequent doubtfulnese of the result of the European struggle where white men are being decimated.
3. Black privileges in the Cape and Sierra Leone are distorted into concessions wrung from white by black. The 'liberal idea' at bottom spells rape and loot to the negroid tribes. The Ethiopean Church in the Union and Nyassa, Nabingi in Ruanda, Malaki in Uganda, and native politics in Niam-Niam and Abyssinia, are strongly coloured by 'Africa for the Africans' with no conception (or desire to conceive) any intermediate process of construction of liberal principles under white tutelage. Thus for the first time in Eastern Africa has arisen a conscious feeling of the possibilities of a black Africa, as opposed to the dull subconscious resentment felt by the native when he may think pagan rites or polygamy are threatened, or he is taken for labour at long distances from his home. And what the native thinks is being done in this direction is invariably more dangerous than the actual action which gives rise to it.
4. While not considering that the creation of a black array – given the essentials of the best officers the country can provide, in permanence – in Africa to be in itself a menace (as it was temporarily in the Congo Belge) to white supremacy, yet a very real danger will be created in the existence in the villages of large numbers of trained men after the completion of their period of service. Relative to this, it must be borne in mind that there are concealed among natives in German Bast Africa some thousands of comparatively modern rifles, mostly of the .71 Mauser pattern, with large stocks of ammunition. For example, in the province of Ruanda alone, Captain Wintgens in 1914- 15 armed 980 local levies, all of whom deserted en masse to their villages in June 1916 during the German retreat southward of their homes. Their rifles are not buried and deteriorating, but concealed and preserved. The Wa-Tussi are a virile race numbering two million, un-administered by the Germans, quiet if not molested, but with an intense dislike of the white.
5. It may be urged that the incoherence of native tribes in Central and Eastern Africa, outside the littoral, renders any general conflagration improbable. One should, however, beware of arguing, now or subsequently, on any pre-war premises, or relying on opinions not modified in accordance with the enormous upheaval of native thought brought about by the war in these parts. The case of Mopahi (Mopoi), who in 1916 destroyed two French garrisons on the borders of the Congo Belge and French Sudan, and immediately set about organising the surrounding tribes under an Islamic guise, is a case in point. The basis of this movement was anti-white.

Part II.

6. Accentuating this, a very real danger is to be apprehended from any conjunction of Islamic propaganda with the cry of 'Africa for the African' . Islam would at once provide a cementing factor, and consequent fanaticism would enormously increase both the military and political difficulty in dealing with the movement. Converts are notoriously more fanatical than those born in the Cult. Islam has a tendency in Eastern Africa to consider itself a political as from the north or up from the coast.

9. The German Government in German East Africa maintained two native papers containing items of news from each station and district compiled by natives for natives, under white supervision. They act forth German Imperial doctrine, local news, items from other German tropical colonies, and explained simply any new native legislation, and giving general ideas of development of the country. The papers were published fortnightly and monthly. They had a wide circulation among all classes of literate natives and were a great assistance to the Administration. They were much appreciated by natives and much regretted when our Administration refused to carry them on. The renewal of these papers would be a valuable measure in combatting the movements in question, since the educated native conveys the ideas contained to his illiterate friends, who are as eager as the Athenians to tell or hear something new.
10. Thus, while Islam is best adapted as a native religion for Equatorial Africa, its political influences should be closely watched, and a definite policy of encouraging strong and isolated tribal nationalism should be one of the most effectual barriers against a violent Pan-African upheaval which is, in this conjunction a very real danger.

(Sd.) J.K .Philippe, Captain, Intelligence Department, E.A.23.F. (lately Chief Political Officer, Uganda Area). Ditohley, Enstone.
15th July, 1917. (Drawn up, by request, for Lord Milner).

NOTE I. Prom 'The Weekly Times', 20th April, 1917: “German Agents have been busily engaged in fostering pan-Islamic propaganda in the Dutch East Indies. 6400,000 has been spent by them in the Dutch Islands, and contraband of war secretly introduced during 1917",

NOTE II. One of the blockade runners into German Bast Africa during 1916 was fitted out in the Dutch Indies. (ltd.) J.K.P.