Nation e-Edition

Europeans alone to blame

By Grantley E. Edwards

| Wed, September 11, 2013 - 12:00 AM

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I read with interest the article Reparations: A Different View by Dr Leonard Shorey, and can only come to the conclusion that he has been mis-educated, a term used by Professor Woodson to describe Blacks who are educated to write, speak and act according to what their former slave masters expect of them; mere echo chambers who see the world through the eyes of their former colonizers.

Dr Shorey’s underlying tenet – that Africans sold fellow Africans to Europeans and so they, the Africans, bear responsibility for what ensued – has no logical basis.

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that Dr Shorey is totally correct in describing this economic transaction, then in a case such as this the purchasers, the Europeans, are totally responsible for ensuring that their newly acquired slaves are treated humanely and not as beasts of burden; for if I buy even a dog and treat it like a workhorse, I cannot blame the seller.

Moreover, the Africans had every reason to believe that those Africans captured in battle and sold to Europeans would be treated like they would have been treated back in Africa for such Africans rose to high positions in former West African empires.

Again, traders in human beings, like Hawkins, gave their ships such names as Jesus and O Mother Mary, which could lead the Africans to believe that those Africans who were to become slaves would be treated in a Christian way.

Please note that many Africans were captured by Africans who were recruited as agents for the Europeans. The Europeans created the conditions for chattel slavery; even promoting war and strife among Africans.

The Europeans created forced labour camps in which they lynched, murdered, mutilated, raped and castrated Africans. They forced them to work from sunrise to sundown and beyond, all without pay.

The Europeans alone were totally responsible for these plantation camps. They and their descendants alone reaped the profits from this slave labour that enriched Europeans countries. The Africans and their descendants should be compensated.

Dr Shorey should get a crash course in African history. Then, he would realize that African leaders, such as Queen Nzinga, fought wars to end the slave trade when they came face to face with its horror.

The Europeans responded by bringing up their heavy weapons and bombarding Africans towns and cities just to maintain the trade.

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