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Meroë and the Forgotten Kingdom of Kush

This lithograph shows Old Dongola, an ancient Nubian city located about 600km north of Khartoum, or around 500km south of Abu Simbel. Taken out of Frédéric Cailliaud's "Voyage à Méroé", published in 4 volumes between 1823 and 1827.

Cailliaud was an absolutely fascinating man whose story certainly deserves to be told, but today we focus on Kush, an ancient African kingdom, all but forgotten, doomed to forever live in the shadow of another. A land of fierce warrior queens, the Kandakas that helped build an empire. A land of temples and pyramids unknown to most, a land full of stories seldom told.

History is so often written by oppressors, conquerors, colonisers, by men, by white men, so the warrior queens are forgotten, and powerful people of color are left behind and left out of history books. Ancient African civilisations, kingdoms led by black rulers, and many of the contributions made by them, have been appropriated by the West or simply swept under the rug. Until today, the vast contributions made by minorities and people of colour are passed over and unappreciated, unrewarded, belittled.

The conversation taking place today is not just about America. It's about deeply-rooted, globally pervasive ideas and practices that have been oppressing entire populations throughout our shared history, never receding, merely changing form. The conversation is happening now, and it's time we all take part and take a good, honest look at our own beliefs and actions.

African immigrants and refugees in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries face atrocious violence and discrimination because of their race. Egyptians from Upper Egypt regularly have to deal with underhandedly racist jokes and remarks because of the colour of their skin, an entire people seen as inferior despite their invaluable contributions to our culture and heritage. Their stories matter. Their lives matter.


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