mercredi 30 mai 2012

Sou negra e bela!

I am black and beautiful!

"O women of Jerusalem, I am black and beautiful. I am black as the tents of the desert, as the curtains of Solomon's palace. " Song of Solomon 1.5.
Afrobrasilidade: this is a subject about which we have not bent too much. When we talk about Afro-Brazilian, we refer to our compatriots in sub-Saharan African ancestry or cultural influences brought by African slaves to Brazil. Currently in the world, Brazil is the country with the largest population of African origin outside Africa. According to IBGE, blacks represent 6.3% described themselves as mixed race and 43.2% of the population, ie, eighty million Brazilians. And genetic studies say that 86% of Brazilians over 10% contribution of sub-Saharan Africa in its genome, even when they have phenotypes characteristic of black populations.[1]  But today, we think afrodescendência from a biblical story . And the many ways that was read over the centuries.

A love story

The readers will remember the images of love that this is considered one of the most beautiful poems of humanity: the Song of Solomon. But the girl turns around which the narrative is a matter of strong debate, especially for black theologians and theologians. According to the American essayist Peggy Ochoa, the Song of Songs brings out the painful details of the animosity between ethnic groups in the reign of Solomon.

For many scholars, here we are faced with a fact: the Shulamite woman inspiring the love poems of the Song of Songs was a beautiful black. And when the daughters of Jerusalem, who were part of elite protests linked to the court to find the King's passion, the Shulamite biased answered the cry with the famous statement: " I am black and comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon "(Song 1:5).

The English King James, the Shulamite says in verses 5 and 6 (emphasis mine): " I am black, BUT comely . " And so in the Hebrew Bible we read the same text, phonetic representation, and my emphasis: " LV na'vah shekhorah animals . " In Hebrew there is no distinction between "however" and "e". The Hebrew conjunction "ve" can be translated "but" or "e". The translator decide on one or the other based on the context. However, both in English and in Portuguese, the choice can make a huge difference.

But why the translator of the King James version, as well as our translators have chosen "but"?Perhaps because these translations have been made ​​through the filter of Western culture, starting from the Latin version of the Bible, the Vulgate, which introduced the "but": " Nigra sum sed formosa". I'm black, "but" fair. Not black and beautiful, but beautiful black though.
The black queen
According to Susan Durber theologian, St. Columba's United Reformed Church, Oxford, in his essay "The Queen of the South will be present at trial when this generation is being judged , "a woman can help us understand this puzzle. In 10 Kgs find the story of Queen of the South or the Queen of Sheba. An intelligent woman, who did hard questions to Solomon. I wonder if he was as wise as you commented. Thus the Bible is interested in it because of his intelligence.

But one significant fact about the Sabbath is that she was black. It is unknown exactly that region. It could be Yemen or North Africa, possibly Ethiopia. The Falashas , Ethiopian Jews, and rastafaresclaim to be descendants of Menelik, the son of Solomon and Sheba. And also for black Christians from around the world, Sheba race appears as an icon and is seen as the muse of Song of Solomon.

The poet WB Yeats, for example, reread the verse " I am black and beautiful "and poemou well,"Solomon sang Sheba, a black face and kissed her . "

Also according Durber where African Christians celebrated the black of Sheba, the European Christianity marginalized its history. In the Queen of Sheba saw the story of a pagan woman, a foreign woman who had surrendered to the true faith. In his rendition, apparently lost Sheba also the color of his skin black.

Thus the story of a wise woman apparently did not match with the story of a black, and such a reading produced a terrible alienation in the Christian church in Europe and North America, which brought terror and fear to the other black. Thus, the other black was seduced, subdued and tamed.And reading the text is that capitulates to Solomon and Sheba becomes culturally white.

Actually, Sheba was companion of Solomon and the text can be read that way. But the tradition, from the Vulgate, made him a conqueror and a conquest of it, generating ideologies as the victory over Eastern Europe, the men over women and white on black.
But the Hebrew Bible speaks of blacks and African nations as Cush, Mizraim, and Phut, which is now Ethiopia, Egypt and Libya. And even the construction of the Suez Canal in 1859, did not distinguish between the biblical lands and these countries. The scenario of divine action also covered the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, which are in Africa, and Israel was seen as part of the African continent.Only with the construction of the Suez Canal, Africa came to be regarded as separate continent from the Middle East.

Thus, in the Hebrew Bible, Israel is a nation African and Semitic, and the message that leads the world began in the black continent. And although many see the church as Afro-Brazilians of European origin, the analysis of the biblical story shows that originated multiracial and the Bible began to be written in Africa.

Therefore, our sisters of African descent can, aware of their Brazilianness, race and color, the Shulamite say: " I am black and beautiful, as the tents of the desert, as the curtains of Solomon's palace . "


[1] PENA, Sérgio DJ; Bortolini, Maria Cátira. Can genetics define who should benefit from the university quotas and other affirmative action? Sao Paulo: Advanced Studies, Vol 18, No. 50, Jan. / Feb. 2004 .
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