Podium: The abiding legacy of slavery

The primary aim of the Reparations Movement is to focus on the historical causes of the position of African peoples in the modern world, and to improve their position. African as well as non-African peoples must recognise the continuing social, economic, political, cultural and psychological effects of enslavement, colonialism, neo-colonialism, and all forms of racial discrimination.

At the present time African countries, despite enormous mineral, agricultural and energy riches, are amongst the very poorest in the world. European enslavement and colonialism represented the largest transfer of resources from one people to another in human history. When the Portuguese established a slave colony off the coast of Guinea in the 15th century, Africa was on a par with Europe in terms of wealth and technological development. The narrow gap widened astronomically as a result of colonialism.

The position of the 150 million people of African origin currently in the diaspora is no more encouraging than that of those in Africa. Despite significant gains, many Caribbean nations are dominated by families who established their positions in the times of enslavement and colonialism. In Brazil, 60 million people of African origin are marginalised in all aspects of national existence except football and Carnival.

Data collected in the USA shows that African-Americans have double the rates of unemployment of non-African-Americans, are still hired last and fired first and receive wages of two-thirds the national average, and are heavily over-represented in prisons. The position is similar in Britain.

We dare not forget the 500 years of enslavement and colonialism - the hundreds of millions captured and transported and the unknown millions who perished in the process. Like the tragic case of the Jews who suffered genocide and lost 6 million in the concentration camps, we must remember our own Holocaust so that it may never happen again.

In the case of the enslavement and colonisation of Africa and Africans there has never been an acknowledgement of the crimes against us nor an apology. It is still the case that many believe that no apology is necessary because we gained the benefit of "civilisation". We would argue that Africa had long established scientific, artistic and cultural achievements equal to if not greater than anything provided by the Europeans. It is the cost in terms of kidnapping, mass murder, torture, rape, theft that are yet to be calculated.

The international community recognises that those who committed war crimes or who now perpetrate neo-fascist outrages must be prosecuted. There is also wide understanding when Jewish people express the view that the contemporary desecration of a grave is a continuation of the past and evokes images of Bergen-Belsen, Auschwitz and Sobibor.

The Reparations Movement demands compensation for the injuries inflicted upon Africans over the last five centuries. Derived from the Latin word "reparare" - to repair or make whole again, the Movement seeks to heal the pain of the victims and to a different extent the perpetrators through the knowledge and acceptance of the crimes committed during the era of enslavement.

Healing is needed by many African people who fail to understand the nature of systematic oppression and discrimination. It is also necessary for the descendants of the perpetrators of our oppression to understand the guilt and fear they often practice towards African peoples.

Africans have sought reparations from the beginning of the slave trade. Families of the victims sought compensation from African slave traders. Victims were promised reparation in the Caribbean, and the "forty acres and a mule" in the USA. Instead, slave masters received reparations for the loss of their "chattel". The demand for reparations therefore continued in and flowered in the Garvey Movement, which attracted millions of members early in this century.

But African peoples on the Continent suffered just as much as those who were captured and transported. Many were killed in slave raids. Agricultural economies were robbed of the most productive. Africa still bears the scars of under-population from the slave era. The best of African brains are still exported.

We are now at the stage of creating a structure necessary to organise and sustain a campaign to bring about the repair of Africa and Africans. We call upon all those of African origin to join us.

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea