Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Apology for Slavery and Reparations

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
November 14, 2011

Since 8 January 1455, when Pope Nicholas V authorized the Portuguese "to subject to servitude all infidel peoples", no Pope of the Roman Catholic Church has apologized for the European enslavement of Afrikan people.

In April 2006, the Church of England voted "to apologize to the descendants of victims of the slave trade" and in March 2007, considered paying reparations.

In late April 2006, Jamaica introduced a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly on behalf of the Caribbean and Afrika with co-sponsorship by most European nations "to acknowledge the legacy of slavery as being at the heart of situations of profound social and economic inequality, hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice which continue to affect people of Afrikan descent today."

On 25 March 2007, bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade, then Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain publicly stated that slavery was "a crime against humanity" and offered "deep sorrow" for British involvement but no apology.

In May 2007, Pope Benedict XV1 condemned "the genocide of the Jews" during the Jewish Holocaust when six to eight million Jews were killed by a European named Adolf Hitler in the 1930s. However, as of this writing, Pope Benedict XV1 has not condemned the genocide of the Afrikans during the Afrikan Holocaust when one hundred to one hundred and fifty million Afrikans were killed by disparate Europeans between 1517 and 1834.

In August 2007, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, apologized for his city's role in the Trans Atlantic slave trade. He acknowledged that London was "tainted" by it.

On 29 July 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives issued "an unprecedented apology to Black Americans for the institution of slavery and the subsequent Jim Crow laws that for years discriminated against Blacks as second-class citizens in American society."

And on 18 June 2009, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution apologizing for "slavery and segregation of Afrikan-Americans."

In the case of reparations, one finds that the European slave traders have received reparations while their employees (slaves) have received no reparations, to date.

Indeed, in the 1825 "agreement", the French government forced Haiti to pay France 90 million francs or US$21.7b in exchange for "liberty". This was, in fact, reparations/compensation "payable to mainly French planters who had lost their property in the revolution" (slave revolt) of 1st January 1804.

And when the British government abolished slavery on 1st August 1834, the Abolition Act provided "a free gift" not a loan of 20 million pounds or US$91.2m "to compensate the slave-owners for the loss of their slaves."

Truth Be Told: The total amount of compensation/reparations, that is, unpaid wages, that are owed to Afrikans who worked on European plantations in this slavery/capitalist business have been estimated to be US$770 trillion plus interest.

During this European slavery/capitalist business, Nigeria supplied twenty-four per cent of the workers (slaves), Angola supplied twenty-four per cent, Ghana sixteen per cent, Senegal/Gambia thirteen per cent, Guinea eleven per cent and Sierra Leone six per cent. Ergo, the people of these countries (not the government) deserve their percentage of the US$770 trillion.

In addition, forty per cent of the workers (slaves) who were brought violently and involuntarily from Afrika went to the plantations in the Caribbean, forty per cent worked on plantations in South America, mainly Brazil, while fifteen per cent worked on plantations in the American North and South. Ergo, the descendants of these workers (slaves) also deserve their percentage share of the US$770 trillion.

However, the sad geo-political reality is that as a result of the successful European global policy of Divide and Rule, the descendants of these unpaid Afrikan workers (slaves) will never receive compensation/reparations because there are neo-colonial governments in Afrika and the Caribbean who are against the payment of reparations.

Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies.

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