Friday, June 25, 2004

Ja: When Africa pays reparations for selling, I'll demand that Europe does for buying

OPPOSITION Member of Parliament Mike Henry on Tuesday tabled a resolution in the House of Representatives seeking a "united and common position" on proposals for reparation to countries which suffered from slavery.

Henry also proposed that a House committee be appointed to quantify the reparation figure and that debtor nations be called upon to provide compensation by way of cash and/or debt relief.

His resolutions, which preceded his contribution to the sectoral debate, noted that, "in the words of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the period of the slave trade was barbaric and uncivilised and represented one of the worst examples of man's inhumanity to man and should never be either forgotten or repeated".

It added that it was as a direct consequence of the slave trade that the African people were scattered throughout the Globe against their will.
I once heard a presentation on the topics of reparations by a Nigerian professor of Economics -- this was in New York. He had taken time and energy to develop an economic model to calculate the cost of labor since the inception of the slave trade to the West in the 15th century. Unlike many of those demanding reparations today, this prof. addressed the monies due not just from Europe, but also from the African states which sold their children. The dollars are huge; for a moment there, I got really excited. I mean, I could retire and live high off the hog! ;-) Then, I boiled down like bhagi because my grandmother's mother was a Carib, while her father was a Nigerian, I believe. Half a share didn't sound quite so exciting as a whole share. Drat!

Reparations? On this, I'm like Joseph -- the sellers and buyers meant it for evil; God meant it for good. The slave-traders did those of us who were unwillingly transported to the New World a favor. So, keep the money and help Darfur, Chad, Zimbabwe, and other such places in Africa.


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