Great men are not always wise and it is a profound truism that wise men are seldom great; it all depends on the vagaries of context and association. One of the wisest, most perceptive men that ever live is never among the list of “wise persons” or “great thinkers” or given sobriquets of excellence in any form and yet however much historians try to erase his contribution, nevertheless his unique contribution remains. He was poor, very poor, described as ugly, even hideous by some and had the misfortune of being relegated and kept ensconced in the downtrodden and victimized underclass of his day. And yet here I am, some 2500 years after his death writing about him. When you add the salient fact that this was a black man, a proud and dignified Ethiopian, living in a Caucasian world with all its rampant mores of disguised barbarism and you realize that this episode becomes more compelling.
You might have guessed that I am referring to none other than Aesop. Because he was black his contribution to society was always hotly contested and there are those who have dedicated their lives to trying to obliterate his legacy. History is written mainly by two entities; on the one hand victors who have triumphed through conflict, mostly militarily and on the other hand the ruling classes who censure and promote according to their vested interest. Nearly all histories and particularly the so-called “approved histories” are examples of these practices. The world, happily, has a way of