“We’re talking about an apology of substance which would then be followed by various reparative measures including financial compensation.” – Esther Stanford, of the Pan African Reparation Coalition (emphasis mine)
This gets my goat.
Let me start with some information that she might not be aware of.
England banned slavery in 1772.
Yes. You saw right 1772!
A full 234 years ago. Even before the independence of the USA.
Of course, it was not until 1833 that Britain became a trend-setter by abolishing the trade in slaves permanently for the Empire.
France had abolished slavery in 1794, only to re-establish it in 1802, and finally abolishing it in 1848.
Russia abolished slavery in 1861.
The Netherlands in 1863.
And the USA in 1865.
[As an aside Tibet practiced slavery until 1965 when it was abolished by the invading Chinese army. Are we going to ask the Dalai Lama for an apology and reparations?]
Basically put the British led the movement to abolish slavery.
They set the moral agenda.
The Royal Navy even hunted down slave traders and liberated slave ships.
However there is another date that people may not be aware of.
The Slave Trade Act of 1807 fined any British ship found carrying a slave 100 pounds, a substantial sum in those days.
And then in 1827 participation in the slave trade was declared piracy, and thus punishable by death. [but full abolition did not come until 1833]
The second issue I have is with reparations.
Most reparations are done to the still living relatives of those who were directly effected. A good example is reparations to Jewish families by Germany after WW2.
Or war reparations after a defeat.
We are talking here of something that happened over 200 years ago. The only conclusion that can be made is that the current British Government should pay. And that would mean the Taxpayer.
But not everyone is descended directly from only British ties. What about immigrants? What about inter-racial marriages?
I am an example in point. I am British. But I am also a 4th generation Irish Immigrant on my fathers side. Does that mean I get some money back for the privations my Irish forbears had to endure in the 18th century? A time when Britain had already freed the slaves?
The next problem is who gets paid? And for just the same reasons. How do you prove that you are a descendant of slaves prior to the 1833 abolition, and not from some that were sneaked past the Royal Navy? And what of inter-racial descendants? Do they get less reparation?
If you believe that the victim countries should get paid. My question is, how come they get paid when the people there are not the actual victims? The victims of slavery are in the USA and the Caribbean, not in their originating countries.
Paying is naturally out of the question for something that happened so long ago that population change and migration could have had a major affect.
It is like asking Spain to pay reparations to the Dutch for their long occupation prior to the 18th Century. Nonsense.