Reparations Now!

 

Q. Why do you relate colonialism to slavery?
A: It is most important for us to grasp the linkage. The Atlantic slave trade used European capital to take African slaves to the New World. With abolition, European capital turned its attention to the exploitation of African labor, land and mineral resources in Africa itself. The Atlantic slave trade had identified slavery solely with the black person, perpetually in a degraded and dehumanized position. Colonialism in Africa was based on the racial foundations laid by the slave trade. Because the world failed to recognize the inhuman slave trade as a crime against humanity, European powers went
in to commit equally heinous crimes against Africans under colonialism. (Remember Leopold's Congo, and the German war against the Herod). Even after nominal independence had been granted, with African human and material resources already depleted by the slave trade and colonialism, the Western world continues to control African economies and to manipulate its governments for their own ends. They bear a lot of responsibility for the increasing degradation, collapse of States, hunger, disease and gloomy prospects.

Q. Since the Africans at home were not enslaved, why should they ask for Reparations?
A: They are asking for Reparations for two reasons.
(a) The effects of the slave trade were not felt by the immediate victims only but by all black peoples. The impact on Africa in the loss of people, destruction of agriculture and trade, insecurity of life, social degradation etc. was disastrous and no black people, even those who participated in the trade could escape its destructive consequences.
(b) One of the effects of the Atlantic slave trade was racial prejudice. Arabs enslaved not only blacks, but also whites and sometimes other Arabs. They sometimes inter-married with black slaves and thus there was no outright prejudice against all black people during the earlier period of the slave trade. In the case of the Atlantic trade, however, all the slave masters were white and the slaves black; and this has given rise to the heinous practice of looking down on black people. All Africans suffered from this, whether they were enslaved or not. This was the foundation of colonialism and neocolonialism in Africa. Prejudice against black people spread almost everywhere in the world and we have to redress this problem. The cost of this world-wide prejudice against black peoples is incalculable. It is revealed in such incidents as the recent Los Angeles riots, and it is beginning to show itself in some parts of Germany, Britain and France. It is even said to exist in Mauritania and other parts of Africa; thus the psychological damage is one of the things we have to redress.

 

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