Oxford must fall

The long-awaited book Rhodes must Fall, by the Rhodes Must Fall Group at Oxford has been published by Zed books, and is distributed by the University of Chicago press.
Cover image Rhodes Must Fall

It carries my censored article “To decolonise math stand up to its false history and bad philosophy” together with a supportive essay by Kevin Minors a black Bermudan doctoral student.

Recall that my article was censored by the South Africa editor of the Conversation on the false ground that it did not meet their editorial standards (though I intensively interacted with an editor for a week before publication).  Basically, the editor succumbed to the furious response of the whites, to my article. The Conversation had earlier published the foolish (and obnoxious) claim that mathematics is essentially the work of dead white males, so blacks and women should be taught to think like them. In response, I pointed out that black Egyptians knew fractions 3000 years before Greeks, Romans, or Europeans learnt about elementary fractions.

The Conversation did not mind publishing that obnoxious falsehood, but the editor had no place for any truth that was anti-West. So, she objected to my referring to my own published work. Why? What on earth is wrong with that? Why should one not refer to one’s own published work? Obviously the unstated but racist ground was her belief that what a brown man says is not reliable, therefore, she will not permit him to say anything original, even if it has been peer reviewed and published earlier. He is allowed only to repeat and quote what some white man says. (This is also the Wikipedia policy: a white man, or an article approved by white men, is the only reliable source.)

Though my censored article was initially widely reproduced, sadly it was taken down by most publications around the globe. Only one Indian newspaper, the Wire, recognized the problem of racist censorship and put it back. Another international publication retained it under the title “Was Euclid a black woman?”. This is described in my article on Mathematics and Censorship, and the censored article was published in full as part of an article in a peer-reviewed journal: Journal of Black Studies. Clearly the editor of the Conversation was using utter lies to defend racist decisions.

The important thing to emphasize now is that #OxfordMustFall.

Thus, consider what happened in the panel discussion at the University of Cape Town a year ago.

I pushed my 500 page book Cultural Foundations of Mathematics towards the mathematician on the panel to make the point that there is a huge amount of evidence that the calculus was invented in India and transmitted to Europe, where credit for the invention of the calculus was falsely given to Newton and Leibniz. The (white-skinned) mathematician opened the book for about five seconds and then shut it saying it’s not right. Why exactly not? How did he manage to dismiss 500 pages in 5 seconds? Could he give at least one reason? No. Such is the arrogance of the white man in South Africa!

Later, when I pointed out some of the evidence for calculus transmission from India to Europe, in an email exchange, he was unable to contest it. So what was the reason to reject my book without reading it? He explained (in the email exchange) that evidence did not matter for history but the white man’s opinion did, and he was relying on a negative review of my book by J. Ferreiros, published in an Oxford journal purportedly on the philosophy of mathematics.

Now, this Ferreiros fellow is literally illiterate in the history of Indian mathematics. He has never written anything on it and cannot read the original sources. He could not even read my book after chapter 2, since it cites those original sources. So why rely on him? Because, according to the white mathematician, the opinion of even an illiterate historian from Oxford is worth more than all the evidence gathered in a 500 page book, researched for ten years. That Oxford journal has no standard for its editor solicited my book for review, but could not find a literate reviewer. Ha! Some scholarship this! If the journal has any standard the editor should have been sacked long ago for incompetence.

Further, the reviewer, this Ferreiros fellow is also equally illiterate in the Indian philosophy of mathematics, and cannot read the original sources for those either. That an Oxford journal could appoint an illiterate reviewer exposes the real standard of that journal. But, in the opinion of the white mathematician from Cape Town, a negative opinion from an illiterate reviewer, illiterate in both history and philosophy, must be believed because even an illiterate opinion from Oxford is worth more than all the evidence and all the philosophical arguments in the book written by a brown man, which can therefore be dismissed without reading. This is clearly an extreme form of racism, and is the only way left to defend colonial mathematics, its false history and bad philosophy: keep demanding blind reliance on the authority of the white man who said he was superior.

Further, because the reviewer knew he was illiterate he was forced to admit that he could not, in fact, read my book after chapter 2. Shameless isn’t it? Soliciting a book to review just two chapter? But, in the manner of priests, the reviewer covered up his extreme ignorance by just adding the brazen lie that  the remaining chapters were not relevant to  the journal. Why not? A lot of the philosophy of mathematics, such as zeroism or Berkeley’s objections to Newton etc., is discussed after chapter 2. But the white man expects that you will swallow any lie merely on the strength of his authority which he asks you to trust. In fact he demands that you submit to the high authority of Oxford. In fact, the reviewer was just lying through his teeth and that exposes the supposed “high standard” of Oxford.

Even the reviewer’s claim to have read up to chapter 2 is a lie, for the Ferreiros fellow was unable to contest the fundamental problem of logic I have raised: that logic is neither universal, nor invented by Aristotle as the rational theologians of the crusading church falsely contended for centuries. So why should two valued logic be the base for mathematics today? And why should we not go by facts instead of useless “authoritative” Western metaphysics  (fantasy) of infinity which is promoted in formal mathematics today? Obviously, the West has no answer.

The Ferreiros fellow actually commented only on the first half of the first chapter of my book, which is on Euclid and Hilbert. That is to say he commented on Hilbert not daring to comment on the issue of “Euclid” or his purported philosophy of mathematics. Here too, the best the reviewer could come up with was to make the false claim that I’m wrong in saying that a formal mathematical proof can be mechanically checked. Of course it can be. How else is it checked? By relying on the authority and “creativity” of such idiots? This is the nonsense that the Oxford journal peddles.

Wikipedia does rely solely on Western authority falsely deeming it to be a reliable source, while not citing any of the other favorable and more serious reviews of my book, because Wikipedia is, all said and done, an instrument of Western propaganda. It has no space for anything non-Western.

Oxford university, similarly,  started as an institution set up and controlled by the crusading church to produce propagandist missionaries. for centuries. Like the priest, it sets out to win our confidence the better to be able to deceive us later on. Don’t believe any of the lies these missionaries have been telling for centuries. They are trained to tell lies.

Unable to engage with the evidence that Newton and Leibniz stole the calculus, what does Oxford do? In the grand church tradition of burning heretics, it sets out to attack the person who exposes the false history by telling further lies. Attacking a person needs no knowledge, any idiot can do it. But, for the credulous white man,  the lies of Oxford are the gospel truth (which too Oxford and Cambridge distorted!), which everyone must be forced to believe.

So, to decolonise mathematics we must first stop trusting the authorities of the white man or the claims that he is superior and anyone who opposes him is inferio. Demand evidence, demand clear arguments. Note the dirty tricks, played by Oxford scholars when they are totally out of their depth. And do not trust the white man on any issue, until such time as every sentence of what he says has been validated by non-Western scholars.

Not only #RhodesMustFallAtOxford, but #OxfordMustFall. Oxford is a symbol of the white man’s authority. Hopelessly unable to engage with evidence and arguments the white man demands subjugation to his academic authority of which Oxford is a symbol. But the time has come to give the white man’s authority a kick on the backside. #OxfordMustFall.

Colonised people of the world arise! You have nothing to lose but your master.

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